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4951  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 15, 2011, 12:08:08 PM
CCP ,  With you except in the idea of a national sales tax and the offshore comment.  Offshore or don't invest at all are options that come from making it lousy to invest here.  Look at the money going into gold.  What does that produce? Nothing.  The opposite of building plants, expanding and hiring - but it was the best investment of the Obama era.

"I do not want to tax the rich more at all.  They already pay the lion share."  - true.  They don't need to pay a higher rate, but they will pay more in total as they also grow their incomes.

"But we have to change the tax code."  - Yes! (Easier said than done.)

"No more loop holes."  - Corporate welfare should be combined with the other reforms of welfare and get a wider group to support reform.

"No more deductions" - No phony ones.  You still need to subtract real business expenses in order to calculate income.

"Get rid of the ridiculous cottage industry of tax lawyers and accountants who basically are siphoning off billions just because the tax codes are absurdly complicated, corrupt, and too much with the social engineering crap."  - YES!  Too much of our national brainpower and productive capacity is devoted to these government caused activities that produce nothing.

"We should have a national sales tax - even those who are poor will have to contribute to the Fed treasury.  Either a flat tax for all except maybe those in poverty."

  - Ryan proposed a two rate system, 10% up to a certain amount (I'm sure nothing at the low end) and 25% above that.  I would tweak that by starting with zero rate at zero income, ending at 25% cap and making rates continuously variable up to the cap.  Lower the rate at the cap and you lower everyone's rate.  Raise the rate at the cap and you raise everyone's rate. 

National sales tax is a non-starter for me.  You trust the feds with another huge way to tax us on everything?  I don't:

a) More taxes have not proven to close deficits.
b) Sales tax is regressive.  If we were willing to reduce progressivity (for the most part we aren't), a straight flat tax would set off tremendous growth.
c) replacing income taxes with consumption taxes requires a constitutional amendment repealing the income tax authority and that isn't politically possible.  If we could get 70+% of the people and representatives to agree on any responsible course of action we wouldn't have a problem.
d) A national sales tax would step on a main funding source of our bankrupt states - who will then turn to the Feds for their bailout.

We need a zero deficit at full employment, that necessarily means firsst we need to move toward full employment.  Full employment requires capital and labor.  The idea that we can fully employ labor while walking all over capital is socialist fallacy.  The idea that workers benefited from 5 year campaign against the rich and fighting disparity is exactly upside down.  The Pelosi-Obama agenda took Washington by storm in Nov. 2006, see 1/2007 on Obama BLS unemployment chart:

In the election of 2012, we will have one incumbent (presumably) running on the words of Wednesday's speech, which is to accuse, deny, blow hot air, and pledge to continue stomping out new investment, running against one ordinary, mortal Republican of medium charisma and experience proposing something on the order of the Ryan plan, and they will perhaps be joined by one famous egotistical independent (Trump? Bloomberg?) either confusing the choices or adding one, depending on your point of view.

Investors need a fair, competitive and CONSISTENT set of rules.  There is plenty of idle capacity dying to be set free in our economy (yadda, yadda  smiley ) None of this spending cut talk or revenue enhancement talk will get us anywhere with our engine missing on nearly all cylinders.
4952  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Inflation, & the US Dollar: re. gas prices up 40% this summer on: April 14, 2011, 08:53:16 PM
"Retail prices for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline will average $3.86 from April through September, up from $2.76 for the comparable period last year, said the Energy Information Administration, the statistics arm of the Department of Energy."

Elsewhere: "Feb 14, 2011 ... Obama seeks to raise DOE fiscal 2012 budget 12% to $29.5 billion"
F^ckheads, excuse me, but I don't need a $30 billion agency to tell me gas price are going up.  Their job was supposed to be - DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Close the department.  Only the EPA with good cause or the local protection authorities should have the power to slow down production of America's energy.  Energy production should be allowed up to the amount that we are using.
4953  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, & the US Dollar on: April 14, 2011, 12:21:44 PM
QE3 coming soon:  True, what choice do they have.  We spend more than we take in by 40%, ran out of buyers for new debt and just like the deepwater rig, we don't know how to turn off the spigot.  Interest rates stay artificially low because the monetary circle never gets completed.  We are calling something debt without finding a consenting lender. 
4954  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 14, 2011, 01:58:08 AM
JDN: "Tim Pawlenty is just fine; I would vote for him, but most wouldn't."

Reaching to the middle far enough to reach you is enough to win.  Any further and we lose direction, purpose and energy.  The middle always says we need the middle to win and we do, but frankly conservatives run better as principled than as Dem-lite type candidates.

The charisma issue gets judged over time and in context.  My opinion is that Obama lowered the bar by losing his.  Mere competence could defeat him along with a clearly articulated change in direction.

I see some positive in Huntsman, but I think we are discussing an empty canvas to paint our own picture on until he lays out where he stands on everything crucial.  Much of what was here on him was the wikipedia record mostly his own press accounts.  This would be a good time for him to announce and to face scrutiny like the others if he is running.  Maybe he stood up to Obama some behind the scenes and he stood up to the Chinese at least slightly while leaving that job.  Still I would ask if and how our relationship with China improved under his watch - I think it didn't.

Defeating Obama if it means (not aimed at you or any moderate candidate in particular) getting a spineless, uncommitted, unpredictable, unprincipled, poll following centrist is not any goal I intend to work hard for or care much about.  If failure is to be the result I would rather have voted against it.  Nothing short of a no apologies, pro-growth, comprehensive agenda is going to turn this ship round at this point in time IMHO.

We have defeating leftism previously only to fall into our own mediocrity and lose it all back.  Doing that again doesn't appeal to me at all.  How about we make the guy at the top of the ticket solid and competent and have the VP nominee be charismatic.  Govern wisely, communicate well and you could put a 16 year positive glide path in motion. 
4955  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, The Obama Mess on: April 14, 2011, 12:59:02 AM
In my opinion GM is sugarcoating the Obama results (liberal media ?)  wink.  I contend that this bunch rode into power in Nov. 2006, not Jan. 2009.  That is the inflection point on the curve for all things economic; coincidentally, that is when power in Washington changed hands.  The difference involves trillions and trillions of dollars of additional damage.  The only thing that happened the last 2 years of Bush with the Pelosi-Obama congress that was not the liberals doing was the surge in Iraq, and that was the only thing that went right during that time.
4956  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dylan lyrics in China: Make a different set of rules...So much oppression on: April 13, 2011, 05:17:34 PM
Interesting read on a story about censorship in China, where Google was helping the Chinese censor and Hillary removed the section of her book that bragged about her confronting China about women's rights in order to sell her book in China.

Bob Dylan went through all the Chinese censors screening his work to play there last week and still slipped through some protest messages according to this story, Opening with these words:
Gonna change my way of thinking, make myself a different set of rules
Gonna put my good foot forward, and stop being influenced by fools.
So much oppression, can’t keep track of it no more...
4957  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues: Texas at 85 MPG? on: April 13, 2011, 04:32:47 PM
First note that the previous post in this thread by BBG slipped by without  discussion -how to get conservatives and libertarians more on the same page, at least on the empirical side of things.  That point deserves serious follow up...

Speed of vehicles costs lives in a crash, but so does the same government mandating smaller vehicles, so I stick this under libertarian issues.  (High speed rail and light rail and going out to get the mail also cost lives.)  Two complaints with the journalism here (WSJ), they include an crowded urban freeway photo with the proposal does not apply to urban freeways.  Second, it takes them until the end to admit their NY journalism from afar viewpoint and admit what the drivers there already know, have you seen how far apart things are in Texas - with flat, empty roads?
Texas At 85 MPH: Would It Cause More Deaths?   - WSJ 4/12/2011

Texas is in the process of possibly raising its speed limit from 80 to 85 miles per hour on certain stretches of highway. The move, if approved by the state senate (it already passed the Texas House), would give the Lone Star State the highest speed limit in the U.S.

A spokeswoman with the Texas Department of Transportation said the change probably wouldn’t come quickly, in part because of an amendment in the bill that says the higher limit will apply only to new road construction. Then again, the vast state currently has about 3,000 miles of road under construction, more than 600 of which is interstate highway.

Still, it is hard to say how many miles of 85-mph driving will eventually emerge from the political process. Whatever the amount, safety groups say it will almost certainly lead to more fatal car wrecks.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says there is historical link between higher speed limits and rising highway fatality rates. The safety-research group, which is funded by the insurance industry, says its studies have shown that deaths on rural interstates increased 25-30 percent when states began increasing speed limits from 55 to 65 mph in 1987. In 1989, about two-thirds of this increase — 19 percent, or 400 deaths — was attributed to increased speed, the rest to increased travel, the Insurance Institute says.

The group says a 1999 study of the effects of the 1995 repeal of the national maximum speed limit suggests the trend continued. A 2009 study of the long-term effects of the 1995 speed-limit repeal found a 3 percent increase in road fatalities attributable to higher speed limits on all road types, with the highest increase of 9 percent on rural interstates. In all, an estimated 12,545 deaths were attributed to increased speed limits in the U.S. from 1995 to 2005.

Of course, if you have ever driven across Texas, you may be torn over this debate even if you consider yourself a stickler for safety. Driving the state’s vast expanses of arrow-straight rural highways where other cars appear only occasionally, one can quickly come to appreciate the ability to cruise along between 80 and 90 mph without much risk of a ticket.
4958  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Unions, Opting Out of Unionization on: April 13, 2011, 03:52:35 PM
Easy to see now why certain partisans were up in arms about worker choice.

Right to assemble, speak freely, even negotiate as a group is fundamental, but so is the right of another person to work without joining and the employer's right to hire anyone qualified who wants the job with market wage and benefits.

I continue to assert that the evil capitalist in the case of a public union is the 'consent of the governed'.  When someone explains to me how the right to be overpaid and under-worked rises above consent of the governed I will consider changing my view.
4959  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: April 13, 2011, 03:29:27 PM
"if we can only get some decent mouthpieces to convince just enough of the 50% who pay no Fed income tax to go along with this"

You appeal to them through their children, not through their current status, the key is income mobility.  In the inner city some people grow up believing we are welfare, we will always be welfare people.  You never win their vote unless they change their outlook.  Turns out the party of welfare didn't have much of a solution for them either.  With the few Hispanic immigrants for example that I have gotten to know, they are beaming with pride in their children.  You need to ask them if their children will likely be pulling the wagon or riding on it.  Will they be producers or dependents of all this mess that won't even be there for them anyway if we keep going like this.  It was free money only as long as somebody else paid for it.  No one is paying for it all now.  This is not free money for you if your own children and grandchildren are the ones left holding the tab.

There is an optimism (missing) that goes with getting this country going again.  Conversely there needs to be a shame put on accepting the status quo and letting everything we believed in and worked for go down the drain on our watch.
4960  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 13, 2011, 03:09:28 PM
"If I was a Republican I would be disappointed in my choices..."
"If I was someone who voted for Obama, i'd be very embarrassed in my choice."
Isn't this where we are every 4 years? Review the Dems first: I say it goes back to 1984 when they picked a seasoned party leader, former VP with plenty of experience and credentials - Walter Mondale.  He lost 49 states.  In 1988 they called them the 7 dwarfs but really all since have been political dwarfs: Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry and Obama.  Bush Sr was a senior statesman equal to Mondale (and a mediocre President), but since then on the Rs, Dole was no leader and W. Bush can go in with that group of Dems.  McCain was a maverick, not a leader.  JDN, we aren't choosing superstars on either side, and vice versa, the superstars aren't choosing this rotten profession that we have made it.

I like the timing of this comment, "2012 will be here sooner than you think".  Agree!  You pointed out Huntsman.  Is he the savior of the movement (is he even in the movement?) or who, out of 300 million people, should it be, before our choices are down to one or two?  Before we narrow the list, we need to expand and make sure we didn't miss the best choice.  Note the excitement on the board every time a new face becomes a possibility: Rubio, West, Cain... Trump?

One problem with JDN as the judge our choices  smiley is that I'm not sure you share the goals of the movement.  That is for you to decide.  There are people we want to persuade and there are people we want to defeat.  One suggestion is that if you lean more to the center than others here you have both sides to pick from.  I recently listed a pack of qualified Dems more moderate and experienced than Obama, mostly retiring senators.  Who do YOU think should be President in Jan 2013?  Wouldn't it be great if both sides picked someone where I could say wow, that candidate would make a great President. Highly unlikely.

What are the qualities required, what are the top 3-5 issues and what are the direction on those issues that we need to turn?

For me:
1) Security, that means peace through strength, not necessarily firing a lot of missiles but allies and enemies all have a clear idea about where we stand.  Also means securing our own border.

2) Grow the damn economy, which means the private economy, which means abandon the petty little games being played with the tax code and regulatory schemes and pretending the bloated bureaucracy can micromanage every aspect of the private economy.  Let freedom ring like we've never seen.  Healthcare, entitlements, energy and budget/debt issues fit in here.

3) Appoint Justices who will cherish and protect our founding principles.

Is that too much to ask?

I would like to actually see these potential candidates come out with mutually signed letters of agreement on positions and issues instead of looking for differences.  Groups of economists or environmental scientists do this from time to time.  Let's get clarity and agreement on the agenda and then see who is best fit to lead, articulate it and .

JDN, I came out with support for Tim Pawlenty.  What is your 'disappointment' with him? Not flashy enough? Too small a state? Too right, too left, too center? Two term governorship, considered for VP and preparing for the Presidency best he knows how for at least 4 years, is that not good enough preparation (compared with first term partial term Senator with one failed term as President for the incumbent)?

Just like Dems didn't have anyone with executive experience on a national level at most points in our life, R's by definition don't have anyone not tied to Bush that has served anything significant in the executive branch over the past two decades.  If we are trying to head in a new direction, why would we want the senior leadership that led us in the old direction?  You say lousy choices, I say learn everything we can and pick one.  It isn't going to be the incumbent.

4961  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Government on: April 13, 2011, 10:01:47 AM
Crafty, No doubt BD is correct, but this episode was about politics IMO.  The Senate and the Executive were openly admitting (taunting) that the House had the power to shut the government down.  I agree with your take that it would be the bigger spenders not accepting the lower levels of funding that would be the ones shutting the government down, but perceptions are what count politically.   

There is valid conservative outrage that these cuts are 1% of a year budget (2% of the remaining half year).  But shutting down over a margin of another 1% is still a capital punishment equivalent for table scraps / rounding errors.  In other words, this wasn't the budget war, these are warm up skirmishes.  If republicans were ready and if the people were ready, we could could shut it down over the principle of spending only what we are taking in - a trillion dollar immediate cut.  What principle is involved holding at 3.79 instead of 3.81 when the right number is something like 2.6, all in trillions.   In reality you phase things out over time and need to bring the electorate with you.  This is a multi-election war and we don't even have a spokesman.

Better timing is at the debt limit vote, but it won't happen there either.  Obama and Hoyer are scrambling to apologize for past irresponsible votes where they refused to raise it previously because of not liking the President and for political gain, when in fact they wanted to run deficits 10 times as large and now need support for that.

All parties seem scared to death at the thought of being perceived as irresponsible, as they continue to govern in the most irresponsible way imaginable.

Tonight the President will try to shift the message back to tax the rich.  But if you taxed the rich at the 100% rate you would not begin to close this gap, nor would you grow the economy or put people back to work.
4962  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: April 12, 2011, 12:54:43 PM
CCP, Very funny. They ran into that brick wall of socialism, eventually you run out of other people's money.  (m. thatcher)
4963  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending on: April 12, 2011, 12:46:52 PM
"I hear you and don't disagree.  Yet most Americans might."

IMO we aren't trying to cut out another trillion (root canal politics) to close trillion dollar gap.  We only need to cap, freeze and control spending.  You close the gap by growing the economy full speed ahead and that is the supply side.  You raise 1 trillion by growing by 5 trillion.  You can't grow $5 trillion while fretting disparity and micromanaging it.  As you say, the laws need to apply evenly.  Someone needs to point out that opportunity for everyone expands in a robust economy.  As JFK put it: a rising tide lifts all boats.
4964  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: April 12, 2011, 11:39:23 AM
"What role the absence of economic opportunity?  And why is it absent?"

"Depends on the location of the reservation. Many are very rural, and often were placed in locations where the land was seen as having little or no value."

Reservations around here have some extremely beautiful and valuable lands AND they are rural, isolated away from the economic centers - so they are mostly blighted and dependent on either the government or dependent on the check from the tribe if they are lucky enough to be a member of one of the few that make a fortune in gambling.  There was an opportunity missed to build, sell and develop vacation properties in just parts of these beautiful lakes and forests for huge sums, if they were so inclined.  They were not. Could have employed everyone available and put the proceeds into other properties and wider growth businesses.  That just isn't their culture.

Time on their hands is one factor (alcohol and drug problems), but heredity/genetics plays a role too.   Also, everyone has a different propensity to become alcoholic or other addiction/abuse.  The higher your family history, the more one needs to shy away from it.  Point in this debate I think is that passing a law against it, alone, doesn't stop it.

GM,  Thank you for the post about the meth houses.  That is an amazing property crime to inflict that type of environmental damage to a property, a total loss in cases, huge, huge financial damage to the landlord who may have done nothing wrong.  Now a legal requirement for disclosure (state law), you may never be able to sell the house again without a full teardown, and that would require the cost of environmental hazardous waste disposal, which is probably higher than land value.  So it will just sit there.  If you legalize the meth we are still looking at the felony level arson IMO equal to firebombing the house, and restitution in any deal should include reimbursement of the whole cost.  Or as MPD (Mpls) says to felony level property damage, 'sounds like you just have a landlord-tenant issue there'.
4965  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending on: April 11, 2011, 09:33:38 PM
"But we cannot have governments offering breaks to some and not others.  That is discrimination and unfair."

Thank you for that CCP!  That is the central point of my objections to our entire 'targeted' tax and spend system.  Lower the rates until you don't need exemptions.  Nothing is a mandate that requires a thousand organizations exempt.  Lower the burden to the point that you would apply it to anyone, even yourself.  Stop trying to keep everyone else for driving when you golf with a ten SUV motorcade.

An attempt, CCP, at answering your point about our opponents' spending/wealth transfer and disparity arguments:  

Economic freedom, like democracy appears ugly as you look too closely at it.  People bought pet rocks with their prosperity and someone got rich off of it.  People on wall street appear to sit, appear to make a few phone calls and investments and make absurd amounts.)  It is just better than all the alternatives where nobody makes any money or serious production or innovation.

People should note that the Republicans of 2012 like Paul Ryan are not proposing an unregulated, untaxed, undistributed private economy.  They are proposing 3.5 trillion a year of federal moving of money around instead of 3.8 or so and rising more rapidly.  R's actually are proposing to make the welfare state permanent and sustainable instead of headed off the cliff.

When a company like Walmart finds a better way of doing things, there is an economic shift and dislocation.  No one small can compete with head-on with a company that large, like an auto maker, but anyone who wants to can put any part of their savings into publicly traded shares of a retailer or automaker or start a business that benefits from having a major retail outlet in town.  Michael Moore in the movie 'Roger and Me' documented how GM had provided all paychecks to all these family members in Flint Michigan for all these generations and implyied that should go on forever.  But GM was building lousy cars that people didn't want and labor was part of the problem.  People needed to figure out quickly something else they can do that adds value to the economy, just like others adapting people have learned to do for tens of thousands of years of economic survival.  The bigger and stronger the social programs, the longer that process takes and the more people learn instead to survive off of someone else.  Every law, regulation, program and tax that I know of acts to slow or prevent the process of the transition that needs to happen like innovating, changing, to provide for your family.

Retail selling of ordinary household goods to compete with Walmart is a lousy business these days.  But what is supposed to be our reaction to that? Prohibit and limit the Walmarts or prop up competitors with failed programs that fight against market forces?  Pay people to not work?  That's not facetious, we are doing these things all over the place.  What is the failed result?  People are slower to respond to changing circumstances, or never do.  The programs ultimately hurt the 'beneficiary' of the program (IMHO), besides hurting all the other businesses and producers with the tax burden.

Show me a persuasive argument about the dangers of disparity in a growing economy and I will show you flawed and deceptive analysis.  Income mobility is the answer.  At different points in your life it goes income moves in different directions.  

Dems, as you suggest, will point back at disparity questions during the good times past, characterized with false analysis, but those times were far better than what has happened since.  They need to also answer to their own failed results.  Certainly no one can say we are better off since Nov. 2006/Jan. 2007 when Pelosi Reid Obama won and took the power and majorities in Washington.  The disparity challenges during 50 consecutive months of job growth during Bush (that ended with the Dem, elections) or during a quarter century since Reagan pale in comparison IMO to the fact of doubling unemployment, the foreclosure mess, $5 gasoline, bankrupt states, etc.  They are going to run on THAT record and at some point they will look petty and hopeless as they still blame Bush.

As far as this thread goes, greater government spending has not been the solution to any of our problems.  Disparity was 'improved' with the tens of trillions in destruction in wealth.  How did that help working people on a budget?
4966  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: April 11, 2011, 02:39:38 PM
More and more data is coming in from Japan, most of it is bad news except that in this real world, worst case scenario, the deaths outside of the plant I think are still at zero and the health risks outside the plant seem to be smaller than publicized, we will see.

Crafty made a good point about distrusting the engineers.  That thought reminds me of driving across the interstate bridge that fell into the Mississippi River a few years ago, a couple of hours before it fell - and driving across it since.  There are other routes except those face the same risks. Driving across now brings that same feeling a new or infrequent flier gets sitting aboard a jetliner before takeoff.  Logically when you fly, you don't say it is risk-free, you tell yourself this is safer than driving.  As you  forget about the danger, you hope the mechanics haven't.  Nuclear power after the worst of the worst scenarios keeps proving itself cleaner and safer than all the alternatives.

A couple of articles in the news addressing some of the radiation coverage stories since the earthquake:
Interesting discussion of the health risks by a Stanford fellow, addressing claims that very low level exposures actually make one more resistant to cancer, while high exposures most certainly cause cancer, he concludes: "stay tuned, learn from the experts, and don’t jump to conclusions.

Second article (my first citation to the LA Times?) is written by a global warming author.  He concludes that each closed nuclear plant adds 11 million tons of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere and closing all of them will add one degree Celsius man made global warming in one century to the two degrees he alleges we would have otherwise.  I am skeptical of his math, but coal plants powering cities like Tokyo or the economies of are extremely large scale (and unnecessary?) emitters.  There is no easier, safer, larger way to reduce emissions than to expand not contract our reliance on nuclear power.,0,3424093.story

Part of my global warming skepticism comes from my belief that we will innovate and discover our way out of excess emissions with or without excessive regulations in a blip of time in the context of the planet.  After this horrific catastrophe, I think we will know how to built a reactor to withstand an earthquake a hundred times more powerful than the one that dropped the Bay Bridge, we will hopefully know not to build them in bad earthquake zones and we will know better from experience how to do an emergency cool down and evacuation if that ever again becomes necessary.  That makes the cleanest, safest source far more safe than it was before.  OTOH, if our reaction to the tragedy is zero acceptance of radiation risk, then the production of energy will necessarily be for more deadly and the predictions of the alarmists (to the tune of a hundred billion tons of CO2 per century) contain slightly more truth.
4967  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues Constitutional Law: Kagan dissent on school choice on: April 11, 2011, 09:33:46 AM
In the Kennedy opinion I found this explanation:

"Like contributions that lead to charitable tax deductions, contributions yielding STO tax credits are not owed to the State and, in fact, pass directly from taxpayers to private organizations. Respondents’ contrary position assumes that income should be treated as if it were government property even if it has not come into the tax collector’s hands. That premise finds no basis in standing jurisprudence."

NY Times: "Justice Kennedy, in an opinion clearly intended to overturn legal precedent..."
But Scalia wrote exactly that and Kennedy did not sign on with him:  "Flast is an anomaly in our jurisprudence, irreconcilable with the Article III restrictions on federal judicial power that our opinions have established. I would repudiate that misguided decision and enforce the Constitution.

Kagan: In five cases where taxpayers challenged tax expenditures, the court has dealt with the merits “without questioning the plaintiffs’ standing.”

Yet in Hein 2007: "It has long been established, however, that the payment of taxes is generally not enough to establish standing..."

The first sentence from the NY Times makes me wonder if the editorialists all went to Hogwarts; they think school choice means the school chooses the student.  "...state funds, most of it to schools choosing students on the basis of religion".

I recall looking up that the despicable Phelps church celebrating fallen soldiers pays zero property taxes, a state/local tax credit of sorts?

On the merits, it seems to me that accreditation should be the question, not the money.  If the state accepts the quality of the education, allows choice, and takes the responsibility of paying for K-12, has measured the cost to educate one child for one year separate from religious training, and wants that money to go with the student to the school chosen, where is the problem?  

A bit of a stretch to say that a program constitutes establishment if it treats all religions along with no religion at all exactly the same under the law, all are eligible for the exact same benefits of the same program.  Sounds more like establishment to me if they required all kids to go to the state school system for a different kind of indoctrination and teach things reprehensible to my religious beliefs.  
4968  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending on: April 09, 2011, 10:57:47 PM
Mark Steyn has it right on the money.  How do you go about spending 4 trillion a year when you're already 14 trillion behind - just throwing money around, not pay for 40% of it, not be able to even borrow that part anymore, just print 70% of what you were pretending to borrow, devaluing what is already borrowed - and owned, propose continuing these trends out forever - only to get worse, and look us in the eye and say crisis? What crisis? Then they criticize Glen Beck and the tea party for getting all negative about it.  Good grief.

BTW, isn't "death trap for seniors" for a third of a french fry from the head of the DNC a little further over the top than anything about calling end of life consultations death panels? I am shocked at the lack of outrage.
4969  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: POTH Gail Collins vs. Donald Trump on: April 09, 2011, 03:38:32 PM
She gets a couple of things wrong.  When Obama's popularity fell and when Donald joined the fray, being a birther moved from the fringe slightly back to the conversation.  Also now that the fight against Obama is engaged on all the real issues, the 'birther' question is a distraction for him not his opponents.  Trump isn't even a candidate much less running for the wrong reasons.

Collins starts with the Kenya story.  Fine.  But she gives it credibility by bringing it up again - in the NY Times!  Stanley Ann never went to Kenya, she never had a relationship with Barack Sr. IMO but that story sits out there stewing because Barack Obama decided to spend $2 million dollars in legal fees instead of tell us whatever the true story is about his origins.

The accusation about Ayers writing the first book is very likely true.  Collins can scoff at that but scholars have loked at sotry lines and wording comparisons - it makes perfect sense.  It isn't that it is the first autobiography to have a ghost writer, it is that his real story is still very much unknown, he is the the leader of the free world (actually Sarchozy currently holds that position) and totally missed by POTH thinking, Ayers is not just a writer - he is an admitted terrorist and (IMO) an enemy of the United States.  That is a small deal to leftist journalism but a firestorm that Obama has left still smoldering near the kindling pile.

Collins who I've never heard of doesn't understand media focus like Trump.  Obama was born in the U.S. but there is something false about his story and something he is intentionally covering.  Trump is attacking because the door was left open.  He makes it clear his reasons IF he runs are those other things, then continues the attack.

Obama will either have to clear this up or let it go on with his defenders getting mopre and more obscure.  If he clears it up, then someone like Trump will start asking for his college records, and his medical records.  He is an admitted coke addict, cigarette addict, if he was new to the scene and not owning the media, there are some other questions inquiring minds would want to know before trusting him with the 3am phone call.

This is hardball politics.  Obama got where he is knocking opponents off of ballots.  Giuliani had his troubles.  Edwards is in hiding.  Hillary survived felony level commodity non-tradings, Gingrich faces mean scrutiny, Huckabee pardoned a mass murderer, etc. Nixon gone, Reagan ended his Presidency under the cloud of a controversy.  Cheney lost all power after he shot the lawyer.  The exception was for Obama to get a free pass, but the rule at that level is strict scrutiny.  He wasn't born in Kenya but he will have to start answering some questions or keep facing the music.

If he prefers a more private life, I prefer that for him as well.

4970  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending on: April 09, 2011, 03:11:36 PM
Elections have consequences.  I think we agreed last year this is a two election cycle opportunity to change the direction of the country.  In 2010 the people (as I see it) took back one chamber.  Yes Reid et al and Obama have to deal with Boehner and Boehner has to deal with his new members who actually meant what they ran on.  The 'deal' for this year was a third of a french fry.  The part they could have shut everything down for was another third of a french fry.  The question remains - who owns the issue going forward.  If an R wins the White House and if R's take 4-5 seats in the Senate for a small majority and hold the House - all that is possible - it will STILL be hard to cut much.  It always boils down to the will of the people and that still needs to shift significantly in the direction of limited government.
4971  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending - Paul Ryan Plan on: April 08, 2011, 02:38:48 PM
The Ryan plan is the only ship sailing in that direction. My advice if so inclined is get on board.  To the critics who (always) say this will instantly starve the weakest among us, I would point out this the only 'austerity' plan on the table still offers 995 billion in first year deficit spending (FY2012) takes only 0.16 trillion off of Obama's 2012 proposal and still offer26 more years of deficits.  Is that not enough compromise with big spenders?

I don't take much stock in 20, 30, 40 year projections for either side.

How do you negotiate with Obama in the executive branch or with Reid, Schumer, Durbin, Boxer, Franken, Klobuchar et al in the Senate?  You can't start with larger cuts than you are willing to stand by because they will be used against you politically anyway.  The numbers put out by Ryan should be the end point, not just the starting point to negotiations.  The funding of government should only be at the lower of the levels that those 3 bodies can agree on.  If the House passes the maximum they will fund and the others want more, let them propose and argue that AFTER the government is funded at agreed levels. 

Ryan block grants Medicaid back to the states, freezes so-called discretionary spending at 2008 levels, postpones the social security debate, reduces the corporate rate, reduces individual rates, frees up drilling, incorporates efficiency improvements in Defense advocated by Gates, and repeals ObamaCare lock, stock and barrel.

Usual suspects say the usual groups will be hit hardest.  I would argue the opposite.  This plan still funds a ginormous federal government and actually might save it so that these groups can continue to be funded for another generation, just as other governments and bloated organizations are falling.

The proposal to bring spending below 20% of GDP needs to be constitutional, not institutional, IMO.

Paul Ryan in WSJ:
Favorable critique by Kudlow, not surprisingly:

Here are a couple of opponents of the Ryan Plan writing pieces, Bill Maher and Paul Krugman.  Of the two, I find Maher to be more sober and coherent, where Krugman just can't get past the word 'voodoo' or the fact that we grew the economy and the revenues to the Treasury the last 3 times tax rates were cut:
4972  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending The Ryan Plan on: April 07, 2011, 09:16:46 PM
longer comment when i get my computer fixed.
4973  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 07, 2011, 08:57:19 PM
 Trump can play a role like Perot did, weakening the incumbent.  He is just dying to get off his trademark line; you-re fired.
4974  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Pres. Tim Pawlenty on: April 04, 2011, 11:21:33 AM
CCP, What a nice set up for my endorsement.  (Out of the announced field of Pawlenty vs. Obama) I announce today (DB exclusive) my endorsement of Gov. Tim Pawlenty for President and my availability to work as a paid adviser to the campaign and to his administration.

I have written about him previously, to the reaction of a yawn around here.  Others didn't find him exciting.  Borrowing $1.6 trillion a year is exciting.  9% unemployment and still killing more industries, that's exciting. Handing our missile defense to Russia and weakening our alliances,  that's exciting.  I'm not looking for any more excitement!

I'm looking for a grounded candidate that will lead with common sense conservatism.  Pawlenty won in Minnesota twice (with less than 50%), and had to govern against extremely high majorities of the opposing party in the legislature.  He implemented some cuts from the previous Governor (famous wrestler) and held the line on taxes, balanced 8 budgets, alienated about the right amount of people on both sides.

He is an easy to underestimate politician.  He has been out doing all the ground work that these candidates need to do, from becoming McCain's first choice (oops) for VP at one point, to appearing very regularly on all the national shows building a comfort level with the mainstream media questioning, speaking at CPAC, visiting the wars and frequenting all the early primary states, hiring the money people, etc.

Like all Presidents who come from a Governor background, he has executive experience but not foreign policy experience.  Only Bolton passes him up on that but Bolton lacks the elected and executive experience.

Pawlenty from MN is a middle state in population and economy.  I like to look first to Governors of the largest states as having American governing experience closest to being President, but no Reagans are lurking out there.   

Pawlenty served two full terms and left things in reasonably good shape pushing MN away from the dubious highest tax states distinction.  You wouldn't know that from an attacking editorial in last Sunday's Minneapolis Red Star Tribune.  Like all states, MN faces a deficit - if you project forward large enough spending increases.

I wrote previously I have met him and talked with him on 3 occasions.  He sat with my daughter and I at a dinner and asked her all about school and her activities relating it to his daughters of similar age.  He is a very approachable and personable guy.

His strength is that he promotes and presents conservatism in a non-threatening way.  (For example, I think Huckabee is less conservative but more threatening to moderates and independents.  Palin is threatening and polarizing. Bachmann also.)  Without the charisma or magnetism of say a Marco Rubio, Pawlenty can only win by being consistent and grounded as the more flashy players stumble.  All the top players have key defects and someone from this second tier is very likely to win, not many are truly stepping forward with both feet as Pawlenty did and offering to jump into this horrific game we call Presidential politics.  The referendum in Nov. 2012 has to be on the incumbent and the direction of the country, not on the polarizing past or statements of the challenger.  The task in 2012 is not to draw attention to yourself as the candidate, it is to draw attention to the needs of the nation.
4975  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Internet and related technology, Gilder, wireless, net 'neutrality' on: April 03, 2011, 05:17:09 PM
Gilder missed the WiFi component of wireless but was all over Qualcomm from the beginning for having the technology to transfer data over wireless.  The smartphone was something Gilder has described almost since Get Smart called Agent 99 on the world's first cell phone.  When your business is predicting the future, being wrong or partly wrong is part of the experience.  (Don't buy the stocks.)

Time will tell what role these deep packet inspections will play.  I am surprised that it is possible to read packets at all at the speed of light, and then 'route' them.  

Net Neutrality looks like the full employment act for trial lawyers to me - aren't they already fully employed?  A law I assume that would state simply that no packets shall face discrimination.  A consumer's netflicks download has to go in its entirety ahead of a bank robbery hostage situation in process message, if his10 films were requested before shots were fired at the bank.  I don't think it will it will ever be all non-priortized traffic.  Instead implementation will look more like ObamaCare with a 1000 exemptions right out of the gate, and politicians and bureaucrats can decide for us what are our priorities and who has lobbied the hardest.  Do we want spam for example to flow through undiscriminated? Child porn, nuclear secrets, intentional attacks on competitor's websites?  Of course not, but who will decide?  And at what speed? I am trying to visualize the Federal Department of Internet with traffic cops at each speed of light rolling stop viewing the network providers routing choices on the fly and writing tickets for breaking a law with a thousand exemptions that prohibits one particular choice that a provider made.  Seems to me that innovation ends when government takes charge.

The argument I am hearing is that government needs to step in because a potential problem could occur in the future.  Implied is that - luckily - no potential downside or unintended consequence will ever come with a whole new department of federal regulations inspecting our everything.  I don't buy it.  I would like to first learn of one function of government that innovated faster, for the consumer, than the history so far of the private sector-based broadband internet buildout.

4976  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 03, 2011, 04:42:36 PM
"Well, Ron Paul is leading in fundraising....."

With each new war his non-foreign policy gains traction.  With each new trillion in debt he wins more people over to his spending discipline ideas.  If we project these trends forward he will be President when we have 8 wars and maybe 50 trillion in debt.  It shouldn't be too long now.
4977  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Bolton on: April 01, 2011, 07:26:23 PM
"As for Bolton:  He has not a chance in the world.  He is exclusively about foreign affairs, has no track record of any domestic political issues, and no political experience whatsoever."

If he is articulate on foreign policy, he would hold his own just fine IMO on economic issues against this incumbent.  Having the facts on your side is an advantage.  (Time spent at AEI I think meant sharing ideas back and forth with people like Jack Kemp.) No elective experience whatsoever is true!  No political experience isn't quite right as he was UN Ambassador and got a little practice being the lightning rod for having principles in a place where that is not appreciated.  He also served previously just below cabinet level at DOJ and State Depts for Reagan and HW Bush, worked on non-proliferation, worked on the Scalia nomination for examples.

I think Crafty is right, too bad from my point of view.  All these candidates have holes in their resumes, so I keep an open mind.  It may come down to who can articulate well in the debates and sound Presidential in a crowded field.  If nominated, his lack of domestic policy details could work right into a Paul Ryan type selection for VP.  The attacks can come from the no. 2.

I recall that he was very controversial when appointed to the UN, needed a recess appointment.  I wonder who within the Bush Cheney circles was advocating for him.  Doesn't seem like Bush's type. The controversy against him seemed to be that he had a similar views about the usefulness of the UN as several of us here have.  They were losing the vote of a RINO or 2 on the committee and couldn't hit 60 votes in the senate.  Looking back,  any organization that had Ghaddafy on the human rights commission might deserve a little criticism and skepticism.
4978  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: April 01, 2011, 06:41:35 PM
re. Govt Motors, Where is the mainstream media? AWOL.  A combination of a) the fact that the tax system and the political goodies are too complex for them, b) they are so naive and untrained on all matters relating to business, and c) bias - make it so they honestly don't know or want to know that $84 billion of taxpayer money was lost.  They were scooped by the Washington Times with not even a thought of racing to catch up with the story.

re. Ag Subsidies to members of commerce: On the positive side, this should make it easier for them to cancel the programs and explain to their constituents that they personally had to give this up too.  As the article states, this has to do with geography.  The heartland is now Republican but the farm subsidies go back to when Dems controlled much of it.  Also as pointed out, ag is now big business, not family farms.  These members are typically owning smaller shares of large tracts under professional management.  Failure to apply for and secure subsidies that are widely available would be dereliction of duty by professional management.

People like Michele Bachmann get into the story, but all it looks she did was inherit through marriage a piece of something from her husband's family.  She is a tax attornet.  She didn't make a career inventing or promoting government subsidy programs, though she may have votes recorded on the wrong side of this.  Pawlenty has past support of ethanol he needs to fix.  Schumer supported the wall street bankers.  Everyone has baggage.  Bachmann isn't going to be President and she isn't going to lose her seat in Minnesota's most conservative district.

Reforms need to be comprehensive.  If you tell one constituency or industry their program is canceled, you better to be able to also tell them all the others were too, otherwise it is just a vote against farming.  Ag reform alone will lose those seats and skew the primaries. 
4979  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libya and on: March 31, 2011, 10:45:41 PM
"these are likely voters... imagine the confusion and ignorance of unlikely voters?"

Very funny - if it wasn't true.  We don't get the intelligence to know all the subtleties, we just hire the best and the brightest and trust them with these things (what were his grades at Columbia?) and we rely on congressional authorization (oops) and oversight (whoops again), and we know we have our very best commanders in the field in charge (NATO/Arab league?).  What could possible go wrong?

BTW, why are we there?
4980  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: March 31, 2011, 11:36:49 AM
I would add to this discussion there were many people "as kosher as a bacon double cheeseburger" such as my father and his friends who went to Europe and fought Hitler ending that chapter in history, obviously many of those were lives lost and injured due to what happened under Nazi rule and the process of stopping it.  We call them heroes, but mostly we forget and we forgot what they did. I would just add that in my opinion they are all victims, in different ways, of the atrocities of that era.
4981  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Thomas Sowell - Incoherent Policy on: March 30, 2011, 12:44:36 PM
I would like to have it both ways.  We need to be careful criticizing the President needlessly on Libya or anywhere at water's edge where the choices are certainly difficult, yet free speech and the search for truth goes on...  smiley   This starts out about Libya but drifts to historical context and then all things glibness.  Obama's thinking in the crisis needs inspection since his final decisions really aren't yet made and since we certainly face another hundred years of crises to deal with in the region.
Incoherent Policy
By Thomas Sowell

You don't just walk up to the local bully and slap him across the face. If you are determined to confront him, then you try to knock the living daylights out of him. Otherwise, you are better off to leave him alone.

Anyone who grew up in my old neighborhood in Harlem could have told you that. But Barack Obama didn't grow up in my old neighborhood. He had a much more genteel upbringing, including a fancy private school, in Hawaii.

Maybe that is why he thinks he can launch military operations against Moammar Qaddafi, while promising not to kill him and promising that no American ground troops will be used.

It is the old liberal illusion that you can measure out force with a teaspoon, not only in military operations micro-managed by civilians in Washington, like the Vietnam war, but also in domestic confrontations when the police are trying to control a rioting mob, and are being restrained by politicians, while the mob is restrained by nobody.

We went that route in the 1960s, and the results were not inspiring, either domestically or internationally.

The old saying, "When you strike at a king, you must kill him," is especially apt when it comes to attacking a widely recognized sponsor of international terrorism like Colonel Qaddafi. To attack him without destroying his regime is just asking for increased terrorism against Americans and America's allies. So is replacing him with insurgents who include other sponsors of terrorism.

President Obama's Monday night speech was long on rhetoric and short on logic. He said: "I believe that this movement of change cannot be turned back, and that we must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us."

Just what would lead him to conclude that this includes the largely unknown forces who are trying to seize power in Libya?

Too often in the past, going all the way back to the days of Woodrow Wilson, we have operated on the assumption that a bad government becomes better after the magic of "change." President Wilson said that we were fighting the First World War to make the way "safe for democracy." But what actually followed was the replacement of autocratic monarchies by totalitarian dictatorships that made previous despots pale by comparison.

The most charitable explanation for President Obama's incoherent policy in Libya-- if incoherence can be called a policy -- is that he suffers from the long-standing blind spot of the left when it comes to the use of force.

A less charitable and more likely explanation is that Obama is treating the war in Libya as he treats all sorts of other things, as actions designed above all to serve his own political interests and ideological visions. Whether it does even that depends on what the situation is like in Libya when the 2012 elections roll around.

As for the national interests of the United States of America, Barack Obama has never shown any great concern about that.

President Obama started alienating our staunchest allies, Britain and Israel, from his earliest days in office, while cozying up to our adversaries such as Russia and China, not to mention the Palestinians, who cheered when they saw on television the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Many people in various parts of the political spectrum are expressing a sense of disappointment with Obama. But I have not felt the least bit disappointed.

Once in office, President Obama has done exactly what his whole history would lead you to expect him to do-- such as cutting the military budget and vastly expanding the welfare state.

He has by-passed the Constitution by appointing power-wielding "czars" who don't have to be confirmed by the Senate like Cabinet members, and now he has by-passed Congress by taking military actions based on authorization by the United Nations and the Arab League.

Those who expected his election to mark a new "post-racial" era may be the most disappointed. He has appointed people with a track record of race resentment promotion and bias, like Attorney General Eric Holder and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Disappointing? No. Disgusting? Yes. The only disappointment is with voters who voted their hopes and ignored his realities.
4982  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 30, 2011, 12:20:46 PM
I will watch for Cuomo.  The Dems also need to start lining up and pre-positioning.  The backup quarterback can get called in at any time!

Hillary (I HATE to say) seems to have a new found confidence in the aftermath of saying that she will never serve in any capacity ever again, and empowered in the void of an AWOL President.  Remember that Carville already split with Obama over the gulf, Rahm has moved out, and the real leftists have drawn lines in the sand with the President.  There is still a Dem power base outside the White House to contend with.  Hillary is certainly not what I had in mind.  I would like to see it come from one of the retiring, sane, moderate Democrat Senators, Bayh, Conrad, Dorgan, Webb, and several others come to mind, but they have no money or power base.  They need to raise they stature now and in 2012 even if their plan is 2016.
4983  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: March 30, 2011, 12:05:45 PM
The Beck vs. Fox story is interesting except nothing but speculation is known.  The previous report of it came out of the NY Times showing both bias and envy.  Beck has 3rd best ratings and the 3rd best time slot.  What would he have in the top time slot?  Does he bring viewers to Fox or does Fox bring viewers to him? He isn't giving up and he isn't going away from the public eye, so I would assume it is all just the ordinary gossip that gets tossed around before a major league contract re-signing or a jump.  A little like Leno-Letterman-Conan.  I'm sure he considers the possibility of making a greater impact by taking the number one time slot somewhere else, maybe a network thought to be liberal or a new channel.  If he wants to be an entrepreneur I'm sure he could set up a 24 hour alternative with his headline show running live at whatever time he wants it to, for whatever length.  Plus they can televise his radio show and grow his morning audience.  With the people who put together content for the Blaze along with a few guest hosts and re-run the headline show would fill the day easily.  I doubt that will be the result but who knows.  Those who thought Fox News was too conservative should be scared.

The Blaze BTW looks like the best site of that type.  Both Huff Post and the Blaze tried to run with an improved version of what Matt Drudge pioneered.  (I would like to turn off the automatic refresh feature on all of those, which drives me nuts with medium speed internet.)  Drudge in particular has forced the msm to grudgingly cover topics that used to just slide by.  An example on Blaze:  I doubt that was front page of the pravda-hudson or the red star(Mpls paper).
4984  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: How to cut government spending - Marco Rubio on: March 30, 2011, 11:25:45 AM
Thank you Crafty for posting the Marco Rubio piece.  It is VERY significant.  Somehow he frames the entire issue in its correct context and importance where others just sound negative, divisive or wonkish.  His position is as extreme as anyone on the right, and more specific,  but his appeal includes winning a key swing state by more than a million votes.  I wish everyone in America would read this piece or hear him put this central question of our time in proper perspective.

He isn't saying any different than what people voted for in 2006, 2008 and 2010:

"Raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure." So said then-Sen. Obama in 2006, when he voted against raising the debt ceiling by less than $800 billion to a new limit of $8.965 trillion. As America's debt now approaches its current $14.29 trillion limit, we are witnessing leadership failure of epic proportions. -(full text in Crafty's post)
4985  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff )- Project Gunwalker on: March 30, 2011, 11:09:22 AM
The decision making chaos on Libya puts new curiosity on this.  It struck me at the time that the only answer worse than 'I knew and approved this' was to say 'I am Commander in Chief and I had no idea we were arming cross border criminal rebels to undermine a fragile, sovereign, friendly, neighboring country'.  As it looks more and more like war, a guy might want to consult with congress on that.  As disengaged as he is, it is actually believable that he did not know.  Golf and home brew and fund raisers, he has a young family at a home, a mother in law in the White House, just bought a boatload of new suits, date night night in NY, Madrid, Rio, b-ball picks - it is march madness season... Whoever really is in charge - it ain't Joe Biden - probably knew he wouldn't want to know.  Can we at least put him under oath and ask him who really is in charge of the executive branch?  Maybe the mayor of Chicago approved the operation, or the campaign manager.
4986  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left - Koch money on: March 30, 2011, 12:49:03 AM
BBG.  The other half of the double standard was well documented here:  'The Anatomy of a Smear'  I posted it recently on media issues.  It is a long methodical read by the guys that brought down Dan Rather.  It really takes a slow walk through all the sorted details to grasp how unfair the attacks are, that come from people with an even greater bias and then get repeated all across the mainstream, if places like the NY Times and all its echo chambers can still be called that.  A Republican candidate takes a contribution from a Republican businessman and then pushes and votes for legislation that both of them happen to think is good for the district and for the economy. Its outrageous.  Now you post that Dems took their money too.  Who knew that businesses that congress and the administration keep threatening to shut down would want to get the ear of elected officials before that all is finalized.
4987  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics & Science: Death Rate per Watt Produced on: March 30, 2011, 12:28:41 AM
BBG, Thanks for posting the graphic; that picture tells the story I was unsuccessfully trying to tell in words.  I just wasn't getting any traction with the comparison that the nuclear industry in America in all its history has fewer deaths than Ted Kennedy's car.
4988  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential: Evan Bayh on: March 30, 2011, 12:15:05 AM
[I predicted Obama will not be the Dem. nominee.
CCP asked who else?
GM previously brought out the name of Evan Bayh]

Obviously a centrist won't bring out the energy of the activist wing of the party, but I had the chance to hear Bayh interviewed on conservative radio and he was very thoughtful, articulate and well-spoken.  On Libya, he laid out a nice explanation of how none of the alternatives facing Obama including doing nothing were good ones, which is true.  Laura Ingraham confronted him on Obamacare, saying that his one vote could have stopped it.  He said it was a 50/50 choice to him and decided to vote yes and hope to fix what is wrong in the bill instead of voting no and losing what he thought was right in the bill.  An unacceptable answer to me, but probably right on the pulse of what mainstream Democrats if there are any, not far leftists, think today.  On fiscal matters, he said that is where he parts with Dem leadership and was about as strong on spending reductions, deficits and entitlement reform specifically as any serious, elected Republican.

Bayh is not running, but the scenario where someone like that gets through the process is where Obama first drops considerably further in approval, second gets challenged hard from the left with more than one challenger - pulling the weakened President to the left (or out), third Republicans find some momentum with a candidate to the right, leaving the need and temptation for a Dem to challenge from the middle, and fourth, someone centrist with trust, gravitas and common sense walks in and cleans house.

We are looking for one solid R candidate to challenge Obama.  Wouldn't it be great if the country had two solid candidates to chose from.
4989  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re: Anti-semitism & Jews, DERSHOWITZ in Norway on: March 29, 2011, 11:42:51 PM
In the world of political correctness, this term is new to me:

[He was]"not entirely house-trained."

The 'house' is no longer Scandinavian nor is it open to other viewpoints.
4990  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Supplements: Legal and Illegal, steroids, growth hormone, etc on: March 29, 2011, 11:21:20 PM
"You are assuming she is telling the truth;"  - Actually I agree with you.  I was just commenting on what I think is known about the steroids, which she has apparently read or been told also.  Who knows if what she says is true. If she was with him over a 9 year period, she knows a few things.  What she says is likely a mixture or truths and lies depending on the questions asked, the facts and the convenience to her agenda,  I would rely on none of it.  They are using gossip of the most personal nature (a 'crime' against God?) to prosecute perjury, a crime against our court system.  If they need her to say she applied acre cream or his equipment manager to say he his baseball cap orders changed by 1/8th inch, I would simply acquit.  I don't believe him.  I don't believe her.  And none of it adds up to a federal crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  Joking aside I agree the implants are deceit right along with a 'relationship' that lasts through 2 marriages and the vengeful, opportunistic behavior afterward.  Let me guess how law enforcement became aware of her relationship and her story...
4991  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, & the US Dollar on: March 29, 2011, 02:37:16 PM
" the last quarter, the Fed purchased 70 percent of all new Treasury debt. This is a disaster in the making. "...
"When the Fed’s $600 billion QE2 buying spree ends, there will not be enough buyers left..."

Here we go again.  Temporary programs.  Cash for Clunkers, foreclosure moratoriums, Stimulus 1, Stimulus 2, QE1, QE2... What do we think will happen at the end of these programs? The band aid fell off.  Nothing healed.  The natural consequence should be that when there is no one left to buy the debt, any rational economic player would STOP BORROWING.

You would think we were arguing over $10,000, or a million or a billion by the way most of the people and most of the elected officials seem oblivious.  We are talking about over a trillion a year going into the tens of trillions in accumulation.  Complete insanity.  Even if it was lowering unemployment, it is complete insanity, but it has done no measurable good while setting up inevitable, catastrophic harm.

I actually think instant inflation (QE1, QE2, print money) is better than the lingering kind with more and more borrowing (like comparing the guillotine to a hanging). If we are no longer borrowing 70% of our excess spending, we at least don't accrue real interest on that portion.  If we are just cheapening our dollar, we might as well know it as soon as possible. 
4992  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 29, 2011, 01:27:03 PM
From CCP: "Republicans MUST...address the wealth gap and how the middle class is not going to continue falling behind and ever more government entitlements paid for by taxpayers including years of retirement, health care, is not the answer to sustain a middle class lifestyle."
One example of wealth gap: Black unemployment is up 25.4% under Obama.  That causes more dependency, but it is also evidence of failure. 

The message (IMO) needs to put a new opening of optimism, opportunity and economic growth - for all.  Contrast that with the current message of abject pessimism - we collapse if we don't spend trillions in pretend stimuli.

The bully pulpit needs to mention that we also need our best and the brightest to design and build products, invest and hire in the private sector, not just agitators and regulators.  smiley
4993  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Supplements: Legal and Illegal, steroids, growth hormone, etc on: March 29, 2011, 11:13:19 AM
“He changed sexually, in his testicles and performance and that.”

And so it goes for a right to privacy.  sad

I understand Bonds wanting to hit more home runs, but I don't understand a man feeling more manly by abnormally bulking up at the expense of causing the body to stop the production of natural testosterone, cause sexual dysfunction, health risks, etc.  Strange priorities.

4994  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: March 29, 2011, 10:45:34 AM
Welcome back BBG!!!  smiley 
4995  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing Crisis Explained and Questions Answered on: March 28, 2011, 02:42:23 PM
"You mention the 1 to 1 factor of people needing homes, and those coming to market.  I don't know where you live, but here in CA, that is completely off."

pp: What I was trying to say was that after we accept that there is already a huge number vacant homes in America, each new foreclosure releases one additional house to the market and one additional family to the market.  Each additional house foreclosed will tend to drive the prices down, but the family still needs to rent, buy or move in with family; they are still some part of demand for housing.  In other words, it is a net loss to the housing market, but not a total loss.  People foreclosed in the third (fourth?) year of this are underwater but not necessarily unemployed, hopeless or even with terrible credit except for this one new foreclosure.  They will be moving down in the market but not completely out.  Did that make any more sense?
4996  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: March 28, 2011, 02:11:42 PM
Very Funny GM.  The marriage joke flew right over my head - three times.

One point I noticed unreported about the so-called past infidelity is that the potential new first lady, Mrs. Newt, that Newt so badly wants us to get to know, was also a knowing and consenting participant in the 'home wrecking' chapter.  Someone try to tell me that married women, the majority are Republican, will be forgiving of that.
4997  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: March 28, 2011, 02:04:40 PM
Yemen and Syria would be 2 examples of countries more strategic to our interests than Libya. Egypt, Israel, Bahrain perhaps, Saudi, Jordan, Iran, Pakistan, etc. are more strategic to our interests.  Sec. Gates says Libya is not in our vital interest.  Tonight the President will imply something else.  I am not trivializing the importance of Libya, but can anyone name all the countries more strategic to our interests at this moment than Libya?

Regarding NFZ's in Syria and Yemen, I do not know.  Yemen voted for the no fly zone in Libya.  My understanding is that the 'rebels' in Yemen are even more clearly al Qaidi affiliates than Libya's rebels and that the leadership is more with us on anti-terror, and less tied to things like shooting done American civilians.  In normal times we would be more on the side of the regime than with the rebels (I would think).  With Obama in charge, who knows.  In that sense an NFZ doesn't make sense.  Obama ruled out troops a year ago,  but again, who knows.

Yemen was once North and South Yemen, the south was a cold war Communist state.  Yemen supported Saddam's invasion of Kuwait.  Now they fight against their own harboring of terrorists and camps. (?)  A sea border with Somalia only thickens the plot.  Yemen is deserving of its own thread if only we knew enough to post in it.
4998  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: March 28, 2011, 01:21:48 PM
Crafty: "Did Newt flip flop or is it a bum rap?"

They all have this problem, including Obama and Sec. Gates.  The point with Gingrich is that he wants to be held to a higher standard.  He is (?) the one with experience, who has lived through tough policy questions, thought deeper and is most ready to take the 3am phone call and have the right reaction.  Looks to me like all of them have been all over the map on this.

One hit job on Gingrich I was not going to post is here:    Excerpts:

"For someone who holds himself out as a public intellectual, Gingrich comes across all too often as more glib than thoughtful..."

Consider the former speaker’s position(s) on Libya.

On March 7, before US military action against Moammar Khadafy had begun, Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren asked Gingrich what he would do about Libya. Without hesitation, he called for aggressive American intervention and derided the president for not having ordered it already:

“Exercise a no-fly zone this evening,’’ Gingrich demanded. “The idea that we’re confused about a man who has been an anti-American dictator since 1969 just tells you how inept this administration is . . . This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with.’’

So eager was Gingrich for action that he wanted it done unilaterally:

America “doesn’t need anybody’s permission,’’ he said. “We don’t need to have NATO . . . We don’t need to have the United Nations . . . All we have to do is suppress [Khadafy’s] air force, which we could do in minutes.’’

Two weeks later, as the UN Security Council voted for a Libyan no-fly zone, Gingrich intensified his criticism. The Obama White House, he told Sean Hannity, “is maybe the most passive and out-of-touch presidency in modern American history.’’ Khadafy was still in place two weeks after the president said he had to go, Gingrich observed, and “there is no evidence that the no-fly zone by itself will be effective.’’

The next day, Gingrich told Politico that the president’s position on Libya “makes us look weak and uncertain and increases the danger in the Persian Gulf.’’

Yet by Sunday, with US missile strikes on Libyan air defense systems underway, Gingrich’s tune began to change. Now Obama was guilty of “opportunistic amateurism without planning or professionalism,’’ he said, and the only thing that could explain the administration’s decision was “opportunism and news media publicity.’’

On Wednesday, March 23, Gingrich went on NBC’s “Today’’ show to condemn the entire operation. “I would not have intervened,’’ he told Matt Lauder. “I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Khadafy.’’ For good measure he labeled the military campaign, which so far has gone pretty well, “about as badly run as any foreign operation in our lifetime.’’ That will come as news to anyone who can remember Vietnam, Somalia, or Iraq before the surge.

Thus in the space of three weeks, Gingrich went from blasting Obama for not imposing a no-fly zone in Libya “this evening’’ to blasting Obama for imposing a no-fly zone in Libya. On March 3 he wanted the president to tell Khadafy “that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening.’’ By March 23 he was mocking “humanitarian intervention’’ as an unserious “public relations conversation.’’

But if the only consistent note in Gingrich’s ever-evolving position on Libya is that Obama is always wrong, just who is the unserious one?
I did not see the Chris Wallace interview.  Quote his explanation of different positions:

On Libya, Gingrich told Wallace that it was the president who changed the rules on the Libyan game.

“I said [originally] we should be for replacing Gadhafi, without using the U.S. military. Now the president on March 3rd changed the rules of the game,” Gingrich said. “The president came out publicly and said: ‘Gadhafi must go.’ My original position was: If you’re not in the lake, don’t jump in; once you’re in the lake, swim like crazy.

“Now that the president has said ‘Gadhafi must go,’ our goal should be the defeat of the Gadhafi government, and the replacement of Gadhafi as rapidly as possible,” he said. “Ideally, by using Western air power, with Arab forces — including I think Egyptian and Moroccan and other advisers to help with the ground campaign — but I see no reason for American ground troops to go in.

“But I think the president has positioned us; once the president says Gadhafi must go, we have an obligation as a country to get rid of him,” Gingrich added. “It should be unequivocal.”
4999  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: March 28, 2011, 12:06:56 PM
[48% approve]' This is what we get when 50% pay no Federal Income Tax.'

True, I thought about the CCP doctrine ) as I wrote that.  I would just point out the the G.E. phenomenon proves their thinking to be wrongheaded.  It is actually the supply-siders who are trying to maximize growth and revenues that would be available to spend on those goodies for the unproductive 50%.  Once again high tax rates were just proved to chase away production and not raise revenues.  At the time Pelosi, Reid and Obama took the majority in congress promising to raise taxes, companies like GE were rearranging their affairs to limit exposure, the polar opposite of maximize growth and hiring.

Obama et al partially understand that you don't raise taxes in a recession.  With all those ivy league smarts, why don't they recognize the corollary of that 'law' that it has the same dragging effect on the economy all the time.
5000  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, & the US Dollar on: March 27, 2011, 12:06:14 PM
"National Inflation Association (NIA)..."  - I see they now have over 300 million members. (attempt at gallows humor)

"The Federal Reserve is Buying 70% of U.S. Treasuries."  - That says it all.  No one is buying our debt.  It isn't future inflation or potential inflation, it is inflation by definition.

"...because of the Fed's money printing, stock prices are rising because people don't know what else to do with their dollars"  - Translated, if and when easy money ends, stock prices will collapse.

"The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) itself is meaningless because it averages together the dollar based movements of 30 U.S. stocks."  - Maybe they read the forum, I described it as more and more dollars chasing fewer and fewer companies'.
"NIA has been saying for years that being a landlord will be the worst business to be in during hyperinflation, because it will be impossible for landlords to increase rents at the same rate as overall price inflation. Food and energy prices will always increase at a much faster rate than rents."

  - How does one quit that job?  sad  Actually the rent increases mostly need to pay for property taxes which (for me) are more than food, shelter, clothing and energy costs combined.  These years of no home building have actually been good for landlording.  Foreclosed homes have a huge delay back to market, many never make it, while the foreclosed person needs housing immediately.  The rental business is highly regulated, code compliance, rental licenses, asbestos, lead paint, mold issues, city orders, tight money for repairs/improvements, licensed contractor requirements, changing laws, etc. Neither the foreclosed owner nor the bank is up on the roof or checking the foundation during the last year before possession reverts worrying about water damage for example.  It was actually the boom years while everyone was buying and building that was worst time to landlords, the best renters (and a lot of mediocre ones) left the rental pool.   What housing needs simply is a better economy for income and employment, which necessarily includes a smaller government burden, rightsized regulations, and a stable dollar.

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