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4701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 14, 2012, 04:18:10 PM
JDN, you crack me up.  Accepting spending at the 4 trillion level and increasing it over 10 years by 5 trillion is not failure to compromise; that is utter hogwash.  It is the other side that failed to compromise to the point of governing by czar, by executive order and by passing transformational legislation without attracting a single crossover vote.  So that can't be your real yardstick.  Like CCP said, you just need to admit it; you are one of them.   wink

[Romney] "during this election he's about to fall off, or maybe he's being pushed, the right wing cliff"

FWIW, the right wing, tea party, fiscal conservative, expanding individual liberty, returning to founding, limited government  principles movement is not the cliff.  Nice try.  We don't want to stop you from driving a Prius, giving to the poor, choosing your doctor, changing your work schedule or eating an organic french fry.  The status quo is the cliff.  Stay on it and the next generation is bankrupt.
4702  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Ezra Klein and the case of the disagreeing economists on: August 14, 2012, 04:03:03 PM
"Economists to Romney campaign: That’s not what our research says"

Bigdog, Thanks for posting that.  It is not that uncommon that economists don't like the conclusions that others draw from their research.  The headline is quite clear but the arguments made by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post that follow seem quite convoluted to me, and there were far more than 3 economists quoted in that piece.  

I'm glad we are trying to hold both sides accountable.  The study (Tax Policy Center) currently being cited by Obama regarding the Romney economic plan is one of the most deceptive I have seen in years of watching deception, and the main attack still levied against Paul Ryan on Medicare was awarded Politifact's 2011 Lie of the Year Award, not exactly a right wing organization.

Ezra Klein:  "Hubbard, Mankiw, Taylor and Hassett make three main points: The first is that this recovery has been terribly slow, even by the standards of post-financial crisis recoveries. The second is that the Obama administration made a grievous error by relying on (spending) stimulus. And the third is that Romney’s tax and economic plans would usher in an era of rapid growth that would both be good for the country and provide the boost to revenues and employment necessary to make their numbers work out."   - So far, so good.  Should have stopped there IMO.

“This recession is really quite different,” Bordo said. But he didn’t see government policy as the obvious cause.    - That is absurd IMHO and not at all studied or proven in the research cited.

"Both Sufi and Bordo agree that the housing market was at the core of this recession..."
   - Nothing about houses, 2x4's, roofs or siding caused or the bubble or the collapse.  It was the government policies toward creation of money and lending on houses without regard to creditworthiness or logic that led to the insanity.  Mortgages were 90% federal and the rest were all under the complete jurisdiction of botched federal regulations.

Klein regarding economist Bordo: But when I probed whether Bordo was implicitly criticizing the Obama administration’s housing policies, he essentially shrugged. “We didn’t have massive government intervention in it anyway,” he says.

What??  90% control of mortgages and moratoriums on foreclosures including the 10% they didn't control along with infusions of trillions and lending based on non-creditworthiness considerations, this is not massive government intervention??  Nonsense, and also NOT IN THE STUDY.

The only quote in the paper from Bordo that I saw is that "a slow growth recovery is not inevitable".  That is fair conclusion one could make looking at 26 cycles studied in the research paper that Bordo co-authored and pretty close to their own conclusion: "Our analysis of the data shows that steep expansions tend to follow deep contractions, though this depends heavily on when the recovery is measured. In contrast to much conventional wisdom, the stylized fact that deep contractions breed strong recoveries is particularly true when there is a financial crisis. In fact, on average, it is cycles without a financial crisis that show the weakest relation between contraction depth and recovery strength."  (This contraction most certainly had a financial crisis!) If Bordo now contends that this slow recovery was inevitable, then maybe he is satisfied with current economic growth.  The rest of us aren't.  Pretending that what is wrong in this economy today is about housing when nearly everyone has a house and houses are arguably still overvalued is absurd, and not demonstrated in the study.  Isn't ousing construction according to Wesbury is growing faster than the rest of the economy anyway?

4 years past Bush we are on a glidepath to never solving our problems without changing leadership and changing direction and making serious governmental reforms.  Meanwhile Ezra Klein with an unhidden agenda writes about shiny objects, over here!

The current policy direction arrow on all major Obama policies is anti-growth.  Other goals, Pres. Obama's quest for 'fairness' and his propensity to give goodies to targeted constituent groups, are paramount to seeking enterprise driven growth in all policy considerations as far as I can see.

The way you recover housing is to allow incomes to grow.  The way you grow incomes is to allow economic freedoms to expand.  These policies are aimed entirely in the opposite direction.  This is Decline by Design no matter how it is spun.  MHO
4703  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 14, 2012, 02:17:06 PM
"Some years ago I agreed with this supposed compromising strategy."

Yes, Dr. CCP was my formerly favorite moderate on the board.   smiley

We used to argue the merits of smaller government versus bigger government, compromising with big spenders versus not.  Now we argue big government versus going bigger and bigger and bigger with no idea whatsoever how to pay for it.  Can't we get 51% or so to settle for just big government at all levels instead of total control of all aspects of our lives?

As posted, taking a 4 trillion/year out of control spending habit, keeping all of it and increasing it by 5 trillion over 10 years is still considered hard right politics and pushing Granny over the cliff.
4704  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 14, 2012, 01:45:40 PM
Thank you JDN; that was a very responsive post.  The question was who would you choose today so I have no argument.  That is your choice and those are your reasons.  The point of my question was that I did not understand all the negativity about Romney if you were still going to vote for him, but if after all we've been through you still support Obama, then your negative feelings about Romney are genuine.

"I think Obama inherited many of the current problems from Bush."  - Don't forget the Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden congress.  We had 4.6% unemployment when Dems took congress not 8.3 or 9 or 10%.  It came from Bush.  It came from Dems and it came from Dems in congress and it came most elected Republicans who supported to some degree all the same CRAp:  a federal program for everything, spending beyond our means, straying from all principles, regulations beyond logic and a government that controls markets and centrally tries to pick winners and losers.

"Also, the world's economy is in the doldrums; it's not just us."  - That is a one edged sword?  We used to lead the world but now it is that their demise bringing us down.  Why not a mention that our wrong-headed policy-based failure to recover is bringing down the world economy?

"I...believe it should be combination of cuts and tax increases."  - Just a few weeks ago I thought we agreed to distinguish tax revenue increases and tax rate increases.  As Crafty already posted, there are no spending cuts in anyone's proposal so that half is hot air and the historic correlation is with increasing tax revenues by cutting tax rates rather than by increasing them.  Years of citing data, links, studies and proof can not trump such likable rhetoric from big government ideologues.  Even Obama admits that raising tax rates is about "fairness" not revenues.  Four historic examples AGAIN: JFK's ( a Dem) tax rate cuts had a lasting effect, Reagan tax rate cuts doubled revenues within a decade, Clinton-Gingrich capital gain rate cuts led to a balanced budget and even W Bush's rate cuts caused the static scorers to misunderestimate revenues with forecasting shortfall errors in the HUNDREDS of BILLIONS.  Oh well.  Maybe some else reading these threads got the point.

"I don't think the "rich" will mind nor will it change their lifestyle to pay another 2-3 percent." 

  - They may not mind it or all vote against it but they do invest and employ less at the margin.  "2-3%" is not the increase that is on the table from the Obama administration 2.0.  More like a tripling of cumulative tax rates in some cases.

"Further, I think capital gains, frankly all income should be taxed nearly the same."

   - I think you mean quadruple-taxed the same; most capital gains have already been taxed at least 2 or 3 times before you figure the 15% additional or whatever that rate becomes.  A long term capital gain at anytime in our lifetime has by definition an inflation component to it.  Have you EVER taken the time to read, think, understand and agree that continuous devaluation of the dollar is not income?!?!

"Romney's 12% tax rate, maybe lower in previous years, and even lower under Ryan's
proposal, doesn't seem right to me when others, i.e. middle class are paying over 30%."

   - The top 20% earners in this country make 50% of the income and pay 70% of the taxes.  Any implication that the rich as a group do not pay their share is based on lies and deception.  The group that isn't paying their share is the poor and no one is proposing that they do.  If you could confiscate every penny earned by the rich you still can't pay for spending at these levels.  What perplexes me is your previous support of Huntsman's plan which is markedly to the right of both Romney and Ryan.  Huntsman proposed ELIMINATING all federal taxes on capital gains because the income has already been taxed.

"I don't think Romney really understands the middle class."   - The middle, median, 50th percentile adult in this country pays ZERO federal individual income tax.  The thing that Romney needs to understand, and does, is that killing off investment kills off jobs.  What is to understand about anyone who is working his/her tail off except that they might like the opportunity to make more, keep more and not pass on all that debt to their children.

"He's (McCain) more middle of the road (reasonable) and aligned with my opinion; Romney day by day is going right and further right...."

    - Obama was the leftmost Senator and our leftmost President.  McCain was the most "middle of the road" possible and yet you chose the leftmost over the centrist.  Romney was the RINO-most of the Republicans running.  Did you not see the hate speech on the far right sites towards him.   :wink:He picked a very reasonable and thoughtful running mate (who wants to raise spending by just 5 trillion) and still you prefer the leftmost.  That speaks about you, not much about him.  I seriously appreciate your very candid comments.  No offense but the goal is not to win over people who want the leftmost President to continue to transform, not reform.  The goal over on our side is to defeat you.   wink

4705  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 13, 2012, 03:52:50 PM
I don't think you or the daily beast understand that the people who think they can spend more and more and more and get someone else to pay for it or not pay for it are in Governor Romney's target market in the first place.  They already have an app for that!

If you are so certain of the consistency and accuracy of your pushpolling links, then how do you explain the win of Republicans in the most recent election by 7 points nationally with the same choices on the table?

JDN, who would YOU vote for if the election were held today?
4706  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Paul Ryan on: August 13, 2012, 11:03:41 AM
"The commitment Mitt Romney and I make to you is this," Ryan said at a rally Saturday. " We won't duck the tough issues; we will lead. We won't blame others; we will take responsibility. And we won't replace our founding principles; we will reapply them."

Knowing Paul Ryan as we do, we have no reason to doubt him.  - Milwaukee Journal Sentinal editorial
4707  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Paul Ryan on: August 13, 2012, 10:57:30 AM
I am enjoying the reading and analysis on the Ryan pick.  One oversight in much of it is that is that Romney picked Ryan for the number two slot, not the top of the ticket.  Ryan will be defending the Romney plan and contrasting and attacking the Obama record.  It is not exactly the case that Romney needs to defend the Ryan plan.  Missing in the coverage of the Ryan road map is that he always said he was open to other ideas and other plans; none were  forthcoming from the Dems in congress or the too-busy-with-other-things White House.

The strange timing of the pick missing a big media spotlight came from the fact (reported at that the Milwaukee tragedy was in his district and the service was Friday.  Waiting for a bigger media splash opportunity would not have been worth holding up the announcement and getting on with the campaign.

I think we got the pick and the reasons for it right on the board, which is nice, and so did Romney.

Gov. Romney has taken my 16 year plan a step forward.  Instead of two terms each of Romney and Rubio, this allows for a 24 year plan with Romney, Ryan and then Rubio.   This gives Rubio quite a bit more time to prepare to be the best President ever.  24 years of competent, limited government governance could put this country back on the right-track in a way that everyone (except the outgoing first lady) could be proud of.
4708  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: August 09, 2012, 09:14:25 PM
"Exports are now at all-time record highs and do not show any clear signs of slowing due to the financial situation in Europe or a slowdown in China."

Hard to criticize that--except to note that it undercuts the argument that the US economy is slowing down because of Europe.

True.  Also undercuts the claim that exports are up because of the President's policies.  The increase according to the original story comes oil and energy production, but that occurred outside of limits the Obama administration placed blocking deep sea drilling, ANWR Alaska still blocked, one pipeline blocked, one closed, and drilling limits on federal lands.

The only sign of economic health came from an industry the President sought to take down.

Like Rush Lombaugh said, "I hope he fails" [to destroy the country].
4709  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: August 09, 2012, 08:55:43 PM
"No one seems to care except you Objectionist1"

    - This statement is categorically false.  Read the thread.

"JDN makes absolutely NO attempt to refute anything contained in the Andrew McCarthy piece I posted earlier in this thread, which effectively destroys his laughable claim that this is simply a "witch hunt."  There are plenty of FACTS in that piece.  JDN evidently isn't interested in facts - only in character assassination."

    - This statement is true.

An honest difference of opinion debated passionately would be perfect for the question at hand.  Unfortunately one side of the argument hasn't shown up yet.

Let me help frame an answer for the character assassin.  Inquiry and oversight into the question of how highest level staff with at least indirectly ties to terror organizations were vetted is not warranted because ________________________.
4710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: August 09, 2012, 08:44:08 PM
"If he wins, it's in spite of himself, not because of himself."  - JDN, attached to no position on any issue.

Ad hominem (directed at the person), ad nauseum (unpleasurable to the point of nausea).

Do you troll or post opinions on issues?  You haven't even said you will vote against the guy.  Hundreds of millions are being spent to drive up his negatives and then they poll to ask same people what do you think of his negatives.  Then the poll becomes the news story.  Not anti-growth, anti-employment policies, just at the person BS.

If the poll is the news story, how about posting the poll internals. How many Dems, how many R's, and now many independents in the "random adult survey"? 
4711  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: August 09, 2012, 08:25:01 PM
Does JDN know what he's posting?

a) Mitts is singular unless you've got two of them, and
b) the 'quote' is from Netanyahu, not Gov. Romney, and the source is unnamed.
c) The reference to Romney's policy is posed with a question mark! 
d) Both the headline writer and the poster did not read the article it appears, yet both found it worth passing on for others, lol.
4712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: August 09, 2012, 03:00:39 PM
"exports are up 7.1% while imports are up 2.2%"

This is measured good news.  Both are up from abysmal levels.  2.2% (flat) imports is a sign of consumptive malaise.  7% growth in exports means we still can compete and sell on the world market so maybe it really still is worth turning around the anti-business climate in this country.

"Two (and a half) years ago, President Obama popped a surprise into his State of the Union address: His administration would double American exports in five years, helping to create two million jobs."

No, we aren't on track to do that.  NY Times said we are growing exports at 16%/yr as of last January.m  That fell to 7% in just 6 months??
4713  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney - Ryan budget? on: August 09, 2012, 02:54:12 PM
The negative to Ryan as a choice it is said is that it ties Romney to Ryan's budget and its specifics, except where he has said he differs.

The problem with that thinking though is that the Obama/Dem camp is tying Romney to the Ryan budget anyway.  Might as well run on it as a strength and as an agenda for a mandate and bring on board the person best able to defend it.

That is roughly the point of Stephen Hayes and Bill Kristol here:
4714  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: August 08, 2012, 12:39:54 PM
Crafty: "My own in-house marketing survey, my wife, resonated to him very well.  This is a good sign! "

Yes, how they inspire the base and how they received by voters who are more independent are both important.  Picking Ryan means he is serious about solving our economic problems.  Seldom do you see a real congressional leader put on the ticket by either party.  Ryan has been front and center on reform to stand up against the President who has been the antithesis to reform.

It isn't just about winning, but to convey that they know how to govern if they win.  If the House,the Executive Branch and 50+ Senators can get on the same page, we are a few cloture votes away from turning this country around.

46% may like Obama but well over 60% say we are on the wrong track.
4715  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 08, 2012, 11:40:49 AM
Good post and very good point made by obj on govt programs and ending welfare reform.  Pres. Obama seeks to run on Clinton's jobs record yet oppose him on Clinton's jobs agenda.

Speaking of the legs of a stool, with a nudging from Newt and the 1994 electorate, Clinton built some growth success on some solid conservative principles:

a) Capital gains tax rate cuts spurring American investors to invest in America, Obama opposes that, see the Obama-Buffet rule.  After-tax tax rates needs to be higher than regular tax rates.
b) Ending the unpopular quest for national health care.  He got beat up in the mid term, changed the agenda and sidelined his unpopular wife.  Imagine that.
c) "The age of big government is over." Actual quote.  At least in rhetoric, there is not a government program that cures all problems.
d) Free trade to grow jobs and build prosperity.
e) "Ending welfare as we know it."  The timing was perfect.  They messed with comfort of idle welfare at the same time that businesses were begging for workers.

For Obama, he is trying two familiar takes on insanity.  Do more of the same in terms of policies for a second term and expecting a different result, and using the opposite strategies to those that grow jobs but expecting job growth to re-appear anyway.

How that can poll above 45% is beyond me.
4716  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney Running mate: Paul Ryan on: August 08, 2012, 11:15:30 AM
This is the time for VEEP choices.  The campaign and media are having some fun with trial balloons, Rubio, Portman, Condaleeza Rice and now Gen. Petraeus.   Take your own shot at it, lay out your preference for running mate and your reasons soon - or else no complaining about the choice later.  wink   The predictions all seem to be based on what Romney thinks he needs and where he sits in the race when he makes the choice, which is right about now. 

They say his favorite surrogate is Pawlenty.  Advantage is that as a 2-term Gov and pretty serious candidate himself he already faced the scrutiny.  He doesn't bring you his home state or any other state with any certainty.  What he brings is a good salesman for Romney and the discussion remains about Romney, not the running mate.

Rubio is my favorite for future President.  He is the best orator and spokesman for the cause.  He is a big picture visionary for a very young man.  Besides wonderfully clear and persuasive explanations, he puts a friendly, non-threatening face on freedom and conservatism.  He offers some help attracting or minimizing the damage with Hispanic voters.  2 years in the senate is his drawback though he has a very accomplished Florida background. 

Maybe Rubio helps with crucial state Florida and gives a more uplifting speech, maybe Portman helps with Ohio, maybe Jindal makes the picture not so white for anti white racists, but Paul Ryan is the heavyweight in the room if this comes done to arguing the agenda, as it most certainly will.

As suggested elsewhere, this election is a one legged stool - upside down; picture the Eifel Tower.  The base is built on economic freedom and the American entrepreneurial spirit connecting throughout a complex grid to the pinnacle which is American strength.  There isn't a foreign policy of strength that comes out of a domestic economy of weakness.

This election is either about the economy and an agenda to bring back its greatness, or it about convoluted discussions of arguing sideways and pointing to shiny objects.  Romney has to make the case that his agenda, the unread 59 point plan, will grow the economy and create opportunity and prosperity available to everyone.  It will, but the question between now and November is whether the sale is made and whether the plan becomes a mandate for real reform.  Enter Paul Ryan...

These days, you hear it everywhere — from Republican donors and veteran operatives, and at Capitol Hill watering holes. A few weeks ago, it was a wishful rumor floating in the Beltway ether. Now, sources close to the Romney campaign say it’s for real, that the taciturn former Massachusetts governor is quietly warming to the idea.

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the budget king of the GOP, may be Mitt Romney’s veep.

“Ryan is very highly respected not only by the candidate, but by Romney’s policy shop,” says Tom Rath, a Romney adviser. “Beyond the political relationship, he has a good personal relationship with Romney, and he has been a strong and reliable surrogate since the primary.”

For months, Ryan has been considered a dark horse for the number-two spot. At age 42, he has accomplished much, such as winning seven straight congressional races and authoring his party’s blueprint for entitlement reform. But his lack of executive experience, and his criticism of the Bay State’s health-care program, made his chances look relatively remote.

Yet behind the scenes, Ryan’s stock has been steadily rising. Romney, a former Bain Capital consultant who relishes data and metrics, has clicked with the youthful Badger State wonk. They have campaigned together and speak frequently on the phone, comparing notes on policy and strategy. And earlier this year, with Ryan’s blessing, Romney hired three of Ryan’s Budget Committee advisers to help him in Boston.

“Romney has spoken out about how we can’t let ourselves evolve into an entitlement society, so you can see why Ryan is attracted to Romney,” says former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour. “You can also see why Romney likes Ryan: He’s bright, articulate, and courageous. He’s willing to tell the truth to the American people, and he understands entrepreneurship. He’s also from Wisconsin, which is an important state.”

In late June, National Review Online reported that the Romney campaign was seriously vetting Ryan — and that Ryan had shared paperwork detailing his financial and personal records with a handful of Romney’s Boston-based counselors.

Since then, sources say, Ryan has slowly floated to the top of Romney’s vice-presidential shortlist. In conversations with senior advisers and donors — at the campaign’s summer retreat in Park City, Utah, and at his lakefront home in New Hampshire — Romney has repeatedly expressed his admiration for the Wisconsin lawmaker.

“Having observed Romney and Ryan together at some events, it’s clear they have very good chemistry,” says Charlie Black, an outside adviser to the Romney campaign. “They are philosophically in tune, especially on economic and fiscal policy.”

The Romney-Ryan alliance actually began during the early days of the primary, months before Ryan formally endorsed. Romney was struggling against Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and Ryan offered candid, private advice on numerous occasions, which Romney reportedly appreciated.

Speaking with NRO in late March, a week before Ryan endorsed him, Romney highlighted their political kinship. “We chat on a regular basis,” he said. And on policy, “we’re very much inclined in the same direction.”

Publicly, Ryan has consistently been a loyal soldier — championing Romney’s positions, especially to skeptical conservatives. “He doesn’t need to lay out new policies,” Ryan told NRO last week, when asked about Romney’s specificity. “It’s simply about getting up there and offering a vision, emphasizing the choice between two futures. It’s a counter-narrative, a myth of sorts, that [Romney] hasn’t been specific enough.”

Romney is a low-key, non-ideological nominee who has found Ryan’s support invaluable in maintaining friendly relations with the base. If he were tapped, Ryan would continue to generate conservative enthusiasm for the ticket, and he’d further reinforce Romney’s aura of number-crunching competency.

“We are big fans of Ryan,” says Sal Russo, a strategist for the Tea Party Express. “Ryan learned a lot from the great Jack Kemp,” the late fiscal hawk and the GOP’s 1996 vice-presidential nominee. “And anyone who shares Kemp’s ideas gets an A from me.”

Ryan worked as a speechwriter for Kemp and former Reagan cabinet member Bill Bennett before becoming a top Republican staffer to a couple of senators during the Clinton years. Born and raised into a large, Irish-Catholic family in Janesville, Wis., he returned there in 1998, after his stint as an aide, to run for the House.

Of course, a Ryan pick would come with some potential problems. National Journal recently dubbed him Romney’s “riskiest running mate,” owing to the Democrats’ eagerness to blast Ryan’s entitlement proposals. Conservative leaders also have some reservations about potentially sending one of the House’s leading reformers to the Naval Observatory.

“If I had my druthers, I would hope Romney would pick one of the other options,” says Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and a Ryan supporter. “The most important thing in the first year of a Romney administration would be a U-turn on the road to serfdom, and the way to do that is by passing the Ryan budget, which requires a major mover not just at the White House, but in Congress. It’d be easier to do that with Ryan in the House, since he has walked through it already with every Republican.”

Romney, however, may want Ryan to walk through his plan with the country. It would be a bold pick, but if you have been reading the tea leaves, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
4717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - 'Stimulus' is really a depressant, Arthur Laffer on: August 06, 2012, 10:34:15 AM
Very significant piece today in the WSJ.  Please read, learn and vote.

Arthur Laffer: The Real 'Stimulus' Record
In country after country, increased government spending acted more like a depressant than a stimulant.

"The macro economy is the sum total of all of its micro parts... stimulus spending really doesn't make much sense. In essence, it's when government takes additional resources beyond what it would otherwise take from one group of people (usually the people who produced the resources) and then gives those resources to another group of people (often to non-workers and non-producers)."

"government taxing people more who work and then giving more money to people who don't work is a surefire recipe for less work, less output and more unemployment."


Policy makers in Washington and other capitals around the world are debating whether to implement another round of stimulus spending to combat high unemployment and sputtering growth rates. But before they leap, they should take a good hard look at how that worked the first time around.

It worked miserably, as indicated by the table nearby, which shows increases in government spending from 2007 to 2009 and subsequent changes in GDP growth rates. Of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, those with the largest spending spurts from 2007 to 2009 saw the least growth in GDP rates before and after the stimulus.

The four nations—Estonia, Ireland, the Slovak Republic and Finland—with the biggest stimulus programs had the steepest declines in growth. The United States was no different, with greater spending (up 7.3%) followed by far lower growth rates (down 8.4%).

Still, the debate rages between those who espouse stimulus spending as a remedy for our weak economy and those who argue it is the cause of our current malaise. The numbers at stake aren't small. Federal government spending as a share of GDP rose to a high of 27.3% in 2009 from 21.4% in late 2007. This increase is virtually all stimulus spending, including add-ons to the agricultural and housing bills in 2007, the $600 per capita tax rebate in 2008, the TARP and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, "cash for clunkers," additional mortgage relief subsidies and, of course, President Obama's $860 billion stimulus plan that promised to deliver unemployment rates below 6% by now. Stimulus spending over the past five years totaled more than $4 trillion.

If you believe, as I do, that the macro economy is the sum total of all of its micro parts, then stimulus spending really doesn't make much sense. In essence, it's when government takes additional resources beyond what it would otherwise take from one group of people (usually the people who produced the resources) and then gives those resources to another group of people (often to non-workers and non-producers).

Often as not, the qualification for receiving stimulus funds is the absence of work or income—such as banks and companies that fail, solar energy companies that can't make it on their own, unemployment benefits and the like. Quite simply, government taxing people more who work and then giving more money to people who don't work is a surefire recipe for less work, less output and more unemployment.

Yet the notion that additional spending is a "stimulus" and less spending is "austerity" is the norm just about everywhere. Without ever thinking where the money comes from, politicians and many economists believe additional government spending adds to aggregate demand. You'd think that single-entry accounting were the God's truth and that, for the government at least, every check written has no offsetting debit.

Well, the truth is that government spending does come with debits. For every additional government dollar spent there is an additional private dollar taken. All the stimulus to the spending recipients is matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis every minute of every day by a depressant placed on the people who pay for these transfers. Or as a student of the dismal science might say, the total income effects of additional government spending always sum to zero.

Meanwhile, what economists call the substitution or price effects of stimulus spending are negative for all parties. In other words, the transfer recipient has found a way to get paid without working, which makes not working more attractive, and the transfer payer gets paid less for working, again lowering incentives to work.

But all of this is just old-timey price theory, the stuff that used to be taught in graduate economics departments. Today, even stimulus spending advocates have their Ph.D. defenders. But there's no arguing with the data in the nearby table, and the fact that greater stimulus spending was followed by lower growth rates. Stimulus advocates have a lot of explaining to do. Their massive spending programs have hurt the economy and left us with huge bills to pay. Not a very nice combination.

Sorry, Keynesians. There was no discernible two or three dollar multiplier effect from every dollar the government spent and borrowed. In reality, every dollar of public-sector spending on stimulus simply wiped out a dollar of private investment and output, resulting in an overall decline in GDP. This is an even more astonishing result because government spending is counted in official GDP numbers. In other words, the spending was more like a valium for lethargic economies than a stimulant.

In many countries, an economic downturn, no matter how it's caused or the degree of change in the rate of growth, will trigger increases in public spending and therefore the appearance of a negative relationship between stimulus spending and economic growth. That is why the table focuses on changes in the rate of GDP growth, which helps isolate the effects of additional spending.

The evidence here is extremely damaging to the case made by Mr. Obama and others that there is economic value to spending more money on infrastructure, education, unemployment insurance, food stamps, windmills and bailouts. Mr. Obama keeps saying that if only Congress would pass his second stimulus plan, unemployment would finally start to fall. That's an expensive leap of faith with no evidence to confirm it.

Mr. Laffer, chairman of Laffer Associates and the Laffer Center for Supply-Side Economics, is co-author, with Stephen Moore, of "Return to Prosperity: How America Can Regain Its Economic Superpower Status" (Threshold, 2010).

4718  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 04, 2012, 10:32:52 AM
With 3 months to go the election is coming down to a choice between President Obama's view that someone else broke it and he can't fix it and his opponents' view that the movement toward the policies of Obama that preceded his presidency brought the economy down and he can't fix it.  At least we all agree that he can't fix it.
4719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 04, 2012, 09:14:22 AM
BD,  Very exciting! 

Beware of exit poll history, 2004 comes to mind. 

"Throughout election night, the national exit poll showed the Massachusetts senator leading President Bush by 51 percent to 48 percent. But when all the votes were counted, it was Bush who won by slightly less than three percentage points. Larger discrepancies between the exit poll estimates and the actual vote were found in exit polls conducted in several states. At the request of the media sponsors, Mitofsky and Lenski are continuing to examine exit polling in Ohio and Pennsylvania, two critical battleground states where the poll results were off."
4720  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 04, 2012, 12:45:29 AM
"Following up on Doug's work:"   - I appreciate knowing they (the WSJ) read and follow up on our posts here, and occasionally give credit.

“Indeed, if the participation rate were at 66%, which is around where it hovered for many years ahead of the recession, the headline unemployment rate would be a little more than 3pp higher than currently reported,”

Missing in the projections is that if we put an aggressive pro-growth mandate put in place, a turnaround that includes abundant opportunity and potential for real prosperity and economic freedom that counts entrepreneurs in the mix, a workforce participation rate higher than the past is possible. 

There is some math to do, but if you put in place an array of positive incentives (Romney's 59 point plan comes to mind), a return of productive investment and enterprise could grow the workforce a couple of points above historic averages instead of a couple of points below historic averages.  By the time we return the unemployment rate to near a pre-Dem-rule rates of 4.6% and elevate business start rates to new record highs, amazing amounts of income and wealth are possible if we quit fighting against it.  This budget would be in balance in my estimation at that point and the world recession would be over.

Is that worth changing horses in mid-drowning.
4721  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: August 03, 2012, 05:31:26 PM
"Has she done anything secretive or wrong?"...
"And so far the answer is a resounding "NO".  

   - Uh, we don't know that.  The question that was raised is how well was she vetted.  I assume Sec State Clinton has extremely high security clearance.  Huma I assume is in the room when the most secret of secrets is being revealed and discussed.  She very innocently could be talking with these relatives in question about bithdays and graduations in the family from her cell phone in a car immediately after a high clearance meeting.  She may very well be doing nothing wrong.  But SOMEONE IS LEAKING.  The point of the Bachmann et al letter is to pose the question, not the answer, about how well she was vetted and where is the firewall between her exposure to national secrets and her exposure one or two steps removed to national enemies.  That is a rational and appropriate national security question.

Some of those who find this line of inquiry out of bounds publicly and repeatedly accused the Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney of having more loyalty to his former employer Haliburton than to his country that he was sworn to serve.

The question of how well she was vetted was asked in private.  It was the opponents of the inquiry who made it public, as I understand it.  Get back behind closed doors with congressional oversight and find out how well she was vetted.  Go after the sources of the other leaks and stop the illegal and deceitful blockage of information to congressional oversight on other issues and maybe the clouds of suspicion would not be so thick.
"Yeah, I bet Maj. Hussan in Texas was vetted too , , ,"

Yes.  We are making mistakes in security and intelligence all the time, long before Obama.  We should be re-visiting and re-checking these kinds of decisions all the time.

Who knew that a military base was a gun free zone.  Everyone, especially Wikileaks and the NY Times, knows the State Dept. leaks like a sieve.  Check it and check it again.

My guess (already posted) is that it is extreme liberalism, not ties to Islamic radicalism, that has caused us to side with our enemies instead of our allies on major foreign policy decisions of the last 3 1/2 years.  We can only fix that at the ballot box.
4722  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: August 02, 2012, 04:38:42 PM
That was quite a scary video!

Step one is repeal the 'dual mandate'.  That would simplify their mission.


A couple of money quotes:

"Inflation is taxation without legislation."

"Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink and make the combination worthless."

    - Milton Friedman
4723  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics - Milton Friedman on: August 02, 2012, 02:43:37 PM
Milton Friedman would be 100 this week, so a number of articles are circulating to honor him.

Thomas Sowell:

Stephen Moore:

Donald J. Boudreaux, professor of economics at George Mason University

'Free to Choose' television series:

Greed smackdown:

Reagan biographer and Powerline contributor Steven Hayward:

Posted on July 31, 2012 by Steven Hayward in Conservatism, Economy
Milton Friedman at 100

Today is Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday.  It is one of the great privileges of my life to have known him some, and to have spent some time with him in San Francisco back in the 1990s.  Driving with him up and down the hills of San Francisco was not for the faint of heart.  All of his rational calculations of risk seemed to go out the window when he was behind the wheel of his Lexus.  And one of my cherished possessions is the very kind note Milton sent to tell me how much he enjoyed the first volume of my Age of Reagan books, where he makes several appearances.

Thomas Sowell, a student of Milton’s at Chicago, recalls him here.  My pal Steve Moore also recalls his importance in the Wall Street Journal today, calling him “The Man Who Saved Capitalism.”

    In the 1960s, Friedman famously explained that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If the government spends a dollar, that dollar has to come from producers and workers in the private economy. There is no magical “multiplier effect” by taking from productive Peter and giving to unproductive Paul. As obvious as that insight seems, it keeps being put to the test. Obamanomics may be the most expensive failed experiment in free-lunch economics in American history.

    Equally illogical is the superstition that government can create prosperity by having Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke print more dollars. In the very short term, Friedman proved, excess money fools people with an illusion of prosperity. But the market quickly catches on, and there is no boost in output, just higher prices.

I might (but might not) quarrel slightly with Steve’ second paragraph here, as it seems velocity—one of the key terms of Friedman’s basic equation of monetarism (MV=PQ) fell sharply during the recession and may still be off, though it is hard for the layman to tell.  We visited this subject once before, and it brings vividly to mind a dinner I once enjoyed with Milton and the president of a regional Fed bank in the early 1990s in San Francisco, and I was immediately in way over my head as they argued the virtues and defects of the M1, M2, and M3 measures of the money supply.  Even among monetarist economists, there are serious and honest differences in evaluating the economy and prescribing the right monetary course.  (Though one thing Milton was absolutely against was the gold standard.  I learned that in my very first conversation with him way back in the 1980s.)

Easier to grasp is Milton’s piercing of the pretentions of things like Obama’s stimulus.  My all time favorite Milton story involves the time he was motoring in Europe, and noticed a large group of men digging in a field with shovels.  Milton asked someone why they didn’t use a steam shovel or earth mover, and was told that digging with shovels was an employment measure, and if they used an earth mover it would put people out of work.  To which Milton naturally followed up: “Then why don’t you give them spoons?”

There are lots of good videos of Milton on YouTube, many of them drawn from his fabulous “Free to Choose” television series.  But my favorite for today is this very short smackdown of Phil Donahue on the subject of “greed.”  Enjoy!  (UPDATE: A faithful correspondent reminds me about the Milton Friedman Choir, singing about the corporation, so I’ve added this one, too.)
4724  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, not humor on: August 02, 2012, 02:19:50 PM
Received in the email:

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won't be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he's laid...

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
'Taxes drove me
to my doom...'

When he's gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago
4725  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney's Recovery Plan on: August 02, 2012, 12:26:40 PM
Glenn Hubbard: The Romney Plan for Economic Recovery
Tax cuts, spending restraint and repeal of Obama's regulatory excesses would mean 12 million new jobs in his first term alone.

By GLENN HUBBARD  (Romney adviser, Dean of Columbia Business School)

We are currently in the most anemic economic recovery in the memory of most Americans. Declining consumer sentiment and business concerns over policy uncertainty weigh on the minds of all of us. We must fix our economy's growth and jobs machine.

We can do this. The U.S. economy has the talent, ideas, energy and capital for the robust economic growth that has characterized much of America's experience in our lifetimes. Our standard of living and the nation's standing as a world power depend on restoring that growth.

But to do so we must have vastly different policies aimed at stopping runaway federal spending and debt, reforming our tax code and entitlement programs, and scaling back costly regulations. Those policies cannot be found in the president's proposals. They are, however, the core of Gov. Mitt Romney's plan for economic recovery and renewal.

In response to the recession, the Obama administration chose to emphasize costly, short-term fixes—ineffective stimulus programs, myriad housing programs that went nowhere, and a rush to invest in "green" companies.

As a consequence, uncertainty over policy—particularly over tax and regulatory policy—slowed the recovery and limited job creation. One recent study by Scott Baker and Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University and Steven Davis of the University of Chicago found that this uncertainty reduced GDP by 1.4% in 2011 alone, and that returning to pre-crisis levels of uncertainty would add about 2.3 million jobs in just 18 months.

The Obama administration's attempted short-term fixes, even with unprecedented monetary easing by the Federal Reserve, produced average GDP growth of just 2.2% over the past three years, and the consensus outlook appears no better for the year ahead.

Moreover, the Obama administration's large and sustained increases in debt raise the specter of another financial crisis and large future tax increases, further chilling business investment and job creation. A recent study by Ernst & Young finds that the administration's proposal to increase marginal tax rates on the wage, dividend and capital-gain income of upper-income Americans would reduce GDP by 1.3% (or $200 billion per year), kill 710,000 jobs, depress investment by 2.4%, and reduce wages and living standards by 1.8%. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, the large deficits codified in the president's budget would reduce GDP during 2018-2022 by between 0.5% and 2.2% compared to what would occur under current law.

President Obama has ignored or dismissed proposals that would address our anti-competitive tax code and unsustainable trajectory of federal debt—including his own bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform—and submitted no plan for entitlement reform. In February, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner famously told congressional Republicans that this administration was putting forth no plan, but "we know we don't like yours."

Other needed reforms would emphasize opening global markets for U.S. goods and services—but the president has made no contribution to the global trade agenda, while being dragged to the support of individual trade agreements only recently.

The president's choices cannot be ascribed to a political tug of war with Republicans in Congress. He and Democratic congressional majorities had two years to tackle any priority they chose. They chose not growth and jobs but regulatory expansion. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act raised taxes, unleashed significant new spending, and raised hiring costs for workers. The Dodd-Frank Act missed the mark on housing and "too-big-to-fail" financial institutions but raised financing costs for households and small and mid-size businesses.

These economic errors and policy choices have consequences—record high long-term unemployment and growing ranks of discouraged workers. Sadly, at the present rate of job creation and projected labor-force growth, the nation will never return to full employment.

It doesn't have to be this way. The Romney economic plan would fundamentally change the direction of policy to increase GDP and job creation now and going forward. The governor's plan puts growth and recovery first, and it stands on four main pillars:

• Stop runaway federal spending and debt. The governor's plan would reduce federal spending as a share of GDP to 20%—its pre-crisis average—by 2016. This would dramatically reduce policy uncertainty over the need for future tax increases, thus increasing business and consumer confidence.

• Reform the nation's tax code to increase growth and job creation. The Romney plan would reduce individual marginal income tax rates across the board by 20%, while keeping current low tax rates on dividends and capital gains. The governor would also reduce the corporate income tax rate—the highest in the world—to 25%. In addition, he would broaden the tax base to ensure that tax reform is revenue-neutral.

• Reform entitlement programs to ensure their viability. The Romney plan would gradually reduce growth in Social Security and Medicare benefits for more affluent seniors and give more choice in Medicare programs and benefits to improve value in health-care spending. It would also block grant the Medicaid program to states to enable experimentation that might better serve recipients.

• Make growth and cost-benefit analysis important features of regulation. The governor's plan would remove regulatory impediments to energy production and innovation that raise costs to consumers and limit new job creation. He would also work with Congress toward repealing and replacing the costly and burdensome Dodd–Frank legislation and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Romney alternatives will emphasize better financial regulation and market-oriented, patient-centered health-care reform.

In contrast to the sclerosis and joblessness of the past three years, the Romney plan offers an economic U-turn in ideas and choices. When bolstered by sound trade, education, energy and monetary policy, the Romney reform program is expected by the governor's economic advisers to increase GDP growth by between 0.5% and 1% per year over the next decade. It should also speed up the current recovery, enabling the private sector to create 200,000 to 300,000 jobs per month, or about 12 million new jobs in a Romney first term, and millions more after that due to the plan's long-run growth effects.

But these gains aren't just about numbers, as important as those numbers are. The Romney approach will restore confidence in America's economic future and make America once again a place to invest and grow.
4726  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Obama Wins The Gold For Worst Economic Recovery Ever on: August 02, 2012, 12:08:58 PM
You might recall, a claim similar to this was the centerpiece of Washington Post Dana Milbank's tirade that Mitt Romney was a liar, repeated ad nauseum by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and the like.  The number one 'lie' in his "The Facts vs. Mitt Romney" column was this: "He blamed President Barack Obama for the "weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression."..."That Romney resorts to such gratuitous falsehoods discredits his leadership more than his opponent's."

Turns out it was true??
Forbes Magazine:  "Obama Wins The Gold For Worst Economic Recovery Ever"

If mismanaging an economic recovery were an Olympic event, President Obama would be standing on the middle platform right now, accepting the gold medal.

Deep recessions are supposed to be followed by strong recoveries, but, under Obama, the worst recession since the 1930s has been followed by the slowest economic recovery in the history of the republic.  In a very real sense, there has been no recovery at all—things are still getting worse.

To win the gold for economic mismanagement, Obama had to beat out some very tough competitors, including the previous Olympic record holder, George W. Bush.  Let’s look at how Obama pulled it off.

For those not familiar with the sport, the Olympic “Worst First Three Years of Economic Recovery” event is a pentathlon—it’s composed of five individual trials.

The trials making up this pentathlon are as follows: 1) total employment growth; 2) unemployment rate reduction; 3) per capita GDP growth; 4) change in the Real Dow; and 5) change in real produced assets.

Because the goal is economic mismanagement, in the total employment growth event, the lowest number wins.

Obama was victorious in this trial by producing an increase in jobs during the first 36 months of his economic recovery of only 1.72%.  This handily beat out Bush 43, who turned in a jobs gain of 2.93% during his recovery, and the team of Bush 41 and Bill Clinton, who delivered 3.64% more jobs during theirs.  And, Obama absolutely creamed Ronald Reagan, who produced an increase in total jobs of 8.97% during the first three years of the economic recovery that he oversaw.

Obama struggled in the “reducing the unemployment rate” event.  It was easy for Obama to do worse than Reagan, who had reduced the “headline” (U-3) unemployment rate by a massive 3.8 percentage points during the first three years of his recovery.  However, in terms of turning in a bad unemployment performance, both the Bush 41 – Clinton team and Bush 43 had started with an unfair advantage.

Obama’s recovery came out of the blocks with an unemployment rate of 9.5%, which was far higher than where either the Bush 41 – Clinton team started (6.8%) or where Bush 43 began (5.5%).  Accordingly, it was much harder for Obama to do worse than those two, because he would have to produce a smaller reduction in the unemployment rate than they did.

When the scores were first totaled, Obama (at 1.3 percentage points of reduction in the unemployment rate) was far behind both the Bush 41 – Clinton team (at 0.3 percentage points), and Bush 43 (at 0.1 percentage points).

However, Obama appealed to the judges, pointing out that, when measured by the more comprehensive “SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate” published by Shadow Government Statistics, he had actually managed to increase unemployment by 2.0 percentage points during his economic recovery.  Meanwhile, the other three competitors had reduced their jobless rates, no matter how you measured them.  The judges agreed, and they awarded first place in this event to Obama.

The officials then studied the replay tapes, and gave Obama extra credit for managing to push the U.S. 2.5 million jobs farther away from full employment during his economic recovery.  The other three contestants could not match that.

Next up was the “real per capita GDP growth” event.  Obama won this one decisively.

The total increase in real GDP per capita during the first three years of Obama’s recovery was only 4.34%.  This was worse than Bush 43 (5.98%) and the Bush 41 – Clinton team (5.61%).  Once again, Ronald Reagan brought up the rear in this important area of economic mismanagement.  He produced a stunning 15.36% gain in real per capita GDP during the first three years of his economic recovery.

The last two trials in the Olympic “Worst First Three Years of Economic Recovery” pentathlon relate to building a prosperous future for the U.S. economy.

The Real Dow is the Dow Jones Industrial Average divided by the price of gold.  It is a proxy for the driving force to invest in economic growth, rather than to park capital in “safe” investments like gold and government bonds.

In the Real Dow event, Obama had to settle for second place.  Bush 43 beat him soundly by managing to depress the Real Dow by a massive 35.6% during the first three years of the economic recovery that he oversaw.  However, in terms of economic destruction, Obama turned in a creditable performance, pushing the Real Dow down by 11.6% during his first three years of economic recovery.

In this event, the Bush 41 – Clinton team did not seem to be clear on the concept.  The Real Dow rose by 13.5% during their watch.  And, once again, Ronald Reagan came in dead last, producing a massive 89.9% increase in the Real Dow during the first three years of his powerful economic recovery.

Obama finished strong by blowing away the competition in the “change in real produced assets” trial.  Produced assets comprise the physical infrastructure of our economy, and economic progress depends upon building up our stock of produced assets.

During the first full year of Obama’s economic recovery (2010), real produced assets actually fell by 1.41%.  This is the biggest drop during the 60 years for which data is available.  It is also the only decline ever observed during an economic recovery.

Ronald Reagan finished second in this trial with a 0.16% increase in fixed assets during 1983.  The Bush 41 – Clinton team and Bush 43 tied in this event.  They both produced a 3.42% gain in real produced assets, in 1992 and 2002, respectively.

We should all be proud that Barack Obama has won the Olympic gold medal in the “Worst First Three Years of Economic Recovery” event, and reward him accordingly in November.
4727  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy - Cancel missile defense for active unbalancing? on: August 02, 2012, 10:49:21 AM
Interesting Strat as usual.  Missing it seems in the summary of the Obama record was the decision to cancel missile defense installations in Eastern Europe where it appeared that appeasement of the Russians trumped the commitments made to Czech, Poland, Belarus and our own security.  Isn't that active regional unbalancing?

We were left to wonder what we received back for this major turnaround in strategy.  The answer it appears was nothing.  Just that he will have more flexibility to make even deeper disarmament concessions after the election.
4728  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Volunteer "Pravda" network of "reporters" on: August 01, 2012, 02:03:11 PM
Good question Obj (corrupt media comments on Pres 2012 thread) and I'm sure there is no great answer.  I resent having to go to right wing sites to get basic news and analysis that should be more widely available.  The market is making it's own correction but it's happening too slow and not in the way we might have expected.  As you mention, the huge successes of Rush L and Fox News are examples of movement, yet the so-called mainstream seem unchanged in spite of market share they surrender..  Obviously the circulation of stories and facts, opinions and analyses through sites like this is our way of getting the information out.

A Russian immigrant observed that it is worse, in a way, here than in the old Soviet Union with the real Pravda.  They have one state run media while we have a whole near-monopoly conspiracy of them, repeating and amplifying a message the rest of us find biased and deceitful.

One of the most insightful feature of the Rush L show now copied by others is the media montage.  They aren't just telling the same story, they are using the same words.  One of the first I picked up "gravitas" with the Cheney choice for VP.  The point of course to them is that is what George Bush lacked at the top of the ticket.  That word went from never used to in almost every sentence on every media outlet covering the choice.  Since then there have been dozens and dozens more examples.  Even Fox News on the radio is a parrot of the other networks IMO.  The choice of words covering an issue can be crucial.

Places like Powerline and others take on institutions like the NY Times regularly.  They got them today on the flaws in their poll and they've exposed them big time on a host of badly covered topics.  Still their readership is small compared to the bankrupting newspaper.  They also played a big part in taking down Dan Rather on his 'fake but true' story, but they did not take down the liberal bias of SeeBS.  Microsoft pulled back from but that didn't change the bias on cable.  My thought was that these exposures of bias caused errors would lead to a shake up and a correction.  Instead they take pride in their niche while their importance is diminishing.

I used to write opposition pieces for the local paper; my counterpoint ran across from the Mpls StarTribune (star and sickle) endorsement of Bill Clinton in 92.  In their editing, they cut a key paragraph that tied in with other points I was making.  After that I wrote 'no editing without my permission' on subsequent submissions and was never published there again.

Other conservatives advise not to write for them at all.  Don't help them improve their product.  Let it die and the best way to make them go away is to ignore them completely and get news from better sources.

I like to search for stories of interest from the accumulator sites, Real Clear Politics is one of the best, also Drudge, The Blaze, Free Republic and DBMA. )  Google News allows you to choose which outlet to read a current story.  Powerlineblog keeps a running referral to about 6 picks of noteworthy stories current on the web.  WSJ's James Taranto writes a Best of the Web piece every business afternoon, no subscription required, with excellent insights and humor.  Add in the Huffington Post, might as well turn to left instead of pretend mainstream to know what they are thinking and reading.  It is important to see and read the opponents in their own words, so don't leave those out no matter your view.

Seriously this forum is an excellent antidote because the posters here all share from their own unique reading lists on a wide range of topics and issues.  
4729  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Music - Aaron Copland, Fanfare on: August 01, 2012, 12:44:57 PM
As much as I like Dick Morris, his lunch alert viewers deserve a longer version of the spectacular intro music, American composer Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man.  Enjoy:
4730  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / First Amendment Freedom of Speech, It's Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day! on: August 01, 2012, 12:19:36 PM
In celebration of the First Amendment, today is Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day

Restaurant Locator:

Enjoy a little lunch or dinner with your freedom of speech.
4731  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Foreign Policy of David Axelrod on: August 01, 2012, 12:08:11 PM
Who runs US foreign policy?  A Stanford Senior Fellow says political implications come first.

The Foreign Policy of David Axelrod
by Fouad Ajami (Senior Fellow and cochair, Working Group on Islamism and the International Order)
In the Obama administration, politics trumps grand strategy.

By latest count, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has logged 843,448 miles on the job: She is officially now the most traveled Secretary of State in U.S. history, 102 countries have seen her come and go. In one dispatch, it was breakfast in Vietnam, lunch in Laos, and dinner in Cambodia for our chief diplomat.

In the interim, campaign strategist David Axelrod has stayed close to home, Chicago and Washington, with one notable stop in Boston, where he sought to besmirch the gubernatorial record of Mitt Romney. But the foreign policy of Barack Obama is the foreign policy of David Axelrod. Gone is that hallowed past when the legendary George Marshall observed a strict separation between foreign policy and the political play at home: He had refused to cast a vote in presidential elections and he had bristled when the “political people” in President Truman’s circle of advisors intruded into the foreign policy domain.

We needn’t exalt the past—presidents always worried about the impact of foreign crises on their standing at home. Still, the subordination of foreign policy to the electoral needs of the Obama campaign stands apart in recent American history. Foreign policy has been masterfully neutralized in the Obamian world, taken off the board in this campaign.

Strategic Abdication in Afghanistan & Iraq

The meteoric rise of Barack Obama, the adoring crowds in Paris and Berlin, and the early dispatches from an Islamic world that looked upon him as a kindred spirit, concealed a political man with scant interest in foreign lands. Mr. Obama left the devotees to their own imagination; they read into him what they wished. He had come into office in the aftermath of an uncompromising American nationalist; he held aloft symbols of cosmopolitanism, and a supra-national elite took to him. But the animating drive of his foreign policy was his own quest for power.

Right from the start, he would play the foreign world safe. He had trumpeted Afghanistan as the “good war of necessity,” but he never gave the war his all. This was not Lyndon Johnson haunted by Vietnam, or George W. Bush pressing on in Iraq when all appeared lost in 2006–2007, defying the popular mood, launching a surge in the teeth of a hostile Congress, and a Republican party that had grown uncertain about Iraq.

Barack Obama came up with his own surge in Afghanistan, but he undercut the effort there by announcing a set date for American withdrawal in 2014—two safe years after his bid for reelection. There would be no “heat,” no soaring poetry about Afghanistan.

Early on, President Obama had talked of a “civilian surge” to go along with the additional military force he had dispatched—agricultural specialists, educators, engineers, and lawyers who would tackle the problems of the country from the bottom up in the provinces. By the second year of his presidency, Mr. Obama would say little if anything about the reform of Afghanistan. The early dream of “nation-building” was abandoned. It was well understood that this commander-in-chief was marking time in Afghanistan.

He had his Republican rivals on the horns of a dilemma: They could neither outflank him from the right by calling for more troops and a deeper commitment, nor urge writing off the entire venture as a doomed enterprise. Mission Accomplished, Mr. Obama had inoculated himself on Afghanistan.

The success of Mr. Obama’s (read: Axelrod’s) approach was made manifestly clear in the speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars that Governor Romney made on July 24. Hitherto, Mr. Romney had made the obligatory challenge to the Obama deadline. But he, too, now accepted 2014 as a set date for an American withdrawal. The Taliban needn’t worry: The electoral verdict in November 2012 is of no consequence to them. They could wait out the American presence. The Hamid Karzai reign of plunder and extortion would be ready for the plucking by then.

In the same vein, there were strategic gains secured in Iraq, but Mr. Obama headed for the exits. Politics clashed with strategic interests, and politics prevailed. It was well understood that the Iraqi government was eager for a residual American presence that would give it sufficient time to make its way in the region. Further, it was known that the Iraqis and the American military commanders on the scene had in mind an American force of roughly 20,000 military personnel, or close to it.

But Mr. Obama made the Iraqis an offer they were meant to refuse; a token force of less than 5,000, hardly enough to fend for itself, let alone offer the Iraqis any meaningful protection. Mr. Obama got the result he wanted. His surest applause line, in his acceptance speech this summer, will be the boast that he kept the promise to his base of bringing to an end the American campaign in Iraq.

A Fluke in Libya

Admittedly, Libya was the one exception to this foreign policy of strategic abdication. The Libyans were lucky: This was a solar-lunar eclipse. Mr. Obama had done his best to keep the struggle against Moammar Gaddafi at bay, but David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy had taken the plunge into Libya, and American power—decisive in the end—destroyed the Gaddafi dictatorship. Gaddafi had been particularly obtuse: He had stated for the world to hear his intention of bringing death and slaughter to the rebellious city of Benghazi.

Mr. Obama’s reputation was in the scales of history, a mini-Rwanda appeared to be in the offing. Mr. Obama did right by the Libyans. But he tipped his hand. The Obama administration steadfastly refused to celebrate or claim the victory in Libya. That country would be kept at arm’s length, even as a parliamentary election handed a defeat to the Islamists, and went the way of a big secular/tribal coalition headed by a technocrat with an American doctorate. Libya would not be repeated elsewhere, it was a fluke, not a template. No Obama doctrine at work here.

Syria: “We Miss Bush’s Audacity”

The Syrians would come to envy the luck of the Libyans. For seventeen remorseless months, the Syrian people would be subjected to all kinds of cruelties. More than two dozen “torture centers” would mete out to a suffering population unspeakable barbarisms. Over 1,200 children have perished in this pitiless war of a regime against its own population; young children would be brutalized, used as human shields by the convoys of the security forces; benign farming villages would become code names for heartlessness.

“Massacres have become like breakfast to us,” a political activist recently observed. In the face of all this, the Obama policy has been one of total abdication. The Secretary of State has carried out her president’s brief: She has been running out the clock, seeking cover behind the arcane doings of the United Nations Security Council, making it appear as though deliverance hinged on a change in the attitude of Russia at the United Nations. Any “Model UN” high school team would have foreseen the vetoes of Russia—and China—at the Security Council. Truth is that Russian diplomacy has been a convenient alibi for a quiescent American policy.

The sophistry that has gone into arguing that “Syria is not Libya” is unworthy of a great liberal power. Nor can the exquisitely tortured discussions of the “difficult” borders of Syria stand any scrutiny. If anything, those sensitive borders and the spillover of Syria’s troubles and pathologies into Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey, should have long tipped the scales in favor of an interventionist Syria policy. There is will—and there are resources—in the region to upend the Syrian dictatorship, for Bashar al-Assad has unleashed a full-scale sectarian war that has unnerved and antagonized his neighbors.

But the world is what it is, and the regional powers await an American green light that has never come. Plainly, an American president boastful that he had quit Iraq can not stand before his “progressive” base and proclaim the assumption of a new burden in Syria.

“The tide of war is receding” is one of the favorite mantras of this administration and its leaders. But what is receding before our eyes is the American influence in the world order. Mr. Obama has narrowed the horizons of a country with historically wide vistas. In the Obamian world, that which can’t be done with drones and the daring of our SEALs is left untended. In a note of exquisite irony, Barack Obama had made much of his predecessor’s poor standing in Islamic lands. Trumpet the polls, fall to them: Mr. Obama’s standing in Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Survey, is now lower than George W. Bush’s standing. A placard carried by a group of Syrian protesters tells it all: “We miss Bush’s audacity.”  

Now it could be that the American people have been made weary by foreign engagements, and that the economic distress—our debt, our deficits, an anemic recovery, persisting high levels of unemployment—has made us reticent in the face of burdens abroad. That would be an irony all its own—a president who mismanaged the economy being rewarded for the lack of confidence his presidency itself has generated.

From the very beginning, Mr. Obama has been a herald of a “declinist” reading of America. We can’t aid the Syrians, our touch would sully them. We can’t identity ourselves with the democratic aspirations of the Iranians, for we must conciliate their rulers. We can’t defend the cause of liberty and freedom, for in that Obamian worldview, freedom is a fragile, uncertain bet the world over.

So our Secretary of State circles the globe, nine countries in thirteen days in one recent expedition. The bet of this president is that the American people will neither notice, nor care about, the erosion of the American ascendency that enabled this country to do good and to do well in the order of nations. Come November, the country will deliver its verdict on this stunted vision of its place in the world.
4732  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Polling for a News Story on: August 01, 2012, 12:03:29 PM
(Should be a Media Issue...)  At a time when Pres. Obama couldn't buy a good news story, he didn't need to.  The useful idiots in the biased polling business have stepped up to the plate to declare Obama with big leads in key states.  The poll becomes the news story hopefully in their mind giving the President a lift.  No .;can prove them wrong in July.  By late October they have to shape up their numbers to protect their rotten reputations.  Meanwhile these outliars will linger and figure into the most respected polling averages for some time to come.

Poll internals:

What they do in Florida for example is oversample Dems by 13 points.  In a best case year or 2008, Obama won Fla by 4.  In the most recent statewide contest wide nationwide implications, Republican Marco Rubio won Florida by a million votes and second place was a Republican.  So much for polling Dems at +13 to get a result of the Dem leading by 6.

4733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: August 01, 2012, 11:11:44 AM
"Romney is a buffoon.  Too bad the Republicans couldn't find someone better.  Romney may still win, but it will be in spite of himself, not because of himself."

Is ad hominem - against the person - the best that you've got?  Notghing about governing philosophy or policy? Bob Shrum, a Dem operative, doesn't like him either.  And we were counting on his vote.

Gaffes that aren't gaffes and not a mention of the 2 things that did happened on the trip, the stand with Israel  speech in Jerusalem and the Reagan-like pro-freedom speech in Poland.

On the Olympics, they asked someone who ran them once and he gave an honest answer.  They'll get through it.

If you don't get the culture difference, maybe I can help you.  The GDP per capita of Israel is $32,300.  The GDP of West Bank - Gaza Strip is 1/11th of that, $2900.  One is a true Silicon Valley, they other is a third world country in the most negative ways, illiteracy, poverty, terrorism.  You don't know there is a cultural difference?  What a joke.  You ought to go read George Gilder's book 'The Israel Test'

"...Israel...a leader of human civilization, technological progress, and scientific advance. Tiny Israel stands behind only the United States in its contributions to the hi-tech economy. Israel has become the world's paramount example of the blessings of freedom."  Then he backs it up with data and examples.

To JDN and Mr. Shrum, there IS a cultural difference. 

I'll post the two excellent Romney speeches separately.

Must admit Shrum knows his losing Presidential campaigns though.  He holds the all time record for running them.  Pres. Gephart, Dukakis, Bob Kerrey, Al Gore, John Kerry, critics often point out a "curse" associated with the presidential campaigns that Shrum has worked on, since he has yet to claim victory for any of his candidates in eight presidential elections.

4734  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela - Hugo Chávez ruthlessly consolidates his power on: July 31, 2012, 06:05:51 PM

The Post’s View
Facing election, Hugo Chávez ruthlessly consolidates his power

By Editorial Board, Published: July 26  Washington Post

Having the caudillo at the top of the ticket makes a big difference: While most polls show Mr. Chávez leading opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, they also indicate that the opposition would trounce any of Mr. Chávez’s potential successors. The president’s personal popularity lingers with some Venezuelans, who do not fault him for the soaring inflation, power and food shortages and world-beating murder rate that have emerged during his 13 years in office.

Mr. Chávez, however, is leaving little to chance. He is pouring tens of billions of dollars, much of it borrowed from China, into the economy, producing a preelection boomlet. More significantly, he is employing all the leverage of a legal system and mass media that he has politicized and subordinated to his personal control. Just how far that process of corruption has advanced is illuminated in a report by Human Rights Watch, which concludes that “the accumulation of power in the executive, the removal of institutional safeguards, and the erosion of human rights guarantees have given the Chávez government free rein to intimidate, censor and prosecute Venezuelans who criticize the president or thwart his political agenda.”

4735  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Running on Bill Clinton's Record, "Our Plan" created 23 million jobs on: July 31, 2012, 05:58:14 PM
In Oakland, California, the president said "I’m also going to ask anybody making over $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton, back when our economy created 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history and everybody did well.”

ABC News:  "This pitch on occasion has meant that President Obama at times sounds as if he’s claiming some ownership of the Clinton economy – referring to “our plan” "
Bill Clinton cut capital gains taxes, declared that the era of big government is over, ended welfare as we knew it, worked with Republicans co-opting much of their agenda, passed the Reagan-inspired hemisphere-wide free trade agreement, backed away from healthcare when the people rejected it, grew the economy and balanced the budget.  What part of that reminds anyone of the Obama agenda or record?

Mitt Romney is not Bush and Obama is no Bill Clinton.

4736  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 31, 2012, 04:02:13 PM
"Israel was the aggressor in '67?!?"

For that to be true you would have to believe that all opposing air raids must complete their missions and all bombs must land and explode before it is "legal" to defend yourself.

FYI to JDN, if you wait until you are dead to respond, you did not act in self defense.  To the contrary, you failed to act in self defense.
4737  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 31, 2012, 01:32:37 PM
And it wasn't hate speech for a certain chancellor if all of Germany agreed with him...  What a bizarre criteria for distinguishing between right and wrong.

While you were driveling around I think you forgot to answer the question, are they our best ally in the region?

Or are they a rogue nation ready to make more unprovoked attacks on neighbors as you suggest?

How can they be both?
4738  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 19.9% unemployment supplement on: July 31, 2012, 01:23:17 PM
Link to explanation of calculations made in the previous post:

Includes this chart:

By this measure, 'real' unemployment has doubled in the 6 years since Pelosi-Reid-Obama took control of congress and then the executive branch.

Whatever it is we are doing, ostensibly trying to help the middle class by attacking investors and businesses, it isn't working!
4739  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Constant Workforce U6 Unemployment Rate is 20% on: July 31, 2012, 01:04:46 PM
Crafty, I'll do my best to answer that.

When you adjust the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) reported unemployment to the unemployment rate if we were to hold the workforce participation rate constant, the 9 million that left the workforce during the Obama years already includes the 3.1 million workers that left for disability pay.  

Here is the combined chart showing 20% unemployment for U6 assuming a constant workforce participation rate for the Obama years.

Definitions for U-1, U-3, U-6 and all other BLS unemployment measures can be found here:

The following chart shows around 9 million leaving the workforce during the Obama years:

Maybe more clear at this link:

It should be noted that the declining labor force participation rate is not unique to Obama.  The rate for males has been declining over a long period and the workforce participation rate for females peaked in 2000.  The important point is that we cannot continue straight line decline unless we also lighten the public sector spending load at the same rate, sharing that burden with fewer and fewer workers - which simply is not going to happen.  Instead it is logically and empirically the opposite; the higher the number of adults who don't work, the more that will receiver increasing benefits from our ever-expanding plethora of programs.

4740  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 31, 2012, 12:16:29 PM
Obj, your points on Obama and his background and disdain for all that made America great are well-founded.  More important though is to capture a significan number of the hearts and minds of the 69,456,897 people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008.  These people I think are more victims of a sort were experiencing disincentive denial.  They believed for the moment you can attack the rich, stomp out wealth, handcuff employers and strangle businesses without hurting the economy overall or hurting working people.  It's just not so and the evidence is all around us.  Saying that the destruction of the republic and our economy was intentional is probably not the most attractive argument for bringing them back.  There is no need to prove it was intentional, even if it was at the top, we only have to show it didn't work.
4741  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 31, 2012, 11:45:17 AM
"forcibly taking over Jerusalem, giving no compensation, and calling land in the occupied territory your "capital" is illegitimate." - JDN from Glibness thread

Hate speech IMO if you won't back it up.  Defense of your country is "illegal"?  Please cite the law along with a complete list of countries who have broken it.

Singling out Israel while looking the other way for all others reeks of antisemitism.  The same group that puts Assad and Khadafy on the Human Rights Commission lashes out constantly at Israel for committing acts of self defense.

The real question IMHO is this:  Has our half-hearted, wishy-washy support for our best ally in the region* Israel featuring equal respect for the terrorists who attack them been helpful or counterproductive to Middle East peace?

* In your world, who is our best ally in the region?  Which country seeks peace than Israel and more representative of our ideals?

Meanwhile we bow to unelected Arab royalty, Pres. Assad of Syria is a reformer, and Mrs. Arafat is oh so kissable.
4742  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: July 31, 2012, 10:36:06 AM
Frank Gaffney has some credibility with me.  The line at the end looks a bit like a cheap shot, an avowedly gay man rooting for the wrong team, but it is quite odd and dangerous as he points out that gay activism is politically aligned in this country with Islamic extremism.  No, we aren't going to pass an Islamic law tomorrow to stone all gays to death, but that is only because we do not accept the basic tenets of Islamic law in civilized society.

Interesting that Muslim congressman Keith Ellison supports gay marriage.  That plays well in Minneapolis, but I did not hear him say that on his trip to Mecca.

You don't see that many Catholic pro-abortion activists.  Maybe Islam is more tolerant.
4743  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: July 30, 2012, 06:24:07 PM
No. I still did not catch any supported reason why you believe that, just a smear.
4744  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama Promised Not To Run Negative Ads In 2008 on: July 30, 2012, 06:21:15 PM
We're gonna run a different kind of campaign, we're not gonna go around doin' negative ads.  - Barack Obama - April 2008, Wilson, NC
4745  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney’s Remarkable Speech in Jerusalem, By Daniel Pipes on: July 30, 2012, 06:16:21 PM

The Corner

Romney’s Remarkable Speech in Jerusalem
By Daniel Pipes
July 30, 2012

Mitt Romney, the all-but-official Republican presidential nominee, delivered a stem-winder of a speech to the Jerusalem Foundation yesterday, packing emotional support with frank policy statements. The contrast with Obama could hardly be more dramatic. Indeed, one could go through the speech and note the many refutations of Obama. For example, the opening comment that “To step foot into Israel is to step foot into a nation that began with an ancient promise made in this land” directly contrasts with Obama’s crabbed statement in Cairo about “the aspiration for a Jewish homeland [being] rooted in a tragic history.”

Also, in contrast to the nonsensical Obama administration stance on Jerusalem being Israel’s capital — sneaking into change captions that mistakenly identified it as that and going through verbal gymnastics to avoid calling it that — Romney came out and plainly called Jerusalem “the capital of Israel.”

Many of his statements are paeans to the Jewish state and its extraordinary ties to the United States. Some quotations, with my italics on the key words in each quotation:

    Our two nations are separated by more than 5,000 miles. But for an American abroad, you can’t get much closer to the ideals and convictions of my own country than you do in Israel. . . .

    It is my firm conviction that the security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States. . . .

    We have seen the horrors of history. We will not stand by. We will not watch them play out again. It would be foolish not to take Iran’s leaders at their word. They are, after all, the product of a radical theocracy. … We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran’s leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions.

    . . . our alliance runs deeper than the designs of strategy or the weighing of interests. The story of how America – a nation still so new to the world by the standards of this ancient region – rose up to become the dear friend of the people of Israel is among the finest and most hopeful in our nation’s history. Different as our paths have been, we see the same qualities in one another. Israel and America are in many respects reflections of one another.

    . . . the enduring alliance between the State of Israel and the United States of America is more than a strategic alliance: it is a force for good in the world. America’s support of Israel should make every American proud. We should not allow the inevitable complexities of modern geopolitics to obscure fundamental touchstones. . . . A free and strong America will always stand with a free and strong Israel. . . .

    By history and by conviction, our two countries are bound together. No individual, no nation, no world organization, will pry us apart. And as long as we stay together and stand together, there is no threat we cannot overcome and very little that we cannot achieve.

But of the whole speech, it is the final words that most struck me: “May God bless America, and may He bless and protect the Nation of Israel.” When last did a politician ask the Lord to protect another country?

Comments: (1) Obama and Romney stand as far apart on Israel as they do on the sources of economic growth. (2) Over and over again, Romney returned to the moral bonds between the two countries; yes, there are mutual benefits from our connection, but ultimately it reflects something higher and greater than any of us. (3) If he is elected, it will be fascinating to watch to what extent the outlook expressed today will translate to the workaday policy issues. I expect it will have a substantial effect.
4746  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: July 30, 2012, 06:00:04 PM
If you already posted why my version of the facts is wrong or anything that supports your version of the facts, I missed it.  Are the other 192 nations in the United Nations all legitimate and just Israel is illegitimate?

If your story is right and they are the worst of 193 nations, why stop at denying them a capital?  Obama is bragging that he, in the first person, has given them record levels of aid.  If they are an illegal nation, why have an embassy at all?  Why not cut off trade?  Cut off aid.  Kick them out of the UN if they are illegitimate in borders and actions.  But Obama proposes none of that.  Why not? He wants it both ways.  Being deceitful is complicated.
4747  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney says Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel on: July 30, 2012, 03:33:28 PM
Romney says Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel

That was easy. 

In other news, Sacramento is still the capital of California, lol.
4748  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Basher Assad, a different leader, a Reformer - HRC, March 2011 on: July 30, 2012, 03:27:24 PM
Here's Mrs. Clinton's fuller quote, from March 27, 2011, answering CBS's Bob Schieffer on why the U.S. was prepared to intervene against Moammar Gadhafi but not against Assad: "There's a different leader in Syria now," she explained. "Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he is a reformer." - Hillary Clinton, current Secretary of State, advancing that viewpoint to support validate her policy.  Not surprising since she previously had quite a kiss with Mrs Arafat at the conclusion of a hate-Israel speech:

In 2007, Nancy Pelosi enthused that "the road to Damascus is a road to peace."   The lady wants to be Speaker of the House - again.

On March 16, 2011—the day after the first mass demonstration against the regime—John Kerry said Assad was a man of his word who had been "very generous with me." He added that under Assad "Syria will move; Syria will change as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States." This is the man who might be our next secretary of state.
4749  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics: 3.1 million added to disability rolls on: July 30, 2012, 03:14:31 PM
Bringing this info forward also:

"since June 2009, fully 3.1 million workers signed up for disability benefits."
4750  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Implied Unemployment Rate on: July 30, 2012, 03:09:56 PM
Bringing this GM post forward in the process of gathering info to answer Crafty's question.  "The real unemployment rate actually rose in January to 11.5%".  To this we might add the disability increase.  Posting disability numbers separately.  I will look deeper into it later.

Implied Unemployment Rate Rises To 11.5%, Spread To Propaganda Number Surges To 30 Year High
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/03/2012 09:35 -0500

Sick of the BLS propaganda? Then do the following calculation with us: using BLS data, the US civilian non-institutional population was 242,269 in January, an increase of 1.7 million month over month: apply the long-term average labor force participation rate of 65.8% to this number (because as chart 2 below shows, people are not retiring as the popular propaganda goes: in fact labor participation in those aged 55 and over has been soaring as more and more old people have to work overtime, forget retiring), and you get 159.4 million: that is what the real labor force should be. The BLS reported one? 154.4 million: a tiny 5 million difference. Then add these people who the BLS is purposefully ignoring yet who most certainly are in dire need of labor and/or a job to the 12.758 million reported unemployed by the BLS and you get 17.776 million in real unemployed workers. What does this mean? That using just the BLS denominator in calculating the unemployed rate of 154.4 million, the real unemployment rate actually rose in January to 11.5%. Compare that with the BLS reported decline from 8.5% to 8.3%. It also means that the spread between the reported and implied unemployment rate just soared to a fresh 30 year high of 3.2%.
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