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5101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: October 03, 2011, 10:18:43 PM
CCP,  My advice is just read Wesbury for the facts.  Statements like highest in 3 months remind me that one of my salesmen told the owner of our company that we doubled our sales last year in our division and won a national award.  He was surprised to hear the reaction that two times sh*t is still sh*t.  We were not their largest division.

Wesbury missed the crash of 2000, so did every other prognosticator except the ones who missed the entire runup to it.  Greenspan for one called it irrational exuberance in December 1996 - the tech crash began in March 2000.  Qualcomm for one went up 2400% in 1999.  Anyone following the doomsayers missed that, and remember fiber optic supplier JDSU IIRC had a billion dollars in the bank and all fiber optic companies had triple digit industry growth forecasts at the time the market came  down.  I had my largest fiber optic contract during that time - in the re-building of Kuwait.

"Get twenty economists in a room and they will give different ideas about where the economy is going."

Yes, or worse they will all give you a forecast within a couple of percent of consensus and they will all be right or all be wrong.  What I'm saying is that forecasting is done by looking out the rear view mirror.  No one has a window into the future. Take the facts from Wesbury and discount the prognostications.  Wesbury is only alleging something like 1% growth.  Breakeven growth is something like 3.1% growth.  If this economy is seriously coming out of its tailspin it would be growing at 4+% sustained growth.  It isn't.  Wesbury is only saying that the growth rate is not negative by accepted measurement standards. IMO, when counting the trillions of injected money diluting our currency and lowering our future standard of living, in reality we are moving backwards right now - at a frightening pace.  
5102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: October 03, 2011, 10:26:13 AM
Obama's tax policy:  Take from the millionaires...and give it to the trillionaires.
5103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: October 03, 2011, 10:23:20 AM
Crony capitalism socialism.

Even socialism implies a more equal outcome than having your government take from you to prop up your competitor.
5104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 03, 2011, 09:55:14 AM
CCP, Yes.  At this point let him go down with no one else in waiting to carry that torch.

One positive sign from the Cain media blitz:  In his one word type answers about his rivals, about Newt Gingrich he said "Brilliant".

Newt is brilliant but Newt needs a boss.  He will make a great policy adviser to the Cain administration, or whoever wins.  Someone with wisdom needs to pick from the best of the Newt ideas and follow them to conclusion.
5105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: October 03, 2011, 09:47:14 AM
"How are ordinary people to protect themselves from this war on savings and money itself?"

Change course.   smiley

Unfortunately, ordinary people right now don't have savings.  Open equity lines with low interest became the new savings and now people have neither.
5106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, We don't have a Dem nominee yet either on: October 03, 2011, 09:31:05 AM
One point picked up only by Dick Morris so far is that if Obama were to not run or lose in 2012 he would be a relatively young man and still eligible to run for President in the future.  Ex-presidents have good perks, can sell books and speeches and have a pretty easy lifestyle.  I'm sure he preferred being the critic to being the one responsible.  The wife some say is sick of the routine, most recently sent strategically to shop at Target while tipping off AP cameramen is about as low as it gets.  The shoes she wore to the homeless shelter and the clothes she wore on the Spanish villa vacation do not come from Target.  Several ex-Presidents have looked better out than they did in office.  We know that he has more state by state polling than we do and we know it isn't pretty.  There was nothing Republicans could done other than govern better to win in 2006.  There was nothing Dems could have done to win in 2010 other than to have governed better. He has the economic forecasts.  He knows the score as well as anyone.  His JOBS plan is DOA even with Senate Democrats.  Other than adopt an Athur Laffer agenda, what does he have left to turn this around, stimulus no. 8?  Even if he wins based only on personal appeal he will have a Republican House and a Republican Senate and near zero approval of his economic agenda.  The first two years of the second term is a lousy time to be doing nothing but vetoes and fighting off the agenda of a congress he used to control.  He is not exactly the new guy with charisma fresh out from under the Greek columns anymore.  We don't have inside the party divisiveness of 1968 but in terms of timing, LBJ did not drop out until after he won the New Hampshire primary and Bobby Kennedy who had the best chance of winning did not announce his candidacy until mid-March of election year.

At this point, what could revive his popularity better than saying he wants to spend more time with his family.  Those girls, they grow up so fast.
5107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, Cain supported TARP on: October 02, 2011, 10:36:29 PM
I wrote about TARP and the other stimuli here:

TARP did some questionable things like bail out investment houses and money to foreign central banks, but it also attempted quash the panic and prop up financial insured banks that could have followed what already fell.  For what was known then and for what advice he would have gotten from his trusted people  inside the Fed as former head of the Kansas City Fed, it is a sign that he wasn't an ideological purist. It wasn't as bad as Stimulus 2-7 but it was a flawed deal. I would probably forgive either side of this issue in the heat of the panic.  Bush, McCain, Obama, Bernancke, Summers, Paulsen, Volcker, Geithner and all the expert staffers supported this as necessary to avoid meltdown.  As Cain suggests, hardly the place to draw a hard line in 2011-2012 to say Cain is a big government liberal.  In fact it could be Cain bringing up a difference with tea party purists in an attempt to start reaching toward the center.
In other Cain news, the media blitz is on, Leno:

Cain on ABC This Week:
5108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics, Bond Vigilantes on: October 02, 2011, 12:42:57 PM
My understanding is that back when the Fed operated under some set of rules, markets dictated interest rates.  Prices and yields of Treasury bonds today are not real because, as he put it, "the Fed's huge expansion of the monetary base" and that a good part of the rest is going to central banks who are looking for storage of funds more than yield.  If we had to sell debt up to the entire revenue shortfall, interests rates would be through the roof.  he is right that the masking of the underlying problem enables it to continue and escalate and he shows how it causes other problems, the pension system collapse and the drying up of private lending and investment as examples prolonging and worsening what is already wrong.  It is a ticking time bomb. 

He says in closing: "Perhaps Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke should think more about how the Fed's near-zero interest rate policy has undermined fiscal discipline while corrupting the operation of the nation's financial markets."

Yes, but when tight money precedes growth policies, like when Paul Volcker tightened while Tip O'Neill's congress delayed tax cuts, the temporary unemploymentsurge was huge.  Today it would be catastrophic.  We need to solve both.
5109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: October 02, 2011, 12:00:21 PM
"All true, but also worth noting is how bad the Republican offering was.  For example, just what do you think McCain would have done for/to the economy?"

I am no McCain fan, but he would have been less than half as bad on economics.  He would not obviously have pursued Pelosi-ObamaCare which is the number one tax and regulatory burden sitting out there killing off hiring and growth.  He would floundered through half of a stimulus, he would have taken half this long to get good economic advice. 

His approval rating would be worse now than Obama because of the pounding of stories about a bad economy and 3 wars even though unemployment might be at 7% instead of 9% and it would now be the Republicans losing seats and facing a bad election cycle for an economy half as bad.

Ironically, things would be better but our prospects for the future would be worse.  Obama would have an 80% approval as opposition leader if he had lost to McCain and Palin, would be a shoe-in for 2012 and we would still have this train wreck coming.

As it happened for the last 4 Presidents, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama, bad leadership strengthened their opposition more than their own agenda.
5110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Crony Fascism continued: Govt still investing in Solar on: October 02, 2011, 11:30:45 AM
This piece drifts across other topics, especially energy, but is first and foremost IMO about our misguided government picking winners(losers) and losers in any industry.  Though he is pointing out truths that should be self evident, perhaps you should  disregard because author Walter Russell Mead who teaches American foreign policy at Yale has a blog.  Also he is biased, an admitted Democrat who voted for Obama.

My question is about the government program, why are we doing this?  Forget that it will fail for certain, Why do they get billions taken from other people doing honest work including future generations?  Why can they build plants on public land on the rest of us can't?  These programs are morally and constitutionally wrong.
Walter Russell Mead's Blog
October 1, 2011

As the Energy Department hustled to get another $4.7 billion in loan guarantees for green tech companies out the door before time ran out and the program ended last week, yet another solar panel manufacturer was wilting in the sun, and the green jobs scam was looking more threadbare than ever. Says the WSJ:

    Solar-power equipment manufacturer Stirling Energy Systems Inc. has filed for bankruptcy, adding to a wave of troubles in the solar industry amid soft demand, falling prices and difficulty raising money. [… ] Both [of the company’s plants] were sited on public land in California and obtained fast-track construction permits from the Obama administration.

    The filing is the latest in a string of U.S. solar company bankruptcies, as soft global demand for solar power, falling prices and a glut of solar panels from Asia have hammered manufacturers.

Surprise, surprise: the American “green energy” industry faces much the same problems as everyone else in this economy. Solar firms still have to compete with Chinese labor (and massive Chinese government subsidies further enhanced by cheap Chinese currency).

But there’s another factor behind the failure of so many Obama administration initiatives in this field.  Because alternative energy generation is expensive and inefficient, it requires some combination of subsidies, high energy prices and forced purchases to make these investments pay off.

The Solyndra guarantee and related programs were all developed back in the heady early days of the Obama administrations when delusional greens thought their global agenda was on the verge of being realized.  Cap and trade and other aggressive energy policies would artificially jack up energy prices in the US to the point where demand for solar and other alternative energy would grow.  The global carbon treaty would provide a permanent source of demand for green energy.

The political assumptions underlying the green investment boomlet turned out to be false.  There will be no global carbon regime for the foreseeable future; there will be no cap and trade and no aggressive federal programs to raise energy prices during the deepest recession since World War Two.

Perhaps even worse from the green point of view, a cascade of discoveries and technological advances has dramatically increased the supplies of oil and gas in the western hemisphere — including huge new domestic energy supplies in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and upstate New York.  These discoveries are devastating to the politics of the environmental movement.

There will be the usual NIMBY-motivated opposition (some of it justified) to frakking and to oil and gas pipelines, but overall millions more Americans are going to be economically tied to domestic energy production and they will not want their congressional representatives voting against the industry on which their paychecks depend.  Nor will they support presidential candidates who promise to eliminate their jobs.  It will not just be the people who work in the extraction business who feel this way.  Those who supply the industry, those who operate pipelines, those who sell goods and services to gas and oil workers: they will form a powerful phalanx of pro-oil and gas interests that will reach far beyond Texas.

At the same time, key environmental arguments will be seriously weakened.  The western hemisphere looks set to become energy independent for the foreseeable future; the US is moving steadily away from the dependence on Middle Eastern oil that makes many national security experts think green.  Importing from Canada just isn’t the same kind of problem as importing from Iraq.

The question of supply and peak oil will also recede; with new technologies and new discoveries coming so quickly, fewer people will feel the need to make large financial sacrifices now in order to prevent huge oil shortage and massive price hikes in the near term.

Increasingly, the climate change argument will be the only argument left to support subsidies for alternative energy generation.  That argument has not been enough to make far reaching legal changes in the past when national security and peak oil worries supported it; there is not much to suggest that the climate change forces can win the political battle standing alone.

The collapse of the green political structure (cap and trade plus global carbon treaty) and the transformation of the American fossil fuel supply have dramatically weakened the case for alternative energy.  Investors take heed.
5111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama's latest economic proposals: More of the Same Old Change on: October 02, 2011, 11:09:58 AM

More of the Same Old Change
Obama's latest economic proposals are just like the earlier ones, only worse.


In the last few years, as promised, the Obama administration has fundamentally transformed America. Our country is now in serious decline. Income is lower, unemployment is higher, jobs are fewer, government is much larger. Federal spending is way up, and America's economic status is way down, as is the global view of our country and our economy. Hardly anyone sees any sign of economic recovery or improvement.

A look at long-term unemployment shows just how bad our economy is. Look at the Labor Department data on the number of Americans 16 and older unemployed for 52 weeks or more during the five most recent recessions:

1976   750,000
1982 1,600,000
1994 1,200,000
2004 1,100,000
2010 4,300,000

Total government spending averaged about 19% of gross domestic product from 1996 to 2007 and rose to about 21% in 2008. In the three years of the Obama administration, it has soared to 25%.

The administration is focused on its increasing control of health care, propping up labor unions, increasing taxes, and expanding the scope and size of government. In the first 70 years of the 20th century, American and European economic growth increased together, but then the Europeans shifted toward socialism, and their growth lagged. But with America is rapidly moving toward the European model, we are starting to see its detrimental impact.

President Obama's recent spending and tax policy proposals would only make things worse. He wants to increase the federal deficit by increasing spending and providing some targeted, but short term, payroll tax cuts. At a time when we need to bring the federal deficit down, his plan would actually increase it by $447 billion over the next year or two. But Mr. Obama has promised this increase will be "paid for," and has proposed a series of permanent tax increases to do that.

But our economy is already facing significant increases in taxes. First will be the end of the Bush tax cuts in December 2012. And because of ObamaCare, starting in 2013 taxpayers making more than $200,000 will pay an additional 3.8% on investment and interest income, another substantial tax increase.

We face other increases as well. The new Obama proposals include reduced itemized deductions allowed for any individuals earning more than $200,000 a year ($250,000 for married couples). In addition to what lower mortgage deductions might mean for our economy, think of the inevitable impact on charitable giving. What a reduction in deductions for charitable giving implies is a government plan that takes some of the money that would go to charity and instead funnels it to federal government spending--a serious step backwards.

The president also has proposed what he calls the "Buffett rule." He hasn't specified how it would work, but its purpose is to make sure millionaires pay higher income taxes. It would likely increase taxes on investment income, but in our current poor economy the last thing our economy needs is higher taxes on business investment.

And tax rate increases often bring in reduced tax dollars. The Cato Institute's Alan Reynolds showed in his recent Wall Street Journal piece that the 28% tax rate on long-term capital gains brought in $36.9 billion a year from 1987 to 1997, while the current 15% rate in 2004 to 2007 brought in $96.8 billion per year. Which once again shows that lower tax rates can get higher government tax revenues.

Add in higher taxes on the oil industry ($40 billion), jet plane owners ($3 billion), and hedge fund managers with carried interest ($18 billion), and you can see the basic effort of the Obama administration against people and industries. Last December when the president extended the Bush tax cuts, he acknowledged that tax hikes both slow economic growth and deter job creation, something he seems to have forgotten.

The higher taxes on energy producers are particularly discouraging, given the importance of energy to our economic recovery and the administration's continued clampdown on energy production. In another measure that is counterproductive to economic growth, the Obama plan includes extending benefits for the long-term unemployed, even though studies show that long term employment benefits raise the unemployment rate from 0.5 to 1.5 percentage points.

President Obama has said that "everything in [his new] bill will be paid for--everything," and that it "will not add to the deficit." But it will be paid for in the future, and the president is saying we should add some more to the deficit now in return for promises of future spending.

All these programs do not look good for the future of America or its people, for as American Enterprise Institute's Director of economic policy Kevin Hassett said earlier this month, the Obama administration's position "throughout this recovery has been that the U.S. can have the highest corporate tax on earth, a big regulatory crackdown, and a vast expansion of labor-union power and still expect a positive jobs story because of cash-for-clunkers and green jobs. This jobs report indicates how much damage that view has done."

In the end, the newest Obama proposals are proof that his recent centrist posturing was just that, posturing. The new proposals are a continuation of the old Obama policies, policies that sadly have extended the recession, stifled economic growth, and will, for some years, have weakened America.

Author is chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis and former Governor of Delaware
5112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: September 30, 2011, 07:49:33 PM
JDN, The expert you dismiss is NPR's energy expert, NPR is hardly an oil industry mouthpiece and what she says doesn't favor or oppose the oil industry in any way.  She is the same one they have turned to for years including during last year's oil spill crisis.  She is head of the Energy Forum and the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy Energy Forum at Rice University in Houston, apparently a place that doesn't check credentials. All she was giving was an opinion and an ESTIMATE of something that can't be known for certain.  Post the opinion of a different expert if you want but, instead you aim to bring down the discussion and learning, shoot the messenger, insult me, name call my sources and misread my posts. I wasn't even the original poster.  You ignore my challenge to tell me where the people you dismiss as biased bloggers let bias interfere with facts.  you could show me where they were wrong just once in all their disputes with CBS, NY Times and others.  Instead just more insults and repetition.  You dismiss what is already posted without acknowledging it or refuting it and repeat back what was already shown to be false.  For me that is too many times that you brought down the discussion (what additional information has been added regarding the boom in Williston? none) and spoil the fun of participating here.    - Doug
5113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: September 30, 2011, 11:12:17 AM
in the United States, “proven oil reserves” is a legal term, not a scientific term. It is defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission

The information you dispute links back to the SEC, FYI.

Biased blogger?  Please give one example of an uncorrected falsehood posted the person whose integrity you attack.

If a "biased blogger brought you that correction of widely dispersed bunk, (actually I brought it to you) you should thank him rather than post and link further falsehoods put out by swarms of highly credentialed.  

I recall that Dan Rather took on the same biased blogger over accuracy and bias and lost.

You commented quantitatively on the amount of reserves but failed your own credentials check.  Please retract.
5114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: September 30, 2011, 10:32:45 AM
I'm sorry but I never heard what your degree is in.  If all learning occurs in accredited grad schools, what are we doing here?  The adventure has stopped for a credentials check.

Why would the oil industry want you to think there is more oil in the ground than there is?  Tight supplies, shortage panics leading to high prices are what boosted profits.  - DM, PhD, Oil Exploration Economics, IU (imaginary University)

While 'debunking' new information, you link bunk.  Did you refute and I missed it or did you ignore what I posted in this thread just 2 1/1 weeks ago:

"In Saudi Arabia, for example, “proven oil reserves” are whatever the government announces they are.

But in the United States, “proven oil reserves” is a legal term, not a scientific term. It is defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission. We wrote about this in detail in Obama’s Long Nose On Energy. This is the definition, unique to United States law, of “proven oil reserves:”

    Proved reserves. The quantities of hydrocarbons estimated with reasonable certainty to be commercially recoverable from known accumulations under current economic conditions, operating methods, and government regulations. Current economic conditions include prices and costs prevailing at the time of the estimate. Estimates of proved reserves do not include reserves appreciation."
5115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / There is no such thing as “good” governmental cronyism. on: September 30, 2011, 10:02:18 AM
First, the Walter WIlliams quote above in the thread is right on the money.
Refusing to use the term crony c*pitalism anymore for what is not at all capitalism, this topic could always go under corruption, but at its heart it is just another failed government program doing enormous damage to out economic foundations.  At its core it violates the freedom of equal protection under the law when you all-knowing, all-powerful government picks your winners and losers for you.

John Hinderacker at Powerline yesterday:

The Trouble With Crony Capitalism

Yesterday the Department of Energy approved $1 billion in new loan guarantees to “green energy” companies. Drudge is headlining the fact that, as reported by Mark Hemingway in the Weekly Standard, most of that amount–$737 million–is going to SolarReserve LLC for a solar-thermal project in Nevada. SolarReserve’s “investment partners”–I take it that means owners–include the Pacific Corporate Group’s Clean Energy and Technology Fund. One of Pacific Corporate Group’s principals is Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law, Ronald Pelosi. Another of SolarReserve’s owners is Argonaut Private Equity, whose managing director, Steve Mitchell, is on Solyndra’s board of directors.

My guess is that government underwriting of SolarReserve’s project is a horrible idea. But suppose it isn’t: who is going to believe that the Obama administration wasn’t influenced by Pelosi’s brother-in-law’s involvement in the project? Likewise, who will believe that Democratic donor George Kaiser’s involvement in Solyndra was irrelevant to the government’s misbegotten support for that company? Hemingway writes that “t’s increasingly hard to tell the government’s green jobs subsidies apart from the Democrats’ friends and family rewards program.” That’s true, and whether “green energy” corruption is real or only perceived, it breeds cynicism and erodes trust in government–which, not coincidentally, is at an all-time low.

But the problem goes deeper still. When the federal government gets into the business of picking winners and losers among private businesses, it is easy to identify the winners–they are companies like Solyndra and SolarReserve that get government money or loan guaranties. But what about the losers? A much larger number of companies who don’t get federal money are in that category, and how will we ever know who they are, let alone know whether they were losers because someone involved in them is a Republican donor?

There is no such thing as “good” crony capitalism. Once the government gets into the business of favoring some private businesses over others, the results can only be bad, and not only, or even primarily, because of the loans that wind up costing the taxpayers.
5116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stephen Moore - Flat Is the New Fair on: September 29, 2011, 11:47:53 PM
Pres. Obama accidentally stepped in it.

Steve Forbes: "You know it ends all this crony capitalism in Washington. From now on, if Obama invites you to the White House, you'd know it's because he really loves you."
The Wall Street Journal
SEPTEMBER 30, 2011

Flat Is the New Fair
Is President Obama paving the way for GOP tax reform?


'Suddenly, liberal Democrats are making the same argument about the tax code that I've been making for 20 years," laughs former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey. "Welcome to the party." Mr. Armey, who along with Steve Forbes has been the torch bearer for the flat tax since the early 1990s, believes that the latest applause line from President Obama that "billionaires should pay the same tax rate as janitors" may be the political gateway to sweeping tax reform.

Mr. Forbes sees an opening here too and says: "The flat tax is the perfect issue for these times. It fixes the economy and doesn't cost a dime." He's right. It's the teed-up GOP response to a jobless recovery and the near-universal sentiment among voters that the tax code is corrupt beyond repair.

That case is inadvertently helped as Mr. Obama and his new best friend, billionaire Warren Buffett, barnstorm the country trashing the tax system for, as the Oracle of Omaha puts it, "coddling the super rich." In truth, the system isn't nearly as skewed in favor of those at the top of the income pyramid as they allege: Today the top 1% pay 38% of the income tax. But in Washington, perception drives policy. The virtue of a flat tax with no deductions is that it provides an ironclad guarantee that the rich pay no lower a tax rate than janitors and secretaries.

This past summer the Senate Budget Committee, which is run by Democrats, reported that 26.5% of all tax deductions and credits are taken by those with incomes in the top 1% on the wealth scale. Cleaning out the attic of decades of these loopholes and using the savings to lower the tax rate ensures that Mr. Buffett, Bill Gates and Lady Gaga pay their fair share.

Mr. Obama complains in his budget that it's not fair that the rich get to deduct 35% for their mansions and charitable receipts, while the middle class deducts only 15% or 20%. But that's the collateral damage from a multitiered tax-rate system.

Democrat Kent Conrad of North Dakota, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, says that loopholes are "subsidies, and subsidies are not the type of thing that you want for an efficient market system." He sounds like Milton Friedman there and he proposes to reduce "tax expenditures" by 17%.

Why stop there? Republicans should counter-offer: We see your 17% and raise it to 100%.

Done correctly, the flat tax eliminates all double taxation of saving and investment. But if liberals won't accept a lower tax rate for capital gains and dividends, perhaps the grand deal in Washington could be to tax everything at 16% or 17%.

Democrats have come to a different conclusion: They want to get rid of the deductions and raise tax rates at the same time. When has that ever worked? The near 100-year history of the tax code teaches this inviolable law of politics: The higher the tax rate, the more tax carve-outs there will be for yacht owners. That is why the rich paid a smaller share of the income tax in the early 1960s when the top tax rate was 91%, and in the 1970s with a 70% rate, than they do today with a 35% rate.

That's why the flat tax is the fairest tax of all. The combination of a single tax rate with a family-size allowance—shielding, say, the first $35,000 of income for a family of four—ensures that everyone would pay the same marginal tax rate above that level. A family of four with an income of $70,000 would pay an average tax rate of about 8.5%, whereas the members of the Buffett billionaire club would pay 17%.

Why aren't Republicans in Congress and in the presidential race making this case? Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman have tax rate reform proposals that move toward a flatter tax. But the candidate who comes closest to a true flat tax is Herman Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO. His argument for a "9-9-9" plan puts the current income and payroll taxes in the shredder and replaces them with a 9% personal income tax with no deductions, a 9% net business income tax, and a 9% national sales tax.

That would be rocket fuel for the economy, though the combination of a federal sales tax and an income tax is a big worry. But at least Mr. Cain has super-sized solutions to an economy with super-sized problems.

"I keep waiting for a Republican candidate to take the plunge," says a half-frustrated Steve Forbes. Then he adds one more flat tax selling point: "You know it ends all this crony capitalism in Washington. From now on, if Obama invites you to the White House, you'd know it's because he really loves you."
5117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nature- Dolphins, Waterfall on: September 29, 2011, 11:12:22 PM
Photos from National Geographic. The ecosystems are alive and well!

Waterfall in Iceland:
5118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential- Newt Contract on: September 29, 2011, 10:59:34 PM
I heard Newt interviewed today.  Newt is on a roll.  He should be the policy writer and tactician for whoever is the nominee.  He has it all mapped out down to the exact day he will release the exact wording of no less than 50 and no more than 200 executive orders he will be issuing if he is the nominee and if he is the President - while the others bicker about each others' past errors.

When does it become old news that he was cheating on his second wife during impeachment, and sat down on a park bench with Nancy Peloisi to tell us all we need to come together over emissions and warming.  I don't know which was worse.  The mindset of the latter is certainly one of the causes of current malaise and the personal stuff puts him on a level with would be President Gary Hart.

I still want to weave together the good qualities of each into one.
5119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: September 29, 2011, 03:28:03 PM
A rough translation from the espanol thread:

It is unfortunate that the popularity of this thread is due to the wickedness of our leaders, especially that of Hugo Chavez.

The story these last 12 years could have been how the Venezuelan voters rejected Chavez and moved instead boldly in the direction of individual liberty and private enterprise and transformed a nation of oil wealth, high literacy rates and strategic location into one of the freest and fastest growing economies on the planet.  Can't change history but how about from here forward...
5120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 29, 2011, 02:54:59 PM
I don't plan to write longer posts to placate people who pretend there is no context.  Modern Israel is a fact.  It is a country.  It is a U.S. ally.  It has borders, laws, leaders and elections.  It is a U.N. member state.  They have a flag at the Olympics.  Why are we still BSing around with this?  Israel exists.  Those who say they don't recognize that are saying they seek to destroy them and they don't hide that fact in any way.  They are not wishing to take out one specific regime like forcing Saddam out of power after he attacked four of his neighbors or Germany and Japan in WWII.  They hate them for who they are, not for what they've done. They seek to destroy a nation and all its people.  But that is not black and white? 

At least I learned a new word, nonversation.
5121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 29, 2011, 12:19:08 PM
If you correctly took my question to be an analogy then it would necessarily include the fact that you were under actual attacks for decades with bombs sent in and exploding from your neighbors, unless you deny those facts.  That big player that is partly on your side is far away and not doing anything to stop those attacks.  If you believe in your right to exist, you defend yourself in all that entails.

Does or does not Israel have a right to exist?  (Rhetorical, I have already heard your non-answer.)

Do you or do you not have a right to exist?  (Already answered with a wishy-washy negative.)  I disagree.  I am pro-death penalty, but up until conviction by your peers beyond reasonable doubt of an extremely heinous crime and exhausting all available appeals, I support your right to exist.
5122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 29, 2011, 12:01:16 PM
For the internal workings of business, I like Cain's experience better than Romney.  For overall business experience I would call it a draw - between those two.  It is a big deal though that Cain has not run a winning campaign and has not yet adapted his executive experience to public sector management which is very different.

I heard Romney on the radio yesterday and he was way off topic IMO using canned and tested lines against his opponents.  Perry is saying and retracting that if you disagree on subsidized tuition policy, you don't have a heart.   Cain is saying at this point he could not support Perry.  If Perry is the nominee, who would he vote for?? FYI to Romney and the others for the umpteenth time, your opponent is leftist economics, not the in-state issues in Texas or anywhere else.

I don't recall candidate Reagan saying that his rival George H.W. Bush made mistakes during the wealth of administrative positions he held leading up to his Presidential run.  I recall candidate Reagan spelling out what was wrong with current policy and laying out his agenda for rebuilding the country by unleashing the freedom and creativity of individuals and private enterprise.
5123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 29, 2011, 11:41:04 AM
The electoral college piece is interesting.  What it means is that Republicans won't win if the election is roughly a tie.  They need to win by defeating the opponent, offering better ideas and persuasively and effectively winning hearts and minds decisively, not just show up.  So far, the campaigns mostly look intent on just showing up and nitpicking each other.  

A Republican can win in many of those hard blue states like Minnesota, even California or New York, but the point within electoral college analysis is that if they win those, it wouldn't matter because they would have already gone far past 270 votes by winning the divided states.  

I see it differently.  Margin of victory matters enormously in governing.  The best example was probably Reagan winning 44 states in 1980.  By winning Massachusetts, New York, California etc he was able to set the agenda and govern.  Another example is Obama 2008.  He doesn't get healthcare if he barely won or had lost the House or Senate in the process.

The serious changes we need now will not happen if it ends in an even split - no matter who wins.  

1980 map below, failed incumbent versus an ideological, pro-growth conservative.  Take away the home states of Carter and Mondale and it looks more like his 49 state win in reelection:
5124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 29, 2011, 10:53:51 AM
I knew I was wasting my time.  embarassed

Amazing to get locked into a viewpoint so rigidly that you won't even admit YOUR right to exist.  A way of thinking we call 'centrism'??

Good luck.
5125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 29, 2011, 09:54:41 AM
"the "right to exist" is not a black and white concept"
  - Really, it is.

"It is hard to define."
   - No, it isn't.  A disputed border or foreign policy issue maybe, but the right to exist is a yes or it is a no.

Under American law, how do you feel about your right to exist?  Is it not a  bigger and starker issue if your neighbors all vow to kill you, destroy you and move your house off the map, than restrictions let's say on the the setback of your side yard or the height of your fence?

The Palestinian question should be enlarged to re-certify all the nations denying Israel's right to exist. I heard our ambassador to Israel just say (if I heard him correctly) that at a recent point in time something like 21 of the last 26 UN resolutions were about condemning Israel. Here is a list of 224 of them:   Other than the strength of the hatred they face, is Israel really the most dangerous and threatening country on earth?  Is self defense threatening?  Or is the UN, who accepted the regimes of Libya and Syria to serve on the UN Human Rights commission, the most misguided institution on earth?
5126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Implosion coverage: Pres. Obama losing Jewish vote, Black support also tanking on: September 28, 2011, 10:06:36 PM
"Disapproval among Jewish voters exceeded approval of Obama's presidency for the first time during the current administration. Jewish approval of Obama’s performance as president declined to 45%, with another 48% disapproving and 7% undecided.",7340,L-4128190,00.html

Black support dropped from 98% at election time to 58% approval today.  Washington Post/ABC News poll:

"With only 26 percent of Americans approving of Obama's handling of the economy..."
   - Who are these 26%?  Can we give them a lie detector test?

Dick Morris speculates Obama may not stand for reelection.  Join the club.  I was saying that when approvals were in the 70s.  Stranger things have happened.
5127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: September 28, 2011, 02:54:05 PM
I take that Wesbury report as a mixed bag, some measures up, some down.  What we call his relentless bullishness is really just some positive spin on a sick, but fairly stable economy.  We are lucky that there are some signs of life out there if you look closely enough.  Unemployment is not getting better or worse lately.  The future keeps getting worse in the sense that a) we are going to owe a whole hell of a lot more than we did when we finally get out of this malaise, b) our currency is being undermined, therefore our wealth will be eroding long past the beginnings of real recovery, and c) we have not done anything yet to address any of the underlying problems.

It is a matter of definitions to point to anything like 0.1% or 1.0%  growth for examples and say this is no recession.  He may be technically correct but people know that what quacks like a duck is really a duck.
5128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: September 28, 2011, 01:00:46 PM
For JDN, you keep mixing and matching CO2 with pollutants, as do so many others.  Fine, but when you make that jump you are weighing in on global warming and causation. No indication that you read or believe the numbers I posted.  That's fine too. Would love to be disproven if false on those miniscule amounts of CO2 elevation and alleged total warming that I cited that are being used to justify anti-economic, anti-freedom policies.  The shoreline in Florida has not moved and wildfires are not new in Texas.
GM, This passage of yours made me think of the ancient city of Atlantis - still lost - as compared to New Orleans now re-built or the national recovery from the amazing tsunami in Japan.  People in my neck of the woods are having record business years (3M) shipping safety equipment in large quantities by petroleum powered jet air freight what Pompei had no shot at.

"Also for the people living without an advanced electrical grid and petrochemical energy resources, they are much more vulnerable to extreme weather and natural disasters. Imagine the preindustrial cities in the US and europe..."

It takes resources and it takes energy to solve problems.  The global warming scare is all about limiting our use of known energy and in quest for a less prosperous, more equal civilization.  In fact the reverse strategy, allowing more freedom and building a more prosperous economy actually takes you further toward better health and safety.
5129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Physics on: September 28, 2011, 12:29:54 PM
Explaining someone else's joke is dangerous territory, good chance of screwing up.  The joke writers can correct me or build on this. 

In layman's terms, the theory of relativity is about things that happen really fast - messing with the concept of time as we know it - all based on the speed of light, a constant, which is now being challenged. Arrive at your train destination before you departed, that kind of thing... The tachyon is some sub atomic particle that scientists are messing with to violate the limits of the speed of light and threatening Einstein's great theory.  In comes the old joke line, like the priest and the rabbi or the man and his dog go into a bar and the bartender says..., only this time the events are happening in reverse order, messing with our concept of time.

A bartender says "Hey!  We don't serve tachyons in this establishment".
Two tachyons walk into a bar.

5130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 28, 2011, 12:19:04 PM
Agree, Dennis Miller is a good endorsement for Cain.  He has a good radio show, good audience - worse times I think than the bigger shows, he has good guests, good insights and he is what I would call a common sense conservative - a talented guy.  The guys with bigger radio shows than his mostly don't endorse, nor do most good columnists or pundits this early, in time to make a difference.  Cain, Romney, Perry, they all need people of some notice to start joining their side.  Romney got Pawlenty, oh well.  Perry has Bobby Jindahl.  The huge one for Obama was actually Oprah in time for Iowa.  Probably didn't help her career but she went out on a limb and it certainly helped his to gain traction and more endorsements.
5131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: September 28, 2011, 11:59:00 AM
JDN,  (Jumping in late to what should have been dropped?) What I took from the article in context of the current global warming info and debate, warming is about 0.8 degrees Kelvin total over the entire history of fossil fuel use.  Admitting that has nothing to do with whether you believe man's component is a 0.01 degree component or a 0.1 degree component or none of it.  The alarmists predicted (did you see the movie?) the oceans will rise and the polars will melt and the ocean front location will move inland by hundreds of miles and that people will perish etc.  THAT is what politicians and editorialists tell us is the CONSENSUS.  

What I took from the Reason piece is that these observations don't match that theory. (It's the end of the world as we know, to R.E.M. music) Warming in the amounts of tenths of a degree per century especially if it was naturally caused and ended over 10 years ago instead of accelerating out of control as predicted does not threaten mankind or planet earth.

JDN as I understand it, you set up a straw man.  The article doesn't prove there was no global warming.  It wasn't supposed to.  "Garbage" if the premise was that it proves or disproves something specific. It wasn't.  It just shows vague evidence that we are experiencing situation normal here on planet earth, year after year, in spite of all we do that is wrong.  Mankind and earth's ability to adapt is remarkable; that was their point.  You even quoted it.
There is a website called that posts great articles and studies relating to living in a world where the atmospheric level of CO2 has grown by a whopping total of ... one part per ten thousand per century?    Elevated CO2 levels (on that scale) are a fact.  Causation and consequences are topics of study.  They find out things like that elevated CO2 levels enhance plant growth, every indoor hydroponic grower already knows that, and that process consumes more CO2 and exhales more Oxygen (O2).  Anyone who enjoys the fresh oxygen of a walk through a forest is going to love planet earth over the next century - with perhaps one more part per ten thousand per century of oxygen to breathe.  smiley
5132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Cain continued on: September 28, 2011, 10:10:04 AM
"Cain later completed a master's degree in computer science and entered the business world where he led several companies--most recently Godfather's--and chaired the National Restaurant Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. His résumé--from mathematician and rocket scientist to restaurateur and now politician"

Crafty: "That is a far more interesting resume than most people realize..."
Even that impressive list skips over a couple of very big ones: He rose to VP at CocaCola - that's a pretty good employer (understatement) if you are from the Atlanta area.  And he was my neighbor 6 years when he rose to VP of Minneapolis based Pillsbury, quite a legend of a global company at least in that day and around these parts.  Either of those stints alone is a business background better than almost anyone in politics in memory. Romney or Romney's father may be among  the rare other exceptions.  (

Masters in computer science (from Purdue!) at that point in time was rocket science.  It was a look into the future from the very leading edge and seeing what could be done in a most amazing industry; what they saw then has now been done.  Mathematics as a degree is one that applies across all disciplines.  Not exactly fluff like most.  The constitutional office of President would do well to have more of its occupants trained in a discipline that analytical thinking as a matter of course.  Not exactly a trait of the current White House.
Not buying individual short term polls, but Zogby just put Cain in first, up by 10 points, and that was before the news of him winning the Florida straw poll.  The rise in attention also helps fund raising which is the blood of survival in their business.

I'm not endorsing, just gathering the info.  I have a couple of concerns as well (never held elective office, for one).  What I would say is that even if Hermann Cain is not the nominee, it is a very very good thing for the cause of rescuing the country that he is gaining in stature and exposure.

My answer to the cancer question is that a) he has been fully forthcoming, and b) he better have a really good VP choice.  JFK (no callous intent, rest his soul) improved both his reputation and the prospects for his legislative agenda by dying in office.  In Cain's case, Presidents have great health care.  If he dies in office, he would have died anyway.  If he has to turn over his duties temporarily or permanently to his VP, that's why we have one and that's why we vet them.
5133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Senate 2012 on: September 28, 2011, 09:12:27 AM
One scenario:

"If Republicans were to sweep the tossups, they would have a 55-45 majority, tying them for their largest advantage since 1928. With a large number of Democrats up for re-election in 2014, many of whom occupy seats in red states, that would probably give Republicans working control of the chamber."
5134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Charles Schwaub - Every Job Requires an Entrepreneur on: September 28, 2011, 08:59:02 AM
"What we can do—and absolutely must—is knock down all hurdles that create disincentives for investment in business.  Private enterprise works."

Every Job Requires an Entrepreneur
Someone took risks to start every business—whether Ford, Google or your local dry cleaner.


In his speech before a joint session of Congress on Sept. 8, President Obama said, "Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers."

He is right. We can spark an economic recovery by unleashing the job-creating power of business, especially small entrepreneurial businesses, which fuel economic and job growth quickly and efficiently. Indeed, it is the only way to pull ourselves out of this economic funk.

But doing so will require a consistent voice about confidence in businesses—small, large and in between. We cannot spend our way out of this. We cannot tax our way out of this. We cannot artificially stimulate our way out of this. We cannot regulate our way out of this. Shaming the successful or redistributing income won't get us out of this. We cannot fund our government coffers by following the "Buffett Rule," i.e., raising taxes on Americans earning more than $1 million a year.

What we can do—and absolutely must—is knock down all hurdles that create disincentives for investment in business.

Private enterprise works. I founded Charles Schwab in 1974, when America was confronting a crisis of confidence similar to today's. We had rapidly rising inflation and unemployment, economic growth grinding into negative territory, and paralyzed markets. The future looked pretty bleak.

Sound familiar?

Yet I had faith that our economy would recover. My vision was simple: Investors deserve something better than the status quo. I launched the company with four employees, a personal loan on my home, and an audacious dream. I didn't know exactly how we were going to do it, nor could I foresee that over the decades we would end up building a business that serves over 10 million accounts. But we went for it.

Enlarge Image

What's the potential power of the entrepreneur's simple leap of faith? The success of a single business has a significant payoff for the economy. Looking back over the 25 years since our company went public, Schwab has collectively generated $68 billion in revenue and $11 billion in earnings. We've paid $28 billion in compensation and benefits, created more than 50,000 jobs, and paid more than $6 billion in aggregate taxes. In addition to the current value of our company, we've returned billions of dollars in the form of dividends and stock buybacks to shareholders, including unions, pension funds and mom-and-pop investors.

The wealth created for our shareholders—a great many of them average Schwab employees—has been used to reinvest in existing and new businesses and has funded a myriad of philanthropic activities. We've also spent billions buying services and products from other companies in a diverse set of industries, from technology to communications to real estate to professional services, thereby helping our suppliers create businesses and jobs.

That's the story of one company. There are thousands more like it, and a consistent supportive voice from Washington could enable thousands more ahead.

The simple fact is that every business in America was started by an entrepreneur, whether it is Ford Motor Co., Google or your local dry cleaner. Every single job that entrepreneur creates requires an investment. And at its core, investing requires confidence that despite the risks, despite the hard work that will certainly ensue, the basic rules of the game are clear and stable. Today's uncertainty on these issues—stemming from a barrage of new complex regulations and legislation—is a roadblock to investment. We have to clear that uncertainty away.

As we did after 1974, our country can and will thrive again. But the leaders of both parties, Republicans and Democrats alike, must lend their voices to encourage and support private enterprise, both for what it can do to turn our economy around and for the spirit of opportunity it represents.

They need to review every piece of existing legislation and regulation with a clear eye to what impact it will have on business and growth. If something is a job killer, put a moratorium on it. Stop adding to the litany of new laws and regulations until we've had time to digest those in place and regain some certainty about the future. Proposed laws and regulations should be put to a simple test: What will this do to encourage businesses and entrepreneurs to invest? What will it do for jobs?
5135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Physics on: September 28, 2011, 08:44:23 AM
TD, CW,  You run in fast circles if you can tell that joke without some explaining.   wink
A bartender says "Hey!  We don't serve tachyons in this establishment".
Two tachyons walk into a bar.
5136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 28, 2011, 08:18:09 AM
Thanks for the kind words. (humbled face)  GM, some work left to do but I did just get it published on a site with something like a million reads - here!  The longer version when ready will go over at Cognitive Dissonance. It is hard to find an ending point to a story about leftist economic nonsense.  It just keeps coming.
5137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. Economic Bugaloo, Porkulus II?? Try Stimulus No. 7 on: September 27, 2011, 06:16:51 PM
First, that is beyond funny and very telling that Obama's top advisers cannot correctly find Colorado on a map!

With all due respect to Ed Morrissey, I have this one counted as Stimulus 7.  Excerpting from something I wrote before vacation but hadn't posted yet:

1)  TARP = Troubled Asset Relief Program  The trigger for the collapse was the impending tax increases and regulatory influx promised by the Dem congress and the new administration on the investors in the American economy.  The famed Troubled Asset Relief Program was from all sides, Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson, with all the consensus co-authors:  Obama and his team, McCain and his advisers, in case he would win, and the Fed including Chairman Bernancke and President of the NY Federal Reserve Timothy Geithner - seriously.  $700 billion bailed out banks that the Feds had to insure anyway, that made sense, but it also bailed out investment houses and insurance companies (both with political ties to both parties) and believe it or not, foreign central banks.   We sure don't want any spill over from Europe, do we? Can anyone say Greece Sept 2011?!

2) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: This was the Obama Stimulus One passed Feb 17, 2009.  This one has the signs on the 'shovel-ready projects. Spending in the hundreds of billions that we don't have and is paid for, slandering the already dying reputation of Sir John Maynard Keynes who has been room temperature and unable to defend himself since 1946.  Stimulus One even had its own website: Recovery.Gov.  You can track the money there.  What could possibly go wrong?  Let's see... Things got worse. !  Why?  The liberals say it was too small!  Only $787 Billion.  Yes, only. What's a piddly amount like 787 billion going to do to stimulate a big economy like ours?  Seriously.

3) Quantitative Expansion = The second half of the Fed's Dual Mission was alive and well, monetary meddling.  Dilute and devalue our currency to the tune of $600 billion (all these estimates are conservative) in the name of stimulating the economy to full employment.  Did it work?  Hell no.  Why?  The liberal brain trust says it was too small, lol (laughing and crying at this point).  Was there more?  Yes.  See QE2, no. 5) below, and 6)!  This was a 'one time' injection - diluting our currency to trick people into a 'wealth effect'.  Now it is what we do all the time.  Does it work? No.

4) Stimulus Two is the fourth stimulus - you do the math. Whoops, we don't use the S-word anymore; that name was already losing its shine and polling poorly among focus groups.  It was Sept 2010 at this point and by now the Stimuli all seemed to run together, people losing track of the number, does anyone really remember this one?  The guys at 'Hot Air' forgot:  Ed Morrissey writes that the Porkukus of Sept 2011 was No. 2 when in fact it is number 7; we've got three more to go.  And these guys are paid professionals!  Hundreds of billions more in the stimulus formerly known as Stimulus Two, what does it matter now - it's all play money, see no. 3.  We must do something even though it is just more, really less of the same.  It was designed and timed to soften the blow of the 2010 elections with Dems then polling south of the south pole.'See, we are doing something.'  Still they held big government doctrinism above their warped view of Keynesianism and promised to stay hellbent on raising tax rates at the first of the year.  Did Stimulus Two work?  NO and no, politically and economically.  Why not?  Too small!  And so the story went out: "things were worse than we thought when we got here".  "It's Bush's fault."  Seriously.  Did this really happen?

5) QE2:  What else can you do when QE1 and Stimuli 1-4 are not enough?  the House Senate and President all had their hands tied with deficits and debt to the tune of a trillion and a half and 14.3 trillion respectively and rising, so the Fed stepped in again.  Why?  See no. 3) above.  The previous expansion was simply too small - obviously.  The second wave would take the total up to a whopping $3 trillion of US Treasury buybacks done with fictitious, 'expansionary' (dilution/devaluation) dollars.  What could possibly go wrong?  Increase in money supply, decrease in the value of all US dollars, future spiraling price increases, and a direct hit to eveyone's standard of living and the value of everything they own.

6) QE3, Fed is STILL buying back at the rate of $300/yr. What was the definition of insanity again?  

7) The Plan, The Obama Jobs Plan = "Pass the Bill" - Sept 2011:  We are right back to where we started - $8 trillion later and U6 still at 16.9%.  The President is voting 'Present'.  Tweaking a little short term injection here for permanent increases there.  He proposes what can't possibly help and what can't possibly pass and then he can blame someone else.  Plausible deniability - that should do it!  Problem solved - in the best minds of the Obama brain trust.  Seriously, charged with one of the biggest economic challenges in history, that is the best they can do.
5138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 27, 2011, 02:26:00 PM
DF,  You make good sense to me on the role of government, immigration and foreign policy.  The only area I disagree is in the details of the Patriot Act.  I don't want to lose any privacy either but I don't think I lost any with that.  If a known terrorist reaches me by accident, cell phone to cell phone, it would not be outside of the principles of a free and secure society that law enforcement may find that out and want to pursue it with me.  McCain is yesterday's news, now we need to figure out what to do with these guys.

From my point of view, a) Obama and all of his left governing big government philosophy must go, b) conservatives with clear principles are actually more electable than mushy moderates because they can articulate a clear difference, and c) as Obama used to say, this is our moment.  It is no time to put up a weak, unqualified, unprincipled or ineffective leader.

My perfect candidate is someone with the oratory and clear thinking of Marco Rubio, with the detailed knowledge of the complex bills of government like Paul Ryan, with the executive in government  experience 2 terms or more like Rick Perry, with the private sector experience Romney or Hermann Cain and with the foreign policy experience of General Petraeus. That fantasy candidate isn't available now and never will be.  So we will take a chance now and place our bets on one of these guys.
5139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: September 27, 2011, 02:04:34 PM
GM,  Agree.  I'm not against putting a measurable limit on driving in law if it is backed up in science.  What I'm saying is that the tie between blood content and delayed reactions / loss of concentration will be more difficult to establish for THC than it was for alcohol.  Before texting while driving bans were codified, distracted driving was already illegal.  I hope that being totally incoherent while driving is already prohibited, no matter the drug or mental defect. 

5140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: September 27, 2011, 01:16:00 PM
The Colorado law is a farce in terms of doctor involvement, ailments and prescriptions.  Actually setting a limit fro drivers and administering a test *when justified* makes some sense, but the data and studies on the effect will not be as predictable and consistent as it is with alcohol. The effect varies more person to person.  Some in moderate usage drive safer with lower speeds and greater following distances.   

Strange to test for the least dangerous drug unless you also test for prescription drugs, amphetimine, coke, opiates, etc.

5141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 27, 2011, 01:06:11 PM
Might also add that Texas has a river across the border, different than other states not as suitable for fencing.  The point to most citizens far away really has to do with results.  We can't have sovereignty without security.

I had the opportunity to check out a different liquid border over the weekend, slipping in and out of Canada by canoe unnoticed.  The Boundary Waters on the US side and Quetico Park on the Canadian side combine for about 2 million acres of virtually untouched northern lakes and forests wilderness.  Some border security there but no fence.  God's creatures roam freely! (  Drifting from the topic, highly recommended for a father-son, family or friends adventure.  
5142  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: September 27, 2011, 12:16:57 PM
"I was working with a veteran officer when the Kobe Bryant case first hit the news, that officer made a statement assuming Bryant was guilty..."

Not sure how it ties to the current discussion, but I read the police interview transcript of Kobe at the time.  Seemed pretty obvious that he was guilty of adultery not rape.
5143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 97.5% of fatal crash drivers had no trace of the most commonly used illegal drug on: September 27, 2011, 11:23:00 AM
"Researchers say about 2.5% of the fatal crashes were attributable to marijuana compared with nearly 29% attributable to alcohol."

Less than 1/10th the effect of alcohol is implied, even the low number of 2.5% involves only crashes in question enough to order the test; the total may be lower yet.  They mix results of trace levels with intoxicating levels. They mix correlation with causation.  No mention that I saw of testing for and removing other factors, for example the drivers in fatal crashes who test positive for marijuana may have been more likely to have taken something else as well. No mention of testing for control the drivers who didn't cause fatal crashes.
5144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela post Chavez on: September 27, 2011, 10:01:41 AM
I would much rather see Hugo Chavez leave power defeated in elections by the Venezuelan people than to die prematurely as a pretend national hero, but I can't say I will be actively  praying for his health or recovery.   In one of the elections he stole IIRC the polls showed him losing 40-60 and his election apparatus put him winning 60-40.  Where I live the margin and theft for Obama's 60th senate vote, Al Franken, was just a few hundred votes.  Different facts, same lesson IMO, the margin of victory or loss matters.

Wishing you a peaceful and successful transition to more freedom, less government and better government than these last dozen years.  What happens in Venezuela matters throughout the hemisphere and the world.
5145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 27, 2011, 09:32:22 AM
Trans-continental might have been the word he was looking for...
I am also not a Ron Paul fan but I sympathize with the sentiment that libertarians and conservatives shouldn't allow themselves at this point in the process to be rolled over by Dems in our party in disguise. Besides lacking a foreign policy Ron Paul has also failed a test of leadership in terms of drawing more people and more elected officials into the libertarian movement.  I don't like the multi-party systems, but he would not prevail there either.  We need someone who will win 51% and 270 electoral votes and advance conservative-libertarian smaller government principles.

Not my first choice, but I think Romney will be the candidate and I'm not completely sure what I think about that.  I am hoping that his Massachusetts stint was just mid-life crisis phase and that his core if he has one is more center-right. He is too much of a poll watcher but that puts the impetus back on us to keep moving the issue polls rightward and in the direction of individual liberty.  He is not going to slash federal government in any big way but If he cannot more clearly identify his own differences with the left, win those arguments and energize the right, then he will lose as did centrist McCain.  Perry did not turn out to bevery pure in his conservatism either.  Bachmann is not ready nor the right person.  Cain, like Bachmann over the summer might have his moment now and we will see if he rises to it.  He has some amazing strengths but so far has appeared not ready.  Must give credit to all of them, that this past half year was the time to step forward and give it your best shot and many did.  You can't say that for the imploding Dem field of one.

Equally important to winning the election is to govern successfully with persuasion, leadership and competence which means making bold moves and bringing the country with you.

It comes down to (IMHO) small government and large freedom vs. big government and small freedom on the domestic side.  On foreign policy there is a lot of confusion write now on all sides but we need clarity projected as to what America stands for.  And it comes down to judicial picks, don't forget.  Let's concede for a moment that Bush was a RINO for all his domestic spending and McCain too for different reasons.  The difference between having John Roberts and Sam Alito defend your constitutional rights over Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are stark.  Those 4 named may be offsetting votes on key constitutional issues but if all 4 had fallen in one direction or the other, and to say that is all the same and makes no difference is 'crazy talk'.  Certainly the left would not agree with you.
Thomas Sowell has a column today adding his wisdom to the mix.  I agree with him on the specific points.  What he doesn't address with Perry was the inarticulateness that just killed us with the last Republican.  Good and decent is what we want, but you have to be able to command the stage and explain your principles if as the leader you are going to draw more people and support.

Superman vs. Warm Body
By Thomas Sowell

One of the problems in trying to select a leader for any large organization or institution is the tendency to start out looking for Superman, passing up many good people who fail to meet that standard, and eventually ending up settling for a warm body.

Some Republicans seem to be longing for another Ronald Reagan. Good luck on that one, unless you are prepared to wait for several generations. Moreover, even Ronald Reagan himself did not always act like Ronald Reagan.

The current outbreak of "gotcha" attacks on Texas Governor Rick Perry show one of the other pitfalls for those who are trying to pick a national leader. The three big sound-bite issues used against him during the TV "debates" have involved Social Security, immigration and a vaccine against cervical cancer.

Where these three issues have been discussed at length, whether in a few media accounts or in Governor Perry's own more extended discussions in an interview on Sean Hannity's program, his position was far more reasonable than it appeared to be in either his opponents' sound bites or even in his own abbreviated accounts during the limited time available in the TV "debate" format.

On Social Security, Governor Perry was not only right to call it a "Ponzi scheme," but was also right to point out that this did not mean welshing on the government's obligation to continue paying retirees what they had been promised.

Even those of us who still disagree with particular decisions made by Governor Perry can see some of those decisions as simply the errors of a decent man who realized that he was faced not with a theory but with a situation.

For example, the ability to save young people from cervical cancer with a stroke of a pen was a temptation that any decent and humane individual would find hard to resist, even if Governor Perry himself now admits to second thoughts about how it was done.

Many of us can agree with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's contention that it should have been done differently. But it reflects no credit on her to have tried to scare people with claims about the dangers of vaccination. Such scares have already cost the lives of children who have died on both sides of the Atlantic from diseases that vaccination would have prevented.

The biggest mischaracterization of Governor Perry's position has been on immigration. The fact that he has more confidence in putting "boots on the ground" along the border, instead of relying on a fence that can be climbed over or tunneled under where there is no one around, is a logistical judgment, not a question of being against border control.

Texas Rangers have already been put along the border to guard the border where the federal government has failed to guard it. Former Senator Rick Santorum's sound-bite attempts to paint Governor Perry as soft on border control have apparently been politically successful, judging by polls. But his repeated interrupting of Perry's presentation of his case during the recent debate is the kind of cheap political trick that contributes nothing to public understanding and much to public misunderstanding.

Those of us who disagree with Governor Perry's decision to allow the children of illegal immigrants to attend the state colleges and universities, under the same terms as Texas citizens, need at least to understand what his options were. These were children who were here only because of their parents' decisions and who had graduated from a Texas high school.

Governor Perry saw the issue as whether these children should now be allowed to continue their education, and become self-supporting taxpayers, or whether Texas would be better off with a higher risk of those young people becoming dependents or worse. I still see Governor Perry's decision as an error, but the kind of error that a decent and humane individual would be tempted to make.

I have far more questions about those who would blow this error up into something that it is not. Error-free leaders don't exist -- and we don't want to end up settling for a warm body.

Ultimately, this is not about Governor Perry. It is about a process that can destroy any potential leader, even when the country needs a new leader with a character that the "gotcha" attackers demonstrate they do not have.

5146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Physics on: September 26, 2011, 11:18:25 PM
"one 60-billionth of a second faster"..."My gut reaction, however, is that this is a false alarm. Over the decades, there have been numerous challenges to relativity, all of them proven wrong. "
Interesting stuff.  I recall an experiment 10-12 years ago where they also allegedly made light travel slightly faster than the speed of light for a very short time.  Nothing seemed to come out of that in terms of theories discarded or product commercialized.  The speed of light is already pretty fast.

5147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: September 26, 2011, 11:39:57 AM
GM,  Hard to say what the slip was there.  He wasn't equating Jews with janitors, that doesn't make sense.  I think when he said Billionaire he thought Soros and then Jew stuck in his mind. All (one) Jews he knows are billionaires and want higher taxes on themselves?  When I think Soros I think flaming lib, not Jew.  When I think billionaire I think jobs and how few new ones we have - billionaires and jobs.
5148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Green Free Market solutions on: September 26, 2011, 10:52:14 AM
"I thought Cain had a great night last night in the debate, but his comment about abolishing the EPA in my opinion in political terms was profoundly stupid.  It plays right into some of the deepest fears independents have about the Republican Party."

The EPA should stay, the department of energy should go.  The only interest the government has in stopping energy production is to place reasonable protections for the environment, the jurisdiction of the EPA.  I believe all states have their own EPA, ours is the PCA - Pollution Control Agency.  The role of the EPA should be to monitor and review these state agencies for errors and omissions that are wrongfully allowing spillage over into other states, and then report that information back to the congress for necessary federal action.
5149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government stragulations: We Need a Regulatory Time-Out, by Susan Collins on: September 26, 2011, 10:46:37 AM
As important as the substance is to see from where this is coming, one of the Senate's most left leaning Republicans.  I disagree with her on policy; it is not a one year break from governmental stupidity and excess that we need.  How about a structural reform requiring that any regulation large enough in scope to cripple the economy of a state or the nation would have to go through the House and Senate in order to become federal law.

The Economy Needs a Regulation Time-Out
Why send jobs overseas by creating more rules for American business?


Last year, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to a company that sells packaged walnuts. Believe it or not, the federal government claimed the walnuts were being marketed as a drug. So Washington ordered the company to stop telling consumers about the health benefits of walnuts.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule on fossil-fuel emissions from boilers that—by the EPA's own admission—would cost the private sector billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. The owner of a small business in Maine told me the proposed rule would require him to scrap a new, $300,000 wood waste boiler he recently installed.

No wonder America's employers dread what is coming next out of Washington. Our country cannot afford regulations run amok at a time when no net new jobs are created and unemployment remains above 9%. But at least we're safe from health claims about walnuts.

America's overregulation problem is only getting worse. Right now, federal agencies are at work on more than 4,200 rules, 845 of which affect small businesses, the engine of job creation in our country. More than 100 are major rules, with an economic impact of more than $100 million each.

No business owner I know questions the legitimate role of limited government in protecting our health and safety. Too often, however, our small businesses are buried under a mountain of paperwork that drives up costs, prevents the hiring of workers, and impedes economic growth.

Business owners are reluctant to create jobs today when they're going to need to pay more tomorrow to comply with onerous new regulations. That's what employers mean when they say that uncertainty generated by Washington is a big wet blanket on our economy.

I have asked employers in my state what it would take to help them add jobs. No matter their business or the size of their work force, they tell me that Washington must stop imposing crushing new regulations.

America needs a "time-out" from the regulations that discourage job creation and hurt our economy. I have introduced legislation to impose a one-year moratorium on any "significant" new rules that would have an adverse impact on jobs, the economy, or America's international competitiveness. A one-year moratorium on such regulations is a common-sense solution that would help create jobs.

Under my bill, certain rules would be exempt from the moratorium: those that are needed in emergencies, such as to respond to imminent threats to public health or safety, and those affecting crime, the military and foreign affairs. My bill also excludes rules that would reduce the regulatory burden on the private sector. Unfortunately, those rules that actually reduce regulatory burdens and promote jobs are few and far between.

That EPA rule on boilers is a good example of why we need a regulatory time-out. According to a recent study by the American Forest & Paper Association, if the rule went into effect as written it could, along with other pending regulations, cause 36 American pulp and paper mills to close. That would put more than 20,000 Americans out of work—18% of that industry's work force.

Once those mills close, the businesses that supply them also would be forced to lay off workers. Estimates are that nearly 90,000 Americans would lose their jobs, and wages would drop by $4 billion—just because of over-regulation.

But even that is not the end of the story. People and businesses would still need paper. Where do you think we would get it? We'd be strengthening the economies of other countries like China, India and Brazil, while weakening our own.

American businesses need pro-growth economic policies that will end the uncertainty and kick-start hiring and investment. American workers need policies that will get them off the sidelines and back on the job.

In sports, time-outs are called to give athletes a chance to catch their breaths and make better decisions about the next play. American workers and businesses are the athletes in a global competition that we must win. They need a time-out from excessive regulation so that America can get back to work.
5150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / liberal fascism: President Solyndra And his mean green wealth-wasting machine on: September 26, 2011, 10:29:56 AM
Long detailed piece linked below on the Solyndra fiasco by Steven Hayward

From my point of view it is important to note that the problem here is not that it failed.  We are actually worse off when this fascism appears to succeed because then it will never end.  It is important to oppose all this governmental cronyism in its concept and in all its iterations.  When the friends of the public officials get goodies and preferences that the rest of us don't get and have to pay for, it is morally and constitutionally wrong before we find out its failure and all the scandalous details.
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