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4651  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: May 13, 2013, 12:37:20 PM
The IRS targeting scandal is about cheating in elections, preventing opponents from organizing and acting in the same ways that your own campaign and supporters are organizing and acting.

GM: "There should be criminal investigations regarding this conduct."

Undermining our elections, to me, is treason, extreme acts against one's nation.  Beheading, after a fair trial, comes to mind as a remedy that might discourage similar acts in the future.

If these were "low-level" employees, how much do we pay people who decide how to allocate resources in the IRS?  Minimum wage?  Were they laid off, considered no more essential than air traffic controllers, during the sequester?  I don't think so.

This one tip of a big iceberg, with no one looking under it.  There is no way this was the only cooperation between the Obama Executive Branch of our government and the Obama campaign.  There is no question in my mind that the "data mining" and turnout operations of the campaign were getting welfare and program recipients lists from inside the federal government.


4652  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi Deception on: May 13, 2013, 11:49:42 AM
I just heard a rumor that Petraeus no longer feels the loyalty to Team Obama (can't blame him either!) and will be saying and doing things this week , , ,

Makes sense.  As CIA Director, his product was the first version (true version) of what happened in Benghazi, before the 12 revisions.  He has already faced the humiliation of his infidelity.  He may still face legal or military culpability for details within that.  Either way, he has very little choice but to step forward when called to testify, and tell the truth.
------

Jonah Goldberg made a very significant point in Crafty's post here May 10: 

'Help [that was ordered to stand down] just couldn’t get there in time.'

True or false in hindsight, that excuse HAD to be written after the fact.  It could not have been known at the start of an 8 hour attack.

Goldberg: "If you see a child struggling in the ocean, you have no idea how long she will flail and paddle before she goes under for the last time. The moral response is to swim for her in the hope that you get there in time. If you fail and she dies, you can console yourself that you did your best to rescue her."
-----
Mark Steyn:
A terrorist attack isn’t like a soccer game, over in 90 minutes. If it is a sport, it’s more like a tennis match: Whether it’s all over in three sets or goes to five depends on how hard the other guy pushes back. The government of the United States took the extremely strange decision to lose in straight sets. Not only did they not deploy out-of-area assets, they ordered even those in Libya to stand down."
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/347980/benghazi-lie
-----
Peggy Noonan explained the non-response ordered by the non-meeting in the situation room, where the President and Secretary of State were not following the events as they transpired (also posted May 10): 

"If you want something to be a nonstory you have to have a nonresponse".
-----

Michael Barone wrote today:  (excerpts)

We know that [Sec. Clinton] assured one victim’s father, Charles Woods, that “we’re going to prosecute that person that made the video.”

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Clinton was knowingly attempting to mislead. She certainly knows the difference between Cairo and Benghazi.

And it’s undisputed that Gregory Hicks, the No. 2 man in our Libya embassy, reported that it was an “attack” on September 11. That was the word he heard in his last conversation with Christopher Stevens.

It’s undisputed as well, after testimony at the House committee hearing last week, that Beth Jones, acting assistant secretary of State’s Near Eastern division, e-mailed on September 12 that “the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.”

That e-mail went to Clinton counselor Cheryl Mills and State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland, among others. You may remember Mills as one of the lawyers defending Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial.

On September 15, the day after Clinton’s assurances to Woods, State Department and White House officials prepared talking points for members of Congress and for ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who was scheduled to go on five Sunday talk shows the next day.

Who chose Rice as the administration’s spokesman? As Barack Obama said after the election, when she was reportedly under consideration to be the next secretary of state, Rice had “nothing to do” with Benghazi.

Selecting which officials go on the Sunday talk shows is a White House function. Either the president or someone who had good reason to believe he was reflecting Obama’s wishes selected Rice, who was out of the loop on the issue.

The expectation must have been that she would say exactly what she was told — and would not betray any inconvenient facts known to those in the loop like Clinton.

The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes got hold of the series of September 15 e-mails in which White House and State Department officials prepared the talking points.

References to warnings State received before September 11 of Ansar al-Sharia–and al-Qaeda-linked attacks in Benghazi were deleted. Nuland describes these as “issues . . . of my building’s leadership.”

The final talking points said, “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex.” Rice went on TV and parroted the line.

That was refuted by Hicks. The video was a “non-event” in Libya, he told the House committee. And he testified that he was chastised by none other than Mills for briefing Republican representative Jason Chaffetz without a lawyer present.

The FBI did not find time to interview Hicks. But State found time to yank him out of his job and give him a desk job he regards as a demotion.

Obama continued to attribute the Benghazi attack to a protest against a video on September 18 (Letterman), September 20 (Univision), and September 25 (The View and the United Nations).

There were obvious cynical political motives for attempting to mislead voters during a closely contested presidential campaign.

Obama did not want his theme of “Osama is dead, al-Qaeda is on the run” to be undercut by an Islamist terrorist attack on our ambassador.

Clinton did not want her department’s denial of pleas for additional security in Libya to become known.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/347995/benghazi-deception


4653  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 12, 2013, 11:38:13 PM
I thought the sole opinion of Thomas on Obamacare was strategic, in a long term sense.  Putting that view in a clear and concise way into the record is better than having no one express it.  The persuasion might take a hundred years.

"And, its pretty hard to live up to strict construction."

I agree with this.  These difficult cases don't lend themselves well to purity.  So you at least look for the  opportunities to take small steps in the direction of constitutional intent.  Instead, with Obamacare, we took another giant leap away from constitutionally limited government. 
4654  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: May 11, 2013, 08:35:49 PM
400 PPM and also a BBG sighting.  Very funny!

Maybe writing it as fraction would help:

         400
1,000,000

They always seem to show the graph like 400 or 500 PPM is 100% saturation.  The atmosphere is 99.96% NOT CO2.  Aren't we dangerously close to zero at any of these levels?

All hydroponic enthusiasts know enhanced CO2 helps plants grow better, which in turn give off oxygen, which is useful for me and for all animal life.

Oxygen depletion to these levels and headed downward or CO2 disappearing would scare me much more!
4655  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / If you want attack in Benghazi to be a nonstory, you have to have a nonresponse on: May 10, 2013, 12:30:45 PM
Who ordered the stand down?

First ask, who CAN order a military action in a foreign land?  That would be -- only -- the Commander in Chief.

Why did he order a stand down?

That is why the investigation into the fraudulent talking points is so important.  If the biggest considerations after the fact were all based in politics, so was the thinking DURING the attack!

Peggy Noonan today:

"...the implied question that hung over the House hearing, and that cries out for further investigation. That is the idea that if the administration was to play down the nature of the attack it would have to play down the response—that is, if you want something to be a nonstory you have to have a nonresponse."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324244304578473533965297330.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop
-----------

The stand down also could have been because the President was unreachable, off the grid.  He was never in the situation room that day, where they all sat during the OBL kill.  No one has said they spoke with him during the 8 hour attack?  Maybe Mark Sanford knows where he was...
4656  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 09, 2013, 05:18:19 PM
I will need Bigdog's help to understand if or how these opinions and decisions rolled back what conservatives considered to be the excesses of the New Deal era.  (I think that was the point of the article that started this.)

I am aware of the joined dissent on Obamacare, but the point Thomas made alone was that he would go further, "reconsider" (overturn) previous decisions, which is the conservative view IMO.  He would roll back federal powers derived from the commerce clause, not just oppose more expansions.

Regarding the 4 cases cited, same.  In Lopez, controlling guns in schools was considered beyond the scope of the interstate commerce clause.  That is a better decision than the alternative, but not exactly a right turn curtailing government excesses previously authorized (as I read it).  US v. Morrison recognized limits on the further expansion of federal power, as did Solid Waste v. Corps of Engineers where the filling of a local pond at a landfill was prohibited under a migratory bird law pretending to be authorized by the commerce clause.  (We still pay for a migratory bird commission, see below.) The Court said:  "The grant of authority to Congress under the Commerce Clause, though broad, is not unlimited".  Whew!  And then in Sebelius, dissent aside, the Court essentially said that power IS unlimited.  Four justices said that to my reading and one said he would stay up nights until he could find a way, any way, to uphold the expansionary products of the elected government.  I wish he had stayed up to ponder the rights of mine he was trampling.

Asking this a different way, after these 30 years, what industry was controlled by the federal government then, that is not now, due to a shift in direction on the Court?  I'm in housing.  It is hard to find anything more local than housing and urban development.  Which Supreme Court decision closed HUD?  Even though housing is defined as a federal function, my city state and county all regulate it too! 

Conservatives think federal government powers grew beyond original intent.  After a conservative Court stripped the federal government of much of its regulatory authority, this is all that remains:

    Architect of the Capitol
        United States Botanic Garden
    Government Accountability Office
    Government Printing Office
    Congressional Budget Office
    Library of Congress
        Congressional Research Service
        United States Copyright Office
    Office of Compliance
    United States Capitol Guide Service
    United States Capitol Police
    Administrative Office of the United States Courts
    Federal Judicial Center
    Judicial Conference of the United States
    Office of Probation and Pretrial Services
    United States Sentencing Commission
    Council of Economic Advisers
    Council on Environmental Quality
    Domestic Policy Council
    National Economic Council
    National Security Council
    Office of Administration
    Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
    Office of Management and Budget
    Office of National AIDS Policy
    Office of National Drug Control Policy
    Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
    Office of Science and Technology Policy
    Office of the President
        Office of the First Lady
            Office of the First Children
    Office of the Vice President
        Office of the Second Lady
            Office of the Second Children
    President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board
    President's Intelligence Oversight Board
    President's Intelligence Advisory Board
    United States Trade Representative
    White House Office
    White House Military Office
    Agricultural Marketing Service
    Agricultural Research Service
    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
    Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
    Economic Research Service
    Farm Service Agency
        Commodity Credit Corporation
    Food and Nutrition Service
    Food Safety and Inspection Service
    Foreign Agricultural Service
    Forest Service
    Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
    Marketing and Regulatory Programs
    National Agricultural Statistics Service
    National Institute of Food and Agriculture
        4-H
    Natural Resources Conservation Service
    Risk Management Agency
        Federal Crop Insurance Corporation
    Rural Business and Cooperative Programs
    Office of Rural Development
    Research, Education and Economics
    Rural Housing Service
    Rural Utilities Service
    Census Bureau
    Bureau of Economic Analysis
    Bureau of Industry and Security
    Economic Development Administration
    Economics and Statistics Administration
    Export Enforcement
    Import Administration
    International Trade Administration
        Office of Travel and Tourism Industries
        Invest in America
    Manufacturing and Services
    Marine and Aviation Operations
    Market Access and Compliance
    Minority Business Development Agency
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
        NOAA Commissioned Corps
        National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service
        National Marine Fisheries Service
        National Oceanic Service
        National Weather Service
    National Telecommunications and Information Administration
    Patent and Trademark Office
    National Institute of Standards and Technology
        National Technical Information Service
    Trade Promotion and the U.S. And Foreign Commercial Service
    Department of the Army
        United States Army
        Army Intelligence and Security Command
        Army Corps of Engineers
    Department of the Navy
        United States Navy
            Office of Naval Intelligence
            U.S. Naval Academy
        Marine Corps
            Marine Corps Intelligence Activity
    Department of the Air Force
        United States Air Force
            Civil Air Patrol
        Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency
    Joint Chiefs of Staff
        J-2 Intelligence
    National Guard Bureau
        Natural Disaster and Disaster Help Program
        J-2 Intelligence Directorate
        Air National Guard
        Army National Guard
        America Citizen Militia
            America Citizen Militia Intelligence
    Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
    Defense Commissary Agency
    Defense Contract Audit Agency
    Defense Contract Management Agency
    Defense Finance and Accounting Service
    Defense Information Systems Agency
    Defense Intelligence Agency
    Defense Logistics Agency
    Defense Security Cooperation Agency
    Defense Security Service
    Defense Technical Information Center
    Defense Threat Reduction Agency
    Missile Defense Agency
    National Security Agency
        Central Security Service
    National Reconnaissance Office
    National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
    Naval Criminal Investigative Service
    Pentagon Force Protection Agency
    United States Pentagon Police
    American Forces Information Service
    Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office
    Department of Defense Education Activity
    Department of Defense Dependents Schools
    Defense Human Resources Activity
    Office of Economic Adjustment
    TRICARE Management Activity
    Washington Headquarters Services
    West Point Military Academy
    Energy Information Administration
    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
    National Laboratories & Technology Centers
        University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
    National Nuclear Security Administration
    Power Marketing Administrations:
        Bonneville Power Administration
        Southeastern Power Administration
        Southwestern Power Administration
        Western Area Power Administration
    Administration on Aging
    Administration for Children and Families
        Administration for Children, Youth and Families
    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
        National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
        Epidemic Intelligence Service
            National Center for Health Statistics
    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Food and Drug Administration
        Reagan-Udall Foundation
    Health Resources and Services Administration
    Patient Affordable Healthcare Care Act Program {to be implemented fully in 2014}
        Independent Payment Advisory Board
    Indian Health Service
    National Institutes of Health
    National Health Intelligence Service
    Public Health Service
        Federal Occupational Health
        Office of the Surgeon General
        United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    Federal Emergency Management Agency
        FEMA Corps
        U.S. Fire Administration
        National Flood Insurance Program
    Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
    Transportation Security Administration
    United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
    United States Coast Guard (Transfers to Department of Defense during declared war or national emergency)
        Coast Guard Intelligence
        National Ice Center
        United States Ice Patrol
    United States Customs and Border Protection
        Office of Air and Marine
        Office of Border Patrol
            U.S. Border Patrol
                Border Patrol Intelligence
        Office of Field Operations
    United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    United States Secret Service
        Secret Service Intelligence Service
    Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
    Office of Health Affairs
        Office of Component Services
        Office of International Affairs and Global Health Security
        Office of Medical Readiness
        Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Biodefense
    Office of Intelligence and Analysis
    Office of Operations Coordination
    Office of Policy
        Homeland Security Advisory Council
        Office of International Affairs
        Office of Immigration Statistics
        Office of Policy Development
        Office for State and Local Law Enforcement
        Office of Strategic Plans
        Private Sector Office
    Directorate for Management
    National Protection and Programs Directorate
        Federal Protective Service
        Office of Cybersecurity and Communications
            National Communications System
            National Cyber Security Division
                United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team
            Office of Emergency Communications
        Office of Infrastructure Protection
        Office of Risk Management and Analysis
        United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT)
    Science and Technology Directorate
        Environmental Measurements Laboratory
    Innovation/Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency
    Office of Research
        Office of National Laboratories
        Office of University Programs
        Program Executive Office, Counter Improvised Explosive Device
    Office of Transition
        Commercialization Office
        Long Range Broad Agency Announcement Office
        Product Transition Office
        Safety Act Office
        Technology Transfer Office
    Border and Maritime Security Division
    Chemical and Biological Division
    Command, Control and Interoperability Division
    Explosives Division
    Human Factors Division
    Infrastructure/Geophysical Division
    Business Operations Division
        Executive Secretariat Office
        Human Capital Office
        Key Security Office
        Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
        Office of the Chief Information Officer
        Planning and Management
    Corporate Communications Division
    Interagency and First Responders Programs Division
    International Cooperative Programs Office
    Operations Analysis Division
        Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute
        Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute
    Strategy, Policy and Budget Division
    Special Programs Division
    Test & Evaluation and Standards Division
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
US-DeptOfHUD-Seal.svg
Main article: United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
Agencies
    Federal Housing Administration
    Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (HUD)
    Departmental Enforcement Center
    Office of Community Planning and Development
    Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations
    Office of Equal Employment Opportunity
    Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
    Office of Field Policy and Management
    Office of the General Counsel
    Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control
    Office of Hearings and Appeals
    Office of Labor Relations
    Office of Policy Development and Research
    Office of Public Affairs
    Office of Public and Indian Housing
    Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
    Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities
    Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae)
    Bureau of Indian Affairs
    Bureau of Land Management
    Bureau of Reclamation
    Fish and Wildlife Service
    Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
    Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
    National Park Service
    Office of Insular Affairs
    Office of Surface Mining
        National Mine Map Repository
    United States Geological Survey
    Antitrust Division
    Asset Forfeiture Program
    Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    Civil Division
    Civil Rights Division
    Community Oriented Policing Services
    Community Relations Service
    Criminal Division
    Diversion Control Program
    Drug Enforcement Administration
    Environment and Natural Resources Division
    Executive Office for Immigration Review
    Executive Office for Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces
    Executive Office for United States Attorneys
    Executive Office for United States Trustees
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Federal Bureau of Prisons
        UNICOR
    Foreign Claims Settlement Commission
    INTERPOL - United States National Central Bureau
    Justice Management Division
    National Crime Information Center
    National Drug Intelligence Center
    National Institute of Corrections
    National Security Division
    Office of the Associate Attorney General
    Office of the Attorney General
    Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management
    Office of the Chief Information Officer
    Office of the Deputy Attorney General
    Office of Dispute Resolution
    Office of the Federal Detention Trustee
    Office of Information Policy
    Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison
    Office of Intelligence and Analysis
    Office of Justice Programs
        Bureau of Justice Assistance
        Bureau of Justice Statistics
        Community Capacity Development Office
        National Criminal Justice Reference Service
        National Institute of Justice
        Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
        Office for Victims of Crime
    Office of Legal Counsel
    Office of Legal Policy
    Office of Legislative Affairs
    Office of the Pardon Attorney
    Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties
    Office of Professional Responsibility
    Office of Public Affairs
    Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking
    Office of the Solicitor General
    Office of Special Counsel
    Office of Tribal Justice
    Office on Violence Against Women
    Professional Responsibility Advisory Office
    Tax Division
    United States Attorneys
    United States Marshals
    United States Parole Commission
    United States Trustee Program
    Bureau of International Labor Affairs
    Bureau of Labor Statistics
    Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (DOL)
    Employee Benefits Security Administration
    Employment and Training Administration
    Job Corps
    Mine Safety and Health Administration
    Occupational Safety and Health Administration
    Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
    Veterans' Employment and Training Service
    Wage and Hour Division
    Women's Bureau
    Administrative Review Board
    Benefits Review Board
    Employees' Compensation Appeals Board
    Office of Administrative Law Judges
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy
    Office of the Chief Financial Officer
    Office of the Chief Information Officer
    Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs
    Office of Disability Employment Policy
    Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
    Office of Labor-Management Standards
    Office of the Solicitor
    Office of Worker's Compensation Program
    Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program
    National Council for the Traditional Arts
    Bureau of Intelligence and Research
    Bureau of Legislative Affairs
    Office of the Legal Adviser
    Executive Secretariat
    Office of the Chief of Protocol
    Office for Civil Rights
    Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
    Office of the United States Global AIDS Coordinator
    Office of Global Criminal Justice
    Policy Planning Staff
    Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
    Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
    Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
    Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
    Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
    Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
    Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
    Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs
    Bureau of Administration
    Bureau of Consular Affairs
        Office of Overseas Citizens Services
    Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS)
        Diplomatic Security Service (DSS)
        Office of Foreign Missions (OFM)
        Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
    Bureau of Human Resources
        Family Liaison Office
    Bureau of Information Resource Management
    Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations
    Bureau of Resource Management
    Foreign Service Institute
    Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation
    Bureau of African Affairs
    Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
    Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
    Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
    Bureau of International Organization Affairs
    Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
    Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
    Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
    Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
    Bureau of International Information Programs
    Bureau of Public Affairs
        Office of the Historian
    Office of Policy, Planning and Resources for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
    United States Mission to the African Union
    United States Mission to ASEAN
    United States mission to the Arab League
    United States mission to the Council of Europe (and to all other European Agencies)
    United States Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
    United States Mission to the European Union
    United States Mission to the International Civil Aviation Organization
    United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
    United States Mission to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
    United States Mission to the Organization of American States
    United States Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
    United States Mission to the United Nations
    United States Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome
    United States Mission to the United Nations Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva
    United States Observer Mission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
    United States Permanent Mission to the United Nations Environment Program and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme
    Bureau of Transportation Statistics
    Federal Aviation Administration
        Air Traffic Organization
    Federal Highway Administration
    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
    Federal Railroad Administration
    Federal Transit Administration
    Maritime Administration
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    Office of Intelligence, Security and Emergency Response
    Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
    Research and Innovative Technology Administration
    Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
    Surface Transportation Board
United States Department of the Treasury
US-DeptOfTheTreasury-Seal.svg
    Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
    Bureau of Engraving and Printing
    Bureau of the Public Debt
    Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
    Federal Consulting Group
    Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
    Financial Management Service
    Internal Revenue Service
    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
        Office of Thrift Supervision
    Office of Financial Stability
    United States Mint
    Office of Domestic Finance
    Office of Economic Policy
    Office of International Affairs
    Office of Tax Policy
    Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
    Treasurer of the United States
    National Cemetery Administration
    Veterans Benefits Administration
    Veterans Health Administration
    Board of Veterans' Appeals
    Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
    Center for Minority Veterans
    Center for Veterans Enterprise
    Center for Women Veterans
    Office of Advisory Committee Management
    Office of Employment Discrimination Complaint Adjudication
    Office of Survivors Assistance
    Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
    Veterans Service Organizations Liaison
    Administrative Conference of the United States
    Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
    African Development Foundation
    Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)
    Armed Forces Retirement Home
    Central Intelligence Agency
    Central Counterintelligence Agency
    Commission on Civil Rights
    Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Consumer Product Safety Commission
    Corporation for National and Community Service
    Corporation for Public Broadcasting
        Public Broadcasting Service (Partially funded)
        National Public Radio (Partially funded)
    Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency
    Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
    Election Assistance Commission
    Environmental Protection Agency
    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    Export-Import Bank of the United States
    Farm Credit Administration
    Federal Communications Commission
    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
    Federal Election Commission
    Federal Housing Finance Board
    Federal Labor Relations Authority
    Federal Maritime Commission
    Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
    Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
    Federal Reserve System
        United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
    Federal Trade Commission
    General Services Administration
    Helen Keller National Center
    Institute of Museum and Library Services
    Inter-American Foundation
    International Broadcasting Bureau
    Merit Systems Protection Board
    Military Postal Service Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    National Archives and Records Administration
        Office of the Federal Register
    National Capital Planning Commission
    National Constitution Center
    National Council on Disability
    National Credit Union Administration
        Central Liquidity Facility
    National Endowment for the Arts
    National Endowment for the Humanities
    National Labor Relations Board
    National Mediation Board
    National Science Foundation
        United States Antarctic Program
        United States Arctic Program
    National Transportation Safety Board
    Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Office of the Federal Coordinator, Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects
    Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
    Office of Compliance
    Office of Government Ethics
    Office of Personnel Management
        Federal Executive Institute
        Combined Federal Campaign
    Office of Special Counsel
    Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive
    Office of the Director of National Intelligence
        Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
    Overseas Private Investment Corporation
    Panama Canal Commission
    Peace Corps
    Postal Regulatory Commission
    Railroad Retirement Board
    Securities and Exchange Commission
    Securities Investor Protection Corporation
    Selective Service System
    Small Business Administration
    Social Security Administration
    Tennessee Valley Authority
    U.S. Trade and Development Agency
    United States Agency for International Development
    United States International Trade Commission
    United States Postal Service
    Strategic Economic and Energy Development
    Inspector General - full list U.S. Inspectors General
    Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation
    Administrative Committee of the Federal Register
    American Battle Monuments Commission
    Appalachian Regional Commission
    Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (United States Access Board)
    Arctic Research Commission
    Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Interagency Coordinating Committee
    Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation
    Broadcasting Board of Governors
    Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board
    Chief Acquisition Officers Council
    Chief Financial Officers Council
    Chief Human Capital Officers Council
    Chief Information Officers Council
    Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
    Commission of Fine Arts
    Commission on International Religious Freedom
    Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (United States Helsinki Commission)
    Commission on Wartime Contracting (Will sunset when announced (currently not announced) )
    Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled
    Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements
    Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States
    Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
    Defense Acquisition University
    Delaware River Basin Commission
    Denali Commission
    Endangered Species Committee
    Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board
    Federal Advisory Committees
    Federal Executive Boards
    Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council
    Federal Financing Bank
    Federal Geographic Data Committee
    Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds
    Federal Interagency Committee on Education
    Federal Interagency Council on Statistical Policy
    Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Federal Library and Information Center Committee
    Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission
    Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation
    Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor Commission
    Indian Arts and Crafts Board
    Interagency Alternate Dispute Resolution Working Group
    Interagency Council on Homelessness
    Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin
    J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
    James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation
    Japan-United States Friendship Commission
    Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries
    Joint Fire Science Program
    Marine Mammal Commission
    Migratory Bird Conservation Commission
    Millennium Challenge Corporation
    Mississippi River Commission
    Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation
    National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare
    National Indian Gaming Commission
    National Interagency Fire Center
    National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
    National Park Foundation
    Northwest Power and Conservation Council (Northwest Power Planning Council)
    Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board
    Preserve America
    Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues
    President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
    Presidents Management Council
    Presidio Trust
    Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
    Regulatory Service Center (Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs)
    Social Security Advisory Board
    Susquehanna River Basin Commission
    Taxpayer Advocacy Panel
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Veterans Day National Committee
    Vietnam Educational Foundation
    White House Commission on Presidential Scholars (Presidential Scholars Program)
    White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance
These organizations are some of the organizations who hold a congressional charter. They aren't part of the United States government, even though some are funded by the United States government.
    YMCA of America Inc.
    YWCA of America Inc.
    Boys and Girls Clubs of America
    American Red Cross
    American Red Crescent Movement
    Boy Scouts of America
    Girl Scouts of the USA
    National Ski Patrol
    National Academy of the Sciences
    Quasi-Official Agencies
    Legal Services Corporation
    Smithsonian Institution
    John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    State Justice Institute
    United States Institute of Peace
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Brand USA
    Graduate School USDA
    Graduate School USA
    Private Regulatory Corporation
    Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
    Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
    Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board
    National Futures Association
Government entities created by acts but are independent or other entities
    American Institute in Taiwan
    COMSAT
    Cotton Incorporated
    Dairy Management Inc.
    In-Q-Tel
    Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation
        Washington National Cathedral
    Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
    Howard University
    National Consumer Cooperative Bank
    National Corporation for Housing Partnerships
    National Endowment for Democracy
    National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
    National Technical Institute for the Deaf
    Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
    Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation
    The Financing Corporation
    Sister Cities International
        Twin Cities International
    United States Olympic Committee (also chartered)
        United States National Paralympic Committee
        United States Anti-Doping Agency
Federal Government Enterprises
    Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation
    Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac)
    Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac)
    Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae)
    AbilityOne
    Federal Home Loan Banks
    Farm Credit System
4657  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters - Greg Hicks on: May 09, 2013, 02:58:19 PM
I know Crafty is right about the in-fighting point.  The security issues are much much larger.  Still my mind is stuck on the completely fabricated story put out to the American people.  Also, according to some, the lying played a role in causing the Libyan government to delay the entry of the FBI to the crime scene until 2 1/2 weeks later, while the evidence was degrading.  Possibly the reason that no one has been brought to justice as promised.
-------
Yesterday's testimony of Greg Hicks was described by journalists present as the most riveting since Oliver North and Alexander Butterfield.

Or, as they reported on the low information voter news sites, Kim Kardashian is still pregnant.

All through the different phases of the attack, told with great detail and credibility, one had to wonder if help was on the way, when, and why not?

Liberal journalist tried to downplay the testimony.  Dana Milbank of the Washington Post called Hicks a storyteller that disappointed the committee Republicans that invited him.  Milbank said of Hicks, "his gripes were about bureaucratic squabbles rather than political scandal".

Milbank continued:  this whistleblower spent a good bit of time tooting his own horn. “I earned a reputation for being an innovative policymaker who got the job done. I was promoted quickly and received numerous awards,” Hicks informed the lawmakers. “I have two master’s degrees. . . . I speak fluent Arabic. . . . I fast became known as the ambassador’s bulldog because of my decisive management styles. . . . Incoming charge Larry Pope told me personally that my performance was near-heroic.”

Milbank may not know that this formerly competent diplomat, the number one man in Libya after Stevens' death with two masters degrees and fluent in Arabic, was demoted to a desk job after expressing his "shock" about the Susan Rice's account of it and his perceived cooperation with congress.

Milbank: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-whistleblowers-yarn-fails-to-tie-benghazi-lapses-to-politics/2013/05/08/fb436cd4-b82e-11e2-b94c-b684dda07add_story.html?hpid=z2


Hicks received a call from Mills (Sec. Clinton's Chief of Staff), whom he described as being “very upset.” Mills, he said, demanded to know what was said [to congressional investigators].

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/347758/hicks-clintons-confidante-called-me-very-upset-cooperating-investigation

Text of Hicks testimony:  http://www.thetowntalk.com/article/20130508/NEWS01/130508017/Transcript-Testimony-Gregory-Hicks-Benghazi

President Obama, September 12, 2012 in Las Vegas, after a few words of nothingness about the attack: "[Republicans] want to give you more tax cuts, especially tilted towards the wealthy, and everything will be okay.
AUDIENCE:  Booo –
THE PRESIDENT:  And this is their prescription for everything — tax cuts in good times, tax cuts in bad times; tax cuts when we’re at peace, tax cuts when we’re at war; tax cuts to help you lose those few extra pounds — (laughter) — tax cuts to give your love life that extra kick.  (Laughter.) "
https://historymusings.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/full-text-campaign-buzz-september-12-2012-president-barack-obamas-speech-at-a-campaign-event-in-las-vegas-nevada/
4658  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races - Mark Sanford on: May 09, 2013, 01:44:16 PM
The Mark Sanford candidacy and election could be harmful to the Republican brand elsewhere and his personal baggage cost him at least 5 points Tuesday, but his win of that seat means the House will be one seat harder for Democrats and Obama to capture and that the polls are back to over-estimating Dem support by between 5-10 points.  Sanford was favored by 1% and won by 9%.

Sean Trende of RCP predicts 2014 House results will be between a 5 seat gain and a 10 seat loss for Democrats.  They need a 17 seat gain to gain control.  The vast majority of the seats on both sides are a match for the electorate of that district, meaning that most are not very vulnerable in the upcoming, mid-term election.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/05/08/the_meaning_of_mark_sanfords_win_118328.html
4659  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues - Milton Friedman on: May 09, 2013, 01:26:38 PM
http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/050813-655394-amnesty-of-illegal-immigrants-to-cost-taxpayers.htm

"you cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state,"

  - Milton Friedman, 1999
4660  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: May 09, 2013, 01:23:18 PM
Asked if White House officials made any changes [to the lies about the attack], Carney claimed that “the only edits were stylistic and non-substantive.”
---------

Hey Mr. Carney,  This is an congressional investigation of history's most transparent administration.  The report made to the American people was a complete fabrication.  How about if you disclose all the changes made by all of the parties including the White House and State Department and we will decide what is "stylistic and non-substantive.”

What was said in these open hearings that could not have been said last September and who has been brought to justice so far for attacking the United States of America?

The message sent to terrorists is: attack the United States, kill diplomats, and they will "stand down" and then deny that you did it.

Meanwhile, some small-time filmmaker is world famous and in prison.
4661  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 09, 2013, 12:49:38 PM
Doug: "We are perhaps down to one conservative on the Court."

Bigdog:  "And there has been plenty of literature of how the current SC is among the most pro-business in history."

GM:  "There is a critical difference between being "pro-business" which can mean "pro-big contributors who bought access to public funds and get laws passed to suppress competition" and pro-free market."

Crafty: "Yes."

Bigdog: "Agreed. But "conservative" is a wide enough description encompass both."
----------------

Conservatism does not encompass support for big contributors to buy access to public funds and preferential treatment.  True that elected officials who said they were conservative have done this, but it is the exact opposite of all conservative principles, judicial, economic or political, as I understand them.

Not cited by anyone here, but an example of what the literature views as a pro-business decision is Kelo, where big 'business' was the alleged winner over the homeowners.  This is a conservative win only if conservatism has no meaning.  Business in bed with government power is government, not free enterprise.  Like Wickard, Obamacare, and so many others, this was a case of big government expanding its own central planning and control powers over the most basic rights of citizens.   It gives government-connected enterprises a path around free market constraints get what they want using the methods of fascism, not freedom.  I've been to the private takings court and lost.  In New London it was homeowners, but more often the victims of private takings are smaller businesses without government ties in favor of government's deeper pocket cronies.

Growing your own food on your land to feed your own animals is a Court-upheld, federal offense from the 1930s.  The pattern of the more recent rulings has not been to uphold, strengthen and expand on these powers.  Where, in the last 30 years, did the 'conservative' Court roll back any of the excesses of the New Deal era?  If it did, I missed it.
--------------

"We are perhaps down to one conservative on the Court."

There are quite a few Justice Thomas sole dissent opinions on the record.  I'll post one in its entirety below, NFIB v. Sebelius (a.k.a. Obamacare), in which Thomas disagreed with the court's "substantial effects" test established in the Wickard, Morrison, and Gonzales rulings.  Where are the others on this?  I could be wrong, but I took from their silence that they do not support his call to reconsider the precedents that authorized these massive federal government powers at the expense of liberty.

Justice Thomas, NFIB v. Sebelius dissent, June 2012, with no one joining:

I dissent for the reasons stated in our joint opinion, but I write separately to say a word about the Commerce Clause. The joint dissent and The Chief Justice correctly apply our precedents to conclude that the Individual Mandate is beyond the power granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. Under those precedents, Congress may regulate “economic activity [that] substantially affects interstate commerce.” United States v. Lopez, 514 U. S. 549, 560 (1995) . I adhere to my view that “the very notion of a ‘substantial effects’ test under the Commerce Clause is inconsistent with the original understanding of Congress’ powers and with this Court’s early Commerce Clause cases.” United States v. Morrison, 529 U. S. 598, 627 (2000) (Thomas, J., concurring); see also Lopez, supra, at 584–602 (Thomas, J., concurring); Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U. S. 1–69 (2005) (Thomas, J., dissenting). As I have explained, the Court’s continued use of that test “has encouraged the Federal Government to persist in its view that the Commerce Clause has virtually no limits.” Morrison, supra, at 627. The Government’s unprecedented claim in this suit that it may regulate not only economic activity but also inactivity that substantially affects interstate commerce is a case in point.
-----------------

The Kelo decision contained another Justice Thomas opinion with no one joining him.  This is only an excerpt of a longer opinion.

Kelo v. New London, Justice Thomas dissenting, June 2005

    Long ago, William Blackstone wrote that “the law of the land … postpones even public necessity to the sacred and inviolable rights of private property.” 1 Commentaries on the Laws of England 134—135 (1765) (hereinafter Blackstone). The Framers embodied that principle in the Constitution, allowing the government to take property not for “public necessity,” but instead for “public use.” Amdt. 5. Defying this understanding, the Court replaces the Public Use Clause with a “ ‘[P]ublic [P]urpose’ ” Clause, ante, at 9—10 (or perhaps the “Diverse and Always Evolving Needs of Society” Clause, ante, at 8 (capitalization added)), a restriction that is satisfied, the Court instructs, so long as the purpose is “legitimate” and the means “not irrational,” ante, at 17 (internal quotation marks omitted). This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a “public use.”

    I cannot agree. If such “economic development” takings are for a “public use,” any taking is, and the Court has erased the Public Use Clause from our Constitution, as Justice O’Connor powerfully argues in dissent. Ante, at 1—2, 8—13. I do not believe that this Court can eliminate liberties expressly enumerated in the Constitution and therefore join her dissenting opinion. Regrettably, however, the Court’s error runs deeper than this. Today’s decision is simply the latest in a string of our cases construing the Public Use Clause to be a virtual nullity, without the slightest nod to its original meaning. In my view, the Public Use Clause, originally understood, is a meaningful limit on the government’s eminent domain power. Our cases have strayed from the Clause’s original meaning, and I would reconsider them. ... More at link:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/04-108.ZD1.html
4662  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: May 09, 2013, 09:16:13 AM
The State allocating interest rates according to which sector from which someone comes is certainly economic fascism, but one has to admire the political logic of the sales pitch:
http://occupydemocrats.com/senator-warrens-1st-bill-gov-should-offer-same-loan-rates-to-students-as-big-banks/

"one has to admire the political logic of the sales pitch"

The other half of this clever strategy is hinted at on Education thread.  The government injects massive amounts of money into higher education to keep the price high for one constituency, while causing the majority of young adult voters to come out of college deep in debt and dependent on people like Elizabeth Warren instead of on their own negotiating and earning power for solvency.
4663  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 08, 2013, 04:49:41 PM
http://chronicle.com/article/How-Conservatives-Captured-the/138461/

From the article:

The history of the Federalist Society is a story of how disaffection, bold ideas, commitment to principle, and enlightened institution-building have created a significant conservative shift in the legal, policy, and political landscape of America over the past 30 years. The society reports that more than 45,000 lawyers and law students are involved in its various activities, with approximately 13,000 dues-paying members. With a national budget of about $10-million, in 2010 its 75 lawyer chapters sponsored nearly 300 events for more than 25,000 lawyers, and the society sponsored 1,145 events at law schools for more than 70,000 students, professors, and others. Through conferences, debates, publications, litigation, education, and by holding key positions in government and the judiciary, the society has changed law and policy in areas like property rights, access to courts, affirmative action, privacy rights including abortion and same-sex marriage, and the influence of international law on the domestic legal system.

Property rights are getting worse.  Privacy rights apply only to liberal causes.  Roe v. Wade is still essentially the law of the land.  Obamacare, the biggest government takeover in  history, was upheld.  Affirmative action is still happening.  The great influence the 'federalists' had on Republican appointments didn't seem so powerful during the Harriet Meirs choice.  Or Sandra Day O'Connor, or David Souter.  Government powers keep growing while individual rights keep shrinking, in my view.  Wickard can still stop Filburn from growing wheat on his own property to feed his own animals.  We are perhaps down to one conservative on the Court.  The authors obviously come at this from a very different perspective.

Still, I am always happy to read an opposing view.  )
4664  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: May 08, 2013, 04:20:59 PM
CCP in Benghazi thread:  "Yesterday the sleaze in ex chief - Bill announced Hillary is not definitely running for his past job...."

She polls well because of being out of day to day, issue politics for 5 years.  George W. Bush raised his numbers above Obama's the same way.  Saying she is out forever is a way of making her malfeasance and refusal to give answers in the Benghazi scandal less important.  Needless to say they want this scandal to go away.

The way we know if the Clintons are lying is to watch closely and see if their lips are moving.  The problem with listening to liars is that it is a waste of time.  We get no information whatsoever about whether she will run or won't run by hearing either of them saying anything either way, especially during the investigation of one of their scandals.

Hillary said under oath:

"Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans," Clinton said. "What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?"

The whole thing is a false choice.  It wasn't a protest.  It wasn't guys out for a walk.  It was a planned terror attack.  A question in response to a question is an evasion, not an answer at all.   What is the matter with her and why can't anyone hold her accountable?!

The question was: "Do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn’t have ascertained immediately that there was no protest?"

The honest answer she wouldn't say, testifying before a Congressional committee, was that she did not need to make that phone call.  She knew all along what this was and how the false cover story was concocted.

What did Haldeman or Erlichman ever do that was any worse than this, perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice? 

4665  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Revenues up 12% on: May 08, 2013, 03:53:04 PM

Let's keep an eye on this, tax revenues are a pretty good measure of economic activity.

"In April alone the federal government ran a $112 billion surplus."

April is always a 'surplus' tax collection month. 

If we are seeing a year to year improvement right now, it is in the context of comparing with a record fifth straight trillion dollar deficit year, not exactly the gold standard of fiscal performance.
4666  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Benghazi: How much evidence does it take? on: May 07, 2013, 03:00:32 PM
Good to see the Benghazi scandal finally under scrutiny.  The lying is so thick it is hard to know where to start or end exposing it.

LT. COL. RALPH PETERS: I believe that President Obama lied to the American people, himself. Secretary [Hillary] Clinton lied to Congress. Susan Rice lied to the UN. Jay Carney lied to the media. And the mainstream establishment media have protected this administration right down the line.  [An unpleasant image of professional journalist Candy Crowley comes to mind.]

Hillary was absent when her help was needed.  The dead Ambassador had no way of reaching her for months in advance with his plea for help.  And she never made a phone call during the all day attack.

The President never said where he was for the 3am (5pm) call, then he did nothing.

It was our first Ambassador murdered in 33 years.  This attack was a big f'ing deal.  

The Obama advisers ordered:  Stand down.  The President left the room.  Who was in charge?

Rand Paul had this right: "Dereliction of Duty".  “Had I been president at the time, and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post,”

Hillary was most certainly IN the loop when the talking points were changed from true to false.  She will never be President.

4667  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Michael Barone: The meaning inside the political numbers on: May 07, 2013, 02:18:48 PM
Some interesting political points here.  
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323628004578461302387618518.html

Michael Barone contends that both parties have a problem or two.  For the Democrats, it is clustering. Their loss in the house was not only because of re-districting in certain states, but because their support and turnout came from a smaller number of large urban centers.

"Democrats carried the popular vote in black-dominated districts 80%-17% in 2012. They made significant gains in Hispanic-dominated districts, which George W. Bush lost by 11% but Mitt Romney lost by 32%."  Republicans had a 52%-46% in the remainder.  Only two House Republicans represent Hispanic-dominated districts.

Republicans need to improve their standing with black and Hispanic Americans.  Democrats need to improve their standing out-state.  "Both parties have reason to feel insecure."
4668  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Economics: Employment report wasn't just bad, it was Ominous on: May 07, 2013, 02:04:34 PM
A different view:

Part time is replacing full time employment because of Obamacare.

http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2013/05/06/why_fridays_jobs_report_was_ominous_100301.html

May 6, 2013
Why Friday's Jobs Report Was Ominous
By Louis Woodhill   Forbes contributor / Real Clear Markets

Excerpts:

"The April jobs numbers describe a mass replacement of full-time workers with part-time employees, coupled with a fall in the length of the average workweek. This happens to be precisely what you would expect, given the perverse incentives baked into Obamacare, which took effect on January 1."

"During April, the FTE jobs ratio fell for the fifth month in a row, to 53.09." (Now that jobs are part time, the totals are measured in 'full time equivalent'.)

"there also has never been a case where the FTE jobs ratio fell for five months in a row and a recession did not follow."

"If labor force participation had remained at the level it was when Bush 43 left office, April's unemployment rate would have been reported at 10.9%." (Confirming Crafty's recent post.)

"During the first 76 months of the Reagan recession/recovery, the value of the dollar in terms of gold actually went up by 6.47%. During the equivalent period of [this] recession/recovery, the gold value of the dollar fell by 56.9%."

"The dollar debasement under Bush 43 and Obama has been driven by three rounds of the Federal Reserve's "quantitative easing" (QE), which have produced a massive (and completely unprecedented) 257.19% increase in the monetary base."

"The recent five-month decline in the FTE jobs ratio coincides exactly with Ben Bernanke's QE3."
4669  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: May 06, 2013, 11:41:48 AM

“We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him,” Bradshaw said. “What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’ ”


Palm Beach County was home for Mohamed Atta and other 911 hijackers briefly, but the example they give to watch for is the right wing kook.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/encounters-with-911-hijackers-still-haunt-palm-bea/nLxgP/
4670  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: May 06, 2013, 10:31:06 AM
"Colleges Cut Prices by Providing More Financial Aid "

It is a strange system, almost modeled after the airlines where every customer pays a different price.  My daughter is in her first year at college.  I almost never discuss with other parents what she is paying, receiving, or was offered at other places because everyone seems to have their own arrangement.  Like the airlines, I suppose someone is willing to pay full price so they keep that number really high.

The easiest to compare academic measure for colleges I found is the 25th and 75th percentile ACT score.  The goal for the college is not to take a kid who is above the minimum, but to enroll the kids who move the college's percentiles upward.  People need to know in advance that colleges pay cash for ACT scores.  (SAT too I'm sure.)  We thought the tests were only for admittance.  My advice even for students who do will great anyway on these tests is prepare all you can and take the test more than once.  If you bump your score up just slightly, it doesn't just change where you are admitted, it changes the price.
4671  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: May 06, 2013, 09:34:10 AM
My own rambling 2 cents: CCP identified the problem far before Romney butchered it, far too many people are reliant the government.  Of those, far too few realize a government check, deserved or undeserved, is dependent on the health and vigor of the private economy and the free market.  Liberals make an even more explicit argument: by aiming at the top 1 or 2% to fund it all they are saying the dependent percentage is 98-99%.

Romney mangled together what only has limited overlap.  He said there are 47% who just won't consider voting for him.  It turns out that number was 51%.  And something like 47% or 50% get a check every month from the government.

But the Obama coalition is a large, weird mix: rich elites, young people, Democrat voters with middle incomes, plus the underclass who see themselves as vulnerable and dependent.  The people receiving support from the government include a very wide range too, including veterans who earned it, Social Security recipients who paid in their entire working life, government employees who do real work, etc.  I would guess that it is 0% who see themselves as taking an undeserved check.

Politically you can't lump together in one statistic, the deserving with the waste, with the innocent people responding to the perverted incentives of our welfare system - and a badly designed welfare system is not the fault of the recipient.  You will not win people over by blaming them.  So we need to be aware of the CCP Principle, that 50% of families have a direct tie to a government check and this affects voting, but we move forward only by putting the focus on the positive: grow the economy with the policies of economic freedom.

Reagan doubled revenues to the Treasury in the decade of the 1980's.  Funding for programs grew similarly.  Obama is limiting his own big government spending ideas with his policies that cause economic stagnation.
4672  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: No Separation of God and People on: May 06, 2013, 08:26:11 AM
This is good to see recognized in all the constitutions at the state level.    If there was a separation between man and God, it would be an artificial, man-made one.
4673  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bloomberg refused second slice of pizza on: May 02, 2013, 06:23:41 PM
Bloomberg is fully deserving of this, but I have to think this one is a great spoof.

His taxi driver should give him a ride half way back, pull over, open the door, and tell him that walking the rest would better for him.
-------

The story reminds me of Scott Ott's writings on Scappleface:

Weeping First Lady Pushes Chicago to Ban Stolen Guns
April 11th, 2013 Scott Ott

First Lady calls on Chicago to ban stolen guns

First Lady Michelle Obama, in an intensely personal speech Wednesday, called for Chicago to ban stolen handguns, the most commonly-used murder weapon, in a city that tallied more than 500 murders last year.

-----
April 18th, 2013 Scott Ott

Obamacare to Cover Train Wrecks, White House Says
-----
April 1st, 2013,   Obama Declares April 1 ‘Fiscal Responsibility Day’

http://scrappleface.com/
4674  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Harry Reid's great-great uncle on: May 02, 2013, 06:01:28 PM
Sen. Reid was a congressman back when Paul Laxalt held that Senate seat.

Very funny writing!  I hope that line never gets into my obit:  He "passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."
4675  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Syria's Chemical weapons and locations? on: May 02, 2013, 01:19:06 PM
Syria's Chemical weapons and locations?

A citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows black smoke rise from buildings due to government forces shelling in Aleppo, Syria, on March 19. (Aleppo Media Center/AP)

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/02/where-are-syria-s-chemical-weapons.html
“We’ve lost track of lots of this stuff,” said one U.S. official. “We just don’t know where a lot of it is.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303644004577523251596963194.html
July 13, 2012:  U.S. Concerned as Syria Moves Chemical Stockpile

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/world/middleeast/obama-threatens-force-against-syria.html
Pres. Obama Aug 19, 2012:  “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is, we start seeing a whole bunch of weapons moving around or being utilized.”

What is a "red line for us"?  NY Times calls it "Mr. Obama’s first direct threat of force against Syria".  Question remains, what is a "direct threat of force" translated from the original weasel-speak?

Obama's Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper of 'Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular' fame, clarifies:  “It would be very, very situational dependent to render an assessment"
http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/intel-chief-uncertain-us-ability-secure-all-syrian-chemical-arms/

4676  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 02, 2013, 12:56:02 PM
CCP, you make good points.  Still there is nothing acceptable about the status quo of our immigration policy, which is look the other way for people already here, run our economy in a way that attracts no new workers, and advertise unlimited free food for anyone not interested in work.

The GOP options are: 1) Put enforcement with a mass deport or 'self deport' platform on the ballot for 4 more years, 8 more years, 12, 16, or the rest of our lives even though we know it will never happen - and lose ground on all other issues in the meantime.  2) 'Compromise' which means surrender and sign on with a very bad bill.  Or 3) Go where Rubio was before the rotten details of this bill were exposed.  Pursue in good faith some kind of reasonable, acceptable, permanent solution.

All indications are that Obama, Schumer, Durbin, Pelosi et al want an issue for 2014, not a solution in 2013.  That makes the GOP negotiating strategy harder, if not impossible.  MHO.
4677  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Syria on: May 02, 2013, 11:34:56 AM
"Isn't the US track record on nuke weapon program detection a tad weak after Iraq?"

The final word I read (Iraq Study Group) was that Saddam was 6 years away from being fully nuclear - 11 years ago.  I don't know about our track record, but our credibility is gone.  One of the stories from the WMD elusive stockpile hunt was that the chemical weapons were being trucked to Syria.  If true, we were twiddling in meeting rooms with a seven month delay while they were moving, hiding, saving chemical weapons that perhaps still haunt us.  We still don't know what happened.  I don't hear anyone even ask the question now, where did Assad's chemical weapons originate?

If our President is planning to do nothing, drawing a lot of red lines for rogue states to cross isn't particularly helpful.  'If you gas your people one more time, we will, we will, we will help the rebels with bandages and medicine!'
-----------
Israel has a different way of expressing concern about Syrian weapons:

September 6, 2007, Operation Orchard was an Israeli airstrike on a nuclear reactor in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria. The White House and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) later confirmed that American intelligence had also indicated the site was a nuclear facility with a military purpose.  http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jWIBgbzyBkHnJzQeMi80gXfjX0-Q

Jan 30, 2013, Israeli jets bombed a convoy near the Lebanese border, apparently hitting weapons destined for militant group Hezbollah.  http://www.france24.com/en/20130131-israel-tight-lipped-over-air-raid-syrian-military-facility
4678  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 01, 2013, 02:12:38 PM
Two good points:

"... the immigration bill introduced to the U.S. Senate a week and a half ago would, if passed, allow illegal immigrants to access state and local welfare benefits immediately"

Yes, this seems implied by the constant reference to no receiving no federal benefits.  But the receiving of state and local benefits should also make the applicant a 'charge' and therefore not eligible for citizenship.  That loophole/exception is a perfect example of what ought to be tightened in order to win anyone's support.

"Separately I wonder why the need to grant citizenship instead of simply having a "statute of limitations" concept that would allow for legalization of status, but not citizenship."

Agree in concept and I think that statute of limitations thinking does figure in to why we are addressing this.  Failure to prosecute and deport for such an extended period became de facto legalization.  The 14 year time frame, or whatever it is, is also a reflection of this.  But a big part of this problem is political.  If you live here and work here permanently and don't ever have voting rights, it reminds people of injustices of the past, not of the new immigrant's original wrongful entry.  If there is no path ever, the issue remains front and center forever.
4679  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi - Prosecute Hillary on: May 01, 2013, 02:02:26 PM
Similarly, the House charged Attorney General Eric Holder with a Contempt of Congress over its non-responsiveness in the Fast and Furious, Dead Mexicans and Border Guard scandal.  It turns out that the Attorney General declined to prosecute himself.  Allowing that to go unanswered was the set up for the next coverup.  http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/29/politics/holder-contempt/index.html
4680  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Syria on: May 01, 2013, 01:52:04 PM
My 3 point plan for no ground troops in Syria: Day 1) Take out the nuclear facilities in Iran with air strikes.  Day 2) Take out the North Korean missile threat with air strikes.  Day 3) Call Pres. Assad and ask if we can talk.
4681  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: May 01, 2013, 12:18:07 PM
We are lucky the constitution only grants to the federal government authority over housing that is transported across state lines.  Right? 
4682  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: May 01, 2013, 11:53:50 AM
Yes, unfortunately the electric car is a government program.  General Motors still needs a subsidy?? In the US the electric car runs on coal more than any other fuel source, so the fuel emission argument over gasoline is false.  Like Ethanol.  Don't tell the taxpayers and motorists paying for it.  If we shifted our electricity to all-nuclear, the electric car would be CO2-free, but we aren't.  The best advancement we could make right now would be to encourage more vehicles to run on compressed natural (CNG).  To go down that road we would have to legalize fracking.  The environmental protesters don't want us to even use sand:  http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/04/29/cops-35-arrested-in-two-winona-sand-fracking-protests/
4683  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Marco Rubio pivots slightly on Immigration Bill on: May 01, 2013, 10:46:58 AM
The details of how to re-write the Immigration bill can go on that thread.  Here, I was wondering how Sen Rubio could take back his support for the current flawed bill and recover his reputation.  He has been ripped by almost everyone on the right for this.  I think he is handling it the best he can now under the circumstances.  He acknowledges the validity of some of the criticism and is asking for help in writing the bill better and tighter.  He admits this bill as written is the beginning, not the end-product, and admits it will not, as written, pass in the House.  At the link he also comments on Syria and Benghazi.

Rubio interviewed yesterday by Hugh Hewitt:  http://www.hughhewitt.com/marco-rubio-on-obamas-foreign-policy-press-conference-and-more-on-immigration-bill-concerns/

Selected excerpts regarding waivers, the fence, e-verify, family members, and unilateral actions by Pres. Obama:

HH: ...How about the argument there are too many waivers to make this bill work?

Sen. Rubio: Well, look, first of all, I think that’s a legitimate and valid point that we should look at. I mean, if there’s ways to tighten this up, we should. We certainly, I mean, I think we need to start accepting the notion that Janet Napolitano will not be secretary forever. I mean, this bill, for example, has a ten year implementation window before people can even apply for green cards. At best, she has three and a half years left there. So she won’t even be there when the first five years are completed. But that being said, I think if there are legitimate concerns out there about the number of waivers in the bill, we should tighten that. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t. And I’ve always been open to that. I’ve always said that I’m looking for ways to make the bill better. Some waivers, quite frankly, some, not all, but a few, might be justified. They’re not all created equal. I’ll give you an example. We have a work requirement. You know, when you go and apply for your temporary permit to be renewed, you have to have been required to be working. But if you got hit by a bus and you’ve been disabled for six months? There should be a waiver for someone that’s in a hardship like that. So the waiver is really for exceptional circumstances. It’s not for, you know, we don’t like the law, so we’re not going to apply it. So I’m, look, I’m open to tightening the bill and making sure that that and other legitimate concerns are addressed. I think one of the things that we have forgotten in Washington is that legislating is not a take it or leave it proposition. I mean, I know that that’s how the way has been done, and maybe that’s the big problem that we have. People come up with a bill, and then they feel like they have to protect any changes against it, because it wasn’t their idea. I don’t view it that way. I think our job is to come up with a starting point. And I’ve always and consistently said this, that now other people get a chance to look at it. If they find things that they think can be improved or that are wrong with it, let’s deal with it. And so for those that are serious about improving it, I’m all open to that, and I think that’s in important part of this process.

HH: I watched your floor statement on the point about bringing forward amendments from late last week, and so if an amendment is brought forward mandating construction of a double sided fence over a specified length, and I think it ought to be at least half the border, a thousand miles or so, would you support such an amendment, Senator Rubio, that mandates it?

Sen. Rubio: Let me tell you, I’m fine with that. I am fine, and by the way, I believe that the enforcement mechanisms in this bill, in order for the bill to pass in the House, will have to be strengthened. And so I don’t, now I’m going to tell you, the debate against the fencing, from our side, is going to be people that don’t believe that the fencing is the most effective way to deal with this, that there are other ways that are more effective. I personally, and I’ve consistently said this, I personally believe that double fencing is a very effective, not 100%, but a very, we’ve seen it be effective in the San Diego area and the Tijuana area, for example. So I personally am supportive of that. Others have different views about what would be more effective. But the point is, I could support that personally, and I would just say to you that I am, what I can tell you is that what is pretty clear here is that there is such a lack of confidence in this administration’s willingness to enforce the law, and in particular, in the federal government’s ability to enforce the law. We’re going to have to address that in order for this bill to be able to become law, because I think the goal here is not to pass this. For those of us who are interested in immigration reform, the goal is not to pass the Senate bill. The goal is to pass a law. And you’re not going to pass a law if those elements are not dealt with effectively.

HH: And the e-verify program?  There are concerns that the e-verify program has a gap in this law. Can those be addressed by amendment?

Sen. Rubio: Well, I’ve read that concern. I actually don’t think that that’s true, that they’re talking about that e-verify will not be in effect for a certain number of years. That’s actually not accurate. It’s complicated to explain why, but we’re going to put something up on the web to explain it to people. But actually, that is not accurate. But what is more accurate is that the existing e-verify will be replaced with a more effective and more robust e-verify system.

HH: Senator, if an amendment comes forward that mandates construction of a double sided fence over, say, a thousand miles, as Charles Krauthammer said, from east to west, except for the mountains, would you vote for that amendment?

Sen. Rubio: Yeah, again, I mean, I don’t know if a thousand miles is the right number, but whatever that number is that wins people’s confidence, I’m for it. I have no problem with constructing fencing across the border. I’ve advocated for that. In fact, I advocated for a specific pot of money in the bill set aside just for fencing. ...And I’d be more than happy to expand it to be the effective ring. As you said, there are parts of the border that do not need fencing, because it’s high mountain or it’s a river, or what have you. I’ll leave that to experts and others. But I can say to you that I believe that double fencing in the right places has been highly effective, especially, for example, in the San Diego area where it’s really been effective.

HH: All right, well, the specifics, we’ll come back to. Eligibility for welfare, this has not actually concerned me, because I think the bill addresses it. But some of the conservative critiques out there are that immediately upon passage, millions of people will be eligible for welfare. How do you respond to that, Senator?

Sen. Rubio: That’s just not, I mean, there’s a specific provision that says they do not. Now if someone has found some sort of legal interpretation of it that needs to be tightened up, I’m open to it. But the clear intent of the bill is that they not qualify for federal benefits. They do not. And in fact, I saw some line somewhere, somebody had quoted in a report that one of my fellow senators came up with, they ignore the predicate to the entire paragraph, which is they specifically do not qualify for federal benefits, including Obamacare. That is the intent of the bill. I believe that is what the bill actually reflects. If someone has come up with a creative legal interpretation that someone can use to get around it, then we should close the loophole on that, because this bill will become unaffordable if that’s not the case. The reason why we want to prevent access to welfare benefits, by the way, and Obamacare and food stamps, is not because we’re trying to harsher than anybody else. It’s because the bill will become too expensive, and we will not be able to afford it if 11 million, 10 million, 9 million people become eligible for federal benefits. But I believe that the bill accurately accomplishes that. But if someone has a language they’d like to see included to double down and make sure that that doesn’t happen, I think everyone would be open to that.

HH: Another argument, …is that chain migration is not actually dealt with, and that the 11 million will instantly be able to bring in relatives up to 30 or 40 million people. What’s your…

Sen. Rubio: Quite frankly, I don’t know what they base that on. Again, if someone has found some creative interpretation that allows that, I’d like to see it, because we’ll address it. But I don’t think that’s true. And in fact, I know it isn’t. These folks, once they get temporary status, the only thing they qualify for under temporary status is the right to work and pay taxes and travel. They do not, you cannot, in fact, non-immigrant visa holders today under existing law cannot claim relatives to come to the United States. Beyond that, we have tightened the categories moving forward. So one of the categories that people used to use to bring up a bunch of relatives over was you were able to bring your siblings, et cetera. You won’t be able to do that anymore under the new modernized legal immigration system. That, in addition to only limiting it to minor children and spouses, will also weigh more towards the skills and job offers and the merits that you bring to the country. So again, that’s just not accurate.

HH: ...one of the things I don’t like, is I think kicking a border fencing plan to DHS to come up with, and then taking it to this commission, is a huge hole. I believe in just writing mandates in. I think he wants to do the same thing on biometrics. And it comes back to a crisis of confidence in the DHS. Nobody really trusts them and the enforcement mechanism.

Sen. Rubio: Well, that’s a big problem. Yeah, that’s the big problem we’re facing here. I mean, the number one obstacle we have faced here, quite frankly, is not people who don’t want to deal with the 11 million. It’s people that say look, we understand what you’re trying to do, but we don’t trust the government, and we don’t trust Republicans or Democrats in the government to make sure that this happens. And if we don’t do it right, we’re going to be right back here again in the future. And my answer to that is I think that we’ve come up with a pretty good starting point to make sure it happens. The law specifically says they must do these things. If there is a way to tighten it up, if there is a way to make it better, if there is a way to assure that it happens in a better language, or additions we can make to the bill, I’ll certainly be open to that, because I think that’s critical to see it happen. But again, that’s why, that’s the way the legislative process is supposed to work. You’re supposed to offer a bill, and then other people are supposed to offer ideas about how to improve it. That’s why we have hearings, that’s why we have what they call markups, that’s why there’s such a thing as amendments. And I think people should fully participate in that. If they are serious about solving this problem, that’s what I want to see happen. Otherwise, we’re going to get stuck with the status quo. And what we have now is even worse.

HH: ... this President does not inspire much confidence, and he didn’t like the law, so he just chained it on the DREAMers when you were prepared to bring in law to keep the DREAMers in status. How does anyone trust him on anything?

Sen. Rubio: Well, and that’s exactly why I’m involved in this bill, because here’s the problem, that what the President did for the DREAMers, he can do for everybody else. He can use the exact same authority to decide you know what? Everyone over a certain age who passes a background check and has been here for three years or more, I’m going to grant them the same thing I gave the DREAMers. He can do that right now, the same way as he did it for the DREAMers, but you won’t have e-verify, you won’t have border security, you won’t have any of those other things. And so what I’m saying is let’s not let that happen. Let’s get ahead of that by passing a bill that does e-verify, that does the border security stuff. If we want to improve the border security stuff, let’s improve it by passing an entry/exit tracking system, by prohibiting being able to get Obamacare and welfare and all these sorts of things. I think if we don’t do anything, that’s precisely what he can do right now.
4684  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IL State Sen opposed 'Born Alive' legislation, 4 Pinnochios for the denial on: April 30, 2013, 12:32:17 PM
Specifics of the bills to protect the born alive that Obama voted down while still in IL:

The 2001 bill:  http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/legisnet92/status/920SB1093.html
The 2002 bill http://ilga.gov/legislation/legisnet92/sbgroups/sb/920SB1662LV.html

... "A live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law."

His stated reason for opposing was that the bill would somehow jeopardize the whole Roe v Wade man-made right to abortion.  http://www.ilga.gov/senate/transcripts/strans92/ST033001.pdf

Sen. Obama: "..it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute."

[We elected this guy President? Twice?!]

Fact checkers at the Washington Post were partially snowed: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/did-obama-vote-to-deny-rights-to-infant-abortion-survivors/2012/09/07/9852895a-f87d-11e1-8398-0327ab83ab91_blog.html

Still they write:  "we could have awarded Four Pinocchios to the former Illinois senator for his comments to the Christian Broadcasting Network (denying the bill said what it said), but that interview is several years old now, and it’s not the focus of this particular column."

The US Senate (pre-Obama) passed essentially the same bill the same year (2002) at the federal level by unanimous consent, proving the obvious, that Barack Obama was furthest to the Nazi-Stalinist Left in the Senate even before he even arrived.
4685  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gosnell's abortion atrocities no 'aberration' on: April 30, 2013, 10:45:45 AM
Gosnell's abortion atrocities no 'aberration':
Kirsten Powers April 29, 2013  USA Today

Closing arguments leave questions about clinics elsewhere in America.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/04/29/gosnells-abortion-atrocities-no-aberration-column/2122235/
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Read it at the link.  The facts coming out of this trial are sickening and too gruesome for me to post. ("one of the severed feet found in jars at the clinic belonged to her aborted baby.") This creature of death and human carnage they call a doctor faces the death penalty for doing things that Illinois State Senator Barack Obama wanted to legalize.  The difference between prosecutable 1st degree murder happening in the operating room in at least 4 provable cases and what these so called doctors and clinics do legally for a living is slight.

How do so many people, voters, media, health inspectors, religious leaders, advocates for women, girls, for the poor and minorities, pretend to be unaware, morally neutral, or stay silent about this whole industry? 
4686  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues - Immigration with Annexation? on: April 30, 2013, 10:13:17 AM
A modest proposal by John Hinderacker is that if we should take one fourth of Mexico's population, would it be too much to ask to include a little land with the deal?

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/04/a-modest-proposal-re-annexation.php

A Pew survey released today found that 35% of Mexicans say they would come to the United States, given the opportunity. With the unlimited chain migration provided by the Gang’s legislation, the choice will be theirs.
4687  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues: 33 million on: April 30, 2013, 10:06:40 AM
This story went by last week.  Wonder if people saw it.  I don't find the study credible but it sheds light on the fact that the 11 million number is also made up and it validates what Crafty has been saying about the flow of family members that will follow legalization.

http://dailycaller.com/2013/04/26/anti-immigration-group-immigration-bill-to-bring-in-at-least-33-million-people/

Immigration bill to bring in at least 33 million people, says group

"The majority of the inflow, or roughly 17 million people, would consist of family members of illegals, ..."

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"Numbers USA" is an anti-immigration group.  At least someone is studying it.
4688  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People - The Gun President on: April 30, 2013, 09:56:28 AM
Also known as the food stamp President, no one has sold more guns in America than Pres. Barack Obama:

http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2013/04/25/after-the-obama-surge-a-new-rush-on-gun-stores/
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-29/barack-obama-gun-salesman-of-the-year.html

Funny how policies have unintended consequences.  Who knew?
4689  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Left on: April 29, 2013, 01:33:21 PM
Two unrelated stories today regarding Cognitive Dissonance of the Left:

1) AP reports that 'African Americans' had higher voter turnout than pale-Americans last year for the first time in history [to vote for Obama].  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/04/29/in_a_first_black_turnout_passes_white_turnout_118158.html

2) Urban Institute reports that Minorities Lose Their Shirts under Obama:
http://www.urban.org/publications/412802.html
http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/04/29/minorities-lose-their-shirts-under-obama/
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/29/business/racial-wealth-gap-widened-during-recession.html?ref=us&_r=0

[Relying on CRAp and the rest of the failed GSE/Fannie Mae programs] "Black families were hit disproportionately by the housing collapse, because heading into the recession housing constituted a higher proportion of their wealth than for white families, leaving them more exposed when the market crashed. Higher unemployment rates and lower incomes among blacks" [that got worse under the Pelosi-Reid-Obama's war against enterprise] "left them less able to keep paying their mortgages and more likely to lose their homes, experts said".
4690  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments on: April 29, 2013, 12:29:02 PM
Bringing this over from 'Constitutional Issues' by request.

Does the Right to Privacy apply to gun ownership?

If not, why not?

OK, but Griswold says [first, third, fourth, fifth and ninth]. With its specificity, my answer to "does" would still be no.

I very much appreciate Bigdog's answer, provided in the context of precedent and settled case law.  I need to go back and re-read Griswold to better understand the meaning.  A follow up question for BD, if I may ask: Should a right of privacy apply to gun ownership?  (And if not, why not?)

This question is crucial in the gun control debate.   The biggest point of contention remaining is whether or not the government at any level should be keeping a registry.  The publishing of the gun owners and addresses in one area reportedly led to break-ins of those homes.  Once a gun purchase is approved, the ownership of that gun is a fundamental right.  Shouldn't there be a privacy right associated with that transaction and resulting ownership?
-----

It seems to me (mentioned previously) that a real 'right of privacy' is something we recognize quite selectively and step on quite freely when it doesn't fit with our other objectives.

A right of privacy was recognized by the Court in the Griswold decision to protect the choice of using birth control.  Privacy applies to homosexual acts in Lawrence, but not to everything that happens in a bedroom.  Privacy guarantees the right to slaughter your unborn young in Roe, up to a point, and less so after the decisions of Webster and Casey.  Where else does privacy apply? Where else should it apply?  Are tax returns private?  Gun ownership?  Census questionnaire information disclosed?  Is a Colorado medical marijuana license list private - even if it is a violation of federal law?  Why is there no right of privacy associated with the procurement of health care services?  

Did the right of privacy originate in these Court decisions or did it pre-exist, on all private matters, as a fundamental right, and require a compelling state interest in order to limit or violate it?
---------------

Crafty:  "Good point about privacy and the procurement of health care.  Although obvious, I confess I had not made that connection."

The Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches did not make that obvious connection either.

The answer could have been that it was over-ridden by a 'compelling government interest' but that is of course nonsense.   Strict scrutiny was not applied to Obamacare (narrowly tailored??), therefore your privacy was not recognized as a fundamental constitutional right.  Instead they selectively ignored privacy on this one issue while relying on it completely to decide others.
4691  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: SDO on Bush v. Gore on: April 29, 2013, 11:34:15 AM

"Looking back, O'Connor said, she isn't sure the high court should have taken the case."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-sandra-day-oconnor-edit-board-20130427,0,1201477.story

State court rulings that struck down the constitutional process of selecting electors should have been left alone? 

Her career on the Court was marked by a lot of things of which she was uncertain.  Being a Supreme Court Justice without a core principle must have been a heart-wrenching experience.  Her 25 year affirmative action / unequal protection need was derived from which article or amendment?

"When I go and sit in the courtroom and look at the bench and see three women, it perks me up," she said.

When I see a Justice Alito of any gender sitting in her seat, it perks me up!
4692  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: April 29, 2013, 11:15:09 AM
Does the Right to Privacy apply to gun ownership?

If not, why not?

OK, but Griswold says 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. With its specificity, my answer to "does" would still be no.

I very much appreciate Bigdog's answer, provided in the context of precedent and settled case law.  I need to go back and re-read Griswold to better understand the meaning.  A follow up question for BD, if I may ask: Should a right of privacy apply to gun ownership?  (And if not, why not?)

This question is crucial in the gun control debate.   The biggest point of contention remaining is whether or not the government at any level should be keeping a registry.  The publishing of the gun owners and addresses in one area reportedly led to break-ins of those homes.  Once a gun purchase is approved, the ownership of that gun is a fundamental right.  Shouldn't there be a privacy right associated with that transaction and resulting ownership?
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It seems to me (mentioned previously) that a real 'right of privacy' is something we recognize quite selectively and step on quite freely when it doesn't fit with our other objectives.

A right of privacy was recognized by the Court in the Griswold decision to protect the choice of using birth control.  Privacy applies to homosexual acts in Lawrence, but not to everything that happens in a bedroom.  Privacy guarantees the right to slaughter your unborn young in Roe, up to a point, and less so after the decisions of Webster and Casey.  Where else does privacy apply? Where else should it apply?  Are tax returns private?  Gun ownership?  Census questionnaire information disclosed?  Is a Colorado medical marijuana license list private - even if it is a violation of federal law?  Why is there no right of privacy associated with the procurement of health care services?  

Did the right of privacy originate in these Court decisions or did it pre-exist, on all private matters, as a fundamental right, and require a compelling state interest in order to limit or violate it?
4693  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy - Internet sales tax on: April 28, 2013, 01:18:47 PM
In general should we be broadening the base and lowering the rate of most of our taxes ?  Yes. 

Does the 'internet sales tax' do that?  No.  This is just more taxes on more transactions.  Why give that away without the winning the accompanying lower of the rates?  It is a continuous and permanent transfer of more and more private sector resources over to the public sector. 

Why are the Feds getting involved with state and local tax collections anyway?

We already tried to kill off the supply side of the economy.  Now we are trying to kill off demand.  We hit the savers.  We hit the employers.  It's time to hit the consumers a little harder. 

The policy of the Fannie Mae, government-knows-best Left has gone from risking economic failure to guaranteeing it.
4694  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Syria, the ball is in your court Mr. President on: April 26, 2013, 01:47:02 PM
They make a good starting point. But the 'botched intelligence' or botched credibility of the US, UK and Israel exists in the same world as the botched credibility of Putin, Russia, the politburo of China and the UN itself.  The botched intelligence was regarding stockpiles of WMD, 8 months later.  Failure to find those (maybe they were transported to Syria) did not change the fact that Iraq had used chemical weapons on his own people and his neighbor, admitted in the article, and would have become a nuclear power by now without the action taken.  Going to the UN over chemical weapons in Syria is like passing more laws in Washington against illegal gun use here.  If we prove that Syria is a rogue nation, axis of evil, used chemical weapons on its own people, then what?  Compliance will require military action.  Who will do that?  And then what?

"Obama has an opening thanks to Asad’s use of chemicals, but it is fraught with peril if handled recklessly."

Our Syrian policy is fraught with peril no matter what course we take. 
4695  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: It's not Dependency per se ... on: April 26, 2013, 01:16:52 PM
On the previous, thanks Crafty.  That was his speech format.
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This piece expands on that theme IMO.  It answers a point I have pondered.  People start off dependent, born with no marketable skills, then move slowly and hopefully to self-sufficiency.   But dependency on people who know you, love you, set expectation for you, and followup on your progress is not at all the same as dependency without obligation as we have in our welfare system.
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http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/346517/more-dependency

More Than Dependency
By  Yuval Levin
April 24, 2013 11:20 AM

...The term dependency and the concept it describes point us toward a radically individualist understanding of that problem that is mistaken in some important ways. We are all dependent on others. The question is whether we are dependent on people we know, and they on us—in ways that foster family and community, build habits of restraint and dignity, and instill in us responsibility and a sense of obligation—or we are dependent on distant, neutral, universal systems of benefits that help provide for our material wants without connecting us to any local and immediate nexus of care and obligation. It is not dependence per se, which is a universal fact of human life, but dependence without mutual obligation, that corrupts the soul. Such technocratic provision enables precisely the illusion of independence from the people around us and from the requirements of any moral code they might uphold. It is corrosive not because it instills a true sense of dependence but because it inspires a false sense of independence and so frees us from the sorts of moral habits of mutual obligation that alone can make us free.

We reach for the idea of dependency because of the kind of arguments we often respond to from the left—arguments that seem like calls for common action instead of individual action. But we should look more carefully at those arguments. The problem with the “you didn’t build that” mindset, as becomes particularly clear if you read what the president said before and after that line, is not just that it denies the significance of individual initiative (though that’s an important part of the problem, and our culture of individual initiative, which is far from radical individualism, is a huge social achievement in America) but also that it denies the significance of any common efforts that are not political. The president took the pose of a critic of individualism, but in fact the position he described involves perhaps the most radical individualism of all, in which nothing but individuals and the state exists in society. Alexis de Tocqueville saw where this would go long ago:

    I want to imagine with what new features despotism could be produced in the world: I see an innumerable crowd of like and equal men who revolve on themselves without repose, procuring the small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. Each of them, withdrawn and apart, is like a stranger to the destiny of all the others: his children and his particular friends form the whole human species for him; as for dwelling with his fellow citizens, he is beside them, but he does not see them; he touches them and does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone, and if a family still remains for him, one can at least say that he no longer has a native country.

    Above all these an immense tutelary power is elevated, which alone takes charge of assuring their enjoyments and watching over their fate. It is absolute, detailed, regular, far-seeing, and mild. It would resemble paternal power if, like that, it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood; it likes citizens to enjoy themselves provided that they think only of enjoying themselves. It willingly works for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of that; it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances; can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living?

It is not hard to see why this kind of infantilization would strike us as first and foremost raising problems of dependency, but what Tocqueville shows so powerfully is that the trouble does not arise from a dearth of individual independence but rather from the error of radical individualism itself—from the separating of people from those around them. And that separation is not accidental but essential to a certain kind of liberalism.

To summarize (and so necessarily oversimplify some, to be sure): The utopian goal of the most radical forms of liberalism has always been the complete liberation of the individual from all unchosen “relational” obligations—obligations to the people around you that are a function of the family and community in which you live. Resentment against such obligations was a central and powerful motive in the radical late-18th century thought that gave us some (though not all) forms of modern libertarianism and the modern Left, and the defense of such obligations was central to the counter-arguments that yielded modern conservatism. (I might mention here, by the way, that these somewhat unfamiliar origins of the Left-Right divide are the subject of a forthcoming book of mine, which will be out later this year.)

These radicals originally thought that the liberation of the individual could result directly from the application of key liberal principles to politics, but when liberal ideals did not bring about their utopian aims, some of them abandoned the liberal principles rather than the utopian aims and sought to pursue that liberation by other means. The Left-leaning, and ultimately progressive, form of this resentment of unchosen obligations dealt with the fact that dependence cannot really be eradicated by calling for dependence only on a distant and (supposedly) morally neutral provider of necessities on whom everyone else is equally dependent.

We often think of this peculiar objective in terms of equality, but I think it is better understood in terms of the liberation of the individual from the constraints of community and family—from the obligations imposed by the place and time in which we happen to find ourselves. Breaking apart clusters of people into individuals who then all have the same relation to the state is a way of freeing those individuals from one another.

This is not a counter-force to individualism (as even serious people on the left sometimes suggest it is) but rather the most radical form of individualism—using government to atomize and pulverize society’s institutions. It is a mode of living that liberates us from local and generational attachments by subjecting us to intricate but morally indifferent rules imposed from a distance. Liberals like to think of such rules as morally neutral but they are more properly described as morally neutralizing—imposing on society the social libertarianism that liberalism takes for granted by defining society as legitimately consisting only of individuals and a state that is largely indifferent to their moral choices, with nothing in between.

What this engenders certainly involves some material dependence on the state, and that is what conservatives often react against, but more significantly it seeks to advance a sense of non-dependence on anyone else—a sense that you don’t need to depend on anyone you know and (perhaps more important) that no one you know needs to depend on you. That is how the welfare state really does encourage failures of responsibility, what we tend to loosely call dependency: If no one depends upon your working when you can and meeting your obligations, you’re simply less likely to do so. This is not quite dependence, and indeed at times it is its opposite. And if your needs are met without a reciprocal obligation on your part to those who help you meet them, you are less likely to be in the habit of work and discipline. This can be even more morally corrosive than mere dependence on the state, because it encourages the illusion of independence, and lifts us out of the layered networks of social obligation and commitment that give a thriving human life its form.

The problem created by the welfare state is thus not best understood as a problem of dependence but as the illusion of an impossible independence—an individualism so radical it renders all human relationships, including our relationships to the weakest and most needy of those around us, into non-binding optional arrangements, ignoring the realities of human life that make it necessary to guard human beings in their most vulnerable moments through an array of unchosen—or at the very least non-optional—obligations, especially in the family. The Left’s statist radical individualism that masquerades as a kind of communitarian collectivism pretends to offer a way for people to act together, but in practice it offers an escape from all mutual dependence and from the neediness of people who are not well positioned to pretend to be utterly autonomous.

Conservatives buy into this confusion when we describe the foremost vice of this system as dependency. Dependency is a fact of the human condition. The denial of that fact, along with the other facts of the human condition, is the characteristic vice of modern liberalism—a denial undertaken by bold assertion in liberalism’s libertarian form and by an exercise of technocratic prowess in its progressive form. Conservatism at its best acts as a restraint on this vice, and a reminder of the basic facts of the human condition. But of course we are not always at our best.
4696  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: Drop in borrowing squeezes banks on: April 26, 2013, 12:09:05 PM
Drop in Borrowing Squeezes Banks
"we didn't expect the wall we hit,"
..."I think all of us are trying to figure out what happened."

Unexpected?  Trying to figure out what happened??  Someone thought killing off businesses wouldn't affect the banks that rely on the business of businesses?  Did the people who didn't expect a business investment pullback not know about these new regulations, during a recession, to implement one new program alone, or that they would have a negative impact on commerce and commercial lending?

Obamacare's new regulations.  Is THIS what Madison had in mind?
http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/
4697  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: Fed zeroes in on rate rise risks on: April 26, 2013, 11:54:45 AM
... a panel of federal regulators charged with identifying market risks warned that a sudden rise in interest rates could have a destabilizing effect on financial markets
... interest-rate risk as one of seven major vulnerabilities to financial stability.
...the scenario, which featured a mix of moderate recession, rising consumer prices and rapid increases in short-term interest rates, as might occur if oil prices were to shoot sharply higher.
... The longer the low interest-rate environment persists "the more very low interest-producing assets accumulate on their balance sheets,"
..."At some point the Fed's going to have to raise rates, and the market value of those lower-yielding assets are going to go down."

"At some point the Fed's going to have to raise rates..." 

But why?  If it is a great policy, healthier for job growth than having market rates for interest , why would we ever stop manipulating the market for something as harmless as money?

It's almost as if the architects of the quantitative easing policies, trying to solve a non-monetary problem with monetary flooding, are admitting these policies are unsustainable, and that the longer the wrong policies continue the harder the fall will be.  (Other than the readers of this forum), Who knew?

4698  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: April 25, 2013, 11:27:50 AM
With a 4% agency "cut" due to the sequester, Team Obama is cutting aircontrollers 10%; this on top of refusing authorization to have the cuts focused on non-essential employees.

Oddly, Washington DC airports will be spared from the cuts. 
4699  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: Sen. Mike Lee at Heritage on: April 25, 2013, 10:45:02 AM
(MARC:  Awesome piece, that was driving me crazy with every single sentence being a paragraph of its own-- so I took the liberty of editing it into what I perceive to be the paragraphs that should have been there to begin with.)

http://www.lee.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2013/4/what-conservatives-are-for

... making the positive case for conservatism: what conservatives are for.

In Washington, it is common for both parties to succumb to easy negativity. Republicans and Democrats stand opposed to each other, obviously, and outspoken partisanship gets the headlines.  This negativity is unappealing on both sides. That helps explain why the federal government is increasingly held in such low regard by the American people.
But for the Left, the defensive crouch at least makes sense. Liberalism’s main purpose today is to defend its past gains from conservative reform.  But negativity on the Right, to my mind, makes no sense at all.  The Left has created this false narrative that liberals are for things, and conservatives are against things.

When we concede this narrative, even just implicitly, we concede the debate… before it even begins.

And yet too many of us – elected conservatives especially – do it anyway. We take the bait. A liberal proposes an idea, we explain why it won’t work, and we think we’ve won the debate. But even if we do, we reinforce that false narrative… winning battles while losing the war.

This must be frustrating to the scholars of the Heritage Foundation, who work every day producing new ideas for conservatives to be for. But it should be even more frustrating to the conservatives around the country that we elected conservatives all serve.

After all, they know what they’re for: why don’t we?

Perhaps it’s because it’s so easy in Washington to forget.  In Washington, we debate public policy so persistently that we can lose sight of the fact that policies are means, not ends.

We say we are for lower taxes, or less regulation, or spending restraint. But those are just policies we advocate. They’re not what we’re really for. What we’re really for are the good things those policies will yield to the American people.  What we’re really for is the kind of society those policies would allow the American people to create, together.

Together.

If there is one idea too often missing from our debate today that’s it: together.

In the last few years, we conservatives seem to have abandoned words like “together,” “compassion,” and “community”… as if their only possible meanings were as a secret code for statism.  This is a mistake. Collective action doesn’t only – or even usually - mean government action.

Conservatives cannot surrender the idea of community to the Left, when it is the vitality of our communities upon which our entire philosophy depends.  Nor can we allow one politician’s occasional conflation of “compassion” and “bigger government” to discourage us from emphasizing the moral core of our worldview.  Conservatism is ultimately not about the bills we want to pass, but the nation we want to be.

If conservatives want the American people to support our agenda for the government, we have to do a better job of showing them our vision for society. And re-connecting our agenda to it.  We need to remind the American people – and perhaps, too, the Republican Party itself – that the true and proper end of political subsidiarity is social solidarity.
Ours has never been a vision of isolated, atomized loners. It is a vision of husbands and wives; parents and children; neighbors and neighborhoods; volunteers and congregations; bosses and employees; businesses and customers; clubs, teams, groups, associations… and friends.

The essence of human freedom, of civilization itself, is cooperation. This is something conservatives should celebrate. It’s what conservatism is all about.  Freedom doesn’t mean “you’re on your own.” It means “we’re all in this together.”  Our vision of American freedom is of two separate but mutually reinforcing institutions: a free enterprise economy and a voluntary civil society.

History has shown both of these organic systems to be extremely efficient at delivering goods and services. But these two systems are not good because they work. They work because they are good. Together, they work for everyone because they impel everyone… to work together. They harness individuals’ self-interest to the common good of the community, and ultimately the nation.

They work because in a free market economy and voluntary civil society, whatever your career or your cause, your success depends on your service. The only way to look out for yourself is to look out for those around you. The only way to get ahead is to help other people do the same.

What, exactly, are all those supposedly cut-throat, exploitive businessmen and women competing for? To figure out the best way to help the most people.  That’s what the free market does. It rewards people for putting their God-given talents and their own exertions in the service of their neighbors.  Whatever money they earn is the wealth they create, value they add to other people’s lives.

No matter who you are or what you’re after, the first question anyone in a free market must ask him or herself is: how can I help? What problems need to be solved? What can I do to improve other people’s lives?

The free market does not allow anyone to take; it impels everyone to give.

The same process works in our voluntary civil society.

Conservatives’ commitment to civil society begins, of course, with the family, and the paramount, indispensable institution of marriage. But it doesn’t end there.  Just as individuals depend on free enterprise to protect them from economic oppression, families depend on mediating institutions to protect them from social isolation.  That is where the social entrepreneurs of our civil society come in.  Just like for-profit businesses, non-profit religious, civic, cultural, and charitable institutions also succeed only to the extent that they serve the needs of the community around  them. 

Forced to compete for voluntary donations, the most  successful mediating institutions in a free civil society are at least as innovative and efficient as profitable companies.  If someone wants to make the world a better place, a free civil society requires that he or she do it well.

Social entrepreneurs know that only the best soup kitchens, the best community theater companies, and the best youth soccer leagues – and for that matter, the best conservative think tanks – will survive.

So they serve.

They serve their donors by spending their resources wisely. They serve their communities by making them better places to live. And they serve their beneficiaries, by meeting needs together better than they can meet them alone.

Freedom doesn’t divide us. Big government does.  It’s big government that turns citizens into supplicants, capitalists into cronies, and cooperative communities into competing special interests.  Freedom, by contrast, unites us. It pulls us together, and aligns our interests.  It draws us out of ourselves and into the lives of our friends, neighbors, and even perfect strangers. It draws us upward, toward the best version of ourselves.

The free market and civil society are not things more Americans need protection from. They’re things more Americans need access to.

Liberals scoff at all this.  They attack free enterprise as a failed theory that privileges the rich, exploits the poor, and threatens the middle class but our own history proves the opposite.  Free enterprise is the only economic system that does not privilege the rich. Instead it incentivizes them put their wealth to productive use serving other people… or eventually lose it all.  Free enterprise is the greatest weapon against poverty ever conceived by man.  If the free market exploits the poor, how do liberals explain how the richest nation in human history mostly descends from immigrants who originally came here with nothing?

Nor does free enterprise threaten the middle class. Free enterprise is what created the middle class in the first place.  The free market created the wealth that liberated millions of American families from subsistence farming, opening up opportunities for the pursuit of happiness never known before or since in government-directed economies.

Progressives are equally dismissive of our voluntary civil society. They simply do not trust free individuals and organic communities to look out for each other, or solve problems without supervision.  They think only government – only they – possess the moral enlightenment to do that.

To be blunt, elite progressives in Washington don’t really believe in communities at all. No, they believe in community organizers. Self-anointed strangers, preferably ones with Ivy League degrees, fashionable ideological grievances, and a political agenda to redress those grievances.  For progressives believe the only valid purpose of “community” is to accomplish the agenda of the state.

But we know from our own lives that the true purpose of our communities is instead to accomplish everything else.  To enliven our days. To ennoble our children. To strengthen our families. To unite our neighborhoods. To pursue our happiness, and protect our freedom to do so.

This vision of America conservatives seek is not an Ayn Rand novel. It’s a Norman Rockwell painting, or a Frank Capra movie: a society of “plain, ordinary kindness, and a little looking out for the other fellow, too.” 

The great obstacle to realizing this vision today is government dysfunction. This is where our vision must inform our agenda.

What reforms will make it easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses? For young couples to get married and start new families? And for individuals everywhere to come together to bring to life flourishing new partnerships and communities?

What should government do – and just as important, not do – to allow the free market to create new economic opportunity and to allow civil society to create new social capital?
We conservatives are not against government. The free market and civil society depend on a just, transparent, and accountable government to enforce the rule of law.

What we are against are two pervasive problems that grow on government like mold on perfectly good bread: corruption and inefficiency.  It is government corruption and inefficiency that today stand between the American people and the economy and society they deserve.

To combat those pathologies, a new conservative reform agenda should center around three basic principles: equality, diversity, and sustainability.

The first and most important of these principles is equality.

The only way for the free market and civil society to function… to tie personal success to interpersonal service… to align the interests of the strong and the weak… is to have everyone play by the same rules.  Defying this principle is how our government has always corrupted itself, our free market, and our civil society.  In the past, the problem was political discrimination that held the dis-connected down. Today, government’s specialty is dispensing political privileges to prop the well-connected up.

In either case, the corruption is the same: official inequality … twisting the law to deem some people “more equal than others”… making it harder for some to succeed even when they serve, and harder for others to fail even when they don’t.

And so we have corporate welfare: big businesses receiving direct and indirect subsidies that smaller companies don’t.  We have un-civil society: politicians funding large, well-connected non-profit institutions based on political favoritism rather than merit.

We have venture SOCIALISM: politicians funneling taxpayer money to politically correct businesses that cannot attract real investors.

We have regulatory capture: industry leaders influencing the rules governing their sectors to protect their interests and hamstringing innovative challengers.

The first step in a true conservative reform agenda must be to end this kind of preferential policymaking. Beyond simply being the right thing to do, it is a pre-requisite for earning the moral authority and political credibility to do anything else.

Why should the American people trust our ideas about middle-class entitlements… when we’re still propping up big banks?  Why should they trust us to fix the tax code while we use their tax dollars to create artificial markets for uncompetitive industries?  Why should they trust our vision of a free civil society when we give special privileges to supposed non-profits like Planned Parenthood, public broadcasting, agricultural check-off programs, and the Export-Import Bank?

And perhaps most important, why should Americans trust us at all, when too often, we don’t really trust them? When we vote for major legislation… negotiated in secret… without debating it… without even reading it… deliberately excluding the American people from their own government?

To conservatives, equality needs to mean equality for everyone.

The second principle to guide our agenda is diversity. Or, as you might have heard it called elsewhere: “federalism.”

The biggest reason the federal government makes too many mistakes is that it makes too many decisions. Most of these are decisions the federal government doesn’t have to make – and therefore shouldn’t.  Every state in the union has a functioning, constitutional government. And just as important, each state has a unique political and cultural history, with unique traditions, values, and priorities.

Progressives today are fundamentally intolerant of this diversity.

They insist on imposing their values on everyone. To them, the fifty states are just another so-called “community” to be “organized,” brought to heel by their betters in Washington.  This flies in the face of the Founders and the Constitution, of course. But it also flies in the face of common sense and experience.

The usurpation of state authority is why our national politics is so dysfunctional and rancorous.  We expect one institution – the federal government – to set policies that govern the lives of 300 million people, spread across a continent. Of course it’s going to get most of it wrong.

That’s why successful organizations in the free market and civil society are moving in the opposite direction.  While government consolidates, businesses delegate and decentralize. While Washington insists it knows everything, effective organizations increasingly rely on diffuse social networks and customizable problem solving.

We should not be surprised that as Washington has assumed greater control over transportation, education, labor, welfare, health care, home mortgage lending, and so much else… all of those increasingly centralized systems are failing. Conservatives should seize this opportunity not to impose our ideas on these systems, but to crowd-source the solutions to the states.

Let the unique perspectives and values of each state craft its own policies, and see what works and what doesn’t.   If Vermont’s pursuit of happiness leads it to want more government, and Utah’s less, who are politicians from the other 48 states to tell them they can’t have it? Would we tolerate this kind of official intolerance in any other part of American life?

A Pew study just last week found that Americans trust their state governments twice as much as the federal government, and their local governments even more.

This shouldn’t be a surprise – it should be a hint.

State and local governments are more responsive, representative, and accountable than Washington, D.C. It’s time to make them more powerful, too.  In the past, conservatives given federal power have been tempted to overuse it. We must resist this temptation. If we want to be a diverse movement, we must be a tolerant movement.
The price of allowing conservative states to be conservative is allowing liberal states to be liberal.

Call it subsidiarity. Call it federalism. Call it constitutionalism. But we must make this fundamental principle of pluralistic diversity a pillar of our agenda.

And that brings us to our third guiding principle.

Once we eliminate policy privilege and restore policy diversity, we can start ensuring policy sustainability.  Once the federal government stops doing things it shouldn’t, it can start doing the things it should, better.  That means national defense and intelligence, federal law enforcement and the courts, immigration, intellectual property, and even the senior entitlement programs whose fiscal outlook threatens our future solvency and very survival.

Once we clear unessential policies from the books, federal politicians will no longer be able to hide: from the public, or their constitutional responsibilities.  Congress will be forced to work together to reform the problems government has created in our health care system.  We can fundamentally reform and modernize our regulatory system.  We will be forced to rescue our senior entitlement programs from bankruptcy.  And we can reform our tax system to eliminate the corporate code’s bias in favor of big businesses over small businesses… and the individual code’s bias against saving, investing, and especially against parents, our ultimate investor class.

That is how we turn the federal government’s unsustainable liabilities into sustainable assets.

The bottom line of all of this is that conservatives in that building need to start doing what conservatives in this building already do: think long and hard about what we believe, why we believe it, and most of all, remember to put first things first.

For conservatives, the first thing is not our agenda of political subsidiarity – it’s our vision of social solidarity.  It is a vision of society as an interwoven and interdependent network of individuals, families, communities, businesses, churches, formal and informal groups working together to meet each other’s needs and enrich each other’s lives.

It is of a free market economy that grants everyone a “fair chance and an unfettered start in the race of life.”

It is of a voluntary civil society that strengthens our communities, protects the vulnerable, and minds the gaps to make sure no one gets left behind.

And it is of a just, tolerant, and sustainable federal government that protects and complements free enterprise and civil society, rather than presuming to replace them.

This vision will not realize itself. The Left, the inertia of the status quo, and the entire economy of this city stand arrayed against it.

Realizing it will sometimes require conservatives to take on entrenched interests, pet policies, and political third-rails. Many of these will be interests traditionally aligned with – and financially generous to – the establishments of both parties.  And sometimes, it will require us to stand up for those no one else will: the unborn child in the womb, the poor student in the failing school, the reformed father languishing in prison, the single mom trapped in poverty, and the splintering neighborhoods that desperately need them all.

But if we believe this vision is worth the American people being for, it’s worth elected conservatives fighting for.  What we are fighting for is not just individual freedom, but the strong, vibrant communities free individuals form.  The freedom to earn a good living, and build a good life: that is what conservatives are for.
4700  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary Clinton in 2002: "BUSH KNEW" of terror attacks prior to 9/11/01 on: April 24, 2013, 12:49:33 PM
"We have a responsibility to ask for information, and I think that is not only appropriate but necessary."

A flashback caught by Drudge.  Interesting in the context of all the terror information in Benghazi that Hillary Clinton had prior to 9/11 - 2012.

http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/05/18/wh.hillary/

May 18, 2002   WASHINGTON (CNN
 ...
The former first lady responded by saying she is simply "seeking answers and information" about recent revelations that President Bush was alerted prior to September 11 of possible terrorist attacks.

The row between the White House and the Democrat from New York began Thursday when Clinton appeared on the Senate floor and held up a copy of the New York Post with the headline of "Bush Knew."

"The president knew what?" she asked. "My constituents would like to know the answer to that and many other questions, not to blame the president or any other American, just to know."

Fleischer responded in his daily news briefing.

"I have to say, with disappointment, that Mrs. Clinton, having seen that same headline, did not call the White House, did not ask if it was accurate or not," he said.

"Instead, she immediately went to the floor of the Senate, and I'm sorry to say that she followed that headline and divided."

Hours later, the freshman senator fired back.

"What I said is completely in line with what was said by other senators on both sides of the aisle who are asking respectfully for information to respond to questions that are legitimately being posed by the American public," she told reporters.

"We have a responsibility to ask for information, and I think that is not only appropriate but necessary. You know, nobody is more entitled to answers to these questions than the people of New York, and I take that responsibility very seriously."

She added: "I am seeking answers and information. I am not looking to point fingers or place blame on anybody."
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