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4701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: June 03, 2011, 01:58:27 PM
The 5% minimum, sustained, real growth target is correct, if not too cautious.  In the most similar circumstance of economic doldrums in our time, the growth rate coming out of it approached 8%. 

In what year of a multi-year, double dip depression do we collectively admit that growth is good?

The current emphasis on cutting medicare, cutting social security, cutting our security presence around the world might be necessary, but is what the growth crowd used to call the root canal wing of the Republican Party.  Right now, we need it all.  Downsize the public burden, yes, but also re-energize private growth.

On the other side of the coin is Krugman and few others who said all along that the stimulus was too small and too timid and needs to be doubled.  I guess that means the deficit is too small and too timid as well - for the hard core Keynesians.  Good grief.  Do the math on current and projected debt when the interest rates hit 10-15% or higher and tell us we are too timid with our spending!

Where Krugman et al are right about the stimulus being too small is the clear fact that the so-called stimuli so far are really still at zero.  The point was to stimulate the private economy and the private sector growth machine.  Growing the total cost of permanent public sector unions jobs only so far isn't temporary spending or private stimulus.

As BD pointed out elsewhere, tax policy is only one factor (and we have a thread for that).  Federal taxation is badly in need of reform, but we don't fact the same rate cutting opportunities at 30+% tax rates that we did at 70% tax rates to re-energize growth. 

The question I pose here is - yes, tax reform, but what are all the other things we can do to re-energize private growth?  I believe we have a thread for each one but we need the total package pulled together IMO in order to move forward and sell growth and confidence to voters and investors.

As the Reagan era began, we had the two-pronged problem of unemployment and inflation out of control simultaneously.  It was believed from all conventional economic thought that, for one thing that wasn't possible, and for another thing that it wasn't curable.  Conventional wisdom was wrong on both counts.  Also unnecessary damage was done in '81-'82 by having the bad tasting medicine kick in before the stimulative policies went fully into effect.  Maybe we can learn from that.

Today it is the two-pronged problem of unemployment symbolizing a sputtering economy and the outrageous levels of both current deficits and total debt that make it seem impossible to move forward.

Economists like Krugman and Reich ridicule the austerity approach alone.  Where is the stimulative effect in shrinking our spending or in shrinking our monetary expansion?

The answer is that a) austerity alone will not stimulate, and that b) austerity (sanity might be a more aptly label) is only one small part of re-building the investor confidence that is so badly needed.

If Republicans were to hold a hard line now on the debt ceiling and win that battle with the Senate and Executive Branch, deficit spending would end this summer.  The result of that move alone would not be stimulative.

Again, a multi-pronged problem requires a multi-pronged solution.  We don't need to balance our budget at the sick economy level.  We need balance atg full frowth and capacity.  That means doing 'all of the above' simultaneously in terms of addressing the economic problems we face.

Instead of ending huge programs now, they can be identified and phased back to their right size in a foreseeable and believable period of time.  If we want to send functions back to the states, that should be coupled with a stronger economy and lower federal burden so that states can handle them.  If we want to pay social spending recipients less without hurting them (60+% of spending?), then we need to reverse the policies that ran up the costs of energy, food, healthcare, tuition etc along with all the policies that chased away jobs and production.

We will never grow jobs by keeping the focus on hypenated-growth, smart-growth with anti-growth excuses like disparity obsession and class envy to win votes and lose jobs. OMG, someone else benefited from that policy!  You grow jobs by improving everything that has to do with the competitiveness of producing goods and service here, by unleashing creativity and innovation.  A complete overhaul of the tax system in the direction of simplicity, wider application and lower marginal rates is one big part of that, but this time a complete overhaul of all anti-job growth, anti-competitiveness regulations needs to be front and center as well.
4702  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: June 03, 2011, 12:37:39 PM
"Would someone come up with the total number of GM employees please?"

GM is saying more than 205,000, but that is in every major region of the world.  For US employment, this is the formula: take the total number of people on their healthcare expense roll and divide that by 10 to get the number of people who actually work.

The argument of that side is that they are also saving the jobs of all the supporting industry subcontractors, the guys that make the connectors for the radio and the intermittent wiper people, and the sandwich makers in and around the factories.  The argument goes that all these people will never again work and that GM car buyers will never again buy cars if the nameplate on this one company is ever allowed to change.  Try refuting that - to people who refuse to use logic or history as a guide.  I wonder if all the people who manufactured 8 track tape players have been unemployed ever since the rise of the compact cassette.

I like your logic though.  A similar exercise was done by the opponents of wasteful light rail being built in the twin cities.  They calculated that for each projected rider that doesn't have a vehicle available for the commute, taxpayers could instead lease them a new Lexus at a substantially lower cost. 

The line went in and now they are building a second one.
4703  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism on: June 03, 2011, 12:17:30 PM
Bigdog: "I wish we could talk things out over some beers DougMacG.  I often feel like we take different approaches to addressing the same issues.  I think we should run on the same ticket some time."

I would be honored to have a beer summit with you, no preconditions.  In the meantime I would like to learn all I can about your approach to the issues.  When we get to the point of running on the same ticket, I'm hope the discussion will have moved beyond the liberal fascism thread. wink
4704  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: June 02, 2011, 12:27:34 PM
"Panicked overreaction isn’t the right response to the partial meltdowns in Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex."

This should go under media issues, anytime the Washington Post agrees with me...

Going anti-nuclear means going hog-wild on fossil fuels, in Japan, in Germany, in the U.S. and anywhere else.  Did we not just have a two decade long argument over Greenhouse gases.  Maybe CO2 is an extremely minor contributor, but did we not agree that we should use them wisely and sparingly and shift where we can to economical zero emissions alternatives?  I guess not.

It is the Green Party that wants us back on fossil fuels??

Editorial Board Opinion - Washington Post

Germany’s nuclear energy blunder

By Editorial, Published: June 1

THE INTERNATIONAL Energy Agency reported on Monday that global energy-related carbon emissions last year were the highest ever, and that the world is far off track if it wants to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, after which the results could be very dangerous.

So what does Germany’s government decide to do? Shut down terawatts of low-carbon electric capacity in the middle of Europe. Bowing to misguided political pressure from Germany’s Green Party, Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed a plan to close all of the country’s nuclear power plants by 2022.

German environmentalists cheered, apparently satisfied that the government will be able to scale up renewable energy sources and scale back electricity demand enough to compensate for the loss of the power plants, which produce a quarter of the nation’s electricity. But the Breakthrough Institute, a think tank, points out that renewables would have to generate an incredible 42.4 percent of the country’s electricity in 2020 to displace nuclear. The government could bring that number down some with very aggressive reductions in energy use. But, even then, all that will merely hold the German power industry to its current carbon footprint. The country has an ambitious goal to reduce emissions, which will require yet more drastic reforms to its electricity sector — and all, apparently, over the course of a single decade.

European financial analysts aren’t convinced, estimating that Germany’s move will result in about 400 million tons of extra carbon emissions by 2020, as the country relies more on fossil fuels. Nor is Donald Tusk, Poland’s prime minister, who ominously announced that Germany has put coal-fired power “back on the agenda” — good for his coal-rich nation directly to Germany’s east but terrible for the environment and public health.

Germany is also likely to import more power from its neighbors, regardless of how well it does in ramping up renewables, since sometimes the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine. Utilities across Europe may end up burning more coal or natural gas. Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive of French nuclear parts manufacturer Areva, predicts that after shunning nuclear, the Germans will end up buying electricity generated in nuclear plants in nations such as France.

Instead of providing a model for greening a post-industrial economy, Germany’s overreaching greens are showing the rest of the world just how difficult it is to contemplate big cuts in carbon emissions without keeping nuclear power on the table. Panicked overreaction isn’t the right response to the partial meltdowns in Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. Instead, countries aiming to provide their citizens with reliable, low-carbon electricity should ask how to minimize inevitable, if small, risks — making their nuclear facilities safer, more reliable and more efficient.
4705  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: June 02, 2011, 11:26:05 AM
GM: "Economic freedom rankings."     USA = no. 9.  (44th in the freedom to produce our own energy.) What medal does one get in the Olympics for 9th place, or 44th?  We can put a man on the moon.  Can't we set a national priority of moving up that list?

Bigdog: "I'm not sure what you mean about not using models for the most important analysis."  - We have serious politicians and political arms like CBO/OMB that refuse to include the best tools available to include changes in behavior in their predictions of outcomes.  In other words they will say that a tax hike of 1% on a million will bring new revenues of $10,000, when in fact some people will move assets, change economic activity, retire early or leave like in Maryland where a tax tax rate increase moved revenues backwards.  The rich in particular have the greatest ability to change their economic behavior and you never grow jobs by chasing away investment.

I have long proposed requiring an unintended consequences statement approved with new taxes or renewed spending along the lines of an environmental impact statement required of developers.  We need to discuss publicly what are the other effects of our policies, not only the intended or stated ones.  One obvious impact of some current policies is the flight to unproductive assets like gold and silver and out of job creation investments.
"It's that [tax rate cuts] doesn't necessarily lead to jobs.  There are other issues at hand."

True, although they have a pretty stellar record in my lifetime; I listed 4 large examples.  Other issues is the point I was trying to make saying that George W. Bush gave supply side economics a bad name without ever trying it.  Yes, he cut tax rates (did one thing right) and then let everything else run in the direction of bigger and bigger government consuming more and more resources in the economy, controlling the private sector, starving the private sector of those resources and burdening the private sector with that cost whether it is taxed or not. Hardly supply side economics unless one believes big government is the supplier.   sad

"Are you contending that the tax cuts led directly to the recession?  If not, there is one pretty obvious issue."

I think I said that the certainty of tax rate increases coming is what triggered the collapse.  Tax increases coming, also symbolic of other anti-employment policies meant the end of job growth.  The end of job growth meant that high priced, highly leveraged homes were now over-priced and over-leveraged.  A tax increase certain for later means not only that investors have to sell before the tax increase ... each investor knew he/she had to selloff before the other investors do or they will lose all those gains anyway.  And they did.
4706  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: June 02, 2011, 02:14:42 AM
"But economists can predict with absolute certainty that tax cuts will produce X in increased revenue/jobs/etc.?  Of course not, but the willingness to believe that is undeterred."

Here's what I believe.  Efficient taxation has some optimal tax rate for maximizing revenue and minimizing damage to the economy based on the disincentive to produce that it inflicts.  We can't know that exact rate with exact certainty.  If we are already below that rate, cutting taxes costs revenue.  If we are above the rate, as is usually the case, revenues surge in a sustained way when tax rate cuts are implemented.

1) JFK tax rate cuts spurred economic growth and increased revenues
2) Reagan cuts from 70% to 28% and revenues doubled in the 1980s
3) Capital gains tax rate cuts under Clinton-Gingrich - 20 million new jobs(?)
4) Bush Tax rate cuts: 50 months continuous job growth until impending expiration became a certainty.

All of these examples above acted to grow the economy and grow revenues to the Treasury. Not shown in these numbers is that revenues to the STATE treasuries also surge with tax cut inspired economic growth.  I have read economists who say otherwise but I prefer to believe my lying eyes.  p.22
"There are models, with margins of error, standard deviations, error terms (not that those are included enough) and even the models that include a dozen or more variables can only predict a small portion of the outcome."

Yes, and in the most important analysis, we don't use them.  CBO/OMB are still stuck on static analysis, pretending to deny that an incentive/disincentive effect comes into play.  After the implementation of the 2003 tax rate cuts, actual revenues realized surpassed official revenue predictions by as much as a hundred billion dollars per year:.
Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Is Curbing Deficit
Published: July 9, 2006

WASHINGTON, July 8 — An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year, even though spending has climbed sharply because of the war in Iraq and the cost of hurricane relief.  On Tuesday, White House officials are expected to announce that the tax receipts will be about $250 billion above last year's levels (11.6% increase in one year! - DM) and that the deficit will be about $100 billion less than what they projected six months ago.

BD,  Would you contend that the fact that economic growth started exactly with the tax rate cuts, lasted  50 consecutive months, and ended exactly at the moment that Dems took congress promising higher tax rates on employers and the unemployment curve headed decidedly upward - is strictly a COINCIDENCE?
4707  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: June 02, 2011, 12:58:26 AM
The Swedish model, when it was successful, was based on a homogeneous society with a universally strong cultural work ethic. Free services and high taxes made more sense when everyone had a stake in it.  That hardly comparable with the USA with more than half the people not producing.

Sweden now faces it its own immigration influx with its own cultural problems and is quickly backing away from the so-called Swedish model.

All that said, not everyone agrees with the conclusion that Europe or Sweden is richer than the U.S.  Per capita income comparisons vary greatly based on exchange rates and purchasing power.  Adjusted for purchasing power parity using 2008 data, Sweden would actually be the 43rd richest state in the union, if part of America.  Germany would be 46th and France or Belgium would be 48th.  Data Sources: GDP by state (BEA), state population (Census), European GDP-PPP per capita (World Bank via Wikipedia).  (University of Michigan)

4708  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed, Constitutional Law, Unenumerated Powers on: June 01, 2011, 11:38:21 PM
Bigdog, Thanks for the invitation to revise and extend ...

"Now Doug, if you can find where I said that the federal government shall run all aspects of private housing, then we can discuss this."

I hope I didn't say you said that.  You express well and the written record provided by our generous host is always available.  Let me backtrack and see if I can explain my concerns more accurately.  

Stossel said, as you quoted: "end at keeping the peace, enforcing contracts, and property rights."

Sometimes I say I am pro-government - in the sense that government should defend our shores and keep the roads and libraries open.  But I know it's more than that.

Here you are being the literalist, which is good in constitutional law, and sometimes you pull our leg a little, which is also good in the human spirit and sometimes I can follow you and sometimes it flies over my head.  In this case I don't believe and I don't believe that you believe that Stossel thinks the constitution authorizing federal government powers is 8 words long.  I took that as a figure of speech meaning that government has gone way beyond where it should have gone or where it was authorized to go.

The exercise of finding, reading and posting the passages you referenced was good for me.  It didn't say what Stossel said (an admission of my guilt and my answer to your direct question), it didn't say exactly what I thought it said, and it certainly doesn't authorize (IMO) all the crap that is coming our of Washington today or over the last several decades, unless the reader has quite an imagination.

An example of what it doesn't authorize is the housing mess that I think was the first card to fall bringing down the economy this most time.  I invite you to address that...

Of the roughly $3.8 trillion a year that we are spending right now, of which I think over 60% of it is the federal government writing taxpayer based checks to individuals, how much of that do you think is directly authorized in those sections or envisioned by the framers?

Specifically, let's figure out what authorized the federal takeover of housing, the issue of the most recent collapse.  (I would be happy to expand the question to health care or auto manufacturing or a host of other things.)  What authorized the federal government to take over the mortgage business, 90% then and nearly 100% now.  It isn't spelled out; was it envisioned or intended?

I think it was Freki who pointed out something that a lot of people are missing.  Yes, we have read into the constitution through the interstate commerce clause the power to regulate almost anything including something that is grown by yourself and consumed by yourself on your own private property and sold to no one.  But the power to regulate commerce is not the power to participate in the market, unless words have no meaning.

The most telling clause I re-discovered about how large and intrusive a federal government the framers envisioned IMO was where they wrote that the congress needs to convene at least once each year, on the first Monday of December, if they haven't already made other plans to get together.  How does that compare with what we do today?

On a more positive note, if we can all agree that the constitution as written or as interpreted does NOT limit the size, scope or intrusiveness of government in any meaningful way (I know no one else said that), maybe we can all work together and amend it until it does.
4709  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 01, 2011, 12:55:12 PM
(From liberalism thread, BD post)
Stossel: "The Founders knew [where government should end and personal responsibility begins].  Government should end at keeping the peace, enforcing contracts, and property rights."  I wonder if Stossel has read Article I, section 8 and the vesting clause of Article II. 

Okay, I'll bite.  Where does it say the federal government shall run all aspects of private housing?  I've read it twice now and still can't find it.

The closest I could come is: "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections..." with Fannie Mae being the militia and private contracts being the insurrection.  Am I close?
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
"The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America...."
4710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: June 01, 2011, 12:15:39 PM
"For the first time since the founding of the Republic, people are visibly mad.  They are pushing back against the growth of government."

Good catch by BD on that erroneous statement.  People have been visibly mad many other times and conservatives have been pushing back unsuccessfully for a very long time.

More accurately stated from my point of view, those of us who are mid-fifties and any other age have ALMOST never seen a successful or meaningful push back against the growth of government, not during Reagan and not during Bush, and we aren't likely to see one now.

My point in commendation was regarding the exposure of fixed pie thinking.

From the first Laffer link:  "But considering all this occurred with their man in the White House for 8 years..."

G.W. Bush is "their man in the White House" ??  When did George Bush rein in the size or scope of government?  George Bush gave supply side economics a bad name without ever trying it, IMHO.  

"Reagan had the good fortune to take office at the tail end of a 16 year secular bear market..."

This passes for political economic analysis of the Reagan era.  Wow.

For the second link: "Art Laffer, Economist, B.A. Econ Yale '63, MBA/Ph.D. Econ Stanford '65/'71  His last name says it all--his views on the economy are a 'laffer'."  - We haven't moved very far past Weiner jokes.  In spite of his wrongheadedness about bullishness expressed in the video while the economy was moving full speed ahead, I can't think of a single cause of the Housing bubble and collapse that Laffer favored or supported in terms of policies.

The implication of playing a summer 2006 video in hindsight of a fall 2008 collapse is to suggest that this mess wasn't avoidable. (?)

That economists can't and don't predict recessions accurately is a fact.  I look to economists for policies and their effects, not predictions.  Obviously Schiff got that one right and Laffer got it wrong.  In the 25 years leading up to it the crash predictors were generally the ones that were wrong.  Give Schiff some credit here but he isn't exactly pushing the agenda that followed as the anti-Laffer, bigger yet government policies very soon took center stage.  

The first thing Laffer got wrong was his premise, saying that we aren't raising taxes anytime soon, yet the 100% clear message sent and received 3 months after that with the election sweep of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama congress was that yes, in fact we are.  The announcement of serious tax rate hikes coming along with all the uncertainty about when and by how much was the trigger IMO for what was about to happen next, hardly Laffer's doing.  At the time of the video, we were in the midst of 50 months of continuous job growth.  Laffer made some now embarrassing statements about inherent strength, but I doubt he favored the federal government taking over 90% of private mortgages or favored the increasing push to have those loans made with cash back instead of money down, or favored making any of those loans on any factors other than creditworthiness.  I doubt he even favors the mortgage deduction!  Laffer'ss opponents, Barney Frank, young Barack, and all the Dems and all the willing RINOs who watched over those expansions and abuses (not Schiff) favored or at least tolerated all of that.

I reject the notion that all of this collapse was necessary and inevitable (in August 2006) and that we then needed the big government push to lock our private economy in at the lowest point for 3 or more years following the collapse.
4711  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Huntsman WSJ on: June 01, 2011, 11:08:34 AM
Great Cain video!  I hope that Perry, Bachmann and Palin jump in, along with Huntsman, to complete this field.  Let's have some fun before we make our final decision.
Huntsman (or his writers) hits all the right notes in this piece.  Doesn't sound like he thinks centrism is solving anything.  I don't equate make "hard decisions now" with calls elsewhere for compromise on core fiscal principles. 

Small point of fact check, Huntsman didn't get the memo that we aren't the second highest taxer of corporate profits in the developed world anymore.  Japan's new, lower rate went into effect April 1, 2011.

Our Current Time for Choosing
Anyone who disagrees with Paul Ryan's Medicare reforms has a moral obligation to propose an alternative.


This year marks the centennial anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth—and America finds itself at a crossroads that brings to mind the title of that great man's famous speech in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy: "A Time for Choosing." We should not underestimate the seriousness of the responsibility. This is the moment when we will choose whether we are to become a declining power in the world, or a nation that again surpasses the great achievements of our history.

We are over $14 trillion in debt, $4 trillion more than we owed just two years ago. In 2008, the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product was 40%. Today it's 68%, and we are fast approaching the critical 90% threshold economists warn is unsustainable, causing dramatic spikes in inflation and interest rates, and corresponding declines in GDP and jobs.

Unless we make hard decisions now, in less than a decade every dollar of federal revenue will go to covering the costs of Medicare, Social Security and interest payments on our debt. We'll sink even deeper in debt to pay for everything else, from national security to disaster relief. American families will fall behind the economic security enjoyed by previous generations. Our country will fall behind the productivity of other countries. Our currency will be debased. Our influence in the world will wane. Our security will be more precarious.

Some argue for half-measures, or for delaying the inevitable because the politics are too hard. But delay is a decision to let America decline. The longer we wait, the harder our choices become.

The debt ceiling must be raised this summer to cover the government's massive borrowing, and we must make reductions in government spending a condition for increasing the debt ceiling. This will provide responsible leaders the opportunity to reduce, reform, and in some cases end government programs—including some popular but unaffordable subsidies for agriculture and energy—in order to save the trillions, not billions, necessary to make possible a future as bright as our past. It also means reforming entitlement programs that won't deliver promised benefits to retirees without changes that take account of the inescapable reality that we have too few workers supporting too many retirees.

I admire Congressman Paul Ryan's honest attempt to save Medicare. Those who disagree with his approach incur a moral responsibility to propose reforms that would ensure Medicare's ability to meet its responsibilities to retirees without imposing an unaffordable tax burden on future generations of Americans.

These aren't easy choices, and we must make them at a time of anemic economic growth and very high unemployment. That's why we must also make sweeping reforms of our tax code, regulatory policies and other government policies to improve our productivity, competitiveness and job creation.

The United States has the second-highest corporate tax rate in the world. We are losing out to countries that make it more attractive for businesses to invest there. Our tax code should encourage American businesses to invest and add new jobs here. We need a tax code that substitutes flatter and lower rates for the bewildering and often counterproductive array of deductions and loopholes, and that provides incentives to encourage savings, investment and growth.

We also need to pursue, as aggressively as other countries do, free trade agreements. Ninety-five percent of the world's customers live outside the U.S. We won't remain the most productive economy in the world if we embrace the mistaken belief that we can prosper by selling and buying only among ourselves, while other countries seize the extraordinary opportunities for economic growth that the global economy offers. Finally, we must reform public education, so that it prepares our children for the economic opportunities of this century, not the last one.

When I was the governor of Utah, we cut and flattened tax rates. We balanced budgets and grew our rainy-day fund. And when the economic crisis struck, we didn't raise taxes or rely on accounting gimmicks to hide obligations. We cut spending and made government more efficient. We increased revenues by facilitating a business environment in which innovators and job creators could expand our economic base. Utah maintained its AAA bond rating, and in 2008 it was named the best-managed state in the nation by the Pew Center on the States. We proved that government doesn't have to choose between fiscal responsibility and economic growth.

We should not accept that election-cycle politics make it too hard to make the decisions that are necessary to preserve the most productive and competitive economy in the world. This is not just a time for choosing new leaders. This is the hour when we choose our future.

Mr. Huntsman, a former Republican governor of Utah, served as U.S. ambassador to China from August 2009 to April 2011.
4712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 01, 2011, 10:50:52 AM
I prefer to see politicians like Rep. Weiner taken down based on the (lack of) merits in their political arguments, but must admit a little revenge-like pleasure in seeing this jerk distracted and squirming on a personal matter.  In the middle of his non-denial defense, he just can't keep himself from put out his personal attack against Justice Thomas' and his wife, regarding healthcare while he is allegedly trying to make a point on a debt ceiling vote. 

I wonder if Bob Schieffer or Dick Gregory will call that attack on Thomas racist.

I was more impressed with the sincerity of O.J. Simpson combing the world's golf courses for the real killer, and with the Roger Clemons, Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong campaign against steroids, than with Weiner's effort to find and prosecute the real Twitter-hacker.

Who knew that liberals could also be targets of comedy. Letterman and others missed out on a couple of good years bypassing on these potential targets for ridicule.
4713  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: June 01, 2011, 10:15:29 AM
The Stossel piece is EXCELLENT.  I wish our new Governor, ready to shut government down over keeping a tax increase promise on the rich, could see the segment on Maryland where the same policy cost their state revenues, jobs and millionaires.

Amazing how so many highly educated people and highly important organizations - OMB, CBO, DNC, NYT, POTUS, all liberals and most conservatives - can keep basing policies, predictions and arguments on the patently false, fixed pie theory.

The statements on camera of Prof. Arthur Laffer, saying (paraphrasing)that this economy has an amazing potential for new growth right now if only we could get the policies right, tells us once again that many famous and influential people out there are reading the forum.  wink
Economist Art Laffer says we “can bring the fiscal situation back under control pretty quickly” by privatizing Fannie, Freddie, AIG and GM, cutting back on entitlements and instituting a flat tax.  If we do that, says Laffer, we’ll have “huge economic growth.”

But huge economic growth is the antithesis to the current governing agenda.

4714  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 01, 2011, 09:10:04 AM
The point that it is merely opinion is fair enough.  

Rodgers apparently didn't get the memo that we weren't going to use Nazi analogies to describe people who haven't committed genocide. (Glen Beck was savaged for that.)  Rodgers stoops that low twice in the piece, once again in the middle for readers who may have missed the beginning - or was he committing a "Goebels-style" atrocity himself by repeating his falsehood?

Opinion piece yes, laced with false facts.  I hate to impugn her but maybe Rodgers piece is more in the spirit of Ann Coulter than George Will.  Does the the CSM or CNN run columns like hers often?  I have not known George Will to open his criticism with a blatantly false statement.  Seems to me he makes a painstakingly effort to quote his opponents accurately.

Rodgers opens his post-Nazi analysis with: "detractors are complaining that he didn’t have the guts to release photos of Mr. bin Laden’s corpse."

I have not seen that written, even in the vile comment sections of Like telling BD to read more case law, maybe I need to read more conservative commentary.  wink

Maybe in the spirit of Nazi analogies I will re-open my only partially flawed comparison of abortion to the holocaust that angered people here beyond words.  Add the corollary that roughly 5 Justices on the Supreme Court and nearly all liberals are modern holocaust enablers.  See if CNN will run with that.

Civil discourse in the Obama supporter era continues.

I would like to come back on other threads to discuss the merits of the piece, like touting "the herculean tasks Obama has already accomplished".  He skipped one; Obama has endeared us to the third world by mimicking their economic policies.
4715  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 30, 2011, 11:01:14 PM
Besides being a paleo-conservative I am now a contemporary-originalist.  Reading the pdf I am more informed and more confused than ever about what that means.

"originalists continue to disagree about the role of “original intentions” and “original public meaning"

Original meaning to me is something that laymen are capable of understanding, not just the Court's best trained and closest observers.
I also believe the constitution is a living, breathing, growing, changing, evolving document - and it does that seldom and slowly through the AMENDMENT process, exactly as the framers designed it, as the ratifiers ratified it and as the public understood it to mean.   smiley
4716  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Yemen on: May 30, 2011, 10:04:49 PM
No one wanted to fund real intelligence, intervene or be the world's policeman, so here we are, watching to see where al Qaida takes hold next.  We have long known of the presence and risks in Yemen.  Even the so called on the horizon plan requires an American base - on the horizon.  It won't be in Mogadishu, in pirate territory or anywhere else on the Horn, so that means on the Arabian Peninsula inciting al Qaida even more.  And the thousand year war goes on.  We're going to need some bases.  We don't even have a base right in Iraq yet.  Or an exit plan in Afghan.  I'm just glad that Libya was resolved in "days and not weeks".

Crafty, what do you make of it?
4717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, non-capitalism on: May 30, 2011, 09:16:42 PM
Thanks Andraz,  That was a great reply.  We are very lucky to have one who respects Karl Marx on our Marxism Stalinism thread!

Shifting quickly to where we disagree, or at least where I don't buy Marxism:

"A capitalist is someone who lives off the surplus of someone elses work."

No.  That is false in 2011 (IMO) and I would also say false in 1867 as well.  He or she employs and  CREATES the surplus of another's work.  A capitalist is one who (long sentence coming) accepts and enters a risk/reward relationship investing in a faith in the value of other peoples work and procures the machinery and real estate and research and investment in labor agreements, directs orchestrates, innovates and competes for one thing to secure a reward for his troubles but also as a consequence brings advancement, employment, opportunity, fruits of labor and benefits and security and bread and bacon and retirement dollars, kids racing skis and traveling soccer fees and gas for the family vehicle etc. to everyone he hires, by successfully betting on the success of the others he invests in.  A capitalist is also one who bets wrong, takes on risks and loses.  Then he reverts back to laborer if he can - in a world without a government paying out a thousand and fifty distinct social spending programs making all those choices so much more confusing.

Laborers without capital would be like a roomful of musicians - without instruments, music or a conductor.  

A digger for example has no capability whatsoever without a shovel and no competitiveness or productivity without something something made by Caterpillar or equivalent.  If you want to win contracts burying cable you will need $20,000 for the machine.  If you have that and want to be an independent, you can be the capitalist and the laborer, just like I am in my industry.  If you are strictly a worker and not the capitalist, then you need to hook up with the capital and the capitalist by applying for a job from someone who sees enough reward to choose that business over opening a bakery or a butcher shop etc.

One of the beautiful things is that in a free society, you can switch from laborer to capitalist in less than one lifetime.  We don't have tatoos, piercings or other markings to say which class you are, unless you choose to have one. I used to work at least 2 jobs at a time, tuck away what I could until I could afford to borrow and invest enough to get started and duplicate that success doubling and quadrupling what I had.  Now I work twice as hard and age twice as quickly from the stress.

Show me where capital isn't equally important to labor.  Labor is nothing without capital and capital is nothing without labor.  Even the public sector is loaded with capital and they are NOT any more efficient with it. The balance of power shifts sometimes, mostly to the side of labor as they have more votes.  When the power imbalance is too far off, the excess guarantees and benefits to labor collapse the capital structure until failure sets in for all.

What I learned so far about Marx is that he was more of a philosopher of the human spirit than he was a designer of the specific economic systems falsely attributed to him: "Marxist economy doesn't exist".  To us, a successful Marxist economy may be a fiction, achieving the creative energy of Hollywood or the innovative energy of the old Silicon Valley without the involvement of business owners, venture capitalists, commercial bankers, business brokers, risk capital, mutual funds, excess profits, losses, bankruptcies or capital gains.  To Andraz, perhaps it is something still possible but difficult to design and achieve.  
4718  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: May 30, 2011, 04:34:59 PM
"When the farming was state run on state owned lands [in China], the production of rice was minimal. When the lands were turned over to the farmers and they could enjoy the profits from their efforts, amazingly enough the amount of rice produced skyrocketed and the standard of living for these peasants radically improved."

Didn't the Pilgrims discover the same thing in this country early in that venture?

Yet we keep turning back. 

We await the examples of when and where utopia succeeded.
4719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: States Rights on: May 30, 2011, 04:28:11 PM
Very funny - I thought it was a parody!

The "chilling possibility" that "Chief Justice John Roberts is one vote short of moving the Supreme Court to a position so conservative on states’ rights that it would be to the right of the Tea Party’s idea of limited government."

NO!  NOT LIMITED GOVERNMENT!!!!  Read into the constitution? by a supreme Court??  Who knew?  grin

Are they not admitting aloud that we now have exactly 5 justices who DON'T see it that way?!

In other words, Presidency 2012 and Senate 2012!  Our constitutional form of limited government is at stake.
4720  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar, & Gold/Silver on: May 30, 2011, 03:54:39 PM
Interesting stuff here.  Sorry I missed until now the followup on Robert Mundell's view in Crafty's post a week ago. That was a good catch.  He makes very important, contrarian points.  In all economic issues we have a multitude of different forces pushing and pulling in different directions.  Mundell is far smarter than me and points out an aspect that was not previously addressed here.  Nothing against him personally but to note his perspective, he is a Canadian, working in the US (Columbia) and consults with Europe and China.  It was his work making the Euro possible that won his Nobel, not his previous work designing the Reagan plan.

About the Euro going away (mentioned in the thread), I don't know about that, but if it did go away we would just face the more complicated world we had before, with a separate Deutch Mark, Pound Sterling, Belgian Franc etc. etc.  It seems more logical for Europe to boot out the countries not complying fiscally and economically, than to end the currency.

Former WSJ editor Bartley wrote that he and Milton Friedman used to argue publicly over fixed vs. floating currency acknowledging he took no pleasure being spanked by Milton Friedman, a mentor of his I'm sure. There are good arguments on both sides of this.  Basically a fixed rate eliminates distractions and excuses and force good money supply policies, a floating rate can adjust constantly to balance the real supply and demand forces on the currencies.   Mundell is taking the side of fixed exchange rate between U.S. and Euro, which is consistent with his work making the single currency in Europe possible.  In other words, locking the currencies would eliminate the next quantitative expansion.  In the sense that we don't trust the economic future of Europe and vice versa, I'm not sure I see that wisdom.

We had a friendly argument here recently regarding weak or strong dollar.  Mundell (I think) is saying we need a neutral dollar, which is correct, the only question is how best to get there.

I intuitively disagree with linking a currency to an inferior economy, whichever way that arrow may point, Germany with Greece, etc. or even a post-2012 America with Europe.  If we were Germany, we should boot out Greece, and for Greece I would strive to fixthings and link back to the Deutch Mark or new, improved Euro, like Hong Kong and others have done with the US$.

For the dollar or the U.S. in general, I think I would care less about the Euro and work directly on getting our own house in order. I can't see how there is a sound monetary policy possible in the context of our other problems: unfunded and supersized government alongside our strangulated, private former production capability. 

It is good to be warned by Mundell about how forces now in play could cause deflation and also good to be warned by everything else including our lying eyes about inflation setting in.  These diseases both pose risks for different reasons.

Instead of the shining city on a hill, we seem more like a teetering teeter-totter unbalanced on a two or more sided cliff, with a host of different problems that could easily cause the next fall off the precipice in any one of these directions.  A dearth of energy, the highest corporate taxes on earth, Carter-like individual tax rates coming, complete uncertainty about all taxes, a budget deficit unbalanced by 60% to the tune of a trillion and a half a year, 6 trillion over 4 years?, 50% of us and growing not participating, burning off our food supply as energy but not even start to make up for the real energy production we prohibit - eliminating our biggest export and starving the third world, putting a cap on everything down to exhaling.  Take all that in and devise a plan that keeps our purchasing power constant and our debts honored.  To me it is just a bad joke. 

Mundell alludes to these other problems requiring solutions:  "To supercharge the U.S. recovery, he also recommends permanently extending the Bush tax rates and lowering the corporate income tax rate to 15% from 35%. "

That is far more aggressive than those who call for lowering rates to the OECD average.  I take that to be symbolic of his larger view of economics that none of this gets fixed without restoring growth to the economy. 
Inflation means too many dollars relative to the supply of goods and services.  Deflation means that demand to too weak to maintain price levels.  If we leave so many things this screwed up for very much longer, how can anyone accurately predict which direction we will fall.
4721  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism = Stalinism, not Marxism? on: May 30, 2011, 12:14:03 PM
[False] "implication of Marx with epic failures, ...  Marxism /= Stalinism /= Leninism /= Maosim...."

It seems to me that we could resolve this dispute by referring to the failed, oppressive economic and governmental systems of these failed states as 'Stalinist' rather than socialist, communist or Marxist.  Same goes for describing or warning about any the same moves here and elsewhere toward a more powerful central government and away from the constitutionally limited government we once knew, based on individual liberties explicitly including economic liberties and thankfulness to God.  I, for one, would be happy to start referring to these programs, policies and proposals as Stalinist and quit smearing the confusing and misunderstood work of Karl Marx.

If the real thrust of Marx's work would give us specific insights into how to solve current economic problems, please post.

I can't imagine that the bizarre state of affairs in China today is any closer to Marx's true vision than the other failed examples. (I see GM covered that!)

From the link: "[Marxism] is opposed to the Church because of its restriction of the mind, and to liberalism (the meaning of liberalism in 1961?) because of its separation of society and moral values. It is opposed to Stalinism and Krushchevism, for their authoritarianism as much as their neglect of humanist values."

Earlier in that same chapter: "Marx fought against religion exactly because it is alienated, and does not satisfy the true needs of man. Marx's fight against God is, in reality, a fight against the idol that is called God. Already as a young man he wrote as the motto for his dissertation "Not those are godless who have contempt for the gods of the masses but those who attribute the opinions of the masses to the gods." Marx's atheism is the most advanced form of rational mysticism, closer to Meister Eckhart or to Zen Buddhism than are most of those fighters for God and religion who accuse him of "godlessness."

Why would anyone who is rational fight against other people's religion if it is peaceful and consensual?
4722  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: May 29, 2011, 03:13:35 PM
Likewise, that is a nice article.  Judges here generally run unopposed and win with 99+% of the vote, but I agree that having a mechanism available to expose and remove them short of impeachment tends to keep them on track doing the best job they can.

I also like that BD has friends out there opposing both the ABA and the work of Sandra Day O'Connor, no matter the issue.  smiley
4723  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - A view from the left on: May 29, 2011, 02:50:35 PM
Covering for a left gap of political thought on the board, I offer the view of Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos fame to tell us what he thinks of Obama's challengers:

The GOP’s cast of clowns
By Markos Moulitsas - 05/24/11 06:23 PM ET

On Sunday night, Tim Pawlenty released another of his oddball videos, reminding people yet again that he was running for president.

Such periodic reminders aren’t a bad idea, since it only takes 10 minutes for the average person to forget he exists. But at least give him props — he’s actually attempting to be the Bob Dole of 2012 in a year in which nearly all serious Republicans have decided they have better things to do than lose to President Obama.

So rather than a high-caliber presidential field, the Republicans have put together a cavalcade of clowns.

There’s Mitt Romney, granddaddy of Obama’s healthcare plan — the same healthcare plan that base Republicans now consider worse than Hitler. Flip-flopping on the individual mandate is familiar territory for Romney. Remember, he was for a woman’s right to choose before he was against it, he was for gay rights before he wanted them relegated to second-class citizens, he was for the assault-weapons ban before he was against it, he was for raising the minimum wage before he wanted it eliminated, he was for limits on carbon emissions that he now opposes, etc., etc., etc.

And all that flapping around is for naught. The GOP base holds grudges.

Newt Gingrich rolled out his presidential campaign by bashing Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) Medicare-killing budget. “I am against ObamaCare imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change,” he proclaimed on a Sunday morning talk show. The resulting howl marked the birth of yet another GOP litmus test — you are either for destroying Medicare, or you are Republican In Name Only. Thus, the architect of the 1994 conservative revolution in the House was declared by Rush Limbaugh (among others) to be a RINO.

Now, after a week of trying to walk back the slam on the Ryan budget, questions about past support for an individual healthcare mandate and something about a $500,000 Tiffany’s bill, Gingrich declared that he will no longer answer “gotcha” questions about anything he’s said or written in the past. As one person quipped on Twitter, “Gingrich thinks his record has fallen ill & he can cleanly divorce it.”

How about Sarah Palin? True, the half-term governor is too lazy to finish anything, but she’s never too lazy to start something. While she’d suffer an epic double-digit loss to Obama in a Mondale-like shellacking, enough of the primary-deciding GOP base adores her. If she runs, she’s a real threat for the nomination. But she won’t. It’s that “lazy” thing.

Jon Huntsman mocked the birthers, has supported an individual mandate, served in the Obama administration, believes in climate change and is Mormon. Good luck with that.

Fox News loves cardboard pizza mogul Herman Cain. Rick Santorum still exists. Gary “Who?” Johnson thinks drug legalization is his ticket. And Ron Paul will collect millions from his fervent fans to win 15 percent of the vote.

Which leaves Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is (don’t snicker) a real threat to win the nomination if Palin stays out. She’ll raise a ton. Has real Tea Party cred. She gets to camp out in next-door Iowa, and will appeal to the kind of people who show up to caucuses. She might be the person who could lose even worse to Obama than Palin, but the GOP primary electorate doesn’t concern itself with “electability.”

Finally, as a reminder, there’s also Tim Pawlenty. Because I’m sure you’d forgotten already.
4724  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Huntsman on: May 29, 2011, 02:43:43 PM
Asking the wrong question is a great way to get the wrong answer.

JDN wrote: "Huntsman's ace up the sleeve is his ability to appeal to centrist and independent voters."

BD clarified: " ...  he first has to appeal to Republicans to win the primary." 

  - Absolutely correct.

McCain is a centrist famous for his moderation.  He actually won the primaries, got to run against the number one far leftist, least experienced senator and lost.  Unique times certainly, but there is more to it.

The question for the Republicans is: Who can win the hearts minds and passions of the conservatives first, AND appeal to the sensible middle of the spectrum.  JDN's ace point assumes (IMO) the conjunction right OR center, really right VERSUS center, when the question is who unites right AND center.

I've been to countless Republican nominating conventions where the contention is stated as conservative principles versus electable centrist and who wins depends on the year and the crowd.  The best candidates of course start with all the core principles of their party or their movement and then take that appeal to the center with persuasion (or obfuscation) rather than abandonment of principles. Reagan on the right and the Obama 2008 campaign on the left are examples.

McCain won the endorsement without winning the hearts and minds of conservatives. He started the general campaign still needing to reach to the right before he could reach to the middle.  Neat trick if you can do it.  Obama left his convention with the left in his hip pocket and only needed to reach to the middle, with reassurances, good endorsements, billion dollar advertising and Greek column, music-filled obfuscation.  When McCain reached back to the right, Obama took the middle and the prize money.

Reagan won by espousing nothing but core principles.  In the general election, twice, all he needed to do was reach into his own heart and explain why he believes what he believes.  When the going got tough coming into 1984, the opponents chose their most highly qualified opponent for him.  Reagan didn't shift down to growth-economy-lite or cold-war-lite to solidify his appeal to the middle.  He stuck with core principles, explained and explained them, and won 49 states.

The assumption from the far-centrists is that conservatives have no choice if the party goes RINO, where we all know centrists can jump ship at the first sign of trouble.  Therefore the RINO is always preferable...  Good luck with that centrist theory in 2012.  After the McCain experience and the countless RINO positions of the 8 year W. Bush Presidency, don't think that people of tea party / fix-these-problems-now passion are going to hold their nose one more time.  The candidate that abandons the right will lose a 2 party fight to this incumbent for certain and more likely would lose in a 3-way fight as their is no chance IMO that the movement we call tea party is going to sit still in '012.
4725  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Michele Bachmann on: May 29, 2011, 01:47:07 PM
I watched the Bachmann video at Crafty's link (and have seen her many other times).  Articulate, detailed about a national security issue (and monetary and constitutional issues), speaks mostly without notes or prompter. She is on the Intelligence committee with national security clearance and knowledge, also Financial Services Committee.  Credible with conservatives to give cover for a difficult vote that could spark a tea party challenge.  She appreciates the contention between the national security interest and general opposition to expanded powers.  She explains with enough detail to show why we need these powers to track terrorists.

That said, is Bachmann best suited in a legislative or executive capacity?  If it is executive, that would be without experience running in a room full of governors.  But she is making quite an effective national firestorm right where she is.  

Garfield was elected President from the House - so it is possible.  

Bachmann's appeal is to conservatives. She has limited appeal to independents and none to Democrats IMO.  Probably best suited IMHO right where she is, holding elected Republicans to their promises and their principles.
4726  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 27, 2011, 01:22:24 PM
"asked if I was illegal, I could legally and politely say": ...   ninguno de su negocio ??  smiley
Murder and euthanasia can save the taxpayer money too, wrong criteria and wrong topic.  My point is that discrimination as an accusation is thrown around so loosely that fear of that accusation is both ubiquitous and somewhat meaningless.  

Some indication that you may be from elsewhere (and need documentation) is more like some indication that you were drinking some (also not illegal) but may cause a further look or test for which you have already given 'implied consent'.  The burglary tools in themselves may not be illegal.  As a landlord, those same tools of mine may be in plain view and misconstrued without explanation.

GM explained and that is reasonable, but I also don't like it when they ask me where I am coming from and where I am going either for having a pinhole leak of white light out of a red tail light lens.  Engage in conversation is what they do to look for other things.  I agree with the JDN right to not engage but not necessarily agree its your best strategy.
"in CA there are a lot of predatory employers, paying illegals less than minimum wage, no benefits, unsafe working conditions, etc.  I have no sympathy for those employers."

  - Agreed, if true, for those obvious cases. In the accusation will be the word 'knowingly' plus they are breaking plenty of other laws.

"Cut off the jobs, and you take away the incentive to be illegal and come to America."

  - No.  Cut off the jobs and the welfare simultaneously, add  real enforcement and they will not come.  Let's lock in at least the agreement we already discovered!

I'm not aware of ever showing identification to get a job.  Of course I haven't gotten one recently either and my local accent is very authentic.  sad   My town in Colo has the illegals problem. The bank there required two forms of photo id to open an account. I never carry a passport and it's expired anyway.  I started out the door and they were willing to lose me as a customer to be consistent on their policy, then I remembered my Vail season pass has a mug on it, and they accepted that.  What did that prove?
We beat around the bush on immigration.  The problem continues because the executive branch in charge of enforcement doesn't like the law and the opposition party is split about it.  The flagrant business may still exist out there but this isn't overall a private sector issue.  The Arizona enforcement law created a healthy debate.  Still meaningless if the Feds do nothing. Catch and release. The sanctuary city phenomenon is a violation of federal law, harboring and co-conspiring?  The transportation dept. wouldn't nor would any other department or agency accept rogue municipalities failing to follow federal law.  If a law is wrong, unconstitutional or meaningless, repeal it or strike it down, not just selectively ignore it.  Otherwise, enforce it - at all levels.
4727  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / "No verified instance of harm to groundwater caused by hydraulic fracturing" on: May 27, 2011, 12:13:03 PM
Great post BBG!  The issue of methane escaping is separate from the issue of ground water contamination but perhaps part of the ad hominem attacks against all energy production.  I don't see why methane producers would want methane to escape.  If true perhaps we ne a capture technique, not a ban on production.

Following up to that post and a subject Crafty started with an NY Times series (Feb 27 2011 post over in Energy Politics) attacking the production techniques of natural gas: "Regulations Lax...Tainted Water Hits Rivers".  I read that piece with skepticism.  As with liberal media techniques on other topics, they find a claim with a credible sounding source, in the Ron Bailey piece it was Cornell University, get it into the NY Times and then repeat it across the country before anyone can disprove the negative.  The NYT piece was loaded with question marks and "may do this" and "may do that" and very light or absent of real data or contamination samples.

I followed up with a long, hard-to-follow post March 8, same thread, discrediting the allegations.  Most damning I thought and buried in my post were the specific, actual statements quoted that I copied and pasted out of a pdf and reprinted, where nearly all the state regulatory agencies of nearly all the natural gas producing states denies that this has ever happened in their state. These include all the states referenced in the NY Times hit piece.  Reprinting here with state names and regulatory agencies in bold to be easier to follow and the use of italics is mine. The full letters are at the pdf link.  These are regulatory agencies, not greedy producers, though a liberal source might say there is no difference if they side with business.

"After 25 years of investigating complaints of contamination, DMRM geologists have not documented a single incident involving contamination of ground water attributed to hydraulic fracturing."  - Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"No documented cases of groundwater contamination from fracture stimulations in

Link again: Hydraulic Fracturing –15 Statements from Regulatory Officials
4728  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 27, 2011, 11:23:10 AM
JDN,  The death penalty is applied to people convicted of heinous crimes in certain jurisdictions, it hits blacks disproportionately and it is labeled discriminatory and racist. (Their victims were disproportionately black as well!)  Abortions paid for by taxpayers hit black babies disproportionately more than 3 times worse than white babies, and they are not labeled discriminatory by the people who put themselves in charge of those labels.  Employee check will hit people of certain ethnicities disproportionately, maybe Hispanic where you are and maybe Somali and Hmong here, but much harder than 4th or 5th generation midwestern Scandinavian Americans for certain.  Applying the law evenly doesn't make the charge go away.

Employers are not the enforcement arm of the federal government and don't need more burdens.  IMO they should supply and submit to the federal immigration authorities any information that the feds require of them for each applicant or employee.  Then the Feds have the responsibility to act on the information, come out and arrest and deport if they were serious about their job.  Simply turning away English challenged, medium skinned people with lousy documentation from work to welfare is no solution in my view.

The same rules that are applied to employers to pay someone should apply to all agencies of government and welfare.  How is it legal to pay out or take money for doing nothing but illegal to work and earn it?  I will need that explained to me.
4729  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The electoral process, vote fraud: MN Voter ID Bill with 80% Support Vetoed on: May 27, 2011, 10:57:43 AM
I would like to put this under progressivism but we already have a category for voter fraud.  Voter ID is a very important issue here brought to light in the Al Franken recount because it is illegal in a recount not to count again all the illegal votes that were cast.  As I wrote in my first post in this thread, when ACORN block workers tried to drag me in against my will to vote in South Minneapolis where I did not live, they had people on the block already setup to vouch for me.  No identification, pre-registration or anything else is required. Unlike the questioning techniques used by Israeli El Al airlines, MN election judges use an on-site registration scrutiny technique called Minnesota-nice.   Ballots are available in English, Hmong, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, and people who will vouch for you are standing by.
New MN Governor vetoes Voter ID bill.
John Hinderacker at Powerline:

In 2010, control over Minnesota's government flipped: Republicans captured both the Minnesota House and Senate, while Democrat Mark Dayton replaced Tim Pawlenty as governor. The Republican legislature passed legislation to reform the state's voting system, in part by requiring photo identification. The law provided for issuance of free voter IDs to any legitimate voters who, for whatever reason, have no driver's license or other form of identification. Minnesotans, aware that voter fraud has likely played a key role in recent elections, overwhelmingly support the law: the Star Tribune's Minnesota Poll, which routinely tilts left, found 80 percent support.

Nevertheless, Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the bill yesterday. That a Democratic governor is willing to fly in the face of overwhelming public opinion, even as he is fighting a budget battle with the legislature that likely will lead to a slowdown in state government, says volumes about where the Democratic Party stands on the issue of voter fraud.

In 2008, Minnesota Republicans were traumatized by the Coleman-Franken race, which Al Franken eventually won by a few hundred votes. National attention focused on the recount, which was scrupulously fair. The problem was that, as with any recount, all you can do is count for a second time the votes that were cast illegally on election day. I have no doubt that more legal voters voted for Norm Coleman than Al Franken, but once the ballots are in the box, there is nothing that can be done. Hence the urgency of the voter ID law.

Until now, Minnesota has had lax laws that facilitate voter fraud. Not only does the state have same-day registration, there is also an absurd system whereby a resident of a precinct can "vouch" for as many as 15 people who are not registered in the precinct and have no identification that would otherwise allow them to register. This means that the Democrats can station an operative at a polling place, bus in students from Wisconsin, illegal immigrants, etc., and allow them to vote illegally by having their operative vouch for the whole busload.

For many years, Republicans have been trying to tighten up Minnesota's voting laws to prevent voter fraud. But they have never been able to get such a bill through the legislature, since the DFL has controlled the state's Senate since Senate races were first made partisan. This year, for the first time, the Republicans are in a position to carry out the will of the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans by reforming an electoral system that is designed to encourage fraud. The fact that the Governor Dayton felt compelled to veto those reforms confirms that voter fraud remains a significant component of the Democratic Pary's electoral strategy.
4730  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Policy: USA is the 44th freest country in the world on: May 27, 2011, 10:29:07 AM
"Oil Traders sued by Feds"
  - That should help the supply of oil... (sarc.)
I wonder if Michelle Obama again has never before been this proud to see our country ranked 44th freest in the world for oil production, unable to keep up with freedom bastions like Angola ranked 18th:

"It is almost as if the United States deliberately wanted to be more dependent on foreign oil. Consider that while the World Economic Forum rates the U.S. 4th in its ranking of the world's most competitive economies, it would rank far down the list if the WEF were to look at the competitiveness of the oil and gas industry in isolation. A proprietary ranking of political and investment risk for oil and gas by IHS's Petroleum Economics and Policy Solutions unit places the U.S. 44th, below several African nations such as Angola, which is ranked 18th. As an IHS analyst observes, in the U.S. "there is the constant threat of adverse contract or fiscal regime changes at both the state and federal levels of government. None of these threats or business risks is present in Angola." "
What kind of economic OR security strategy involves decades of blocking the energy production needed to power our economy.  It isn't just taxes and debt that are killing us, and these are self-inflicted wounds.
4731  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Marginal rates back up to 58% federal, 62% to 70% combined on: May 26, 2011, 06:15:01 PM
Crafty,  Your discrepancy point is right, but so is this point of yours: "the fundamental point about the cumulative effect of the various taxes, current and proposed, in the present environment is profound."

First off, I think the regulatory environment is even worse than the taxes coming, but let's stay with taxes here.  The pre-Reagan / Stagflation top tax rate was 70% federal PLUS the state rates.  Almost no one paid at that rate as they would rather sit on their cash, adjust behavior, buy munis or buy gold, rather than give most of all gains to the government.

Stephen Moore in the piece shows how the federal rate under existing proposals will hit 58% (not 62% or 70%), then he figures 4% for the average state and local tax rates.  You and I live in places where 4% doesn't come close to covering the highest state tax rates that are coming.  Here we are having the same surcharge the rich argument simultaneous with the federal argument so that combined figure will easily get to 70% if the tax hikers prevail at both levels.

Still we are comparing an apple with ...most of an apple.  We are not at Jimmy Carter's 70% federal tax rate,  but we also aren't competing in a 1970s global economy either. These rates coming might be more harmful than Carter's rates were then. Capital and labor are for more mobile today.  Jobs and plants pick up and move often and easily, and tax rates elsewhere have gotten far more competitive in response to the Reagan revolution.

Not lecturing to you Crafty who already knows all this, but to anyone who will listen... 70% tax either for total rate or at the federal level alone is a major disincentive to produce.  Robert Mundell, architect of the Reagan plan, called the existing marginal tax rates then: "asphyxiating" (to kill or make unconscious through inadequate oxygen).  Maybe worse now.  Think of it as a tax per mile for driving.  The exact rate doesn't matter after you get past the point where nobody is going anywhere.

I mentioned previously a friend who has started 3 successful companies from scratch and sold the latest one, with a thousand employees, for an amazing sum recently.  We were having the tax-the-rich conversation with friends who also know him while our new governor is trying to put another 3% surcharge onto the rich at the state level.  One friend (not even a liberal) said, what the hell difference does it make to so and so if he has to pay a little more (while sitting on untold millions)(the focus is always on the difference, not the total).  I said back that while he is pointing to the direct tax cost, he is ignoring the much more damaging disincentive effect.  There aren't that many people who are ready, willing andable to build a new thousand person, billion dollar company from scratch, and everyone there knows this guy is capable of it and young enough to do it again.  Why would he and why should he do it again as we throw ever increasing barriers, roadblocks and regulations at him and then, if it should succeed in spite of all that, we let him keep very little of the reward for the capital risked and the enormous burden undertaken.  At some point in the disincentives of taxation and regulation he will choose the status quo and make do very comfortably with what he has, as most investors are already doing.  Who loses in that scenario?  Not him, he is set.  Who loses is the next thousand people whose jobs never get created and the chain affect that has on our region and on our economy with each of those people who would have lived more affluently, spent more, hired their own help and invested more in the economy.

I don't know how to get this through the resistance of a liberal, a moderate or even about half of the conservatives, but you can not design a tax on the rich that is not a tax on yourself, on your own family and neighbors and on the economy as a whole.  It is all interconnected. That tax on the rich is really levied on all of us, not just the rich, and the damage is impossible to measure when the effect of it is to cause something extremely positive not to happen that otherwise would have occurred, including amazing wealth creation and thousands of jobs in one case and literally tens of millions of jobs across the economy.
4732  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: May 26, 2011, 03:06:49 PM
"Does anyone know if this forum has a "Poll" function?   I'd love to see a vote on who is "winning" this conversation!"
VERY interesting points revealed on both sides of this argument.

The truth IMO, in just this one case, is somewhere in between the extremes.  We aren't about to legalize meth level dangers and we don't need to lock and throw away the key on Grandpa for honestly helping Grandma. I propose a compromise.  If you are terminally ill with less than a year to live, you can smoke anything you want.  But at the end of the year, unlike the released and Lockerbie bomber, you have to keep your part of the bargain.

I believe (stated previously) that the casual and safe user of mild and relatively accepted substances will be far better served with decriminalization than with legalization which would most certainly be accompanied with a complete government takeover - enforced with criminal penaltiues.  The user whose odor permeated the hallway should learn to efficiently operate a one-hitter.  And weatherstrip that door; your heat and AC are getting out too.   smiley
4733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 26, 2011, 01:52:31 PM
"Just like those monsters that think only Americans should vote in American elections."

We are halfway there.  Did we not just grant them all representation in the 2010 census?
"Why the Census Should Count Illegal Aliens
    A Matter of Money
Not counting illegal aliens costs cities and states federal money, resulting in a reduction of services to all residents. The census count is used by Congress in deciding how to distribute more than $400 billion annually to state, local and tribal governments. The formula is simple: the greater the population your state or city reports, the more federal money it might get."  [And representation"
4734  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Path Science: Japan, along with Germany and China, rejects Climate Change on: May 26, 2011, 01:37:18 PM
A 600 year earthquake has had its direct nuclear radiation death toll reduced to 0 out of 20,000 total earthquake/tsunami deaths, so out go all new nuclear plans and several existing ones in favor of the much 'more safe'  huh greenhouse gas based fossil fuel combustion.  

That policy shift alone in one island country will add 7 TRILLION more pounds (350 billion tons)of CO2 per year into the atmosphere.

What could possibly go wrong with that?

CCP, The Muller piece is very interesting.  He covers both sides fairly well.  No question there was some warming.  No question there is some human component in it. And no question that there are other factors, known and unknown, and no question our ability to measure any of it is flawed.  No question that previous accounts were exaggerated.  If his is the first reliable data, that isn't much data.  Unfortunately, for the umpteen hundredth time, I read through an entire 'scientific' climate change pdf with glorified headlines to find no answer to the two burning questions: how much was the warming and what component of it was human caused.

Cherry picking, I found this: " if we cut back and China continues to grow and India continues to grow [and they will], our cutting back will not achieve any real good."

(See the first half of the post, other countries are NOT cutting back.)

I will be more impressed when some scientist gets both the climate science and the economics of it right.  Cap trade and every other artificial mechanism to get energy prices up and energy use down here will move manufacturing to India, China and all other places outside our jurisdiction.  It already has.  Instead of doing no measurable good, while destroying our economy, these laws do no good at all, and Muller, give him credit, admitted it.

The answer to replace fossil fuels will come, most likely, from private sector innovation, like most other major technological developments.  I would argue that allowing the private sector to re-energize robustly is the solution, not the problem.  When energy prices go up for real instead of artificially, an economic alternative solution will emerge, It always does.  We will solve this better from a position of economic strength instead of desperation, IMO.
4735  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: May 26, 2011, 12:45:41 PM
"If you require on a state level, proof of legal status for employment or government goodies, you'll see many illegals self-deport."

GM, If we had a rule like that and applied it evenly to all employers, all employees and all applicants, wouldn't that be discriminatory?   wink
4736  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - Chrysler SUVs saved the co. on: May 26, 2011, 12:42:37 PM
"Obama plans to make this “success” (auto bailouts) a centerpiece of his 2012 campaign"

BBG, maybe his fund raisers can be called Cash for Clunkers...

"But there is one inconvenient truth you won't hear ... Chrysler wouldn't be here had it not defied its green White House masters. Chrysler's return to profitability is a direct result of the fabulous success of its SUVs.

From The Detroit News:
4737  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: May 26, 2011, 12:26:27 PM
I love that joke! From the more liberal jurisdictions I thought the ending would be that he got the ticket for driving a pickup truck.
4738  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: May 26, 2011, 12:01:50 PM
Crafty wrote: "... just what are the standards for determining the line between state and federal responsibility in this sort of thing?"

I would add that charity and neighborly assistance used to be the norm.

During Katrina, the US Coast Guard helicopters flew from rooftop to rooftop until there was no one left to rescue.  I do not know of any purse tightening, scary conservative who opposes that type of use of federal resources.

Monday morning after our tornado I bought a chain saw with my 'self-insurance settlement' and began cutting a path to get a ladder to a roof to start rebuilding.  Nowhere else within sight or earshot had work begun within 24 hours of the twister.  The work that began was to see office dressed people wandering through with clipboards and cameras preparing their cases for third party pay.  

I was impressed to see our postal carrier climb through the debris between homes right on schedule.  He told me the mayor and councilman were on the block (safely above the damage).  Mark me down as a cynic and a skeptic, but they weren't looking for survivors or helping people dig out of their homes; it was a photo opp to begin the case for federal emergency assistance.

When is it federal, when is it state, when is it local, when is it private, when is it charity, when do neighbors pull together and lend a hand ... there is no easy answer or criteria but when we are talking about money and checks after the fact, rather than equipment emergency and manpower to save lives, there will be pork, waste and fraud within those funds. Discussing that should not be off-limits.  The 'quote' under Cantor's picture is not what he said.  The "Duh" that the writers put to "priority" apparently don't know the meaning of that word.  You put a priority AHEAD of something else, not just with everything else. The further away the money comes from the more abuse I would expect to find.  I couldn't help but ponder from my roof with helicopters for gawkers circling, where is my bailout?  So I took the free bottle of water that the Salvation Army tossed up.  (It was the electricity, not the water, that was off.)

North Minneapolis may be near blight now, but when these neighborhoods were built 90 years ago, homes were built solid - with basements well below frostline.  No comparison to Joplin with a type 5, but only 4% of tornadoes are stronger than what cut right through this major metro, yet no one who was able to take cover in their homes and basements was killed.  

Like the argument of smaller efficient cars taking the brunt in a crash, the feds will pay you to build homes with energy star ideas like in floor heat instead of basements with no consideration for where to take caver when the storm hits.  

I can't tell the shame I feel when the Minnesota politicians petition the federal government for cold weather assistance.  Who knew about cold weather?  But in winter it is our turn to dip into the sugar jar if we are going to pay the rest of the year for hurricane damages to people who build in hurricane zones, earthquake funds to people who live on fault lines, tornado assistance to people who build to in 'tornado alley', flood payments to people who build in the flood plain, etc etc.

Horrific in Joplin are the deaths IMO, not the property damage no matter how devastating.  Money after the fact does not bring the deaths back to life and Cantor did not say no federal money. I'm sure no one yet knows what part of this loss is insured.  $3 billion to Washington is a rounding error and who says the feds should pay all of it and why is not okay to question in Washington whether that will be a priority, putting it ahead of something else, or a debt or mini-QE that we will never repay.

Mpls damage estimated at a couple hundred million dollars means that 0.000001 of total assets in MN were wiped out, most of it insured.  That is not something that that a local community could not absorb or rebuild - at least if not for the $44 billion/yr MN already sends to the federal government alone.   JMHO.
4739  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) & the 4th Amendment on: May 25, 2011, 11:19:19 AM
"Justice Kennedy's opinion included an array of anecdotes regarding prison conditions in California, where "as many as 54 prisoners may share a single toilet" "

  - I don't have time to study a case now, but that sounds like the foundation of a solid argument ...  to fund an additional toilet.  How does a factual statement have the words "as many as"..."may" in it?
4740  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Tim Pawlenty on: May 24, 2011, 11:43:28 AM
Tim Pawlenty announced he was turning against ethanol supports - in Iowa - yesterday, announcing support for raising the retirement age - in Florida - today, and unveiling his plans on financial reforms - on Wall Street - tomorrow. 

Courage to Stand.

What did O'bama/Biden/Pelosi/Reid get done this week?
4741  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 24, 2011, 11:30:56 AM
"China has warned that an “attack” on Pakistan will be taken as an attack on China"

Just thinking aloud here, but maybe we can cut out the middle man.
4742  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 24, 2011, 11:28:11 AM
"where do you start in negotiations with these people?"

From a position of strength.  Giving what they want before negotiations and weakening yourself is no place to start.

"And while they are despicable, so are regimes in North Korea, Iran, et all and we do negotiate with them.  Why are Hamas different?"

On trade, we took opposite paths with China and Cuba; neither strategy delivered change inside the repressive regimes.  Note that N.K. has nukes and Iran wields regional power and energy power.  Nothing went well enough in any other example to risk destruction of an ally. The ones who would risk destruction of Israel don't consider it an ally.  Obama speaks out of both sides of his mouth so I have no idea what his real view of Israel is.  Mentioned already was that the Palestinian leaders of terror are elected leaders, which takes quick fixes like deposing or regime change off the table, until it comes from within.

"Ignoring the Hamas obviously isn't going to work either."

What does Israel want from them, other than to stop attacking.  Has any previous gift / giveback of land stopped the attacks? (No.)

What I don't get is why all the focus from Obama for a certain failure, does he think he is on the brink of a breakthrough? Is his strategy so deep, clever and well-thought out that no one sees it?  Judging his performance in other areas like our economy, energy supply, budget deficit, etc. I would say no. Was he wishing for the public lecture on Israeli survival he received from Netanyahu as part of some larger strategy or thinking Bibi would roll over when the cameras were on? Quite a naive and stupid misjudgment unless I am missing something.  What point is there in making Israel look bad for choosing survival over destruction?
Crafty already asked: "a) Why was this speech sprung upon the Israelis?  Why did BO not give N. a heads up with sufficient time for some backchannel communications? b) What the hell does "contiguous" mean in this context?  That Gaza and the West Bank will be connected?!?..."

Great question regarding contiguous! Someone please post Obama's ultimate peace map... seriously, with survival, not just an Jewish-Israeli graveyard.

Per capita income for Palestinians is about $1100 in real purchasing power.  For Israel that is close to $30,000?? (  Failed state vs. free society.  That looks to me like the place to start.  Maybe thinking outside the box, our leader with all his deep thinking advisers could suggest some humanitarian path for advancement and self sufficiency along these lines instead of just the endless quest for land grab and terror support.

I would think a 10 year waiting period after all the countries in the region drop their destruction of Israel platform and after the last missile is fired on them would be reasonable before we even ask Israel to negotiate or offer concessions.

Has our current leader with his immense knowledge of history ever explicitly articulated what a good thing it is that the bloody tyrant who paid $25,000 per suicide bombing is gone?
"How do you negotiate with someone who stated purpose is serve as Allah's servant by killing you and yours?"

Why wouldn't those people be more comfortable inside an Arab or Muslim land  instead of living with their most hated enemy and waging eternal war.  Why not have American push that direction, while supporting the survival of Israel, our ally.  'Crazy talk.'
4743  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: May 24, 2011, 12:07:39 AM
Amen to that BD. Worst in 60 years...

Nothing like Joplin MO, but yesterday was my first tornado ever as a property owner - Minneapolis was hit hard also. God Bless my tenants who ran for to their basements and found safety while the funnel ran through.  I have some cleanup to do, these are 2 story homes buried in debris with pieces of the homes knocked off.  Streets closed, schools closed, all wires down, power off, helicopters circling and 9pm curfew. It wasn't looting at the liquor store where the whole top blew off according to the owner they were taking the bottles out on the honor system when he got there. Lots of photos today but it looks about like this in every direction:
4744  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 22, 2011, 06:35:39 PM
Among the short short list of people who know more about the security of Israel than Pres. Obama, this is Gene Simmons of Kiss:
4745  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation: Silver Dollar Irony, Nothaus v. Bernanke on: May 22, 2011, 06:02:29 PM
This could go in the thread of very bad humor or WTF...

Via Powerline: "Our friend Seth Lipsky wasn't able to make it to the press conference, but he took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to pose four questions for Bernanke. Here is the third of the four questions Seth served up:" (all 4 are linked below)

    Mr. Chairman, last month a federal jury in North Carolina convicted a man named Bernard von NotHaus of counterfeiting U.S. coins. His medallions, which he called "Liberty Dollars," were made of silver. When he sold them he was getting about $20 for a medallion containing an ounce of silver, and now the coin is worth nearly twice that amount in U.S. dollars.

    Yet the dollars you issued back when Mr. von NotHaus was in business have plunged in value to but a fraction of the silver or gold they were worth when you issued them. Mr. von NotHaus may be going to jail for years, and yet here you are. I don't mean to suggest in any way that you broke any law, but how do you feel about this situation?
4746  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential: Herman Cain on Fox News Sunday on: May 22, 2011, 05:56:12 PM
I tuned in at the awkward moment described at the first link where Cain appeared to not know what Chris Wallace meant by 'right of return' in the Israel-Palestinian issue.  Wallace jumped back in to elaborated as he was not looking for a gotcha moment to advance his career (unlike Gibson, Couric with Palin) and since there is more than one right of return issue possible.  Cain still looked a bit lost for details.

On Afghanistan, I have previously appreciated his point about people without all the information second guessing the war effort and strategy.  However... running for Commander in Chief, communicator in chief, he should have plenty to say about goals, decision criteria, etc. for a question about America's longest running war.

Did anyone see the entire interview?
4747  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bin Laden dead on: May 22, 2011, 02:34:19 PM
I am skeptical of that story.  Could involve elements of truth and new discovery of facts but seems unlikely that they and no one else know the whole story.  Let's see if the embassy snitch gets the reward.

"Clinton made sure that the vice president was made aware of the situation."

For one thing, I don't think the players on the inside would screw around much with the secrecy set up for the operation, other than Obama who has the power to declassify anything and choose who knows.  Regarding the role of Valerie Jarret, I believe Obama sought political advice when he needed to sleep on it and then approved it with no operational follow up.  Maybe his most trusted adviser is Jarret.  I just don't believe one freelance journalist, if he knows the Pak or Afghan embassy story that is completely new, would also be first to know and tell the whole story inside the west wing story - with all the behind the scenes details.

"Too bad she's not President versus Obama...."

 - Very sad that out of 300 million Americans that Obama, H.Clinton and McCain were the last 3 people standing for that position.  (People, get involved earlier in the process!)

If enough people inside Pakistan knew OBL's whereabouts, how could Obama know he had months to sit still on the information and then strike with complete surprise?  The CIA sets up a safe house in the neighborhood, within view(?), where home visits by military police are routine, and no one in Pakistan knew that either??...

The courier story makes more sense to me.  OBL had more than 30 tapes delivered to the media, with delays and safeguards.  I'm sure we were at least trying to track the movement of those from the first one.  Interesting that bin Laden was denying his involvement in the released tapes but proved his involvement in one that American forces found:  I think we will be waiting longer than the JFK assassination to get the whole story.  Be patient.

BTW, does anyway believe that the trusted couriers were sneaking porn into the compound for themselves, without bin Laden's approval?  The villains of the Batman series were more authentic than this fraudulent religious freak.
4748  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 21, 2011, 11:03:17 AM
We could have gov't get the hell out of healthcare and let the free market price it. I know, just crazy talk.....   rolleyes

That would solve it, but for some reason we can't.
4749  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential, Recent college grads sour on Obama, surveys say on: May 21, 2011, 11:02:00 AM
Regarding race baiting of conservative blacks and sexism against conservative women:  Yes of course this happens-- but my sense of things is that the rubber band on this sort of excrement is about to snap back-- people are getting fed up with this crap and Bachman and Cain are ideally suited to be the tip of the spear on this IMHO.

You make a good point.  Also for the next year Republicans will be judged by the field of candidates, not the nominee.  Nothing looks more stereotypical than having 12-16 white guys on the stage for a year, all wearing the same suit, same tie, same age, same background, and saying the same things.

Obama's dual base of rich elitist whites along with the unproductive inner city vote of all colors is mostly not going to switch teams; they've just lost enthusiasm because the expectation of getting big results for doing nothing is gone.  The ground game in the inner city is still ACORN, the anti-capitalism, pro-big-government and welfare rights organization but under a new name.  They will be supporting leftism over color.  Likewise for the ground game within academia, teachers union etc.

A ray of hope with young voters:;_ylt=Ase0UH_am0IDPFioAHCKdJSyFz4D;_ylu=X3oDMTNtaDU5ajA0BGFzc2V0A2RhaWx5Y2FsbGVyLzIwMTEwNTIwL3JlY2VudGNvbGxlZ2VncmFkc3NvdXJvbm9iYW1hc3VydmV5c3NheQRwb3MDMTUE

Recent college grads sour on Obama, surveys say

A very large proportion of recent university graduates have soured on President Barack Obama, and many will vote GOP or stay at home in the 2012 election, according to two new surveys of younger voters.

“These rock-solid Obama constituents are free-agents,” said Kellyanne Conway, president of The Polling Company, based in Washington, D.C. She recently completed a large survey of college grads, and “they’re shopping around, considering their options, [and] a fair number will say at home and sit it out,” she said.

The scope of this disengagement from Obama is suggested by an informal survey of 500 post-grads by Joe Maddalone, founder of Maddalone Global Strategies. Of his sample, 93 percent are aged between 22 and 28, 67 percent are male and 83 percent voted for Obama in 2008. But only 27 percent are committed to voting for Obama again, and 80 percent said they would consider voting for a Republican, said New York-based Maddalone.

That’s a drop of almost 60 points in support for Obama among this influential class of younger post-grad voters,

The challenge as posed in the first paragraph is to get a significant portion of these people who are tempted to sit out converted over to pro-growth, limited government conservatism.  If they just sit out a cycle, Republicans could win this one by default, but the seesaw battle of stagnation, hating incumbents and getting nothing good accomplished continues.
4750  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential: Bachmann, Cain on: May 20, 2011, 06:07:01 PM
One point IMO with Bachmann-Cain is that it is upset down.  He is the executive.

I have defended Bachmann plenty, mostly because she is criticized so strongly.  She is smart and conservative but a bit of a lightning rod for liberals and independents who hate and distrust anyone or anything far right.  A few gaffes along the way, but has done plenty of good for the conservative cause.  Her opponents for her congressional seat keep underestimating her as she keeps winning reelection against huge liberal money in Minnesota's most conservative district, the so-called x-urbs, a ring across the northern metro and outward.

GM is right on both counts.  Cain somehow gets no credit for being black and hugely successful because he is a conservative.  Bachmann, like Palin, is a freak to ordinary liberal to independent women for raising so many children and having conservative views especially in education.

She is somewhat self-appointed as a tea party leader.  I like Marco Rubio's explanation of not joining that legislative group.  Paraphrasing: the tea party by definition is the grass roots leading the elected officials, not the other way around.  Taking that distinction further, I would say that Rubio with a million vote win in a key swing state is an example of attracting people to the movement, while Bachmann is well liked I think only by people who are already very conservative.  Bachmann could not similarly be elected to the senate in Minnesota.

For Bachmann, not brilliant, but the smartest person in the room in this youtube committee hearing clip with Barney Frank presiding and Bachmann questions Bernanke and Geithner about the constitutionality of all the tarp funds and federal bailouts of non-financial institutions.  Bernanke at least had an answer.  Geithner is a blathering idiot and Barney Frank's talk at the end is beyond words.:
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