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4851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Elena Kagan: Pernicious Liar, Manipulator of Justice on: July 05, 2010, 01:46:14 PM
Analogous to the climategate fraud discovered in the leaked emails, this case of disguising political views as science in order to deceive the public and in this case the courts in order to further your own blind political objectives.  What do we do when we catch a high Democrat in this behavior?  Well offer them a lifetime appointment of course onto the highest court in the land.

Please ask your senators for or against to hold off until after the summer recess on this controversial nominee.  Let the facts of this sort out and let's see what other examples of zero integrity justice emerge.  Thank you.
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(see link below for authorship)
A key event in the politics of partial-birth abortion was a report by a "select panel" of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a supposedly nonpartisan physicians' organization. That report included this statement, which the Supreme Court found highly persuasive in striking down Nebraska's partial-birth abortion ban:

    ACOG declared that the partial-birth-abortion procedure "may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman." The Court relied on the ACOG statement as a key example of medical opinion supporting the abortion method.

Here is the shocking part: the ACOG report, as originally drafted, said almost exactly the opposite. The initial draft said that the ACOG panel "could identify no circumstances under which this procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman." That language horrified the rabidly pro-abortion Elena Kagan, then a deputy assistant to President Clinton for domestic policy. This is what Kagan wrote in a memo to her superiors in the Clinton White House:

    Todd Stern just discovered that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is thinking about issuing a statement (attached) that includes the following sentence: "[A] select panel convened by ACOG could identify no circumstances under which [the partial-birth] procedure ... would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman." This, of course, would be disaster -- not the less so (in fact, the more so) because ACOG continues to oppose the legislation. It is unclear whether ACOG will issue the statement; even if it does not, there is obviously a chance that the draft will become public.

So Kagan took matters into her own hands: incredibly, she herself appears to have written the key language that eventually appeared in the ACOG report. Coffin writes:

    So Kagan set about solving the problem. Her notes, produced by the White House to the Senate Judiciary Committee, show that she herself drafted the critical language hedging ACOG's position. On a document [PDF] captioned "Suggested Options" -- which she apparently faxed to the legislative director at ACOG -- Kagan proposed that ACOG include the following language: "An intact D&X [the medical term for the procedure], however, may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman."

    Kagan's language was copied verbatim by the ACOG executive board into its final statement, where it then became one of the greatest evidentiary hurdles faced by Justice Department lawyers (of whom I was one) in defending the federal ban. (Kagan's role was never disclosed to the courts.)

This is an image of Kagan's "suggested options" note; click to enlarge:  (also linked below)

SuggestedOptions10.jpg

The note does appear to be in Kagan's handwriting; you can see a sample of her writing here.

Unless there is some other interpretation of these documents that does not occur to me, it appears that Elena Kagan participated in a gigantic scientific deception. On behalf of the Clinton White House, she deliberately subverted what was supposed to be an objective scientific process. The ACOG report was certainly seen in that light by the federal courts. Federal Judge Richard Kopf was deeply impressed by the scientific integrity of the report; he wrote:

    "Before and during the task force meeting," he concluded, "neither ACOG nor the task force members conversed with other individuals or organizations, including congressmen and doctors who provided congressional testimony, concerning the topics addressed" in the ACOG statement.

This statement was obviously false. The federal courts were victimized by a gross deception and a perversion of both the scientific process and the judicial process, carried out, the evidence appears to show, by Elena Kagan.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/06/026643.php
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/assets_c/2010/06/SuggestedOptions10.php
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/06/026648.php


4852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: July 05, 2010, 01:10:06 PM
Rarick, No I don't favor merging U.S.of A. with Mexico or any other failed third world nation.  I would favor however if New Mexico the state would vote to change its name to Not-Mexico to remove some of the confusion along our southern border.
4853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / George Will's questions for Kagan - part 2 on: July 05, 2010, 12:38:07 PM
BBG posted the first part just a little back in this thread.  Part 2 follows.  All of these I think are worthy of discussion perhaps on the constitutional issues thread since it looks like no national discussion of the meaning of the constitution is going to break out over this vapid nominee.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/27/AR2010062703256.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

More questions for nominee Elena Kagan
   
Pursuant to Elena Kagan's expressed enthusiasm for confirmation hearings that feature intellectual snap, crackle and pop, here are some questions the Senate Judiciary Committee can elate her by asking:

-- Regarding campaign finance "reforms": If allowing the political class to write laws regulating the quantity, content and timing of speech about the political class is the solution, what is the problem?

-- If the problem is corruption, do we not already have abundant laws proscribing that?

-- If the problem is the "appearance" of corruption, how do you square the First Amendment with Congress restricting speech to regulate how things "appear" to unspecified people?

-- Incumbent legislators are constantly tinkering with the rules regulating campaigns that could cost them their jobs. Does this present an appearance of corruption?

-- Some persons argue that our nation has a "living" Constitution; the court has spoken of "the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." But Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking against "changeability" and stressing "the whole antievolutionary purpose of a constitution," says "its whole purpose is to prevent change -- to embed certain rights in such a manner that future generations cannot readily take them away. A society that adopts a bill of rights is skeptical that 'evolving standards of decency' always 'mark progress,' and that societies always 'mature,' as opposed to rot." Is he wrong?

-- The Ninth Amendment says: "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The 14th Amendment says no state may abridge "the privileges or immunities" of U.S. citizens. How should the court determine what are the "retained" rights and the "privileges or immunities"?
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-- The 10th Amendment ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people") is, as former Delaware governor Pete du Pont has said, "to the Constitution what the Chicago Cubs are to the World Series: of only occasional appearance and little consequence." Were the authors of the Bill of Rights silly to include this amendment?

-- Should decisions of foreign courts, or laws enacted by foreign legislatures, have any bearing on U.S. courts' interpretations of the Constitution or federal laws (other than directly binding treaties)?

-- The Fifth Amendment says private property shall not be taken by government for public use without just compensation. But what about "regulatory takings"? To confer a supposed benefit on the public, government often restricts how persons can use their property, sometimes substantially reducing the property's value. But government offers no compensation because the property is not "taken." But when much of a property's value is taken away by government action, should owners be compensated?

-- In Bush v. Gore, which settled the 2000 election, seven justices ruled that Florida vote recounts that were being conducted in different jurisdictions under subjective and contradictory standards were incompatible with the Constitution's guarantee of "equal protection of the laws." Were they right?

-- In Bush v. Gore, five justices held that Article II of the Constitution gives state legislatures plenary power to set the rules for presidential elections. The Florida legislature fashioned election rules to produce presidential electors immune from challenge by Congress. But the legislature said that immunity depended on electors being chosen by a certain date, which could not be met if further recounts were to ensue. The court held that allowing more recounts would have contravened the intent of Florida's legislature. So the recounts were halted. Was the court's majority correct?

-- Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom you clerked, said: "You do what you think is right and let the law catch up." Can you defend this approach to judging?

-- You have said: "There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage." But that depends on what the meaning of "is" is. There was no constitutional right to abortion until the court discovered one 185 years after the Constitution was ratified, when the right was spotted lurking in emanations of penumbras of other rights. What is to prevent the court from similarly discovering a right to same-sex marriage?

-- Bonus question: In Roe v. Wade, the court held that the abortion right is different in each of the three trimesters of pregnancy. Is it odd that the meaning of the Constitution's text would be different if the number of months in the gestation of a human infant were a prime number?
4854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Time to shut down the Fed? on: July 01, 2010, 05:11:06 PM
We've had bad Presidents too and bad policies from certain congresses yet we never ask if it is time to shut down the Presidency or the congress.  I never understand how thinking they should do a better job translates to ending that operation entirely - although I understand in journalism that authors do not write their own headlines and that headline writers are only trying to get you to pick up their paper.

I'm no fan of Greenspan from before he was appointed, during his term or since, but "Nixon speech-writer" is hardly a serious summary of his credentials when he was picked by Reagan.

The "Writers who have not taken a year of PhD coursework in a decent economics department..." remark is snobbish but came from an individual staff economist, again hardly different than the Supreme Court where Justices Alito, Sotomayor, and Thomas are Yale grads, while Scalia, Roberts, Breyer and Kennedy all went to Harvard.

"Central banks were the ultimate authors of the credit crisis since it is they who set the price of credit too low"

No.  For another opinion: the congress is the author of the credit crisis because they put the volume of credit too high.  When the cost of credit goes from 3% to 20%, what will that do to the federal budget and our ability to afford the public goods we require?

It was not the Fed was determined that the federal government would be the writer and guarantor of all mortgages or that required that mortgages be made based on criteria other than creditworthiness.  Those decisions came from the elected officials and the dysfunctional committees that they formed.

Once again I would pose the question: is there really a correct set of policies for a Fed in the situation where we are spending 50% more than we take in, have virtually outlawed manufacturing and energy production and choose instead to send dollars out to the places in the world that supply us?
4855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: July 01, 2010, 04:12:43 PM
The poor (in America) are not poor in terms of food dollars.  Food is free and plentiful if you are poor.

CCP: "Some of the cheapest foods are fattening.  Like pasta, cakes, rice."

I would clarify that these food eaten to excess are fattening, like the bloated stomach you might see on photos from an impoverished country.  I honestly don't believe you will see a difference other than cultural in the diet or at least the availability of all the right food choices.  Food stamps aka SNAP works for virtually anything you can buy in a grocery store, steak salad fruits vegetables whole grains, and for the other items like candy or cigarettes they can trade food debit dollars away for cash at fifty cents on the dollar on the street and on the sidewalk in front of the store. 

The problem I was trying to point out is that our 'poor' are not poor, they just face a twisted set of life incentives: they are paid to stay inactive and have virtually unlimited time and money for eating.
4856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: June 30, 2010, 06:12:05 PM
PC,  I agree it's kind of scary that the second amendment was in question and the support on the court was only 5-4.  I wonder how they feel about Article III authorizing the judiciary.
4857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: June 29, 2010, 08:19:05 PM
A recession is not fully defined but generally looked at as a decline in GDP over a couple of quarters or more.  GDP is measured many ways but one is consumption+investment+government+net exports.

Recession or economic stagnation might also be looked at in terms of net job losses over a similar time frame while economic expansion is also noted with prolonged job growth statistics.

I would contend that only private sector 'production' or employment should count as economic growth, with government being just the parasite feeding off the host - economically. (If the gov't programs performed as promised they would be accompanied with private sector job growth.) If you include government job growth or accelerated government expenditures as economic growth it seems to me you are measuring something artificial and unsustainable without the corresponding private sector growth.  In particular you can't realistically count the $4 trillion in spending as increased economic 'results' if you only raise 2.5 trillion of it in funding, leaving the rest as accumulated debt that accumulates interest into eternity and brings down the value of the unit (dollars) that you were measuring in the first place.
4858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afghanistan-Pakistan, Obama with Petraus: the willing suspension of disbelief on: June 29, 2010, 07:59:29 PM
Then: "strongly implied that Petraeus was either a liar or a fool three years ago." (Harry Reid, Durbin, Move-on-dot-org etc.)

Hillary:  "The reports that you provide to us requires the willing suspension of disbelief."

Obama to Petraeus:  " We have now set the bar so low that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation’s considered success, but it’s not.  This continues to be a disastrous foreign policy mistake.(surge in Iraq)”

Now:  “The commitment to Afghanistan is necessarily…an enduring one”  - Gen. Petraeus
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It would take a clinical psychiatrist to explain to us what disorder allows them to trash someone so ruthlessly, never apologize or explain what has changed and then choose that same person to lead their most important mission.

Charles Krauthammer who is no Obama supporter pointed out that maybe a part of this country needed these horrible 4 years to grasp that these are not George Bush's wars, these are America's wars, this is America's security, America's wiretaps, America's detention facilities etc.  We don't do these for fun or to enrich our friends.  We are under attack and taking the fight to the enemy.

Now Obama needs to save face on his phony exit promise that prevents any real progress by saying he is simply following what the best minds of the best leaders are telling him.  The 'willing suspension of disbelief requirement' and 'bar so low that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation’s considered success'  policy is no longer operative / never happened.
4859  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: No Trespassing on: June 28, 2010, 01:02:34 PM
Tony has it right IMO.  Humor is great but you may wish later that you hadn't made public postings about the pleasure you will take from harming intruders.

I think a 'beware of dog' sign is perfectly acceptable because you are taking a step to prevent harm to a potential intruding. (Where beware of reckless gun-toting homeowner for example  is more an admission of guilt.)   Beware of Dog is also a good sign instead of buying a dog.  Makes one think twice and maybe move on.  The 'no trespassing' sign helps law enforcement to take action against an unwanted person on the grounds.  (Inside the house that should go without saying!)

Besides the alarm system or security sign, lights set off by motion detectors I think are helpful.  Lights on timers help hide that you are gone, and an extra vehicle in front can create confusion.  Also a radio inside with talk can sound through the window very much like voices of people in the house.

(Personally I don't agree with the law that forced entry into a family home is merely a 'property crime'.)
4860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness and the Blago trial, filling the Obama seat on: June 25, 2010, 10:46:09 PM
Drudge ran a series of strong headlines from the trial this week that seem to have faded off.  One was the Chicago Sun Times story the Blago Chief of Staff Harris testified that Obama knew of the plot: http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/blagojevich/2427402,CST-NWS-BLAGO24.article

I'm ready to pin all this on Obama if deserving but there are a couple of problems: a) Harris didn't follow that with any info showing how he knows that, b) Obama never got his choice picked, and c) Obama never appointed Blago to the cabinet or anything else.

As I wrote from the beginning, Obama comes out of this smelling like a rose when it comes out that he was the one who blew the whistle on all that Chicago-Springfield corruption.

The funniest part is to see how surprised the governor of Illinois was to find out that ordinary corruption and backroom dealing is a crime.  Who knew?
4861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 25, 2010, 10:22:10 PM
Regarding Reagan, he did his part on the compromise but the rest that was promised never happened - no closing of the border and no end to the illegal migration.  There is no way to project from that failed false compromise that he would ever support doing it again.  He did relate with the people who risked it all for a shot at building a better life through hard work.  Today is different.  We are much less an opportunity society and much more headed in the direction of a welfare state.  CCP is the one who has nailed this.  We need to become much less of a welfare state as part of the 'comprehensive' solution and then people would violate our borders in smaller numbers for better reasons.

Amnesty today IS a Democrat sinister plot to deputize more voters.  CCP has nailed that from the start as well.  Both sides admit it. A few Republicans like Karl Rove and John McCain recognized that R's need to get on board politically regardless of principle.  The momentum on this one though is shifting back with the impressive popularity of the Arizona measure - back to standing on principle and respecting a just law.

If we passed a 'comprehensive' bill today (amnesty), it would do nothing to either slow the continuing illegal migration or create any incentive to ever secure the border, which means that again it would fail.
4862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: June 24, 2010, 09:34:59 AM
Strange times we live in.  Petraeus was the one defamed in the famous ad.  Sec. of State Hillary was the one who disrespected him the worst during questioning (lecturing) trying to prove her ANTI-war credentials.  Obama was the poster boy of move-on-dot-org that ran the ad.  Biden is still the clown.  McChrystal is the one who allegedly voted for Obama.  Petraeus is the one who saved Bush's Iraq. The right wing rags are the ones who most think we are losing the war based on the troops' limited rules of engagement.  And left wing Rolling Stone is the pub that broke the story - two huge anti-Obama stories within a couple of weeks.

A bad deal for Petraeus. Tampa, even in summer, is nicer than Kabul.  A mixed story for Obama.  The article filled with truths will now lose interest as the story has moved forward.  Obama gets a better commander for the war and gets a chance to be seen as a strong leader even though it was all about ego instead of what was best for the country.  The McChrystal quotes in the article may be ignored now, but will find their way into 2012 Presidential race if the Pres. decides to seek reelection, especially if the war is still going badly.

Going forward, I don't see Petraeus at this point in his career being shy about asking the administration for everything he needs to succeed or in answering questions honestly in front of congressional hearings.  Obama can't afford to lose another commander.  Petraeus will have McChrystal's loyal lieutenants for continuity unless they clean out the whole staff.  Yet all of the dynamics that were going wrong in Afghanistan before this move are still firmly in place and central command loses its wisest leader as the Iraq effort either ends in success or failure.

Petraeus' first move should be to end the ban on embedded reporting so the American public might have a clue what is going on there.  And his second move should be to implement the Crafty Doctrine rearranging and realigning that dangerous region.   
4863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 23, 2010, 09:04:39 PM
I agree with this point JDN made: "For various reasons, including national security, we need to crack down on illegal immigrants."

Expanding or even continuing legal immigration is another issue.  I would consider expanding legal immigration if NOT for the illegal problem, but that is moot.  Border security must come first and then some form of normalcy/stability.

The situation in Fremont Nebraska will be interesting.  I am familiar with the town only from driving through.  The needs of employers for low cost workers does not trump national security.  You do not have expand citizenship to get workers but overstaying a work visa is a major part of the problem, including at least 6 of the 9/11 hijackers.  Workers overstaying visas should be the easiest to track down if anyone was tracking.

The feds could require employers to disclose who they hire and the feds could require companies to transmit copies of papers to help with the screening, especially with companies or industries with known problems, but the feds should not be making companies do the job that they won't do.

As a landlord I have been curious if I am in more trouble for renting to an illegal or for turning down someone for suspecting they are illegal or that their documents are phony.  In Fremont, you will be violating city ordinance to rent to illegals and violating federal housing law if you treat them at all differently based on anything other than proof of illegality.  If you have ever messed with federal housing law (or employment law) you will certainly err on the side of NON-discrimination.

I do not think there are many sweatshops, substandard workplaces or under-regulated businesses left in America.  The stockyards and meatpacking may be ugly places but I'm sure they are USDA inspected and the pay is relatively high for unskilled work in a small town.

We know the Census did not care if they were legal or not.  Hard to hold employers to a higher standard than the U.S. government in a constitutional mandate to count its people.

I wonder what the credit agencies know; they know almost everything about almost everybody.  The problem is that we are not really trying to find out who is here, who is illegal or do anything about it, much less close the border.
4864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 23, 2010, 07:22:03 PM
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
   - 9th Amendment

How can people retain other rights if they weren't already there?  Where did those rights come from?  God-given to me is an expression for pre-existing.  I'm happy to call them intrinsic rights, natural rights, moral rights, or inalienable rights.  Government can take them away like a thief, rapist or murderer can take, but you still started with those rights of freedom, I believe.

"But the US government is "by the people, for the people" so it isn't really the same proposition as the king taking rights."

 - Only if a minority takes away rights from the majority or a majority takes rights from the minority do I see a similarity.  When we rob Peter to pay Paul and only get Paul's consent, there is a similarity.  To the extent that one congress passes programs that cannot be undone by a later one, it fails the test of consent of the governed IMO.  We didn't hire the bums to take away our rights and the founders were certainly trying to make it harder to do that.


"...no reason for God to have created the right to participate in our governance without the creation of a government."

 - I am pro-government, up to roughly the limits set forth in the constitution.  Like BD wrote earlier, I don't think we are that far apart.
4865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 23, 2010, 10:17:16 AM
Freki nailed it: "if the rights come from gov't then gov't can take them away."

Is murder wrong because of an ordinance or statute or was it wrong - intrinsically - before the law was passed?  The Declaration of Independence says some truths are self-evident and certain rights are endowed by the Creator; the constitution lays out that government powers are limited and enumerated (for congress they are in Article 1 Section 8 ) while rights are pre-existing and unenumerated.

The rights of freedom and consent of the governed do not come from government in my view. Governments are more in the business of taking our freedoms away, as with the King example and his false authority over his subjects.
4866  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Tolmin, Slovenia 6/26-27 on: June 22, 2010, 11:32:01 PM
Know your Slovenians:  Besides Tito and knowing that Slovenia and the U.S. tied in World Cup Soccer last week, let me remind that Slovenian Tina Maze edged out American star Lindsey Vonn at Whistler Mountain in Vancouver this year for the silver medal in the most grueling of the Olympic Alpine events, Super Giant Slalom. She also won the silver in GS. A Tina Maze photo to make certain you recognize this famous Slovenian athlete. 
4867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 22, 2010, 03:19:29 PM
"However, there are many rights that do come from government.  The right to vote, for example (and one that you reference).  If it takes an amendment to fix it, then it must be government granted, yes?  Women, African-Americans, and 18 year olds all were given the right to vote via amendment."

Quibbling slightly just over perspective, but the right to participate in governing our own affairs is God-given or intrinsic (IMO) and the restrictions or barriers on that come from the mortals around us like our parents growing up and then from our government - sometimes for our own good, sometimes not.  The amendments, seems to me, were removing the government's restrictions on those people's right to participate.   smiley
4868  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Guro Crafty in Tolmin, Slovenia 6/26-27 on: June 22, 2010, 01:00:49 PM
Richest of the Slavic nations, Mediterranian coast and the Alps in a small space, looking forward to a tourist report for those of us who may never make it there.  I recall that Europe and the U.S. were on the wrong side of history opposing self-rule for Slovenians in 1991: http://www.ljubljana-life.com/ljubljana/ten-day-war
4869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Degeneration of Democracy on: June 22, 2010, 12:21:23 PM
The central question here could have gone under constitutional issues, if and when we find someone who thinks his governance is constitutional.

Degeneration of Democracy (excerpted) http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/06/22/degeneration_of_democracy_106046.html
By Thomas Sowell  June 22, 2010

... a democracy needs informed citizens if it is to thrive, or ultimately even survive. In our times, American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it.

The president's poll numbers are going down because increasing numbers of people disagree with particular policies of his, but the damage being done to the fundamental structure of this nation goes far beyond particular counterproductive policies.

Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere.

And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Many among the public and in the media may think that the issue is simply whether BP's oil spill has damaged many people, who ought to be compensated. But our government is supposed to be "a government of laws and not of men." If our laws and our institutions determine that BP ought to pay $20 billion-- or $50 billion or $100 billion-- then so be it.

But the Constitution says that private property is not to be confiscated by the government without "due process of law." Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference.

With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, private individuals and organizations can be forced into accepting the imposition of powers that were never granted to the government by the Constitution.

If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don't believe in Constitutional government. And, without Constitutional government, freedom cannot endure. There will always be a "crisis"-- which, as the president's chief of staff has said, cannot be allowed to "go to waste" as an opportunity to expand the government's power.

That power will of course not be confined to BP or to the particular period of crisis that gave rise to the use of that power, much less to the particular issues.
...
If the agreement with BP was an isolated event, perhaps we might hope that it would not be a precedent. But there is nothing isolated about it.

The man appointed by President Obama to dispense BP's money as the administration sees fit, to whomever it sees fit, is only the latest in a long line of presidentially appointed "czars" controlling different parts of the economy, without even having to be confirmed by the Senate, as Cabinet members are.
...
4870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 22, 2010, 12:02:25 PM
"So, according to a strict use of original intent, corporations should not have speech rights, etc."

No, by my take on original intent or literal reading, rights don't come from government.  Simultaneous with some being enumerated in the amendments it was made very clear that the enumeration of certain rights "shall not be construed to deny or disparage others".  The rights of these groups of individuals aligned for business, political, religious, familial  or whatever reasons would have pre-existed (IMO) and nowhere in the literal reading or original intent is the government granted the power to take them away.


"As you can see, there is nothing necessarily "leftist" about a literal interpretation."

Agree.  We have to go with the words as written.  As I wrote earlier, we use intent and context to help clarify the meaning of the words, as written. 

One of my favorite quotes was Chief Justice Roberts during confirmation hearings.  Asked what he would do "beyond loyalty to the process of law" what else he would do, he replied:

"Somebody asked me, you know, 'Are you going to be on the side of the little guy?' And you obviously want to give an immediate answer. But as you reflect on it, if the Constitution says that the little guy should win, the little guy is going to win in court before me. But if the Constitution says that the big guy should win, well, then the big guy is going to win, because my obligation is to the Constitution. That's the oath. The oath that a judge takes is not that 'I'll look out for particular interests.' . . . The oath is to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States, and that's what I would do."

That sounds like literal reading to me and Roberts is no leftist.  I think the framing of this as literal reading vs. original intent is incorrect.  I think the politics of it today is literal reading with respect for original intent vs. the living breathing evolving organism view where it is appropriate to change our view of the meaning with the times or to suit our objectives.  If the original document contained flaws of times like slaves being 3/5 a person or women not voting, then the literal reading and original intent was to use the amendment process to fix it, not just read new meaning into it.
4871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: June 22, 2010, 12:53:04 AM
Paul Krugman and Robert Reich are two leftist opinion leaders who think the world works according to demand side (Keynesian) economics and that a trillion and a half deficit is too small of a stimulus for the problems we face.  If we had more diversity of thought on the board, these opinions would be posted and argued here regularly.  Filling that void, here is the latest from Robert Reich (below).  It takes me about 2 days of my life that I will never get back to answer all this drivel point by point.  I'm hoping someone else will do it.  smiley

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/my-father-and-alan-greens_b_618921.html
4872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 22, 2010, 12:17:59 AM
Let's say that I have half of enough money to buy a political ad and let's say (hypothetically) that I have a close friend named bigdog who also has half of enough money to buy a political ad and that both of us feel very strongly about some political issue, let's say we oppose the Vietnam war, and let's say that each of us individually has the constitutionally protected right of freedom of political speech, but to do this together we had to form a C-corp, an S-corp, an LLP, and LLC, a 501c3 or whatever the hell the rules of organization cause us to form in order to cooperate in the matter...  Where in that little story did we lose our God-given right to speak out with all of our heart and all of our resources without being silenced by an unrestrained, oppressive government?  Just curious.
----
It seems to me that any organization that government has the power to destroy should have the power to speak out against such an action.  Where in the literal reading of: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech" does it say organizations will have no such protection?
4873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 21, 2010, 02:48:15 PM
"Why Has Holder Indicted the Times Square Bomber?"

The fact that some of these will go to civilian court giving terrorists rights they do not deserve for PR purposes when they think they can win anyway and some of these will stay in military tribunals to protect our secrets and get a better conviction rate tells me the administration is receiving mixed and confusing polling data on the issue.

4874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration: 22 of 26 in Chicago gang arrests were Mexican nationals on: June 21, 2010, 02:46:49 PM
The good news for states that were hit harder and hit earlier with the illegals problem is that if it is this troublesome and dangerous all the way up to the midwest and in Obama's home neighborhood, maybe more people from more political perspectives will really start saying enough is enough.
4875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 21, 2010, 09:38:32 AM
BD,  On your first point, literal reading vs. original intent, I think for me it is both, with the exact words coming first and the original intent and context used to discern meaning of the actual words.  For example, if a clause used to grant rights to slave families is later used to promote lawbreaking and break down borders, I would still start with the actual reading.  If it only said 'all persons born here' then they are in, until amended. But if it follows with phrases of contradiction like under the jurisdiction or state in which they would reside, I would try to look very very closely at the actual words and meaning before drawing an absurd, unintended conclusion.

On the second point, I don't follow you that right extended to individuals are not granted also to groups of individuals, a well-regulated militia bearing arms or a group of Bush-haters pooling their resources to buy a full page calling the commanding general of our forces in time of war "General Betray Us".  It is an individual right and a group right by extension because the individuals in the group have that freedom of expression no matter how ugly the substance.

Corporations are not freed slaves. Probably didn't need to stop and wait for us on that one. 
4876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: June 18, 2010, 11:52:59 PM
Crafty,  Very, very interesting ideas.  Even if the final answer is unwise, these options on the table could be serious bargaining chips or incentives for our fair weathered friends to consider as they decide whether or not to help our efforts.

The CCP what do we get out of it question is the same IMO as how do we define success.  Best case I would say is that the forces that would destroy us now have to operate in a smaller and smaller world as we close down the state sponsors of terror and set up camp in the former safe haven territories of anarchy and tribalism.  If you are Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan or N. Korea, your sovereignty during this time of war on terror should depend on your ability to control the elements within your borders that would otherwise be attacking the free world.  Maybe we freed 50 million people or gave them a shot at self-rule they didn't have before, but our justification is based on our security, taking battle to enemies and disrupting attack plans.  Most certainly we have done that, but progress has stalled and resources and patience are are showing limits.
4877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dithering in Afghanistan on: June 18, 2010, 05:05:24 PM
"So, what should BO's strategic decision have been?  If you were President, what would you have done?  And, what would you do now?"

Crafty, what do YOU think we should be doing:  A larger presence?  Smaller?  Smarter?  Or just out?

As an aside, Debka, who is ridiculed often here for inaccurate and unconfirmed reports, is reporting that bin Laden is in Iran, not Pak. 

I guess if it was me, I would define down some of the missions abroad and go leaner and meaner in most locations. (That is the opposite of appease and disarm.)We need to keep a presence, improve the intelligence and continue hitting enemy targets as we identify them.  There is no way to know from here if the current surge-like strategy has any prospect for improving conditions.

Right now I cannot tell if we are trying to win something or just slow the rate of loss and save face.  The only real news story is Michael Yon reporting that reporters are not allowed to embed with troops any longer to witness, question or report, and those who write critically will be badgered by customs upon their return.

I wonder if 200k soldiers returning from 2 venues will have any affect on unemployment at home.
4878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: June 18, 2010, 04:00:40 PM
"2/3 of us in the US are overweight or obese. We are fat on our own success."

I think the same studies will bear out that those we call poor are among the most overweight as a group.  In the business of 'welfare rights', they are also victims of their own success - success at achieving inactivity, with bountiful food and third party pay.

4879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 18, 2010, 03:50:36 PM
CCP: "Lets look at this option (amend the Constitution).  Does this take 2/3 Senate vote?"

If you skip the constitutional conventions option, then the process goes like this:

Requires the US House and US Senate to each pass by a two-thirds majority then it goes on to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures.

(Please see US Constitution Article V: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution/article-v.html)

The President is not involved in the process, but it would be difficult for a minority party to force a vote on anything in the house or senate.

Re-wording something will not preclude people from quoting the beginning of the sentence while ignoring the conjunction 'and' and the important caveats that follow.

I wouldn't look to the current leaders of either House or Senate to re-write any provisions of our constitution.  Better to include in a new contract with America for the next congress to address.

It will be impossible to have 'comprehensive' immigration reform in congress while this key provision is controlled by the court.
4880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 17, 2010, 01:23:52 PM
"it was the 14th amendment that gave that right"

No.  It was the (wrongly decided IMO) court case cited that extended that to people passing through, ignoring that the newborn is subject to his intact family and the family is subject to a foreign emperor.  The 14th specifically mentions residing in one of our states: "...of the State wherein they reside."  We take the 14th at its word without intent for a desired result and then ignore the words that don't fit where we were taking it. 

"by your account, the citizenship rights are dependent on residency.  However, a citizen doesn't lose his or her citizenship rights if they don't live in the US.  If I reside in France, or Indonesia, or... I retain my rights as a US citizen."

That logic assumes the criteria to gain citizenship and the criteria to lose citizenship are one and the same.  Not so.

A citizenship test can require memorizing the Pledge of Allegiance yet I know plenty of leftists who have long ago forgotten that liberty comes before justice.  smiley
4881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 16, 2010, 03:23:29 PM
Bigdog wrote: "DougMacG... I am sorry to be "targeting" you, but the above statement isn't true."

Big dog,   Please have at it. No hurt feelings, at least so far. You should see how the others rip me, lol. I write with the hope that any mistakes or falsehoods will be corrected and my opinions are open to discovery of more info or learning of other views.  As Crafty says, 'the adventure continues'.

It seemed to me in casual reading that the same sentenced granting citizenship also refers to the person residing here - in one of the states. 

In my state, a mother or couple can drop off an unwanted newborn with no questions asked.  If I were interpreting the 14th amendment, I would see that as the situation where the newborn 'foreigner' gains automatic citizenship.  In the case Won Kim Ark, the newborn was subject to his intact family who were subject to a foreign emperor, and none of them resided here - in any of the states.

Bigdog: "The 14th amendment was written that way in an effort to directly address the Dred Scott opinion.  It was meant to give citizenship rights at both the national and state level, and not to allow the states to strip citizens of their rights.  Read the rest of section 1 of the amendment."

(The rest of section 1 of the amendment: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.")

I agree with you on this part.  But the former slave and offspring were residing here, the Chinese tourist and his newborn were not.

It is not practical or logical to me for an intact family to have divided national allegiances.  I suppose as they watch the Olympic medal ceremonies,  different family members would stand, put their hand over their heart and sing with conviction to different national anthems.

If the Court still believes that visitors and trespassers create citizenship rights through anchor babies and this language supports that (I still don't see it), then my other point was that the amendment process could and should be used to end that practice. 
4882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: June 16, 2010, 02:33:09 PM
CCP/Ralph Peters:  "time to ask ourselves the basic question about Afghanistan that we've avoided since we made the decision to stay: What do we get out of it?"

The answer is necessarily nothing in terms of mineral deposits.  As with oil in Iraq, if that money or resource becomes ours, then the rhetoric of our enemies, and of our leaders who apologize for our national behavior, will ring true.  Best case would be to have American companies bidding on an equal footing with the others, that the resources will enter the world markets somewhere, and that the money generated will help build a healthy and peaceful country.  Time will tell.

Sad and likely true, Peters point that the mineral will be an additional motive for war more than a solution to what they lack.
-----

Regarding the current appearance of failure, GM wrote: "Buraq Hussein O-barry told everyone he planned to throw in the towel by July 2011, thus setting the stage for what is happening now."

Agree.  The question I didn't see that that answers:  what would a better leader do differently than Pres. Obama?  How would a hawkish Republican or responsible Democrat prosecute this war?  The answer may have been the same surge, same commanders and same strategy, but you do not telegraph to your own troops much less your enemy, during the battles, your willingness to surrender and leave in short order regardless of results.
4883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Consequence of artificially raising fossil fuel prices on: June 16, 2010, 02:20:11 PM
Interested snippet from GM's link, 'a feature, not a bug' link elsewhere:
-----
"John Hinderaker asks,
    If the federal government artificially inflates the price of fossil fuels through taxation and thereby forces Americans to use less desirable sources of energy, while at the same time other countries continue to use more efficient fossil fuels, it will raise the relative price of all American products and devastate our economy. Is it possible that Barack Obama does not know this? I’m not sure; his grasp of even the most basic economic principles seems shaky at best."
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Seriously - as we argue cap and tax etc. - do they know the economic damage it will cause and the global uncompetitiveness it will cause or do they really not know?  They incessantly blame manufacturers for leaving the U.S. while they continue to make policies that cause manufacturers to leave.  Do they really not know consequences of making energy more expensive and harder to come by?

Some ideas moving forward on energy politics and policy: 

a) Go after domestic natural gas sources big time during this pause on deep drilling.  CNG (compressed natural gas) has transportation applications, see system in Utah, also CNG/electric hybrids.

b) Start building more nuclear capacity - power the grid, carbon-free but theses plants take a long time to build. 

c) Open ANWR and similar fields.  Huge capacity, also sends a market signal regarding future capacities. 

d) Approve shallow drilling closer to shore.  The hole would be plugged, Malia, if we could just go down there. 
4884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rolling Stone: The Spill, The Scandal and the President on: June 12, 2010, 10:25:25 AM
Mark this as my first link to Rolling Stone.  This is quite a piece ripping Obama harshly from a leftist point of view and especially Salazar.  Too long to post.  Note that they rip Bush even worse but to them he was a known evil.  One pattern I pick up ties the oil spill to healthcare and to Arizona SB1070 in that no one in this group of elitists reads.  The application to drill including risk assessment from BP is so loaded with nonsense that certainly no one in this $4 trillion dollar federal government took the time to read it. 

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/111965?RS_show_page=0
4885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance: The experts opposed the Moratorium on: June 12, 2010, 10:12:45 AM
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/06/026520.php

Another Stumble in the Gulf
June 11, 2010 Posted by John Hinderacker

The administration has decreed a six-month moratorium on exploratory drilling in the Gulf, based on a report that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wrote for President Obama. Salazar claimed that a panel of seven experts selected by the National Academy of Engineering had peer reviewed his report. It turns out, though, that the seven experts never saw the recommendation for a moratorium, and in fact oppose it:

    The seven experts who advised President Obama on how to deal with offshore drilling safety after the Deepwater Horizon explosion are accusing his administration of misrepresenting their views to make it appear that they supported a six-month drilling moratorium -- something they actually oppose.

    The experts, recommended by the National Academy of Engineering, say Interior Secretary Ken Salazar modified their report last month, after they signed it, to include two paragraphs calling for the moratorium on existing drilling and new permits.

    Salazar's report to Obama said a panel of seven experts "peer reviewed" his recommendations, which included a six-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigs and an immediate halt to drilling operations.

    "None of us actually reviewed the memorandum as it is in the report," oil expert Ken Arnold told Fox News. "What was in the report at the time it was reviewed was quite a bit different in its impact to what there is now. So we wanted to distance ourselves from that recommendation."

    Salazar apologized to those experts Thursday.

Carol Browner tried to claim that the administration did nothing wrong, but it is hard to follow her logic:

    "No one's been deceived or misrepresented," Browner told Fox News, defending the moratorium as a safety measure. "These experts gave their expert advice, and then a determination was made looking at all of the information, including what these experts provided -- that there should be a pause, and that's exactly what there is. There's a pause."

That, of course, is very different from attributing the recommendation of a moratorium to the experts, or claiming that they had "peer reviewed" it. In fact, the expert panel made cogent arguments against the administration's moratorium:

    In a letter the experts sent to Salazar, they said his primary recommendation "misrepresents" their position and that halting the drilling is actually a bad idea.

    The oil rig explosion occurred while the well was being shut down - a move that is much more dangerous than continuing ongoing drilling, they said.

    They also said that because the floating rigs are scarce and in high demand worldwide, they will not simply sit in the Gulf idle for six months. The rigs will go to the North Sea and West Africa, possibly preventing the U.S. from being able to resume drilling for years.

    They also said the best and most advanced rigs will be the first to go, leaving the U.S. with the older and potentially less safe rights operating in the nation's coastal waters.

So this looks like one more instance where the Obama administration is neither honest nor competent, and where its first instinct seems to be to pursue the course that will most damage our economy.
4886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues - anchor babies on: June 12, 2010, 09:19:02 AM
"if you are born in America you are a citizen"

That makes perfect sense - if you ignore the primacy of family.  If the child is born and abandoned within our borders, he or she is clearly deserving protection and citizenship.  If we are speaking of an intact family with allegiance elsewhere, then no. 

If we want to ignore the primacy of family (the founders didn't), then take the baby, grant citizenship, deport the trespassing parents, and see how many more come for that loophole.

Second guessing wrongly decided cases is what we do here on the forum, I hope, and overturning them is what they are supposed to do on the Court.

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

A baby born to a foreign family touring the U.S. on vacation does not reside here.  You would have to read only part of that sentence above to conclude a baby of a foreign family becomes a citizen.

If the language of the amendment and its intent are not one and the same we should be actively going through the amendment process to clarify and get it right.
4887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions on: June 12, 2010, 12:32:25 AM
There was a time I suppose when organizing workers made sense because the greedy capitalist had too much power as perhaps the only employer within commuting distance of a town and whatever paltry sum they paid is what you had to accept or not work.  For one thing, that is NEVER the case with a public employees union.  There is no greedy capitalist involved - just the will of the people / consent of the governed - and it can't possibly be the only employer in town because the public sector necessarily feeds off of a private sector, that is until it destroys it.  A city hall or county highway department for examples can't pay below market wages by definition.  They compete in the market for workers.  They may pay a little less in exchange for the safety/security or convenience of actually getting to leave the office at a fixed time but if no one fills those jobs the pay would go up to market level - without a union.

We all know this I think but when unions 'negotiate' 'successfully' with private companies, it is not win-win. It is a parasite or disease destroying its host.  I had to explain to one union member 'employee' of United Airlines on 'disability' pay who hadn't worked in years why companies like that go bankrupt.  Bankruptcy was the only way to clear the exploding obligations that they could no longer stay in business and honor.  In the case of General Motors I think the ratio was 10:1 of the number of people's healthcare they were paying to the actual number of people working.  It just doesn't work and there was no relief valve.  These unions forced unaffordable contracts on these companies with the threat of shutting down operations until they really did shut down operations.

The hospitals in our metro are currently fighting with the nurses union over 3% pay increases, pension issues and work rules.  The average pay before the increases is $78k during this economic recession/depression for everyone else, the pension benefits are guaranteed - unheard of in the real world, and the work rules tie the hands of the doctors and hospitals from innovating or trying to improve utilization or efficiency in order to afford the high salaries and benefits.  The hospitals by state law are non-profit, so again there is no greedy capitalist to protect against.  Just the embattled consumer stuck with the bill until the sick system, with no check or balance, implodes.
4888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: June 09, 2010, 12:42:44 PM
I was reviewing the contradictory Democrat strategies for this election as the primary results came in.  a) If you elect Republicans you will be putting the same people back in power that brought us the (failures of the) last 8 years, and b) these are completely different people with completely different backgrounds, principles, commitments and values headed in a completely different direction, not the Republicans you trusted from the past like Bush, Bennett and Specter. 

This is a congressional election year, not a Presidential year. People need (IMHO) to get the time frame right about when power last changed hands in Washington.  It was not with the historic election of the guy with the Greek columns and teleprompt skills.  It was the first week of November 2006 and the new congress sworn in Jan. 4, 2007 when unemployment was at 4.9% and consecutive months of positive job growth ended at 50.

That is the day Keith Ellison put his hand on the Koran and swore to uphold the laws of the land so help him Allah. http://thinkprogress.org/2007/01/04/ellison-koran/
4889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Israeli Floatilla to bring aid to the oppressed in Turkey on: June 08, 2010, 11:15:14 PM
First an appreciation of the insight of George Friedman in the previous post:

Quoting: "Israel faces this strategic problem: In the short run, it has freedom of action, but its actions could change the strategic framework in which it operates over the long run. ..The threat to Israel is that its actions will generate forces in the Arab world that eventually change the balance of power."

That sums it up well IMO.  The break with the Obama administration gives them more freedom, but they still have their own limits.  BTW an Ozarik anniversary passed without much notice - where Israel took out an Iraq nuclear facility 29 years ago this week.
--------------
Here is another approach:
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/06/026492.php

"Although most of the recent talk regarding flotillas has revolved around ships sailing toward Gaza, at least two plans have emerged for "reverse flotillas" - from Israel toward Turkey - to highlight what organizers have labeled the Turks' "shameless hypocrisy" in their criticisms of the Jewish state.

 The most ambitious of the two plans has been devised by members of Israel's National Student Union, who this week announced their intention to set sail toward Turkey, in an effort to bring humanitarian aid to the "oppressed people of Turkish Kurdistan" and to members of the "Turkish Armenian minority."

Brilliant. How do you think that will go over with the Turks?"
4890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. Michael Yon, Gobar Gas on: June 08, 2010, 12:20:15 PM
The Gobar gas piece is VERY interesting.  In a third world country there are about a dozen major things missing that prevent them from moving forward.  Gobar Gas addresses several of them.  It gives a family unit a reason to stay in one place with a source of heat and cooking gas, a reason to keep raising animals and to grow vegetables, some productivity and more likely to get their kids some education.  The lack of any attempt at an economy makes the war/stability situation in Afghanistan very hopeless.
---
That post gave me the opportunity to go back and read other recent posts regarding Michael Yon to find out why Crafty has gone negative on the prospects in Afghanistan.  What is so striking about Yon's negative assessments is how accurate he has been covering these wars.  Now I realize why no one is talking about Afghanistan.  No one is allowed in to cover it.

Krauthammer had a point a while back: one thing good about having a liberal as Commander in Chief is that the other half of the country needs to gradually grasp that these are America's wars, (not George Bush's) and it is America's security at stake, not some neocon conspiracy. That gain is wasted though in mis-management and defeat.

Bush-Rumsfeld et al were slow too in recognizing failure and changing course (understatement).  Maybe Obama will also snap out of this and assemble a winning team and strategy before it is too late.  By now I would think McChrystal would be thrilled to take reassignment.
4891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: June 07, 2010, 05:32:25 PM
BBG:"I've long thought about founding a company...to counter protest the events the far left often stages.

This could go under grateful but I'll go with 'electoral process' - inspired by your protest company, Crafty's story of this mother's activism and JDN's post of the less than perfect conservatism of the Reagan administration.

My mom also took an activism in politics.  A few memories come to mind.  She and a stationwagon full of activists drove MSP to DC to protest the Reagan's selection of Sanda Day O'Connor for the Supreme Court.  They thought Reagan wanted to appoint a woman so badly that he forgot to appoint a conservative. (They were right.)  It wasn't successful but maybe helped set the stage for others to derail the Harriet Meirs mistake two decades later.  They joined forces previously with Phyllis Schlaffley to help stop the equal rights amendment.  Her view was that women already had special rights and that equal rights - being treated the same as a man - was a step down.  While people were trying to open doors for more women into more fields my mom had earned her degree in aeronautical engineering from the institute of technology in the 1940s.  Asked why there were no other women in her class picture she said no others applied.

My daughter completed her Catholic confirmation this spring with a ceremony at the great Cathedral in St. Paul.  As we left I commented that I had never been to the cathedral before.  I asked what family members had been there before and my mom said 'only to picket'.  Apparently the Catholic Church was a big proponent of unilateral disarmament (sound familiar).  She and her cronies printed up 'peace through strength' signs and tried to get their smiling faces with a different viewpoint on the news. 

These were volunteers, BBG, but hired protesters were always one of ACORN's trademarks.  Not taxpayer money, because they have the "firewall" lol.They had plenty of throw around money.  In liberal parts of Minneapolis they always had activists with signs on all the major street corners for the elections.  Turns out they were paid people from elsewhere but projected an enthused electorate.
4892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: The economy will collapse in 2011 on: June 07, 2010, 01:26:28 PM
Crafty, Arthur Laffer is exactly right - thanks for finding and posting that.  The automatic tax increase at the end of the year are the elephants in the room that no one wants to talk about.  Only Democrats can stop that from happening.  Even if Republicans win one or both chambers, they take office after the first of the year and anything they pass will require Obama's signature.

By 2012 it will be very difficult to keep calling this country "Bush's mess".
-----
Quoting Laffer: "...Jan. 1, 2011...the highest federal personal income tax rate will go 39.6% from 35%, the highest federal dividend tax rate pops up to 39.6% from 15%, the capital gains tax rate to 20% from 15%, and the estate tax rate to 55% from zero...  Jan. 1, 1983 the economy took off like a rocket, with average real growth reaching 7.5% in 1983 and 5.5% in 1984. It has always amazed me how tax cuts don't work until they take effect. Mr. Obama's experience with deferred tax rate increases will be the reverse. The economy will collapse in 2011.
-----
I would argue that like Sept 2008, when investors and markets begin to see an impending implosion of values they won't sit around and wait to be the last person to sell off.

The big opportunity now is for Democrats to take some wind out of Republican sails by passing new budgets with new spending reforms coupled with comprehensive tax reforms now.  Unfortunately for the republic, that isn't likely to happen.
4893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics, Reagan Pragmatic on: June 07, 2010, 01:06:02 PM
JDN, Yes he was.  As an aside, Palin also governed as a pragmatist.  Much more interesting and relevant is that Obama is not.


"When Ronald Reagan was elected president [in 1980] he was the foul pole in right field. Today he'd be in center field,"

No.  Reagan won 40 states (and then 49 in 1984).  He was already playing centerfield in 1980.  The big increases to support the military in those times of Soviet threat were not exactly analogous to the 'stimulus' trillions and industry takeovers of today.  Also he was not the farthest to the right of his contenders in the 1980 Republican debates.

***Update: a point I missed was that the first controls on pollutants in smokestacks were not exactly analogous to CO2 witchcraft of today either.  There is nothing un-conservative in opposing filth in the environment. ***

Other asides: JFK would easily be the center of the Republican party today.  Nixon governed as a Democrat.  Back to 1980, the most prominent Democrat in the Senate did not wait for a second term to end to challenge the failed sitting President in his own party.
4894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: June 07, 2010, 12:49:02 PM
CCP,  You are correct about Schumer.  There are others but he is the most senior and trusted among his peers for liberal strategy.  His skills and view of the constitution will be on display soon as the Senate Judiciary Committee ushers through uber-liberal Elena Kagan.
4895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: June 06, 2010, 09:21:25 AM
Gov. Haley Barbor of Miss. said today that 7 of the biggest 10 spills came from tankers.  I think that matches the info in Crafty's link.  Barbor said that the greatest economic damage so far to his state is the news coverage.  Photos of only the worst spots create the impression the whole shoreline is like that right now and it isn't, he said.

Most spillage is natural.  In the long run, drilling, capturing and using the oil beneath the gulf should lessen the natural seepage I would think, if that is the goal.

While we put a moratorium on new deepwater rigs, why not open ANWR and shallower areas off-shore?

Or quit driving.  I would like to see a moratorium on Air Force One flights during the drilling ban.  The man is in his 40s and owns a bicycle, does he not? 

Same for Pelosi.  If we say we can do without oil, let's start with the leadership and see how it goes.
4896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 05, 2010, 01:04:37 AM
Thanks Crafty for followup on Bush v. Gore.  Thanks and welcome to bigdog!

"My comment was meant to be tongue in cheek...  Kelo was wrongly decided..."

Whew!   I'm usually on the other side of that with people not getting my humor.  5 Justices and plenty of other people think the Kelo decision is okay, so that view would be interesting to debate as well.  I hope my strong reaction came across as civil. Kelo is personal for me.  I have my life savings invested in property and have had property taken under the same circumstances by the City of Minneapolis.  My current home of 24 years is extremely vulnerable to the Kelo rule as well.  Don't be fooled by the 5th amendment: "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation".  If they were willing to pay market price where buyers and sellers come together voluntarily, they wouldn't have to 'take' it. 

"the issue at hand was the Fifth Amendment's taking clause, not the Fourth Amendment as you suggest"

You are correct on the first part, the issue was the takings portion of the 5th.  I am just saying that the restrictions in the 4th on the limits of even entering the property make the stretched interpretation of the 5th, going from public use to private use, absurd.

Sowell's central point rings true to me, that public use as the justification does not round down to calling it a public purpose if the city council decides to have someone other than you build for private use on your legally purchased site.  And that having the municipality determine the worthiness of the purpose defeats the purpose of limiting their power.  To me the private use takings mock the meaning of the whole constitution and the process of interpreting it.  You put it nicely: "wrongly decided".  An understatement I think, but those too are strong words.  Too many wrong decisions about limits of government power and those limits as we knew them become mere memories IMHO.
4897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Fed & the US Dollar: Iran Back to the Dollar on: June 04, 2010, 02:42:00 PM
Answering Crafty from the Iran thread: "Tehran’s move toward the euro (2008-2009) as its preferred currency for its foreign exchange reserves, a policy that dovetailed nicely with its anti-American foreign policy posture...Iran is deciding (3020) to alter its currency policy and revert to a largely dollar-denominated foreign exchange reserve"

It was never out of love for America that OPEC, China etc. pegs, buys, holds or uses dollars, it is for lack of a better alternative. If 320 million Europeans in twenty-two countries can't make a currency better than the dollar in these times, neither can any third world conglomeration.  Even gold is not more secure, transmittable and predictable in value IMO than the flawed US$.
4898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: June 04, 2010, 02:01:46 PM
"Justice Stevens has fundamentally changed – and strengthened – the Court’s jurisprudence regarding personal freedom."

What part of LIVE IN ONE'S OWN HOME is not a personal freedom?

Justice Stevens wrote the opinion Kelo v. New London that takes a situation where the constitution explicitly prohibits the government from entry, search or seizure and gives them the right to bulldoze it and gift the property title to a new, more affluent owner.  

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause..."  - 4th amendment to the U.S. constitution.

In the war on terror example Stevens sought to tie the hands of the Commander in Chief in a time of war and national emergency and in a situation where no prisoners were injured and culturally sensitive meals were ordered by inmates off of a menu.

In Bush v. Gore, the majority correctly noted that the U.S. Constitution gave the authority in question specifically to the "State Legislature" of Florida, not to the state in general and not to the Florida court to strike down or make new law where they may have a better idea or believe the Legislature to have erred.  Stevens dissented.

"His 2005 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, ruling that the EPA could regulate greenhouse gases and that Massachusetts could sue the EPA for failing to do so, is the most important environmental decision in a generation"

Yes, the federal government gained a new means to stop manufacturing, limit unnecessary drives to visit Grandma and keep a watchful government eye over exhaling.

For Justice Stevens, I agree with the two word title of the following piece: Good Riddance!
-------------------------------

Good Riddance!
By Thomas Sowell  April 13, 2010  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/04/13/good_riddance_105145.html

When Supreme Court Justices retire, there is usually some pious talk about their "service," especially when it has been a long "service." But the careers of all too many of these retiring jurists, including currently retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, have been an enormous disservice to this country.

Justice Stevens was on the High Court for 35 years-- more's the pity, or the disgrace. Justice Stevens voted to sustain racial quotas, created "rights" out of thin air for terrorists, and took away American citizens' rights to their own homes in the infamous "Kelo" decision of 2005.

The Constitution of the United States says that the government must pay "just compensation" for seizing a citizen's private property for "public use." In other words, if the government has to build a reservoir or bridge, and your property is in the way, they can take that property, provided that they pay you its value.

What has happened over the years, however, is that judges have eroded this protection and expanded the government's power-- as they have in other issues. This trend reached its logical extreme in the Supreme Court case of Kelo v. City of New London. This case involved local government officials seizing homes and businesses-- not for "public use" as the Constitution specified, but to turn this private property over to other private parties, to build more upscale facilities that would bring in more tax revenues.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the Supreme Court opinion that expanded the Constitution's authorization of seizing private property for "public use" to seizing private property for a "public purpose." And who would define what a "public purpose" is? Basically, those who were doing the seizing. As Justice Stevens put it, the government authorities' assessment of a proper "public purpose" was entitled to "great respect" by the courts.

Let's go back to square one. Just who was this provision of the Constitution supposed to restrict? Answer: government officials. And to whom would Justice Stevens defer: government officials. Why would those who wrote the Constitution waste good ink putting that protection in there, if not to protect citizens from the very government officials to whom Justice Stevens deferred?
4899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / State Dinner for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on: June 02, 2010, 10:29:17 AM
Sorry JDN for my lame attempt at humor.  There isn't/wasn't ever going to be an Obama White House State Dinner for this Israeli leader.  Those are saved for great world leaders like Calderon (sarcasm).  Netanyahu would be lucky to get in and out the White House side door without being publicly berated by Obama.
------------------
"sociopaths are quite charismatic and glib" - GM on Martial Arts thread today.

A better indicator than appearance on sociopaths is the trait that they have difficulty differentiating between friends and enemies. 
4900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness and the Israelis on: June 01, 2010, 10:56:05 PM
Speaking of that special relationship between the US and Israel (over on the Israel thread), I never heard anything about that state dinner the Obamas held for Prime Minister Netanyahu.  Did anyone here attend or know what they served?  Did the President bow or is that reserved for unelected leaders?
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