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51  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Huckabee on: January 05, 2015, 11:32:51 AM

Huckabee splits the Santorum vote.  I kind of hope they are both in or both out.  Neither should or will be the nominee.
52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tell Your Rep: Boehner Has To Go! on: January 05, 2015, 11:28:47 AM
I sent that suggestion today to my RINO friend and congressman.  The vote for Speaker is tomorrow - Tuesday.

Given his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee, there isn't a snowball's chance in hell he is interested in rocking the boat.
53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Environmental issues - The Cause of the Pause (in global warming) on: January 05, 2015, 10:29:46 AM
A serious scientist ponders the cause of the 18+year pause in "global warming".  The only thing we know for sure is that the models used for forecasting alarmist outcomes are wrong.  CO2 has a minor greenhouse gas, heat trapping effect, smaller than widely believed.  And then there are positive and negative feedback factors, most poorly measured or completely unaccounted for.

December 29, 2014
Cause of Pause in Global Warming
By S. Fred Singer

There has been essentially no global warming since 1998.  Some would choose 1997, others would more conservatively use 2002 as the proper starting date, based on satellite data.  Of course, this is quite unexpected, since CO2 -- a leading GHG, which climate models presume to cause anthropogenic global warming (AGW) -- has been increasing rapidly in the 21st century.

Even if we cannot readily find the cause for the “pause” -- as it is sometimes called -- we can be absolutely sure that it was not predicted by any of the dozens of the UN-IPCC’s General Circulation Models (GCMs).  Therefore, logically, such non-validated GCMs cannot, and should not, be used to predict the future climate -- or as a basis for policy decisions.

Here I would like to discuss some of the possible causes for the GW “hiatus.”  Its existence is creating a scientific challenge for climate skeptics -- and a real crisis for alarmists; it can no longer be ignored by any who consider themselves to be scientists -- nor, indeed, by responsible politicians.

One possibility, of course, may be that the pause is simply a statistical fluctuation, like tossing a coin, with 15 to 18 heads in a row.  Such an explanation cannot be dismissed out of hand, even though it has a very low probability -- which becomes even smaller with each passing year of no GW.  Obviously, climate alarmists like this possibility -- although the number of such ‘true believers’ is shrinking.  Most have started to look for a physical cause for the pause -- an explanation of why current GCMs are failing to match observations.

Internal and external causes

When we look at possible causes, we should first of all distinguish between internal and external ones that might offset the expected GW from CO2.  Internal causes rely on negative feedbacks from either water vapor (WV) or clouds; they act to decrease the warming that should be attributed to increasing CO2.  The problem with internal effects is they can never fully eliminate the primary cause -- almost by definition.  So even if they diminish the CO2 effect somewhat, there should still be a remaining warming trend, though small.

It is quite important to obtain empirical evidence for a negative feedback.  In the case of water vapor, one would look to see if the cold upper troposphere (UT) was dry or moist.  If moist, as assumed implicitly in current IPCC-GCMs, one gets a positive feedback -- i.e., an amplification of the CO2-caused warming.  On the other hand, if the upper troposphere is dry, then most emissions into space take place from WV in the warm boundary layer in the lower troposphere.  This leaves less energy available to be emitted into space from the surface through the atmospheric ‘window,’ and therefore produces a cooler surface.

[NB: To avoid the vexing issue of the effects of the down-welling infrared radiation, it is easiest to think of long-term zero energy imbalance, as measured by satellites at the top of the atmosphere -- after the underlying atmosphere adjusts.  Imbalance = incoming less reflected solar radiant energy minus the heat energy from surface and atmosphere escaping to space.]

The physical model I have in mind for this negative WV feedback is based on a proposal of Prof. William Gray (Colorado State University), who pictured cumulus clouds carrying moisture into the UT, but occupying only a small area; the remaining (and much larger) area experiences descending air (“subsidence”) -- hence drying.  In principle, it should be possible to measure this difficult-to-explain effect fairly easily, using available satellite data.

Negative feedback from increased cloudiness is easier to describe but more difficult to measure.  The idea is simply that a slight increase in sea-surface (SST) temperature (from the GH effect of a rising CO2) also increases evaporation (according to the well-known “Clausius-Clapeyron” relation), and that this increased atmospheric moisture can also increase cloudiness.  The net effect is a greater (reflecting) albedo, less sunlight reaching the surface, and therefore a negative feedback that reduces the original warming from increasing CO2.

Unfortunately, establishing the reality of this cloud feedback requires a measurement of global cloudiness with an accuracy of a small fraction of a percent -- a very difficult problem.

We now turn to external effects that might explain the existence of a global warming pause; the principal ones are volcanism and solar activity.  The problem here is one of balancing; the amount of cooling by volcanism, for example, has to be just right to offset the warming from CO2 during the entire duration of the pause.  It is difficult to picture why exactly this might be happening; the probabilities seem rather small.  Still, the burden is on the proponents to demonstrate various kinds of evidence in support of such an explanation.

Similarly, atmospheric aerosols, generally human-caused, can increase albedo and cool the planet -- especially if they also increase cloudiness by providing condensation nuclei for WV.

Hidden Warming?

Note that all the explanations mentioned so far act to reduce ‘climate forcing’ -- defined as the energy imbalance measured at the top of the atmosphere (TOA)

There is an important school of thought that does not rely on offsetting the forcing from increased CO2; instead it assumes that there really exists an imbalance at the TOA and that GW is taking place somewhere, but is not easily seen.  Many assume that the “missing heat” is hiding in the deep ocean.  It is difficult to see how such a mechanism can function without also raising surface temperatures; but an oscillation in ocean currents might produce such a result.

Still, if measurements could demonstrate a gradual increase in stored ocean heat, one would be forced to consider possible mechanisms.  Its proponents might be asked, however, why the storage increase started just when it did; when will it end; and how will the energy eventually be released, and with what manifestations?

There is yet another possibility worth considering:  The missing energy might be used to melt ice rather than warm the ocean.  Again, quantitative empirical evidence might support such a scenario.  But how to explain the starting date of the pause -- and how soon might it end?

Yet another explanation

It is generally accepted that the warming effect from CO2 increases roughly as the logarithm of CO2 concentration.  The reason has to do with the broadness and shape of the CO2 absorption lines -- as is well known among molecular spectroscopists.  But even the log of CO2 would show a steady rise, albeit smaller than that of CO2 itself; so that this simple explanation does not work.

But CO2 is an interesting and complicated molecule.  Its climate-forcing effect might actually decline to zero -- albeit for only a number of years.  The reason is that part of the CO2 absorption and emission takes place in the stratosphere, where the temperature gradient is positive, i.e. there is warming with increasing altitude, instead of cooling.

But until someone does the necessary work, by analyzing available satellite data, one should not put too much faith in this hypothesis.

So after all, the global warming pause still remains somewhat of a puzzle.  The simplest description is that the climate sensitivity is close to zero -- as demonstrated empirically.  But why?  How then to explain the reported surface warming from 1975 to 2000?


Regardless of any unsettled science details, it seems sure that current climate models cannot represent what is actually happening in the atmosphere -- and therefore one should not rely on predictions from such unvalidated models that are based simply on increases of carbon dioxide.  It should be obvious that this discussion has important policy consequences since so many politicians are wedded to the idea that CO2 needs to be controlled in order to avoid “dangerous changes of the global climate.”

S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project.
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: January 05, 2015, 09:08:44 AM
My fifteen year old son Conrad is now registered on the forum.  I'm hoping he will actually show up  grin

Welcome Conrad!  Jump in with your viewpoint or ask questions on things that don't make sense to you.
55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: January 04, 2015, 03:17:43 PM
More on the same point and same data...

If you wanted to grow government, and all leftists do, then maybe you should adopt Republican, "supply side" policies. 

The greatest growth in government was made possible by the decrease in capital gains tax rates in particular under the Bush administration:

On the other hand, had we successfully grown the private sector WITHOUT the expansion of government spending, the bungled housing policies and the monetary insanity, we could have had the real economic growth without the damage of inflating the bubble, the workforce meltdown and the ensuing collapse.
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Do Krugman and Keynes have it wrong?? on: January 04, 2015, 03:08:59 PM
Krugman's theory is that government "stimulus" causes growth, and too much austerity hampers growth. 

However, roughly since the Republicans won the House in 2010, spending as a percentage of GDP has been falling, the super deficits have been falling too, while growth has been steadily (and allegedly) improving.

Dan Mitchell at Townhall makes this point with US and UK numbers.

"But where’s his evidence? Whether you look at OMB data, IMF data, or OECD data, all those sources show that overall government spending has been steadily shrinking as a share of GDP ever since 2009." 
57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: France drops its super tax on millionaires - WHY? on: January 04, 2015, 02:03:15 PM
The previous post is intended to add insight into this.  Even ultra liberal, manupilaconomist Thomas Piketty was AGAINST this tax.  Meanwhile, The President of the United States, the Governor of my state, the entire MSM, and half the voters are totally clueless as to why this punitive tax did not succeed.

It turns out that the attempt to punish wealth hurt investment, employment, the economy, the little guy and the entire nation of France.  Who (expletive) knew??!!
France drops its super tax on millionaires

PARIS (AP) — It was supposed to force millionaires to pay tax rates of up to 75 percent: "Cuba without the sun," as described by a critic from the banking industry. Socialist President Francois Hollande's super tax was rejected by a court, rewritten and ultimately netted just a sliver of its projected proceeds. It ends on Wednesday and will not be renewed.

And that critic of the tax? He's now Hollande's economy minister, trying mightily to undo the damage to France's image in international business circles.

The tax of 75 percent on income earned above one million euros ($1.22 million) was promoted in 2012 by the newly-elected Hollande as a symbol of a fairer policy for the middle class, a financial contribution of the wealthiest at a time of economic crisis.

But the government was never able to fully implement the measure. It was overturned by France's highest court and rewritten as a 50 percent tax paid by employers.

Faced with a stalling economy and rising unemployment, the government reversed course in 2014 with a plan to cut payroll taxes by up to 40 billion euros ($49 billion) by 2017, hoping to boost hiring and attract more investments.

All the while, Prime Minister Manuel Valls kept repeating his new credo: "My government is pro-business".
View gallery
FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2014, file photo, French President …
FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2014, file photo, French President Francois Hollande, left, shakes hands wit …

Ultimately, while the super tax affected only a small number of taxpayers, it triggered huge protests in business, sporting and artistic communities.

French actor Gerard Depardieu decried it vociferously and took Russian citizenship. Soccer clubs threatened to boycott matches for fear that 114 of their players or coaches would be taxed. The final version of the tax allowed them to minimize the burden.

The announcement of the 75 percent tax had "a very bad psychological effect" in business circles, says Sandra Hazan, a lawyer who heads Dentons Global Tax Group. Even if most of the companies were able to minimize or avoid the tax, "I think it had an extremely devastating impact on the attractiveness of France for foreigners."

At the time of its proposal, British Prime minister David Cameron ironically proposed to "roll out the red carpet" to French companies willing to avoid the tax.

Economist Thomas Piketty, author of the book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", criticized it as "a millstone around the neck" of the government, asking instead for global reform of tax laws.

Proceeds from the tax are estimated to total 420 million euros ($512 million) for about 1,000 employees in 470 companies, according to the government. By comparison, France's budget deficit has soared well over 80 billion euros ($97 billion).
58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Laffer Curve on: January 04, 2015, 01:04:45 PM
Previously posted on SCH Economics thread:

Original Laffer Curve
Source of the drawing:  Washington Post

a) when you tax something you get less of it, and when you tax something less, you get more of it

b) There is a point on a curve, a marginal tax rate somewhere before you hit 100%, where if you raise the tax rate further you will collect LESS revenue.

c) The straw man argument against is when they say that for all points on the curve.

d) More pertinent, in almost all cases you do not get all the revenue projected without taking into account that the tax will cause you to see less of that activity, work, savings, investment, for examples. 

59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nikita Krushchev, 1957: Your grandchildren in America will live under socialism on: December 31, 2014, 03:34:45 PM
"I can prophesize that your grandchildren in America will live under socialism," he said, wagging a finger.    - Nikita Khrushchev on "Face the Nation", June 2, 1957.

Who knew we would win the cold war and then adopt their system anyway?
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Wesbury: You guys are so wrong 2.0 on: December 31, 2014, 11:04:36 AM
On his main point, he is in agreement with us:

"the same things that boosted growth 150 years ago and 25 years ago are still the same things that boost growth today. What are those things? The answer: Entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity."

On his data, he seems to be cherrypicking:
"GDP grew 5% last quarter and stock prices are at all-time highs"
(Growth was negative in a different quarter of the same year!)
"Profits are at an all-time high and so are stocks"
(Profits, that is, in the narrow world of entrenched company equities that he deals with.)
"the U.S. entrepreneur has refused to be held back."
(That is pure BS.  Real startups are at historically low levels.  So is the workforce participation rate, historically low and trending downward into unsustainable territory - unmentioned in his rosy scenario, equity pumping diatribe.)

On his hedge:
"In spite of government mistakes..."
(Wesbury fully dismisses the costs of these.)  Other economists such as labor economist Casey Mulligan at University of Chicago measure these and conclude differently, that "if you like your weak economy, you can keep your weak economy".

On his main prediction:
"Chicken Little will be wrong again in 2015", meaning big gains across all the main markets for yet another year, maybe forever up ...  that remains to be seen!
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science, Global Warming Pause’ Lengthens to 18 years 2 months on: December 31, 2014, 10:44:14 AM
Weddell Sea being in Antarctica just to clarify (photos show the Arctic Ocean and some may state "yes, but... Antarctica...").

Thanks DDF for the clarification.  I was picking different excerpts hoping to encourage people to read the source.  Yes there is a global map at the link showing the antarctic sea marking "scientist" Hanson's colossal error.

Overnight windchill in the Twin Cities was -25 F last night. (  Where does global warming occur if not here, arctic, antarctic or anywhere else?

Satellite Temperatures Reveal the ‘Global Warming Pause’ Lengthens to 18 years 2 months

Which of the alarmists' models predicted warming would take a two decade pause?

62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: Arctic sea ice is nearly identical to 30 years ago on: December 31, 2014, 10:18:29 AM
Cherry pick your data point and prove any trend that you want.

The area of Arctic sea ice is nearly identical to 30 years ago

All of these things are the exact opposite of what experts forecast.  Hansen predicted peak sea ice loss in the Weddell Sea, right where the peak gain has occurred.
63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama Imposed 75,000 Pages of New Regulations in 2014, Cost $2 Trillion /yr on: December 31, 2014, 10:12:24 AM
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, while they add new "laws" at the rate of 75k pages per year, federal alone.
Were we under-regulated prior to 2014??!!  Are they done now - is everything fully regulated?
Obama Imposed 75,000 Pages of New Regulations in 2014
(All without a vote from Congress.)

Federal Regulations Cost U.S. $2 Trillion Per Year, Study Shows!searchResults;rpp=25;po=0;np=15;dct=FR%252BPR%252BN
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / HarperCollins' subsidiary removes Israel from Middle East school atlases on: December 31, 2014, 10:04:07 AM
You wouldn't want to offend the wipe-Israel-off-the-map crowd with - the truth - in a text book.  How will the children learn to hate and attack them if they can't find Israel on a map?
Leading Publishing House Wipes Israel Off Its Map
HarperCollins' subsidiary remove Israel from school atlases for Middle Eastern countries to appease 'local preferences.'

HarperCollins' subsidiary Collins Bartholomew, which specializes in maps, are selling "Collins Middle East Atlases" to English-speaking schools in the Gulf states which depict Jordan and Syria extending all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

Collins Bartholomew told The Tablet that the reason they wiped Israel off their maps was that including the Jewish state would be "unacceptable" to their customers in the Gulf states.
65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dr. Ben Carson: The Wisdom of Peace Through Strength on: December 31, 2014, 09:40:12 AM
One step forward on preparing to serve as leader of the free world, Dr. Ben Carson shows that he understands the basics of foreign policy - unlike the current President.

The Wisdom of Peace Through Strength
Dr. Ben Carson | Dec 31, 2014

It was extremely encouraging to see the United States and Sony eventually stand up to the cyberbullying of the North Koreans by allowing the movie "The Interview" to be released despite threats of retaliation.

Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are hallmarks of American life, and we must jealously guard these values from both internal and external threats. In fact, all of the freedoms guaranteed to American citizens by our Constitution must be steadfastly preserved, or they will be eroded. Vigilance and courage are necessary every day if we are to remain a free society.

I am proud of the president of the United States for taking a tough stand on this issue, although I am not sure that his promise of proportional retaliation is the correct answer. The response should go far beyond proportionality, and an example should be made of the perpetrators by using a host of available options to inflict punishment not be easily forgotten. If we use proportionality as our standard, future adversaries need only consider certain consequences for encroaching on our rights. If, on the other hand, they realize that they will suffer enormous consequences, I believe their adventurism would be tempered.

I do not advocate becoming a bully on the global stage, but I do believe that strength is a quality that is respected by all cultures, regardless of their ideological bent. I remember how much trouble students in my high school in Detroit caused the weak teachers who had no idea of how to control them. There was one teacher, 5 feet tall, who tolerated no foolishness and even the burly football players feared her. You could hear a pin drop in her room, though the same students produced total chaos in other classrooms. She was extremely nice to me and the other cooperative students and would go out of her way to ensure we received a good education. I think the lesson here is obvious.

There was a time when American citizens were relatively safe, no matter where they traveled in the world. Everyone knew that there would be significant consequences for harming Americans. Today, not only is the fear gone, but there is little respect for our leaders because our nation appears to be a paper tiger. This is a situation that can be quickly rectified with courageous and principled leadership. Many will remember the Iran hostage crisis in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During that time, we had a president who was neither feared nor respected. On the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president, the hostages were released.

It is imperative that, as a nation, we say what we mean and we mean what we say. This contributes to the safety and stability of the world and, in the long run, will cost us less money and fewer lives. Our friends around the world should have no better ally, and our enemies should have no fiercer foe. We certainly do not need to make everyone conform to our values, but we must protect and defend those values, including freedom of expression. We should never yield to evil nor should we ignore it at our own peril.
66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The war on the rule of law, T Sowell on: December 30, 2014, 06:06:55 PM
"Every society has some people who don't respect the law. But, when it is the people in charge of the law — like the President of the United States and his Attorney General — who don't respect it, that is when we are in big trouble."  - Thomas Sowell  12/30/2104
67  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of - Your Royal Glibness, and Proportional Response on: December 30, 2014, 06:06:02 PM
Thomas Sowell today, (Famous people caught reading the forum??):

"Now that Barack Obama is ruling by decree, he seems more like a king than a president. Maybe it is time we change the way we address him. "Your Majesty" may be a little too much, but perhaps "Your Royal Glibness" might be appropriate."

Crafty was ahead of the game on this one!

This story no longer operative since the Sony hack is now considered an inside job.  Nonetheless, we should not let President Obama's empty pledge to North Korea go by.  He offered that the US we will make a "proportional" response for the cyber attack on an American company. (Sony is American?)

A little while back I posted in the Foreign Policy thread the concept of "disproportional response" for discussion.   It seems that applies here.  I alleged that liberals don't accept that concept and the Royal Glibness has proven me right.  No response and proportional response are the only options considered.  Anything else would be provocative, or needlessly escalating in their view.

Imagine if the penalty for getting caught in an armed bank robbery was to merely give back the money taken in the one occurrence.  That would be the proportional response and it would have absolutely no deterrent effect.  Instead we order restitution of the money plus perhaps 15 years imprisonment.

If the penalty isn't greater than the crime, what is the deterrent?

In this case, perhaps it is moot.  The President didn't know North Korea does not have internet service.  Still, he exposed his naivete on foreign policy options, IMHO.
68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: December 28, 2014, 10:26:38 PM
So, for 30 plus years we were essentially flat and around '97, the time of the Clinton Gingrich cap gains tax rate cut we went onto a new trajectory, but at present we are above the lows of '66, '70, '75, and '82?  Yes?

"Down 42% year over year" includes the numbers from the bubble years, yes?

The chart I posted shows new home sales only through 2008, an extreme year.  PP's chart overlaps this covering 2005 to the present.  Agreed that the comment 'down 42% year over year' mostly tells us the peak values were artificially high.  If you want to ignore the peaks of the bubble, what years should we ignore?  Not all the way back to 1997, IMHO.  It seems to me the excessive push of easy money began in the aftermath of 9/11/2001, not showing up until the recovery kicked in during 2003.  Nonetheless, even if you go all the way back to 1997, it looks like the average, historic, new home sales figure is still over 600k compared with 450k now.  Hardly a full recovery, we are still running short by about 33%.

It begs the question, is the Obama economy with workforce participation at a 40 year low and food stamp and disability participation at all time highs the new normal?

The answer to that is a matter of opinion or conjecture.  My view is that we could put the growth and greater participation back into this economy any time we choose that.  Home affordability varies artificially with CRAp, QE, and mortgage rates, etc., but otherwise is a pretty simple function of family income.  Under Obama, family income is not up.  The income and GDP growth has been largely concentrated in the top 1% of earners, equities investors and S&P 500 type companies. 
69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics The Laffer Curve turns 40: the legacy of a controversial idea on: December 28, 2014, 04:09:46 PM

when you tax something you get less of it, and when you tax something less, you get more of it

The Laffer Curve turns 40: the legacy of a controversial idea

(Washington Post photo illustration/Based on an iStock image)
By Stephen Moore December 26

Stephen Moore is chief economist at the Heritage Foundation and a co-author with Arthur Laffer of “An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States.”

It was 40 years ago this month that two of President Gerald Ford’s top White House advisers, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, gathered for a steak dinner at the Two Continents restaurant in Washington with Wall Street Journal editorial writer Jude Wanniski and Arthur Laffer, former chief economist at the Office of Management and Budget. The United States was in the grip of a gut-wrenching recession, and Laffer lectured to his dinner companions that the federal government’s 70 percent marginal tax rates were an economic toll booth slowing growth to a crawl.

To punctuate his point, he grabbed a pen and a cloth cocktail napkin and drew a chart showing that when tax rates get too high, they penalize work and investment and can actually lead to revenue losses for the government. Four years later, that napkin became immortalized as “the Laffer Curve” in an article Wanniski wrote for the Public Interest magazine. (Wanniski would later grouse only half-jokingly that he should have called it the Wanniski Curve.)

This was the first real post-World War II intellectual challenge to the reigning orthodoxy of Keynesian economics, which preached that when the economy is growing too slowly, the government should stimulate demand for products with surges in spending. The Laffer model countered that the primary problem is rarely demand — after all, poor nations have plenty of demand — but rather the impediments, in the form of heavy taxes and regulatory burdens, to producing goods and services.

In the four decades since, the Laffer Curve and its supply-side message have taken something of a beating. They’ve been ridiculed as “trickle down” and “voodoo economics” (a phrase coined in 1980 by George H.W. Bush), and disparaged in mainstream economics texts as theories of “charlatans and cranks.” Last year, even Pope Francis criticized supply-side theories, writing that they have “never been confirmed by the facts” and rely on “a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” And this year, French economist Thomas Piketty penned a best-selling back-to-the-future book arguing for a return to the good old days of 70 percent tax rates on the rich.

But I’d argue — and not just because Laffer has been a longtime friend and mentor — that his theory has actually held up pretty well these past 40 years. Perhaps its critics should be called Laffer Curve deniers.

Solid supporting evidence came during the Reagan years. President Ronald Reagan adopted the Laffer Curve message, telling Americans that when 70 to 80 cents of an extra dollar earned goes to the government, it’s understandable that people wonder: Why keep working? He recalled that as an actor in Hollywood, he would stop making movies in a given year once he hit Uncle Sam’s confiscatory tax rates.

When Reagan left the White House in 1989, the highest tax rate had been slashed from 70 percent in 1981 to 28 percent. (Even liberal senators such as Ted Kennedy and Howard Metzenbaum voted for those low rates.) And contrary to the claims of voodoo, the government’s budget numbers show that tax receipts expanded from $517 billion in 1980 to $909 billion in 1988 — close to a 75 percent change (25 percent after inflation). Economist Larry Lindsey has documented from IRS data that tax collections from the rich surged much faster than that.

Reagan’s tax policy, and the slaying of double-digit inflation rates, helped launch one of the longest and strongest periods of prosperity in American history. Between 1982 and 2000, the Dow Jones industrial average would surge to 11,000 from less than 800; the nation’s net worth would quadruple, to $44 trillion from $11 trillion; and the United States would produce nearly 40 million new jobs.

Critics such as economist Paul Krugman object that rapid growth during the Reagan years was driven more by conventional Keynesian deficit spending than by reductions in tax rates. Except that 30 years later, President Obama would run deficits as a share of GDP twice as large as Reagan’s through traditional Keynesian spending programs, and the economy grew under Obama’s recovery only half as fast.

Supply-side economics was never just about slashing tax rates. As Laffer told me in a recent interview: “We also emphasized sound money, free trade and deregulation. It was a package of reforms to clear away the obstacles to increased economic output.”

I asked Laffer about the economy’s surge, while income tax rates rose, during the Clinton presidency — which critics cite as repudiation of supply-side theories. Laffer noted that tax rates on work and investment fell in the ’90s. “Under Clinton we had the biggest reduction in government spending in 30 years, one of the steepest reductions in the capital gains tax, a big cut in the tax on traded goods thanks to NAFTA, and welfare reforms which dramatically increased incentives to work. Of course the economy soared.”

As to the concern that supply-side tax-cutting has exacerbated income inequality: The real story of the 1980s and ’90s was one of upward economic mobility. After-tax incomes of middle-class families rose by roughly 30 percent (when taking into account government benefits and correctly adjusting for inflation) from 1982 to 2005. The middle class didn’t shrink, it grew richer — though the past decade has seen a big reversal.

Perhaps the most powerful vindication of the Laffer Curve comes from the many nations around the world that have successfully integrated supply-side economics into their fiscal policies. World Bank statistics reveal that almost every nation — from China to Ireland to Chile — has much lower tax rates today than in the 1970s. The average income tax rate among industrialized nations has fallen from 68 percent to less than 45 percent. The average corporate tax rate has fallen from nearly 50 percent to closer to 25 percent today. Political leaders learned from Reagan that in a globally competitive world, jobs, capital and wealth tend to migrate from high- to low-tax locations.

This vital link between low taxes and jobs has played out within the United States as well. It helps explain why, from 2002 to 2012, Texas — with no income tax — gained 1 million people in domestic migration, while almost 1.5 million more Americans left California, with its 12 percent top tax rate, than moved there.

It’s worth noting that there has been some shift in emphasis among advocates of supply-side economics. The original Laffer Curve illustrated that two tax rates lead to zero revenue: a rate of zero and a rate of 100 percent — because no one will work if all earnings are taken away. Yes, in some cases tax rates can get so high that cutting them will raise more revenue, not less. That was clearly true when capital-gains tax rates were slashed in the 1980s and 1990s, and when in 2004 the federal government enacted a repatriation tax cut on foreign earnings held captive overseas. Revenue rose in all of these instances. But today, even the most ardent disciples of the Laffer Curve don’t argue that cutting tax rates will increase revenue — except in extreme cases when rates are at the very highest range of the curve.

We do argue, and history is our guide, that lower tax rates are a private-sector stimulus that in many circumstances will rev up growth and lead to more jobs. It’s a happy byproduct that this growth will help generate higher revenue than the government’s “static” estimates always undercount.

Alas, the Laffer Curve effect is now working against the United States on corporate taxation. Our highest-in-the-world corporate tax rate of nearly 40 percent is chasing iconic U.S. companies such as Burger King and dozens of others out of the country for lower-tax climates where rates are half as high.

Even liberals unwittingly acknowledge the Laffer Curve truth when they support higher tobacco taxes to stop smoking or a new carbon tax to reduce global warming. If higher carbon taxes reduce CO2 emissions, why is it so hard to understand that higher taxes on work or investment lead to less of these?

When I asked Laffer if, 40 years later, there is any point of consensus in economics on the Laffer Curve, he replied: “I think today everyone agrees with the premise that when you tax something you get less of it, and when you tax something less, you get more of it
70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: December 28, 2014, 03:54:34 PM
A question:  The previous peak is a bubble yes?  So, by what measuring stick should we evaluate how well things are doing?

450,000 today compares with an average of 700,000 over the last 50 years.  So if we grow 3 - 4% per year, we will back to where we were ... almost never.
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Human Ancestors Were Consuming Alcohol 10 Million Years Ago on: December 28, 2014, 03:47:08 PM
We haven't changed as much as we think?

Human Ancestors Were Consuming Alcohol 10 Million Years Ago
72  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed - Karl Rove? on: December 25, 2014, 11:45:37 PM
We'll see what ccp says, but Karl Rove actually has something right here.  (  For the next two years we will be living under divided government.  We want to make things better where we can, stop Obama from making things worse, and set the table for winning more in 2016.  Think of Gingrich's Contract with America.  There are things that both poll well and fall on the conservative side of the policy spectrum.  Find specific areas that some Democrats will support, even one Democrat, that move us in the right direction and that are popular.  Pass them.  Call them bipartisan, and put them on Obama's desk to either sign or leave open as unfinished business.  Rove identifies votes that already got bipartisan support (at the link).  There are many more.  For one thing, we won the last election; we should be on offense.  Let the unpopular, lame duck go on defense vetoing popular measures, small steps that move the country, the economy and our security forward.

Karl Rove: 

"It will be important in the new Congress that Republicans advance a reform-minded conservative governing agenda that has bipartisan support. Before scoffing at this, consider that House Republicans have already passed scores of bills with Democratic support, only to see them die in the Senate.

The GOP should set a bipartisan tone by taking these bills up again, starting with measures to help the economy. For example, this past session 158 House Democrats voted for a GOP measure expanding access to charter schools. Another 130 House Democrats backed a Republican bill to end the expensive wave of junk lawsuits over patents.

While Mr. McConnell says the Senate will first take up the Keystone XL pipeline, there are other opportunities on energy: 46 House Democrats voted with Republicans to expedite exports of liquefied natural gas, 28 to expand oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, and 26 to expedite infrastructure for the development of natural gas.

Between 32 and 36 House Democrats also backed GOP measures to ban taxes on Internet access, to make it easier and less costly to invest in small businesses, to make government rule-making more transparent, and to stop an EPA proposal that would subject every stream, pond and ditch to federal jurisdiction.

Since Republicans want to move a comprehensive corporate tax-reform package, the fact that 53 House Democrats supported making permanent the immediate expensing of new equipment and software purchases, and 62 voted to make the research and development tax credit permanent, is a sign some Democrats will help make the tax code more growth-oriented.

There’s also evidence Democrats will help undo some of ObamaCare’s damaging provisions, like its definition of full-time work as 30 hours a week and its employee and employer mandates."
73  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cuba on: December 25, 2014, 11:32:08 PM
"The general concept of undermining Castro Communism with interaction is not, IMHO, inherently unsound.  What IS unsound, is the pathetic way in which Obama is going about it."

That's right.  The point IS to undermine the regime.  It is not about us needing another island to visit or a better cigar to smoke.  The total oppression of the people there is wrong (understatement!) and we have only one lever available to us, assuming we are unwilling or unable to help in any other way.  If Obama's opening is part of a full court campaign to undermine and end the regime, great.  Now show us the rest of it. 

We were discussing this subject on the Presidential 2016 thread.  Marco Rubio is hellbent on seeing this regime end.  After 8 years of a Rubio Presidency if we are so lucky, 10 years from now, both Castros will be dead from old age, Cuba will be a beautiful, free country, and holding out the carrot of free trade and other help from the US will play a role in that.  Why give the perks of our freedom to this regime; give it to the people!

Some source links from a post in the Presidential thread:

Rubio previously on Cuba and Venezuela (Feb 2014):

Maybe this will help clarify Rubio's view, a 14 minute radio interview with John Hinderaker (12/23/14):

A Cuban exile writes in the Washington Post today:  Betrayed by President Obama

Recent News:  Cuban Government Sinks Boat Carrying 32 Refugees, Including Children
The boat, said González, was carrying 32 people, including seven women and two children. One of the two children was her 8-year-old son.  Her husband is still missing.
Did anyone see that story?

(Doug)  When Marco Rubio speaks passionately and in great detail about just how awful the Cuban regime is, is anyone saying that any of it is not true??

No.  We are just tired of taking a stand. 

Free trade is something you do with free people.  Enriching enemies of the United States with either money or technology was illegal when I was in the export business.  I fully support free trade but understand that caveat.

If free trade with the US was what the Castros feared and opposed, then that is what we should be throwing at them.  Instead we are giving them the lifeline they need to survive, just when they need it, for no concession in return, right while both of their sugar daddies, Venezuela and Russia, are being squeezed to death in the oil price collapse.

To Obama, the timing is all about HIM!
74  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude, on: December 25, 2014, 01:23:57 AM
Merry Christmas, Peace and Good Tidings, everyone!   smiley
75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science, Northern Europe summer temp cooling trend last 2000 years on: December 25, 2014, 12:53:15 AM

New Study: Two Thousand Years of Northern European Summer Temperatures Show a Downward Trend
In a paper published in the Journal of Quaternary Science, Esper et al. (2014) write that tree-ring chronologies of maximum latewood density (MXD) “are most suitable to reconstruct annually resolved summer temperature variations of the late Holocene.” And working with what they call “the world’s two longest MXD-based climate reconstructions” – those of Melvin et al. (2013) and Esper et al. (2012) – they combined portions of each to produce a new-and-improved summer temperature history for northern Europe that stretches all the way “from 17 BC to the present.”
76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Noonan on Obama's opening with Cuba on: December 25, 2014, 12:40:16 AM
"Is it in the national interest to attempt to change this circumstance, if only gradually and hopefully, but with a sense that breaking the status quo might yield rewards?

Yes. If the new policy succeeds and leaves an old foe less active and avowed we will be better off, and it’s always possible, life being surprising, that we’ll be much better off. If the policy fails we’ll be no worse off than we were and can revert back to the old order, yanking out our embassy and re-erecting old barriers."

   - No, it removes our only policy lever at the time when it finally could be used.

"Normalizing relations with Cuba will not, as Sen. Marco Rubio passionately put it in these pages, grant the Castro regime “legitimacy.”   Nothing can grant it legitimacy."

   - Yes it does grant it an element of legitimacy.  These rogue leaders LOVE to be seen with world leaders and speaking with legitimacy at the UN, etc.  How about a State dinner for these thugs?  Instead they will dress casually, share a few toasts and say it wasn't one.

"So why not move now?"

   - One reason is that we are a nation of laws that originate in Congress and not a nation with a King or dictator.  Another reason is that acting now precludes us from doing this when these thugs die and give up power.

"Nothing magical will immediately follow normalization. The Castro brothers will not say, “I can’t believe it, free markets and democracy really are better, I had no idea!” Nothing will make Cuba democratic overnight. But American involvement and presence—American tourists and businessmen, American diplomats, American money, American ways and technology—will likely in time have a freeing effect. With increased contact a certain amount of good feeling will build. And that could make Cuba, within a generation or even less, a friend.

   - We are doing fine with the Cuban people.  They're still floating boats to here and taking refuge.  But the money will go to the regime.  What part of communist dictatorship is she not understanding?  How about under "normalization" we send the protestors there to demand free elections now?  If that was the plan, he could probably get Rubio's support.

"The opening to Cuba may also spark a re-Christianizing effect among a people who’ve been denied freedom of religious worship for generations. That would be good too, for them and us."

   - Again, what part of communist, totalitarian dictatorship is she not understanding?  Take this through Congress and couple it with at least some empty, public promises toward democracy and freedom that we can later seek to hold them to.  Not just reward them for a half century of total oppression.
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Saudi reasoning for its production levels on: December 25, 2014, 12:17:39 AM

This makes perfect sense to me.  Saudis don't mind slowing the US fracking acceleration but their direct threat is Iran and indirect threat is Russia.  What they say to save face in front of fellow cartel members is just that.
78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: December 25, 2014, 12:12:20 AM
"I'm sure we here have noticed the dust up between Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Marco Rubio over Baraq's move with Cuba.  IMHO the implications run deep and go to the point I have been making here on this forum about the absence of a guiding paradigm for US foreign policy for several years now.

The implications for the 2016 race of the Paul-Rubio dust up are deep.

Does not Paul come closer to the current mood than Rubio?  Does he not score a telling point when he accuses Rubio of backing Hillary's policies with regard to Libya, the MB in Egypt and so forth?  The implications here for a Paul-Hillary match-up are quite intriguing.  Do any of us here want to follow Hillary in foreign affairs?  I surely would not want my son serving her in harm's way-- how can I ask such of others as she empathizes with evil-doers, and, with Huma Abedin at her elbow, supports the MB?  Do any of us trust any of the people under consideration to effectively act in the Middle East?

Pair this with Paul's clarion call against the Orwellian State that is taking form as we watch and for a return to the Rule of Law and Freem Inds and Free Markets, and we may see many assumptions about political coalitions shatter."

Very odd dust up indeed.  Too bad to see otherwise allies bloodying each other.  Paul called Rubio an isolationist.  An odd bit of flippant humor applied to a pretty serious situation.  Rubio is anything but isolationist. 

I agree that the current mood is tempted to follow the Rand Paul / Barack Obama foreign policy (as Rubio called it) which is a mix of a little talk with doing mostly nothing.  People seem to know this is not working, and current mood doesn't mean that the right answer.  That is why we hopefully have leaders.  What is happening around the world?  Russia-Ukraine, Iran going nuclear, North Korea running the US, China doing an accelerated build on their Navy and passing us economically, Europe imploding to Islamists, and worst of all I think, Islamic State is consolidating its gains by exterminating all opposition.  Cuba is harmless to us?  I don't think so.  No, it is a communist dictatorship.  All tourist revenue goes to the regime, and from there to carry out oppression.  They are friend to all our enemies.  They are the third largest spying regime against the US.  They are still allies of powerful adversaries in a very dangerous world.

Maybe this will help clarify Rubio's view, a 14 minute interview with John Hinderaker yesterday:

Rubio is FOR the opening up to Cuba.  He is for linking it to them taking steps forward toward democratization.  The Castro brothers are old and will die.  There is going to be a transition.  We would like to see it go toward freedom and self determination.  Normalization is what they want.  It is our only policy lever.  Obama gave it away and got nothing in return for it.  Now he won't ever again hold that lever.  Rand Paul supports all that.  His reason is because that might open up freedom in Cuba?  But how?  The money goes to the regime.  Didn't every other country already do that and it didn't work?  Haven't we done that since 1972 with China.  But China has a transition process.  Cuba doesn't.

Rubio previously on Cuba and Venezuela:

A Cuban exile writes in the Washington Post today:

Recent News:  Cuban Government Sinks Boat Carrying 32 Refugees, Including Children
The boat, said González, was carrying 32 people, including seven women and two children. One of the two children was her 8-year-old son.  Her husband is still missing.
Did anyone see that story?

When Marco Rubio speaks passionately and in great detail about just how awful the Cuban regime is, is anyone saying that any of it is not true??

No.  We are just tired of taking a stand. 

Free trade is something you do with free people.  Enriching enemies of the United States with either money or technology was illegal when I was in the export business.  I fully support free trade but understand that caveat.
79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Carly Fiorina Hiring for 2016 Presidential Campaign on: December 19, 2014, 09:06:18 PM
I hate to say it, but we could use a little gender (and other) diversity on the debate stage.  She has executive experience and I assume her own set of ideas and has a much right to it as anyone else to court our support.  I also assume she is from the so called moderate wing of the Republican.  I hope all the moderates get in and split that vote.  It looks like all the conservatives are getting in.
Carly Fiorina Hiring for Presidential Campaign
80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance, Glibness and Mrs. Glibness on racism on: December 19, 2014, 10:59:18 AM
Michelle O already used her target story for a different purpose.  She told Letterman the lady asked to help because she was tall, not because she was black.  She was giddy about not being recognized, not a victim of a non-existent racial stereotype.

But can you imagine if she had been mistaken for someone common who WORKED for a living?  OMG!

And her husband, voted twice by the American people to be Commander in Chief and leader of the free world, was mistaken for a valet car-parker because of his race!

I didn't know it was racial disparaging to associate blackness with working for a living.  This is good news, but not backed up in Obama administration (un)employment data.  In fact, Barack Obama has never parked cars and Michelle Obama has never worked in a Target store.  They are lifelong, liberal elites.
From overjoyed Regular Mom to Oppressed Martyr, can Mrs. Obama's shopping fable get any more absurd?

Mrs. Obama, perpetual victim, hopped from Princeton to Harvard to prestigious law firms, cushy nonprofit gigs, an exclusive Hyde Park manse and a crony corporate board appointment before landing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Racism is tough!
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Elizabeth "Forked Tongue" Warren on: December 19, 2014, 10:31:47 AM
Absolutely.  You may need further tweeking to fit in the full spelling of forked tongue.  The Cherokee scandal has faded back to just an earlier indicator of zero personal or public integrity.  Now she is just a bitter, big mouthed, dishonest liberal elite of the worst kind.  I would prefer to just take on the principles of liberalism.  But no one ever presents it honestly.  So we have to answer liberalism's deceiving practitioners.

speak with forked tongue - to make false promises or to speak in a way which is not honest

intent to mislead or deceive

The factory owner, good for him, does not pay his fair share of taxes to build the public roads and schools that benefit his business??!  What a bunch of BS.  The factory owner who stops paying MORE than his/her share of the public goods is the own that has to close or move because of dishonest liberalism's punitive policies.
82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: December 19, 2014, 10:05:11 AM
"I forget her name... but she was a big fundraiser and her husband worked for Bill.  Something had happened and she was afraid for her husband's job and she came to the White House to plead for it.  Working from memory, she has formally stated that Clinton pushed her up against the wall and forcefully groped her.  Turns out that while she was there, her husband was commiting suicide."

Kathleen Willey was a White House volunteer aide who, on March 15, 1998, alleged on the TV news program 60 Minutes that Bill Clinton had sexually assaulted her on November 29, 1993, during his first term as President.  Willey's second husband, Edward E. Willey Jr., committed suicide on November 29, 1993 — the day she claimed Clinton's sexual misconduct took place.

Who knows the veracity of that story or any one encounter.  The point with the analogy to Bill Cosby is that there is too many unrelated incidents in a pattern to just shrug it off.  The point with Hillary Clinton is that she knew or she should have known.  Juanita Broaddrick alleged very strongly that Hillary knew.

NBC News held the Lisa Myers Juanita Broaddrick interview for 35 days, played it opposite the Grammys - after the Senate had acquitted Clinton in his impeachment trial.

There was Whitewater, the FBI files scandal, travelgate, and the hurried removal of documents from Vince Foster's office.  There was the failure of her healthcare task force and of all their own policies before adopting the success of the Gingrich initiatives.  But none of it matters.
83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul, Cuba policy on: December 19, 2014, 09:26:20 AM
Having large national issues decided by one man (or 5 justices) is not what the founders intended.  

That said, we have tried opposite policies in different places, a trade embargo against Cuba for 50+ years and a trade opening with China since 1972 to end oppression in both places and neither worked.  Shaking up a failed policy is tempting, but this is not the answer.

What is Rand Paul's answer to Rubio's point?  If this is the policy that the regime of Cuba has wanted and needed all these years, what did President Obama get in return for surrendering our principles?  As usual, nothing.  

This isn't surrendering principles to Obama; it is the gaining of a new friend.  Coercive, oppressive government that uses the agencies of power like the IRS and DOJ to shut down opposition is not offensive to this administration.

Libertarians including Rand Paul have a foreign policy history of not giving a rip about liberty outside our borders.  They forget that at least a couple of foreign powers helped us gain ours.
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Elizabeth "Forked Tongue" Warren, Fauxcahontas, Harvard's first woman of color on: December 17, 2014, 11:19:16 AM
It's the moderator's call, but it seems to me it is time to put the cognitively dissonant left's leading voice into her own category for future search and find convenience.  For the record, I fear her the most right now.  And leftists love her the most.

Author of, [you employ a million people,] good for you.  But you didn't build that.

For today:

What Elizabeth Warren Missed in Her Big Bank Tirade  (Crony Governmentism)

Crony Capitalism: Sen. Elizabeth Warren delivered a stemwinder speech last Friday on the need for government to rein in Wall Street influence. But it's big government that created the monster in the first place.

Warren, D-Mass., was attacking a "dangerous provision" in the so-called cromnibus spending bill that, she said, stripped a part of Dodd-Frank that big banks, particularly Citigroup, don't like.

Her speech had the left slobbering over itself. Michael Tomasky, writing for the Daily Beast, said Warren's "weekend heroics" made her the "most powerful Democrat in America." The Huffington Post ran a column calling it "the speech that could make Elizabeth Warren the next president."

That's only possible if voters overlook the glaring problem with her argument.

Warren isn't wrong to complain that big business has too much influence over public policy. But that influence isn't the result of insufficient government intervention. It's the result of a government that is too massive and too willing to intrude in free markets.
To take just one example: Up until the mid-1990s, Microsoft had virtually no lobbyist presence in Washington, D.C., and gave almost no money to political campaigns. Then the Clinton Justice Department decided to sue Microsoft for antitrust violations.

By 1998, the company was pouring $3.7 million into lobbying and giving more than $1.4 million to political campaigns. Influencing Washington became part of Microsoft's business strategy only after Washington decided to butt into Microsoft's business.

Warren and her compatriots also fail to understand that big businesses like costly, intrusive regulations when they handicap new competitors.

It's no surprise that Dodd-Frank — which was supposed to rein in the excesses of big banks — not only didn't get rid of the "too big to fail" problem, it hampered community banks that used to compete with the big ones.

"It was not the intent of Congress when it passed Dodd-Frank to harm community banks, but that is the awful reality," Dale Wilson of the First State Bank of San Diego told Congress this summer.

If Warren and her ilk really want to reduce the influence of Wall Street in Washington, they should start by calling for a drastic reduction in the size and scope of the federal government.
85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bill Clinton has his own Bill Cosby problem on: December 17, 2014, 10:41:28 AM
I wonder if the Clinon's want the Bill Cosby story to continue to rise throughout the campaign?  The Statute of Limitations does not prevent one's public image from being destroyed.  If they go through with this, it's hard to say which Clinton scandal or weakness will finally catch up with them.
Why Hillary Is Not Inevitable: Bill’s Sordid Past

The new public scrutiny of Bill Cosby is problematic for Bill Clinton. I am not talking about consensual sex but, in some cases accusations of sexual assault, torn clothing, and at least three victims who say he bit their lips as a disarming move and to get them to remain silent. In short, Bill Clinton has a Bill Cosby problem.

Eileen Wellstone, a 19-year-old English woman, said Clinton sexually assaulted her after she met him at a pub near the Oxford where Clinton was a student in 1969. In fact, Clinton was expelled from Oxford and earned no degree there.

Juanita Broaddrick, a volunteer in Clinton’s gubernatorial campaign, said he raped her in 1978. Mrs. Broaddrick suffered a bruised and torn lip, which she said she suffered when Clinton bit her during the rape. Broaddrick gave a stunning interview to NBC’s Lisa Myers about the assault.

Carolyn Moffet, a legal secretary in Little Rock in 1979, said she met Gov. Clinton at a political fundraiser and was invited to his hotel room. “When I went in, he was sitting on a couch, wearing only an undershirt. He pointed at his penis and told me to suck it. I told him I didn’t even do that for my boyfriend and he got mad, grabbed my head and shoved it into his lap. I pulled away from him and ran out of the room,” she said.

Elizabeth Ward Gracen, the Miss Arkansas who won the Miss America crown in 1982, told friends she was forced by Clinton to have sex with him shortly after she won her state title. Gracen later told an interviewer that sex with Clinton was consensual. Her roommate Judy Stokes has said the ex-Miss Arkansas told her she was raped after the incident.

Paula Corbin Jones, an Arkansas state worker, filed a sexual harassment case against Clinton after an encounter in a Little Rock hotel room where the then-governor exposed himself and demanded oral sex. Clinton settled the case with Jones with an $850,000 payment.

Sandra Allen James, a former Washington, D.C., political fundraiser, said Clinton invited her to his hotel room during a political trip to the nation’s capital in 1991, pinned her against the wall and stuck his hand up her dress. She fled.

Oddly, the rationale for the Hillary Clinton campaign is empowerment of women.  People's tolerance of all this, especially Hillary's, is abominable.
86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward for the American Creed, Governing vs. Giving, John Stossel on: December 17, 2014, 10:22:23 AM
It is an argument I have called tax vs. charity or welfare vs. charity.  John Stossels frames it well in the this piece called Governing vs. Giving, which is really government forced redistribution vs the free will of giving and accepting responsibility with assistance.

Personally I find that since the government has taken my income, with my taxes more than 100% of take home income, and nothing left over, and they are spending the majority of that on redistribution, I really have no time or interest in charity unless and until we change that dynamic.

It is the essence of the differences between the two competing philosophies and the smoking gun of liberalism that they don't trust people to do the right thing without coercion.  Instead of helping people, we spend trillions and trillions pretending to help people.
Governing vs. Giving
John Stossel

It's the season for giving.

That doesn't mean it's the season for government.

Government creates loyalty in the minds of citizens by pretending to be Santa Claus, doling out gifts and favors. Politicians claim they help those unfortunates who aren't helped by coldhearted capitalism.

The truth is, government gets in the way of charity, making it harder for people to help others and for the poor to help themselves. It also gets in the way of commerce, which is what really makes people better off.

When I was in college, President Lyndon Johnson declared "an all-out war on human poverty. ... For the first time in our history, it's possible to conquer poverty." I believed him. But then I watched government poverty programs fail. America spent trillions of your dollars on the poor, and the poor stayed poor.

Actually, the poverty rate did fall after the "War on Poverty" began. But it had already been falling prior to initiation of welfare. Sadly, the poverty rate stopped falling about seven years after Johnson's programs began, mostly because government handouts encouraged people to be dependent.

Simple capitalism does much more for poor people. On my show this week, Marian Tupy, editor of, speculates on why people don't appreciate that.

"Our minds evolved tens of thousands of years ago when we lived in small groups of between 50-200 people," says Tupy. "We would go out, kill game, bring it back, share it." The idea of everyone getting an equal share still makes us feel warm and cozy.

"Some of the anti-capitalist impulse goes back to that hunter-gatherer mentality and not comprehending the complexity of the market economy," says Tupy. "The complexity outpaced our ability to understand it.

But even those who don't understand markets should open their eyes and acknowledge its benefits: World-wide, wherever economic freedom is allowed, millions of people have lifted themselves out of stoop labor and miserable poverty.

Of course, not everyone can reap the benefits of markets. The sick, the mentally ill and other truly helpless people need a hand.

But why assume government must provide that help? Government doesn't do anything very well. Why not let private charity handle it?

I once assumed there was too much poverty for private charity to make much of a difference. But now I realize there is plenty of money, and private charity would do much more if government didn't discourage it.

When the welfare state took over poverty relief, it crowded out "mutual aid" societies that the poor ran for themselves.

They were like a cross between private unemployment insurance and "moose" or "elks" lodges that encouraged members to help each other out. They were better at helping the poor because their members, unlike government poverty workers, were free to make judgments about who deserved help and who didn't.

Today, there are fewer mutual aid societies because people say, "Why do it myself when we already have giant welfare bureaucracies? My taxes pay for Obamacare, food stamps, housing vouchers and so on. I'll let the professionals handle it."

But those "professionals" do a poor job.

Fortunately, charities still try to do what government cannot do. I give money to the Doe Fund, an organization that helps addicts and ex-cons discover the benefits of work. I give because I can see the results: Doe Fund participants work as caterers, exterminators and street-cleaners, and they do it with a spring in their step.

Somehow, the charity teaches these men (they only work with men) to take pride in work. That pride changes people. Unlike other ex-cons, those who are Doe graduates rarely go back to jail.

If government didn't discourage it, more charities would do even better work with the poor. Human beings don't sit around ignoring the suffering of their neighbors. But we are most likely to neglect these moral tasks when government insists it has everything covered.

Get government out of the way and just watch what we can do.
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, deep Republican bench, Gov. Mike Pence on: December 17, 2014, 10:09:41 AM
Add one more name, Mike Pence has both congressional and executive experience.

If success at the state level were enough to recommend someone for president of the United States, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana would be among the frontrunners for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

...last year's 5 percent income tax reduction, the largest state tax cut in Indiana history." In addition, the state corporate tax rate was reduced from 6.5 percent to 4.9 percent, making it the third lowest in the country and contributing to Indiana's increase in the labor force

He served for 10 years as a congressman

Pence's education agenda includes a goal of taking children in underperforming schools and putting them in good schools...largest education voucher program in America.

88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: December 17, 2014, 10:00:36 AM
At least Cruz fights, unlike the rinos that just pissed away their mandate.

Byron York doesn't buy the storyline that all these confirmations are Ted Cruz' fault:
The whole point of the nuclear Senate was to do this.
89  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Jeb-fever! Catch it! John Ellis Bush on: December 17, 2014, 09:50:33 AM

This is where I vote 3rd party or don't even bother.

That is why he is announcing this so early - to give us more time to recover from the initial stomach emptying reaction.  He is not my candidate.  But, ...  He was a successful, two term governor, an otherwise divided state,  the only Republican to ever serve two full four-year terms as Governor of Florida.  Many of the better policy oriented candidates have no executive experience.  He was considered the most conservative of the 3 Bushes in politics.  His record in Florida was more conservative than Reagan's was in California (they say).  This will be a long, substantive campaign (I think).  He will be known for his own strengths and weaknesses more than family name by the end of it.  Support for "Common Core" and amnesty look like his big obstacles to me.   

John Hinderacker has an anyone but jeb Bush column out.  He admits that his current favorite is Marco Rubio

"Hillary Clinton ... can be had by someone younger: a fresh face, a new voice, someone who changes the dynamic. Pretty much anyone but a Bush, in other words.
Polling data suggest that there are more conservatives in the U.S. than there are Republicans. There certainly are plenty of conservatives to put a Republican presidential candidate over the top. But they need a strong candidate to rally behind. This cycle, I think there are a number of Republicans who could fit that description–Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio (my current favorite), maybe Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal or John Kasich, maybe Chris Christie if he can define himself as a conservative. There are others who could jump into the race, both plausible candidates (John Thune) and less plausible (Ben Carson)."

90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fed judge rules Obama Amnesty EO unc'l on: December 16, 2014, 09:29:11 PM
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: December 16, 2014, 03:45:22 PM
Well, I'm thinking having 9 more Rep senators would have made for different results overall.

They're coming in 3 weeks, but we're funding amnesty (and Obamacare) as permanent programs that can't be removed by the new majority.  Someone stood up and called for a vote on that.  Only in Washington does that cause 88 liberal judges to get lifetime appointments.  Rules are set or changed on the whim of the majority. Then blame for the result goes to anyone who disagrees.

Don't use logic, common sense or passed laws to try to understand this.
92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: December 16, 2014, 09:21:39 AM
I'm still hearing he got played by Dingy Harry and now a bunch of nominations have gone through thanks to his (Cruz's) move.

And now 88 judges will get lifetime appointments.

I'm having a hard time believing that wasn't going to happen anyway.  That was the entire point of Harry Reid changing the Senate rules and this is their last shot.

Here is Ted Cruz on Mark Levin:
93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Ummmm , , , Teddy? on: December 15, 2014, 09:45:41 PM

I have heard this story too, but the bias throughout this report is a bit hard to swallow.
"Cruz, who almost single-handedly caused the last government shutdown"
  - Who caused the 16 day, 17% shutdown??  The people who funded the government or the people who wouldn't?

  - Whose fault is it that the vote to defund the executive action over existing law failed?

Why are R's voting to fund a Democrat budget for one year after the Republicans take the Senate?
Why does it have to be a CRomnibus no one has read instead of funding the government, department by department, line by line, through to the start of the next congress?
Why is it Republicans fault if Democrats shut the government down, again?  Because Obama and MSNBC said so?  Who cares if Obama gets a radical Surgeon General at this point?  Will they order more new laws for Republicans to fund?  3 quotes are from Lindsey Graham who favors unilaterally surrendering the filibuster back to the Democrats, immediately, anyway.

When the leaders make a deal, should everyone fall in line, no matter your view or your conscience?
Maybe the vote he forced WILL matter in 2016.  Maybe he was right about that last time.  The midterms went pretty well.
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Wesbury: Grannis and I were right, you DBMA guys were wrong on: December 15, 2014, 07:03:39 PM
Crafty is trying to stir it up again...    wink

Stocks are up because corporate profits are up; P/E's are up also.  Corporate profits are up for reasons like being able to hire fewer workers to achieve the same output (improved productivity), while over-regulation is locking out competing startups and disruptive innovation, and more money is chasing fewer companies.  It's not like the US or world economic growth is on fire.

Wesbury was right about stocks - they went up during all this time of zero interest rates and unprecedented QE.  Good for him. (Said with a little Elizabeth Warren-style sarcasm.)

Now we have "tapering", which is even more QE (at a slower rate) on top of all previous QE.  It is not a reversal of QE.

Wesbury:  "Yes, the Federal Reserve has done a massive amount of QE. And, yes, interest rates have been low. But, correlation does not equal causation."

Proof of causation isn't the question or issue.  Correlation is enough. Low interest rates accompanied QE, and if we are done with QE, then we are done low interest rates. No Latin lecture on Post hoc, ergo proptor hoc is required.  If QE and low interest rates are coming and going hand in hand, what difference does proof of causation make?

Look at it more closely.  When the federal government was in deficit in amounts of a trillion a year for multiple years, it did not have to go out and find willing buyers for all those bonds.  If they did have to, they also would have had to raise the yield way up to do that, which is the interest rate.  QE was the government "buying" their own bonds with an accounting entry, without having to first secure the funds anywhere and without having to offer an attractive interest rate to a buyer.  That looks like causation of lower interest rates to me.  Oh well.

Here is Scott Grannis trying to explain how QE is not money creation:  "I suspect that a great number of market participants and observers do not fully understand how QE works. The myth that QE means the Fed is "printing money" persists. All the Fed can do is buy bonds from banks and "pay" for them by crediting the banks' reserve account at the Fed. This is equivalent to the banks selling bonds to the Fed and simultaneously lending the money to buy them. (Zero interest is lending?  Sounds more like crony graft.) It is also equivalent to the Fed acting like a massive hedge fund, borrowing money at a short-term interest rate (0.25%) that it sets in order to buy notes and bonds. It is also equivalent to the Fed "transmogrifying" notes and bonds into T-bill substitutes. (Gruber, is that you?) No money creation is involved in the QE process. Money is only created if banks use their reserves to back up an increase in lending. Banks have only recently started to do this in earnest."  (Quote is from the comments section.)

Reserves are created out of thin air (an accounting entry) but that isn't money creation unless someone, by chance, uses that money created as money, which they are now starting to do (as of last March).  So QE IS money creation?  

Wesbury quoting Janet Yellen (December 2008):  “As Japan found during its quantitative easing program, increasing the size of the monetary base above levels needed to provide ample liquidity to the banking system had no discernible economic effects aside from those associated with communicating the Bank of Japan’s commitment to the zero interest rate policy.”  [Japan has been having nothing but economic trouble before and since Dec. 2008.  Zero interest rates screws up nearly everything and so does a lot of other unforced errors they are committing.]

(Back to Wesbury) "In other words, by ending QE, the Fed is implicitly ending its commitment to low rates. As a result, the 2-year Treasury yield has jumped from 0.31% in mid-October to 0.64%. Not because of tapering, but because rate hikes are now expected.  There is no mystery here. QE signals a low interest rate policy."

Splitting hairs to me, that sounds like causation.  

"[QE is ending,] ... interest rates will rise. That’s happening in the U.S. right now."  - Wesbury again.

On a better note, here is Wesbury caught reading the forum:
Wesbury: "What’s missing from just about every conversation about central banks is their inability to offset the damage done by excessive taxes, government spending, or regulation.

Doug, preciously: [That is] "applying the wrong solution to the wrong problem", "like putting more gas in the tank when the tires are flat".

Wesbury closes: [QE is over] That means higher interest rates are on their way.

  - Right.
95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: December 13, 2014, 12:35:09 AM
96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / A Coal Plant That Buries Its Greenhouse Gases on: December 12, 2014, 10:23:09 AM
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: December 12, 2014, 09:43:29 AM
I'm saying that your quote of her is in reference to Yemen and other countries.

SOMEONE got the idea that this meme could be blended into the Benghazi cover up, but this quote, as best as I can tell, proves nothing with regard to whom that may have been.

Fair enough.  Same thing here, HRC speaking at the Benghazi killings memorial: of the memorial service
Clinton comments occur from 16:25-17:45:
“This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing do to with."

Crafty, her separation of these events is technically valid, but her effort to merge them is pathological IMHO.  It took me multiple readings of this to see that separation as she stood over the caskets from Benghazi.

She reportedly told the victims families, we will get the people responsible for this video. No separation there.

If this isn't smoking gun material, it is at least a peak into a character flaw you wouldn't want (again) in a President.  Unlike Susan Rice, she can't say they gave me the talking points.
98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: December 11, 2014, 07:50:26 PM
Ummm , , , wouldn't this be legit with regard to events in countries other than Libya?

Interesting point.  Are you saying that makes it legit, or that it gives her cover?

The topic of the day, on that day, IMHO was Benghazi.
Pres Obama made an address with HRC at his side on Sept 12.
No mention of a video.  No mention of Yemen. etc.

By Sat. am with HRC speaking, we were back to the video.

Sunday, I watched Susan Rice to find out what happened in Benghazi, not various other protests.  Same with the questioners on the various shows.

Here is wikipedia on the "video" protests:
It was a big deal across many nations, however...  In Cairo, the leader/organizer didn't know the name of the video.  Egypt's prime minister Hesham Kandil said "a number" of protesters later confessed to getting paid to participate.  None had seen the video; organizers were trying to show protesters the trailer.  Yemen was a copycat and most of the others followed that..  Benghazi was an organized terror attack.  My point is that this video did NOT cause these protests.  The video trailer was a pretense to protest.

Back to Hillary.  My point is that she and/or her people likely wrote the 'blame the video' script.  But let's take it the other way around; take her at her word.  The video IS to blame.  This is the prequel to empathy for the terrorists.  It is something WE are doing that makes them want to kill us.  In the Sept 13 remarks and when she met the deceased families, she vowed to get the video maker, not the terrorists.  That view is not a political winner.  Take down free speech; leave terrorists in place.  Seems to me these views or her sloppy expressions leave her politically culpable.

99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary gave video talking point before the White House gave them to Susan Rice on: December 11, 2014, 10:49:35 AM
Sec Clinton:  I want to say a few words about the events unfolding in the world today. We are closely watching what is happening in Yemen and elsewhere, and we certainly hope and expect that there will be steps taken to avoid violence and prevent the escalation of protests into violence.  I also want to take a moment to address the video circulating on the Internet that has led to these protests in a number of countries."

WSJ reported on her remarks at 11:34 am ET, Sep 13, 2012, Saturday morning.

The barrage of Susan Rice appearances occurred Sunday, Sept 14, 2012.  Those talking points were given to Rice on Saturday afternoon, Sept 13, 2014.  Rice was asked late in the day Friday to be the White House mouthpiece.
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ramesh Ponnuru: Getting beyond Obamacare, Replace it! on: December 11, 2014, 09:48:33 AM
Very important piece, IMHO.  He discusses the balancing act Republicans will face as they attempt to undo this mess.  The public disapproves of Obamacare, but doesn't want empty repeal with a return to all that was wrong before.  And conservatives will revolt if they see Republicans acting like Democrats, tinkering around the edges or replacing with their own government monstrosity.  Not having a plan isn't going to work any longer.  Take the best of the market driven, conservative plans and start making the positive case for change. 
Getting beyond Obamacare 
It’s time to make the case for replacing it, not fixing it. 
By Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, December 8, 2014
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