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5151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism: on: March 30, 2010, 09:39:50 PM
Good to see opposing views Rog.  Answering from my point of view: Assuming what we are hearing is true, I deplore the terrorists and applaud law enforcement for stepping in preemptively. Saying so seems too obvious, like opposing wife beating, racism The rest I don't buy, that  anything I've heard on popular shows or from prominent conservatives caused this.

The piece immediately answered my first point, these people aren't Christians, though you called them the Christian right in your first sentence and they referred to themselves that way.

From the piece: "It is disingenuous...to dismiss groups such as the Hutaree by saying that there are "crazies on both sides." This simply is not true."

 - Unibomber Ted kuzinski, St. Paul homemaker, 'Sara Jane Olson' and Obama friend Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn come to mind.  I don't know the numbers but..."there are crazies on both sides".  He dismisses these as things of the past, but that has more to do with who is in or out of power than right vs. left IMO.  Remember the violence in Seattle 1999 over trade rights, environmentalists attacking loggers etc., it goes both ways.  Today it is the right who feel powerless, that does not justify violence.  No one mainstream and prominent said it did.

Anyone following the uneven recount of the 60th senator (Franken) or the polls tanking on health care and disregard for constitutional limits could easily feel powerless to change government using convention means.  The fringe who act on that with terror plans or war can expect to find themselves arrested, and they did.  

"we should never forget that the worst act of domestic terrorism ever committed in this country was authored by a member of the government-hating right wing: Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City."

 - And that was RECKLESSLY blamed by President Clinton on Rush Limbaugh.  I listened to the show more than Clinton did and I never saw hint toward violence, much less cause and effect.  Are you saying, or is he saying, dissent should not be expresses because it could be taken the wrong way??  What were those inciteful words and if so where was the federal prosecution??  Clinton's reaction was political opportunism and so is this.

"The vitriolic, anti-government hate speech that is spewed on talk radio every day...is calibrated not to inform but to incite."

 - An example or three might be fitting with a charge like THAT!

"they shouldn't be surprised if some listeners take them literally."

 - If they took them literally, they would go out and vote, lol.  Did I miss some story that these militias interrupt their training exercises at 'show' time and huddle around their radios for marching orders or words they can overreact to.  I seriously doubt these folks look to aging political analysts, entertainers or columnists to find what is wrong in Washington.

So what were those fighting words?

"government is illegitimate" - Also heard that a zillion times about Bush Cheney - not mentioned.  Hard not to notice the people in power today got there using an amazing number of false promises and are exercising and expanding powers not authorized in the constitution.  That does not equate with a declaration of war.

"that their country has been taken away" - true that many freedoms have been taken and things like the work ethic and entitled to the fruits of your labor are replaced with people taking power from the welfare rights side of the spectrum.  Even if done by the majority, mostly by proper procedure, with courts and RINOS signed on, still a part of what many of us value was 'taken'.

"that their elected officials are traitors" - I did not hear that from mainstream conservatives and I listen more than he does.  Fact is the other side is STILL calling for war crimes prosecution against the previous administration.  Those who made such sounds still frequent the oval office.

Hard to conclude 'cause' or that this goes only one way.  But good to see a post that goes too far the other way.  We need the balance.
5152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A Birthright? Maybe Not on: March 28, 2010, 11:44:49 AM
A Birthright? Maybe Not
By George Will  March 28, 2010  Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- A simple reform would drain some scalding steam from immigration arguments that may soon again be at a roiling boil. It would bring the interpretation of the 14th Amendment into conformity with what the authors of its text intended, and with common sense, thereby removing an incentive for illegal immigration.

To end the practice of "birthright citizenship," all that is required is to correct the misinterpretation of that amendment's first sentence: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside." From these words has flowed the practice of conferring citizenship on children born here to illegal immigrants.

A parent from a poor country, writes professor Lino Graglia of the University of Texas law school, "can hardly do more for a child than make him or her an American citizen, entitled to all the advantages of the American welfare state." Therefore, "It is difficult to imagine a more irrational and self-defeating legal system than one which makes unauthorized entry into this country a criminal offense and simultaneously provides perhaps the greatest possible inducement to illegal entry."

Writing in the Texas Review of Law and Politics, Graglia says this irrationality is rooted in a misunderstanding of the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof." What was this intended or understood to mean by those who wrote it in 1866 and ratified it in 1868? The authors and ratifiers could not have intended birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants because in 1868 there were and never had been any illegal immigrants because no law ever had restricted immigration.

If those who wrote and ratified the 14th Amendment had imagined laws restricting immigration -- and had anticipated huge waves of illegal immigration -- is it reasonable to presume they would have wanted to provide the reward of citizenship to the children of the violators of those laws? Surely not.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 begins with language from which the 14th Amendment's Citizenship Clause is derived: "All persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States." (Emphasis added.) The explicit exclusion of Indians from birthright citizenship was not repeated in the 14th Amendment because it was considered unnecessary. Although Indians were at least partially subject to U.S. jurisdiction, they owed allegiance to their tribes, not the United States. This reasoning -- divided allegiance -- applies equally to exclude the children of resident aliens, legal as well as illegal, from birthright citizenship. Indeed, today's regulations issued by the departments of Homeland Security and Justice stipulate:

"A person born in the United States to a foreign diplomatic officer accredited to the United States, as a matter of international law, is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. That person is not a United States citizen under the 14th Amendment."

Sen. Lyman Trumbull of Illinois was, Graglia writes, one of two "principal authors of the citizenship clauses in 1866 act and the 14th Amendment." He said that "subject to the jurisdiction of the United States" meant subject to its "complete" jurisdiction, meaning "not owing allegiance to anybody else." Hence children whose Indian parents had tribal allegiances were excluded from birthright citizenship.

Appropriately, in 1884 the Supreme Court held that children born to Indian parents were not born "subject to" U.S. jurisdiction because, among other reasons, the person so born could not change his status by his "own will without the action or assent of the United States." And "no one can become a citizen of a nation without its consent." Graglia says this decision "seemed to establish" that U.S. citizenship is "a consensual relation, requiring the consent of the United States." So: "This would clearly settle the question of birthright citizenship for children of illegal aliens. There cannot be a more total or forceful denial of consent to a person's citizenship than to make the source of that person's presence in the nation illegal."

Congress has heard testimony estimating that more than two-thirds of all births in Los Angeles public hospitals, and more than half of all births in that city, and nearly 10 percent of all births in the nation in recent years, have been to illegal immigrant mothers. Graglia seems to establish that there is no constitutional impediment to Congress ending the granting of birthright citizenship to persons whose presence here is "not only without the government's consent but in violation of its law."
5153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: dependency and groups on: March 26, 2010, 01:54:16 PM
I have been following CCP's argument/observation that Dems are the party of giving out goodies and they will win forever (unless we can think of something fast) by making more people dependent on the government while flooding the voter pool with new people who also see the government as a provider.  True on both counts, at least that is their strategy.

The Way Forward, if there is one, I think centers around the way these concepts fit together: spending, debt and a vision of the future that young people will live in.

If you ask an immigrant worker what their income today is, you likely get a low number, well below what today is admitted to be targeted for new taxes, so all new spending is free, right?

But take a longer view.  Past income mobility data indicates that 86% of bottom quintile workers exit that group within 9 years: http://www.house.gov/jec/middle/mobility/mobility.htm 

The children of today will either grow up and be primarily dependent on (a bankrupt) government or they will grow up to be productive members of society and pay the bills for our expanding older generation.  Then ask which group your immigrant children will likely be in, the ones getting a free ride or the ones paying the bills?  That is a different question.

People have a pride and optimism in the ability of their own children to grow up and achieve and succeed.

Immigrants, using the term loosely to include trespassers/illegals, might see themselves today as needing a hand up, minimum wage protection, OSHA laws, food stamp help and healthcare etc. but did not for the most part come here to have their children grow up to be dependent on a bankrupt government in the nation they risked everything to enter.  Immigrants also tend to be younger and the expenditures for health care go more heavily to the older generations.

I don't believe their vote can't be won.  The question needs to be, what kind of future do they want.  Is it a dependency-based society?  If so, not what is your income today, but do you like the idea of your kid footing the bill for the excesses we create today?

Hard to change the views of 5th generation welfare recipients and hard to win over the highly Democratic felon vote they are racing to register, but we need to fight hard for the votes of young people, immigrants and illegals who will live with the impact they make with their vote.



5154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 23, 2010, 10:38:18 AM
CCP,  Very much appreciate the kind words.  I've kept up reading in my posting absence and always enjoy your insights as well.  Crafty's post certainly warns us not to have false optimism, even with the Pravda disclaimer and knowing that there are plenty of 'experts' like the Yale Professor to argue for the other side.  Yet in justification he points to rulings where feds stopped a farmer from growing wheat (or pot) on his own land for his own consumption, while I pointed to where they found the constitution could prohibit the city from entering a private home, but not from bulldozing it!

Like referees in the NFL or in hockey, maybe they sometimes know when the have gone too far in one direction and the next call goes the other way, as with campaign finance restrictions versus freedom of speech.

I really hate the idea and actually going in to read this garbage that these lawmakers never read, but it seems to me these mandates are backed with fines or penalties rather than a tax and the language they used is all about mandate, not choice or taxpayer option. 

Either way, the NY Times got one part right.  They won't strike down the whole deal, only certain provisions, which can be tweaked to conform with the guidelines set by the court, if they still have the votes.

In the meantime I pray for the health of all the justices, 5 in particular.
5155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Constitutional Law: Individual Mandate on: March 22, 2010, 12:12:45 PM
The politics will continue but for now the two branches have spoken on health care, largely forgetting there is a third branch overseeing their work.  For certain there will be a challenge to various aspects, but the big one seems to be the individual mandate.

I have no faith in the chances of 5 justices getting this right, considering Kelo etc., but offer my view of how they should rule.  

The Tenth Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

This power is not delegated elsewhere by the framers so it is therefore a) reserved to the states, as in RomneyCare, and b) requires a new amendment to the constitution in order to delegate this authority.

The reason the proponents did not seek a new amendment is because they do not have 2/3 of the house, 2/3 of the senate and 3/4 of the legislatures on their side.  Not because they didn't think it was necessary; they even said it was a right, which is something you would want enumerated in the constitution if you could.  Same goes for McCain Feingold campaign finance limits.  They knew people weren't going to support, at super-majority levels, a bunch of fine print bullsh*t exceptions inserted into the first amendment that otherwise prohibits congress from limiting political speech.

There is no question in my mind that 4 justices will support the political aspect of the legislation and will pretend to find this power as some unenumerated power into their imaginative readinig of a living and breathing document where it does not exist.  Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito will see this as it is - a violation of the limits on federal powers(MHO).  So the whole bleepin' shooting match regarding the future of our constitutional republic sadly comes down to one spineless 'centrist', Justice Anthony Kennedy, who just 5 years ago concurred on Kelo, taking private homes for other private enterprises in the 'public interest' of allowing a city to collect more property tax on the improvements (that never happened).

Two things have changed since then. 1) two new very sharp and persuasive conservative justices were added to the court in Roberts and Alito, and Kennedy has leaned more conservative since, and 2) Kennedy wrote the corporate campaign finance decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that was specifically the target of Obama's public bitch-slap of the court at the State of the Union to a thundering applause on national television.  

Wouldn't it be ironic if that one blatant act of arrogance costs this one term President his only signature accomplishment.  We will see.
5156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012: Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) on: March 19, 2010, 12:47:46 PM
Win or lose on health care, one person emerged as holding his own with the leftists policy wonks, with vision and with clarity on crucial policy issues.  Paul Ryan was chosen by his colleagues to open at the bipartisan Obama health conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V8l5HGNBB0

The points and questions he makes on the bill remain unanswered by his opponents.  

Today, with the new bill published he is ready, informed, articulate, correct and available.Holds his own with the President and makes a nice contrast with the current speaker. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1Ib57sAH_c
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYxNqhCPMpY

I've previously at least thought that I didn't see him as Presidential, not the type who can shout rhythmic platitudes from in front of fake Greek columns in large stadiums with adoring fans.  I prefer the executive experience of a governor, but in fact it is Presidents like Clinton and Obama who can sit and look very comfortable all day defending the details of horrible legislation and the cost of 'doing nothing'.  We will need someone who knows the legislative issues up and down to stand next to this incumbent President and debate persuasively.

If not this guy, we better find someone just as informed and articulate, without the baggage of previous mis-steps and flip-flops, and not someone who has stepped back from fighting these fights, to offer the country a seriously different direction, message and vision from the current leftist machine.

For example, I love Sara Palin (not necessarily for President).  If she is the candidate, she will be the issue.  If Romney is the candidate, Romneycare and other past works and positions will be the issue.  Far worse yet for Huckabee.  If someone like Ryan is the candidate, I think the issues will be the issue and leftists will be forced to defend the indefensible, like calling a new national health entitlement a step toward closing the deficit. MHO.
5157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ACTION item, Call and write your congressman TODAY. on: March 19, 2010, 11:37:38 AM
Obama got one thing right, the time for debate is over.

The bill is out overnight with one business day to read it, digest it and spit it out.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/28571851/Senate-Health-Care-Reconciliation-Bill

Totally unreadable because you have to back and forth with the senate bill http://democrats.senate.gov/reform/patient-protection-affordable-care-act-as-passed.pdf to add and strike provisions for "reconciliation".

CALL AND WRITE TO OPPOSE, just google your Representative.  You will need a valid address/zip code in their district to get through email screening.

Huge tax increase on investment.  Job killing and promise breaking provisions.  Health care enforcement through an expanded IRS.  Unconstitutional individual mandate.  Nauseating deem without voting procedure.  Mis-under-estimating future costs in the tens of trillions.

The number of new tax increases in the healthcare bill: 19

The number of tax increases that unquestionably violate President Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of taxes on families making less than $250,000:  7

The top federal tax rate on early distributions from HSAs under this bill: 59.6%

Tax rate increases kill off new jobs.  With unemployment in some areas of this country over 12%, Where is the "laser-like focus"??

As one whose small Republican town with a little more effort could have kept Al Franken out of the senate, everyone knows this vote is within a vote or 2 out of 435. Don't sit still!

Vote is scheduled for SUNDAY.  Passage is likely UNLESS everyone opposed does everything possible to communicate the damage coming.  Call, write and spread the urgency!

Demand:

No vote without reading it!
No job-killing tax increases.
No unconstitutional mandates.
No Presidential level Promise Breaking.
No deem without a recorded up or down vote on something this BIG.
No re-election for abandoning our founding principles.
5158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Income Distribution - Thomas Sowell on: January 12, 2010, 09:18:25 AM
About a year ago I tried to answer the deception of Robert Reich regarding income distribution.  I was pleased to see that Dr. Sowell reads this forum and took the time to expand on this in his latest book.  smiley

Read Thomas Sowell new book: Intellectuals and Society (and all of his books).
Investors Business Daily is running a series on it at:
http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=517564

Dr. Sowell is a Professor at Stanford, grew up in Harlem.  During his 20s, when he was a self-described Marxist, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a B.A. in economics. He also has a master's in economics from Columbia and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.

Read just this one section and see the lies exposed of people like Paul Krugman, Reich and the politicians like Pelosi and Obama who base their shallow, class warfare politics on the lies of the liberal economists with their simple sleight of hand.

Simply put, the lowest income workers become richer and leave the lower quintiles.  New workers enter the work force, some previously had no income, some came from far away to double their income though still low by our standards and they make up the new lowest quintile.  Middle income earners become wealthier and enter the higher quintiles.  The highest income earners and business owners retire, sell, die, scale back, whatever and the new high earners make even more than the rich of old used to make.  Then some liberal economist perform a phony quintile analysis to conclude that no one has improved their economic standing over an extended period of time.  All the liberal blogs and politicians pick up on it and take down our economy based on false information and analysis.
--------------

 How Data On Income Distribution Are Misunderstood And Misapplied

Most intellectuals outside the field of economics show remarkably little interest in learning even the basic fundamentals of economics. Yet they do not hesitate to make sweeping pronouncements about the economy in general, businesses in particular, and the many issues revolving around what is called "income distribution."

Famed novelist John Steinbeck, for example, commented on the many American fortunes which have been donated to philanthropic causes by saying:

One has only to remember some of the wolfish financiers who spent two thirds of their lives clawing a fortune out of the guts of society and the latter third pushing it back.

Despite the verbal virtuosity involved in creating a vivid vision of profits as having been clawed out of the guts of society, neither Steinbeck nor most other intellectuals have bothered to demonstrate how society has been made poorer by the activities of Carnegie, Ford or Rockefeller, for example — all three of whom (and many others) made fortunes by reducing the prices of their products below the prices of competing products.

Lower prices made these products affordable to more people, simultaneously increasing those people's standard of living and creating fortunes for sellers who greatly expanded the numbers of their customers. In short, this was a process in which wealth was created, not a process by which some could get rich only by making others poorer.

Nevertheless, negative images of market processes have been evoked with such phrases as "robber barons" and "economic royalists" — without answering such obvious questions as "Just who did the robber barons rob when they lowered their prices?" or "How is earning money, often starting from modest circumstances (or even poverty-stricken circumstances in the case of J.C. Penney and F.W. Woolworth) the same as simply inheriting wealth and power like royalty?"

The issue here is not the adequacy or inadequacy of intellectuals' answers to such questions because, in most cases, such questions are not even asked, much less answered. The vision, in effect, serves as a substitute for both facts and questions.

This is not to suggest that nobody in business ever did anything wrong. Saints have been no more common in corporate suites than in government offices or on ivy-covered campuses. However, the question here is not one of individual culpability for particular misdeeds.

The question raised by critics of business and its defenders alike has been about the merits or demerits of alternative institutional processes for serving the economic interests of society at large.

Implicit in many criticisms of market processes by intellectuals is the assumption that these are zero-sum processes, in which what is gained by some is lost by others. Seldom is this assumption spelled out but, without it, much of what is spelled out would have no basis.

Perhaps the biggest economic issue, or the one addressed most often, is that of what is called "income distribution," though the phrase itself is misleading, and the conclusions about income reached by most of the intelligentsia are still more misleading.

Variations in income can be viewed empirically, on the one hand, or in terms of moral judgments, on the other. Most of the contemporary intelligentsia do both. But, in order to assess the validity of the conclusions they reach, it is advisable to assess the empirical issues and the moral issues separately, rather than attempt to go back and forth between the two, with any expectation of rational coherence.

Given the vast amounts of statistical data on income available from the Census Bureau, the Internal Revenue Service and innumerable research institutes and projects, one might imagine that the bare facts about variations in income would be fairly well known by informed people, even though they might have differing opinions as to the desirability of those particular variations.

In reality, however, the most fundamental facts are in dispute, and variations in what are claimed to be facts seem to be at least as great as variations in incomes. Both the magnitude of income variations and the trends in these variations over time are seen in radically different terms by those with different visions as regards the current reality, even aside from what different people may regard as desirable for the future.

Perhaps the most fertile source of misunderstandings about incomes has been the widespread practice of confusing statistical categories with flesh-and-blood human beings.

Many statements have been made in the media and in academia, claiming that the rich are gaining not only larger incomes but a growing share of all incomes, widening the income gap between people at the top and those at the bottom. Almost invariably these statements are based on confusing what has been happening over time in statistical categories with what has been happening over time with actual flesh-and-blood people.

A New York Times editorial, for example, declared that "the gap between rich and poor has widened in America." Similar conclusions appeared in a 2007 Newsweek article that referred to this era as "a time when the gap is growing between the rich and the poor — and the super-rich and the merely rich," a theme common in such other well-known media outlets as the Washington Post and innumerable television programs.

"The rich have seen far greater income gains than have the poor," according to Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson. A writer in the Los Angeles Times likewise declared, "the gap between rich and poor is growing."

According to Professor Andrew Hacker in his book "Money": "While all segments of the population enjoyed an increase in income, the top fifth did 24 times better than the bottom fifth. And measured by their shares of the aggregate, not just the bottom fifth but the three above it all ended up losing ground."

Although such discussions have been phrased in terms of people, the actual empirical evidence cited has been about what has been happening over time to statistical categories — and that turns out to be the direct opposite of what has happened over time to flesh-and-blood human beings, most of whom move from one category to another over time.

In terms of statistical categories, it is indeed true that both the amount of income and the proportion of all income received by those in the top 20% bracket have risen over the years, widening the gap between the top and bottom quintiles.

But Internal Revenue Service data following specific individuals over time show that, in terms of people, the incomes of those particular taxpayers who were in the bottom 20% in income in 1996 rose 91% by 2005, while the incomes of those particular taxpayers who were in the top 20% in 1996 rose by only 10% by 2005 — and those in the top 5% and top 1% actually declined.

While it might seem as if both these radically different sets of statistics cannot be true at the same time, what makes them mutually compatible is that flesh-and-blood human beings move from one statistical category to another over time.

When those taxpayers who were initially in the lowest income bracket had their incomes nearly double in a decade, that moved many of them up and out of the bottom quintile — and when those in the top 1% had their incomes cut by about one-fourth, that may well have dropped them out of the top 1%.

Internal Revenue Service data can follow particular individuals over time from their tax returns, which have individual Social Security numbers as identification, while data from the Census Bureau and most other sources follow what happens to statistical categories over time, even though it is not the same individuals in the same categories over the years.
5159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Federal Reserve earned... on: January 12, 2010, 08:55:54 AM
Fed conspiracists (often Libertarians, also far left anti-capitalists) seem to be able to read that headline: "Federal Reserve earned $45 billion in 2009" and not the following sentence: They returned all the profit to the U.S. Treasury.  "Bernanke...now makes $199,700, with no bonus at all."  - About the same as your local superintendant of schools and a fraction of the typical NCAA public university basketball coach salary.

I love to criticize and second guess the Fed's work but they aren't at least directly stealing from us. 
5160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: January 11, 2010, 11:45:20 PM
What has Hillary done regarding Russia, Poland/Czech Republic, Nuclear Policy, Iran, Honduras, Afghan Pakistan etc? Nothing.  In her defense, her boss asked her not to get involved with foreign policy.

Clintons became masters of delaying the story, not answering, and then they finally confront the questioner as to why they still bring up such old stories.  Now stories will only be reported if they are more corrupt than usual(?)

The Obama administration needs to reassure us that donations raised by Bill won't affect rewards paid out by Hillary at taxpayer expense.  The template is already written and tested.  They can use what ACORN uses to keep taxpayer funds away from partisan activities - the "firewall".  Simply impenetrable, like the social security lockbox.

The year is not 2016; someone in 2012 will seriously challenge Obama from within his own party.

5161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: January 11, 2010, 01:31:43 PM
"I think Glen Beck is leading the way here." - Look forward to hearing more on that.  I'm not seeing Fox News selected in the black non-conservative households I've been in, but they are number one and he is getting talked about.

And frankly, I think WE have to see the potential here instead of staying mired in the "patricians and demogogues" feedback loop.

That is a good point.  Our job is to make the case and get the information out.  I had trouble getting good numbers, but MN is 5% black, 3% Hispanic.  Republicans needed something like a 0.2% gain in their black vote for senate to prevent the 60th vote for govt run health care.  Or they needed to win 7/100th of a % of those who voted for the Independent and didn't want the Democrat either.  Or just 313 liberal dead people registered by ACORN to stay home and not vote.
5162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: January 11, 2010, 11:55:21 AM
Crafty's point of a paradigm shift is logical but I don't think true at least in the short run. There are many reasons more blacks should identify more conservatively in their politics, yet we see no statistical move that I am aware of.   America proved they could elect a black man President and all black children were shown they could become anything they want, even President of the United States.  Black voters however did not transcend race.  Faced with nearly identical politics in the primaries, they almost universally identified with just the one candidate.

Following the race based excitement of the last election, I think turnout will drop in the off-year without Obama on the ballot and much of the excitement will be worn off by 2012.  By then I think the race identification fades - he is a politician serving as President with a record to judge - whatever that will be in 2012.  Are you better off...  But lower turnout is different than oining a free market paradigm for example.

I saw a list of all Presidents with their photo on a card from an inner city school.  I first thought this is great, they are learning all of the Presidents at a young age.  As I scanned through the photos to the end I realized this was all about highlighting the historic nature of the last election (43 white men followed by President Obama), and they perhaps should be proud in a predominantly black neighborhood.  But not all day every day instead of math and science.

When the excitement wears down a little, it would be nice to shift the discussion in every neighborhood back to economic policies that expand opportunities, national security issues, school choice, constitutional liberties etc. instead of who looks like what or as Harry Reid said 'speaks without a negro dialect'.
-----
In the inner city politics they talk of welfare rights, social justice and voting to keep the programs coming.  Many very Marxist themes like taking more from those who can afford to pay more and success of groups like ACORN at opposing things like property owner rights.  Nobody seems to ask the question in the most crime ridden and welfare dependent areas, how is this all working out for you?

Elsewhere some brilliant, artculate, thoughtful black conservatives put out wonderful opinion pieces, from Thomas Sowell to Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams, JC Watts, even Michael Steele.  I am afraid they are admired mostly by white conservatives.  I see Keith Ellison's operatives taking his material from house to house in the neighborhoods regularly, knocking on every door and ready to engage in discussion.  I don't see anyone doing that for black conservatives.
5163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sec. Geithner Must Go on: January 11, 2010, 11:01:21 AM
I'm very excited about my first time quoting and agreeing with the Huffington Post.  Even liberals find this government behavior over the line.  I would add to list of complaints a video of his answers posted previously when asked where in the constitution he found the right to bail out non-financial institutions.  With 3 tries he just honestly could not comprehend the question.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/henry-blodget/tim-geithner-must-go_b_416203.html#comments

Tim Geithner Must Go

The latest revelations about the New York Fed's actions in the AIG bailout make one thing clear: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner must go.

Geithner must go not just because of the emails showing that his New York Fed ordered AIG to keep details of the bailout secret, but because of many other decisions and policies he has championed in the past two years.

These decisions and policies have consistently put the interests of Wall Street ahead of the interests of the taxpayer, and they have undermined the public's confidence in the government at a time when the country needs it the most.

Tim Geithner's defense of his actions continues to be, in effect, "We had to do it or the world would have ended." This isn't good enough. It is also, at the very least, debatable.

It is true that Tim Geithner made many of his decisions in the midst of a crisis, and I do not doubt that his intentions were good and that he was doing the best he could. But this does not rinse his hands of responsibility for his decisions or their ongoing ramifications.

For five reasons, Geithner must go:

    * Geithner was directly responsible for the most appalling corporate bailout in U.S. history, in which tens of billions of taxpayer dollars were secretly funneled to some of the richest corporations in the world. The terms of this bailout, and the associated cloak of secrecy under which it was conducted (the details of which continue to leak out) have hurt the public's confidence in the government.

    * Geithner's ongoing decision to save banks at any cost was predicated on the theory that this would keep the banks lending. This policy has failed: The banks have not continued to lend. What the banks HAVE done is coin billions of dollars of profits risk-free at taxpayer expense, fueling even more public outrage.

    * Geithner's policy of "too big to fail" has created a banking system whose bets are guaranteed by the US taxpayer, and it has distorted lending and market forces across the entire economy. This policy, which has now been all but written into the Constitution, is grossly unfair. Big banks can do whatever they want with no concern about the consequences; small banks have to hunker down or they'll get taken over and shut down.

    * Geithner's role in the AIG bailout, which the current administration bears no responsibility for, continues to destroy confidence in his current boss, President Barack Obama. If AIG stays in the headlines, and Geithner does not accept responsibility for what happened. Obama's agenda and influence will continue to suffer.

    * Geithner's consistent decision to put Wall Street first has helped fuel a populist rage that will make it very difficult for the government to do anything more to help the financial system. If the recovery continues, such help might never become necessary. If it falters, however, Geithner's policies will have severely curtailed the government's ability to do anything about it.

Those who know him say that Tim Geithner is a very good guy. He made the decisions above in the midst of a panic, and I have no doubt that he was trying to do the right thing.

But contrary to the revisionist history now being promulgated, these actions were not the only way out. They were grossly unfair to taxpayers, and they have undermined public confidence in the government -- and our current President -- at a time when the country needs it most.
5164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afghanistan-Pakistan: India Perspective on: January 10, 2010, 10:53:45 AM
"What do you think of my two-part entry of January 3?  I always find the Indian perspective worth considering."

I went back to read it more closely.  Found it to be rich with background, insight and perspective, well worth reading.  They offer what they consider to be a simple solution to world peace / regional peace.  Have the global community chop up the borders of their arch enemy Pakistan and downsize it.  What they call North Afghanistan is what we call Aghanistan.  They want it reunited with what he calls South Afghanistan which I assume is western Pakistan.  Then America and NATO could more aggressively take on its enemy without invading Pak.  I'm confused in my map reading because I thought the mountainous autonomous tribal regions in question were in the north and I'm not confident of our ability to permanently stabilize an enlarged Afghan much less what we face now.  I doubt Pakistan is prepared to give up land without war.  But who knows.

The closing is worth repeating:

"...The Obama Administration is moving ahead with slow, deliberate planning in their Af-Pak analysis, while the Taleban is moving with great speed to implement its plan. So far, the Taleban speed is killing the chances of success of the Obama Initiatives.

Soon, we fear, the Obama Administration would be faced with two alternatives:

Leave Af-Pak to its own misery and take the risk of being attacked in the American homeland OR
Get into a military confrontation with the Taleban inside Pakistan and with the Pakistani Military.
The first choice would be far worse than Vietnam and the second choice would be far worse than Iraq. "
5165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: January 09, 2010, 09:42:17 PM
Problem with discrediting the father, rightly or wrongly, is that it doesn't take away from the accurate information he gave to the Americans about his son attending terror training seminars in Yemen.  And his was not the only warning signal we had on him before issuing valid papers to gain entry into the U.S. Heads should roll (I mean people should be fired).  We already know Nigeria is a screwed up place from top to bottom. (JMHO)
5166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: January 09, 2010, 09:25:16 PM
The first time I noticed McIntyre (likely from a BBG post) he went out and found the temperature sensors and discovered some strange circumstances, factories put up near the sensor, Pavement added by the sensors, air conditioners giving off heat installed by the sensors, etc. all destroying the integrity of any time analysis of the data, which is what the research is all about.

With just a few photos he exposed the fact that a) we don't measure global temperature; we sample it and the sampling is flawed, not done in a controlled or consistent manner,  b) it's all based on adjusted data not real, measured temps, and the adjustments are subjective, matching the whim or the agenda of the adjuster, and c) worst of all, the highly touted peer review is false.  It's just shocking to first see that no one before McIntyre caught these obviously problems that destroy all of the research.  The peers supposedly reviewing were not even curious about the integrity of the data being adjusted and analyzed to death.  They do not systematically measure or mathematically account for error throughout their phony analyses.  Looking for those photos now I find this one from climateaudit 2007, unbelievable!  This is the work of our nation's best scientists:
5167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security: Opening and Closing Guantanamo on: January 08, 2010, 11:57:02 PM
That Damn Guantanamo!

Obama gave a rather incredible press conference about his review of security lapses. When he evoked Guantanamo, the president  all at once (“make no mistake about it”) (a) promised to close it, (b) promised not to send any more detainees home to Yemen, and (c) claimed it was a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda (i.e., apparently Bush’s Gulag had prompted the likes of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab to try to blow up an airliner).

This is nearly unhinged... ...Let us get this straight: for a decade in the 1990s an ascendant al-Qaeda committed serial attacks against the U.S. and its interests. All that culminated in 9/11. In reaction to the mass murder, and as part of efforts to go after al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, Bush opened Guantanamo Bay — after which we have seen no successful major attacks on U.S. soil comparable to 9/11.

So consider the logic: before Guantanamo, al-Qaeda achieved its greatest success in damaging America; after it, it suffered some of its most grievous defeats, but somehow its existence is counter-productive and a recruiting tool? What, Pray God, was the recruiting tool on September 10, 2001?
http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/
5168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The President's glibness showing: "road to recovery will not be a straight line" on: January 08, 2010, 10:28:46 PM
The recovery is not 100% within his control.  The economic policies of his administration are what is within his control. 

The path to pro-growth economic policies, policies that would encourage employers to invest, take on risk, hire, earn and keep more - policies that would lead us toward recovery and away from a double-dip or a jobless recovery - that path could easily be described as a straight line..... and we aren't on it.  They aren't even looking for it.  He's working on something else and stagnation, debt and high unemployment are some of the costs of economic dithering.
5169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: January 08, 2010, 09:22:33 PM
It is so hard to put conservatism on a bumper sticker, but I think I finally got one:

America, Too Big to Fail

I'm visualizing a new national campaign platform where we propose to break this failing, drifting, expanding, authoritarian, bureaucratic enterprise into smaller pieces before it's too late - say 50 of them.  Let each one be self-governing except for just those functions that can done best by a centralized, consensual  government, like national defense, interstate commerce and a federal court system.  Put it all in writing, maybe in a constitution, requiring strict limits on federal powers, ratify it and then HONOR it.  Put in a clause making it difficult but possible to amend this constitution.  Require super-majorities of house senate and the state legislatures to make ANY change, otherwise NO crossing the line on the limits of central government power.  Then let we the people decide the other issues - closer to home.

Am I on the right track?
5170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/a WTF winter on: January 08, 2010, 05:29:33 PM
 I mentioned earlier in Pathological Science our extreme weather here and elsewhere this winter / (every winter).  Last night coming into the 9th Mpls day in a row below zero I heard the forecast last night that the coldest morning yet is next, (WTF).  As Accuweather puts it: bitterly cold.  And yes, I still see a few high school boys wearing shorts to school; must be a badge of toughness. 

For those of you in the warm climates I share this Upper Penninsula (Michigan) photo, (not Antarctica), received in the email so the that you might visualize what they mean by 'lake effect' snow, along with a cartoon.  Maybe the U.P. photo could have gone under 'water issues'.  smiley

5171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward, yesterday's Patriot Post on: January 08, 2010, 12:25:41 PM
I appreciate the Patriot Post, but on behalf of the dearth of liberal posters here I take offense with this:

"Ideological liberals, on the other hand, no matter what the cause, tend to be motivated by pathological egocentrism, which generally correlates with the acquisition of power and the suppression of liberty."

I draw a distinction between conservative Americans who support founding principles and elected Republicans who pass trillion dollar budgets with earmarks the same as their opponents.  Same distinction goes for the liberal path.  True liberals have some foggy vision of a community utopia where everyone has a fair share of what they need and live happily ever after.  We need not insult them; we need to articulate the flaws and downsides of their ideas.  It is the elected  phony liberals who pray off them for their votes to build their power, make deals, pay back special interests and chop away at our few remaining freedoms.

The true liberal out there doesn't see minimum wage law or single payer healthcare as a federal power grab or anything else other than trying to make the world we live in a better place.  You must take that view on, head-on, and demonstrate why that does not make a better world.

Luckily the proportion of true liberals out there hovers at only about 17-21%, see below, in spite of the fact that almost no one is persuasively arguing WHY a larger nanny state is a bad idea.
5172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political prediction - RICH KARLGAARD at Forbes on: January 08, 2010, 11:52:01 AM
He had several interesting predictions including the iPad, a selloff before the 15% capital gains rate disappears and Lance Armstrong winning his 8th Tour.  I liked this one:

Democratic Majorities Cut to 53-47 in Senate and 219-216 in the House in 2010.
This will be the worst outcome for President Obama, as he'll have to run
for re-election in 2012 with the Speaker Pelosi albatross.

Winning congress in 2010 is a goal that would accomplish very little in this angry partisan environment.  Nothing passed would be signed.  Nothing repealed would get signed.  No vetoes would be over-ridden.  Also as Karlgaard picks up is that America likes divided government.  If Republicans steal the house, then the new speaker representing directionless Republicans becomes the ugly picture on the cover of the news magazines instead of Pelosi and Obama.

Better to gain back most of the ground and take it all with a clear agenda, a LEADER, and a mandate in 2012.
5173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Somali civil war hits America? on: January 08, 2010, 01:55:49 AM
Possible story to watch.  Minneapolis only had 19 murders last year.  Last night 3 Somalis were gunned down in public at a neighborhood market.  The shooters are loose, armed and dangerous.  VERY unusual that police or media disclose ethnicity: "[Chief] says the killers are also believed to be Somali."  Sounded like a botched robbery, but a couple of problems with that.  If rank amateurs shoot 3 people, they probably wouldn't all die instantly.  And if pros rob a convenience store for money, they probably don't want it to escalate to mass murder. This looks like a multiple public execution, (just speculating) something to do with war back home in the land of al Qaida, Civil War, Blackhawk Down and piracy.  (Michael Yon gets detained and these thugs use the airport express lane with the revolving door!)

http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=834911&catid=14
Police look for 2 in slaying of 3 Somalis at store

MINNEAPOLIS --  Police appealed to the public for tips Thursday about an attack at a corner market that left three Somali businessmen dead, and they backed away from describing it as an attempted robbery gone bad.

"The people in any part of this city should not only have great sympathy for the family of the victims but be outraged and stirred to actions that these people will be brought to justice," Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said.

Investigators were searching for two people who, police said, entered Seward Market and Halal Meats Wednesday night and killed three adult men.

Police Chief Tim Dolan is calling the shooters "cold-blooded killers" and warns they are very dangerous. At a Thursday morning news conference, Dolan urged anyone with information about Wednesday night's killings at Seward Market and Halal Meats to come forward.

Police say they don't know the motive behind the killings. The initial call came in as a robbery, but on Thursday authorities backed away from saying it was an attempted robbery. Instead, they say there are looking at several scenarios.

"We have some suspected motives but we won't get into the details on that, we are just not sure," Dolan said.

Dolan says there are a large number of security cameras in the store, and that surveillance video is excellent. He also says there were a number of witnesses to the crime, and that they are cooperating. 

The three victims, all adult men, were members of the city's large community of Somali immigrants. Dolan says the killers are also believed to be Somali.

The triple homicide happend around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday night at Seward Market & Halal Meat located near 24th and Franklin Avenues.

The store is in an area south of downtown with a significant population of Somali immigrants. Although police have not confirmed the identities of the victims, leaders in the local Somali community say they are all Somali men who worked in the store, including its owner.  The men are described by a local Somali spokesman as decent members of the community who had nothing to do with gangs.

"We've never seen in Minneapolis that three Somali young guys were shot and killed at the same time on the same spot," Somali spokesman Omar Jamal said. "So there is an investigation going now. And we're asking the community to tell the police if they saw anything. Therefore those guys will be brought to justice."

Police Sgt. William Palmer said no suspects are in custody for the homicides.

Seward Market and Halal Meat, is in the city's Seward neighborhood, a middle-class area south of downtown with a significant population of Somali immigrants.   Sgt. Palmer decribes the area as "a good neighborhood."

Rybak said Thursday, "I think it's a specific tragedy to a community that has come here to escape violence now has lost three members to violence."

Rybak and Dolan had planned to toute the decline of crime in the city at a news conference Thursday.

Minnesota has the largest population of Somali immigrants of any U.S. state. 
5174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Michael Yon in Afghanistan on: January 08, 2010, 01:06:46 AM
"He knows his fedspeak."

But he doesn't know the facts of this case ('basically this' and 'probably that'), nor do we. 

As a reporter/journalist Yon should not have missed the part where he was handed over from TSA to Customs and Immigration - if in fact he was.

Quoting: "Basically Michael Yon thinks that customs and immigration laws don't apply to him or his friends"

That was a reckless statement.  Nothing brought up indicates Yon or his companion broke a law, only reasons why they each might have raised suspicion.
 
Just because that question has worked for them to guage the reaction of a shady people does not mean that federal law compels him to answer it to a federal agent (Customs, Immgration or Census) or to even know the answer except for at IRS filing time. 

One reason you can not be logically compelled to answer is that self employed people often have no idea how much money they make.  It depends on when you ask and what time frame you are referring to.  Income is a calculation revenues minus expenses.  I'm guessing he doesn't know any one of those three numbers with any accuracy so how can he be compelled to answer in a situation where a wrong answer might be a crime.  Balancing that, they may have every right to delay his entry or even deny his entry for cause. 

Real businesses keep at least two or three sets of books.  One for tax purposes and state and federal could be different.  If he knew all of the revenue, expense and income numbers, he would still have to know all details of which of his expenses are deductible in which situations in order to answer the question from a tax records point of view, which is the measure that DHS presumably would verify if they are serious.  One set of business books for public accounting reports if they are subject to those regulations or for reporting back to his partners or backers, and a different set for operational management which may be more cash flow based in the short term along with longer term goals for solvency,  profitability or growth, whatever the objectives are. I would assume Michael Yon had little idea of how to answer the question if he wanted to.

My take though from his writing is that he simply didn't like his privacy invaded when he knows he has done nothing wrong.
----
I turned in a trespasser on a property recently.  The sheriff deputy  had him frisked and handcuffed very quickly on very little information, ultimately releasing him without pressing charges.  I suppose the handcuffs help secure the situation and also served to intimidate a bit as the officers sorted out the facts.

Under Habeas Corpus I think they have 3 days to charge or release you. I assume this was more like minutes, though apparently uncalled for.  Yon was 'arrested' only in the sense of losing his liberties for that period, but not charged with anything or denied entry.

The fedspeak guy probably had it partly right - Yon's travel location history just looked fishy to them and that's all they knew.
5175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: January 07, 2010, 09:44:43 AM
There isn't a need to 'adjust things' in a firm contract.  You gave them the right to take back in exchange for the money to buy.  You make the payments and then they release the lien against the property.  If/when you miss they have a choice of remedies - collect the money owing or take back the asset securing the loan.  When they take back the property you are released from your obligation for the rest of the payments.  Make it more complicated, make it more costly to take back and up go the costs, fees and interest rates, making money harder to find and houses harder to buy.

You can apply for a new, longer loan to stretch out the payments from the same or a different mortgage company to replace the existing mortgage during its term.  But that is voluntary and far different than forcing a business to negotiate/take less or pay later than what was promised in the original contract. 
5176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: January 07, 2010, 09:19:45 AM
A little friendly parsing but the term 'going green' is backwards.  The green plants love the increased CO2 levels, like from a Chevy Suburban, and would gasp for a breath if a Prius or a bicycle were the only CO2 sources available. 

BBG, Old Style? From God's Country?  Fully Krausened? That beer should be sipped and savored, not pounded down by the case.   smiley

Rarick, I agree there is no reason to be wasteful or piggish with earth's resources.  I know we always turn off the waterski boat between skiers.  That is different than putting state control over recreational uses of gasoline for example. Recycle by choice is different than forcing me to pay for huge diesel trucks to come down our little dead end for recycling every week, then forcing me to pay for more diesel trucks to bring in more asphalt to repair the damage that the other trucks do.  The key is to make reasonable choices and not have them rammed down our throats or engineered socially from government elites.  Most of the tainted 'research' was aimed at justifying new legislation, restrictions, taxation and redistribution.
5177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Latin America: Economic growth in Peru on: January 06, 2010, 11:31:54 PM
Great success story:
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2010/0105/Latin-America-s-surprise-rising-economic-star-Peru

Latin America's surprise rising economic star: Peru

Peru's growth rate – 9.8 percent – was one of the fastest last year. It's poised to break with neighbors Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador with its center-left but pro-business governments.

By Matthew Clark / January 5, 2010
Lima, Peru

Often overlooked as a player in the global economy, Peru is determined to prove that it’s more than just llamas, bowler hats, and Macchu Picchu.

Its 9.8 percent growth rate last year was one of the world’s fastest. And record commodities prices, coupled with China’s insatiable demand for raw materials, are helping the mineral-rich nation weather the financial crisis better than most other countries in the region.

Now, Peru predicts that the construction of a new road between its Pacific coast and Brazil will replace the Panama Canal as the main passage for trade between rising superpower China and the agricultural juggernaut – adding a full percentage point to Peru’s gross domestic product. Add to that new oil and gas projects worth billions of dollars, and you’ve got a country poised for a giant leap.

Not since the height of the Spanish Empire, after Francisco Pizarro subdued Incan Emperor Atahualpa during his quest for the mythical golden city of El Dorado, has Peru been better positioned to play a key role on the world stage. But the country has long been dogged by a “resource curse” – vast reserves of gold, silver, tin, iron, zinc, and copper that have sparked more turmoil than development. Now the question is whether Peru – pound for pound, one of the world’s richest countries in terms of resources – can avoid repeating mistakes that have stunted its growth in the past.

The country has experienced decades of extreme left-wing and right-wing authoritarian governments and a brutal leftist insurgency waged by the Shining Path. But Peru’s past two pro-business, yet center-left governments have steered the country toward record economic growth, greater transparency, and rapid decentralization. The result: Peru has matured politically to the point where analysts – and investors – are beginning to talk about another regional powerhouse creeping up alongside Brazil.

“South America in general, and Peru in particular, are the region and country of the future,” says Francisco Sagasti, a senior associate at FORO, a development think tank based in Lima. “We’ve tried every macroeconomic model, and we’ve learned from our mistakes. No one is pushing for nationalization here. Everyone here knows that you have to have sensible economic policies from top to bottom.”

Indeed, Peruvians of all walks of life seem to agree that the country is not likely to follow its Andean neighbors Bolivia and Ecuador toward the “21st century socialism” of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. They’ve been there, done that. And, although President Alan Garcia’s approval rating now hovers near 30 percent, few quibble with the fact that Peru has enjoyed an average annual economic growth rate of 7 percent since 2003 or that per capita income has doubled and poverty plummeted from 50 percent to 35 percent in roughly the same time.

Peru’s ruling classes are almost giddy with excitement. “Latin America has the opportunity to be a major player like never before,” says former center-left President Alejandro Toledo, the country’s first indigenous leader and who is widely expected to be a top candidate again when Peru votes in a little over a year. “Peru is a hub for Pacific countries and China’s coming like a bulldozer.”

Barriers to a boom

But Peru’s rapid ascent is not a given. In some of its historically neglected mountain and jungle areas, social unrest lurks just beneath the surface, ready to thwart progress if people in those regions don’t feel more a part of the economic boom.

In June, clashes between indigenous protesters and armed forces killed more than 30 in the worst political violence since the Shining Path’s campaign of terror in the 1990s.

Native groups say the confrontation, which led to the resignation of Peru’s prime minister and the exile of a top indigenous leader, took place because the government refused to consult them before opening up their ancestral lands to oil and gas exploration.

Peru’s Congress quickly repealed two decrees by President Garcia that were aimed at opening wide swaths of the Peruvian Amazon to logging, dams, and oil drilling, and Garcia admitted that his failure to properly consult with indigenous groups on these matters was a mistake. Still, Garcia remains committed to the energy exploration that he and many others believe is crucial for the development of the nation. With half of the country identifying as indigenous, such conflicts are likely to come up again.

“Peru is very geographically fragmented,” says Mr. Toledo, explaining that Peru’s Andes are difficult to access and that two-thirds of the country is road-swallowing Amazonian jungle. “That’s its beauty, but also its challenge.”

The country is now in a race to spread decisionmaking power and largess from its recent boom to long-neglected rural areas.

“One of the weak points of [Peru’s economic] growth is that the interior of the country has been left behind,” says Epifanio Baca, the coordinator of the Citizen Watch Program, which has spent more than 20 years monitoring mining in Peru.

But that’s changing.

Mr. Baca says that one of the most important developments in the past few years is that the tax on mining has increased from 7 percent to 30 percent, and that half of that tax revenue is sent to Peru’s regional governments.

The fact that 15 percent of extractive industry earnings now goes to regional governments is hailed as Exhibit A in Peru’s aggressive moves to decentralize power away from Lima.

“Decentralization is vital, because [rural Peruvians] see effective governance and improvement of life at the national level – in Lima – but they don’t see it where they are,” says Vito Verna, who monitors social conflicts at the national ombudsman’s office.

Mr. Verna’s office, which was created earlier this year, keeps an eye on nearly 300 simmering local conflicts, almost half of which are related to mining, oil, or gas activities. The office plays the role of mediator in any conflict in which all the stakeholders have asked for dialogue.

“A year ago, only 25 percent of conflicts had dialogue. Now 50 percent have dialogue,” he says. “Peruvian society is evolving. Now, people who’ve historically been discriminated against are more a part of things.”

But as the central government devolves power from Lima, where one-third of the population lives, it’s finding that many regional governmental officials don’t have needed management skills.

“Competency training for regional officials is now vital,” says Verna’s boss and head of the ombudsman’s office, Eduardo Vega Luna.

And then there’s corruption. As regional budgets have exploded, so have the number of graft allegations against local and regional officials.

Still, by most accounts, there’s been tremendous progress on government accountability.

“Corruption affects all levels of government, but Peru has moved forward,” says Baca, of the Citizen Watch Program. “Any citizen can now see how money is being spent on a month-to-month basis.”

Peru is the only country in Latin America to sign on to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which was started in 2002 by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to enable citizens to more closely monitor the flows of money from energy and mining companies to the host country’s local, regional, and federal government.

The goal of the initiative is to combat the government corruption that has plagued resource-rich countries, often leading to social unrest and deadly armed conflict.

Baca has been instrumental in coordinating efforts to independently audit willing oil, gas, and mining companies and ensure that payments by companies to the different branches of government – and revenues received by government – are widely publicized for any interested party to read.
A steep learning curve

Peru is nearing the end of the two-year process to become certified as completely EITI-compliant. It would be only the third such country.

The progress on transparency and accountability is “encouraging,” says Cynthia Sanborn, director of the research center at Pacific University in Lima. “There’s more learning from mistakes.”

But is Peru learning quickly enough?

During a visit to Peru earlier in December, Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, signed 11 cooperation deals, mostly on trade and energy. Peru’s Garcia urged the scores of top-flight business leaders that accompanied Lula to invest his country.

“I’m deeply convinced that our peoples’ union and the road integration of our ports, flights, and trade will allow [us] to achieve both a very high level of well-being and [the] social justice we are all fighting for,” assured Garcia.

Coming months and years will reveal whether Peru’s political reforms will keep the “social justice” side of that equation on pace with its lightning-fast growth.
5178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Latin America - Chile on: January 06, 2010, 11:25:04 PM
------
In another Latin America story...

 Deep secrets of economic growth
 
January 6, 2010 (powerlineblog.com)

In an excellent editorial on December 4, Investor's Business Daily reported that Chile was expected to win entry to OECD's club of developed countries by December 15 -- "a great affirmation for a once-poor nation that pulled itself up by trusting markets." (The OECD followed up as expected on December 15.)

Chile is the first country in South America to win the honor. For Chileans, it symbolizes exit from the ranks of the Third World to the First. "For the rest of us," IBD writes, "it's a stunning example of how embracing free markets and free trade brings prosperity." It's an example that we could use in the United States right about now.
5179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Latin America: Democracy on: January 06, 2010, 11:22:11 PM
Thanks Denny, all valid points.  The vote fraud thread here alone would probably boot the US out of the hypothetical democracies group. Maybe the members of this club for the consent of the governed should be judged by whether they are moving toward or away from these ideals rather than by the name of their system, and that could be a way of exposing or sanctioning elected leaders for shutting down democratic systems. My hopes for this type of group are small, just a small step to try to diffuse the power of the thugs and cleptocrats with no legitimacy trying to establish world government at the UN.

I recall a Chavez election where the exit polls were 40-60 against him and the 'official' results were 60-40 for him, a 40 point swing.  My reaction was that the problem lied also with the 40 percent who actually voted for corruption, as much as it was the highly expected cheat.  As a tennis competitor, I know you avoid losing by one or two errors or a bad line call only by not letting your match get that close.   40% voting for Chavez was enough to create the confusion he needed to steal that election and still have the result honored.  On a different scale, same goes for the 60th D-Senator in the US; a 0.1% cheat only worked because of the nearly 50% who chose him legitimately.
5180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ACTION item: Hope and Change for Ted Kennedy's seat on: January 06, 2010, 12:04:28 PM
Make a difference, change Ted Kennedy's seat.  Election is less than 2 weeks away.  Please spread this around.  Don't live in Massachusetts?  Don't worry.  $22 million of Al Franken's money didn't come from MN. (CCP, this could affect your business!)

 Support Scott Brown
 http://www.powerlineblog.com/
January 5, 2010

Scott Brown is the GOP candidate for the open Senate seat in Massachusetts. Today comes word that he is within shouting distance of Democrat Martha Coakley.

Coakley is a liberal Democrat of the cookie cutter variety. Even in the friendly environs of Massachusetts she can do no better on the subject of health care, for example, than assuring voters that as their next "U.S. Senator, Martha will work to ensure health care reform is done effectively and responsibly." And you know what that means. On the other hand, Brown forthrightly declares: "I am opposed to the health care legislation that is under consideration in Congress and will vote against it."

On "equal rights and opportunity," Coakley is equally bold in declaring her beliefs: "Martha believes that our differences and diversity make us stronger -- and that our government must ensure equal access to opportunities and fair treatment for all."

What about the economy? "Martha believes the best way to get our economy back on the right track is to tackle the economic crisis head on and to take all necessary steps to get people back to work."

I could go on quoting the strategically bland Ms. Coakley, but suffice it to say that Scott Brown deserves our support. He too believes that the the best way to get our economy back on the right track is to tackle the economic crisis head on and to take all necessary steps to get people back to work, only more so! Brown actually supports the free enterprise system, and his victory would kill Obamacare to boot.

Massachusetts goes to the polls on January 19. Support Scott Brown with your contribution to his Senate campaign here: https://www.icontribute.us/scottbrown
5181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Foreclosure Recidivism at 70% on: January 06, 2010, 11:46:40 AM
This story is from last May.  Happy to look at new numbers for failed programs.  Posting this separate from the argument that forced negotiation is wrong; it also doesn't work.  If you identify that someone cannot afford a place, then show them there is a positive consequence for defaulting... what is (70%)most likely to happen next??  I wonder if it cost us $4-$6 to give away each dollar like it did with cash for clunkers.

http://www.housingwire.com/2009/05/22/fannie-program-sees-70-recidivism/
Fannie Program Sees 70% Recidivism
A program aimed at helping delinquent borrowers become current once more on their mortgages will likely see decreased volumes at mortgage giant Fannie Mae (FNM: 1.12 -2.61%) after the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) noted a significant majority of participants soon redefaulted after receiving aid.
5182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: January 06, 2010, 11:31:11 AM
"...the damage done is deep, profound, and long lasting."

So true.  A mortgage is the claim against the property guaranteeing the payment with a specific right to take it back if necessary.  Eliminate that right and everything is an unsecured loan.  Or make ever-changing rules and restrictions that are applied unevenly and what you get is called a third world country.

People under-appreciate things like foreclosure, bankruptcy, right to fire employees etc.  They all sound so negative but are part of our freedoms, part of free markets, dynamic capitalism and a stable set of ground rules needed to make large, long term investments.  You don't give up your first born and they don't chop off your arm.  But they do get to take your house if you don't pay and they should get to hire someone else if they don't think you do your job well enough.  You get to start over, find new work where you are more appreciated, get a smaller house if necessary or play a part in rejuvenating an older part of town that lost some value.

Who benefited when values were only going up and up and up, artificially and beyond affordability?  I would argue the answer is really no one.  Mine went up 8-fold, and all I really had was the same property with richer neighbors and higher property taxes.
5183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: January 06, 2010, 10:56:34 AM
Denny: "Brazil is and has always been Brazil centric. As far as they are concerned, Brazil is the center of the Universe."  - Same is true for Green Bay Packer fans, so maybe that lesson applies to some extent any direction we travel.

"Did Ms. Susan Kaufman Purcell think Brazil would be an American puppy dog? If so, she certainly does not know or understand Brazil."

From my point of view no one expects a lapdog or even an ally, just wishfully thinking that an independent democratic process far away might look at same or similar facts and come up with similar viewpoints and strategies.  But we can't get it right here, so our expectations elsewhere should be not much more than a curiosity, at least until they start partnering with our enemies.

Brazil congratulated Ahmadinejad, but the US under Bush with Sec. Powell using election observer Jimmy Carter wrongly congratulated Chavez.  More recently, as pointed out, we sided wrong in Honduras.

Still I favor the association of democracies.  To the extent that we all disagree, then the meetings could end without big press conferences or emissions treaties, but at least the participants would have some legitimacy.

ps. Are you still sailing?
5184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process on: January 05, 2010, 12:52:00 AM
CCP: "One in eight Americans now receives food stamps, including one in four children.  Incredible...
Yet Americans cannot find a job."

I can't add much to what you wrote, just appreciate that someone else notices this stuff.  With unemployment pay, you are required to job search or pretend job search and fill out forms.  With food stamps - no such thing.  They are marketed on television as being cool and for almost anyone.  There is no stamp anymore, just a free credit card with money put on it automatically on a regular basis.  There are restrictions on what you can buy with it but the restricted free dollars are very openly sold in the inner cities at fifty cents on the dollar for cash that can be used for the other necessities of life like booze and drugs.

As an inner city landlord what I am noticing more is how it seems almost everyone gets a disability check, SSI for kids, adults, anyone.  No visible disability ever it seems.  Sometimes I ask and hear about a healthy twenty something year old with a bad back while my 85 year old parents both keep working because they can.  Sometimes I think it may be something more like ADHD or learning disability but it always seems to be something subtle. No wheelchairs or amputees in my experience.  Steep stairs, no problem.  They move the beds and dressers in and if they need a refrigerator or washing machine moved in somehow they find a way to get it done, but not work or job hunting.   - From the original story, "she did have a $600 government check to help her care for (her own daughter!) Ashley, who has a developmental disability."

The new healthcare bill puts people at 400% of the poverty rate in the subsidy pool.  Families of 4 making $88,000 on welfare - the public dole.

What is sad is that it is the government's goal to get more and more people on assistance (and politically supporting the programs) when it seems to me the goal should be to get more and more people OFF of assistance.

CCP, you, me, Crafty?, and about 7 other people on earth seem to get this and everyone else seems to have that 'see no evil', 'what's the problem' reaction to it all as it grows and grows and continues to swallow up more and more people in more and more ways enticing them to move away from work ethic and individual responsibility toward a dependency mentality and adopting the 'welfare rights' agenda.   - The underlying point of the original NYT piece was: why aren't these programs much bigger and easier to get!

The immigration aspect is whole 'nother deal.  I first tried to post the swedish muslim riot video under the health care thread.  They come for the world's greatest free benefits  - for doing nothing.  Same goes for the riot videos from Chicago.  Minneapolis has shorter lines, better services and higher benefits, so if you are a 4th generation welfare recipient in Chicago and want to make a 'better life' for you and your family, move to Mpls. and start applying for all the programs, free health care, free food, free clothing, cab rides to your appointments, section 8 housing, and on and on.  And they come.  The largest US Somali population is in Mpls.  The largest Hmong location is Mpls-St.Paul.  Yet the inner city neighborhoods have no major employers.  Unfortunately, that is no problem because they didn't come looking for employers.
5185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science and WTF on: January 04, 2010, 09:45:46 AM
I love the whistle blower enticement post.  I hope all who can come forward with any true stories  about public and institutional monies used to mislead the public for the purpose of this left turn to halt our economy.
-----
As the climate and weather runs through its natural cycles, zealots used to pick a warm stretch to tell us that we are deniers if we won't admit that we notice a tenth of a degree per decade change.  But scare-mongering became a fully funded, year-round industry resulting in the embarrassments of being snowed and frozen out of events in NYC, DC and Copenhagen.

If we only fly to Alaska or Kilimanjaro (in summer) we are told, that we can witness global warming first hand.  But those affects would be regional and cyclical just like whatever temps and changes we might experience right out our own doors across the heartland. 

Those of you in sunny southern Cal might want to put on a sweater before you read the following morning temps that millions are facing here in the twin cities (and similar for most of the country), 4 Days actual, 5 days forecast, note the warmup at the end.  We truly look forward to it:
Dec31: -2
Jan 1: -10
Jan 2: -18
Jan 3: -17
Jan 4: -10
Jan 5: -5
Jan 6: -9
Jan 7: -15
Jan 8: -8
Jan 9: 2 °F
Wonder what the temps these mornings would be without man caused global warming.  Was it really colder when we were kids?  But this is winter, what about summer? The summer update here is that my home air conditioner has been off for over ten years and my car air conditioners have all died from non-use.

I also get a heat bill for an old house high in the mountains of Colo.  This winter so far has been six degrees colder than last.  Not tenths of a degree, 6 degrees colder on average - morning, noon, night and everything in between, for a region over an extended period. 

Maybe God knows more about these fluctuations, the scientists don't.

Meanwhile, CO2 is still an atmospheric trace element measured in parts per million.  It is NOT trapping huge amounts of heat in, across the globe.
5186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islam in Europe: Torched cars around Paris on: January 02, 2010, 12:16:06 AM
PARIS (Reuters) - Youths burned 1,137 cars across France overnight as New Year's Eve celebrations once again turned violent, the French Interior Ministry said on Friday.

World

Car burnings are regular occurrences in poor suburbs that ring France's big cities, but the arson is especially prevalent during New Year's Eve revelry.

The number of vehicles torched was only 10 short of the record 1,147 burned this time last year, even though the Interior Ministry mobilized 45,000 police during the night -- 10,000 more than 12 months ago.

It said police detained 549 people overnight, compared with 288 in 2009 New Year celebrations.
5187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islam in Europe, Danish police shoot intruder at cartoonist's home on: January 01, 2010, 11:51:54 PM
A 28 year old Somali.  (Elsewhere today Somali pirates take another vessel.)  Danish Police didn't read him his rights.  They came in and shot him. Like it or not, Mr. President, we are at war.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8437433.stm

Danish police have shot and wounded a man at the home of Kurt Westergaard, whose cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad sparked an international row.

Mr Westergaard was at home in Aarhus when a man broke in and threatened him. He pressed a panic button and police entered the house and shot the man.

Danish officials said the intruder was a 28-year-old Somali linked to the radical Islamist al-Shabab militia.

The cartoon, printed in 2005, prompted violent protests the following year.

   
ANALYSIS
Malcolm Brabant
By Malcolm Brabant, BBC News
This attack will force the Danish secret service Pet to review whether their protection is adequate.

Mr Westergaard's house was supposed to have been turned into a fortress. The windows were supposed to be blast proof, and yet a determined individual came within a whisker of killing a man regarded by Islam as a pariah, but by his supporters, as one of the bravest defenders of free expression.

One of 12 cartoons published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, it depicted the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

In 2006 the paper apologised for the cartoons, but other European media reprinted them.

Danish embassies were then attacked by Muslims around the world and dozens killed in riots.

Mr Westergaard went into hiding amid threats to his life, but emerged last year saying he wanted to live as normal a life as possible.

His house has been heavily fortified and is under close police protection.

'Shocked'

Police said the man had entered Mr Westergaard's house armed with a knife and had shouted in broken English that he wanted to kill him.

Anti-Danish protest in Pakistan 2006
The cartoons prompted anti-Danish outrage across the Muslim world

He said he had grabbed his five-year-old granddaughter and run to a specially designed panic room where he raised the alarm.

Mr Westergaard told Jyllands Posten he was shocked that his granddaughter had witnessed the attack.

He has now been taken to a safe location, but said defiantly that he would be back, the newspaper reported.

Jakob Scharf, who heads the Danish intelligence service Pet, said the attack was "terror related" and that the suspected assailant has close contacts to Somalia's al-Shabab group.

He had been under surveillance for activities unrelated to Mr Westergaard, Mr Scharf said.

Police said he was shot in the knee and the shoulder after threatening officers who tried to arrest him. Preben Nielsen of Aarhus police, said the man was seriously hurt but his life was not in danger.

The BBC's Malcolm Brabant, who interviewed Mr Westergaard when he emerged from hiding, says the incident will raise questions about security measures put in place by the Danish secret service to protect the artist.

Islamic militants have placed a $1m price on Mr Westergaard's head.

Although he is one of 12 cartoonists whose drawings of the Prophet were published in Jyllands-Posten, he has the highest profile, our correspondent says.
5188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness and gaffes - The Year in Review on: January 01, 2010, 02:54:19 PM
Excerpts from a VDH piece 12/23/09:

...Obama administrationincapable of effective governance.  Here is a random selection, no chronology or theme. Nor do I judge the relative importance of any one incident. The point is only that each was a fissure, some small, some major...

Constant apologies abroad for everything from slavery to Hiroshima

Bows to Saudi royalty, the Japanese emperor, and Chinese autocrats

The on-again/off-again Guantanamo shut-down mess

The fight with the former CIA directors

The public show trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed

The reach out to Ahmadinejad Castro, Chavez, and assorted thugs

The Honduras fiasco

Czars everywhere

The serial “Bush did it”/reset whine abroad

The Queen of England/I-pod fiasco

Gordon Brown gets snookered in his gift-giving

Unceremoniously shipping back the Churchill bust

The end of the special relationship with the UK

The New York on-the-town presidential splurge

Anita Dunn and her Mao worship

Timothy Geithner/Tom Daschle/Hilda Solis and their taxes

What ever happened to Gov. Richardson?

“No lobbyists” = gads of them

The Podestas’ insider influence-peddling empire

Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” chauvinism

The Special Olympics silly quip

Trashing Nancy Reagan

The Skip Gates/police acting “stupidly” mess

The get-Chicago-the-Olympics jaunt to Copenhagen

Cap-and-trade boondoggle

“Millions of green jobs”

Ignore gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power production

Cash-for-clunkers

The Joe Biden gaffe machine

Jobs “saved” or “created” rather than references to the actual unemployment rates

Van Jones, the racist and truther

Desiree Rogers won’t testify

The blowback from, and silence about, the Rangel/Dodd corruption

The White House party crashers plan to take the 5th Amendment

The ‘bipartisanship’ con

The pork-barrel stimulus spoils

The demonization of the Town-Hallers

The Acorn Mess

The Kevin Jennings/Safe School Czar embarrassment

The SEIU direct access to the White House

The Asian Tour comedown

The politicization of the take-over of GM and Chrysler

The Obama readjustment in the order of paying back car creditors

Car dealerships closed on shaky criteria

Obama as “Caesar”

The Emanuel “never let a serious crisis go to waste” boast

The Black Caucus/Rangel/Waters bid to bail out the inner-city radio stations

Yosi Sergant and the NEA

$1.7 trillion deficit

The planned $9 trillion added to the national debt

New income tax rates; health care surcharge talk; and payroll tax caps to be lifted

Rahm Emanuel’s promised payback to those states that trash the stimulus

The supposed C-span aired health care debate

The promised website posts of pending legislation

Czechs and Poles sold out on missile defense

Sermons to and finger pointing at the Israelis

The failed ‘Putin helps to stop a nuclear Iran’ gambit

Voting present on the Iranian reformers in the street

Serial but empty deadlines to Ahmadinejad

The good war/bad war twisting and turning on Iraq/Afghanistan

The months-long dithering over Afghanistan

Renditions, tribunals, Patriot Act, etc. once trashed, now OK

Healthcare take-over

The 2,000 page proposed new health code

The embarrassing Nobel Peace Prize nomination

The attacks on surgeons, Chamber of Commerce, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, etc.

The Islam mythologies in the Cairo Speech

The al Arabiya “Bush did it” interview

Obama’s TV “my Muslim faith” gaffe
5189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward? on: January 01, 2010, 01:22:35 PM
Received this from a friend on the RNC written by a fellow committeeman who fled Communist China as a young man, seeking freedom.  He writes about fighting for freedom and holding the party, its candidates, and its officeholders accountable to the voters for their faithfulness to conservative principles. (published in the Wash. Times)

As others have described it, the 'big tent' strategy is to stand consistently for solid and proven principles like freedom, prosperity and security and invite all to join us, not as our opponents do - to calculate each demographic's special interest and compromise on principles enough to eek out a majority.

-----
Solomon Yue:

On Jan. 29 in Honolulu, the 168-member Republican National Committee, the Republican Party's governing body, will debate a resolution over whether the RNC should continue to finance candidates who do not support many key principles in the party's platform. The resolution would set a standard -- some call it a "litmus test" -- to judge whether a candidate qualifies for RNC financial support.

Last month, the special congressional election in New York was a fiasco because the RNC backed liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava over a conservative Republican who wound up running on the Conservative Party line. Mrs. Scozzafava then quit and endorsed the Democrat candidate, who went on to win.

That raised some profound questions: Should the RNC maintain a balance between simply electing more Republicans on the one hand and ensuring that those elected defend the party's conservative principles on the other? To regain public trust, should the RNC match deeds with words by offering concrete steps to hold elected Republicans accountable?

As an immigrant from Communist China, I never had freedom until I got to the United States in 1980. I joined the Republican Party because of Ronald Reagan's pro-freedom agenda. He hastened the fall of the "evil empire" by putting unbearable pressure on its long-crumbling economy. Millions were liberated.

Back then, the Grand Old Party stood for freedom. But I began to share the tea-party activists' frustrations about broken promises, from earmarks to deficit spending. Those broken promises represented this party's failure to stand for principles.

After the 2008 defeat, broken promises continued, with the usual lip service. Republican leaders asked voters to trust them to reassert party principles, while some continued to back the stimulus bill, deficit spending, cap-and-trade plans and Obamacare. Those Republicans not only continued to erode the party's brand name, but also aided and abetted President Obama's march to socialism. Some fear that a candid debate could relegate the Republican Party to indefinite minority status; that the party needs those promise-breakers for a "big tent" to regain the majority.

During the debate at the RNC on a resolution declaring the Democratic agenda as socialist, party leaders put their concern for how the media perceived them above their standing up for conviction. Some of us ask, "At what price?" and wonder whether the tent is big enough for the tea-party activists.

While the RNC debated what the Republican Party should call the Obama agenda, individual freedom eroded at an accelerated rate. The activists saw Republicans as those who voted to take away not only their freedom, but also their children's and grandchildren's freedom while the party stood by. They perceived the GOP's failure to defend individual freedom as its acceptance of partial tyranny for the sake of "bipartisanship."

The anger at an out-of-control Washington has driven those activists to protest in town halls and a march on Washington. They blame both parties for taking away their freedom. I can see their point, since I am now partially owned by the same tyrannical regime that I thought I escaped 29 years ago: China remains the number one holder of U.S. bonds, valued at $799 billion.

The Republican Party is at a crossroads. The fear of becoming a permanent minority party, which caused the RNC not to hold Republican leaders accountable, now becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The latest Rasmussen polls showed, despite Republican victories in New Jersey and Virginia, a generic "tea-party" candidate in a 2010 congressional race would finish ahead of an unnamed Republican, by 23 percent to 18 percent.

The Whig Party's failure to stand up for black freedom gave birth to the Republican Party. What would happen to this party if it fails to stand for individual freedom? A political party ceases to exist when it no longer stands for principles. If the Republicans were to break into two or three smaller parties, would this Republic survive eight years of Mr. Obama's socialism?

After broken promises and more broken promises, would another "trust us" approach, without any teeth, be enough to save the Republican Party? Clearly, it is not enough. The RNC must offer concrete steps to ensure that party leaders will defend freedom.

First, the RNC must close the credibility gap caused by ideological inconsistencies. If this is the party of small government, lower taxes, less spending, free enterprise and individual freedom, the RNC must make sure candidates not only run as fiscal conservatives, but also govern that way.

Second, the Republican establishment must resist the urge to endorse a moderate candidate in a contested primary. This not only is divisive, but also raises questions about the party's commitment to conservatism. It further undermines the trust the RNC wants to rebuild.

Finally, the RNC must hold the party's elected lawmakers accountable to the voters by matching their promises with their records when their funding requests are considered.

Facing extinction as a party, the Republican Party must not fail. Benjamin Franklin reputedly said on the adoption of the Constitution, "We have given you a republic - if you can keep it."

Making elected Republicans accountable is one way to keep the republic.

• Solomon Yue, an Oregon businessman, is an elected member of the Republican National Committee and a founder of two conferences within the RNC: the 24-member Republican National Conservative Caucus and the 96-member Conservative Steering Committee.

 
5190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 01, 2010, 11:13:17 AM
Something seems amiss if you are trying to get at all the information necessary to protect our country in a time of war but when you capture a foreign terrorist suicide mass murderer in the act, the first things you say are that you have the right to remain silent and make a phone call - while thousands of other airliners are still in the air.  That is what you might say to a shoplifter or a pickpocket in an airport.  Waterboarding and being told you don't have the right to remain silent or comfortable would seem a little more appropriate for trying to recreate the terror of 9/11/01.
5191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Economist: Waziristan, The Last Frontier on: January 01, 2010, 10:45:40 AM
Fascinating and wide ranging piece, a bit long to post.
http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15173037
5192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government Programs, spending, budget process - Stansberry piece on: December 31, 2009, 01:11:18 PM
'Minneapolis car rental tax 60%.'  His itemization missed the sales tax surcharge for the outdoor ballpark totally unusable here in April and November.  I recall that in Denver car rental tax is worse, a lower tax state but a newer airport.  They think it is free money since the tourist doesn't get to vote.  Then they dream up subsidy schemes and incentives because tourism is down.  Go figure.  The home phone tax is also 60% with a similarly long list.  Hurts the poor worst who do not even pay it because they no longer afford landlines.  When their prepaid cell minutes run out they are out of luck, out of touch, out of job contact etc.  Same for the energy bill, quite a few fees before the first kilowatt hour gets billed.  In the land of lakes we have the 'cabin tax'.  Again tax the non local resident at a higher rate since they can't vote in the district or do anything about it, then up go the new schools and government centers of construction to make the great pyramids blush.  My total property taxes alone are more than food, clothing and shelter costs combined.  That's before federal and state income taxes and the returning 55% death tax.  Ahhhh...  freedom and limited government in the greatest country on earth.  What could possibly go wrong?
5193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion - New England Journal of Medicine on: December 31, 2009, 12:28:45 PM
One add'l comment from the mind-boggling ending of NEJM about abortion funding over on Politics of Healthcare today:

"...social justice and equality between the sexes"

I would love to see this answered from a religious perspective, but is that really what we seek - what women seek, equality meaning identical-ness between the sexes?  That a man can have unprotected sex with a stranger, pick up herpes and the rest, be shot by her husband,r pay child support the rest of his life, or be denied access to his children etc. etc. but he does not get pregnant... therefore a woman should be able to have unprotected recreation sex without consequence.  Termination, it's all about 'me' and no one else is affected.  Is that what God wanted designing the differences in the sexes?  For us to undo His work with a fully funded and medically safe 'procedure'?  Would that even make sense to an atheist who believes this amazing design is by accident?
5194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: NEJM on abortion funding on: December 31, 2009, 12:09:22 PM
Thanks CCP,  If I read through their spin correctly they are saying don't let abortion details kill the bill.  Set it aside, get it passed and add it back later.  In 99+% of the cases, the issue has nothing to do with health care, except to keep women from harming themselves, assuming (falsely) that they would get pregnant and terminate at the same rate if medical services, free ones in particular, were not readily available. Funding solution could be simple, just dedicate all the dollars spent on marketing, legal and political for the abortion industry and the terminations would be fully funded.  But then the liberal law firms and lobbyists would be defunded. 

The ending description for abortion just can't be ignored: "...social justice and equality between the sexes", just as provocative as my description of it as slaughtering your young.

China is different, but as far as I know we terminate equally between the genders.  The social justice elephant in the room they won't say isn't free terminations, it is that we terminate black babies at 3.1 times the rate of white babies and that rate is even higher for taxpayer funded abortions.  Assuming abortion on demand is a good thing for women, it looks like white women are being treated unfairly.  The unspoken racist argument implied is that these unwanted, mostly inner city babies would live miserable lives and be a net drain on our society anyway.  That's quite a judgment!  If true that issue should be aimed back at those 'parents' not the innocent unborns who have yet do anything wrong IMHO.
5195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newt, The Way Forward on: December 31, 2009, 12:36:42 AM
Newt is very impressive, reminds me of the Newt of old, challenging the establishment before he won the majority and the speakership.  He speaks without teleprompter and almost without notes.  If an election were about ideas and issues he would be quite an adversary for the current President.  

I like that he does not name Obama.  It is not enough to stand against one man, candidate or administration; the argument is against a line of thinking or governing that takes us in the wrong direction.  The urgency to bring down Hillary once seemed paramount, but the agenda grew stronger without her.

He makes a point I agree with but think many will find controversial, that the 'weakest' branch (judiciary) should not run roughshod over the two elected branches.  

Another point I like is that he challenges BOTH parties to engage in common sense thinking.  I doubt he has any pull within the Dem. party but the challenge is right on the money.  Security, healthy economy, liberty and privacy - these should not be partisan, only the smallest details should be our differences.  Like the Ben Nelson situation, if moderate and reasonable Dems can't find traditional and successful American principles in the politics of their leaders then they may cross over as they did with Reagan.
5196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Unconstitutional Health Care Reform on: December 30, 2009, 01:24:59 PM
Acouple of asides: Despite the deafening silence here at my attempt to get at the right and wrong of abortion, it may be the (side) issue that brings down this horrendous, limited government ending legislation.

Only 17% of Nebraskans support the special deal to buy Ben Nelson's vote.  That question should push-polled to death across the rest of the states and publicized nationally:  Do you know of the special deal where 49 states pay expenses for one state too buy their spineless Democrat's vote on health care and do you favor or oppose this form of legislated unequal protection under the law??

Now the (un)constitutionality of the individual mandate: Obviously there are liberal scholars who will say it is fine or they wouldn't be able to write and support any of these liberal policies that violate the founding tenets of our republic.  They can make lame and pretend arguments such as that we already require auto insurance, but how do they hold water compared to these:
--------
http://www.heritage.org/Research/LegalIssues/lm0049.cfm
(This piece is long so I will just quote one section.  Please follow link to read in its entirety!)

Personal Health Insurance v. Drivers' Auto Liability Insurance

Some have argued that a federal mandate requiring all citizens to obtain health insurance is no different than state laws that require licensed drivers to carry proof of auto insurance when driving on the public roads.[37] But there are several important constitutional differences that render the comparison decidedly inapposite.

First, there is a fundamental constitutional difference between the inherent police powers of the states and the enumerated powers of the national government. A bedrock principal of the American republic is that, whereas states enjoy plenary police powers (albeit subject to various constitutional limits), the national government is limited to the enumerated powers "herein granted" to it by the Constitution. Thus, states may craft numerous regulations for the protection of their citizens which are beyond Congress's power. In striking down the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act, the Lopez Court acknowledged that the states already enforced similar criminal laws even though Congress could not. Likewise, when it struck down the federal tort action for rape in Morrison,the Court did not question state laws allowing similar causes of action. State laws regulating the level of insurance that licensed state drivers must have to operate on state roads stem from a completely different source of constitutional authority--a state's police power--than Congress can invoke. Congress has never been thought to have such power, and the Supreme Court has always denied that such plenary federal power exists.

Second, automobile insurance requirements impose a condition on the voluntary activity of driving; a health insurance mandate imposes a condition on life itself. States do not require non-drivers, including passengers in cars with potentially bad drivers, to buy auto insurance liability policies--even though such a requirement undoubtedly would lower the auto insurance premiums for those who do drive. The auto insurance requirement is linked to driving and to the possibility that bad driving may cause injuries to others, including passengers in the driver's car, not to those who benefit from roads generally.

Third, state auto insurance requirements are limited to those who drive on public roads. The public roads are mostly constructed, owned, and maintained by the government, or in some other cases, are built on public rights of way or through the use of eminent domain. What a state (or private citizen) may require of someone using its property is wholly different than what it may do to control their purely private behavior. Driving on government roads is a privilege--one easily distinguished from merely living. For those who choose to drive on public roads, the state can establish terms and conditions reasonably related to preventing injury to others. States may issue drivers licenses, establish and enforce traffic laws, and may require that all those driving on their roads be adequately insured to compensate others for their injuries. These same rules do not extend to driving on private roads or property. Indeed, one may drive vehicles on private property without ever obtaining a state driver's license.

Finally, states require drivers to maintain auto insurance only to cover injuries to others.[38] The mandate does not require drivers to insure themselves or their property against injury or damage. Thus, the auto insurance requirement covers the dangers and liabilities posed by drivers to third parties only, even though many of those same risks apply to the driver himself. The auto insurance mandate seeks to avoid the all-too-common problem of an uninsured and insolvent motorist severely injuring a third party on a public road, leaving the injured party to cover her own medical expenses. But the driver remains free to assume the risk that she will injure herself, even if she is insolvent to pay for her own expenses. Thus, states only seek to ensure that drivers can pay the equivalent of tort judgments for their wrongful conduct to others on state roads; they do not tell drivers how to take care of themselves.
5197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: PBS News Hour on: December 29, 2009, 04:55:43 PM
"...Lehrer NewsHour and its trademark two-side analysis of major news"

Within the constraints of broadcast TV this was one of the best for me.  Used to make a ritual of watching Paul Gigot for 5 minutes on Fridays and getting a good feel for what was going on in Washington that week.  After he was promoted at WSJ and replaced at PBS with David Brooks, it became a moderate Obama supporter bantering with a totally partisan leftist for pretend political balance and all value lost for my point of view.  I quit watching so I missed the balance lost on climate, but keeping one side off is shameful.  I'm glad someone is holding PBS feet to the fire.  It would be very interesting if correspondence about this shows up in the climategate emails.  Would not surprise me, very much like the Orwellian fight to keep opposing views out of peer review.  Shame on the News Hour for succumbing to that pressure.  I wonder if there is enough taxpayer dollars involved to qualify for a freedom of information act inquiry into the correspondence around the time balance was dropped.

BTW, I always thought Jim Lehrer was the best in the business at asking both sides good questions and keeping whatever his own views are out of it.  The balance was so good that my liberal cousin and I had the same favorite news show while taking the exact opposite lessons from it.
5198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: December 28, 2009, 11:32:16 PM
I agree with profiling and the Israeli model, mostly just a commitment to think clearly and try to stay a step ahead of the enemy, across the globe, 24/7.   If TSA was any kind of an intelligence agency instead of a bureaucratic logistics operation of managing lines, gates, shifts and breaks, then by now they would know and recognize most of their law abiding regular customers.  Every man-minute that they spend frisking my frequent business traveler sister is a minute they don't spend updating their system with Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab's Yemeni terror training certification.  For some reason TSA can't stand it that I wrap my skis inside my ski bag inside of ski pants and a jacket to protect and cushion them a little flying to a ski destination; they always get opened and picked apart.  But when a known terrorist buys a cash ticket to a major US airport, flies internationally trans-Atlantic, without luggage, on the only religious US federal holiday, after applying for student visas to bogus colleges...  For the money we spend and the privacy we give up for this operation, we deserve a little more competence and some mission focus.

Or as the man made disaster Czar says, the system worked.
5199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Deflation? on: December 28, 2009, 04:04:46 PM
Ran across the piece below at the American Thinker over the holidays.  I have warned others that if/when the economy comes back we will see inflation and high interests rates because we have already 'inflated' the currency with 'printed money' and price increases are a result or symptom of the already inflated currency.

One flaw and one omission to that line of reasoning.  The omission is in the if/when the economy roars back.  Under today's policies, why would it?  The reported 3rd qtr growth was adjusted down and looks to be government sector only.  If you hire, earn or save, you are screwed.

The flaw in inflationary thinking is that while we are 'printing' or injecting a couple trillion a year in the U.S. we have also destroyed 50 trillion of wealth wordwide.  For every bank loan dismantled and asset de-leveraged, there is a shrinking of money besides the loss in value.

Look at the Fed.  Looks like everything they are doing is inflationary with 0% interest etc.  Maybe  with all the info they have they think the strongest need is still fighting off deflation.  At roughly zero interest, they don't have room to go any further.

We had this discussion before I believe and it is important to understand that deflation is not the opposite of inflation.  It is just another ailment like strep vs. viral infection or heart attack vs. stroke.  They are both the opposite a vibrant, healthy economy with a stable currency and positive public policies guiding it like reasonable incentives to produce, save, invest, hire, etc.

BTW, I don't know anything about the credibility of this author.
------
http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/the_defaltion_threat.html

December 22, 2009
The Deflation Threat
By Paul Berkowitz
Contrary to what you are hearing in the media, the worst economic news may still lie ahead: A deflationary depression is descending upon us.

Breakneck federal printing of debt and dollars, gold and stocks rising, the dollar falling -- surely these trends presage inflation, or even hyperinflation. So goes the narrative across the media. But a contrarian and increasingly likely view is that deflation, not inflation, awaits.* What is deflation? How will it develop? How will it affect us?

Most of us have known only inflation, in which prices rise over time. In deflation, prices fall. The last time this happened in the U.S. was during the Great Depression. Japan has been living it these last fifteen years.

A falling price trend is at first a benefit to consumers. But then it leads to a spiral of economic decline: a depression. Deflation occurs when money for whatever reason becomes scarce, and therefore more valuable. Lower prices are the effect. Producers starve for profits, which leads to layoffs, loan defaults, and bankruptcies. Borrowers find they have to repay with more expensive dollars, so they pay off their debts. Low debt throttles growth and slows purchases. Expensive dollars make exports less competitive. Unsold inventories waste away on the shelf, crumble in value, and must be sold at deep discounts. Prices fall further, and so on, in a vicious circle.

Normal downturns are triggered by cyclic imbalances in which supply temporarily exceeds demand. Growth pauses while inventory excesses are liquidated. This time, however, things are different. The triggering event was an asset valuation bubble -- high stock and real estate prices -- boosted excessively in a buying mania fueled by cheap credit during the last fifteen years. Lots of borrowing creates financial leverage, which pumps up profits during good times and wipes them out during bad. Consumer credit swelled with the aid of cheap mortgages and home equity lines. Businesses borrowed cheap short-term money and invested long-term, expecting to roll the loans over as profits expanded. Most significantly, bankers ran high ratios of what they lent out versus what they took in. All of this borrowing was encouraged by the Federal Reserve Board and Congress to foster social goals like full employment and high levels of homeownership.

But the system eventually became unstable. The real estate that served as collateral for trillions of dollars of debt on the banks' (and the bank-like Fannie and Freddie) balance sheets became priced too high, and for the first time in seventy years, prices began a serious decline. Many highly leveraged borrowers had their equity wiped out, so they threatened to default. An increased sense of risk rippled through these debt pools, erasing much of their value and rendering them unsalable, or "toxic." Soon, a "run," or loss of general confidence, pervaded the U.S. and European economies. Though it has come to be called the housing bubble recession, a better name is the great credit bubble depression.

Deflation stems from a shortage of money. Isn't the Fed creating trillions of new dollars that they lend to banks and to the Treasury for disbursement in "stimulus" programs? Yes, but even as the Fed has recently created $2 trillion in new assets, many times, more money has been and will continue to be taken out of the world's economy through the process of de-leveraging -- that is, the paying off or writing off of a portion of the hundreds of trillions in credit floated around the world. Despite talk of TARP success and nascent recovery, those toxic assets are still on the books, some with the banks and some with the Fed itself. Eventually, much of this money will become worthless. As fast as the Fed is printing new money, money is being destroyed as debt is taken off the table. In the end, the Fed will lose as the quicksand of depression sucks more and more money into its muck.

Ironically, the 60% stock market rally of 2009, which in itself is anti-deflationary, is no source of comfort. Though it's hard to prove why stocks move, the recent rally is most likely due to a "carry trade," in which banks borrow cheaply from the Fed and invest in high-return risk markets like stock, gold, or even foreign currencies. The Fed is encouraging this with low rates precisely because this asset re-inflation makes the dollar less valuable. They are fighting the inevitable deflation.

But they are also creating a new asset bubble just like the one that imploded last year. They have lowered short-term interest to zero. As prices correct downward and the dollar rises as deleveraging continues, the Fed can take rates no lower. The last remedy available is for the Fed to buy government and corporate debt in the open market, literally printing money at will -- adrenaline for a burst, perhaps, but not sustainable. Other government measures like deficit spending and expansion of primarily public sector jobs in the "Stimulus" program are simply wasteful, destroying more dollars in the present and creating public debt to burden the future. These effects are deflationary.  Obama's plans for new taxes and regulations, which extinguish dollars, are also deflationary.

What about the oft-cited signs of recovery like upticks in GDP, consumer sentiment, and retail sales? Well, even in a trending economy -- and ours is trending down -- it is normal to see short blips, zigs, and zags against the trend. The numbers are also somewhat cooked for political effect. You'll know that the grip of deflation is tightening if you continue to see more of the following: discounts, price reductions, joblessness, real estate vacancies, bank failures, business failures, public finance failures, pension defaults, loan defaults, shrinking debt and credit, higher savings ratios, and frugal spending.

Obama's economists, Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke, are smart enough to understand and see the lurking deflation, even if they publicly brag that the worst is over. They might even quietly suspect that their current policy mix will not stop deflation. So what have they told the boss? If they are speaking honestly, then Obama must already know how much pain is coming our way. Or are these generals cowering before their stern commander, who will shoot a messenger bringing unwelcome news? The mood must be pretty tense.

*While the forecast is deflation for the next few years, inflation is still a long-term threat. Economic trends swing to and fro. A mild deflation could be followed by a mild inflation. Unfortunately, we may see a very deep deflation change into a hyperinflation as panicky anti-deflationary policies overshoot their mark.
5200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: US bankruptcy? on: December 28, 2009, 11:57:51 AM
The Porter Stansberry piece is very interesting.  I don't take the US bankruptcy worry very seriously because we already are in a sense.  Question IMO is just how much more damage.

Clinton saved billions with a very high risk by financing with short term debt.  The risk really at what cost will be the replacement debt.

The U.S. Treasury does not risk not being able to find buyers for bonds.  We currently use the Bernie Madoff technique on steroids.  We just print (monetize) as they come due and sell replacement bonds as we see fit.  If they sell - they sell.  If not - then it stays monetized.  Like issuing more stock instead of borrowing.  The current owners shares just get a few trillion more diluted.  We can't default in our own currency under our own rules.  It is all play money in a sense from the point of view of the policy makers.

For the zillionth time, I ask the question, what right does a congress today have to obligate a congress of tomorrow?  It violates the principle of consent of the governed.  Tomorrow's voter is boxed in without choices.  What if in the future they want a lower tax, lower spending society or different programs from the flawed ones of today?  The establishment of these long term entrenched programs takes choices away from future voters and that is WRONG IMHO.
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