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5251  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: December 19, 2010, 08:40:39 PM
There was a prediction out of cell phone use in Japan that by now cell phones and cell phone usage including all internet would be free at least to a decent consumer because the advertisers would pay your way to get access.  This is the opposite.  If you were a train passenger in Tokyo and consented to the service, you could be alerted to what movies were playing or what the restaurant specials are at the next stop.  Advertisers could hit consumers with precision instead of paying for broadcast to the whole metro and the subscriber of the service could benefit from timely, relevant, carefully placed info as well receiving a free service for particpating in the program.  Key to that scenario (in a free society) is that you could opt-in but you could also opt out.

My older cell phone had a software switch where you could switch your GPS off and hide it except for emergency services like a 911 call.  I can't find that option on my current 'smartphone' (treo, not iphone or android) meaning I assume that a GPS of me is running and sending all the time for anyone clever enough to track me, like a freeware or paidware app writer.  I notice that google searches from my cell phone tend to know where I am and give me local results first.  Nice feature up to a point.  When they decide to sell off the complete record of everywhere I've been to the highest bidder or every bidder, then it is not such a nice feature.

Opting out of privacy surrenders and unwanted advertising should always be a choice at a fair market price.  Bad business behavior like this by an unregulated market gives the over-regulators another generation of life and energy, and gives the Democrats and RINOs who yearn for a more government-centric, fully-regulated society the winning side of another consumer issue.  Free market conservatives and libertarians should get out in front of these privacy loss and disclosure issues.  Like the Do Not Call list concept, some government protection can be a good thing.  Give us the easy option of not being tracked or recorded.
5252  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Emasculation of Men In Contempory Society on: December 19, 2010, 04:12:27 PM
"Wrestling coaches say that while grabbing the backs of the legs and buttocks during a match could lead to accidental groping"  - That does not sound the same as groping.

A crime during a sport is possible though IMO.  I recall a more extreme example.  I was at an NHL hockey game watching Boston vs, Minnesota.  Boston Bruin star/thug Dave Forbes came out of the penalty box, away from and oblivious to the play, and assaulted opposing player Henry Boucha with his stick and stayed at until there was a pool of blood perhaps 6 feet in diameter, an opponent lying still on the ice and people in our section throwing up at what they witnessed.  Boucha of native American origin who rose from Minnesota's iron range hockey and northwest corner up near Canada to play for the USA in the Olympics received an eye injury and never played hockey again.  The county attorney, later my attorney, tried to press criminal assault charges that died out with a hung grand jury. 

The anger sprang out of a hockey game and the norm in a hockey game is to fight, so if there was any doubt then whatever happened goes with the sport.  But if it barks like a duck - an assault, from behind, away from the game, in front of our eyes, inflicting major injury, then it was an assault.  Just like Sharia Law and fraternity hazings, hockey customs are not the law of the land.
5253  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 19, 2010, 03:37:24 PM
I thought the ACLU conference opened with the Pledge of Allegiance ... to the U.N.

I thought the organizing idea of the tea party, 1773 or 2010, was a return to founding principles.  Who better than Justice Antonin Scalia (or any of 8 other justices) to speak?  Just like the tea party, they have it in their job description (I thought) to return us to our founding principles.

Problem with Pravda / NY Times is that they were told the tea party meant something else - starve the poor, return blacks to slavery, make gays learn hetero, and kick Grannny off her meds - that kind of thing.
5254  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 19, 2010, 03:16:24 PM
Effective advocacy does not mean you don't need to get your facts right.  Calling your self non-partisan and unbiased doesn't in my experience (with Snopes or anyone else) make it so.

The cost of illegal aliens to federal, state and local governments is IMO a symptom, not the central problem.  If the new people all came here fully employed as rocket scientists would there still not be an issue of enforcing our borders in order to remain a sovereign nation with borders, citizenship and a rule of law?
5255  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afghanistan war ending date strategy with politcs on: December 19, 2010, 03:04:25 PM
My recollection during the dither over the strategy of an Afghan surge was that the withdrawal was set for July 2011, date certain.  That date was chosen for American political reasons, not for future facts on the ground which were by definition unknown when the date was set.  Now I understand we are out in 2014, date certain.  That date, again, was chosen for American political purposes because, again,  conditions and circumstances on the ground in 2014 can't be known now as that date is set - with certainty.

Under Obama, we escalated the war in terms of numbers of troops committed, cost. civilian deaths, enemy attacks, drone attacks, kills and captures and especially increasing is the number and rate of Americans dying in Afghanistan to the point of more deaths now than under 8 years of Bush.  Also less press coverage so I write the above with no judgment whatsoever about how it is going.

The Afghan war had the potential of splitting the Democrat party, but it was off the political radar in 2010 because we are already committed to be out in 2011, date certain (I am not the one over-using that phrase).  Switching now to 2014, date certain, allows the incumbent Commander in Chief to run just one more time as the true anti-war candidate because of his firm commitment to bring our troops home, a 'commitment' that a conservative Republican likely nominee will be unable to make.
5256  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 19, 2010, 09:38:00 AM
"protect your social security number until the government finds a better way to track citizens."

Good luck getting mandatory car or health insurance without giving your ss no. out to private cos.
5257  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 17, 2010, 10:31:55 PM
""Undocumented Americans" Harry Reid calls them."

  - Control of the terminology has been the weapon ever since people tolerated calling the convenience killing of an unborn child a 'choice'.  Now government takeover of healthcare is the 'Affordability Act', and whether you sneak over the border or kill a border agent to get in, you are document-challenged.  Granting citizenship to trespassers is to 'DREAM'.

"Why not break EVERY law?"

  - Perfectly logical to break laws we don't enforce.  The Feds won't enforce and won't let states enforce.  So why not a) crack down on the crimes around the crime, and b) have states put pocketbook pressure back on the Feds.

Illegals tend to have false ID, don't they? Why not elevate and prosecute laws for displaying false identification to an officer, an employer, an aid worker as a version of felony identity theft?  The financial component of the crime alone often reaches felony levels.  Then perhaps going home could be an option offered in lieu of jail time.

When the states fail to follow a federal guideline like drinking age 21 or a federal freeway speed limit standard, the Feds cut off federal funds.  Don't states have similar financial leverage?  Revoke the property tax exemption on federal properties for malfeasance.  Require border enforcement for preferential treatment on property taxation. Foreclose and sell off those properties in sheriff auctions, just as the taxing authority would for anyone else?  Why are local property taxes zero for federal office buildings? Who pays for the teachers and the schools if property taxes are at zero? The local streets in front of Federal buildings cost money to build and maintain. Post Office property taxes are zero.  How much do their competitors pay? Even it up.

Revoke their state sales tax exemption for malfeasance - not operating as a federal government, failure to perform a basic function: border enforcement. No?
5258  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Issues in the American Creed: A moderate defender of individual liberties on: December 16, 2010, 01:01:40 PM
"“Apparently Republicans are now for judicial activism after they were against it.”"

I was trying to make the same point from the other direction.  One judge or one court far away strikes down the age-old and majority approved idea that marriage means a man and woman become husband and wife or that Sharia Law law foreign law should not be considered in state court and the action receives pundit and scholar applause.  Now we have one instance of a conservative judge saying the constitution doesn't give the federal government a power that the constitution certainly didn't give in any clear or direct way anywhere in its articles or amendments - and those who applauded earlier receive back a taste of the judicial review they were applauding.  Activist? Yes, he over-ruled out elected representatives.  The question to me though is whether he got it right upholding constitutional limits on federal government powers.

"it will likely be decided by one bizarre, unpredictable judge in Washington, Anthony Kennedy."

Bizarre and unpredictable would be from my point of view; I'm sure it all makes sense from his....  I will read the links posted and come back better informed.  (Learning more about Anthony Kennedy though will be hours of my life I can never get back.)  In the meantime I accept this description from Knowles (bigdog post) as better worded: Kennedy is a “moderate libertarian” and I agree to make no wisecracks about that sounding like a very clever oxymoron...

If in 1988 Reagan's top constitutional advisers had reassured the President, even in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's, that this man Kennedy will be a moderate for in the defense of individual liberties for this nation for the rest of his life, I am wondering if he would have gotten that job. (sad face)

Forgive me as I go nuts over Kelo again: Knowles on Kennedy in Lawrence (from bigdog post): "His reasoning for this is that “Liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private place. . . ."  But Kelo (the taking of your private property on a government whim for other private ownership) is not an "unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private place"??!! It is a warranted intrusion (in Kennedy's opinion) for the government to force out private property owners to accommodate a different private owners whose purpose is at that moment is believed to be preferable to the [all-knowing, all-caring, with sarcasm] City government.  We should all go right now to the New London site and see how warranted that intrusion and displacement turned out to be and how great a city can become with greater central government powers.  It is vacant land, they never broke ground on the residential site and Pfiser left New London in 2009.  

FYI to Kennedy and other Kelo supporters from one who has had his property taken by a city to transfer ownership to politically connected private ownership:  We didn't need a new government power to transfer private ownership of private property.  We already have something - it's called a purchase agreement and it gets signed by consenting parties, with an agreed price [in a free society].  Seller's consent is one liberty that this 'moderate libertarian' Justice Kennedy failed to recognize, and now the legitimate power of government to acquire property necessary to build needed public facilities and right-of-ways can now run wild across the municipalities buying and selling access to government power for preferred private ownership.

If Kennedy is not "bizarre and unpredictable" as I wrote, and some thread runs through his logic and values, and if the different sides of the issue of individual mandate are already known, then maybe one of the scholars linked will already know how Kennedy will come down on the healthcare mandate.

In the meantime, someone please tell me what is wrong with having the 2/3rds and 3/4th majorities required to amend the constitution to grant the federal government a new power - do so - before exercising that power against unwilling Americans.
5259  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Legal issues: Judge strikes down individual mandate on: December 15, 2010, 09:27:19 AM
Plenty of coverage everywhere, see blog linked by Bigdog in the previous post on this thread.

Seems to me this makes it more likely it will rise to the Supreme Court, though it could stop first in the 4th District as other challenges proceed elsewhere.  Instead of this crucial question being decided by one conservative judge in Virginia, it will likely be decided by one bizarre, unpredictable judge in Washington, Anthony Kennedy.

The Obama administration says the mandate is no different than a tax.  Obama also went on national television a year ago during the heated policy debates to tell us this is not a tax.  Go figure.

Minds smarter than mine will tell you how this is merely a logical extension of the commerce clause or the income tax amendment.  But the framers didn't envision a healthcare mandate.  They envisioned future desires to expand federal government powers and put in a very specific AMENDMENT CLAUSE so people later could easily (or not so easily) expand the powers to those needed later that they didn't envision or enumerate a couple of hundred years ago.

Try this at home, fill in the blank: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are ... what??   .................................................................
December 14, 2010
ObamaCare Loses in Court
A victory for liberty and the Constitution in Virginia.

Only a few months ago, the White House and its allies on the legal left dismissed the constitutional challenges to ObamaCare as frivolous, futile and politically motived. So much for that. Yesterday, a federal district court judge in Virginia ruled that the health law breaches the Constitution's limits on government power.

In a careful 42-page ruling, Judge Henry Hudson declared that ObamaCare's core enforcement mechanism known as the individual mandate—the regulation that requires everyone to purchase health insurance or else pay a penalty—exceeds Congress's authority to regulate the lives of Americans.

"The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision [the individual mandate] would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers," Judge Hudson writes. "At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance—or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage—it's about an individual's right to choose to participate."

So the issue is joined, and no doubt with historic consequences for American liberty. For most of the last century, the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution's Commerce Clause as so elastic as to allow any regulation desired by a Congressional majority. Only with the William Rehnquist Court did the Justices begin to rediscover that the Commerce Clause has some limits, as in the Lopez (1995) and Morrison (2000) cases.

The courts up through the Supremes will now decide if government can order individuals to buy a private product or be penalized for not doing so. If government can punish citizens for in essence doing nothing, then what is left of the core Constitutional principle of limited and enumerated government powers?

Judge Hudson's opinion is particularly valuable because it dispatches the White House's carousel of rationalizations for its unprecedented intrusions. The Justice Department argued that the mandate is justified by the Commerce Clause because the decision not to purchase insurance has a substantial effect on interstate commerce because everybody needs medical care eventually. And if not that, then it's permissible under the broader taxing power for the general welfare; and if not that, then it's viable under the Necessary and Proper clause; and if not that, well, it's needed to make the overall regulatory scheme function.

But as Judge Hudson argues, the nut of the case is the Commerce Clause. Justice can't now claim that the mandate is "really" a tax when the bill itself imposes what it calls a "penalty" for failing to buy insurance and says the power to impose the mandate is vested in interstate commerce. Recall that President Obama went on national television during the ObamaCare debate to angrily assert that the mandate "is absolutely not a tax increase."

Moreover, Judge Hudson says that no court has ever "extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market."

Liberals are attacking Judge Hudson because he was appointed by George W. Bush, but his ruling is relatively narrow. He didn't strike down the rest of ObamaCare even though it lacked a severability clause, and he didn't enjoin the law's implementation pending appeal. His opinion also doesn't touch Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's long-shot claim that his state's "health freedom" law can nullify an act of Congress. In fact, federal laws that are constitutional are supreme under the 10th Amendment.

Yesterday liberals were crowing that even if the mandate is eventually declared illegal, it's no big deal because the rest of ObamaCare's new system would remain intact. Yet they've argued for years that the mandate is essential to health reform, because the mandate is at the heart of the regulatory machine. ObamaCare without a mandate would mean individuals wouldn't have to pay into a system until they were sick, driving up costs even faster and ruining what's left of health insurance markets.

While Judge Hudson's ruling is the first to declare part of the law unconstitutional, more than 20 state attorneys general and the National Federation of Independent Business are also suing in Florida. Oral arguments will be heard on Thursday in that case, which we think is the strongest constitutional challenge to the law.

As the Virginia case shows, ObamaCare really does stretch the Commerce Clause to the breaking point. The core issue is whether the federal government can order individuals to do anything the political class decides it wants them to do. The stakes couldn't be higher for our constitutional order.
5260  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: December 14, 2010, 10:49:29 AM
Andrew,  I will leave religion mostly for you and GM.  I would only add that I see a distinction between the religion and the book with the religion being what people are preaching, taking from the writings today, or at whatever point in time we are discussing.  GM said he studied Islam after 9/11.  That point I find important.  We didn't go out of our way to find or have an opinion about any other religion.  It was brought to us in brutal fashion, over and over and over, so people went to the religion to see if that was inspiring these worldwide actions causing us to fondle ourselves at airports and worry about training camps far away.  Far away is now close to home as Zacarias Moussaoui was trained in our town here, we had 24 al Qaida related arrests in Minneapolis this year and I have rental property in a town where 9/11 hijackers lived among us prior to the attacks - with laws you can't discriminate whatsoever about ethnicity religion etc.

You mentioned argumentative structure (to GM) but on the part where you said you were replying to me, you mixed quotations of mine in with bizarre, selective utterances from former President Bush in the same paragraph, even the same sentence, and I did not follow at all on those points.  You then re-asked the question, why Iraq, without acknowledging or refuting the partial answers that I gave.  If your point is that Bush was not a great communicator on this subject, I don't think anyone here or Bush himself would disagree. (straw argument? Karzai and Bernanke read here, Bush doesn't) You went on to clumsiness in the Balkans, but that was a different President, a different war, for a different reason, though another example of where 'allies' of Europe were of little help and then you mention trouble in Mozambique and elsewhere.  But I wrote that "Saddam attacked four of his neighbors" and I hope to make additional points from my point of view regarding security threat.

It was not Bush but every intelligence agency in the world including the Iraqis who thought they had WMDs prior to the invasion.  What was not found were stockpiles of WMDs.  Not finding stockpiles or biochem labs in full operation is tied to the timetable of war, in effect telling him in September that we will be there in April.  That they vanished is worrisome but not telling (to me).  You quote the discredited words from the State of the Union speech of some botched or phony Uranium purchase in Niger that became a media storm. The Iraq Study Group, a commission that I think is respected, concluded Saddam was not an immediate threat with nuclear weapons; his program was 5-7 years away from nuclear weapons, meaning an eternity, but 5-7 years has since expired.  As we judge now the value of the Iraq effort with Bush long gone, we must judge it versus the reality (with the best information available) that today the world's problems would include an emboldened Saddam Hussein in complete power with nuclear arms.  I think you infer that is not frightening to you (or at least with Iran) but it is to me. 

Regarding both Iran and Iraq and in the perspective of Hitler and Chamberlain or whoever inside or outside of Germany i would like to make a different point than I read GM to make.  The historical issues over WWII to me for today are how could we have acted in a smaller way sooner so that we would not have had what we had - a full blown world war barely won in order to survive.  In the context of the intelligence required today, I say we needed to know who/what Hitler was and where he was going before he crossed his first border and if there was no justification to act before, then we needed to act then, with or without allies, as he crossed his first border or his second or his third invasion if the conflict was to be kept smaller.  With Iraq they have already crossed that line - repeatedly.  With Iran it may be a more subtle question but there are very troubling aspects.  They support terrorism outside their borders, the oppress inside their borders and they support the destruction of an ally (Israel) in a way I think is different, more serious and threatening than the position of all the so-called moderate Arab states who also fail to recognize Israel.

The question 'why Iraq' is posed, not to George Bush's utterances, but for those here on this forum.  I ask a serious historian challenge of you.  Please find and post Saddam Hussein's surrender statement from 1991.  I would like to tie a point of mine to that which I read at the time and saved but am unable to locate now to link or quote.

Saddam we all know invaded two of his neighbors and sent bombs into two others, and paid huge huge sums to the families of suicide bombers.  The first world trade center bombers were here with Iraqi passports.  I think we all agree (?) he had WMD prior to the invasion, he did gas the kurds (?) and mass graves were found(?).  The straw issue was whether he cooperated in the 911 attacks. We were not trying to prevent attacks that already occurred (or avenge them); we were trying to prevent the next ones, and he gave plenty of justification, again IMO . 

Saddam's ties to al Qaeda were determined ( by the Iraq Study Group) to not be a 'collaborative, operational relationship'.  The media and the political opponents, even those who supported the invasion ran opportunistically hogwild with that.  But it means only exactly what it says.  It does not mean they didn't have cooperation, have a relationship, share a common enemy or plan future cooperation.  A year after 9/11 a Democrat, Sen. Fritz Hollings, justifying his pro-war vote entered a chilling Iraqi state newspaper editorial into the congressional record.  It speaks in flowery terms and people can deny its meaning, but in affect it names Bin Laden, praises Bin Laden and names the targets of the 9/11/2001 attacks in official Iraqi press two months before the attacks.

"America says, admitting just like a bird in the midst of a tornado, that Bin Ladin is behind the bombing of its destroyer in Aden. The fearful series of events continues for America and the terror within America gets to the point that the Governor of Texas increases the amount of the award, just as the stubbornness of the other man and his challenge increases. This challenge makes it such that one of his grandchildren comes from Jeddah traveling on the official Saudi Arabia airlines and celebrates with him the marriage of one of the daughters of his companions. Bin Ladin has become a puzzle and a proof also, of the inability of the American federalism and the C.I.A. to uncover the man and uncover his nest. The most advanced organizations of the world cannot find the man and continues to go in cycles in illusion and presuppositions. They still hope that he could come out from his nest one day, they hope that he would come out from his hiding hole and one day they will point at him their missiles and he will join Guevara, Hassan Abu Salama, Kamal Nasser, Kanafani and others. The man responds with a thin smile and replies to the correspondent from Al Jazeera that he will continue to be the obsession and worry of America and the Jews, and that even that night he will practice and work on an exercise called ``How Do You Bomb the White House.'' And because they know that he can get there, they have started to go through their nightmares on their beds and the leaders have had to wear their bulletproof vests.

Meanwhile America has started to pressure the Taliban movement so that it would hand them Bin Ladin, while he continues to smile and still thinks seriously, with the seriousness of the Bedouin of the desert about the way he will try to bomb the Pentagon after he destroys the White House .....

The phenomenon of Bin Ladin is a healthy phenomenon in the Arab spirit. It is a decision and a determination that the stolen Arab self has come to realize after it got bored with promises of its rulers: After it disgusted itself from their abomination and their corruption, the man had to carry the book of God and the Kalashnikov and write on some off white paper ``If you are unable to drive off the Marines from the Kaaba, I will do so.'' It seems that they will be going away because the revolutionary Bin Ladin is insisting very convincingly that he will strike America on the arm that is already hurting. That the man will not be swayed by the plant leaves of Whitman nor by the ``Adventures of Indiana Jones'' and will curse the memory of Frank Sinatra every time he hears his songs."

I assume you know but I point out anyway, the "curse the memory of Frank Sinatra...his songs" means "New York, New York", the other target in addition to naming the White House and the Pentagon attacks with prescient timing.  (pre·scient/ˈpreSH(ē)ənt/  Adjective: Having or showing knowledge of events before they take place)   smiley  With all the self righteousness I can muster, we said after 9/11 that you are with us or you are against us at rooting this out.  Everyone in that operation was on only a need to know basis, so prior knowledge of an attack on that scale is very close to evidence of cooperation from my point of view. 

Andrew wrote:"The way the UN/US incursion was portrayed in the western media almost made me vomit in contrast to what it has effectively achieved. This portrayal of war like it is an entertainment blockbuster, like a game of Risk, or a Real Time Strategy video game. Like a John Wayne movie, after he kills all the baddies and rides off in the sunset. Wearing a mission accomplished tag on his back. This is the reason the USA gets so much bad mouthing and enemies."

This was true, they had a theme lines and they competed for coverage, you could make popcorn during the commercials, but the U.S. does not control western media (or the clumsiness of Bush's ability to articulate) or the duplicity of political opponents and those attacks were aimed at toppling an oppressor and helping Iraqi Arab Muslim people while Saddam and bin Laden both rejoice at destroying civilians.  Bin Laden will point to American acts perceived to be against Islamic nations, omit bloodshed to save Islamic nations or people and the same media gives him a free pass to mis-communicate and build a positive following in Muslim countries and with sympathizers in the west.  That is an unfortunate fact of the world we try to be safe in.

" is what is really intriguing me. This self righteous condescending aura of the invasion. Like you did a noble deed. Well you did, I guess, but what bothers me, is why did you choose Iraq ? Because it was a totalitarian fascistic regime ? Suffocating prison, which people had to be freed from ? Hm, here are a few numbers for potential, more suitable candidates to save. And it would entail NOT loosing your own men and NOT gaining as much new enemies."

You make a condescending, sarcastic point I think with "self righteous"..."noble cause", then agreed with it(!) "I guess", list some reasons but importantly leave out all those that involve a security threat, then go on with other possible targets like Mozambique.  So I add there needs to be a threat and a justification for others to accept our actions.  Then others don't accept it anyway or accept facts as they stroll in like your reaction to reading of WMDs evidence discovered: "if that were true..."

I stated partly in jest during the Iraq debate that there are so many tyrants and so little time to topple them. Note that Khadafi also came clean in that time and had the effort gone better, other bad actors might have re-thought their positions.  I joked after Saddam invaded Kuwait that if it is okay to invade neighbors, we should take over Canada, not fight in the Middle East.  You make fun of being righteous because of maybe Bush swagger?  I take finding the right think to do more seriously?  What was the right thing to do about Saddam, then, and Iran, NPRK etc. today?

As we nitpick our definitions, I will point out that "right wing conservative" is an unnecessary redundancy and I plea guilty.  In the spirit of writing "without gibberish" I offer in good fun my take from your positions articulated so far that you are studying to be a partisan historian.   smiley  - Doug  - still friends!
5261  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 13, 2010, 12:02:24 AM
"No comments on the previous post?  I thought it quite significant"

  - I loved your title: "Karzai reading this thread".  It's surprising who you bump into here!

"...natural gas pipeline whose proposed route cuts through the heartland of the Taliban insurgency..."

  - What could possibly go wrong with that??  If this is possible it is the beginning of finding a revenue stream other than poppies for this wasteland.  I forget why we favor legalization here but not poppy exports for the Afghans...

"Gates told reporters he would return to Washington believing that Afghanistan will be ready for a U.S. troop drawdown by 2014, as set out by President Obama"

  - I thought Obama said 2011(?)  Do you still think there will be no challenge to Obama from his own (anti-war) party?
5262  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 12, 2010, 11:13:58 PM
Very funny!  The only thing stranger than the Palin Phenomenon is the obsession of her detractors.  On my snowed-in day yesterday I wandered into a scary place called the Huffington Post.  Their number one lead category was 'Palin'. Google 'Huffington Post' and Sarah Palin is the only person with a direct category link.  Just like the last 2 years of Letterman, Palin is what sells on both sides of the aisle, like her or not.

5263  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: December 12, 2010, 10:46:48 PM
Andrew wrote: "I know I am going to regret this ..."

I hope you don't regret it.  I'm glad you posted - (as I go on to disagree...)

As a friend to a family of one of the hikers held in Iran as a political pawn to be tried for 'espionage' after solitary confinement for a year and a half, I would say at least that the term Islamic Fascism fits the regime in Iran just fine and that those fighting to spread Islam seek to duplicate that type of regime elsewhere.

In my daughter's Catholic Church the priest was recently arrested for bad behavior, immediately removed from his post, and we know other priests have behaved far worse.  But those are NOT the teachings of the Church, those are individuals who violated the teachings of the church.  The Bible may also have verses we find objectionable, but my (limited) knowledge of churches and synagogues says that what is taught and preached is peace, love and acceptance.  You might recall that the Pope also opposed the war in Iraq for reasons similar to what you cite.  I can't say the same for the Muslim clerics in Iraq and Iran preaching and inciting violence.

What existed in Iraq before the invasion was not peace.  It was another version of fascism, a totalitarian prison.  The Saddam regime was supposedly secular but he was praising Allah in almost every sentence that I read, while oppressing his own people in every way and attacking four of his neighbors prior to the American invasion.  The story of Dujail that Saddam was hanged for was an illustration of what Iraqi people faced.  I have posted it here as told by a survivor.  Mass graves elsewhere make the same point.  There would have been nothing moral about having the might to depose Saddam and then pass on it as none of our business IMO, just as there was no easy way to depose him and then leave a power vacuum on his place.  Toppling that regime was not violent behavior, quite the opposite; we were also heavily criticized for not toppling it the first time we were there - rescuing a Islamic country.  They may think we are the enemy and they may think we came to take the oil (or to manipulate our currency?), but we aren't and we didn't.  We shed a lot of our own blood trying hard not to shed theirs.  We spent hundreds of billions and took nothing.  We tried and tried and tried to set up self rule and leave in peace.  We were not the ones fighting AGAINST that.  I don't accept that blame.

I also don't accept moral relativism such as stoning a rape victim to death because a religion calls for it.  Wrong is wrong.  (I know you didn't say otherwise, just posting my viewpoint.) If I can't do anything to stop it, then that is something I have to live with.  If I have the opportunity to intervene successfully no matter what neighborhood, then that is what is right to do, whether I do it or not.  People can reference KKK or slavery here but those are also behaviors we have shed blood to stop.

Ahmadinejad's Letter to Bush is referenced.  The Washington Post translation lacks the ending I read elsewhere, "Wasalam Ala Man Ataba'al hoda".  Experts argue the meaning, one translation is: "peace only unto those who follow the true path".  The true path is jihad so I take it to mean as Death to America because we are infidels, not on their true path, whereas apologists take it to mean something more like 'have a nice day'.  You see Ahmadinejad as an honest broker of peace(?), worthy of nuclear weapons to deter an attack, a legitimate leader of the Iranian people? And Bush as one who turned his back on an opportunity to settle our differences if only we could sit down and discuss?  I disagree.

"be friends at the end of the day"  - Likewise!  smiley
5264  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Christopher Hitchens Rips Tea Party and Glen Beck on: December 12, 2010, 02:37:22 PM
The lack of political diversity on the forum leads me to sometimes post an opposing opinion even though I thoroughly disagree with it.  Maybe I have Christopher Hitchens confused with someone else but I thought he was a intelligent conservative who I just happen to disagree with on a few issues.  In this case he totally rips everything he thinks the tea party stands for and Glen Beck by name.  I can't find an ounce of validity in it but maybe someone else make sense of it or at least be aware what the critics are saying.

His main point seems to be that without the wackos, R's should have taken both chambers.  I don't see how we would be better off had we won 50 or 51 seats in the senate with RINOs who would then give Obama bipartisan cover for a leftist agenda.  The stronger more experienced tea party candidates won and the weaker candidates lost.  That means it takes two election cycles to take majority in the senate.  Control of the senate is 60 seats and veto override is 67, so whether you have 47 good ones or 50 with divisions is all part of a process of assembling a stronger team with a coherent and persuasive message.

I have found Glen Beck to be far from hateful and videos of Tea Party events to be Right on the Money in terms of issues, priorities and direction.  Not so for this columnist:
Tea’d Off
Forfeiting a both-houses Republican victory, rational conservatives ignored or excused the most hateful kind of populist claptrap (e.g., the fetid weirdness of Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project). The poison they’ve helped disseminate will still be in the American bloodstream when the country needs it least.
By Christopher Hitchens
5265  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science - Global Warming update on: December 11, 2010, 03:33:37 PM
Grateful for no house fire while the snow drifts blocked the doors to our house. (wrong thread?)  Deaths in Europe, the Eiffel Tower closed, 100 year lows in Cancun - during the global warming conference!

People I know from here who still believe in global warming spend their winters elsewhere. Thanksgiving this year was the coldest in 20 years and freezing ever since. Lead story of the local paper right now: MSP Airport closed after blizzard warning extended; metro bus service suspended  Forecast: more snow, more wind, 20 degrees colder.

I'm not complaining, we love the subtle change of seasons, it was near 70 in early Nov.  My next door neighbor back from south Florida for the holidays has a smile on his face as he takes a great big snowblower where the snowplow can't go.  I'm just saying winter is still on after a hundred and fifty years of fossil fuel use.
5266  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: December 11, 2010, 01:40:35 PM
Besides new strategies and new policies, the movement toward constitutional conservatism or common sense conservatism needs new 'spokesmen'.  Here's one.  Too bad that people like Marco Rubio and Kristi Noem will have essentially zero experience this coming Presidential cycle, but we need all the help and talent we can get in the House and Senate as well.
5267  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: December 11, 2010, 01:30:39 PM
The message from the last election more so than the rejection of the healthcare takeover and growth of big government is that people just hated the way it was done - with backroom deals and political earmark payoffs.  Enter the new lameduck deal for tax rate extensions, now filled with ethanol subsidies, solar, wind, unemployment and who knows what else since the deal is not yet in writing.

That aside, Paul Krugman, they only pretend economist to the left of the President hates the tax rate extensions but gets one timing point correct (for the wrong reasons):
"This political reality makes the tax deal a bad bargain for Democrats. Think of it this way: The deal essentially sets up 2011-2012 to be a repeat of 2009-2010. "
Under the deal, if not extended before the next election cycle, investors will again be paralyzed in uncertain about future rates, the economy will show it, the Democrats will be blamed for it, and it will be a hugely important Presidential and possible Senate changeover election year.

P.S. If the Ryan roadmap could be passed and signed, all of this would be moot, Obama's economy would surge, he could keep his nice residence with the putting green and the organic garden, keep his Spanish vacation perks and keep his unlimited aircraft privileges.  He could do it for the children. I wonder if Bill Clinton told him that yesterday...
5268  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: The Paul Ryan Roadmap. on: December 11, 2010, 01:07:00 PM
This could go under Palin or under 2012 Presidential as well.  I post it here for substance, not personalities. I see it as the way forward, economically and politically.  These are bold proposals.  Ryan isn't some wild extremist anymore; he is the incoming chairman of the committee, and Palin is a frontrunner putting heat on other potential candidates to say more precisely where they stand on spending and deficits, the Ryan roadmap and the deficit commission.  I would like to see a couple of Democrats endorse the 'Roadmap' or publish a comprehensive plan of their own.

Why I Support the Ryan Roadmap
Let's not settle for the big-government status quo, which is what the president's deficit commission offers.


The publication of the findings of the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was indeed, as the report was titled, "A Moment of Truth." The report shows we're much closer to the budgetary breaking point than previously assumed. The Medicare Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2017. As early as 2025, federal revenue will barely be enough to pay for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on our national debt. With spending structurally outpacing revenue, something clearly needs to be done to avert national bankruptcy.

Speaking with WSJ's Jerry Seib, Congressman Paul Ryan (R, WI) insisted that the deal between Republicans and the White House on the Bush Tax Cuts was not a second stimulus and that the agreement would promote growth despite adding to the deficit.

The commission itself calculates that, even if all of its recommendations are implemented, the federal budget will continue to balloon—to an estimated $5 trillion in 2020, from an already unprecedented $3.5 trillion today. The commission makes only a limited effort to cut spending below the current trend set by the Obama administration.

Among the few areas of spending it does single out for cuts is defense—the one area where we shouldn't be cutting corners at a time of war. Worst of all, the commission's proposals institutionalize the current administration's new big spending commitments, including ObamaCare. Not only does it leave ObamaCare intact, but its proposals would lead to a public option being introduced by the backdoor, with the chairmen's report suggesting a second look at a government-run health-care program if costs continue to soar.

It also implicitly endorses the use of "death panel"-like rationing by way of the new Independent Payments Advisory Board—making bureaucrats, not medical professionals, the ultimate arbiters of what types of treatment will (and especially will not) be reimbursed under Medicare.

The commission's recommendations are a disappointment. That doesn't mean, though, that the commission's work was a wasted effort. For one thing, it has exposed the large and unsustainable deficits that the Obama administration has created through its reckless "spend now, tax later" policies. It also establishes a clear bipartisan consensus on the need to fundamentally reform our entitlement programs. We need a better plan to build on these conclusions with common-sense reforms to tackle our long-term funding crisis in a sustainable way.

In my view, a better plan is the Roadmap for America's Future produced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.). The Roadmap offers a reliable path to long-term solvency for our entitlement programs, and it does so by encouraging personal responsibility and independence.

On health care, it would replace ObamaCare with a new system in which people are given greater control over their own health-care spending. It achieves this partly through creating medical savings accounts and a new health-care tax credit—the only tax credit that would be left in a radically simplified new income tax system that people can opt into if they wish.

The Roadmap would also replace our high and anticompetitive corporate income tax with a business consumption tax of just 8.5%. The overall tax burden would be limited to 19% of GDP (compared to 21% under the deficit commission's proposals). Beyond that, Rep. Ryan proposes fundamental reform of Medicare for those under 55 by turning the current benefit into a voucher with which people can purchase their own care.

On Social Security, as with Medicare, the Roadmap honors our commitments to those who are already receiving benefits by guaranteeing all existing rights to people over the age of 55. Those below that age are offered a choice: They can remain in the traditional government-run system or direct a portion of their payroll taxes to personal accounts, owned by them, managed by the Social Security Administration and guaranteed by the federal government. Under the Roadmap's proposals, they can pass these savings onto their heirs. The current Medicaid system, the majority of which is paid for by the federal government but administered by the states, would be replaced by a block-grant system that would reward economizing states.

Together these reforms help to secure our entitlement programs for the 21st century. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Roadmap would lead to lower deficits and a much lower federal debt. The CBO estimates that under current spending plans, our federal debt would rise to 87% of GDP by 2020, to 223% by 2040, and to 433% by 2060. Under Rep. Ryan's Roadmap, the CBO estimates that debt would rise much more slowly, peaking at 99% in 2040 and then dropping back to 77% by 2060.

Put simply: Our country is on the path toward bankruptcy. We must turn around before it's too late, and the Roadmap offers a clear plan for doing so. But it does more than just fend off disaster. CBO calculations show that the Roadmap would also help create a "much more favorable macroeconomic outlook" for the next half-century. The CBO estimates that under the Roadmap, by 2058 per-person GDP would be around 70% higher than the current trend.

5269  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: December 11, 2010, 12:38:34 PM
Last several posts in this thread are excellent.  Where else can you go and find a good conversation about monetary policy? Smiley

Sad, not funny, to see Jon Stewart more honest and with a better understanding of monetary affairs than ... Ben Bernanke!

GM, I don't know the number either, no one knows the exact number because our money supply has multiple measures M1, M2, M3 etc.  and all are mere estimates, but the toothpaste is not going back in the tube!

Freki, amazing piece by Greenspan.  Greenspan is a subject in himself. He was chosen by Reagan as an opponent of so-called Reaganomics, a 'root canal' Republican, as a check and balance on Reaganomics.  (He probably wrote or inspired the voodoo line for Bush Sr.)  He was always the skeptic of the Clinton- Gingrich boom he called 'irrational exuberance' which in the end did crash and then I think his friendship with Cheney tainted his expansionary policies during Bush where he should have come down harder on the Republican spending as the check and balance on that power.  The immediate post-911 emergency expansionary policies perhaps made sense but not for a decade or permanent without an exit strategy.  I am not surprised to find changes in his thinking, besides that the world is quite different and the 'mission' of the Fed is different than in 1967.  The Peter Principle comes to mind.  Greenspan and Bernanke I'm sure were very accomplished mortals whose responsibilities rose past to their level of competence - and now seem reduced to babbling idiots. (Crafty nailed that while I was typing: Greenspan 'lost his way')

It's the dual mission, that's the problem, and eliminating it is the monetary component of the solution.  Paul Volcker did not let employment concerns stop him when he began tightening down monetary policy to save the nation's currency.  Yes those should have coincided with the stimulative effect of the tax cuts, but that was the fault of congress for downsizing them, delaying them and implementing them piecemeal when any economist should have known the stimulative effect does not kick in during the early years when everyone knows their tax rate will be lower the next year.  But Volcker's job was to stabilize a runaway dollar right then, not let another decade of inflation continue.  The people through their elected officials had the power to fix the other side of the economic mess and avoid catastrophic unemployment if they wanted to or understood it.  Same thing goes for today.

Bernanke admits he is working on employment in America instead of sanity for the dollar.  But everything that is wrong with employment in America has NOTHING to do with monetary problems or policy so he is off winging it on his own.

The new congress needs to re-write the mission of the Fed.  The sole primary mission is stability and predictability of the currency - over periods of decades and centuries, not through business cycles, election cycles, fiscal cycles, policy cycles, government failures or terms of congresses or administrations.  After stability of the dollar, then the Fed can have secondary goals, first of those IMO is stability and rightsizing of interest rates across the economy, still monetary policy.  Then can come a look at coordinating and cooperating with other economic concerns like employment, growth, trade, etc.

We don't need a return to a true gold standard, there isn't enough gold to do that.  Re-writing the Fed mission can do exactly what is needed.  They already know how to look at the price of gold, follow gold, tie policies to the price of gold, as well as to other commodities, price points and the proverbial basket of goods that includes gold front and center.  They know how to do it, they are already tracking it, but then they just go off barking up the wrong tree because their mission statement put them in charge of something where they have no control.  Why would printing more money improve long term employment??

We did not fire or dismantle the Supreme Court when they wrongly decided Dred Scott, Roe v. Wade or Kelo.  There is no better apparatus ready to take its place if we end the Fed.  We already separate it from the political branches the best we can with terms out of cycle with election cycles.  We already confiscate all Fed profits to the Treasury - oops, those are now losses.  We already bring these people back for oversight and re-appointment and re-confirmation.  But we need to clarify and unify the mission of the Fed. (MHO)
5270  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness - Hillary Bet on the Wrong Horse on: December 09, 2010, 11:10:58 AM
Adding a couple of names to the people thrown under the bus by Obama or whose careers got sidetracked.  One is Jon Huntsman, the next moderate to compete for the Republican nomination now serving quietly as Obama's Ambassador to China.  He will have to return soon to oppose his boss...

And then there is Hillary.  First must mention briefly why her misfortune is humorous.  She is a crook and politician of the worst kind.  Devised Whitewater and let all her friends go to jail protecting her.  The cattle futures lie.  The travel office firings destroying careers to install one of her own.  The bouncer doing FBI checks on political foes.  And the cling to power of with her sham marriage by blaming the Monica Lewinski affair on the vast right wing conspiracy.  What does the Democrat party call a crook like that? Frontrunner, but she lost to Obama and in all the excitement attached her future to his.  What she didn't notice was that Obama's winning formula was called 'anyone but Hillary'.

Now if she leave to challenge Obama and wins, she will be a back stabber, lose all black support and lose the general election.  If she had ignored her loss and moved on, she would still be a relevant, highly regarded Senator from New York, not serving a sham and failed political appointment where all the hot spots of the world were pulled out of her watch, and she still bungled it.

Ironically it was Rush L who called the Obama administration presciently: 'I hope he fails...[to transform America in his vision].

Hillary Bet on the Wrong Horse with Obama

She'd like a do-over

Last Updated: 4:16 AM, December 8, 2010

It's that magical time of the year, so let's play political pretend. Let's imagine Hillary turned down the secretary-of-state job two years ago.

Imagine where she would be now. A leader in the Senate, thinking seriously about challenging a damaged President Obama in 2012, that's where.

And she'd be getting tons of encouragement. She'd be free to join and even lead the chorus of outraged Dems and turned-off independents.

Instead, she's checkmated herself. By hitching her wagon to the shooting star Obama was in 2008, she effectively took herself out of the next presidential election.

It seemed like the smart thing to do at the time. Obama's smashing victory and huge popularity sparked talk of a generational realignment in favor of Democrats.

She'd come so close in the primaries that State was the only job that didn't seem like a demotion. Besides, signing on to his team wasn't viewed as giving up anything in 2012 because there was no hope of challenging him. And 2016 was too far off to game.

But the demigod turns out to have clay feet, and Clinton is now stuck to him. He's fallen and she can't get up.

The WikiLeaks fiasco puts an exclamation point on her predicament. The White House is hanging her out to dry -- Obama still has said nothing about the largest security breach in American history -- but she can hardly protest the leading role because the latest batch was mostly State Department cables. It happened on her watch.

Her appearance says it all. Plump and robotic, she looks miserable and thoroughly exhausted.

In a perverse way, Obama's myriad failures actually hurt her more than they hurt him. He could still find redemption through re-election, while she's left with two unappealing choices. Both smack of political dead ends.

She can stay in her job and hope he wins a second term. If he decided to keep her on, and she said yes again, it would mean four more years of flying around the world while the real policy decisions are made in the White House.

Or she can leave at the end of the term, whether he wins or not, and carve out a new role for herself. There would be a book, windfall speaking fees and international celebrity status, much like her husband, only without having achieved the presidency.

The one thing she can't do is probably the thing she would like most -- resign and challenge him for the nomination. One sign is that she keeps in close touch with a tight circle of political confidants who haven't stopped fantasizing about a comeback.

In theory, it's easy to see how she would run against him -- by picking up where she left off in the late 2008 primaries, when she finally found her voice in appealing to working-class Democrats. Many have abandoned Obama, as the midterms proved.

In the real world, it's too late for that. Resigning to challenge Obama would be seen as a monumental act of betrayal. It would repolarize the party and she'd forfeit the black vote, which could kill her in a general election.

As for 2016, it's still too distant to be an active option. While it's always dangerous to count out a Clinton, there is no obvious move that gets her to the White House.

5271  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon - NY Times on: December 09, 2010, 10:51:16 AM
NY Times: "And as long as she remains more provocative than substantive, her strategy works."

She was out in front of that newspaper on MONETARY POLICY, not fashion trends.  What a bunch of continuing BS.  Crafty said, they struggle to deal with her.  They also struggle with truth when it doesn't fit their storyline.
5272  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: December 09, 2010, 10:44:36 AM
The accusation that GM changed his mind has turned out to be unfounded.   wink
5273  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: December 08, 2010, 12:05:12 PM
"Wikileaks: There WERE WMD in Iraq"

It was always the case that the endless chorus singing "Bush Lied" was further from the truth than Bush.  That was a miserable period in American politics.  It launched the career of Obama the most credible and consisten of the anti-war candidates, now commander of 2 wars (while signing the extension of the Bush tax cuts).  I wonder how many fewer lives would have been lost if the enemy wasn't constantly told we were right on the verge of quitting - because of no WMD threat.
5274  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / American Economic Decline, but with good intentions on: December 08, 2010, 12:00:58 PM
I appreciate Crafty's comment to kick off the discussion: "I post this not because I agree with the inevitability of American decline, but because IMHO this is a serious piece deserving serious conversation."

Decline of America is a policy choice.  Each political issue has some role in it.  Today it is the unemployment extension.  It sounds good, but if you are long term unemployed and your unemployment insurance benefits ran out, then the rest is welfare, not unemployment insurance benefits, and we already have a myriad of programs.  It does not take a new act of congress to enroll the new people, if necessary. Tax rates under the deal will now hold mostly steady.  That's better than huge increases, but there is no excuse except totally inept mis-management for not knowing next year's tax rates up through early to mid-December.  Unmeasurable economic damage was already done.  People didn't know if they could afford to die much less hire someone.  

Regulations are up there with tax rates for damage, probably worse.  When Clinton added Family Leave legislation to OSHA, workman's comp, unemployment insurance, payroll witholding, IRS filings, ICS issues, EEOC compliance, new healthcare mandates, zoning, EPA and every other regulation, it looked like a freebie.  How can anyone oppose spending time with your newborn or elderly parent in need?  And who could oppose making a great big fat rich employer pay for it.  Except that you can't.  They don't HAVE to hire people or build a new plant in this country.  Family Leave alone didn't kill us economically but the combination of all of them did, more so than even corporate double taxation and unbelievable commercial property tax rates. It killed the competitive advantage of the companies that were already providing that benefit and it killed the potential expansion for companies who can't yet afford that commitment.  Now employers are afraid to hire because not only of higher overhead, but also the cost of firing.  Hiring is a decision with huge costs that is very hard to reverse in a regulatory jungle if it doesn't work out because of either the employee or the economy.  

97% of our oil is still off limits.  We don't produce it.  We ship it in from far away, enrich others and then we tax it to death.  Great policy. (sarc.)  Besides oil production and needed pipelines, we refuse to get going with new clean coal and new nuclear plant, which have lead times up to 10 years.   Having the lights on consistently used to be one reason you didn't move all your manufacturing to a low wage country.  Instead of building on our great strength, we emulated the third world countries that lack reliable power, grid or other infrastructure.

The pictures from Detroit are fact, not a fictional horror movie. 33,000 abandoned homes, Wow!  If you could buy one, what is the value? Zero, until someone else buys or tears down the other 32,999 homes also available for nothing, and then an employer moves in. What could save Detroit, some great new industry?  What is the main industry of Detroit, or the south side of Chicago, north Minneapolis or east L.A.?  Government.  As posted elsewhere, even if taxes were zero, government is stealing the resources from the private economy on the spending side, not just with taxes and regulations.  What employer can compete for a day's work at low wages with a public sector that will pay you same or better without a day's work and not judge your performance or lack of productivity?  How many laws does a lemonade stand violate?  In Minneapolis we had a church-based free clothing outlet closed down around Christmas time a few years back for a zoning violation (you die quickly outside here in December without warm clothing).  Maybe the 'regulation' out of the city hall to its enforcement division should have been 'use common sense'!

Clever comment in my election day email from a politically 'moderate' friend mocking conservatism, he wrote: "I thought the ' keep fear alive' slogan would appeal to you."  In return, I offer no denial.  Decline isn't some exaggerated scare tactic, it is happening in front of our eyes.  Detroit today is a fact and so are state government bankruptcies and national U6 unemployment at 17%. For black teenagers, that is close to 50% ( - high enough to make people pursue other options!  Coming are higher interest rates and who knows what for inflation.  This will spiral out of control if we don't change course.  Decline is a choice.  Every policy decision has pro-growth vs. economic decline with good intentions aspects.  It takes courage to put trust in the people, private enterprise and private charities and to turn away from a nanny state mentality, but it is exactly the government guarantee us everything mentality that makes us incapable of guaranteeing anything.  Nanny state government is the antithesis of a vibrant economy.
5275  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: December 7th, 1941 on: December 08, 2010, 08:49:20 AM
Thank you guys for marking the day that shall live in infamy.  It means a great deal to the people who lived through that time when America was attacked.  The lessons of readiness and peace through strength need to be passed forward.  My grandpa served in Pearl Harbor (after the attack) and my Dad in Europe.  I can't know what it was like for them.  I never thought of them as war heroes but they all were for their part of what was accomplished for their families at home and for all of us who came later.

Punks like Obama and Greenpeace or whoever want to question the value of ending that war with 1940s Japan in brutal victory.  Every lesson since then indicates that readiness and willingness to end a war in victory is what prevents the attacks and the wars.  If Japan had known the ending, that attack would never have happened. (MHO)
5276  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Chinese test scores on: December 08, 2010, 08:32:50 AM
Well noted in the story is that is Shanghai and not all of China.  A fairer comparison in the US would be a representative sample of 5100 Chinese American students in American schools.  I believe we have some demographic groups (like whites, blacks and Hispanics) that are not testing as well as Asian Americans.

The US stays ahead of China and everyone else because we have a system that fosters innovation, excellence, entrepreneurial spirit, capital formation and productivity...  Whoops. That line of thinking died in about 1963 with John F. Kennedy.

Americans may rank 15th out of the top 15, but they consistently rank first about how they feel about how they performed.
5277  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 06, 2010, 01:49:16 PM
Nice discussion on the Palin thread.  As we look for the next Reagan keep in mind there isn't one.  We need to pick from this current group and maybe a handful of names we haven't thought of yet.  Reagan for one thing was a two term governor of our largest state and was long outspoken on national and international issues. The executive experience brought him some credibility.  For those who didn't care about that it also brought with him the experience and skill to manage a staff, stay focused on priorities and to campaign and govern effectively.  Reagan annoyed the left as much as Palin but also stole from the Democrats and independents their more moderate members.  Palin is not having that affect. 

Since we aren't working with a perfect list, I don't count her out, but I certainly move her down from the 'A' list for those things already mentioned, she left her highest post midterm first term, and she annoys people like Crafty's wife and CCP both of whom I think we need to win.  On the positive side, I think I can live just fine with all of her agenda, governing philosophy and positions on issues as it stands today.  As Crafty hinted regarding her experience with energy, she was the most powerful woman in Alaska before she was governor and energy is still a central issue.

Who else is still on the 'A' list, Gingrich, Romney and Huckabee?  I object to each for different reasons so none is my first choice.  Gingrich is quite an idea guy and he certainly is well qualified as a past Speaker of the House.  The personal stuff I think is his main political downfall.  Like a Rove, he needs to be used for his wisdom, ideas and instincts but not be the candidate.

Romney has sufficient credentials to run and win including private sector successes and being governor of a blue state but got there by being inconsistent with principles and stands on issues.  He projects himself as Presidential I think most people agree, and that is rare.  But how can we take advantage of the political energy that comes from resistance to a government takeover of healthcare and then choose someone whose greatest accomplishment is something similar?  Romney has veered back and forth on principle and issues a bit too much to ever be a Reagan-like leader.  Yet maybe he can emerge as one who has erred and learned.

Huckabee is not my cup of tea either.  I haven't seen him lately but he wasn't very conservative in his postions or governance yet close enough in most people's minds to be seen as the Christian-right and to alienate all who get alienated by that.  His embrace of the Fair Tax was opportunistic IMO.  Apologies to those here who disagree with me, but we aren't going to be repealing all other taxes at this point in history so now as we struggle to close the deficit is a very bad time to even mention the another potential layer of federal taxation.

That leaves a handful of not too well-known governors without foreign policy experience and a few others from congress or ambassadorship without executive experience.  One of these needs to emerge as Presidential in a very short order.

The timing is bad for Republicans.  Everyone is either tied to Bush or lacks experience in the executive branch.  If we had 4 more years, there is a great group of conservative politicians coming up through the ranks.  But we don't have 4 more years.

Right now I will keep my eye on people like Mike Pence and Ambassador Bolton.  They are both acceptable to me, in both cases not quite enough experience, and we will see how others respond to them.

People might start getting to know the other second and third tier candidates like our Governor Tim Pawlenty.  He won two terms in a blue state including the sweep election of 2006.  He balanced a budget 8 times (really 4 biennium budgets) without raising state taxes, while working with (against) a 60+% Democrat majority legislature.  He came in with a deficit, left with a surplus.  He is conservative without coming across as extreme or threatening. (His wife is an attractive lady and a judge.)  He is personable and sharp, can probably small talk with Katie Couric just fine.  He is soft spoken mostly and doesn't make a big splash or impression. Not a Reagan in clout, clarity or by any other means. Maybe more like a Bobby Jindal who I also like.  Pawlenty's google hit rate, as pointed out in the original Palin piece, is 1/87th that of Palin even though he has been traveling regularly to Iowa, New Hampshire and appearing on the national shows.
5278  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues - Thomas Friedman - only collective action can save us on: December 06, 2010, 10:17:58 AM
GM,  I look forward to reading a best selling rebuttal to Friedman: The World is Round - and just the right size and temperature.   smiley

'Hot, Flat and Crowded' ... we will all [burn to death?]... 'if we do not act quickly and collectively'.

The world is not crowded.  Some 3rd world parts of it are, ,mostly where collectivists and poverty rule and individual freedom and decision making is stifled. And the cities where they the collectivists all want us all to live are crowded.  Has anyone ever looked down when they fly across our fruited plain? We just had the coldest Thanksgiving here in decades, we've had no melt off and it's still snowing, people are dying from the cold across Europe, the 'research' his book was based is all discredited, yet he is an award winning author - like Krugman - and Michael Moore and Al Gore?  Why are there no updates to the conclusions when we find out the underlying data was tweaked and biased?

I have seen more accurate reporting in The Enquirer.

GM is correct about China.  Friedman writes about 'poisons', then gives China a pass for filth while lambasting us for exhaling a harmless trace molecule that plants breathe.  I wish that people who write about economics or environmentalism were required by their employer to study it first.  If we really needed CO2-free energy, every book of his would be about nuclear energy and a larger grid.
5279  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues - Thomas Friedman on: December 05, 2010, 10:34:18 PM
"Friedman catches a well deserved beating"

Thank you.  He deserved that. One of his other drumbeats is that we are addicted to oil and that is the heart of all our problems.

We are not 'addicted' to oil.  We are powered by oil.  The impact that imbalance has on international trade is caused by our refusal to produce energy, not by our consumption.

If the U.S. produced as much as we consumed, our impact on the global market would be net zero, gas would still be at 99cents/gallon, the Saudis and Chavez's would be less enriched, the trade deficit and dollar outflow for oil would be nothing and all our businesses would be far more competitive.

Producing ethanol, solar or windmills off of government subsidies would accomplish none of that.

Sen. Vitter from Louisiana says that 97% of our oil is still off limits by government regulation.  Even with all those prohibitions it is still our best transportable fuel source.  Friedman should look into freeing American oil production if his concerns were at all what he says they are.
5280  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: December 04, 2010, 02:49:24 PM
CCP,  I was wondering if it was her substance or her so-called Fargo / rural northern MN accent that is driving your Palin annoyance.  I don't watch cable but why is she on? For Fox it is viewership. For Palin it is great money plus practice and exposure.  For you, over-exposure.  Don't underestimate her, she is the hottest political attraction going.  This ride is now over 2 years so she is not just a flash.  OTOH, she is the well known Republican losing the 2 way race with Obama.  We know they are very aware of polls.  Maybe she will take that information and remain a role player, not a national candidate.

I wrote previously that she had every right to end her governorship but then don't come back to us running for President saying you were an important governor, for part of a term.  Yes that worked for Obama who left the senate to campaign without resigning, after no record of any significance.  No one I know of is looking for another Obama.  The path to high elected government office should be through proof of winning, serving and finishing other high elected offices along the way.  If we are going to open up the search to pundits who never served, I have several others in mind.
5281  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 03, 2010, 01:43:38 PM
"National Sales Tax has considerable appeal to me."

It will be in addition to federal income tax unless you can explain where the votes will come from to repeal the 16th amendment in our lifetime, and an additional layer of taxation is exactly what liberals and deficit hawk independents (our opponents) are calling for right now.

Unless you live in South Dakota, Florida or a handful of other places, you will still be required to complete a full income tax return.
Add in a state sales tax and a 30% federal sales tax is really a 35-39% state and federal sales tax, not to mention that my property taxes in the tens of thousands.  When you start making any exclusions such as for governments purchases or home purchases, it will start to look like a 50 or 60% tax.

Are we REALLY going to mess with housing right now?

In my very strong humble opinion this is a great big boulder in the middle of the conservative road threatening again to split the movement as Huckabee was able to do by opportunistically adopting the Fair Tax platform in 2008 with no plan or proposal whatsoever for repealing the 16th.

If we were designing a tax system from scratch, for a low spending low tax nation, this idea would be very very interesting.  We aren't and we aren't.

IMO we need to: 1) cut spending first.  (Then cut spending again.)

2) Bring everybody into the tax system and simplify income taxation.  Since a true flat tax is something else that will never happen, I would offer something like this:  a 1cent tax on the first dollar of income and a cap on the highest rate, maybe 25%.  Make tax rates continuously variable in between with no more stair steps.  Then we can argue about what income level is best to set the cap.  

If a new system can't be passed, then any incremental simplifying the existing system is still far preferable to authorizing any new tax authority for Washington.  Each time we can eliminate a deduction or loophole we should lower all marginal rates accordingly - until the private sector flourishes.  Get social engineering out of the tax code and over to the spending side where it has to compete with every other public need.

3) Regulatory reform is just as crucial as taxes.
5282  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Legal issues: Equal Protection, different circumstance? on: December 02, 2010, 11:17:21 AM
Bringing forward a question I posed a couple of months ago relating to one concept in law applyied to two different issues.  Bigdog or anyone else, please point out where my logic fails.

Our progressive tax system allows and requires that a dollar of income is taxed differently depending on the how it is earned and the circumstances of the earner.  It passes constitutional muster because the same formula applies to everyone, but it is explicitly sold to the voters as treating different classes of citizens differently:  "these folks" can afford to pay more, "only the rich" will have their taxes raised.  (Only the gay will have their marriages denied.)

Moving to gay marriage:  Tradition marriage gives every adult the exact same right to marry one person of the opposite gender.  That you have a different circumstance is no different (IMO) than an estate tax not applying to a poor person, a capital gain tax not applying to a person without a capital gain, corporate double taxation not applying to people without a corporation, food stamps not available to the well-fed, etc.  Every person has the exact same right in America to marriage.  Some such as single persons or gay couples are in different circumstances, not denied equal protection.

How do you strike that down without also striking down our bizarre system of endlessly targeted and intentionally selective taxation?
5283  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 02, 2010, 10:46:56 AM
The question of elected and unelected judges is very interesting, and more complicated than that sounds.  For example, the Iowa vote was a form of impeachment by the voters.  The new justices will still be appointed and confirmed by the state executive and legislative branches respectively (as I understand it).  Urban legend here in Minnesota is that the best judges were picked by the wholly unqualified independent governor, Jesse the wrestler, because he did not have a pool of partisan, party, political paybacks to attend to and was able to select based only on merit.  That being the exception rather the rule indicates that the ordinary process of appointment-confirmation is less than perfect and objective also. 

The Des Moines register contemplates the question of how the ousters will affect the pool of potential new justices.   My feeling is that of course it has an effect but the experience of being ousted puts you in private practice with increased pay and the credential of being a former supreme court justice.  That is not all bad, so it seems to me that a good justice will still do what is right in their mind and not necessarily cling to power like a typical Washington politician.

The full faith and credit clause pointed out by bigdog is what makes these policy questions settled by such small numbers of people so huge in implication.

Regarding Stevens, thank you bigdog for conceding point 3) to me. (smiles!)  For some reason I never see that point acknowledged in death penalty discussions.  Important context of point 3) is that Stevens prefaced his 5 points with this: "To be reasonable, legislative imposition of death eligibility must be rooted in benefits for at least one of the five classes of persons affected by capital offenses."  I will settle for one out of five and rest my case. 

Clarifying my point on elitism, I only intended it as a negative when judging the benefits of the general public as per Stevens point 4).  I certainly value choosing the finest minds and highest character for the people who will review the technical arguments of constitutional and case law for interpretation, though I often disagree with them.

Unequal application is a concern.  I hadn't seen the argument before regarding elected/unelected judges.  I see it made over black vs. white convicts and don't know what to make of it.  What I see in the neighborhoods is how unfair it is that black people are disproportionately crime victims in black neighborhoods, not that the guilty are pursued or punished too harshly. 
5284  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 02, 2010, 12:55:45 AM
I am a big fan of Wesbury; he was my pick for Fed chair.  That said, ...

2.3% and 2.5% are growth rates that never get us out of this funk.  We are not coming out of this IMHO because all of the underlying problems are still staring us in the face and still getting worse.

The productivity increases come from success of layoffs, not from growth.

The huge tax increase coming on employers, investment and capital is sure to keep the growth rate low, if positive at all.

My recollection from my readings and analysis is that 3.1% growth is breakeven or ordinary growth, not even improving circumstance or solving our unsolvable fiscal challenges.  Maybe it is some other number but it isn't the growth we have now.

Yesterday I saw that Rep. Mike pence re-proposed the flat tax.  Maybe if this miserable economy is stagnant long enough people will reach for a bold growth strategy and leave these days of covet, encumber and capture behind us.  Tax each dollar the same and then, besides economic growth,  we would have good one example of equal protection under the law.
5285  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Hispanic vote on: November 30, 2010, 10:43:55 PM
Interesting update on the Hispanic vote by Jay Cost.  Dems won Hispanic vote by 22% but that actually is an improvement and close enough for the overall sweep.

Nobody it seems ever talks about the white vote:

Black vote he says still swings 90-10 to the Dems.
5286  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Legal issues: The Death Penalty - on: November 30, 2010, 12:33:32 PM
Thanks to Bigdog for posting and opening the issue here.  There are two things going on in that writing, his coverage of a book by David Garland and of course his own views on the (lack of) underpinnings for the death penalty.

Start with his last and most important point first: "finality includes the risk that the state may put an actually innocent person to death"

On this point, we can all agree and that may be enough alone to oppose the death penalty.  On the rest of the analysis, I find my own view to be different than Stevens.  

Stevens writes of 5 classes of persons affected by capital crimes. Summarizing:
1) victims, 2) survivors, 3) judicial process, 4) the general public, 5) inmates on death row.  In each category, I categorically disagree with the great retiring Justice.

1) The victims, Stevens says, are dead and have no continuing interest.  Below I will cite one example, Mariane Pearl, then-pregnant wife of beheaded WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl.  Why not take an extreme example for an extreme penalty? Stevens says she is a survivor, not a victim.  I disagree.  She gets to live with this just like a rape or an arm cut off of her own.  

2) Survivors: "often suffer enormous grief and tangible losses. The harm to this class is immeasurable; but punishment of the defendant cannot reverse or adequately compensate any survivor’s loss."    - The goal of justice after a heinous crime or string of murders is not to bring the loved ones back or fully compensate anyone.  A straw-man argument to my reading, but let's continue.  

3) Stevens examines the death penalty's place in 'judicial process' without any mention of the use by prosecutors and law enforcement of the possibility or not of death penalty to get information, cooperation, a guilty plea or to help solve other crimes or gain additional convictions.  Am I mistaken about this aspect of the death penalty or did Stevens leave out an important point?

4) Stevens notes nothing that the general public gains justifying a death penalty, even though earlier in the piece he already conceded the general public believes otherwise.  The term elitist sneaks into my mind for someone who knows other people's gain better than they do.

5) Stevens laments that many inmates on death row have repented and made positive contributions to society. The finality of an execution always ends that possibility.     - True about some people changing to some extent in some cases.  We don't have an accurate way of measuring repent.  My view and I think that of those who favor the death penalty is that some crimes against humanity take the convict beyond the opportunity for a second chance.  Stevens' concern for killing the guilty who repented never caused his pen to move an inch to save any of the 34 million innocent  killings over convenience reasons with their first chance taken away during his 34 years of upholding Roe and deciding Planned Parenthood v. Casey, but I digress...

Let's meet a victim/survivor.  In 2002 I watched Jim Lehrer interview the surviving wife of Daniel Pearl.  She said something that stuck in mind ever since.  Asked about the death penalty for those who perpetrated this brutal killing, in a heavy French accent she said " I think this guy is a nuisance for humanity".  Jim Lehrer replied "a what?" Pearl: "He's a nuisance for humanity."..."I would certainly not cry over his death".

My thoughts into her words: When you behead an innocent journalist , there isn't something left to repent or redeem here on earth.  You have made yourself a detraction from humanity, not a part of it.  How we deal with such extreme things is a moral choice for our society to live with.  We can release with wishful thinking, we can hold for life or we can execute the very worst offenders.  These are choices and Stevens and Garland add thoughtful insights, but one-sided analysis to that (IMO).  Speedier execution in some cases would be more worthwhile question from my point of view.  We as a species or as a civilization draw a line, a moral line.  We don't kill for adultery or shoplifting or Stevens example, drunken drivers who cause fatal accidents.  But some crimes are so heinous that you are entitled to all the protections of our legal system including reasonable doubt and nearly endless appeals, but there are cases where at the end you are out.  You have given up your right to live in our society, to breathe the air or eat the fruit, even among our guards and cement walls.  Death penalty doesn't fix what happened.  It may not deter others, but the very worst crimes (assuming guilt and after proper appeals) can be met with closure and the finality of a penalty that is in fact an ending.
5287  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Revenues at 19% of GDP on: November 30, 2010, 10:56:05 AM
Thank you BBG for posting the Hauser piece.  You nailed it with this: "Better to cut rates and get 19% of a larger pie."

I would add, why not constitutionally limit federal spending to 19% of most recently measured GDP since that is the most we know we can afford. 
5288  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Gay marriage decision in Iowa has consequences for judges on: November 28, 2010, 11:18:17 PM
New rights and more rights, that sounds good.  A state court finding a new right of free health care would be an example?  

How about changing marriage from a man and a woman becoming husband and wife into an any-gender experience - no matter what the people of the state say - and no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court would have said:

"We hold the Iowa marriage statute violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution."

Iowa voters oust justices who made same-sex marriage legal
5289  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 01:52:21 PM
GM,  I assume you (re)posted that (Jihad Jane) to bolster my point.   smiley

Close but does not fit the sample criteria I laid out, I think she hit one of my 6 criteria - she is female. I assume Jihad Jane ("a moniker she apparently coined herself") was not an extremely frequent flyer and would not have submitted to or passed a voluntary frequent flyer background check that I suggested.  If 'Jihad Jane' was so clean that she would pass all our tests (and I don't think she would) then she could also be the attendant at the search or scanner when 'Jihad Joe' goes through with the liquids, the whole purpose of the gropedown is negated.

Once again, for the 4th or 5th time, I did not say judge them by their appearance.
5290  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: November 28, 2010, 01:06:36 PM
Regarding the 'horse's mouth':

The name of the other Korean entity is the "South Korean puppet"? Try a word count on that, lol.  The U.S. then is the real enemy?  We are the "imperialists" even though for half century plus have never invaded their space or rescued a single starving innocent from their millions.  Amazing to me how this writing style is nearly identical to that of the former Saddam Hussein regime.

Who other than their own leadership says that DPRK couldn't quit threatening the world and open their economy for commerce, aid and travel tomorrow?
5291  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: November 28, 2010, 12:36:19 PM
"Under the theory of new judicial federalism, a state court may interpret its state constitution in the same way that federal courts have interpreted an analogous federal provision. On the other hand, a state court may, without violating the U.S. Constitution, interpret a state constitution as granting an individual more protection than the federal rights."
5292  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 12:10:59 PM
"A Corvallis man... Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a Somali-born U.S. citizen"

a) male, and
b) 19 yrs old, and
c) Somali born, and
d) interested in explosives - "classmates recalled he once gave a presentation on how to make an explosive device" -, and
e) interested in Jihad: "Mohamud said he had been interested in jihad since an early teen even writing for a jihadist website", "friends say Mohamud... would joke about being a terrorist. they thought nothing of that until now.

Nice job by the FBI with timely work! Whatever profiling or infiltrating they were doing to find this guy - I likely approve.  I note that they did not give up their methods in the news story.

In other news, no examples of:
a) female, and
b) Jewish or Lutheran, and
c) active in her faith, and
d) over 50,
e) with 7 or more grandchildren... (or draw your own profile criteria here)
ever bowing up an airliner full of innocent men, women and children.

Note the logic string connector 'and'.  No one said looks Muslim or looks white, or person of certain age, gender or ethnicity alone.

Regarding TSA vetting, I only meant that if vetting is possible it could be applied to our extremely frequent fliers on a voluntary basis as well and free up more resources for the unrecognized fliers, like me.

TSA vetting isn't foolproof either: 
TSA security worker accused of abducting and sexually assaulting a woman had previously been convicted of misdemeanor harassment and stalking. (Atlanta 11/24/2010)...  King (previously) was charged with nine offenses of harassment and stalking by communication in January 2001. A court clerk told Regan that King pleaded guilty and spent three months in jail for skipping a court appearance.

TSA has a long list of “disqualifying offenses” for employment at the federal agency that operates airport security. Those offenses include felonies, violent crimes, theft, and crimes involving security and transportation. Regan checked the list and found that it did not include misdemeanor offenses of harassing and stalking.
5293  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 26, 2010, 12:43:09 PM
"How was business travel on 9/12/2001?"  - 100% true, but my point is that we do not succeed if we inflict the same economic damage on ourselves that they were trying to do.

"Do not assume that there aren't grandmotherly jihadists"   - That is the same level of intelligence as finding a terrorist from a photo.  Some grandmas will never be terrorists and I know several.  We are already incorporating some intelligence information.  It needs to do better and same goes for borders, sanctuaries, released terrorists, any case law regarding fairness or anti-discrimination that hampers intelligent security, and a census that finds every person then shares no useful information to law enforcement, ICE, IRS or the intelligence agencies. If we are going to radiate ourselves and photograph and touch our mothers and daughters genetilia, then this is war and wartime rules and strategies should apply IMHO.  In other words, if we are going to harass 100% of the innocent, we need to throw the full force of our four trillion dollar federal government plus state and local at the known guilty.  For one example, how many hijackers had expired visas?  How many expired visas are out there today?  24 recent al qaida related arrests in the twin cities alone - I assume they did not get all of them - and these people were traveling freely back to join wars in their homeland or plot things here, going through the same treatment as grandma and the Obama daughters if their dad did not have a taxpayer plane.

Regarding alternatives, Crafty already said it well but the business schedule alternative to flying is not going.  I am currently not flying but my business lacks any energy or benefit it could attain from a seminar or conference in Vancouver, Chicago or Slovenia.  

Pulling a partial sentence out I found a point maybe intended facetious but that I think I agree with: "we are but minutes away from rectally implanted GPS beacons and laser-etched bar codes on our foreheads".  How much worse is that than the status quo?

"Just how big of a domestic intelligence agency do you want? Do you wish to negate the civil liberty/privacy protections in place that regulate law enforcement intelligence databases in the US?"

Can't speak for others but a 'voluntary' check fora  frequent flier isn't any further out of bounds than authorizing a background check for employment (IMO) as you would have at the airline or the TSA.  How do YOU know that the guy watching the scanner isn't the jihadist if every grandma could be one?
5294  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: November 26, 2010, 11:36:32 AM
CCP from Israel post: "About the only time this President of ours is passionate is when he is pleading the Muslim cause, the minority cause, anything anti - white, pro - muslim, or anything anti American."

When he finally used the term "enemy" it was to describe his political opponents relationship to Hispanic voters for wanting our country defined with legal, enforced borders.
5295  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness and Russia on: November 26, 2010, 11:32:06 AM
Noted from recent posts and news elsewhere that Obama to give our missile defense to Russia met with Medvedev, while China to change trade relations with Russia met with Putin.  I'm sure that Obama is smarter (sarcasm disclosure) and that Medvedev will hold the power to keep an agreement after Putin is long gone.
5296  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: November 26, 2010, 11:23:57 AM
'when interest rates begin to rise, it is going to be far faster and far more than people... imagine."

You are correct.  Remember that the Clinton budget balance was accomplished partially by financing long term debt with short term borrowings.  That it worked out in that instance does not mean it was a wise bet.  Recall also that China recently 'downgraded' America so we won't be selling new debt at the same risk level even if interest rates stayed the same.  sad 

The parties in a worse position than the sellers of our debt are the holders of our debt.
5297  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar on: November 26, 2010, 11:09:03 AM
The success of Gold as a traded stock for one thing reminds me of the  Qualcomm exhuberance in Jan.2000 after it had gone up 2400% percent.  How could anyone buy anything other than that stock.  It is still a great company but the people who bought afterward didn't fare the same.

Investing in gold is a withdrawal of resources from the productive economy and a bet against the economy, the country and the dollar.  Looks great now and during these runups, but the gold price now already reflects the current state of affairs.  At the end when you want out, they will give you back dollars, not gold - and those will be devalued dollars, not the kind you started with.  Then they will report that 'gain' which was 100% inflationary - not a gain, and it will also be 100% taxable at both the federal and state levels before the remainder is yours (in devalued dollars).  Good luck.

From my friends betting on total collapse, I liked the idea of buying silver dimes better.  Gold in paper at an investment house or a big block of it at home won't buy you a loaf of bread in an emergency unless the bakery can make change.

I write with zero confidence as I continue to buy homes at 15 cents on the dollar of most recent purchase with no idea which direction it will go from here.
"China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday. Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies."

But the yuan 元 is pegged to the dollar $ and the ruble рубль tries to follow the $ and the euro € and the € may collapse ahead of the $ so it all looks to me a lot like rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic rather than anyone changing course to go around an iceberg. 
5298  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 26, 2010, 09:26:05 AM
The alternative to flying to your business appointments is not canoeing up the coast or bicycling to Chicago.  Like the goal of cap and traders, your alternative is to abandon much of your productive business activities.  Shrink your business and shrink the business of everyone you touched along the way.  Live in a failed economy and a bankrupt state because the terrorists in fact were smarter than us.  But the flights that remain will still search grandmas visiting grandchildren with equal zest to the searches of young males with loose ties to terror camps.

Greyhounds do not travel at even the speed of driving.  They get up to speed and then exit again at the next town and take union based driver breaks along the way.  If we constructed high speed rail across the country, the terror threat would move right over.
5299  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 24, 2010, 12:28:30 PM
There is a frustration that we aren't smarter than terrorists, we are a step behind them, to them this is laughable, we have fallen into their traps to the point of hating, scanning and fondling each other, there is no easy answer, but worst I think is that we are not doing EVERYTHING ELSE we can do to make our nation safe BEFORE we need to touch and scan each other (such as secure the borders, crack down on existing laws etc.). 

Imagine the uproar right now if George Bush was President during this! Imagine the leftist equivalent of a comment Rush L. made yesterday...

RUSH LIMBAUGH: "Remember when Obama went swimming in the Gulf with his daughters to show it was safe during the oil spill? How about taking his daughters through a screening? How about Obama take his daughters to the airport and have a TSA groper go through the exact routine everyone else is going through right now to show it is safe...
Only over the top if you think nothing is wrong with current procedure. 

It may be a standard LE pat down, except that is done as I understand it with suspects, not all victims, witnesses, bystanders, etc.  Our county government center now has a security check metal detector, but not the full pat down.  Flying is 'optional' but not really for some jobs or for some people to be with family over the holidays.  Appearing in a county courthouse can be mandatory and unavoidable in some situations.
5300  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 23, 2010, 10:05:07 AM
The post regarding the market since 9/11/2001 is interesting and accurate.  They acknowledge that 2001 was already a recession.  I would add a reminder of what turmoil the markets had gone through both on the up and then on the down starting with the crash of tech stocks in March 2000 and spilling over to the DOW and all stocks over the next year.  Hard to find a stable point in that period to make long term comparisons.

The Fed's extreme reaction then was due to an abrupt end to air travel as we knew it, which meant impending failure of that sector, then hotels, rental cars and everything to do with tourism which includes the economies of major regions potentially failing.  The Fed would have gone further than 1% (essentially zero interest) if it knew how to.

True that the housing bubble came out of that.  Air travel and tourism/travel somewhat recovered and the Fed needed to rightsize sooner to avoid unintended consequences - it's been 10 years!

Today of course we face the same thing if we can't make travel secure without the pornography of unwilling participants.

I hear the warnings that the lines will be longer this Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My expertise in efficiency  huh tells me that a longer line doesn't get more people through and spending more time with each traveler doesn't get the same number of people through.  Besides the increased time required for security, the cost of security is going up.  If you pass that to the customer, air travel will go down as well, alleviating the lines but killing the industry...and even more expansionary Fed policy!?

I read the popular mechanics links on the scanners.  Radiation levels are thousands of times lower than a chest x-ray (or nuclear war), not very reassuring if you must pass through thousands and thousands of times.

Small comment on the lady terrorist.  Of course there will be exceptions and we need to find them.  Looking at a photo without info would be the exact opposite of what I would call using some intelligent profiling.  Also she may be capable of both but I draw a distinction between a criminal plot to muder one perceived enemy and someone willing to kill yourself, suicidal, homocidal plot to blow up innocent men, women and children.

Plenty of people might consider killing their worst enemy if they thought they could get away with it (and plenty do).  The worst part of defending against terrorism IMO is these people's willingness to blow up themselves and the innocent around them. 
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