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4951  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Santorum, wasn't ready to be front runner on: March 06, 2012, 02:05:38 PM
My first Rachel Maddow post? (Maybe I wrote that one other time)  She refers to the Santarum campaign as Amateur Hour http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/05/10583286-rick-santorums-amateur-hour and is partly right.  It wasn't only Santorum but not getting on the ballot in Virginia and in parts of must-win Ohio.  Also: "as recently as mid-February, didn't have a national press secretary, a national headquarters, a pollster, or any paid advance staffers to ensure his campaign events run smoothly."

When you run for President, you have to figure out all of the things that have to happen, like getting on the ballots, and work the clock backwards to cover everything that needed to be done.  I think Pawlenty had his plan mapped and realized that he couldn't have zero momentum and zero money at that point and then find funding and staff and volunteers to move 10,000 people in Virginia and have simultaneous motion in 18 congressional districts in Ohio, and all the others.

Obama had no executive experience EXCEPT: he ran a flawless national campaign to win the Presidency.  I'm sure others ran it but still - responsibility goes to the top of the organization.

Santorum ran based mostly on Senate experience and his own compromised version of conservatism.  He got as far as he could without great staff or money, but running a 50 state national campaign is not a one-man job.  He didn't know he had won Iowa and didn't act like a front runner when he finally took the lead.

Now Gallup has Romney up over Santorum 38-22, approaching a 2-1 lead coming into super-"chooseday" today.

We will know more later today.  Gingrich will win his home state of Georgia, Ron Paul might win Alaska in a low turnout caucus, Santorum with his previous momentum might have had the most votes of the day and still have a good showing, but the opportunity if there was one was lost and Romney will take the most delegates and actually start to take on the role of inevitable nominee.
4952  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 06, 2012, 11:29:17 AM
"You know the why is Congress' approval at an all time low.  I don't recall them ever asking Democrats this."

If you favor either the R. agenda coming out of the House and lost in the Senate, or the Harry Reid Obama agenda with no chance of passing in the House, you disapprove of the performance in congress.  Independents hate partisan bickering so that makes all three groups in disapproval of divided government.

Instead of arguing forever it would be nice if one side or the other would win the argument.  Dems won the elections of 2006-2008 but not on a clear agenda (hope/change and we are not Geo. Bush).  That is the challenge for Romney now.  He needs to be clear about vision with all its details and win.  Sneaking out a win, even a sweep of the Presidency, House and Senate is not enough.  He needs clear and specific support of the people on the critical items of the agenda.

It was Tip O'Neill's House that passed the Reagan tax cuts against the leadership of the house.  Sure they screwed it up in delays and compromises but they got it done:

http://www.nytimes.com/1981/07/30/politics/30REAG.html?pagewanted=all

Reagan’s 3-Year, 25% Cut in Tax Rate Voted by Wide Margins in the House and Senate
By EDWARD COWAN
Published: July 30, 1981

In a decisive victory for President Reagan, the House of Representatives today approved the Administration's tax cut bill.

The measure provides for three years of reductions totalling 25 percent in individual tax rates and major reductions in taxes paid by business and by oil producers.

The key vote, 238 to 195, gave Mr. Reagan a third upset victory over the Democratic House majority on fiscal issues. The President won by virtue of the same coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats that brought him victory in May on the budget resolution and in June on the budget reconciliation bill.
4953  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: March 06, 2012, 11:11:51 AM
"Look here:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/signed-legislation" (signed legislation)

CCP, You will have to look very deep through the links at the link because the names of the bills are often opposite or no correlation to the content.  For example, mandating what people previously deemed to be unaffordable and removing the most effective restraints on costs is called the 'affordable care act'.

Good news to hear of a new post office coming to Staten Island.  Is that a growth industry or a growth market, does anyone know?

Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, that was the extension of perhaps the best way to lower tax revenues while creating the least marginal incentive to produce more or create jobs.  It doesn't create jobs and FICA wasn't supposed to be tax in the first place; it is an "insurance contribution".  They didn't even get the year right, it was an extension of a program that also didn't create jobs in 2011.

I would be more impressed with their record if they had repealed 203 laws.
4954  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: March 06, 2012, 10:51:26 AM
"...nary a peep from President Baraq about his fellow Christian..."

You are kind to give him the benefit of the doubt on his religion but the phrase 'his fellow Christian' has a dissonance to it.  I hesitate to call myself a Christian around real Christians if I attend only a few times a year as a non-member of a church.  The point is valid though, what is the supposed leader of the free world going to say or do about the most horrific violations of freedom of religion around the globe.  Nothing. 

Nothing that sounds like: 'Mr. Ahmadinejad, if you seek peace, tear down this wall!'
--------------------
More cognitive dissonance and glibness on Iran: Pres. Obama has been clarifying his policy toward Iran this week.  Now that it's clear can someone please explain it to me.

We are committed to pursuing patience while Iran perfects its nuclear arsenal OR we are committed to taking action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power?  I heard him say both but which is it?

4955  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - VP Cantor on: March 06, 2012, 10:29:03 AM
CCP, I agree with you about Eric Cantor, not that he will be VP but that he will be in serious consideration.  Everybody's first pick seems to be Marco Rubio but that is far from certain.  I don't think being a Jewish will matter, but is historic if he becomes President.

'Balancing' a ticket is not always the best strategy; it did not work with Bob Dole picking Jack Kemp or John McCain picking Sarah Palin.  Palin wasn't fully ready and Kemp choked I think because he was uncomfortable answering for the views and record of his running mate. 

If we eliminate Speaker Boehner from consideration, Cantor is the highest ranking member of his party currently in power.  Even then, he is a complete unknown across the country, see below.  I find him to be thoughtful and articulate but we never know how people rise to that kind of challenge.  Putting him on the ballot would also put the record of action of the Republican House on the table for discussion, right while Pres. Obama is trying to blame a do-nothing congress.

The only Eric Cantor national approval ratings I could find:

CNN/ORC Poll. July 18-20, 2011. N=1,009 adults nationwide. Margin of error ± 3.
Favorable  18
Unfavorable  21
Never heard of  46
Unsure   15
      
Pretty much meaningless numbers, a somewhat fresh face with good experience, but from a congress with 80+% overall disapproval.
4956  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: March 05, 2012, 05:11:13 PM
"Obama made 65 domestic trips over 104 days, and six trips to eight countries over 22 days. Not counting six vacation trips over 32 days. He took 196 helicopter trips, signed 203 pieces of legislation and squeezed in 29 rounds of left-handed golf."

Paraphrasing a wise man (Crafty Dog), I wish he had played more golf.
4957  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics, Sandra Fluke, the advertisers, the video on: March 05, 2012, 05:08:08 PM
Swim goggles?  While I was writing this discussion moved forward.

Why is this women's rights?  Isn't there a man involved if contraception is needed?  Make him pay to have sex.  Oops, that would be pr..........!
-------------
"...several advertisers are pulling ads"

An acquaintance runs one of those companies who 'suspended' their advertising.  He is/was liberal (from my perspective) before this episode just as Rush was conservative and controversial before this.  They advertise to both sides and the middle because that is exactly who uses their product.  They buy enough time to get celebs of all leanings to personally endorse them.  Having to pull the advertising is a setback for the investment they made over a couple of decades building a  business position in that market.  It will appease others but those few with loud voices will not double their purchases nor would that make up the difference if they could.

Interesting would be to know the actual number of complaints that came from actual Rush listeners, rather than detractors.  Roughly zero.  With the apology in place and the scandal fading, the Rush show will still be numero uno on the radio.  They will have to either jump back in to the outrage of these protestors or watch a competitor take that spot.  We will see and I will try to follow up.

Rush's words were vulgar and degrading and the big companies had to respond once the crisis was manufactured, but this is not the Tiger Woods scandal, no one got hit with a golf club, nor is it the biggest threat his show has faced.  It is more a sign of how an energized, small group can make something happen quickly.
-------
Rush was trying to make a point of humor that money for sex has some analogy to prostitution.  The slut comment was a misstep.  We don't know that but could guess she does not have long term, meaningful relationships with men. Whoops scratch that - there go our advertisers.

Sandra Fluke in her own words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCPU0Qsv9wM&feature=player_embedded

Past President of Georgetown Students for Reproductive Justice, she sounds so sweet until she gets going with her demands for justice.  Then she is more like the welfare lady of a video that went by a couple of months ago.

Is this a right, an entitlement, something congress cannot deny and that must be provided by someone else for free?!  Not just free, but EASY to come by?!  This is a law school.  Which constitution are they studying?

She says she should not have to pay a whole summer's salary for her sexual freedom, you should, when the rest of her year is consumed by her studying at taxpayer expense to derail our form of government.

Rush wasn't far off.
4958  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Men & Women on: March 05, 2012, 03:44:48 PM
In the one breath gender discrimination is still rampant and in the next breath all these 'attractive' single women are burdened with the fact that success in their careers is intimidating men.  Which is it?

Not to judge specific people whom I don't know but by 'attractive' I think you mean visually appealing.  If they are high CEO's, boss of many men, maybe they are not the type men are 'attracted to' for forming family partnerships with.  As you intimate, they made other choices. These women commonly insist on finding a man equal to them in career, not a man with time on his hands and willing to be supported and home with the children.  The men equal to them in their careers tend to be married.  I'm sure they will tell you that, or you can have these successful, attractive single women give me a call to discuss this fuirther.

Written before but I am not very sympathetic to the plight of discrimination of the majority having grown up in a family of high achieving women, and having worked in companies large, medium and small where results always mattered more than gender - or anything else.  The on-to-college rate for girls at my daughter's large public high school is very nearly 100%.  Women make up 57% of college students.  http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2005-10-19-male-college-cover_x.htm  http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-01-26-genderequity26_ST_N.htm  Pretty soon we will have to be offering preferences to men if the alleged discrimination has any scientific basis to it.
4959  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / NY Times: That Old, Out-dated Constitution is like Windows 3.1 on: March 05, 2012, 03:16:27 PM
I came into this thinking it is a gotcha story about liberal, anti-American media but really it is expressing a view held by many, including perhaps all liberals (?), many people who want a new constitutional convention, and at least 2 and maybe 4 Supreme Court Justices.
------------------------------
NYT Says 'Old' Constitution Outdated for Failing to Guarantee 'Entitlements' Like Health Care

By CLAY WATERS, Editor of Media Research Center TimesWatch site,  Feb 11, 2012

Sorry, Founders: The "terse and old" U.S. Constitution has been ruled out of date by Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak for failing to provide such "rights" as free health care.

Liptak made the front of Tuesday's New York Times "Sidebar" news analysis, "'We the People' Loses Followers," the paper's most e-mailed and viewed news story of the morning.

Liptak arrives at his judgment via a new study by two law professors. The analysis, at least after being filtered through Liptak's coverage, seems to hew to the liberal ideology of the Constitution as a "living document," (i.e. whatever a liberal wants it to mean), conflating genuine rights like freedom of religion with entitlements like free health care: "But the Constitution is out of step with the rest of the world in failing to protect, at least in so many words, a right to travel, the presumption of innocence and entitlement to food, education and health care."

Liptak wrote:

The Constitution has seen better days.

Sure, it is the nation's founding document and sacred text. And it is the oldest written national constitution still in force anywhere in the world. But its influence is waning.

....

There are lots of possible reasons. The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights. The commitment of some members of the Supreme Court to interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning in the 18th century may send the signal that it is of little current use to, say, a new African nation. And the Constitution's waning influence may be part of a general decline in American power and prestige.

In an interview, Professor Law identified a central reason for the trend: the availability of newer, sexier and more powerful operating systems in the constitutional marketplace. "Nobody wants to copy Windows 3.1," he said.

In a television interview during a visit to Egypt last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court seemed to agree. "I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012," she said. She recommended, instead, the South African Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the European Convention on Human Rights.

The rights guaranteed by the American Constitution are parsimonious by international standards, and they are frozen in amber. As Sanford Levinson wrote in 2006 in "Our Undemocratic Constitution," "the U.S. Constitution is the most difficult to amend of any constitution currently existing in the world today." (Yugoslavia used to hold that title, but Yugoslavia did not work out.)

....

Americans recognize rights not widely protected, including ones to a speedy and public trial, and are outliers in prohibiting government establishment of religion. But the Constitution is out of step with the rest of the world in failing to protect, at least in so many words, a right to travel, the presumption of innocence and entitlement to food, education and health care.

Liptak failed to differentiate between rights retained by the people from the power of the government, like freedom of speech and religion, and entitlements, which are transfers of money and services established by government either via majority rule (i.e. voting) or judicial fiat. Examples include food stamps, welfare payments, and "free" health care.

Liptak turned up his nose at the right conservatives would say protects all the other ones, the Second Amendment:

It has its idiosyncrasies. Only 2 percent of the world's constitutions protect, as the Second Amendment does, a right to bear arms. (Its brothers in arms are Guatemala and Mexico.)

Several "rights" enshrined by the Times via the study (shown in a separate graphic) need unpacking. What exactly does the generic phrase "Women's rights" entail? Access to abortion? And does "Freedom of Movement" include the "right" to other people's tax money in the form of welfare benefits, as the Supreme Court ruled in the late 1960s? Details from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law: "Shapiro v. Thompson (1968) considered the constitutionality of a state law that established a one-year residency requirement for welfare recipients. The Court struck down the law, finding it a violation of the "right to travel" (really, more the right to migrate)."
4960  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: March 05, 2012, 02:46:45 PM
"Bottom line: with an improving pace of economic growth and more inflation, another round of quantitative easing is simply not going to happen."

So the downward spiral of the dollar will be limited to the recklessness already done.  (I don't know which emoticon to follow that with.)

Wesbury has a current job with an investment house that is (mostly) non-political, but he knows that the economic answer to what is happening is political.  We chose this disaster; now we argue and track tenths of a percent of low single digit growth up from the worst economy since the great depression.  At this rate the economy will be hitting on all cylinders by when??

The more 'growth' we have without solving other underlying problems, the more gas prices will go up over the summer and kill off more and more industries - like travel, tourism, manufacturing, product delivery, and commuting to work.  Aka: an economy 'built to last'?

Growth and inflation/devaluation occurring simultaneously without tax brackets indexed to inflation guarantees that a higher proportion of resources is moved over to the public sector - working against the possibility of sustained private sector growth. 

It is hard to be optimistic about investment performance before reforms are seriously contemplated. 
4961  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: March 05, 2012, 02:16:40 PM
Already covered in this thread, but there is quite a news story going around about how Pres. Obama is now talking tough about Iran.  I can't justify the time to read or analyze his words because he so seldom means what he says, especially in 'prepared' remarks.  Iran has been emboldened by weakness.  This didn't start under Obama's watch but it has festered and grown.  It could be argued under Bush that a) we were busy in Iraq and b) still had time to act.

After all that was wrong in other intelligence, it is impossible to know what is right in Iran, but at this point it is very possibly the legacy of Barack Obama that Iran went nuclear under his watch.  Now admitting the danger of that makes it even worse for his legacy if he fails to act.

In related matters, there was a string of negative global security news stories this morning (Iran, China military expenditures, Yemen rebellion) with the same central theme IMO, adversaries and enemies are emboldened around the world by American weakness. 

Where were we when the Iranians rose up in 2009-2010 against the theocratic, military dictatorship? AWOL  http://www.iranian.com/main/blog/dr-mansur-rastani/president-obama-you-undermined-2009-iranian-uprising 

While he was learning and growing into the office, opportunities were lost and dangers escalated.
4962  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: Contraception is the issue?? on: March 05, 2012, 12:52:56 PM
Stephanoplous brought this up in a debate when there was no issue whatsoever in any state over access to contraception.  Now it is David Gregory's first question to a major party candidate for President on Meet the Press.  Good grief.  Newt handles him well.  Yet Gregory sticks to the script completely ignoring the answer already given. Just terrible, terrible journalism.  Falsehood after falsehood advanced in the question, repeatedly, AFTER being corrected.

The framing was false.

Who is responsible for firing these people?

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/03/05/newt_chides_nbcs_gregory_elite_media_for_making_limbaugh_a_crisis.html
4963  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: March 05, 2012, 12:33:38 PM
CCP:  "First time I ever recall Rush apologizing."

He lost some advertisers over this and key R's were distancing themselves from his comment.  He didn't take back the meaning of it.  He apologized for the 'insulting word choices'.
4964  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Vetting of the President Part I, by Andrew Breitbart on: March 05, 2012, 12:27:00 PM
Start with the link, must enlarge the poster to see he is on the agenda, 'The Love Song of Saul Alinsky' "with Special Post-Show Discussions. Panelists include: (among others *) (state) Sen. Barack Obama.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/03/04/obama-alinsky-love-song

* Read on to find out who are the others.  Breitbart wrote:

So, what’s in the play? It truly is a love song to Alinsky. In the first few minutes of the play, Alinsky plays Moses – yes, the Biblical Moses – talking to God. The play glorifies Alinsky stealing food from restaurants and organizing others to do the same, explaining, “I saw it as a practical use of social ecology: you had members of the intellectual community, the hope of the future, eating regularly for six months, staying alive till they could make their contributions to society.”

In an introspective moment, Alinsky rips America: “My country … ‘tis of whatthehell / And justice up a tree … How much can you sell / What’s in it for me.” He grins about manipulating the Christian community to back his programs. He talks in glowing terms about engaging in Chicago politics with former Mayor Kelly. He rips the McCarthy committee, mocking, “Everyone was there, when you think back – Cotton Mather, Hester Prynn, Anne Hutchinson, Tom Paine, Tom Jefferson … Brandeis, Holmes … Gene Debs and the socialists … Huey Long … Imperial Wizards of all stripes … Father Coughlin and his money machine … Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd … and a kicking chorus of sterilized reactionaries singing O Come, All Ye Faithful …”

And Alinsky talks about being the first occupier – shutting down the O’Hare Airport by occupying all the toilet stalls, using chewing gum to “tie up the city, stop all traffic, and the shopping, in the Loop, and let everyone at City Hall know attention must be paid, and maybe we should talk about it.” As Alinsky says, “Students of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your juicy fruit.”

The play finishes with Alinsky announcing he’d rather go to Hell than Heaven. Why? “More comfortable there. You see, all my life I’ve been with the Have-Nots: here you’re a Have-Not if you’re short of money, there you’re a Have-Not if you’re short of virtue. I’d be asking more questions, organizing them. They’re my kind of people – Hell would be Heaven for me.”

That’s The Love Song of Saul Alinsky. It’s radical leftist stuff, and it revels in its radical leftism.

And that’s Barack Obama, our president, on the poster.

This is who Barack Obama was. This was before Barack Obama ran for Congress in 2000—challenging former Black Panther Bobby L. Rush from the left in a daring but unsuccessful bid.

This was also the period just before Barack Obama served with Bill Ayers, from 1999 through 2002 on the board of the Woods Foundation. They gave capital to support the Midwest Academy, a leftist training institute steeped in the doctrines of -- you guessed it! -- Saul Alinsky, and whose alumni now dominate the Obama administration and its top political allies inside and out of Congress.

Stanley Kurtz, author of Radical-in-Chief

, described the Midwest Academy as a "crypto-socialist organization.” Yet almost no one has heard of Midwest Academy, because the media does not want you to know that the president is a radical's radical whose presidency itself is a love song to a socialist "community organizer."

The reason Newt Gingrich surged in the Republican primary contest in January is that he was attempting to do the press's job by finding out who the current occupant of the White House actually is. Millions also want to know, but the mainstream media is clearly not planning to vet the President anytime soon. Quite the opposite.

For example, Miner tries to turn Obama’s appearance on the Alinsky panel into a plus for the president:

    Obama was on the panel that talked about Alinsky the last Sunday of the play's run at the Blue Rider Theatre in Pilsen. Neither Pam Dickler, who directed the Terrapin Theatre production, nor Gary Houston, who played Alinsky, can remember a word Obama said. But he impressed them. "You never would have known he was a politician," says Dickler. "He never said anything at all about himself. He came alone, watched the play, and during the panel discussion was entirely on point and brilliant. That evening I called my father, who's a political junkie, and told him to watch out for this man, he's going places." Houston was just as taken by Obama—though he remembers him arriving in a group.

But is it a good thing to impress the sort of people who show up to laud The Love Song of Saul Alinsky? Here are the other members of the Obama panel:

Leon Despres: Despres knew Saul Alinsky for nearly 50 years, and together they established the modern concept of “community organizing.” Despres worked with secret Communist and Soviet spy Lee Pressman to support strikers at Republic Steel in Chicago in 1937; the strike ended in tragedy when 14 rioting strikers were killed and many wounded in a hail of police bullets.  Despres worked with another Communist Party front, the Chicago Civil Liberties Committee, but eventually left because of the “Stalinism” of its leaders.

Also in 1937, Despres and his wife delivered a suitcase of “clothing” to Leon Trotsky, then hiding out from Stalin’s assassins in Mexico City. Despres and his wife not only met with the exiled Russian Communist, but Despres’s wife sat for a portrait with Trotsky pal and Marxist muralist Diego Rivera while Leon took Rivera’s wife Frida Kahlo to the movies.

Quentin Young: From 1970 until at least 1992, Quentin Young was active in the Communist Party front organization, the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights – a group dedicated to outlawing government surveillance of radical organizations.  He was also a member of the Young Communist League. Young, a confidante and physician to Barack Obama, is credited with having heavily influenced the President’s views on healthcare policy.

Timuel Black: An icon of the Chicago left, Black was originally denied officer training because military intelligence claimed he had secretly joined the Communist Party. Black also worked closely with the Socialist Party in the 1950s, becoming president of the local chapter of the Negro American Labor Council, a organization founded by Socialist Party leader A. Phillip Randolph.

In the early ‘60s Black was a leader of the Hyde Park Community Peace Center, where he worked alongside former radical Trotskyist Sydney Lens and the aforementioned Communist Dr. Quentin Young.  Black served as a contributing editor to the Hyde Park/Kenwood Voices, a newspaper run by Communist Party member David S. Canter. By 1970, Timuel Black was serving on the advisory council of the Communist Party controlled Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights.

Timuel Black says he has been friends with domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, “going back to 1968, since long before I knew Barack.” In April 2002, Black, Dohrn and Democratic Socialists of America member Richard Rorty spoke together on a panel entitled “Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?” The panel was the first of two in a public gathering jointly sponsored by The Center for Public Intellectuals and the University of Illinois, Chicago. Bill Ayers and Barack Obama spoke together on in the second panel at that gathering. Communist academic Harold Rogers chaired Timuel Black’s unsuccessful campaign for Illinois State Representative.

Studs Terkel: A sponsor of the Scientific and Cultural Conference for World Peace in 1949, which was arranged by a Communist Party USA front organization known as the National Council of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions.

Roberta Lynch: A leading member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and a leader of the radical Marxist New American Movement (NAM).

Are we expected to believe that “Baraka Obama” was a countervailing voice of reason on a panel of radicals?
 
The reason that Obama's Alinskyite past, and his many appearances in political photography and video from the 1990s, are conspicuously missing from the national dialogue is that State Senator Barack Obama's reinvention as a reasonable and moderate Democratic politician could not withstand scrutiny of his political life. 

Because the mainstream media did not explore his roots, the American public remains largely ignorant of the degree to which Obama’s work with ACORN and his love of Alinsky were symbolic of his true political will.

If any of the candidates can resist the media, and parlay Newt’s strategy into a nomination, we’ll have the choice between an imperfect but well-known Republican and the real “Baraka” Obama, not the manufactured one the media prefers.
4965  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - This Is the Big One on: March 05, 2012, 12:12:04 PM
George Will on Drudge is predicting Mitt can't win.  Repubs should be happy to win the house and try to get control of the Senate.  I predict otherwise.  Obama will lose and Mitt will win.

Bill Krystal (famous people reading the forum) makes the point that this is the big one and we who care have to do everything we can to win it.  Will apparently is saying if the presidential is lost at least go out and win congress.  That is not enough.

2010 was quite an election for Republicans after the country got to know Obama, Pelosi and Obamacare.  Now there are five parts remaining; all are must-wins to save the republic: 1) Must win the Presidency, as Krystal points out, can't repeal Obamacare and the rest without the White House. 2) Hold the House. 3) Win the Senate, but that still is not 60 votes 4) Win the public - and that means not for the day on Nov 6 2012, but with mandate and like-minded thinking with force and leverage to get things done and repealed through a roadblocked Senate.  5) The Supreme Court.  As bigdog said (something like) it is not rule by the elites because we choose who nominates and confirms them.  So choose wisely!
----------------

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/will-s-wrong_633080.html

Will’s Wrong
12:05 PM, Mar 2, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL

The estimable George Will is almost ready to hoist the white flag on the 2012 presidential election. Neither Mitt Romney nor Rick Santorum, he writes in his column for this Sunday (an advance copy of which was obtained by Politico), “seems likely to be elected.” And while conservatives, Will advises, should vote for whichever is nominated, there may well “come a point when … conservatives turn their energies to a goal much more attainable than . . . electing Romney or Santorum president. It is the goal of retaining control of the House and winning control of the Senate. . . . [C]onservatives this year should have as their primary goal making sure Republicans wield all the gavels in Congress in 2013.”

After all, Will argues, if Republicans control Congress, “their committee majorities will serve as fine-mesh filters, removing President Obama’s initiatives from the stream of legislation. . . . [A] re-elected Obama — a lame duck at noon next Jan. 20 — would have a substantially reduced capacity to do harm.”

Rarely has an intelligent man been so wrong.

By every objective measure, the GOP has a reasonable chance to defeat President Obama—probably between 1-in-3 and 1-in-2. Given this opportunity, it would be crazy not to do everything one can to effectuate an outcome so devoutly to be desired. This doesn't mean falling in line early behind an inevitable nominee or suppressing criticism of the likely nominee. If some of us have tried to expand the presidential field, it's because we've been unconvinced that the current field offers us the best hope of victory. If some of us have resisted Romney inevitability, or an early Romney coronation, it's because we don't think that Romney's nomination—or at least his easy and early nomination—would increase Republican chances of winning the presidency. Others differ on these questions. But whatever differences conservatives have in March about candidates, strategy and tactics should not affect our determination in the fall, when there is a Republican nominee, to turn our energies to defeating President Obama.

Why? Obamacare. Iran. Debt. The military. The Court.

Obamacare can't be reversed from Congress. Iran can't be denied nuclear weapons by Congress. The debt crisis can't be fundamentally addressed by Congress. The military can't be protected from being hollowed out by Congress. Judges can't be appointed by Congress.

If you think the country's in decent shape, go for control of Congress. If you think it's the mid-1990s again, go for control of Congress. If you're fatalistic about American decline abroad and the end of limited, constitutional government at home, go for control of Congress. If current trends don't deeply alarm you, or if you think alarm is futile because the rot is too deep, the decline too long-standing, the problems too un-fixable—then, go for control of Congress. Try to limit the damage and slow the collapse.

But if you reject such fatalism as a failure of nerve, and such declinism as a failure of understanding—and conservatives should—then do everything you can to win the White House. Perhaps always, but certainly in 2012—there is no substitute for victory.
4966  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: March 05, 2012, 11:16:25 AM
"I don't know the solution, but the WSJ's Subscriber Agreement (similar to most other publications) is quite clear...."
------------------------

The solution from our point of view is to do no harm to them, and from their point of view to send a friendly letter or cancel my subscription anytime they find me to be an annoyance.

The WSJ is not run by the lawyers.  The business side of the publication is thrilled to have their columns quoted and talked about across the talk shows and the internet - right up to the point of where is starts to take money out of their pocket. 
4967  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant - protected material discussion on: March 05, 2012, 11:08:35 AM
From Media Issues, edited and added here.  The gist of it is that we are being careful not to harm or damage them as we promote their product.  From the comments above, I often only put only passages of interest in my post, but putting the entire column in protects the context and integrity of the piece. There is a tradeoff between protecting content and getting the word out so that there will be awareness and demand for their content.  A couple of my own thoughts to add using the Wall Street Journal as an example:

a) There is an expectation when you subscribe that you will share content with a small or reasonable amount of people such as their eagerness to have it in the waiting room of the dental office - or the public library.  Granted that the online world is more complicated and they write rules starkly to protect them when necessary, but there is no indication that people come here for the purpose of getting around that subscription cost they otherwise would have paid themselves.  If anything the random promotion and discussion of stories and columns makes people more likely to subscribe.

b) Their own promotional strategy is to give away a mixture of free and protected content to draw attention, praise and subscriptions.  Often times my own awareness of a good column comes from their own efforts to submit material to other best of the web sites like Real Clear Politics for widespread dissemination to non-subscribers across the internet.

c) I post some things because they are expressing my own viewpoint, but give credit to the source as a matter of honesty.  Pulling out just the passage that supports my view may not preserve the context or meaning intended by the author.

d) I often suggest people subscribe and include subscription links as Crafty has done for various publications.  Here's one (save over 80%!): https://services.wsj.com/Gryphon/jsp/retentionController.jsp?page=10129

e) The content is intentionally mixed to get non-subscribers lured part way in, but as you read signed in as a subscriber there is no indication provided as to what is or is not protected.  Note that this discussion started as a reader was pulled part way in requesting more.

f) My own awareness of the WSJ editorial page began after my economics professor passed photocopies around of his own contributions.  My copy got lost or damaged.  I replaced it at the library and found out that he was only being published for his opposing view and that the lead editorials (opposite view) made far more sense.  While the liberal universities were pushing Keynesian economics as the only way to proceed in macroeconomics, the WSJ lead editorial was writing that "Keynes is Dead" in the late 1970s with simultaneously exploding inflation and unemployment.  Former editor Robert Bartley was a genius at putting a team together and current editorial page editor, Green Bay Wisc. native Paul Gigot, is one of the most insightful people in Washington IMHO.

g) Besides reading and subscribing, I have contributed material to the editorial page that they had no hesitation in using.  They credited me but forwarded no payment.  Other times it appears that they have been reading the forum before writing - without credit.   We have rules here too!  "© 2011 Dog Brothers, Inc. Martial Arts"  I don't think they want to risk having a cease and desist order be mutual!    wink

"The adventure continues."
4968  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues - protected material on: March 05, 2012, 09:59:59 AM
A discussion of note went by on a different thread about copyrights while I was gone. There is a tradeoff between protecting content and getting the word out so that there will be awareness and demand for content.  A couple of my own thoughts to add.

Using the Wall Street Journal as an example:

a) There is an expectation when you subscribe that you will share content with a small or reasonable amount of people such as their eagerness to have it in the waiting room of the dental office - or the public library.  Somewhere I read in the online world that is sharing with 4 people, but in the example above such as at the public library all day that is certainly more.  There is no indication that people come here for the purpose of getting around that subscription cost they otherwise have paid themnselves.  If anything the random promotion and discussion of stories and columns would make people more likely to subscribe.

b) Their own promotional strategy is to give away a mixture of free and protected content to draw attention, praise and subscriptions.  Often times my own awareness of a good column comes from their own efforts to submit material to other best of the web sites like Real Clear Politics for widespread dissemination.

c) I post some things because they are expressing my own viewpoint, but give credit to the source as a matter of honesty.

d) I often suggest people subscribe and include subscription links as Crafty has done for various publications.  Here's one (save over 80%!): https://services.wsj.com/Gryphon/jsp/retentionController.jsp?page=10129

e) The content is intentionally mixed to get non-subscribers lured part way in, but as you read signed in as a subscriber there is no indication provided as to was is or is not protected.  Note that this discussion started as a reader was pulled part way in requesting more.

f) My own awareness of the WSJ editorial page began after my economics professor passed photocopies around of his own contributions.  My copy got lost or damaged.  I replaced it at the library and found out that he was only being published for his opposing view and that the lead editorials made far more sense.  While the liberal universities were pushing Keynesian economics as the only way to proceed in macroeconomics, the WSJ lead editorial was writing that "Keynes is Dead" in the late 1970s with simultaneously exploding inflation and unemployment.  Former editor Robert Bartley was a genius at putting a team together and current editorial page editor, Green Bay Wisc. native Paul Gigot is one of the most insightful people in Washington IMHO.

g) Besides reading and subscribing, I have contributed material to the editorial page that they had no hesitation in using.  They credited me but forward no payment.  Other times it appears that they have been reading the forum before writing - without credit.  I don't think they want to risk having a cease and desist order being mutual!   wink

"The adventure continues."
4969  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Men & Women on: March 04, 2012, 07:10:52 PM
Raising the children is not a 'daily chore', it is an honor and a privilege and a gift beyond anything that you know.

Yes, men can raise children.  I did it.  But besides being plumbed differently, women are actually wired differently - in general.  The freedom to have careers should not pull with it a stigma for choosing not to.  Some women want to be homemakers and raise children.  That does not mean zero other work ever outside the home in a dynamic economy, which is why your 7% stat is highly misleading.  Taking months or years out of the continuity in your career has an enormous and measurable negative impact on future income - for any gender.

"why doesn't the husband stay home and raise the children while his wife supports the family."

Unless you are that husband or that wife, what on earth business of ours/yours is it to second guess what they do, and what happened to a right of privacy?

Two parents both work today for one reason more than any other: the public sector is directly consuming nearly half the resources in the economy and it is more than half if you count the private sector time directly spent on government regulation compliance activities.

Equal is a synonym for same.  The genders are not the same.  Ending discrimination (that happened how long ago?) is not the same as making gender differences go away.

The Equal Rights Amendment failed to be ratified.  Why?

"Following Doug's logic ..."  Of all your strong points, that has never been one of them.   wink
4970  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 04, 2012, 01:27:26 PM
Yes, Canada and Rest of the World benefited from the advances and care available that came out of what freedoms we had left in our healthcare system.  

Rule One in economics: tax something and you will get less of it.

Rule One in Obamanomics: New excise tax on medical devices.

I had a discussion last week with a person who is head of strategy for a major medical device manufacturer. I did not know the person's politics but asked if the new tax on their product would be helpful to them. The answer was No.

Killing off the medical device industry here hurts people everywhere.
-----------------

 http://blog.heritage.org/2012/02/14/side-effects-obamacare-tax-will-kill-jobs-strangle-medical-device-industry/

Side Effects: Obamacare Tax Will Kill Jobs, Strangle Medical Device Industry

Alyene Senger and Brett Ryan,  February 14, 2012

Last week, the IRS released its proposed plan to implement the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices designed to help foot the bill for Obamacare.

Harmful effects of the health law’s new taxes and requirements on business continue to emerge as its implementation continues. As Heritage’s Curtis Dubay explains, “All tax increases have negative economic effects because higher taxes take resources from the productive hands of the private sector and transfer them to the wasteful hands of politicians.”

As the National Center for Policy Analysis shows, the medical device manufacturer tax is already hurting Americans by reducing employment:

    In November 2011, device maker Stryker Corporation announced its intention to layoff 1,000 workers in order to cut costs in advance of the tax.

    Another firm, Covidien Plc, announced the layoff of 200 U.S. workers and plans to offshore production to Mexico and Costa Rica.

Congress can legislate who collects a tax, but it cannot legislate who actually bears the tax’s economic burden. So it is surprising only to Congress that American workers have to bear the brunt of a tax that Congress assumed device manufacturers would pay.
4971  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Men & Women on: March 04, 2012, 11:28:48 AM
"Your POV seeks to disrespect and degrade a choice that millions of parents make..."

I could not help but notice and be offended reading a view that washing his dishes and fetching his drink is put on the same plane as raising his family.  I visualize a fat slob on the couch belching after his 3rd beer and demanding another from the woman/wife who chose this man as the love of her life now trapped doing all the work with no options as if that is an issue or reality in true stay-at-home-by-choice relationships.  As a single parent I cannot tell you the value of having one person available to observe and communicate everything that is happening with the children and having the other free to hunt and gather or whatever it is we do today to responsibly pay for the enormous costs that make up living even frugally in today's society.  One side or the other of that simply does not get done without an amazing partnership.
4972  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nuclear Power - Fukushima aftermath revisited on: March 04, 2012, 11:12:54 AM
Death toll from earthquake-tsunami: 20364.
http://earthquake-report.com/2011/08/04/japan-tsunami-following-up-the-aftermath-part-16-june/ 

Deaths directly resulting from the nuclear accident: 5
http://asiancorrespondent.com/53036/the-fukushima-death-toll/
---------------
Time magazine, of all places, is noticing that the risk for those exposed to the Fukushima release of dying from cancer has increased 0.001%.

Meanwhile we hopefully learned: a) how to build to withstand the worst earthquake imaginable, and also b) not to build in a known, worst-imaginable earthquake zones.
---------------
http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2012/03/02/nuked-how-bad-was-fukushima/

"scientists have begun to compile early assessments of the health impacts of Fukushima—and the conclusions are less than catastrophic. Researchers speaking at a conference for the Health Physics Society said that the health threat to Japanese from radiation exposure looks to be extremely low. Even the brave workers who stayed behind at the plant had radiation exposure that was more than 10 times lower than that levels received by the half-million people who helped entomb the Chernobyl reaction more than two decades ago. They estimated that the risk of getting cancer for those exposed would increase 0.002%, and the risk of dying from cancer would rise by 0.001%. “I received more radiation on my transcontinental flights from Tokyo to Washington than I did at the reactor site,” said John Boice, a professor at Vanderbilt University and the incoming president of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements."
4973  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues - NY Times: Leftist Takeover, Now They Tell Us! on: March 04, 2012, 10:53:50 AM
John Hinderacker at Powerline has been a consistent media critic of this publication with no quest for truth of its own.  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/03/now-they-tell-us.php

A reader writes:

    From today’s New York Times:

        During the McGovern-Mondale era, the Democrats were exactly where the Republicans are now: the party had been taken over by its most extreme liberal faction, and it had lost touch with the core concerns of the middle class….Those terrible losses in 1972 and, especially, in 1984 were the Democrats’ shock therapy.

        What happened in the interim? In effect, moderate Democrats wrested the party back from its most liberal wing….“We had become a party that had stopped worrying about people who were working and only focused on people who weren’t working,” [Al] From told me. “The party didn’t understand how big a concern crime was. It had stopped talking about opportunity and growth.”

Just for fun, I looked up the Times editorials in 1972 and 1984 in which the paper endorsed George McGovern and Walter Mondale, respectively. Needless to say, those editorials contain no trace of any acknowledgement that the Democrats were in the grip of the party’s far-left wing, or that either candidate had “stopped talking about opportunity and growth,” had “lost touch with the core concerns of the middle class,” or was “focused on people who weren’t working.”

On the contrary. Here is what the Times had to say about McGovern back in 1972:

    The New York Times urges the election of George McGovern for President of the United States. We believe that Senator McGovern’s approach to public questions, his humanitarian philosophy and humane scale of values, his courage and forthrightness can offer a new kind of leadership in American political life. …

    A McGovern administration, the Times believes, would reverse the unmistakable drift in Washington away from government of, by and for the people. …

    On virtually every major issue from the war to taxes, from education to environment, from civil liberties to national defense, Mr. McGovern…seems to us to be moving with the right priorities, with faith in the common man, and within the democratic framework.

Which is to say that McGovern was just about as left-wing as the Times editorial board. This is what the Times had to say about Walter Mondale when it endorsed him in 1984:

    [Mondale's] election would mean franker, fairer decisions on the hard economic choices that the President has concealed during the campaign. Mr. Mondale would offer an enlightened and humane conception of what Government should, and should not, do. Most of all, he would bring to the White House the will to control nuclear weapons. …

    Walter Mondale believes in a sturdy defense. He also stands in the middle of the bipartisan community that long ago learned to abandon the fruitless quest for nuclear superiority. In this election, he represents all those Republicans and Democrats determined to tame the nuclear threat.

    Lawyer Mondale offers pragmatic skill at making the best of reality. … Walter Mondale has all the dramatic flair of a trigonometry teacher. His Nordic upbringing makes it hard for him to brag. The first debate may have been the high point of his political personality. But there’s power in his plainness.

    Precisely by not dramatizing issues, he has consistently produced consensus and agreement, as a Senator and as Jimmy Carter’s Vice President.

In the Times’s view at the time, Mondale was trudging stolidly down the middle of the road. Meanwhile, it is interesting to see that the paper’s current obsessions were just as prominent 28 years ago:

    Who is likely to do better in arms negotiations in the next term, Walter Mondale or the President who tickles the religious right by reviling the Soviet Union as an Evil Empire?

    To Henry Steele Commager, the historian, the 1983 speech in which Mr. Reagan described the Russians in that way was “the worst Presidential speech in American history, and I’ve read them all” – not because it was undiplomatic but because “No other Presidential speech has ever so flagrantly allied the government with religion. There was a gross appeal to religious prejudice.”

Religious prejudice? What a bizarre way of looking at the Cold War! Of course, it goes without saying that the Times failed either to foresee or to wish for the downfall of the Evil Empire.

One final digression before returning to the main point: the 1984 edition of the Times should be applauded for its concern about deficit spending:

    Unless most economists are crazy, the country can’t keep borrowing $200 billion a year.

Give the paper its due; it was right. Deficit spending of $200 billion a year couldn’t continue. The Democrats had to increase the deficit to over $1 trillion to cover their extravagant spending habit.

The Times, of course, has no credibility at all, but it is nice to see that after more than a quarter century, it is willing to publish a column by its own reporter that admits the truth about the inept candidates that it backed out of partisan fervor and ideological extremism.
4974  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: R.I.P. Andrew Breitbart on: March 04, 2012, 10:45:48 AM
Lesson from Breitbart is that the media is the problem.  This site (dog brothers public forum) is a perfect example of what he was also trying to do - reach through all the information out there and try to get at the truth.

A big part of what they did at Drudge was release stories that the big media had on their desk but weren't releasing.  Interesting that besides being part of the genius behind the Drudge Report, Breitbart also helped found the Huffington Post.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2012/03/01/huffington-drudge-and-beck-on-andrew-breitbarts-death/
4975  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Uninsured of Health Care on: March 04, 2012, 10:35:08 AM
"The number of chronically uninsured people who would prefer to have insurance but can’t afford it is likely 10-12 million people"

Yes, out of 310 million people.  Other proposals on the table as alternatives to Obamacare including end of pre-existing conditions clauses, tort reform and allowing cross state line competition would have shrunk the 10 million figure significantly.

'Can't afford it' is a function of two variables: income and cost of health care.  One party's policies have the effect of lowering national income or at least stopping its growth, while implementing hundreds and huindreds of programs that drive up the cost of health care.  The other party is struggling within itself to decide how large the (negative0 role of government should be.
4976  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Britain - Highest marginal rate up, Revenues decreased. Who knew? on: February 25, 2012, 07:02:13 AM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203960804577239120562365932.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop

    FEBRUARY 23, 2012

David Cameron's Tax Lesson
A 50% tax rate yields less revenue than advertised.

Speaking of higher taxes (and President Obama always does), there's news from once fair Britannia.

Preliminary figures out this week show that Britain's 50% top marginal income-tax rate may have reduced tax revenue from top earners by as much as 5%, compared to the old 40% top rate (That's a 25% increase!). Tax revenue from those filing self-assessments due January 31 was down some Ł500 million
4977  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: February 24, 2012, 01:10:39 PM
You did not educate me.  Put the insults in a private message so that I can not read them over there.
4978  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: February 24, 2012, 12:43:45 PM
"But let's move on."

I was right about wasting my time.  I don't come here for escalating insults.
4979  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Forrest Gump of Energy Economics (Stupid is as stupid does) WSJ on: February 24, 2012, 10:08:04 AM
Caught between Glibness and Energy, I put one article at each location.

'Stupid' and Oil Prices
Obama's Forrest Gump analysis of rising gas prices.

'The American people aren't stupid," thundered President Obama yesterday in Miami, ridiculing Republicans who are blaming him for rising gasoline prices. Let's hope he's right, because not even Forrest Gump could believe the logic of what Mr. Obama is trying to sell.

To wit, that a) gasoline prices are beyond his control, but b) to the extent oil and gas production is rising in America, his energy policies deserve all the credit, and c) higher prices are one more reason to raise taxes on oil and gas drillers while handing even more subsidies to his friends in green energy. Where to begin?

It's true enough that oil prices can't be commanded from the Oval Office, so in that sense Mr. Obama's disavowal of blame is a rare show of humility in the face of market forces. Would that he showed similar modesty in trying to command the tides of home prices, car sales ("cash for clunkers"), or the production of electric batteries.

The oil price surge has several likely sources. One is the turmoil in the Middle East, especially new fears of a supply shock from a conflict with Iran. But it's worth recalling that Mr. Obama also blamed the last oil-price surge, in spring 2011, on the Libyan uprising. Moammar Gadhafi is now gone and Libyan oil production is coming back on stream, yet oil prices dipped only briefly below $90 a barrel and have been rising since October. Something else must be going on.

Mr. Obama yesterday blamed rising demand from the likes of Brazil and China, and there is something to that as well. But this energy demand is also not new, and if anything Chinese and Brazilian economic growth has been slowing in recent months.

Another suspect—one Mr. Obama doesn't like to mention—is U.S. monetary policy. Oil is traded in dollars, and its price therefore rises when the value of the dollar falls, all else being equal. The Federal Reserve throughout Mr. Obama's term has pursued the easiest monetary policy in modern times, expressly to revive the housing market. It has done so with the private support and urging of the White House and through Mr. Obama's appointees who are now a majority on the Fed's Board of Governors.

Enlarge Image
1oilprices
1oilprices
Associated Press

Oil staged its last price surge along with other commodity prices when the Fed revved up its second burst of "quantitative easing" in 2010-2011. Prices stabilized when QE2 ended. But in recent months the Fed has again signaled its commitment to near-zero interest rates first through 2013, and recently through 2014. Commodity prices, including oil, have since begun another surge, and hedge funds have begun to bet on commodity plays again. John Paulson says he's betting on gold, the ultimate hedge against a falling dollar.

Fed officials and Mr. Obama want to take credit for easy money if stock-market and housing prices rise, but then deny any responsibility if commodity prices rise too, causing food and energy prices to soar for consumers. They can't have it both ways, as not-so-stupid Americans intuitively understand when they buy groceries or gas. This is the double-edged sword of an economic recovery "built to last" on easy money rather than on sound fiscal and regulatory policies.

As for domestic energy, Mr. Obama rightly points to the rising share of U.S. oil consumption now produced at home. But this trend began in the late Bush Administration, which opened up large new areas on and offshore for oil and gas drilling that are now coming on stream. Mr. Obama sneered at expanded drilling as a candidate in 2008 and for most of his term has done little to expand it.

In early 2010, he proposed to open some new areas to drilling but shut that down after the Gulf oil spill. According to the Greater New Orleans Gulf Permits Index for January 31, over the previous three months the feds issued an average of three deep-water drilling permits a month compared to the historical average of seven. Over the same three months, the feds approved an average of 4.7 shallow-water permits a month, compared to the historical average of 14.7.

Approval of an offshore drilling plan now takes 92 days, 31 more than the historical average. And so far in 2012, an average of 23% of all drilling plans have been approved, compared to the average of 73.4%.

Oh, and don't forget the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have increased the delivery of oil from Canada and North Dakota's Bakken Shale to Gulf Coast refineries, replacing oil from Venezuela.

The reality is that most of the increase in U.S. oil and gas production has come despite the Obama Administration. It is flowing from the shale boom, which is the result of private technological advances and investment. Mr. Obama has seen the energy sun rise and is crowing like a rooster that he made it happen.

Mr. Obama yesterday also repeated his proposal that now is the time to raise taxes on oil and gas companies, as if doing so will make them more likely to drill. He must not believe the economic truism that when you tax something you get less of it, including fewer of the new jobs they've created.
***

We'd almost feel sorry for Mr. Obama's gas-price predicament if it weren't a case of rough justice. The President has deliberately sought to raise the price of energy throughout the economy via his cap-and-trade agenda. He is now getting his wish, albeit a little too overtly for political comfort. Mr. Obama has also spent three years blaming George W. Bush for every economic ill. If Mr. Obama now feels frustrated by economic events beyond his control, perhaps he should call Mr. Bush for consolation.

A version of this article appeared Feb. 24, 2012, on page A12 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: 'Stupid' and Oil Prices. (Subscribe at wsj.com)
4980  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: He wanted gas prices higher...now up 83% on: February 24, 2012, 10:00:26 AM
Gas prices are the issue that won't go away in the election.  The only way they can go down is if the economy tanks bringing demand with it.  Keep in mind he also wanted electricity prices to rise substantially.  If he was running now as a first time candidate, it would be as a fringe candidate making Ron Paul look centrist.

Walter Russell Mead has it about right:  "If you are a politician who wants to raise the price of gas, you have two choices in America: you can persuade the military leadership to install you in office through a coup d’etat, or you can lie to the voters and pursue your agenda on the sly."

(Now he is taking credit for the North Dakota boom which happened only because it is not federal land that he controls.)

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/02/23/rising-gas-prices-all-part-of-obamas-plan/

February 23, 2012
Rising Gas Prices: All Part of Obama’s Plan?

Politico is shedding some light on a three year-old sound bite that continues to haunt the Obama Administration: Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s comments that American gas prices should be as high as Europe’s:

    “Somehow,” Chu said, “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

Unsurprisingly, Republicans have latched on to these comments as evidence that the Obama Administration is out of touch with regular Americans and harbors an agenda favoring green special interests over the needs of American businesses. With gas prices rising to the point where they threaten the already-fragile economic recovery, this figures to be a potent weapon against the president in the upcoming election.

While this position may be slightly unfair to the President (Mr. Chu was not yet in the Administration at the time he made the remarks, so any link between it and administration policy is tenuous), the quote devastatingly reveals just how tone-deaf and myopic white-collar, progressive intellectualism can be. The delusion that jacking up energy prices is part of a “good government” agenda is one of the pieces of insanity that keeps the blue intelligentsia from consolidating its position as a natural governing class.

More surprising here is that Politico is jumping on the bandwagon—although it notes that Chu’s remarks have been detrimental to Obama, the piece laments that the goal of raising gas prices doesn’t get the sympathetic attention it obviously deserves, given the support of numerous “experts.” With thinking like this dominating media and intellectual circles, it’s little wonder that the mainstream media is perceived as elitist and out of touch.

What most Americans mean by energy policy is this: government policies that aim to make energy as abundant and cheap as possible, given some very basic environmental concerns (no oil on the beach). No other approach can get you elected.

For Politico, the reason more politicians don’t discuss these ideas more favorably is that they have something called a ‘survival instinct’. Politicians who boast about their successful initiatives to raise the price of gasoline don’t last.  If you are a politician who wants to raise the price of gas, you have two choices in America: you can persuade the military leadership to install you in office through a coup d’etat, or you can lie to the voters and pursue your agenda on the sly.

A number of Democrats seem to have chosen the second option. The significance of the Chu sound bite is that some voters think President Obama has a stealth energy agenda, and rising gas prices tend to strengthen that perception.

4981  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: February 24, 2012, 09:33:04 AM
I don't find that pointing out elephants in a room productive on a 4th try to someone who denies seeing them on the first 3.

A home INVASION with a criminal in a home is not like losing a couple of 20s in the wash.  Yes, if you don't see that you are simply wrong and I should stop there.  A known criminal of unknown limits and capacities and presumed dangerous was in the home where you secure your family even if you are a family of one.  You really need that explained further?

Shooting at the ground is not using lethal force, shooting in the head or chest is.  It was to scare someone who has no qualms about scaring others.  Actually kind of funny that the guy with nerves of steel to do that in the first place got scared and ran. If just the fact that it is a gun makes it lethal, then backing your car out of the garage while your neighbor is outdoors is the use of lethal force also.  The car is also a lethal weapon.  Would you like case law cited on that?

I see this from the point of view as a father homeowner whose daughter could have been home, wishing I could explain to you as a husband whose wife could have been home.  I don't believe that wouldn't bother you, like I said, just wasting my time. To the neighbor it is empathy for that situation and desire to not have it next at his house.

In this TYPE of break-in, how did he (the burglar) know for sure she (a hypothetical wife or daughter or whoever that someone might want to protect) wasn't home.  He didn't.  He was still willing to enter not knowing no one was home for sure.  How did we know AS IT HAPPENED he was unarmed.  We didn't.  Do we know on sight of him if he not is also a rapist and a murderer?  No, we don't.  But we KNOW he is a CRIMINAL IN OUR HOME and those are other things criminals in homes do.  If he is so comfortable entering, got away with it and  knows his way around now and knows what else to take next time, why wouldn't he come back?  He probably would.  You say insurable loss? FYI if you didn't know, they steal the insured stuff and then they come back to get the new stuff that the insurance company buys to replace it. Have you ever had your home invaded?  Would he the criminal kill her with his bare hands or other implement within reach next time if she was home and startled him?  Yes, it's possible. Should she worry about that every moment she is home and thinks about it?  Yes, that would be a perfectly normal reaction. Keyword TERROR. Will she be home next time?  Yeah, maybe.  Will she now live in fear? Yes, that would make sense.  Or have to sell, move and leave her home to try to escape that fear.  Should the neighbor rationally believe that his home and his family is next if the guy gets away with this one so close and within sight of his home without incident?  Yes.

Was he right to discharge his firearm safely, but illegally?  That depends on his judgment of the likelihood of prosecution and size and scope of the expected penalty as opposed to the cost of doing nothing when you could have scared off that intruder forever. 

Do I believe that you, a double major college graduate, really don't get that a home invasion is an INVASION, and is not equivalent to losing a couple of 20s in the wash? Just an insurable loss? No. I don't.

But we have been through this before.
4982  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: February 24, 2012, 12:01:30 AM
Reminds of when you thought the French supermarket wasn't vandalized.  A waste of my time. Let's not answer each other's posts.
4983  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: February 23, 2012, 07:14:34 PM
"Home burglary, someone invading your home and your privacy, even when no one is home, while of course terrible, is not, by definition, a violent crime."

If your wife walks out of the bathroom to discover the 'unarmed' (how do we know that at the time) burglar who only wants the necklace, not to rape, torture and kill her (how do we know that at the time), then has she only lost a necklace, or some CDs?  No!  She has lost perhaps forever the feeling of safety and security that she once had in the privacy of her own home.

I honestly don't know what you don't get about that unless you and your wife have no capacity for fear or a personal feeling of violation.

Yes, he 'should have' called the police instead.  The odds that the police would apprehend him if the call is made as the man is leaving: near zero.

The odds that he will return to that home or that neighborhood if the job was successful: extremely high.

The odds that he will return after thinking he was shot at while escaping: zero.

Seems to me the shot fired harmlessly will cause him extreme fear that he deserves to feel and cause him to not return, which is protecting the neighbor's home too.  A firecracker might have served the same purpose; he just didn't have one handy and also no doubt illegal.

Of course we don't want to encourage people to take the law into their own hands or to discharge weapons in residential areas for no good reason, but in this case a pretty good result came out of it -  at least until they sue or prosecute or the wrong guy. (IMHO)
4984  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: February 23, 2012, 06:52:20 PM
http://revolutionarypolitics.tv/video/viewVideo.php?video_id=15915

2nd try. If this works I will fix the original. 

Also found it on Youtube at lower resolution:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndtDZKNBz0g
4985  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs - explained by Judge Judy on: February 23, 2012, 04:16:55 PM
7 minutes of Judge Judy (no commercials) allegedly pulled by CBS off of Youtube:

http://revolutionarypolitics.tv/video/viewVideo.php?video_id=15915

Judge Judy: "That is what we are creating." "Him." "I'm sending this tape to congress."

Besides taxpayers paying his rent, he is getting $88,000 to learn to play guitar?

More than half of US households receive government check.

Watch until the end; the plot turns quickly.

Welcome to my world.
4986  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Ron Paul on: February 23, 2012, 03:21:06 PM
"RP is now #2 in delegates?"

Bringing the bulk of those supporters to support the eventual nominee will be quite a challenge; some will never do it.  I don't know if Ron Paul has endorsed any Republican candidates for the general election since Reagan.

RP is only growing stronger in his (anti-) foreign policy views. He talks about the number of US bases surrounding Iran, implying that their claim of needing the weapons for defense is real and saying that it is ridiculous for us to fear Iran having a few nukes.  The Soviets had 30,000 of them - no problem (except that we were about one election from having to all learn Russian.)  Paul is much more open to compromise on taxes and spending than foreign affairs.

Funny point in the debate transcript, the moderator asked the other 3 their view on Syria, then said (something like): moving on... Rep. Paul said - um, excuse me?  Moderator says 'okay, quickly'.  Paul said: I'll be quick - with a one minute response.  Perhaps the first time the moderator ever agreed with the rest of us: RP, we already know, without asking, your view on intervention in Syria. 
4987  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Romney Tax Plan on: February 23, 2012, 02:44:12 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203918304577239092290860440.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Romney's Tax Reboot
His 20% marginal rate cut changes the tax reform debate.

One oddity of this Republican Presidential primary season is that front-runner Mitt Romney has had by far the least inspiring tax plan. That changed yesterday when the former Massachusetts Governor took a dive into the deep end of the tax reform debate with a proposal that includes a 20% across-the-board cut in income tax rates. Now we're getting somewhere.

The rate cut follows the Reagan formula of applying to anyone who pays income taxes. The current 35% tax rate (set to rise to 41% in 2013 including deduction and exemption phase-outs) would fall to 28%, the 33% rate to 26.4%, the 28% rate to 22.4%, the 25% rate to 20%, the 15% rate to 12%, and the 10% rate to 8%.
***

As an economic matter, this is the most effective kind of tax cut because it applies at the margin, meaning the next dollar of income earned. A mountain of economic research shows that a marginal-rate cut does far more than tax holidays or targeted tax credits to change the incentives to invest and hire workers, and thus provides the most economic lift.

The proposal from Mitt Romney, above, provides a tax contrast with Rick Santorum.

This is especially true because the vast majority of businesses in America today aren't corporations. They're sole proprietorships, partnerships or Subchapter S firms whose profits are "passed through," as the jargon goes, to the owners and are taxed at the individual rate. These noncorporate firms account for over half of all business income, according to IRS data. By lowering their taxes and making the rates permanent, Mr. Romney's plan would do much to make the U.S. more job and investment friendly.

By contrast, President Obama's proposal yesterday (see below) to cut the corporate rate to 28% from 35% wouldn't apply to this "pass-through" business income. It would thus favor big corporations at the expense of smaller businesses that file as individuals and would see their marginal rate rise to 41% or more under Mr. Obama's plan to raise individual tax rates.

Mr. Romney has already proposed a cut in the corporate tax rate to 25% from 35%, and by adding the cut in the business pass-through rate to 28% he is proposing the more ambitious and far more economically potent reform.

The Obama campaign will attack his plan as favoring the rich, but it would do so even if Mr. Romney proposed no tax cut. Now Mr. Romney will have a better response because in return for cutting rates he says he would also close loopholes and deductions that have become shelters from high tax rates.

Mr. Romney made the mistake yesterday of distinguishing between deductions for "middle-income families," which he said would be preserved, and for the "top 1%," which he said would be on the table. This sounds like a pollster's bad advice. It merely plays into Mr. Obama's class-war theme when Mr. Romney should be stressing growth. But at least Mr. Romney says all deductions would be on the reform table, including those for mortgage interest, state and local taxes and health care.

The Romney campaign is also shrewd to say it will assume some dynamic revenue feedback from his marginal-rate cuts. This does not mean that the tax cuts will entirely "pay for themselves" right away. It does mean that it can safely assume that his proposal would recapture about one-third of the revenue loss from the rate reductions through more investment and economic growth.

That's a defensible and conservative estimate based on historical experience with rate reductions. Tax revenues soared after the Reagan 1981 tax cuts (the Gipper cut rates across the board by 25%) and the Bush 2003 rate reductions. The 2003 investment tax cut was expected to lose revenue, but the gain in jobs and business activity produced $786 billion more in revenue from 2003-2007.
Related Video

Editorial board member Steve Moore breaks down Mitt Romney's and President Obama's tax plans.

Economists Greg Mankiw and Glenn Hubbard, who are both advising Mr. Romney, have done studies documenting the feedback effects of marginal-rate tax cuts. So has Harvard's Martin Feldstein, among others.

All of this should also help Mr. Romney politically, if he makes the case well and with confidence. Conservative voters who have wondered if he is one of them can now see a tangible proposal that will be a governing priority, not merely a pledge to fight for reform some day. It gives him something to fight for beyond his business biography.

The Romney proposal will also provide a tax contrast with Rick Santorum. The Pennsylvania Senator favors a top tax rate of 28% but he also wants to triple the child tax credit to $3,000. He'd have a hard time credibly doing both without blowing up the budget because the tax credit has almost no revenue feedback effect. It's a social gesture with little or no impact on economic growth.

Meanwhile, on corporate taxes, Mr. Romney's tax cut applies to all companies equally. Mr. Santorum would cut the rate in half for most companies, except manufacturers would pay 0%. This is a form of industrial policy that would have every company lobbying to qualify as a manufacturer and would defeat the tax neutrality that is a main goal of tax reform.
***

Now that he has the right policy, Mr. Romney's main challenge will be selling it without apology. He has resisted tax cuts for individuals lest he be criticized for helping the rich, and he sometimes sounds guilty about his own wealth. But voters will sense if Mr. Romney doesn't believe what he says or if he shrinks from making a forthright case for it.

The only way to defeat Mr. Obama's politics of envy is with the politics of growth and rising opportunity. Voters don't really care about a candidate's wealth as long as they conclude he has a plan to increase theirs.
4988  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: February 23, 2012, 12:03:47 PM
JDN, Entering one's home when you are home or not home has a TERROR affect on the family and the neighborhood; that is not just a property crime and that is MY opinion, not the law.  Almost grazing their cheek with a bullet if you have that ability does no harm either by your standard if you think the only damage of forcible entry with a stranger in a family home is the loss of CDs.  I was clear BTW about not advocating breaking the law so don't take my comment out of its context.  Thank you.

You wrote yourself: "This is not a good case for the DA."

Why not?  Because he didn't do anything wrong.
4989  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: February 23, 2012, 11:38:00 AM
Good constitutional discussion over on gay issues thread.  This part in particular by bigdog is noteworthy.

"I think "the people" do have a say.  First, they elect (sort of, at least ) the president who nominates.  Second, they elect the senators who confirm.  Third, they have the ability, especially through interest groups or other bodies, to file amicus briefs with the Court.  Fourth, federal judges are appointed for life... with good behavior.  There is an impeachment mechanism in place, if "the people" were willing to push it.  Fifth, as noted elsewhere, Congress can change (appellate) jurisdiction.  The people could push for that."

When I read the quote of Justice Ginsburg preferring the South African constitution to ours, it made me think of impeachment.  Not for her own freedom of speech but if any of her Court opinions were derived from some standard other than the U.S. constitution.

Our ongoing criticisms and second guessing of court decisions as I see it is our way of staying active and informed.  The say that the people have on the court through the selection process has been my first answer to anyone who says there is no difference between the parties or the candidates.  There is quite a difference it seems to me between the appointees of Bush versus Obama even though Justices often surprise or disappoint.

I remember that a major, public, conservative uproar brought down the Harriet Miers appointment of Pres. Bush.  There was a smaller conservative protest to Pres. Reagan's selection of Arizona moderate Sandra Day O'Connor that perhaps should have been heeded.
4990  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: February 23, 2012, 10:45:09 AM
I am not advocating anyone break the law, just enjoying the freedom of this venue to disagree with laws and try to distinguish between right or wrong.

I couldn't disagree more strongly with the idea presented that a home invasion, a stranger with known criminal capacity forcibly or wrongfully entering the structure you bought or built to separate yourself and your family from such strangers, is only an insurable property crime??  To me, that is very wrong.  By entering, they put your irreplaceables into an unacceptable risk of danger, IMHO. 

My thought is that if a person willing to threaten or scare a family to that extreme extent received a shot from a neighbor that hit only his earring, that would also only be an insurable property crime. 

Who is the victim of the shot into the ground?
4991  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Text of GOP debate Mesa Arizona, 2/23/2012 on: February 23, 2012, 10:18:02 AM
http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/transcript-tonights-cnn-republican-debate-arizona_631777.html

I read the transcript this morning, did not see the debate.  In general I would say each got to clarify his positions somewhat and no new ground was really broken.  All 4 seem a little more cautious about practicing scorched earth politics as they each now trail the failed President in the polls.  All 3 (except Ron Paul) seem to be in pretty close agreement over foreign policy.

The earmark discussion was interesting.  When funds are not earmarked by congress all goes to the executive branch.  The real question was how all these things get lumped on to other bills and how the line item veto that would solve this was struck down by the court.
----
Adding a comment, Santorum's defense of endorsing Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey was that Specter was chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and promised Santorum he would move the President's conservative Supreme Court picks through a 51-49 senate where the 51 included some very Democrat-like moderates.

Romney answered one charge against Romneycare from Santorum, that Santrum had endorsed him as a good conservative in 2008 - well after Romneycare.
4992  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 22, 2012, 12:14:23 PM
The readings referred by bigdog regarding the Disabilities Act remind of why it is much better top make private and charitable accommodations than to attempt to solve individual problems through an act of congress.  One example, the court became the governing body of the PGA Tour.  Even in professional sports they are no longer free to make and enforce their own rules.
4993  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Santorum on: February 22, 2012, 11:34:48 AM
I think Morris has it about right on Santorum.  He is a fine man and a good conservative, but not good enough to bet the whole election on.  He has not been strategic in terms of setting up to win a general election and he comes into this without executive experience.

He is getting his flash of flame later because he didn't stand out earlier.

He is no further right than Obama is to the left and his social stands are not as extreme as the shocked CBS hosts and NY Times columnists might want to think.  If he is the candidate, they will have already beat the social issues to death on him and the focus will come back to the economy and foreign policy. 

Sen. Santorum has more foreign policy experience than most.  On economic issues, I would have rather have a different PA Senator - Pat Toomey.
4994  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: February 21, 2012, 06:45:43 PM
BD, Thank you. I will read.

To JDN:  We all may be pursuing happiness but we all might face limits on our choices.  Your circumstances coincided with a definition of marriage, but individuals do not always either fall in love or marry get the person of your choice, only of mutual choice.  Without the other person's consent and all other conditions required, the opportunity in law is simply not available, hetero or gay.   A single person perhaps would confide their innermost thoughts to a closest sibling, but never will be granted spousal privilege for that relationship, no matter how close, and no matter the outcome of the gay marriage question.  Yes, we discriminate. I don't know how to explain any further or better that marriage laws still discriminate even if you add same gender relationships to it.  The choices we make in policy that affect different people differently.  Ending the special, government recognition of marriage has drawbacks too.

"...gender should b equal. No more but no less. R u implying gender equality is bad?"

One meaning of "equal" is "same".  Do I think both genders (are there only two?) are the same and we should ban all distinctions?  ... No!  How can you ever put woman and children first if all are defined as equal, same, comparable, identical, indistinguishable, matched, matching, one and the same, uniform, unvarying. *

You really don't get it that I (like Obama) think marriage involves a husband and wife (extremely gender specific distinctions terms) and that all kids in a perfect world deserve a shot at a mom and a dad (gender specific, even if some of them are lousy), married and in love with each other all under one roof.

The only good I can see coming out of a gender neutral society is that maybe we could have saved 163 million baby girls from gender selection killings in Asia.

Is there no situation where you would protect women and children first?  
-----------------------------------
* equal  from thesaurus.com
Definition:    alike
Synonyms:    according, balanced, break even, commensurate, comparable, coordinate, correspondent, corresponding, double, duplicate, egalitarian, equivalent, evenly matched, fifty-fifty, homologous, identic, identical, indistinguishable, invariable, level, look-alike, matched, matching, one and the same, parallel, proportionate, same, same difference, spit and image, stack up with, tantamount, to the same degree, two peas in pod, uniform, unvarying
Antonyms:    different, not alike, unequal, unlike, unmatched, variable, varying
----------------------------------
CCP:  Yes, there is FAR more to the activist agenda than the private pursuit of happiness.
4995  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Liberal fascism and Cronyism: all one and the same over at Democrats Inc. on: February 21, 2012, 03:02:27 PM
Occupy?? Ha!

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/morning-jay-democrats-inc_629969.html?page=1

Democrats, Inc.
Feb 17, 2012 • By JAY COST

Two news stories from this week underscored the most important development in Democratic party politics in the last thirty years. First, from the Washington Free Beacon:

    Politico Influence reports that House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and minority whip Steny Hoyer raised $400,000 last night at a fundraiser held at the home of Democratic lobbyists Heather and Tony Podesta. Heather Podesta runs the firm Heather Podesta and Partners.

    Heather Podesta’s clients include liberal bogeymen such as the for-profit education industry and Brookfield Asset Management, the real-estate company that owns Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan and which ultimately gave the NYPD the green light to evict the Occupy Wall Street movement from its grounds in November 2011. Pelosi is a vocal supporter of the occupiers, having once said, “God bless them.”

Second, from Bloomberg:

    President Barack Obama returns to New York on March 1 for his first campaign fundraiser with investment bankers and hedge fund managers since asking Congress in his 2013 budget to increase taxes on the wealthy.

    The president’s hosts include Ralph Schlosstein, chief executive officer at Evercore Partners Inc. (EVR), and his wife, Jane Hartley, co-founder of the economic and political advisory firm Observatory Group LLC, who were assured last week by Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, that the president won’t demonize Wall Streetin his re-election pursuit.

    The $35,800-per-person dinner at ABC Kitchen, the first of the evening’s four fundraising events, is being hosted by many of Obama’s top Wall Street donors, according to a person familiar with the matter. Sponsors include Blair W. Effron, partner and co-founder of Centerview Partners LLP; Marc Lasry, managing partner and founder of Avenue Capital Group; Mark Gallogly, a managing principal of Centerbridge Partners; James Rubin, managing director of BC Partners; Robert Wolf, UBS AG’s chairman for the Americas; and Antonio Weiss, global head of investment banking at Lazard Ltd.

The Democratic party used to be the party opposed to big business. Andrew Jackson was reviled by business elites, and William Jennings Bryan scared the living daylights out of them. Neither of those men would be caught dead asking for money from such lobbyists and bankers, who would never give them a dime, anyway!

But that is obviously no longer true. What we have instead is a party whose leaders simultaneously press the case for “fairness” while giving unfair access to wealthy donors such as these. And that has basically been the way of the world for the last 30 years; since the mid-1980s, the Democrats in Congress have usually matched or exceeded the GOP in terms of contributions from business and professional PACs.

Why has this happened? It has to do with the two sided nature of the modern Democratic party. On the one hand, the party promotes progressivism as its public-spirited governing philosophy. This is the ideology that animates the pages of The New Republic, The Nation, and well-intentioned liberals everywhere: The idea that a powerful central government can bring about social justice and true equality. But there is another side of the coin, less commented upon and much less noble: The Democratic party is also a massive patronage operation that uses the vast regulatory and redistributive powers of the federal government to attract and maintain political clients, whose loyalty stems not simply from the party’s public-spirited philosophy but also the special benefits they enjoy for being coalition members.

This is why politicians in the liberal party do so many illiberal things. Railing against “millionaires and billionaires” on one day then ponying up to them, hat in hand, on the other is one such example. Another is preening about the undue influence of the pharmaceutical industry during the 2008 campaign, and then giving them a sweetheart deal in Obamacare.

And let’s be clear, those “millionaires and billionaires” are getting something for their campaign contributions. Consider, for instance, this great article by Peter Schweizer in Reason about Warren Buffett. He’s now the Democratic party’s number one talking point in pushing for equality. It isn’t fair that he gets taxed at such a lower rate than his secretary. He doesn’t need the money! But Schweizer demonstrates that Buffett has in fact made a killing off his access to the higher-ups in the Democratic party. A modest increase in his tax rate is a small price to pay for the ability to influence public policy.

And he is no exception. As Charles Gasparino argues about the Dodd-Frank regulations:

    The trade-off for all this regulation is government protection, which is what makes the crony capitalism of the modern banking business really work . . . mplicit in just about every facet of the bill was that “too big to fail”—the notion that Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Morgan Stanley are so large and intertwined in the global economy that they need to be monitored and propped up no matter how much money they lose—was here to stay.

This signals the core problem of the Democratic party: It has become the opposite of what its founders intended it to be, and indeed opposite of what it claims to be today. The party presents itself as the party of the people against the powerful, of political and economic equality for all, of true social justice. But the reality is that the party now offers special benefits, sometimes amounting to billions of taxpayer dollars, for those who contribute to its political success.

Last week I compared the modern party to Tammany Hall, and its coziness with Wall Street is probably the most striking example of the parallel between the two. Tammany didn't win elections merely through the support of the Irish, but also by keeping its financial sponsors on Wall Street happy. So, year after year, Tammany pols would enorse the Democratic party platform, which inevitably railed against the GOP's coziness with special interests, while they themselves were cozy with those very same interests. That is the modern Democratic party in a nutshell.
4996  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Schieffer to Santorum:I had hoped to ask you some questions about the economy... on: February 21, 2012, 02:46:42 PM
Along the same lines as the previous piece, John Hinderacker has an anti-Santorum post at Powerline criticising not his answers, but the questions that Santorum draws.  We don't come together over the budget, entitlements, debt or limited government by talking right now about abortion, gay marriage, contraception etc.

He has some answers skipped because the point he is making is the questions that he draws.  In this case he is blaming the candidate, not the CBS liberal host. The ending is priceless: "I had hoped to ask you about some questions about the economy. But, frankly, you made so much news yesterday, out there on the campaign trail, I felt compelled to ask you about that."
-------------------

Posted on February 19, 2012 by John Hinderaker in GOP Presidential Race 2012
Are There Republicans Who Think This Is a Good Idea? Seriously?

Rick Santorum is a bright, well-intentioned guy. But the idea that he is the strongest candidate the Republicans can nominate for the presidency strikes me, with all due respect, as ludicrous. Put aside the fact that Santorum lost his last race by 18 points in his home state of Pennsylvania: not exactly an auspicious way to kick off a presidential campaign. Rather, consider that Santorum has always been most passionate about the social issues. Is that really what the GOP wants to talk to voters about in 2012, when the country–the Brokest Nation In History, as Mark Steyn puts it–is $15 trillion in debt; when the Obama administration has driven our economy into the most prolonged funk since the Great Depression; and when Barack Obama has instituted the most corrupt system of cronyism in American history? Seriously?

The fate of a Santorum candidacy was foreshadowed this morning in Santorum’s appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation. Follow the link to read the entire, sad transcript. Here are the questions that Bob Schieffer asked Santorum, verbatim:

    You are the leader in the polls this morning. And I have to say you were very busy yesterday. The Associated Press led its story of your appearance in Columbus, Ohio, by saying, quote, “Rick Santorum questioned Barack Obama’s Christian values.” That was after you lashed out at the President’s proposal on energy of all things when you said this.

    RICK SANTORUM (Republican Presidential Candidate/Former Pennsylvania Senator): It’s not about you. It’s not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs.

    MAN: Right.

    RICK SANTORUM: It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology.

    (Crowd applauding)

    BOB SCHIEFFER: So, Senator, I’ve got to ask you. What– what in the world were you talking about, Sir?

    ***

    BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, how does that translate into some sort of theology that the President’s theology is not based on the Bible. I mean that suggests that he’s not a Christian.

    ***

    BOB SCHIEFFER: I– I don’t want to just spend the whole program on this, but was your use of the word theology, perhaps, you could have had a better word than that? I mean, don’t you know that, or do you wonder that– that might lead some people to suggest that you were questioning the President’s faith?

    ***

    BOB SCHIEFFER: At another stop in Columbus, you took on the President on prenatal care for expectant mothers. Here’s what you said at this– in this passage.

    RICK SANTORUM: One of the things that you don’t know about Obamacare and one of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing in every insurance policy in America. Why? Because it saves money in health care. Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society.

    BOB SCHIEFFER: Senator, I– I have to ask you to– to give some explanation of that. You sound like you’re saying that the purpose of prenatal care is to cause people to– to have abortions, to get more abortions in this country. I think there are any number testing, I think any number of people would– would say that’s not the purpose at all.

    ***

    BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I– I know you know what you’re talking about. I know that well. I know you also had another child that was stillborn. But–

    RICK SANTORUM (overlapping): And I was–

    BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Didn’t you want to know about that, just a minute.

    (Cross talking)

    BOB SCHIEFFER: Just hold on.

    RICK SANTORUM: But what my– my child was not stillborn. My child was born alive.

    BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.

    RICK SANTORUM: –and he lived two hours.

    BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.

    ***

    BOB SCHIEFFER: I stand corrected on the stillborn. You’re absolutely right. I simply misspoke. But, Senator, do you not want any kind of prenatal testing? I mean would we just turn our back on science that this is something that expectant mothers should not go through, that it’s best not to know about these things ahead of time? I mean is that what you’re saying here?

    ***

    BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): You’re not saying. Let me just ask you, you’re not saying that the cause of this, that the President looks down on disabled people, are you? You’re not accusing him of that?

    ***

    BOB SCHIEFFER: And– and how you feel about this. Another thing that raised a few eyebrows yesterday, Senator, you questioned the value of all things at the public school system. Now here’s what you said about that.

    RICK SANTORUM: But the idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly, much less that the state government should be running schools is anachronistic. It goes back to the time of industrialization of America when people came off the farms where they did home school or have the little neighborhood school and into these big factories. So we built equal factories called public schools.

    BOB SCHIEFFER: So, there you are, Senator. I mean, are you saying that we shouldn’t have public schools now? I mean I thought public schools were the foundation of American democracy.

Santorum did a reasonably good job of fielding these questions. But does anyone seriously believe that it is in the Republicans’ interest for the 2012 presidential election to center on theology and gynecology? Here is Schieffer’s last question of Santorum:

    BOB SCHIEFFER: Senator, I want to thank you very much for being with us this morning. I had hoped to ask you about some questions about the economy. But, frankly, you made so much news yesterday, out there on the campaign trail, I felt compelled to ask you about that. Thank you so much for being with us.

That pretty much says it all. With Santorum launching one social issues bomb after another, there is no time to talk about the economy. Is this the Democratic Party’s dream, or what? In a national poll that came out today, Santorum is leading Mitt Romney by eight points among likely Republican voters. Can Republicans possibly be that foolish? Is it conceivable that a president with Obama’s lousy record could coast to victory, virtually by default, because the Republicans nominate a candidate who would rather talk about gynecology than debt? At the moment, that prospect does not seem far-fetched.
4997  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Gallup has unemployment spiking back up to 9% on: February 21, 2012, 02:34:58 PM
We are on the right track politically is bullsh*t.

Unadjusted unemployment back up to 9%.  The adjusted number is zero or any other number that you want.  "Underemployment" is back up to 19%!

http://www.gallup.com/poll/152753/Unemployment-Increases-Mid-February.aspx

February 17, 2012
U.S. Unemployment Increases in Mid-February
Underemployment also up, to 19.0%
by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist

PRINCETON, NJ -- The U.S. unemployment rate, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 9.0% in mid-February, up from 8.6% for January. The mid-month reading normally reflects what the U.S. government reports for the entire month, and is up from 8.3% in mid-January.
4998  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: February 21, 2012, 02:27:36 PM
"Michigan is the whole shooting match," said one senior GOP strategist not aligned with a campaign. Says another: "If Romney loses Michigan, all hell breaks loose."

If Santorum wins, he is the sustained frontrunner; he is the already the leader at this point.  Feb 28 is the turning point either way for Romney.  Michigan is a primary not a caucus state and the other side is uncontested so anyone eligible to vote and willing to show up and say they are Republican will get a ballot.  In Feb 2000, moderates showed up for McCain.

Only one debate (tomorrow, Mesa AZ, CNN) before the vote.
4999  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian: Constitutionality of marriage? on: February 21, 2012, 01:43:28 PM
Wishing to drop the cultural issues for this election cycle, but so many questions are unresolved.  Jumping around with some quotes/excerpts here, hopefully keeping the original meaning as posted.

bigdog wrote: "You gents don't seem to get that marriage laws, like any other laws, can be changed."

This is a good point.  It is separate from the question of whether existing marriage laws are unconstitutional.

bigdog wrote:

"Gay marriage does NOT have to be compelled by the Constitution for it to be accepted by the Constitution."

Very true.  My question: is it compelled by the constitution?

bigdog continued: "... the 9th Amendment leaves open the possibility that there are other, unenumerated rights.  Privacy, of course, is one that has been recognized.  I know, from prior discussions with you (Crafty), that you acknowledge the right to privacy.  As JDN states, there could be an argument made that gay marriage could be allowed, based on privacy precedent. 

Public recognition of a gay union is the opposite of a right to privacy, is it not? 

bigdog:  "But, there could be, at least in theory, a stand alone right found in the 9th."

This is a good point. Some certainly see it that way.  Depends on which 9 people you ask.  It seems to me that if a standalone right is found for any citizen to be offered the designation of married, not just gay couples, isn't that the same as ending the public designation of married? 

I still fail to understand what rights are denied to a gay American who is in a loving, committed gay relationship that are also not denied to a single person who does not have a heterosexual partner consenting to marry.  In all cases you have the right to marry one person of the opposite sex with certain conditions applied, if and/or when those specific circumstances apply to you.

I asked JDN to no avail, but why does the 'equal protection under different circumstances' concept apply to all other areas of public policies including taxing, spending and regulating (see 2012 SOTU), but not apply to marriage? 

bigdog: "in some areas of civil rights, such as handicapped, special accommodations are exactly what they are entitled to."

Very true, but they are entitled to certain accommodations because a federal law was passed by the people's representatives and signed by the President.  It was not an unenumerated right found in the constitution. 
5000  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: February 21, 2012, 11:14:59 AM
"I am not for or against "climate change" resulting from human behavior.  I am simply confused." - CCP

If it turns out that humans are irreparably harming the planet right now and that we have a short time to act, the phony, agenda driven 'scientists' like Michael Mann set beck the quest for that truth by about 20 years in my estimation with their dishonesty, deceit and monopolistic practices to take over and dominate the profession.

"...the worst that can happen is that we ruin the planet" ... which is of course justification for all ends and all means.  Strangely coincident is that the solution for warming would be bigger and stronger governments, if not world government, and smaller and smaller personal and economic liberties - the same environmental agenda pushed before the discovery of warming.  Who knew? Also strange is that none of the scientists or big advocates have quit heating or air conditioning their work spaces, or shrunk their work spaces, or moved into their work spaces, or ended the ritual of all expenses paid global travels to meet with each other regularly - while suggesting all of that is necessary for everyone else to do so.  Meanwhile the mercury-based light bulb mandate is now in effect on you, from people who know better than you, unless you can get a waiver from people more powerful than you.
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