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4901  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: June 27, 2013, 01:11:39 PM
Wow  cry cry angry

Americans banned from Britain based on (anti-)free speech censorship and Islamist extremism appeasement.  I can't imagine what the Obama administrations' reaction to this will be, defending the Americans!  Will he take back the hope and change speeches he sent to them in an unreadable format?  Send back the Churchill bust - again?  Worse??
4902  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed, Constitutional Law, Scalia, Krauthammer on: June 27, 2013, 01:04:28 PM
Justice Scalia in dissent:  "It takes real cheek for today's majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here—when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority's moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress's hateful moral judgment against it."

Crafty and others have this right in my humble layman's opinion, the Court leaped in front of the political process that was already moving their direction, ended the debate and forced the outcome.  Just like Roe.  What changed in either gayness or in the constitution regarding gayness in the first 224 years that the Supreme Court failed to find this right?  Nothing, just a growing political acceptance.  Like Obama who was against it before he was for it, the Court's majority said in effect, let's get out in front of this and put our names in the history books.

Another way to implement change is called consent of the governed.  Even the abolition of slavery, the end of a slightly more severe discrimination than unrecognized marriage lacking federal benefits, went through the constitutional amendment process.

Charles Krauthammer appears to have been reading the forum:

"Overall, the decision, I think, will inevitably lead to the overturning of all the laws in all the states that disallow gay marriage and it is in the rational the Kennedy opinion. The Kennedy opinion says that the states are sovereign on the issue of marriage and thus the federal government cannot impose its definition in the states.

If Kennedy had stopped with that, it would have been a conservative decision, it would have been essentially been a way of saying status quo prevails, those states that allow it will allow it, and those will do otherwise. But he had a second rationale, it wasn't just the federalist one, and the second rationale was the reason that the federal government cannot discriminate in states in which it is allowed between a gay couple and a straight one is because it undermines the equal protection clause. So, it is a form of discrimination.

So the logic of that is why is it only discrimination if you discriminate against a couple, a gay couple, in a state that allows it like New York and not a discrimination in a state that doesn't allow, like Texas -- it doesn't even allow the marriage in the first place. So in this opinion, I think it is absolutely inevitable seed of overturning all -- essentially nationalizing gay marriage in a way that Roe nationalized and abolished all the abortion laws." (Special Report, June 26, 2013)
4903  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in Constitutional Law, Government by the Elites on: June 27, 2013, 09:58:01 AM
Seeking greater clarity in disagreement...  I agree Ted Olson (and perhaps BD and many others) see something noble and historic in the changing of marriage to included gay marriage. 

The problem of course is that marriage is not marriage, but using the same word for a changed meaning.  Marriage as it was, now heterosexual-marriage is (or was) the joining of a man and a woman to become husband and wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, until death do they part (or something like that).  Gays and singles have always had the right to wait, opt in, or opt out of that institution, with no legal difference in status than anyone else who waited, opted in, or opted out of that institution.  Although half of marriages fail, the institution was so great that we needed to change it!

Marriage which meant heterosexual-marriage, is a unique union.  Gay unions no doubt are capable of their own beauty and uniqueness.  Do all heteros pursue or find lifelong happiness in hetero-marriage?  No.  Is it a good idea to encourage, through preferential laws, lifelong bonding for gays and lesbians who want and choose that too?  Maybe yes.  Should gays have all rights to associate, pursue happiness, bond, create unions, make legal designations?  Yes.  Will any change of words, meanings or definitions make gay marriage an identical bond to heterosexual-marriage?  No.

The issue in Windsor was ESTATE TAXES.  Does anyone remember that?  Estate taxes on after-tax, accumulated wealth are wrong in a free society in the first place, and secondly they are discriminatory in the way they are levied.  Did the noble work of forcing the political view of Anthony Kennedy along with 4 liberals on the nation change the fact that estate taxes are still discriminatory against everyone including me who did not get their status upgraded yesterday by this supreme political body?  No.

"It's an individual right that this Court again and again and again has said the right to get married [man and woman b ecoming husband and wife], the right to have the relationship of [one man, one woman] marriage is a personal right. It's a part of the right of privacy, association, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

The Court has NOT said "again and again and again" that other relationships are identical to hetero-marriage.  That law is new and was passed by 5 people out of 314 million, against the vote of the people and their elected representatives, no matter how right you or anyone else may think they got it.  It was the estate tax law that was discriminatory in Windsor, and still is.  Strike THAT down along with all other discriminatory taxation.  MHO

Something creepy happened in Prop 8.  The point of 'props' on ballots is to put the people over their elected representatives.  The elected representatives then chose not to stand by the will of the people and the Court ruled those who did defend it lacked standing.  So current law that is changing society was set by one judge.

Like other subjects in monarchies, we are lucky that our elites are benevolent and infinitely wise.
4904  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: June 27, 2013, 08:24:46 AM
CCP,  Good points.  As mentioned in the media issues post, they can send out a false message 92 times on broadcast multiplied by every other source that picks that up and amplifies it, call opposition flat earth, then poll on the false message and create more 'news' stories to perpetuate it.  They pass or just deem economically harmful policies creating more need for government help and the downward cycle accelerates.  Meanwhile, our greenhouse gases were declining without their help due to fracking they oppose and would decline much further if we built emission-free nuclear.  But no, because the goal of the eco movement has always been to bring down prosperity.

Meanwhile, every politically connected crony in the green movement somehow got rich off of our failure.  Go figure.
4905  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics: Our Cabonated President (and the war on GDP) on: June 26, 2013, 07:16:08 PM
"every $1 billion spent complying with an EPA rule threatens 16,000 jobs and cuts GDP by $1.2 billion—and the agency is now writing scores of multibillion-dollar rules."

The Carbonated President
Obama unveils a war on fossil fuels he never disclosed as a candidate.

President Obama's climate speech on Tuesday was grandiose even for him, but its surreal nature was its particular hallmark. Some 12 million Americans still can't find work, real wages have fallen for five years, three-fourths of Americans now live paycheck to check, and the economy continues to plod along four years into a quasi-recovery. But there was the President in tony Georgetown, threatening more energy taxes and mandates that will ensure fewer jobs, still lower incomes and slower growth.

Mr. Obama's "climate action plan" adds up to one of the most extensive reorganizations of the U.S. economy since the 1930s, imposed through administrative fiat and raw executive power. He wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% by 2020, but over his 6,500-word address he articulated no such goal for the unemployment rate or GDP.

The plan covers everything from new efficiency standards for home appliances to new fuel mileage rules for heavy-duty trucks to new subsidies for wind farms, but the most consequential changes would slam the U.S. electric industry. These plants, coal-fired power in particular, account for about a third of domestic greenhouse gases.

Last year the Environmental Protection Agency released "new source performance standard" regulations that are effectively a moratorium on new coal plants. The EPA denied that similar rules would ever apply to the existing fleet, or even that they were working up such rules. Now Mr. Obama will unleash his carbon central planners on current plants.

Coal accounted for more than half of U.S. electric generation as recently as 2008 but plunged to a mere 37% in 2012. In part this tumble has been due to cheap natural gas, but now the EPA will finish the job and take coal to 0%.

Daniel Shrag of Harvard, an Obama science adviser, told the New York Times Monday that "Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they're having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what's needed." At least he's honest, though in truth Mr. Obama's target is all forms of carbon energy. Natural gas is next.

The higher costs will ripple through the energy chain, which is precisely Mr. Obama's goal. Only by artificially raising the cost of carbon energy can he make even heavily subsidized "renewables" competitive.

In general every $1 billion spent complying with an EPA rule threatens 16,000 jobs and cuts GDP by $1.2 billion—and the agency is now writing scores of multibillion-dollar rules. Keep in mind that last month the Administration quietly raised the "social cost" of carbon by 60% in a regulatory filing related to microwave ovens. That means the EPA can jack up costs by 59.99% and still justify them by claiming the higher benefits.

This regressive burden won't merely be borne by average American consumers and utility rate-payers—especially in the Midwest and Southern regions that use the most coal. This also threatens one of the few booming parts of the economy, the energy revolution driven by shale gas and unconventional oil. The return of manufacturing to the U.S. depends on this cheap abundant energy, and it could as easily re-relocate overseas as the U.S. becomes less competitive.

For good measure, Mr. Obama also declared that he will approve the Keystone XL pipeline "only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution." Yet the oil in Alberta won't stay in the ground if Mr. Obama blocks the route to the Gulf of Mexico. It will be shipped by rail and boat to China and elsewhere. The only question is whether America will benefit from this shovel-ready project that will create tens of thousands of jobs.

Speaking of futility, Mr. Obama's ambitions will have no effect on global atmospheric carbon concentrations. Emissions are already falling in the U.S., thanks primarily to the shale gas boom, but emissions are rising in the developing world. Mr. Obama pandered to the climate-change absolutists by saying "We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society." But he never explained how his plan will reduce warming, or why climate models have failed to predict the warming slowdown of the last dozen or so years even as more CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere.

Most striking about this Obama legacy project is its contempt for democratic consent. Congress has consistently rejected an Obama-style "comprehensive" anticarbon energy plan. That was true even when Democrats ran the Senate with a filibuster-proof majority in 2009-2010 and killed his cap-and-trade energy bill. The only legislative justification for Mr. Obama's new plan is an abusive interpretation of the Clean Air Act, which was last revised in 1990 and never mentions carbon as a pollutant.

So instead Mr. Obama will impose these inherently political policy choices via unaccountable bureaucracies, with little or no debate. Mr. Obama might have at least announced his war on carbon before the election and let voters have a say. Instead he posed as the John the Baptist of fossil fuels in locales such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia—taking credit for the shale fracking boom he had nothing to do with and running ads attacking Mitt Romney as anticoal.

Now safely re-elected, Mr. Obama figures he can do what he pleases. The Americans who will be harmed will have to console themselves with 99 weeks of jobless benefits, food stamps and ObamaCare.
4906  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The legal warriors involved. on: June 26, 2013, 06:52:51 PM

Nothing says freedom like receiving federal benefits.
4907  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Today's 'Immigration' ruling on: June 26, 2013, 05:27:09 PM
Gay couples can immigrate under DOMA ruling

The Supreme Court’s ruling that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional should immediately open up immigration benefits to same-sex partners in states where their unions are recognized as marriages.

The 5-4 decision ruled that federal benefits pertaining to marriage couples cannot be denied to same-sex couples who are married, and that states can recognize those marriages. The issue at hand was an inheritance case, but analysts said the ruling signals the same principle applies to all federal benefits such as Social Security and taxes.

“This is a huge day not only for the LGBT movement, but also for the immigrant rights’ movement,” said Jorge Gutierrez, who leads the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project for United We Dream, a group of young illegal immigrants. “This Supreme Court decision affirms that all [trespassers] should be treated fairly and with justice.”
4908  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Justice Scalia in Windsor dissent on: June 26, 2013, 05:24:04 PM
Justice Scalia in Windsor dissent:

"In the majority's telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated. It is hard to admit that one's political opponents are not monsters, especially in a struggle like this one, and the challenge in the end proves more than today's Court can handle. Too bad. A reminder that disagreement over something so fundamental as marriage can still be politically legitimate would have been a fit task for what in earlier times was called the judicial temperament. We might have covered ourselves with honor today, by promising all sides of this debate that it was theirs to settle and that we would respect their resolution. We might have let the People decide.

But that the majority will not do. Some will rejoice in today's decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent."
4909  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 92 Climate Change Stories without a mention of the 15 year 'Pause' in warming on: June 26, 2013, 05:19:41 PM
The low information voter could be watching, tivo-ing, and watching again every broadcast story of the planet's greatest crisis and still have no f-ing clue what is (not) going on.

Networks Fail to Mention ‘Lull’ in Warming in All 92 Climate Change Stories

President Barack Obama’s new climate change initiative will purportedly share “a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change and lead global efforts to fight it.” Although he intends to demand action, most Americans do not see climate change as a “major threat,” according to Pew Research.

The Washington Post reported Obama will include “a plan to limit carbon-dioxide emissions from existing power plants.” That’s an agenda item the media will love. It was just a month ago when CBS “This Morning” interviewed Time magazine senior writer Jeffrey Kluger on May 11 who said “we have to curb the use of fossil fuels.”

No doubt the broadcast networks will cheer the president’s efforts, since they’ve spent years warning of the threat of climate change, even in the face of science that challenges their view. This year they’ve worried about many things including “raging infernos, surging seas, howling winds,” reported alarmist claims that weren’t accurate and connected weather to climate when scientists disagree. The networks have also completely ignored the “lull” in warming in recent years, in all 92 stories about climate change they reported in 2013.

One ABC report was typical, warning: “Many cities had record warmth, including Washington, D.C. where a lack of action on manmade climate change is likely to mean 2012 is just a glimpse into an unpleasant future, according to many scientists.”

Just since Jan. 1, 2013, ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news programs have aired 92 stories about “climate change” or “global warming.” Not a single one of those stories mentioned the “warming plateau” [of the last 15 years] reported even by The New York Times on June 10.
4910  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market, crisis, what crisis? on: June 26, 2013, 04:10:31 PM
"OK folks, for those of us who believe interest rates are going to start really climbing, what investments do we avoid and what do we do to protect ourselves?  What does a hunker down strategy look like?"

For most, the question is what debt to get out of.  How many dollars and how many people are still owing on adjustable mortgages and equity lines of credit?  That effect equals a cut in pay and a cut in disposable income, offset by what that is happening positively? (strike 1)

"Some 12 million Americans still can't find work, real wages have fallen for five years, three-fourths of Americans now live paycheck to check, and the economy continues to plod along four years into a quasi-recovery. "

  - Today's WSJ editorial on the Carbonated President.  He will intentionally increase our energy costs in all ways that he can through the Executive Branch acting alone.  "That effect equals a cut in pay and a cut in disposable income, offset by what that is happening positively?"  - Same as the effect of higher interest costs on household debt. (strike 2)

Back to the blurred distinction between the market and the economy, there is quite a bit of news lately about trouble with investments in emerging markets where these multi-national companies have been going to grow their profits beyond what the struggling US economy can sustain. (strike 3)
Barron's:  Emerging Markets: More Pain Coming
Stocks, bonds and currencies in emerging markets have plummeted in recent weeks, and the charts suggest they have farther to fall.

No, I don't have crisis investment advice better than to tell most people to vote differently.
4911  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Bisexuals still left out of marriage by unconstitutional state restrictions on: June 26, 2013, 03:32:04 PM
First this: "And the definition here is one of Constitutional criteria; the failure to apply the C. is what would be political."

I agree with you, but what is political about getting it right with the constitution is that if J. Kennedy's political view happened to be the opposite, he would have gone with his political view instead of with the constitution. (My humble opinion based on his record)

The test is how disciplined each Justice is in adhering to the actual words and meanings in the constitution when it leads them to a vote or decision that is opposite of their personal view.

One interesting part of DOMA, it was often used as a rare example of conservatives using the federal government to dictate law onto the states.  This was not true though because DOMA did not control marriage at the state level; it only defined federal benefits under federal law.

I still don't understand:

a) How is a law that adds gay-marriage to a group receiving special treatment and special benefits in law, to the exclusion of all others, any more constitutional than the old law?

b) How were gays discriminated against in any way that people who are long-term single are not?  Why not, from a constitutional perspective, strike down all preferences and penalties for recognizing marriage instead?

c) What other gender distinctions are left that still need to be struck down?  
4912  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Constitutional Law: A Political body over-rules a political body on Marriage on: June 26, 2013, 10:12:02 AM
If marriage means anything, marriage means nothing?  Except for federal benefits.  Now when we go to cut federal benefits it will be an attack on gays.

President Kennedy (Anthony Kennedy) decided the case, and had no trouble finding 4 liberals to go along with him.

Supreme Court strikes down key part of Defense of Marriage Act

4913  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: June 24, 2013, 05:43:48 PM
Your points are valid and well received.  Wesbury and I both blur the distinction between the market and the economy.  When he starts spinning that things other than 'the market' are doing fine economically, I like to get back up on my soapbox and offer the other side of it.  Apocalypse or not, the under-performance of this economy, caused by unnecessarily harmful policies, is a human tragedy.
4914  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Dubois: Race, A crisis of Black Men Left Behind on: June 24, 2013, 05:36:21 PM
 "He completely ignore the number one cause of the problem."
"Though there is much I think it misses, that was an interesting article. "

The main theme of ACORN, community organizing, most inner city programs and Obama's path to political power, including his reelection with 98% of black vote, is 'welfare rights'.  How can we pay more people, deserving our not, to be unproductive.

Pres. Obama never pivoted off of that to inspire personal responsibility, economic achievement or even self-sufficiency.  In his view, that message belongs to his opponents.

Number one cause of the troubles experienced by inner city black males is not drug law, but ubiquitous welfare.  The government became the provider making the husband obsolete and unnecessary.  Losing that role, the black male too often wanders off into either trouble or idleness.

The problem is not racial IMO.  It affects people of all races and plenty of black males choose to live wonderfully productive work lives full of success.  But this problem does afflict blacks disproportionately.

The elephant in the room is that our perverted welfare system is hurting the recipients even worse than it hurts those who are footing the bill.

4915  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Wesbury: Back to normal on: June 24, 2013, 01:51:59 PM
This is the new normal?  Trillions of wealth lost never recovered?  New growth line far below the old growth line?  Approaching a majority of adults who won't participate in the workforce.  Combined tax rates jumping past the 50% mark.  Regulations worse than ever.  Industries nationalized.  Downgraded credit rating.  Other countries looking for a new, world currency.  We are unable to sell our own bonds.  America's interests in foreign Policy ignored around the world.  Wesbury is right.  This IS the new normal.

Wesbury: "...fearing an end to QE is giving QE too much credit in the first place."

An injection rate of $85 BILLION A MONTH is not a serious drug habit?  If it wasn't having an effect, why are they doing it?

"we don’t think QE actually works. Yes, the monetary base has jumped dramatically, but the M2 measure of money is still growing along its long-term 6% trend."

Money expansion HAS hit the money supply, apologies for the redundancy, but it has not hit velocity, because money shortage, since at least 2009, has had nothing to do with why this economy is stuck with its parking brake on.

"Everyone knew the Fed would say it, then slow it, then stop it,…and only then raise interest rates and unwind it. And each will only happen when the Fed thinks the economy can handle it."

In other words this Plowhorse-strength economy cannot stand on its own hoofed feet, according to the top decision makers today, with the market concurring.

I am stuck with my conclusion that the ability of big companies to continue to make big money in collusion with big government keeping out under-financed startups through over-regulation tells us shockingly little about where the US economy is heading.

If Republicans were in charge, people would be furious about these high profits of established companies thinning their workforces that he refers to.
4916  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 24, 2013, 01:16:07 PM
We now live in the age of "pass it to find out what's in it".
We really are living in insane times.

That's right.  This didn't need to turn into an Obamacare-style, tax code-style, Dodd-Frank-style, 1200 page attack on forests that no one will read, full of special treatment, provisions and exceptions for special groups, along with misprints and stupidity:  I hope the proponents of it will hold up the vote and allow debate and amendments before passing what they intend to be the law of the land.

The WSJ ran an editorial today again belittling the opponents for their petty concern over border security.  As I pointed out previously, their own characterization of the security status was already quite misleading.  They are entitled to their opinion, but mis-characterizing facts, cheapening the motives of the opponents, showing reverence to Chuck Schumer and dividing the conservative movement are not ways to build a coalition of any value.

"At least the Corker-Hoeven plan has the virtue of smoking out the politicians who have been using the "border security first" demand as cover for their real objection, which is to immigration per se."

Good grief. Did they forget about 1986 and 2006 or do they really not know the Lucy holding the ball for Charlie Brown history of this?  They are confusing legal and illegal immigration, just as they accuse opponents of doing so.  If the security is so certain, why not security first - just this once?  If the bill is so good, why not let us read it before demanding support or calling us all anti-immigrant? 

To WSJ: Taking cheap shots at your readership is not how you will get immigration reform or subscriptions renewed.
4917  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Dubois: Race, A crisis of Black Men Left Behind on: June 24, 2013, 10:45:18 AM
"there are more African-Americans in the corrections system today—in prison or on probation or parole—than there were enslaved in 1850. As of 2004, more black men were denied the right to vote because of a criminal record than in 1870, when the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified, giving blacks the right to vote."

Posted under race because he makes that his focus.  My view is that America's underclass and inner city problems disproportionately hit people of color but are not uniquely racial problems.

This a long and very interesting article written by a former spiritual adviser to President Obama.  His observations, awareness of the problem and historical data are quite good.  This is perhaps the biggest problems in America, tied to so many other challenges.  Imagine our economy if America's underclass suddenly got up and participated full time in the economy.  His keen insights, including failure of the war on drugs, however completely ignore the number one cause of the problem.
4918  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs - The 'Farm Bill' failed in the House on: June 24, 2013, 10:28:11 AM
The opponents included most Democrats, because there is a "$1 billion cut" in the food stamp program (readers here know a cut is not a cut), along with some Republicans that doesn't believe a welfare program belongs in the farm bill.  The urban Democrat - rural Republican, big government coalition has been fractured.

Separate the two and let them stand on their own merits, says Stephen Moore, WSJ

Maybe someone can tell me what states in this union cannot afford to feed their own people in 2012, requiring a federal program, and how a monstrous bill like this is justified by a simple mention in the constitution of regulating interstate commerce. 
4919  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The IRS's Best Friend in Congress - on: June 24, 2013, 10:10:58 AM
Young journalist Eliana Johnson keeps some coverage of this story alive as our attention disorder mainstream keeps moving on to other topics.  At the moment this is a lead opinion piece at WSJ, Powerline, Real Clear Politics and National Review.

The IRS's Best Friend in Congress
Rep. Elijah Cummings says the House investigation is a 'witch hunt.' Yet revealing evidence keeps coming.


The House Oversight Committee's investigation into the Internal Revenue Service's discrimination against conservative groups continues—but at least one unenthusiastic member seems to think the committee's work is done.

Over the objections of Chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) last week released online the full, 205-page transcript of an interview that committee investigators conducted with an IRS employee in Cincinnati named John Shafer. Mr. Cummings explained that he was compelled to release the Shafer transcript because it explodes Mr. Issa's "conspiracy theories"—chiefly, that the White House played a role in the targeting of conservative groups, and that it was orchestrated out of IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C. In fact, Mr. Issa has never said the former, and much that is known so far about the IRS scandal suggests that the Washington connection is substantial.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (right) and Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, June 6.

Mr. Cummings's enthusiasm for defending the IRS may make him a lonely figure among the 22 Republicans and 16 Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, but he is likely to find an ally in his chief counsel on the committee. She is Susanne Sachsman Grooms, who worked for the IRS between 2008 and 2011 as an adviser to the deputy commissioner for services and enforcement and then as a senior counselor to the chief of criminal investigations. At the time, the deputy commissioner for services and enforcement—her boss—was none other than Steven Miller, who held the post of IRS commissioner from November 2012 until his resignation in May after the scandal broke. Mr. Cummings also has a strong tie to the Obama administration: His staff director on the Oversight Committee, David Rapallo, is a former White House lawyer.

The release of the Shafer transcript came after a June 12 interview with Politico in which Mr. Cummings labeled the Oversight Committee's investigation a "witch hunt"—in other words, something that should end immediately. A few days before that, in a June 9 CNN interview, he said, "The IG made some recommendations, those recommendations are being adopted by the IRS . . . I think we're in great shape."

As it happens, the revelation of Mr. Shafer's testimony isn't likely to discourage the investigation.

Mr. Shafer, the manager of an IRS screening group in the Cincinnati office, told committee investigators that in February 2010 one of his employees brought a tea-party application for nonprofit designation to his attention.

Given the media coverage that the tea party was receiving, Mr. Shafer deemed the application a "high profile" matter and alerted his managers to its existence. Shortly thereafter, according to his testimony, lawyers in the IRS's Washington, D.C., office said, "We want to look at the case." On the evidence of the Washington office's interest in that initial case, Mr. Shafer said IRS agents in Cincinnati then held the applications of tea-party groups until they were given "further direction" from D.C.

Case closed, according to Mr. Cummings, who wrote in a letter to Mr. Issa: "These statements by the screening group manager appear to directly contradict your allegations of political motivation."

If Mr. Shafer or Mr. Cummings could read the minds of IRS officials in Washington, that might be true. In reality, Mr. Shafer was unable to say why officials in Washington were so interested in the tea-party cases or whether the officials' interest was politically motivated.

"Did you have an understanding at the time about what the reason was for sending the cases [to Washington] for review?" investigators asked him. "No," he responded. They pressed further. "Do you have personal knowledge of the motivations of Washington and how they worked the tea party cases?" "I do not," Mr. Shafer said.

The testimony offered by other Cincinnati IRS employees—which I have reviewed in full, un-redacted form—contradicts Mr. Cummings's claims and those of Obama administration officials, such as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who has pointed the finger at "line employees" in Cincinnati. The IRS interviews suggest that the agency's officials in Washington closely controlled the review of tea-party cases.

Consider Gary Muthert, the Cincinnati IRS screener who told investigators that he began singling out tea-party applications at the request of Mr. Shafer, who told him "Washington, D.C., wanted some cases."

And there is Elizabeth Hofacre, the Cincinnati IRS agent who for several months in 2010 was charged with handling all tea-party applications. She told the committee that she understood the "lookout list" used to flag the applications of tea-party groups was also intended to flag those of Republican and conservative groups. When the applications of liberal groups came in, she sent them along for general processing.

Ms. Hofacre also told the committee's investigators that IRS lawyers in Washington were controlling her every move. "I was taking all my direction from EO Technical," she told investigators, referring to the group of IRS tax lawyers in Washington that handles tax-exempt organizations. She went on to say that she had "no autonomy" in her handling of the cases, and she termed the behavior of IRS officials in Washington in the matter "very unusual."

Mr. Cummings's efforts have drawn attention away from these troubling accounts, which have been partially released by the House Oversight Committee—and instead bogged the committee down with questions of whether to release full interview transcripts.

Mr. Issa opposes releasing the full transcripts. Disclosing them, he says, threatens to compromise the investigation by providing future witnesses a "road map" of the scope and content of likely questions. It also provides them with time to formulate their answers and to ensure that their testimony corroborates that of other witnesses. Mr. Cummings, who has already made his position clear by unilaterally releasing the Shafer transcript, has called the committee chairman's position on the matter "bulls---."

Many questions remain for the committee to address, even if Mr. Cummings might disagree. Who at the IRS, for instance, developed the intrusive and exhaustive questions that were sent to the tea-party groups? Why did so many of those groups have to wait years for their applications to be processed, and why are many more still waiting? Who specifically were the IRS officials in Washington directing the Cincinnati agents targeting the tea-party organizations?

If the House Oversight Committee can overlook the distractions thrown up by one of its members, the answers may prove illuminating about the way Washington has worked during the Obama administration.
4920  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Senate Immigration Bill, 1187 pages, Released late Friday, Vote Monday, Read it! on: June 23, 2013, 11:54:36 AM

Has every Senator read it and thought through all implications and consequences, intended and unintended, before they cast their vote?

I don't think so.
4921  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues: 650 miles of fencing? Or 36.3 miles? on: June 22, 2013, 12:36:05 PM
Depends on what the meaning of is is.  Or 'fence' in this case...

Most often I agree with WSJ editorials, but must rip them here:

WSJ editorial, 6/19/2013:

"For some Republicans, border security has become a ruse to kill reform. The border could be defended by the 10th Mountain Division and Claymore antipersonnel mines and it wouldn't be secure enough."
[Fewer crossings] "Some of this decline is surely due to the lousy U.S. job market"

    - 'ya think?

"... but some results from the border security mobilization that began in the 1990s and really got going after 2006. Today more than 21,000 agents patrol the border. Enforcement spending is up more than 50% in a decade for everything from 650 miles of fencing to military aircraft, marine vessels, drones, surveillance equipment, infrared camera towers and detention centers."

    - 650 miles of fencing?  Is it a fence or a BARRIER?

Pres. Obama made a similar claim and PolitiFact judged it "Mostly False":

 "The (border) fence is now basically complete."
Barack Obama on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 in a speech in El Paso

Others maintain (accurately) that only 36.3 miles of the 700 miles called for in the 2006 law have been built.

"legislation was passed [2006] to build a 700-mile double-layer border fence along the southwest border. This is a promise that has not been kept.  Today, according to staff at the Department of Homeland Security, just 5 percent of the double-layer fencing is complete, only 36.3 miles."

This is true, but the law was amended after the change in congress to give DHS discretion on what fence to build and their discretion was to stop building the double layer fence that was called for in the 2006 law.

'We won't get fooled again.'  - George W. Bush

4922  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness Faceplant Edition - in photos on: June 22, 2013, 11:42:00 AM

"And then Obama compared himself to me. . ."
4923  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left - “negative feedback loop from hell” on: June 22, 2013, 10:56:52 AM
This observation from Crafty's post in US Economics is too good to leave in just one thread:

... a “negative feedback loop from hell,” where states that are suffering with large debt overhangs and dwindling tax revenues don’t have the money to pay or invest in things like infrastructure, education, and public safety. As those services begin to deteriorate over time, states will be forced to raise taxes, which only reinforces the decline.

The concept applies to nations as well.
4924  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Still More Evidence That ObamaCare Is Costing Jobs, Gallup / IBD on: June 22, 2013, 10:44:26 AM
Gallup found that more than four in 10 companies have frozen hiring because of Obama-Care, and almost one in five have cut workers to minimize the cost of the law.

Another 38% said they'd "pulled back on their plans to grow their business."

The biggest job growth categories are now temp and part time.

"local governments across the country have been cutting part-time hours to 29 or fewer a week so they can avoid ObamaCare as much as possible"

Did ANYONE see this coming?
"Why France Has So Many 49-Employee Companies
"The ACA requires businesses with 50 or more employees to offer “affordable” insurance to anyone working 30 or more hours per week—which must cost no more than 9.5 percent of the worker’s household income. In addition, businesses must also provide insurance for dependents, though potentially at an additional cost to the employee."
4925  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: POTH: CA seeks health care for illegals on: June 22, 2013, 10:15:42 AM

Shocked that we were mis-led by politicians.  No Obamacare for illegals that are legalized only meant you will pay for it in other taxes, and it allows them to leave that cost off-budget for CBO scoring on both Obamacare and immigration reform.

If California won't treat them, Hennepin County Medical Center (Minneapolis) provides no questions asked healthcare (or go to any other sanctuary city).

The Feds will add the coverage back in after the bills are passed and fully implemented, or else the Dems will still have that hatchet to hold over the head of selfish, uncaring, white Republicans.
4926  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: June 22, 2013, 09:56:27 AM
"The smartest guy I knew in law school would fire up a doobie before settling in to read securities regulations."

In college, there was reportedly more use by the top 10% than by the bottom.  That said, a small loss of IQ for someone starting at 150-160 might make interactions with the other 99.9% more interesting, while the same loss at the low end might render one dysfunctional. 

"There are tens and tens of millions of people who smoke pot to less effect that people who drink."

Agree, but less damage than the drug with the most damage brings to mind Huma claiming what she did was legal and ethical because Hillary approved it.  A low bar.

Curious to hear about your choice to not drink alcohol.  Maybe at my beer summit with BD.  wink

"IMHO the two should face similar legal treatment."

Yes.  Similar and different.  Colorado is struggling with what to do with THC levels for driving law standards.  The effect is not harmless but quite different than alcohol.  Maybe we should measure remaining IQ instead of the amount lost to the drug.

"Permanent IQ reduction and memory loss."

I am reminded of the pot crazed burglars who broke in and stole from the doughnut shop but in the end they forgot to empty the register.
4927  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Holy Excrement!!! on: June 21, 2013, 05:06:41 PM

The big story was that some obscure state Senator from Illinois was among those under surveillance.  Not mentioned is that he had known links to terrorists.

He was looked at (allegedly), not charged or apprehended.

My view of the Patriot Act is that if my number is found in the speed dial or call log of a terrorist, even by mis-dial, I expect to be looked at until cleared.  Same Senator kicked off his political campaign (allegedly) in the living room of an unrepentant terrorist.
4928  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: Bicameral coverage and Media Bias on: June 21, 2013, 04:59:55 PM
The Senate, by 4th of July, will pass an Immigration bill that is going nowhere.  This probably the number one political event of our time, based on the exuberance of liberals and the panic and fright of conservatives.  The House opposes the bill and the majority controls what gets through its committee and what comes to its floor for a vote.

Meanwhile the House, one chamber again but controlled by the other party, has voted 37 times to repeal Obamacare.  Repeal is not supported by the majority in the Senate.  No coverage, no excitement, no panic because everyone knows it is going nowhere.

Healthcare is every bit as big an issue as immigration.  Why are these two non-events covered differently?
4929  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: The Economist, No Warming Since 1998 on: June 21, 2013, 04:46:37 PM
This is already case closed and well reported, but I will keep going since our President is still gearing up for another big fight against "global warming".  WTF else is 'climate change' if not natural fluctuations or liberal code for slow the economy and 'save the planet'.
 "Since 1998, the warmest year of the twentieth century, temperatures have not kept up with computer models that seemed to project steady warming; they’re perilously close to falling beneath even the lowest projections".

"there's no way around the fact that this reprieve for the planet is bad news for proponents of policies, such as carbon taxes and emissions treaties, meant to slow warming by moderating the release of greenhouse gases. The reality is that the already meagre prospects of these policies, in America at least, will be devastated if temperatures do fall outside the lower bound of the projections that environmentalists have used to create a panicked sense of emergency."
The phony movie 'An Inconvenient Truth' was released in 2006 with cherrypicked data picked by quack scientists to help elect the Pelosi-Reid agenda in congress and elect the Senate's furthest left member to the White House.  At the moment of that trickery, we were 8 years into a no warming plateau, impossible according to their own models.  Now it is 15 years and counting and we still stop pipelines and fight for backward economic movement.

When the data doesn't fit the model, this crowd 'adjusts' the data instead of scrapping the phony model.

Like BBG, I survived 400 PPM.

4930  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: June 21, 2013, 03:52:12 PM
BTW, shouldn't we be rather pleased that the Fed is finally making noise about diminishing its war on savers?

You are right, but the war against savers was successful.  There aren't any savers anymore.  A dollar saved isn't necessary for a dollar to be available for lending in this economy and we have government to turn to on a rainy day or unexpected hardship.  Just like work isn't tied to pay anymore, or fatherhood to responsibility, welfare to stigma, and so on.  If you want a better reward, hire a better lobbyist.

The interest rate was the balance point between borrowers and lenders, a market based, economic equilibrium.  Now interest rates are contrived, artificial and low.  A generation has no idea what the power of compound interest means.  Try compounding 0.01% over 10 years while it loses 3-4% per year in value and show a young person how they benefited by not spending.  Even the (Keynesian mostly) economists tell us saving is bad for the economy - it takes from consumption.  [I don't agree!]

Next we will want to bring back old ideas like reward for hard work, abstinence, delayed gratification, personal responsibility?  Balanced budgets?  Property rights?!  Keeping the fruits of our labor?  Crazy talk!
4931  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: POTH: Abortion at 23 weeks on: June 21, 2013, 02:22:54 PM
Great story. Twins with a catastrophic health defect in one may be one situation where 'abortion' could save the life of an unborn.

All serious abortion bills contain exceptions for things like life and health of the mother, incest rape, etc.  This consideration should be added to those exceptions with the doctor's advice and the wishes of the FAMILY paramount.  More than 98% of abortions, Planned Parenthood's own data, are for convenience reasons, all about killing, not saving human life.  If this woman is so serious in caring for the unborn, she should get involved with crafting exceptions that cover these circumstances, as she has by publishing this story.  That makes more sense than her conclusion that we should oppose any restrictions on reckless killing of viable, mid to late term babies with live heartbeats that can already feel pain.

Her experience and view fits closer into the mindset of people protecting life than it does with those who support the killings.  MHO
4932  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: June 20, 2013, 02:44:21 PM
Is everyone ready for interest rates to go up?
4933  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: June 20, 2013, 02:41:58 PM
Gold and silver are dropping hard and fast.

The crash of the dollar has been cancelled?  Postponed?
4934  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dow plunges on Fed fears on: June 20, 2013, 02:38:59 PM
shocked shocked shocked

Hoping not to mis-characterize Wesbury, Bernancke and others, let's make sure I have this right.

1. The market was not up because of quantitative expansion.
2. All money created so far stays in the market to the tune of trillions of dollars.
3. We will keep expanding the money supply for many more months, 100s of billions more.
4. Yet the mere hint that the excessive creation of new dollars will ever end puts the market in a tailspin.

Did we really not know this artificial injection of dollars would end someday, one way or another?

Murphy's Law must apply when Fed Chiefs talk to the market.  Alan Greenspan tried to talk the market down with his famous "irrational exuberance" speech in 1996 and the market continued up for 5 more years.  Ben Bernancke says that in a half year we may slow this most responsible 'temporary stimulus' and the market implodes. 

Who knew?  wink
4935  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: June 20, 2013, 01:43:04 PM
"Appeasement is not the way to go."

Appeasement is what we do - on everything - we are just arguing about where to draw those lines. (sad face)  Purity on issues is how we lose.  There is something in between that is good enough and we need to find it. 

On immigration, the idea behind a comprehensive agreement is that both sides win.  Undocumented Democrats get legalization and American citizens get security and sovereignty going forward.  The bill as it stands does not address what went wrong on previous attempts.

The gang is taking legalization without security verification, and that is a move away from a comprehensive agreement, not toward it.  Having McCain and his sidekick on the wrong side is annoying.  Having Rubio on the wrong side is a major problem.

The Cornyn amendment failed, yet it only holds security to a 90% standard.  Ted Cruz seems to have this better:

I favor the concept of negotiating a tough deal.  I favor security first,  I favor a standard for border security that seeks to stop terror threats from crossing our borders, not just innocent workers.  I favor the 10-14 year delay.  I favor some resolution of the family member problem that does not add tens of millions to the numbers.

We are left where we started.  Dems get credit for advancing the plight of the illegals, keep legal Hispanics in their fold, and keep the issue alive by failing to negotiate all the way to a comprehensive deal.  Republicans get blamed for no deal.  The truth should be the opposite.  The Republicans should be out front advancing a fair and tough bill, and expose Dems as the ones who are moving away from a comprehensive solution by refusing to what went wrong when the 1986 and 2006 legislation passed, but required border security did not follow.
4936  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Marco, there is someone on television pretending to be you! on: June 19, 2013, 03:51:46 PM
Sen. Jeff Sessions chides Marco Rubio: "Marco, there is somebody on television pretending to be you!"

The gang of 8 on immigration (including Rubio) is voting against amendments to fix the bill, because they believe amendments will kill it.  Rubio thinks it should pass and then get fixed in committee.  Again, why will he have more leverage later?  I wish not to attack Rubio personally but I question this bill and his strategy.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) poked fun at the notion that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) could be publicly saying the Senate immigration bill needs stronger security provisions, while saying in TV ads that the bill has the best border security provisions in history. Sessions has previously called on Rubio and his ally Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to withdraw the advertisements because of their inaccuracies.

Andrea Tantaros asked Sessions on her radio show to respond to reports that Rubio has not been seen with the Gang of Eight in public in over two months. “That’s odd,” Sessions said. “He is the one that’s in everybody’s homes running the ads. Makes you want to say ‘Marco, there’s somebody on the television pretending to be you, saying vote for the bill that you recently said shouldn’t pass in its current form.’”

Earlier in the interview, Tantaros said she thinks Rubio’s comments this weekend that 95 percent of the Gang of Eight bill is “in perfect shape” are not accurate.

“I don’t think 95 percent of it is perfect,” Tantaros said. “I’m looking at some of things that it allows for. I mean, if you commit identity theft twice but not three times you can still get amnesty. If you break the law twice but not three times, you can stay in this country. Let’s see, what else here. If you beat your wife twice but not three times you can still stay in this country. It doesn’t seem very strict on criminals."
4937  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender pay gap - it isn't what you think on: June 19, 2013, 03:35:17 PM
"In a comparison of unmarried and childless men and women between the ages of 35 and 43, women earn more: 108 cents on a man's dollar."

President Glibness: "The day that the bill was signed into law, women earned 59 cents for every dollar a man earned on average. Today, it's about 77 cents," the president said. "Over the course of her career, a working woman with a college degree will earn on average hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who does the same work."
Nonsense. The 77 percent figure is bogus because it averages all full-time women, no matter what education and profession, with all full-time men. Even with such averaging, the latest Labor Department figures show that women working full-time make 81 percent of full-time men's wages. For men and women who work 40 hours weekly, the ratio is 88 percent.

Unmarried childless women's salaries, however, often exceed men's. In a comparison of unmarried and childless men and women between the ages of 35 and 43, women earn more: 108 cents on a man's dollar.
4938  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: VDH: Margin of Error on: June 19, 2013, 01:00:41 PM

Hanson makes an important observation here, one that Wesbury built his workhorse economy theory on, and the premise for all Liberalnomics.  The American culture and the American economy is so strong that it can absorb certain inefficiencies and keep right on ticking, like nothing is wrong.  We can handle a 1% tax rate.  We can handle a 10% tax rate, maybe 20%.  But maybe we can't handle lost economic activity that real rates of taxation now approaching 65% will cause.  We can handle one page of regulations and we can handle a thousand pages of regulations, even excessive ones.  But maybe we can't handle the 80,000 pages of business strangulation now in place.  We can handle the government meddling in 40% of health care.  50% maybe, but not 100% with no private sector remaining.  We can handle $3 gas, but maybe not $10, $20.  Maybe we can afford to put 50 million people on food stamps, but not 51 million.  At some point there will be too many people riding and not enough pulling the wagon to keep it going.  We could probably handle $16 trillion in debt if we removed other chains that are holding us back.  At some point we will have absorbed all of our margin of error and cannot place one more ounce of weight on the load we are carrying without collapsing.  Like the piece about China banking built on a house of cards, we have already had our own brushes with economic meltdown.  Our current failure to address anything that is wrong in our policies will eventually come back to bite us - sooner and worse than all but a few (GM, Peter Shiff, etc.) can imagine.
4939  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Singapore economist: Philippines to lead growth in Southeast Asia region on: June 19, 2013, 11:09:07 AM
Philippines to lead growth among region's investment darlings

The expectations continue to rise for the Philippine economy's growth prospects.

The country is seen to have the highest growth potential in the eight years to 2020 among Southeast Asia's new investment darlings – Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, or the TIP economies, a new report said.

In a June 18 report titled “Road map to 2020: TH, ID, PH,” Singapore-based DBS Ltd. economist Eugene Leow said, “The Philippines has the highest growth potential amongst the TIP economies.”

Thailand's gross domestic product (GDP) growth is seen averaging at 5.2 percent until 2020, while both Indonesia and the Philippines' expansion for the eight-year period is projected at 6.3 percent, according to the report.

Leow said the Philippines “can potentially run at trend GDP growth of 7  to 8 percent,” as its healthy fiscal position, manageable inflation and a financial system awash with cash has yet to be fully utilized.  But he said, “A more conservative growth figure of 6 to 6.5 percent is realistic in the coming eight years as we factor in a gradual improvement in investment rates.”

Even as the Philippines' largely consumption-driven economy grew at the fastest rate in Asia at 7.8 percent in the first quarter, foreign direct investments (FDI) remain the region's lowest at $1.3 billion in the period.

Low investments from both domestic and international fronts has seen joblessness at a stubbornly high 7.5 percent of the labor force.

Leow said this forms part of the Philippines transitioning into a more investment driven economy.  Debt-watchers Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services' decision to award the country investment grades are seen fuel much needed foreign and domestic investments.

The report noted that “the Philippines has the strongest external account balance, a banking sector best able to extend credit and a solid fiscal policy that is not threatened by heavy subsidy spending.”
4940  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Stratfor: China's banking troubles on: June 19, 2013, 10:54:03 AM
I have been warning of this coming for a few years now , , ,

...China's poor financial fundamentals point to increasing turmoil sooner or later.

Agree.  Rapid growth covered up a multitude of sins.  A slowing of growth exposes weaknesses.  There will be an economic reckoning.  Oddly, if Europe and the US (China's biggest customers) could get their own economic acts together, that would help China stay on track.

I don't think the political apparatus of China can withstand an economic meltdown.  Or as Wesbury might call it when 50% of loans fail, workhorse banking?
4941  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pro-Hillary 'journalist' says Dump Bill Now on: June 19, 2013, 10:45:38 AM

Hillary Has to Dump Bill Now
By Margaret Carlson Jun 18, 2013  Bloomberg
It doesn't get much stranger.  I think Carlson is really arguing for Bill to sit down and shut up, let Hillary step out of his shadow, but she writes it like they should literally break it off for political purposes.  So much for family values.  If he quiets down for even a couple of years, does she think he would stay in her shadow as First Gentleman of the United States, read to children and work on nutritional education in schools?

It is two for the price of one.  Her record without him is to lose to a 2-year Senator of Illinois and totally bungle Benghazi.  She is a highly over-rated politician, most popular when out of the spotlight.  Biggest accomplishment was to win a Senate race in a far left state and burn a record amount of jet fuel as a member - with no access to the President except the 60 Minutes payoff performance.
4942  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / House passes prohibiting Gosnell-like abortions, Glibness responds on: June 19, 2013, 10:30:26 AM
House approves bill banning most abortions after 20-week mark

The bill would affect 1.3 percent of the 1.2 million abortions per year in the US.  20 weeks is an estimate close to viability and of when the little ones begin to feel pain.  [Liberals express more compassion for the elbow room of chickens raised for food.]
Pres. Obama:  "This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women's health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients' health care decisions, and the Constitution."

Ummm, Mr. President, Roe v. Wade is NOT in the constitution, half the abortions are girls killed, no doctor recommends waiting 20 weeks for an abortion, and the reasoning the Justices cited while creating artificial trimesters handled differently was based on some of the same reasoning of the House bill, but they were using medical information from 40 years ago.
4943  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 95% of late term moms, denied abortion, glad they gave birth on: June 19, 2013, 09:44:34 AM

Or as the NY Times buried it:
 “About 5 percent of the women, after they have had the baby, still wish they hadn’t. And the rest of them adjust.”

"S. (name withheld) ended up bonding with her baby."... "women rarely regret having a child"

Who knew?
4944  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Planet Government - The Regulated States of America on: June 19, 2013, 09:24:29 AM
WSJ excerpt,

Niall Ferguson: The Regulated States of America
Tocqueville saw a nation of individuals who were defiant of authority. Today? Welcome to Planet Government.

...On foreign policy, it may still be true that Americans are from Mars and Europeans from Venus. But when it comes to domestic policy, we all now come from the same place: Planet Government.

As the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Clyde Wayne Crews shows in his invaluable annual survey of the federal regulatory state, we have become the regulation nation almost imperceptibly. Excluding blank pages, the 2012 Federal Register—the official directory of regulation—today runs to 78,961 pages. Back in 1986 it was 44,812 pages. In 1936 it was just 2,620.

True, our economy today is much larger than it was in 1936—around 12 times larger, allowing for inflation. But the Federal Register has grown by a factor of 30 in the same period.

The last time regulation was cut was under Ronald Reagan, when the number of pages in the Federal Register fell by 31%. Surprise: Real GDP grew by 30% in that same period. But Leviathan's diet lasted just eight years. Since 1993, 81,883 new rules have been issued. In the past 10 years, the "final rules" issued by our 63 federal departments, agencies and commissions have outnumbered laws passed by Congress 223 to 1.

Right now there are 4,062 new regulations at various stages of implementation, of which 224 are deemed "economically significant," i.e., their economic impact will exceed $100 million.

The cost of all this, Mr. Crews estimates, is $1.8 trillion annually—that's on top of the federal government's $3.5 trillion in outlays, so it is equivalent to an invisible 65% surcharge on your federal taxes, or nearly 12% of GDP. Especially invidious is the fact that the costs of regulation for small businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees) are 36% higher per employee than they are for bigger firms.

Next year's big treat will be the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, something every small business in the country must be looking forward to with eager anticipation. Then, as Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) warned readers on this page 10 months ago, there's also the Labor Department's new fiduciary rule, which will increase the cost of retirement planning for middle-class workers; the EPA's new Ozone Rule, which will impose up to $90 billion in yearly costs on American manufacturers; and the Department of Transportation's Rear-View Camera Rule. That's so you never have to turn your head around when backing up.

President Obama occasionally pays lip service to the idea of tax reform. But nothing actually gets done and the Internal Revenue Service code (plus associated regulations) just keeps growing—it passed the nine-million-word mark back in 2005, according to the Tax Foundation, meaning nearly 19% more verbiage than 10 years before. While some taxes may have been cut in the intervening years, the tax code just kept growing.

I wonder if all this could have anything to do with the fact that we still have nearly 12 million people out of work, plus eight million working part-time jobs, five long years after the financial crisis began. ...
4945  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fall of the Glibness, from +8 to -9 in one month - CNN poll on: June 19, 2013, 09:20:21 AM
Note: All of the problems confronting the President today happened before the election and were investigated and reported after the election.
In overall approval, the President was +8 in May's (CNN) poll, 53-45. But in the most recent poll the President's approval rating has dropped to 45-54 or -9.

That's a negative shift of 17 percentage points in one month.

Every Democrat who has been pointing to the President's fairly steady approval numbers as evidence that his goodwill among his base has an insulating property to protect him against the NSA snooping, the IRS, the Benghazi problem, the DoJ collecting reporters' phone records and targeting Fox's James Rosen, Syria, Turkey, and maybe a Kryptonite asteroid that might have the Earth in its sights.

On what are known as the "issue handling" questions (Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling:

The Economy - 42-57 (-15)
Foreign Affairs - 44-54 (-10)
Deficit/budget - 34-64 (-30)
Immigration - 40-56 (-16)
NSA/Surveillance - 35-61 (-26)

I didn't leave out the good issues. That's the whole list.

On the "Do you consider the President to be honest & trustworthy" question the result was 49-50.
That is only minus one so it doesn't look so bad. But a month ago that result was 58-41 (+17). So, it represents an 18 percentage point drop.

Pres. Obama drew 200,000 in Berlin, 2009.  Today 6000.
4946  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: June 18, 2013, 04:02:01 PM
It isn't whether Keynesians are right or wrong that matters determining economic policy. We know they are wrong. The question in Washington is how does it poll.

That was an excellent Wesbury.  Still he predicts good results from bad policies.
4947  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar and American Freedom on: June 18, 2013, 03:55:36 PM
"I cannot find an acceptable reason for Snowden to be divulging our/British spying on foreign leaders at a G8 conference to the Chinese.  Apparently he is giving more to the Chinese as well.  This sure seems like treason to me."


It's treason, and it ought to be against the law.

But first, let's poll the 16-35 demographic.
4948  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: SCOTUS: In effect, aliens can vote on: June 18, 2013, 03:50:17 PM
I was disappointed to see a 7-2 decision penned by Scalia banning AZ from requiring proof of citizenship to vote on the basis of federal pre-emption.

[Silver lining aside, addressing the point lost], yes, this seems terrible!  Analysis is saying that Scalia and the others are throwing it back on congress to correct the standard. Arizona should sue the Feds to fix the problem?  

"Justice Thomas’s dissent was mainly devoted to arguing that the Constitution gives Congress no role in judging who may register to vote, and that this is a power given exclusively to the states."

If true, does this tend to support my contention that we are down to about one conservative/originalist on the Court.  Okay, add Justice Alito to the very short list in this case.  Alito's dissent is separate.  Who has time to do the Court's work for them, and finding the right answer in the dissent doesn't solve anything.

The Constitution "authorizes states to determine the qualifications of voters in federal elections, which necessarily includes the related power to determine whether those qualifications are satisfied," Thomas said in his dissent.

Is it not part of equal protection that my right to one vote cannot be diluted by liberals facilitating the vote of undocumented Dems?  Where is our protection?

Arizona law goes further than a 1993 federal law to address a serious problem.  But how does Arizona law violate the constitution?  Unequal protection?

I don't know if the Scalia-Ginsburg coalition gets out much, but a driver's license is not proof of citizenship in a state that issues licenses to non-citizens.  It is also not proof of citizenship in the state does not require proof of citizenship to check the citizen box on the driver's license application.

The remedy for a wrongly decided Supreme Court question is to elect a new President, new Senate and wait for current Justices to die.  How does that work when the issue is election fraud?  A different remedy, overlooked by Scalia, for the total malfeasance of the federal government to do its job is secession.

Right now we have government of the Washington DC, by the Washington DC, and for the Washington DC, IMHO.
4949  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons: WSJ, Huma Abedin, Moonlight Serenade on: June 17, 2013, 06:53:31 PM
If I may continue Huma Abedin coverage in the Clinton thread, did she really not take her husbands last name?  This also goes under the category of famous people reading the forum, James Tarato, online editor for the WSJ jumps in on our coverage:

Weiner "defended his wife" during a Saturday campaign appearance. "I'm proud of my wife and I'm proud of the work she's done," he said, adding that "she has done everything completely above-board with approval of the State Department."

  - Approval of the State Dept?  Approval of a Clinton is not exactly the gold standard of ethics, even in Washington.

Moonlight Serenade
Whom does Mrs. Weiner work for?


Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress two years ago this Friday in a side-splitting social-media scandal, is running for mayor of New York? We don't know why, but we're now pretty sure it's not for the money. The New York Post reports that Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, "hauled in as much as $350,000 in outside income on top of Abedin's $135,000 government salary."

Far be it from this columnist to begrudge the Weiners their financial success. What's eyebrow-raising about this, though, is that Abedin, who works for the State Department, is the source of some of that outside income:

    Abedin, who served as [Hillary] Clinton's deputy chief of staff when Clinton was secretary of state, later became a 'special government employee' who was able to haul in cash as a private contractor. . . .

    One of the clients she did consulting work for while on the government payroll was Teneo Holdings, a firm founded by longtime Bill Clinton aide Doug Band.

The Post reports that Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican the paper describes as "one of the Senate's most aggressive investigators," is looking into the matter. In a letter to Abedin and now-Secretary John Kerry, Grassley "wrote that he was concerned Abedin's status 'blurs the line between public- and private-sector employees, especially when employees receive full-time salaries for what appears to be part-time work.' " Grassley also "suggested Abedin was providing clients 'political intelligence,' " a claim denied by an unnamed "person close to Abedin."

New York's Daily News reports that white-knight Weiner "defended his wife" during a Saturday campaign appearance. "I'm proud of my wife and I'm proud of the work she's done," he said, adding that "she has done everything completely above-board with approval of the State Department."

That may well be true--in which case the scandal here may be what's above board rather than what's below it. The Post reports that an unnamed State Department official "noted there were 100 such consultants at the agency."

A hundred Abedin-size salaries would add up to $13.5 million--presumably not counting benefits--being paid to people whose work for the department has to compete with their outside gigs for their time and attention. Are they thoroughly screened for conflicts of interest? If so, that's an additional expense for the taxpayers. If not, we can't rule out the possibility that some State Department workers are trading on their access to what Grassley calls "political intelligence."
4950  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs: Cash is the biggest crop in the farm bill on: June 17, 2013, 12:06:48 PM
Editorial: Cash the biggest crop in this farm bill

Most of $955 billion approved by Senate goes for food stamps and crop subsidies.


We find remarkable that the Senate approved Monday a so-called "farm bill" that calls for nearly $1 trillion in questionable spending and hardly a discouraging word has been heard on Capitol Hill.

Chalk that up to still-fresh outrage over revelations of the Obama administration's monitoring of Americans' phone records, Internet accounts and credit card transactions, and still-simmering concerns about Internal Revenue Service abuses and Justice Department abrogation of press freedom.
Article Tab: Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, speaks to reporters as the Senate votes on a farm bill that sets policy for farm subsidies, food stamps and other farm and food aid programs for the next five years, at the Capitol in Washington, June 10. At rear is Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND. Officially known as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, the agriculture policy measure would cost taxpayers $100 billion annually with the bulk of that amount allocated to the federal food stamp program.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, speaks to reporters as the Senate votes on a farm bill that sets policy for farm subsidies, food stamps and other farm and food aid programs for the next five years, at the Capitol in Washington, June 10. At rear is Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND. Officially known as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, the agriculture policy measure would cost taxpayers $100 billion annually with the bulk of that amount allocated to the federal food stamp program.

Anyway, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs of Act of 2013 cleared the Senate floor by a comfortable 66-27 vote. The spending bill will cost the taxpayers $955 billion. That's 60 percent more than the previous farm bill, in 2008.

Most of the outlays in the bill actually have nothing to do with crops. In fact, 80 percent of spending goes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps.

The welfare program – the "Food" part of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act – has grown 70 percent over five years, with a record 23.1 million households currently enrolled.
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