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5201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Separate Jets? on: September 12, 2011, 08:39:45 AM
GM, On the Andy Rooney film, very funny.  On the Obamacare anchor, very sad but true.

Thank to our moderator for indulging us on this thread.  We know what impact bad energy policies have on our economy.  The question is why our we doing this to ourselves?

Thanks to JDN for bringing the other viewpoint front and center on the forum; we are lucky to have you have advancing these arguments with a straight face:

"Decrease demand, not increase Supply."

If that is what Obama believes... how do we explain everything he does?  The only way you would separate energy use from economic activity is to change EVERYTHING that we do and if you really believed that as leader you would set some kind of consistent example from the top.  Who is more visible, more influential, better able to change mindsets and behaviors than someone who waltzed in with a 69% approval rating in Jan 2009.

Pres. Obama is not unique for being a hypocrite nor unique among Presidents for the security needs of flying he wasteful Jumbo jets for personal transportation.  But he was supposed to be different.

Does anyone remember the picture of the motorcade this summer?  Just the energy to build 2 million dollars of buses as his styrofoam pillars for 2 days of campaigning is odd, but did you see the entourage that requires?  Just security needs, one might argue.  And they fly the largest jet past their destination to board the photo-opp bus.  How about the security needs of the Spanish villa trip?  The President didn't even go - the wife needed a get-away.  We've trashed the wastefulness of American Las Vegas, let's go to Spain. Who hasn't felt the need to get away to Spain with all the stress and whatnot.  Fire up the jets, close the beaches, we're comin' in.

I think it all started with the well-publicized "date night" in NYC.  Boosting his popularity up among rich women perhaps to show his romantic getaway side seemed to make sense but 'flew' right in the face of changing the way we use energy.  You others out there need to put air in your tires.  He was just proving my point.  If I want to go see the most spectacular sights in the Rocky Mountains, I have to put gas in my car - 3 times each way.  Same goes for him but with a bigger budget on a million-fold scale.

Let's say we accept that, a little first couple togetherness and he gets the jet fuel free anyway.  How about the used of separate jets on subsequent trips,  anyone follow that story?  True that the dog BO flew on a separate jet.  I'm sure it was going there anyway.  But how about the first lady?  Couldn't travel with the husband?  Not enough room on Air Force One?
"Michelle Obama and President Obama traveled to Martha’s Vineyard just hours apart, costing taxpayers thousands in additional expenses so she could have just a bit of extra vacation time....

The extra costs related to Mrs. Obama’s solo trip mainly include the flight on a specially designed military aircraft she took instead of Air Force One, as well as any extra staff and Secret Service that had to be enlisted to go with her. She would also have had her own motorcade from the airport to her vacation residence.

Mrs. Obama’s separate jet travel sends the wrong message on a host of issues, from global warming to the budget deficit to the economy – in which currently so many people can’t afford to take a vacation at all.

This is not the first time Michelle has gone on vacation ahead of the president on the taxpayers’ tab. Last December, she racked up what was likely more than $100,000 in expenses leaving early for their Hawaii vacation."

Only if you are a global warming denier do you measure the cost of separate jets in dollars - and then not care.  Whatever they say about Perry can be said right back at the First Lady and Commander in Chief.  These arrogant, self-indulged people don't give a rat's ass about energy use or carbon emissions.  Bringing down the economy knowingly was done in the name of "fairness", not conservation, and now they are conflicted about what to do with the political fallout.
5202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Produce 4 terawatts or send billions out on: September 12, 2011, 12:12:58 AM
To JDN and Pres. Obama:  [This has already been well answered.]  Energy use is tied to economic activity.  We make efficiency gains over decades but in the immediate term lower energy use means fewer people going to work and less product produced.  Anti-growth economics -  Obamanomics - is the POLAR OPPOSITE of having a laser focus on jobs.  That's why we call it 'cognitive dissonance'.  You can shrink economic activity or you can grow jobs.  You can't do both simultaneously.  If you don't know that energy prices are a major component of everything and differences at the margin matter greatly, I honestly don't know how to help you. 

"Decrease demand, not increase Supply."

Fill our tires, eat our peas.  Oil will spill and nuclear plants melt down, let's do without more energy?  That's the thinking that got us into this mess.  You can do without growth - you can do without jobs, - but you will also do without a second term.  If you don't put fuel into the planes, trucks, cars, ambulances etc. they don't go.  It's physics.  Heat and AC are used in commercial buildings only if people are working there.  Oil is used in manufacturing, not just transportation, also to grow food.  Put transportation on the electric grid and you will need to ad kilowatts.  Actually gigawatts.

"The USA consumes 25% of the world's energy..."  yes, about 4 terawatts, and 25% of the world's oil.  We produce 11% of the world's oil.

25%  is a better guideline of how much we should produce.  That would stop the flow of billions of dollars leaving the country every day to buy oil and we have the resources. 

Small changes in supply make big differences in price.  OPEC has prospered on that fact?

I'm unreasonable, yet candidate Huntsman came out as a complete energy  production hawk, the same proposals and you support him.  Can't follow your logic.  Is it because I'm black?
5203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance Glibness: We're better off with foreign oil JDN, Really? on: September 11, 2011, 04:13:45 PM
You continue to amaze me.  I wish I could tell when you are just pulling my chain.

"I also can see the severe disadvantages of increased domestic energy production."

As much as I love Canada and wish the best for Mexico, our failure to produce more of our own energy also enriches enemies and adversaries as far away Iran, Venezuela, Russia and tea party havenTexas.  It plays a major role in our trade deficit, which causes other problems monetary.  It makes us vulnerable in terms of both security and economics.  It caused us to use strategic reserves for extremely temporary political purposes.  It is such a beautiful day here I hate to expand on this but I could.

"Drilling for oil is going to make the local colleges, the local hospitals operate more cost effectively and be more competitive?   huh "

JDN, Really?  You don't know that every factory, every university, every everything that we do relies on energy and reasonable energy prices?  And that cost just DOUBLED under this President's policies.  How many vehicles does UCLA own?  How about the state government of California?  How much oil does tghe federal government use?  That money could be used for stimuli and helping out the people who don't want to work.  What is the energy bill in a year for everything that happens in a year in a hospital, not just the lights, heat and AC, but the shipping of medicines and everything else.  How about an outage?  Who on a heart lung machine in  a hospital might that hurt?  Who cares??

Then off goes the argument to China.  China doesn't have a net trade deficit like we do.  They are using OUR dollars to buy THEIR energy and drive our costs and deficits up even further.  Also they are building new plants and chasing new sources at an amazing rate so the comparison fails.  While Obama is stopping them.  You think Japan doesn't have an energy crisis right now?  What?? I think I could find traces of it on at least 5 threads on this board.  You like their growth rate?  The additive effect of these huge economies importing instead of producing energy, and Germany held hostage to Russian natural gas supplies does not make our failure okay, it makes it far worse.  How is Japan without oil analogous to us leaving ours in the ground - while subsidizing production in Brazil?  You approve of that? Really??

"isn't "clean coal" an oxymoron?"

You don't know the difference between today's best plants and those that spew soot and sulfur into the air?  Really?   Or is this a CO2 argument.  Fine, then back to nuke. Zero CO2.  Big construction potential.  Not in the speech.

While you are entitled to your opinion that you would rather have energy produced further from home, transported in danger of spill, and funding those who arm the people who kill our troops, the question at hand is: ...  What should a failed leader that is laser-focused on jobs do?

Our massive energy production deficit is a force raising the price of all energy everywhere, especially at home, killing jobs and job growth.  BTW, we drill and spill in deep water when our regulators ban rigs near shore.  Like it or not, that is cognitive dissonance.
5204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Low Hanging Fruit on: September 11, 2011, 02:02:06 PM
The details of this can go under energy, but it must be pointed out under dissonance that even though the Obama crowd says the job growth in Texas was mostly about energy (13% IIRC), the word 'energy' does not appear anywhere in his jobs speech.

John Hinderacker of Powerline has a headline that articulates my view better than I can:
"Want More Jobs? The Low-Hanging Fruit Is Energy".

A friend just came back from Williston, ND, a state where the unemployment rate is 3% and said the hotel rooms are all booked through next March.  They don't come there for the scenery or for horse racing or pro football or concerts or for the weather or the beaches.  They come for energy, energy jobs and for the economic activity all of that is generating.  Rocket fuel, not rocket science!

But Pres. Obama did not even use the word energy in his jobs speech.,0,3432522.story

Energy production doesn't just create energy production jobs.  It makes every factory, every delivery service, every office building, every college, every hospital, every bridge construction project, every farm, etc. operate more cost effectively and to be more competitive in a growing global market.

Yet no mention whatsoever.  Not the word 'energy', not 'oil', not 'drill', not 'explore' or 'exploration', not 'refine' or 'refinery', not 'pipeline', not new 'nuclear', not clean 'coal' or carbon sequestration, not 'natural gas', and not 'power generation' of any kind.  We are going to quadruple exports, re-open our factories, train and hire back our workers by the millions and we are going to do it on pedal power??  Even that is not mentioned.  To do it efficiently would require pedals made in China and shipped without using even more imported oil.

The topic is jobs and the message is, 'you listen, I'll talk'.  That's not audacity, it is arrogance, short-sightedness and stupidity.  If you don't have the answers Mr. President, respectfully, shut your mouth for a moment and open your eyes and big ears. and let some obvious common sense from others seep in.

But a conservative site to him with an obvious answer to the exact challenge he faces gets just a reaction that they are barbarians, 'enemies' and sons of bitches.  'Stop listening to them!'
5205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security this 9/11 on: September 11, 2011, 09:39:03 AM
There remains a line of thought within our political spectrum that our own foreign policy is the problem and that our response should be to absorb the losses, bring forces home, and move on.  This seems to me a moment to remember that related attacks on Americans and American interests were occurring before 9/11 and have continued since.  Examples include the 1993 WTC bombing, two 1998 embassy bombings, and the 2000 USS Cole bombing.  Our strategy of not responding or not being able to respond to these attacks against us served only to embolden and empower, not to dissuade the planners and perpetrators of the devastating attacks that followed.

Always prudent to question the details and strategies of war but I cannot ever agree that it is sufficient or wise to absorb and accept losses and not take war to our enemies wherever they are for as long as they are committed to destroy us.

To point out the obvious: The carnage of terror and the war against terror and against the terrorists and those who plan, harbor or help the destruction is the fault of the forces of destruction, not of those who seek to stop and end it.
5206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: September 10, 2011, 01:02:17 AM
Pat and all, I have gone through the links to those writings and others and am extremely impressed.  Though I am a big picture person, there are many pieces in this puzzle that are interesting topics of their own and apply to other topics here as well.

It is fascinating (scary) to see how the government sponsored entities like Fannie and Freddie went, in a short time, from just a way to open home ownership up to a few more people to a takeover of 95% going on 100% of the market.  Hard to follow that story and not think of what is happening in health care. 

This passage from 'Forces Facing The Housing Market' applies to a discussion on tax deductions today:  "Debt reduction commissions have recommended that one manner to increase income to cover debt would be in eliminating the mortgage deduction. The affect of any such action would immediately crash the housing market. For many, the deduction is the single most important reason to buy a home. Eliminate the deduction, you eliminate purchases, and the result is another round of decreasing home values."

We need to solve problems in this country but we don't need to move so radically against a largely positive thing when we could correct about a hundred thousand worse policies first.

There are other points I would like to explore, one is how impending inflation will affect housing.  Pat made a powerful point in loan modifications that pushing the excess principle past the original term of the mortgage allows those dollars to be paid back in 30 year forward dollars for example- far cheaper for the borrower without requiring a principle write down now for the lender.  The effect of inflation even at 3-4% is an integral part of a 30+ year money equation and inflation that is coming is likely much higher. 

A big factor in the housing recovery is how general economic conditions affect how we work our way past the foreclosure and underwater inventory excesses.  The 6, 10 or 20 year recovery time estimates assume I think that we keep trudging forward at Obamanomic economic stagnation speed.  Another scenario is that we may not be that far away from an economic growth resurgence that is more robust than experts are predicting.  6 million more foreclosed homes sold may only require somewhere between 6 and 12 million new jobs, which is not unprecedented or out of the realm of possibilities.

On the demographic front, I would add the possibility of a pro-active immigration policy, bringing in some measure of investment, skill and youthfulness.  For example, one idea is to offer the best and brightest of those who already come here for our universities the possibility of staying under certain positive conditions.  New entrants might be more welcome, appreciated and assimilate better and faster if they are small business entrepreneurs and employers, energy or software engineers or filling other specific needs in our economy.  They are more likely to acquire housing of their own if they are legal, documented and economically engaged.  Not just housing but social security and retirement systems survival will require new workers and new energy.  A controversial idea but food for thought.
5207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 09, 2011, 06:51:44 PM
"Must be one of those crazy loon Tea Party types"


In the re-sizing to post I lost track of crediting the source.  I took it from Steven Hayward at Powerlineblog and he credits:

They missed the new catch phrase: pass the bill.

Pres. Obama needed, since the beginning of his Vineyard stay, to tell us this on Wednesday. Thursday was going to be too late.  On Thursday he said pass the bill, pass the bill, pass the bill, perhaps two dozen times, but no bill Wednesday or Thurs. Today is Friday... No bill.  He has already been humiliated by CBO this year who said they score bills; they don't score speeches.

925 days without a jobs bill was the headline around Aug 31.  Many things werre done faster.  Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific in 542.  Now before it's written he wants it passed without reading it.  Really without writing it.  Then he wants it passed without reading it or debating it or running it by the constituents who may in fact hold more wisdom than him and his cash for clunkers chief adviser.  We did this with healthcare. We did this with TARP.  We did this with Stimulus 1 and Stimulus 2, and QE1 and QE2.  We did this with Dodd Frank.  We did this with the debt ceiling super-anti-constitutional committee formation.  What could possibly go wrong someone asked.  Pretty much everything, as we have seen.

Certain stunts and maneuvers have been named after people, like a Lewinsky.  Is he pulling an Obama here again?
5208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bureaucracy and Regulations in action: The Fourth Branch of the US Govt. on: September 09, 2011, 03:42:14 PM
Yes, they are only gold in coloring.   That is a little deceptive, the cartoon look would be more honest.  With the full faith and credit gone, you go with what you have.  They are not commonly used, it would be a little hard to slip a couple of million of them into circulation unnoticed.  Imagine the size though - on a microscope - if they were gold.  Ron Paul had a funny line that gas still is 10 cents - a silver dime is worth about a gallon.

Yes, who knows how much CO2 is emitted in the excess printing of devalued dollars.  Innocent trees with their lives cut short, for no good reason.  Maybe we can get the federal regulators to cap them. 

Most money really of course exists only as an electronic accounting entry.
5209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bureaucracy and Regulations in action: The Fourth Branch of the US Govt. on: September 09, 2011, 01:26:41 PM
Very funny GM!  Which side is heads and which is considered the side symbolizing where the excrement comes out.
5210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 09, 2011, 01:23:52 PM
"For the record I live some 15-20 miles from Santa Monica.  I drive a 21 year old truck and make my living teaching martial arts."

On a brighter note, your truck jumped in value under Obama.  The replacement model may have the Fred Flintstone drive system mandated.
5211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Bureaucracy and Regulations in action: The Fourth Branch of the US Govt. on: September 09, 2011, 01:14:33 PM
I am caught wondering how big a one dollar gold coin can be, at roughly 1/32000th of a pound.   sad   Does it have Obama or Bernancke's mug on it?
5212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: The no-jobs speech on: September 09, 2011, 01:10:19 PM
I still haven't gathered the strength of stomach to read or watch the speech yet.  Fascinated by what a non-news story it is.  We had back-to-school curriculum night last night as did thousands of school districts I'm sure and I made the right choice.  I will read the bill when there is one.  One revelation seems to be that Obama had another half-tril of cuts he was willing to make but was hiding and saving those to offset new spending.  We will see.  This time maybe we can pass the cuts and skip the new spending and 'revenue enhancers'. 

It seems to me he set his own trap and caught himself being the anti-jobs, anti-growth, anti-private sector president that he is.  It was a mistake to draw attention to his worst quality.  'Pass it and I'll tell you what's in it.' Should instead have made one more speech on the killing of OBL, then say he needs to spend more time with family - and golf without criticism - and will not be running again.

People with better senses of humor than me set out to enjoy the pre-game speech with BINGO boards and drinking games.  Let's drag out the film and pass out the board markers.  See how many you can get:

5213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: September 09, 2011, 12:10:01 PM
"Lets take that to the Tax thread please." (from 'Glibness')

The mortgage deduction and charitable contributions will be the last two to go.  In theory, I prefer very low rates and no deductions with no social engineering, but the home mortgage deduction was a very long institution of encouraging home ownership, neighborhoods, stability that people have long relied on.  This is not a great time in housing to make things dramatically worse, nor does that save us money, see housing thread.  If we did, a multi-year phase out does less damage.  Don't we already cap and limit the mortgage deduction?

The point is IMO, is get the garbage out of the tax code, get the rates down to what a rich person with options would be willing to pay and you will get more growth and more tax collections.
5214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: September 09, 2011, 11:43:05 AM
One link on the lawsuit story:  Feds suing institutions that are federally insured...  Cut off new funding and existing losses get worse.  Yes, very confusing when there is no painless way out.

PP,  Great to you have you back in. A bad situation but very helpful info.  I have made good use of the info you already posed; not getting rich but avoiding new mistakes.  Combining the numbers Fannie, Freddie, FHA and VA, mortgages are 95% federal(?) and the other 5% I assume are federally insured banks?  And none of it is savings based, as in the old S&L concept.(?) As one who is greatly exposed to the continued downturn, this is painful.  Housing is tied to jobs and income so the ending of bailouts and closing of failed agencies needs to follow the policies that will lead back to growth, meaning no time soon.

Other groups tied to property values include the property tax authorities across the country.  I wonder what percent of foreclosed homes never make it back to life.  90,000 in Detroit alone?
(I hear the Kelo property in New London is still available.)

The reforms needed lead to higher mortgage interest rates, but that is in addition to the certainty that rates out of the Fed eventually will rise and that rise could be severe when new dollars already printed have their known effect.  People only pay the monthly that they can afford so it follows that values will drop further.  Plenty of people are still in adjustables at artificially low rates partly because they can't qualify to refinance what they already owe, so when rates go up and up, down go more more properties into default.

Besides aging baby boomers with fading birth rates, net immigration I think is close to zero so demographics won't bring any explosion of demand.

I favor privatization wherever possible, but that alone doesn't make any of this go away.  Only sustained, robust economic growth can make a positive difference on housing IMO.  That could be years out?
5215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 09, 2011, 10:05:02 AM
Some follow up points because this is central to evaluating this president and this election - then back to the other threads.   

We hold Gov Perry to results in Texas during his time and Romney in Massachusetts for his.  But the operative Obama line is "when we got here" meaning post-crash Jan. 2009, and that everything that happened when they took control of both chambers of congress, took control of domestic policy and bragged swaggeredly about taking full control  in Nov 2006 did not count.  We can blame Bush for losing that midterm election and losing congress and losing all control of domestic policy but Jan. 2007 is certainly when they got there, if one is talking about control and direction of policies in Washington.

One could also say that Obama was only a junior senator and only one senator of 100 but he was the rock star in the party even as a candidate ever since his keynote speech at the 2004 convention and he was a de facto leader in the senate and congress the day he arrived in Washington.  When they took the majority two years later he waited less than 30 days to launch his successful Presidential run.  Hillary was the presumed nominee and next President but his only policy difference with Hillary turned out to be that he opposed the individual mandate.  Go figure.  The direction of the Pelosi-Reid congress under lame duck Bush was something Obama had a direct hand in or should have, while saying he was ready to run it all.  They were saying trust us to govern and then they were saying watch what we do, correcting disparities etc. and they did, and now I am pinning those results on them just as they wished - back then.

The tie between investment results and unemployment is economic and inextricable.  It follows policies choices and policy mistakes, not calendar years or names on office doors.  We attempted this discussion before.  If wealth went up slightly during brief interludes on the graph posted, like when unemployment went from 10.2 to 9.1, then so be it.  They are still linked.  If you kill investment and wealth, you kill jobs and opportunities for workers and young people.  

My real point is that disparity during economic growth is a fact.  When policies move away from job-killing to more neutral and economic growth resumes or better yet grows gangbusters, those who are invested in the economy, putting their own money on the line, owning stocks and small businesses, holding the faith, taking the risks and making the innovations, those are the ones who will benefit first and disproportionately the most, as compared with those who have nothing of their own at stake and are sitting this one out.  It is a fact of economic life and it is not atrocious, it is freedom and choice.  To the disparity-phobics I say - get over it.  A growing economy with all its unfairness, unevenness and blemishes is far better than the alternatives, as we now see!  To the have-nots, it represents only opportunity to do anything you want, not a trickle-down.  Whether or not they take advantage of that opportunity depends on personal choices, not a government program.
"the rich are able to avoid taxes much easier than the middle class"

Yes but only by avoiding productive investment and taxable income.  Once it hits line 32 or whatever it is - it gets taxed.

"I'd rather see a lower number like Huntsman suggested, but eliminate ALL the deductions and tax havens"

Me too!

"Frankly, I bet a lot of the rich end up paying more if all their precious deductions are eliminated."

No, they end up paying a lot more when rates are lowered.  The purpose of allowing deductions like business expenses is to calculate income accurately.  The failed attempts at social engineering should be limited to the spending side and limited to what we take in in actual revenues.  It wasn't the rich who wrote the precious deductions, it was the greedy, power hungry, know it all, technocrat, representatives of the people.  For example, how did healthcare creep even further into the tax code under Obama if we were really trying - laser focus - to energize private sector jobs?  Isn't that a public spending question?  Really a personal and private one?

5216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 09, 2011, 01:41:50 AM
"the disparity of incomes is truly atrocious."

The disparity in what different people produce in the economy is 'atrocious'.

5217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 09, 2011, 01:26:46 AM
Sorry but I don't speak emotocon very well and I think we have had this argument before.

"Obviously, they are NOT "paying MORE as a percentage of the load"."

Sorry, nothing is obvious to me.  Please link or support that.  You are saying their income went up in a progressive rate system.  If so, their load increased.

Yes, the economy is growing consistently now at about 0.0% under Obama so it is possible that people are getting richer.  Your March data ignore the summer crash and the years you point to deny when power actually changed in Washington:

The policy arrow in Washington turned over to the spread-the-wealth /tax-the-rich direction in Nov 2006.  That was when the young glibness and cohorts took majority in both chambers of congress and that was when W took lame duck status according to every liberal leftist pundit and awake observer:

Washington Post Nov. 2006:  "Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid of Nevada told supporters, "All across America tonight . . . there is in the air a wind of change." "

Yes.  Change for the worse.

CBS 2006: "Bush Is Now A Lame Duck"

Yes.  Democrats will be calling the shots and are promising to raise taxes and spread wealth.  Probably expand the CRA too and get the last homeless person into home ownership...

Christian Science Monitor, November 8, 2006: Bush faces daunting challenges in his lame-duck years

Washington Post  October 18, 2006:  Elections May Leave Bush An Early Lame Duck

Huffington Post:  Bush was a lame duck President after the 2006 Mid-terms according to Democrats like Harry Reid and Nanci Pelosi and the CBS,ABC,MS­NBC,NPR,CN­N,NYT,AP,R­UETERS,DNC­,

50 months consecutive job growth ended at this moment.  What changed?  You've got a different theory?

"And we are suppose to reduce their taxes??"

No.  You aren't supposed to do anything.  But if you want to stop the job killing you will have to alleviate the disincentives to produce.  You are supposed to fight back for more job killing and we are supposed to defeat you.  (Why do you revert to arguing anti-growth economics while endorsing Huntsman before and after he came out with a supply side plan?)

For all of this time in power there has been a promise that tax rates will be raised on the rich right around the next corner.  For the most part that never happened so we got the Murphy's Law combination of all of the production and wealth destruction with none of the revenue increases that the higher rates would have allegedly yielded.  Completely braindead economics.  His new chief economic adviser was the architect of cash for clunkers.  Now it is the OBAMA tax cut extensions that need to be made permanent, yet he refuses to remove this warclub from over their heads while he piles on page after page of new regulations and presiding over a doubling of energy costs.  

What part of OWNERSHIP of their results do they not understand?

5218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 08, 2011, 09:45:06 PM
I agree with JDN. - Just kidding.  wink

First this: "The rich get richer and the middle class pays."

What did that mean?  As rich get richer, they pay more and more in dollar and percentage of the load.  Is there any data that say otherwise?  In what way does the middle class pay at a higher rate than the rich?  At the median 50th percentile (middle) taxpayer, the federal income tax they pay is zero.

When a news story conflicts with what you see with your own eyes it is time to dig deeper.  A couple of things stand out that I see.  For one thing, in the story they admit the total number still has not recovered to pre-recession levels.  For another thing, the 'illusory gains' mentioned in the March story unfortunately were wiped out by the market performance over the summer.

The rich do get richer in times of real economic growth.  But now we have stocks down again.  Real estate down.  Sure some are getting richer - likely investing outside the reach of the regulatory hurricane and the impending U.S. tax increases.  

The point really is just that the plights of investors and workers are inextricably linked.  When you attack investment, you hurt jobs.  You don't spread the wealth.  You destroy the wealth.

The story that caused me to make that comment was this in the WSJ last week:

Review and Outlook - Wall Street Journal  - AUGUST 17, 2011

Millionaires Go Missing
There's nothing like a recession to level incomes.

Speaking of "millionaires and billionaires" (see above), the real tax news is that there are fewer of both these days. This month the IRS released more detailed tax data for 2009, and the nearby table records the decline of the taxpaying rich.

In 2007, 390,000 tax filers reported adjusted gross income of $1 million or more and paid $309 billion in taxes. In 2009, there were only 237,000 such filers, a decline of 39%. Almost four of 10 millionaires vanished in two years, and the total taxes they paid in 2009 declined to $178 billion, a drop of 42%.

Those with $10 million or more in reported income fell to 8,274 from 18,394 in 2007, a 55% drop. As a result, their tax payments tanked by 51%. These disappearing millionaires go a long way toward explaining why federal tax revenues have sunk to 15% of GDP in recent years. The loss of millionaires accounts for at least $130 billion of the higher federal budget deficit in 2009. If Warren Buffett wants to reduce the deficit, he should encourage policies to create more millionaires, not campaign to tax them more.

The millionaires who are left still pay a mountain of tax. Those who make $1 million accounted for about 0.2% of all tax returns but paid 20.4% of income taxes in 2009. Those with adjusted gross income above $200,000 a year were just under 3% of tax filers but paid 50.1% of the $866 billion in total personal income taxes. This means the top 3% paid more than the bottom 97%. Yet the 3% are the people that President Obama claims don't pay their fair share. Before the recession, the $200,000 income group paid 54.5% of the income tax.

For the past three decades, the political left has obsessed about income inequality. As the economy experienced one of the largest and lengthiest economic booms in history from 1982-2007, the left moaned that the gains went to yacht club members.

Well, if equality of income is the priority, liberals should be thrilled with the last four years. The recession and weak recovery have been income levelers. Those who make more than $200,000 captured one-quarter of the $7.6 trillion in total income in 2009. In 2007 the over-$200,000 crowd had one-third of reported U.S. taxable income. Those with incomes above $1 million earned 9.5% of total income in 2009, down from 16.1% in 2007.

It's an old story: The best way to produce income equality is to destroy trillions of dollars of wealth. Everyone loses, but the rich lose relatively more than the poor and the middle class. By that measure, if few others, Obamanomics has been a raging success.
5219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: September 08, 2011, 01:14:09 PM
JDN,  I guess you either missed or disagree with my point but that is a relatively small improvement in exports - not much bang for the buck - considering the fiscal and monetary carnage that was involved to get there.  Further I would add that the American consumer is also harmed by losing the option of choosing to buy a Japanese made Japanese car which traditionally held a higher value in the used market than its American made counterpart.  Not only exports, but also the right to buy from elsewhere and the ability to travel reasonably overseas are economic assets.  Pretty insulting  to have foreigners place a low value on our currency.

Exporting was my business and a weak dollar is one factor in sales.  Since the US is not a low cost producer in the first place, far more important factors are things like a climate and reputation for world leading innovation and manufacturing competitiveness that appear to have come and gone.  
5220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: September 08, 2011, 11:14:32 AM
"In the last year, exports are up 15.1% while imports are up 13.6%."

People will have to judge for themselves if the hundred year collapse of the currency was worth it.  Even after $5 trillion in Obaman Keynesian stimuli, demand is stronger elsewhere?

I wonder how much of those increased exports came from Solyndra solar, electric cars and new Marxism-based battery technologies and how much came from the surviving free market players out doing the hard work in competitive private enterprise.
5221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Spread the Wealth? Millions fewer millionaires was not a good jobs program. on: September 08, 2011, 11:00:21 AM
Perhaps the most memorable and candid moment from the summer of Obama 2008 was this line in a long explanation of how good his elaborate economic tinkering could be for this country:

"I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody."

My observations 3 years later:

a) When we had economic growth, the emphasis of the left was always on disparity, not success or opportunity.

b) Obama succeeded in the first part: there are now millions fewer millionaires.

c) Destroying, capturing and hindering the creation of obscene, excess wealth did not help the downtrodden whatsoever.  To pick the one group where his message resonates best, black unemployment doubled since Dems took power in Washington.  Who knew?

d) Lastly and the reason I bring that quote back is that he was specifically and memorably admitting that we had wealth in this country just before he won the Presidency.  In 3 years we went from an academic argument about what to do with our wealth to not being able to find any.
5222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: September 08, 2011, 10:31:47 AM
S&P lowered its rating after the deal, not during the stalemate.  That blame argument rings hollow for anyone paying attention.  The

If that false blame argument slips into the speech, like he did in SOTU at the Supreme Court with false characterization of the Citizens United decision, those this time on the receiving end of it should quietly and politely stand up and walk out.  Freedom of speech does not include any kind of compulsion to listen, and that shows more openmindedness than not showing up in the first place which is what I would probably do in their situation.

Moving the decimal point on the cuts in the last deal to the new unit trillions, that draconian 'cut' was $0.02 trillion and it lasted one month until tonight where the President will likely propose another half trillion in new spending.  Yes the tea party picked the wrong fight on debt ceiling and lost it.  Don't minimize however that the tea party succeeded in drawing enormous attention to the problem of spending, deficit and debt even in the middle of summer when conventional wisdom says that no one is paying attention.

They lost because there was no republican consensus on making 40% cuts in spending in a recession nor any ability to win that argument with the senate and executive even if there was.  The debt ceiling was going to go up right from the beginning and the rest was about drawing attention to the problem.

Those making the blame tea party case OTOH are not exactly winning.  They got their debt limit raised and their license to keep on spending at quite a cost.  Obama's approval on his economic policies is down to just immediate family and a couple of journalists and it is still falling.  If spending does increase dramatically now, and I don't see how, he would then face another debt ceiling fight just before the election.

If the President wants $400 billion more here or there for new domestic initiatives, first tell us which failed domestic initiatives you will end to free up the funds.

Next step if there is no stomach for real cuts is to freeze spending (END ALL BASELINES) and get focused on growth.
5223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: Compromise or Cave on Core Principles? on: September 07, 2011, 11:09:57 PM
The Berlowitz piece and JDN reaction: Great Post!  "[compromise] is exactly what we need..."

Good grief!

He starts with a takeoff from something Rush L. said about winners not compromising.  What did he get, two lines out of a 20 year, 3 hour a day show?  Berkowitz's must be the piece Rush was responded to as I tuned in. He says they always point back to the same 3 examples, Christine what's-her-name and Sharon Angle lost.  And Goldwater in '64.  That's it. That proves that principled conservative candidates never win and RINOs always do. Really?  Christine and Sharon were the least qualified candidates running.  How about Marco Rubio who won by a MILLION votes, Rand Paul and plenty of others - like a conservative businessman over liberal lion Russ Feingold in Wisconsin where Obama had just won by FOURTEEN POINTS over the senate's most moderate member, John McCain!  Goldwater lost in '64 but Reagan won twice and won big, 40 states in 1980 and then 49 states in 1984!  Ford, Dole, McCain? 0 for 3.  Democrat-Lite. Not exactly a winning flavor.  Who were the great moderates of history?

Reagan compromised plenty - as pointed out in the piece.  So does Rand Paul now and Marco Rubio and Ron Johnson (R-WI).  It is a complete straw argument IMO to say this is about compromise.  Compromise is what they all do every day on every issue.  The question at hand is about CAVING, or are we just choosing candidates who share none of our core principles in the first place?

CRA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, these are Alinsky type wedges that would never be the law of the land without the signing on of moderate RINOs.  Let's see - these and a few others brought down the country if not the world economy.  Government owning mortgages, auto manufacturers, investing in energy - the inefficient types, mandating healthcare and bailing out insurance companies?  Bailing out Central banks - of foreign countries? Drilling for oil in Brazil while banning it at home?  The feds choose your light bulbs, food in the schools, hell, everything in the schools.  Now we have federal spending at nearly 4 trillion with no end in sight, on revenues stuck at 2 1/2, and 72 distinct federal means tested welfare programs, none authorized in the constitution that I can find.  Maybe unenumerated powers??  That is compromise?  On what core conservative principles??  There are none left that I recognize! 
5224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NPR: All Things Considered - National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion on: September 07, 2011, 12:22:25 PM

A National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion

by NPR Staff  August 6, 2011  All Things Considered

When Standard & Poor's reduced the nation's credit rating from AAA to AA-plus, the United States suffered the first downgrade to its credit rating ever. S&P took this action despite the plan Congress passed this past week to raise the debt limit.

The downgrade, S&P said, "reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."

It's those medium- and long-term debt problems that also worry economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, who served as a senior economist on President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers. He says the national debt, which the U.S. Treasury has accounted at about $14 trillion, is just the tip of the iceberg.

"We have all these unofficial debts that are massive compared to the official debt," Kotlikoff tells David Greene, guest host of weekends on All Things Considered. "We're focused just on the official debt, so we're trying to balance the wrong books."

Kotlikoff explains that America's "unofficial" payment obligations — like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits — jack up the debt figure substantially.

"If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That's the fiscal gap," he says. "That's our true indebtedness."

We don't hear more about this enormous number, Kotlikoff says, because politicians have chosen their language carefully to keep most of the problem off the books.

"Why are these guys thinking about balancing the budget?" he says. "They should try and think about our long-term fiscal problems."

According to Kotlikoff, one of the biggest fiscal problems Congress should focus on is America's obligation to make Social Security payments to future generations of the elderly.

"We've got 78 million baby boomers who are poised to collect, in about 15 to 20 years, about $40,000 per person. Multiply 78 million by $40,000 — you're talking about more than $3 trillion a year just to give to a portion of the population," he says. "That's an enormous bill that's overhanging our heads, and Congress isn't focused on it."
5225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: September 07, 2011, 01:01:54 AM
"Give us this day our daily reminder that there is a bullish case to be made."

 - Funny!  Bullish or bullshi*? Just kidding! I like Wesbury. This is not an economy in freefall.  This is an economy with zero-point-something percent growth.
This from Bloomberg earlier this summer, still true:

Stocks Cheapest in 26 Years as S&P 500 Falls, Profit Rises

What's missing in this Price-Earnings-Growth ratio?  Projected growth. 
5226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: South Carolina debate Sept 2011, Romney Economic Plan on: September 06, 2011, 09:29:19 PM
Romney Economic Plan:

If elected, Romney says he would submit a jobs package on his first day in office consisting of five proposals. That legislation would reduce the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent; implement free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea; and direct the Department of the Interior to work with energy companies to survey energy reserves and lease all areas currently approved for exploration.

He would also immediately cut non-defense spending by 5 percent, reducing the federal budget by $20 billion. He would also cap spending at 20 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Romney also reiterated that he would work to repeal Obama’s health care law, as well as the “Dodd-Frank” Wall Street reform law co-authored by US Representative Barney Frank of Newton.

Romney would also restructure the tax code, eliminating the so-called estate taxes on inheritances, as well as taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains for low- and middle-income taxpayers. His plan does not offer a specific plan on the marginal income tax rate, saying only that he would “explore opportunities” to lower it.
5227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Romney starts to run? on: September 06, 2011, 12:50:59 PM
First re. super swing states: "Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), Ohio (18) and Virginia (13)."

If this is a landslide, those and more (new Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan...) all go one way, it's just about 14 months too early to say that.  States like MN and CA are meaningless only because if Republicans win them, it was already clinched in the above.
A couple of signs that Romney has finally started to run for President from very different sources Washington Post:  and this from Byron York in the Washington Examiner.

I am not endorsing, just trying to get to know the candidates.  I am happy to see any positive signs coming out from any or all of them.  Romney has a 59 point plan coming out today ahead of the debate and the Obama speech.
After Perry bails, Romney shines in South Carolina forum
By: Byron York | Chief Political Correspondent | 09/05/11 8:05 PM
Had Perry shown up (missed to deal with Texas wild fires), he would have had his hands full dealing with Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor originally turned down DeMint's invitation and decided to appear only after seeing Perry rocket to the front of the Republican pack. But once on stage, especially when faced with a series of questions on financial regulation -- Dodd-Frank, Fannie and Freddie, the Community Reinvestment Act, Sarbanes-Oxley -- Romney delivered a masterful performance. Asking Romney about financial matters and the economy is like asking former Sen. Rick Santorum about abortion -- it's something he seems to understand deep inside himself.

And even on the issue of abortion, on which he has famously flip-flopped, Romney found a way to shine. Conservative Princeton professor Robert P. George, one of the questioners, asked each candidate about a hugely unlikely scenario in which Congress, relying on the 14th Amendment, would pass a law overturning Roe v. Wade and set up a constitutional showdown with the Supreme Court over abortion. Repeated over and over, the question had the feel of a personal cause rather than an urgent national issue. Romney's carefully phrased answer was, in effect, no thanks. "I'm not looking to create a constitutional crisis," he told George.

Could Perry have outperformed Romney? After the forum, one Perry partisan said the Texas governor could have "out-commonsensed" Romney. Perry would certainly have scored some points, and perhaps delivered a good show, but it's hard to see him beating Romney on the substance of the issues.
5228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 06, 2011, 11:18:28 AM
CCP,  Besides his dearth of writings, there is no evidence or indication anywhere that he has even read a book on economics that did not oppose our economic system.

CCP: "His backing off the climate emissions regulations is really an example of he knows full well his policies kill the economy."

Spot on, as well as his agreement to 'extend the Bush tax cuts'.  He knows full well that taxes, regulations and spread the wealth programs are economic killers.  He was willing to accept anti-growth 'fairness' in an academic sense, but the reality of it setting in is killing his Presidency and our country.  He is troubled by the former more so than the latter.
(Stolen form Crafty's post yesterday:) 
"Daydreams of a fair world which would treat him according to his real worth are the refuge of all those plagued by a lack of self-knowledge." (Ludwig von Mises)
5229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Harry, I lost my gift. on: September 06, 2011, 10:47:26 AM
Yes, small time amateur show in a grand national venue, like perhaps having a middle school football game in the Superdome and the cameras try not to show the empty seats.  In this case, a full house (why would anyone go?) but the cameras will be panning for reactions to a presumably partisan speech touting more already proven to be failed policies.  Is he going to change course? What headline is he looking for Friday morning? Republicans will sit politely expressionless and comment candidly after.  He will give them 1 or 2 fake applause lines, tax reform, exports, trade?  But all that he knows falls into a government centric world pitting labor versus management and bigger and bigger government versus free markets and capital investment.

Combine 2 posts of this morning, 81% say his policies failed, then he demands prime time full venue to draw attention to that, propose more of the same, while calling opponents (the majority in the room) "enemies". "terrorists", "barbarians" and "sons of bitches"?

I suggested that he and Biden resign if the love their country and want jobs to recover before 2013.  The point of reserving this venue and national television spot should only be to announce a serious change of course - endorse real economic growth policies.  Of course he will do neither. The only thing he knows how to do is blame others and propose more of the same.

For a clue as to content, the new chair of his economic advisers was the lead administrator of Cash for Clunkers.  Yet he still expects the reaction to be women fainting in the front row??  Unless they poisoned the food, it ain't gonna happen. 

Sorry Harry, I have lost my gift.   
5230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance: The feeling is mutual! on: September 05, 2011, 08:45:14 PM
A satirist at Reason magazine writes that the Obama administration's approval of the American public has now dipped to an all time low.
5231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 03, 2011, 04:08:13 PM
A war hero has no meaning (but eating in real Chinese restaurants with the proper utensils is foreign policy experience) - with only that information I believe I could pick the poster out of lineup.  wink

Neither side has any recent track record of moving rocket scientists to the top of the ticket - Dole-Bush-McCain, the only things worse were Gore, Kerry and even the scholar Obama -they have all tried to hide their lousy records.  There is hardly grounds for partisan bragging in either direction.  You have to go back to Clinton being a Rhodes Scholar and still he still learned more in one day about economics by losing congress than he did in all of college and DLC thinktankland.

I'm not endorsing Palin, nor is she running(?), but (JDN) to say you would choose Obama over Palin while endorsing the  economic plan of Huntsman, the polar opposite of Obama and likely to the right of Palin, is to me to have no interest in  policies or governing philosophy.  I suspect a hate crime in progress.

Palin is an intuitive conservative, not a scholar or academic.  She was competent in her executive position before Governor and highly rated and approved before the ups and owns of national stardom.We don't any of us know how good a President she would be but her insights and directions on policies have been far more informed than the incumbent IMO.  I don't want her to run because she didn't finish the job that gives her the credibility to be considered. (Neither did Obama BTW)  She offers at least some upside risk of being a good President and he does not.

To trivialize (Perry) the leadership of a state the economic size of (G8) Russia for the longest duration of anyone in history and have a strong record of performance ahead of the other 49 states doing that is to (further) trivialize this discussion.  If chief executive of one the largest states for a long steady duration and having an excellent track record isn't a pretty good qualification... what is? 

Perry has weaknesses, I have posted 12 of them.  Why trivialize his strengths? If doing less with government is what improved private sector economic results, maybe there is something there you are missing... If producing oil and natural gas and not having big government choke that off was economically helpful, again, maybe you are missing something with his record.

Wouldn't we have a better chance at success for this country in the White House with a random name out of the phone book than with the one person proven to stubbornly and dogmatically lead us in the wrong direction no matter the consequences?

On Tuesday Romney will weigh in with his economic/jobs plan.  On Thursday we will see Obama's. We have seen Pawlenty, Huntsman and Cain.  I have posted mine for the most part.   I would love to hear what others here, moderates, especially moderate Dems, favor for an economic plan going forward at this point in American history.  Is it more borrow and spend?  Have government go even further picking winners and losers?
5232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender, Gay, Lesbian on: September 03, 2011, 02:52:54 PM
That was quite a story posted by P.C., perfect example of why to do away with 'hate crimes'.  It reminds me of the lung cancer ad - when you cannot breathe it does not matter who you are.  We live in a system that has a strict requirement of equal protection under the law. (True??) If so, once that trigger was pulled it should not matter who the shooter is or who the victim is.  While we are out investigating the one person's alleged gayness and the other person's alleged hatred of that, those LE resources are not being used to prevent or solve the next crime.  Social scientists, not detectives solving crimes can later study the hatred.  The families of the gay and not-gay victim deserve equal justice for their loss; the shooter of the gay and non-gay victims deserves equal punishment.  The issue comes down to prosecuting the right person and establishing premeditation.  This case was also confounded by the 14 year age falling into an area where reasonable people disagree about trying him as an adult.  There again IMO the penalty for something that drastic should be the same, adolescent or adult, if mental competence to comprehend is present.  The wrongness of taking a life and the severe consequences for doing that are both concepts they better comprehend before we let them move past about kindergarden IMHO. 
5233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Lector in Chief on: September 03, 2011, 12:19:26 AM
The writing is instructive.  Amazing for one thing because it seems to be a rare sighting of what is likely his own work.  He starts with a simple grammatical error, holds himself up as evidence the system is working and dives into to a logic-free loop of impossible to follow ramble.   When he said later, Harry I have gift, I think he meant the delivery not the writing of speeches.
Next week if everyone shows up we will have the entire Executive and Legislative branches assembled all in one room and the one who knows the very least in the country about job creation will be the only person allowed to speak. Unbelievable.
5234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: September 02, 2011, 11:11:20 PM
I enjoyed the Gilder interview very much.
5235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Water scarcity? on: September 01, 2011, 01:47:37 PM
Regional differences I'm sure, but I'm not a big believer in water scarcity.  I think the NYT had one story on this but has anyone else heard about the US Army Corps of Engineers caused floods along the Missouri River where 'spring' floods still have freeways closed and homes evacuated along its path:
5236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 01, 2011, 01:02:58 PM
"Being from WI I know what I will watch."

I will miss the Reagan center debates Wednesday with my aging warrior team (senior tennis) training for nationals.  For the great ratings war on Thurs maybe I will watch exciting debate replays.  Don't tell me who won.  wink

For a real Obama jobs plan announcement, may I respectfully suggest that he and his terrorist veep resign during the speech. THAT would signal to the markets and to the world that he is serious.
5237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Huntsman on: September 01, 2011, 12:34:26 PM
JDN,  First,. must note the humor that the LA Times headline says 'Straightforward and common sense'.  If the Perry plan is identical I expect a different headline even though presumably they are only quoting the candidate.  There is zero chance that the LA Times will be endorsing this plan over Obama in 2012.  (Happy to being proven wrong!)

I agree with all the economic points made in the article about his plan.  I still have foreign policy questions for him but this plan pretty much locks in my vote for him IF he is nominated.  Real tax reform, repealing Obamacare and reining in the EPA at least clarify for us why he ruins as a Republican.  Strange that for 2 1/1 months close observers weren't clear on that until now.  It would seem to me that, like what Romney went through in 2008, Huntsman now feels a need to reach rightward.  Instead of looking for contradictions, I would like to say welcome.  Is JDN reaching rightward too or will you now look for a different centrist moderate?  smiley

Note that the LA Times skipped this one:

Eliminate The Taxes On Capital Gains And Dividends In Order To Eliminate The Double Taxation On Investment. Capital gains and dividend taxes amount to a double-taxation on individuals who choose to invest. Because dollars invested had to first be earned, they have already been subject to the income tax. Taxing these same dollars again when capital gains are realized serves to deter productive and much-needed investment in our economy.

Pawlenty had that proposal too and maybe this vidicates himeven though his plan went by largely unnoticed.  I think the reasoning is largely true but unrealistic; it goes too far though I like the way he is thinking.  Locking in current rates or calling for another small, permanent decrease would be a huge victory over the prospects investors have faced constantly since the Pelosi-Reid-Obama electoral takeover of Nov. 2006.

As these economic plans begin to look similar, it will come down to who can win and who will actually get these things done.  That will come down to who can persuasively articulate why these things NEED to be done.  Posting them with solid reasons as he did on his position statement is a start.
5238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 01, 2011, 11:50:20 AM
"Looks like His Glibness is backing off from trying to speak during the Rep. candidates debate"

It seems the bully who wanted to take audience from the Republican debate now can compete the the long awaited NFL opener with the world champion Wisconsin Packers playing the 2 year ago champion New Orleans Saints.  The excesses of capitalism go straight up against yet another round of government-centric job talk.  Nielson ratings callers will be busy.
5239  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with Social Breakdown (The UK riots) on: September 01, 2011, 11:25:44 AM
Avoiding a complete shutdown is one of the advantages of the internet's decentralized design loaded with redundancies and endless, alternate paths - which our benevolent government would like to streamline for us.

"What happens if the internet itself goes off-line?"

That is something like the Y2K scenario; we were told that water and electricity would shutdown if computers went down.  We don't know exactly because it didn't happen then.  If all internet went down, the world we now know would stop for a moment and people would be forced to get up and walk out their front door to talk with other people.   wink
Excellent points by Tony.  The next generation raised with social media seem highly capable of staying organized. I'm still not clear on how you can broadcast all the right information to the right people without also informing the wrong people.

5240  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Politica on: September 01, 2011, 10:42:34 AM
"Venezuela can sell oil abroad in dollars and then transfer its currency reserves to gold"

Regimes of Venezuela, Iran and Russia are empowered by misguided U.S. policies that artificially drive up the price of oil and gold (just pointing out the obvious).

It is a no-win situation for the people of Venezuela but if the USA switched suddenly to pro-growth policies that started with major expansion of domestic energy production and combined sound fiscal and monetary policies it could simultaneously bring down the price of both oil and gold.
5241  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with Social Breakdown (The UK riots) on: September 01, 2011, 10:19:36 AM
"...this point about cell phones and social media..."

I recall that the start of the Arab spring uprising in Tunisia was both triggered by crackdowns on social media and organized on them.
5242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Progressivism: Gov. Hickenlooper, D-Colo. on: September 01, 2011, 10:08:20 AM
Contrast the Obama administration with what we find for Dem governance elsewhere across the fruited plain.  Kind of a fluff piece by George Will today but he points out that Colorado's new Dem Governor has a business background, and a more relaxed view of placating his state's divided electorate; he seems to be governing so far without Washington style, firebrand liberal activism.

“We are such a purple state” — Colorado is about one-third Republican, one-third Democrat and one-third unaffiliated — “we can avoid the big fights.”
From the NYT: In the 2010 midterms (when Hickelooper was elected), Coloradans sent four Republicans and three Democrats to the U.S. House. In 2008 the split was five to two in favor of Democrats.

5243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: September 01, 2011, 09:21:19 AM
"If I have my numbers right, the 1100 now vaporized jobs were created at a cost of $486,364 each (i.e. $535,000,000) this "public-private partnership" (a.k.a. economic fascism)"

In our elaborate system of checks and balances, I wonder if that 'investment' was properly vetted by the other branches of government like the Jobs Czar, the Auto Recovery Czar, the California Water Czar, the Car Czar, the Climate Czar, the Economic Czar, the Energy and Environment Czar, the Government Performance Czar, the Green Jobs Czar, the Health Czar, the Information Czar, the Pay Czar, the Regulatory Czar, the Science Czar, the Stimulus Accountability Czar, the TARP Czar, the Technology Czar, or the Urban Affairs Czar.  With all that oversight you would think that someone watching the public hearings on CSPAN would have smelled a rat!

(Those were only 19 of the 32 Czars listed at

Might I add my opinion that even if the subsidy of the federal government singling out and unequally helping one specific enterprise over all others was just $10 per job and even if the venture went on to become world champion, it is still a violation of founding principles and the constitutional concept of equal protection.

There is something sinister about injecting 'investment' into a 'market', where it is therefore in fact not a market.  Why not just go whole hog Soviet style state enterprise to the produce desired goods if you truly believe central government knows best?

At $486,364 each and $535,000,000 total over 1100 jobs, none of which materialized, could we at least get a full recap of political contributions that led to it or came from it?
5244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage and Family on: September 01, 2011, 08:47:17 AM
Government not recognizing marriage would end traditions like spousal privilege or inheritance rights if not specifically willed?
5245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 31, 2011, 01:13:57 PM
Spokesman Carney says the organizers of the debate are free to "adjust the timing of their debate".

Obvious from the reaction that this petty move was intentional.  If Boehner accepts this I will support a new Speaker to work with the new President. 

How do spell Chutzpah?  I guess he did promise audacity.

Same guy would not allow a debate change that conflicted with the national emergency of the 2008 financial crisis.
5246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: August 31, 2011, 12:59:54 PM
"Why do we have to pay f*ckin rent all our lives - all our lives?  Why?  Why?? Why can't we just pay f*ckin rent for like maybe 10 years, you know, you stay in a place, you know pay f*ckin rent like 10 years and after that you shouldn't have to pay rent again ever and I mean like ever for as long as you live."

Youtube offers a sneak inside peak into my world.  sad  

5247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs for having children on: August 29, 2011, 07:32:04 PM
Just to expand slightly on maternity/ paternity leave from the humor on media issues.  I have taken 17 years off of full time work to raise just one - everybody's situation is different.  Mom bonding with baby is great.  Maybe 2 years or 5 years should be the law - and mom's without babies can pay for it??  Dumping the kid at day care full time at 2 days or 91 days is unbelievable to me.  No slam on Ms. Kelly, perhaps her husband or the kids grandparents watch and I doubt she is on the air 40 hours a week, who knows.  Point is that you can make a federal law to fit her situation, even though she already has it in her contract, then it applies to all women in all states in all industries at all pay levels and all company sizes.  Add gender fairness to that and it applies to men too.  Then if the employer can't afford to pay people not working, the company closes.  You can't pay out what you don't take in.  Even if you write the law perfectly and it all makes sense, it is one more mandate on top of thousands of others and it causes less hiring.  3 months off, if that is the magic number, could be the expense of the employee, the choice to not get paid for not working - that is extreme!  18 years off could be paid for with accumulated savings and investments if that was still legal or by having the other spouse work, if half the pay didn't go to the government - for other people's children.  A tangled web we weave - there is not a one size fits all solution available, I'm sorry. 

General Motors before the bailout was paying healthcare for 10 times more people than actually worked there.  9 out of 10 were on some kind of leave until the cost of healthcare surpassed the cost of all materials in the car, not to mention labor.  The what could possibly go wrong question already has.  Only big business knows how to jump through all the hoops, take GE with no income tax, but big business is inefficient and losing out to leaner operations everywhere else.

Can't people negotiate for themselves in a free society?  Or understand a connection between work and pay?
5248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 29, 2011, 06:59:59 PM
A couple of links:
Funny but misleading.  The original piece of her skewering the radio show host I thought really was funny though you couldn't tell if he was serious, if she was really mad or what any of her political views really are:

She was giving shit to a friend who asked for it.  He said something intentionally to get her going - the maternity thing is a racket. I doubt he doesn't understand mothers being with newborn.  Her time off was in a private contract, not a government entitlement.  Yes she said US in the dark ages on that with a twinkle in her eye, perhaps devil's advocate to a conservative radio host friend of hers. 

The Stewart assumption is that she is otherwise a complete anti-government anarchist because she works at Fox and has asked tough questions in the past about entitlements that can't be reformed.  He tried a few gotcha moments and for sure it worked with his audience.  A straw argument string of unrelated partial clips of her insinuating that overall entitlements have gone too far.  Yes they have.  The clip of her saying "the free market should dictate" was about the FAIRNESS DOCTRINE, not pregnancy, leave or child rearing.  Stewart has it down to either you favor all entitlements and government control 'like us' or you don't.  Everyone in between, like a moderate on Fox, is a hypocrite.
5249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afpakia: Drone Warfare on: August 29, 2011, 02:02:35 PM
This could go in a number of places on the forum but currently relates mostly to strikes in Pakistan.  The AEI author (conservative) comes down on the pro-drone side, but can you imagine the public uproar today if it was a Cheney or McCain administration who had quadrupled the unmanned aerial attacks inside a 'sovereign' country?  As an aside, I have a newer acquaintance who is a leading researcher/developer of UAV (drone) technology and I would be very interested in suggestions for intelligent, non-classified questions to ask if I am able to get some access.

The Morality of Drone Warfare
The reports about civilian casualties are unreliable.


Last week, the London-based nonprofit Bureau of Investigative Journalism published a series of articles accusing the U.S. of covering up civilian casualties caused by drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas. In a New York Times op-ed on Sunday, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, President Obama's former director of national intelligence, declared that America's drone campaign "is eroding our influence and damaging our ability to work with Pakistan to achieve other important security objectives like eliminating Taliban sanctuaries, encouraging Indian-Pakistani dialogue, and making Pakistan's nuclear arsenal more secure."

In reality, drones represent the most discerning—and therefore most moral—form of aerial warfare in human history. In Pakistan, they keep terrorists on the run. They also help Washington to pressure an ostensible ally that doesn't respond to carrots alone.

According to the Bureau's journalists, drones have killed at least 45 civilians over the past year. This flatly contradicts White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, who said in June that drones have not caused "a single collateral death" since last August.

Then there's the realpolitik argument. Drones allegedly create day-to-day friction in U.S.-Pakistan relations. Without the bad blood they cause, Adm. Blair suggests, ties between Washington and Islamabad would flourish.

To be fair, neither argument can be casually dismissed. The claim of zero collateral deaths in a land where militants often live with their families, or cheek-by-jowl with other civilians, appears implausible. The strikes—53 so far this year—tend to draw street protests and harsh criticism from the Pakistani press. Both Pakistan's parliament and the provincial assembly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province have passed resolutions calling for their end.

On closer examination, however, this case collapses. According to U.S. government officials quoted in the Times, the Bureau's reportage is unreliable. To begin with, Pakistani authorities, and the local reporters they hold sway over, have an incentive to fabricate or exaggerate casualty figures. And the reports rely, at least in part, on information provided by a Pakistani lawyer who publicly outed the CIA's undercover station chief last year.

Though even a single civilian casualty ought not to be taken lightly, the focus on alleged collateral damage distorts the essence of the drone program. Technology allows highly trained operators to observe targets on the ground for as much as 72 hours in advance. Software engineers typically model the blast radius for a missile or bomb strike. Lawyers weigh in on which laws apply and entire categories of potential targets—including mosques, hospitals and schools—are almost always out of bounds. All these procedures protect innocent civilian life.

As for affecting U.S. popularity, according to the Pew Global Attitudes survey, the U.S. favorability rating—long battered by conspiracy theories and an anti-American media—hovers at about 12%, almost exactly where it stood before the drone program's advent in 2004.

The program also serves a larger purpose. One of Washington's most pressing objectives in Pakistan is to end the use of its territory for attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan. Another is to wean the country off its historic support for terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan, India and beyond. It cannot achieve either without the help of the Pakistani army and its notorious spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.

But the Pakistani army, riddled with jihadist sympathizers, and with a two-decade old belief in its mission to dominate Afghanistan and bleed India, has shown little inclination to do much more than the bare minimum. The violently anti-American Haqqani network remains comfortably ensconced in North Waziristan near the Afghan border. And terrorists such as Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, whose group was behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans, routinely give inflammatory speeches to adoring crowds.

Against this backdrop, drones offer a practical way to eliminate some terrorists and keep others on the run. They also raise the incentives for the Pakistani military to crack down on terrorism, or else deal with the social unrest unleashed by the strikes.

Instead of cutting back on drones, the U.S. should threaten to ratchet up their use if the army and ISI fail to suppress anti-NATO forces in Afghanistan. Over $20 billion in aid in the past decade has not done enough to alter Islamabad's behavior. A carefully calibrated drone strategy, backed by resolve to stay the course in Afghanistan, may produce better results.

Mr. Dhume is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, and a columnist for
5250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 29, 2011, 01:47:59 PM
There are some like Ron Paul who think they will stop attacking if we stay home and stop fighting back.  Some like Huntsman share the JDN view that we mostly stay home and just strike out in perfect high threat situations like the Osama kill op.  But that intelligence comes only from being out there chasing every threat, and the information even then is never perfect.

Unfortunately wink it has been GM and Crafty who have been right on this.  Their commitment and patience to attack can be measured in hundreds or thousands of years, and look at us, losing our patience and commitment after about 10 pretty good years at home filled with horrific, mostly failed attempts.
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