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5351  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 08, 2013, 01:04:48 PM
Great clip GM. ...

Yes, these shows invite him on as a contrary opinion and shout him down, right while it was going on.  I was trying to ask what economic theory supports the idea that what we are doing now leads to anything but collapse. Stomp out savings, stomp out investment, stop out employment, stomp out work. Dilute the dollar, limit revenues, explode expenses and liabilities, then ask: what could possibly go wrong?

I don't think Shiff is an optimist now (understatement).  But also he is no expert on the timing and magnitudes of collapses.  No one is.
5352  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghaziaffair; fish stinks from the head? on: February 08, 2013, 12:49:09 PM
Obama skips intel briefing after 9/11/12 attacks and murder of US diplomats, goes to Vegas fundraising party instead

Washington Post  September 13:

How long had it been since President Obama attended his daily intelligence meeting in the lead-up to the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Egypt and Libya? After all, our adversaries are known to use the anniversary of 9/11 to target the United States.

According to the public schedule of the president, the last time the Obama attended his daily intelligence meeting was Sept. 5 — a week before Islamist radicals stormed our embassy in Cairo and terrorists killed our ambassador to Tripoli. The president was scheduled to hold the intelligence meeting at 10:50 a.m. Wednesday, the day after the attacks, but it was canceled so that he could comfort grieving employees at the State Department — as well he should. But instead of rescheduling the intelligence briefing for later in the day, Obama apparently chose to skip it altogether and attend a Las Vegas fundraiser for his re-election campaign. One day after a terrorist attack.

When I asked National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor if the president had attended any meetings to discuss the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) since Sept. 5, he repeatedly refused to answer. He noted that Obama had attended a principals meeting of the National Security Council on Sept. 10 and reiterated that he reads the PDB.
5353  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi; covering up our cheating on Putin on: February 08, 2013, 12:30:27 PM
Update: Are they denying this in the WSJ post today on the Syria thread?

Mind boggling that the President and Secretary of State were in the White House that day and not involved. Didn't get informed at the start and didn't check back later.  Same guy cut his golf short to "direct" the bin laden kill operation.  The photo in this case, 9/11/12, was from a routine military meeting, not a crisis response room.  

What was Ambassador Stevens doing there, at that house?  Who was he meeting with?  What were the topics and results of those meetings?  We didn't have an embassy or real consulate with security there.  Something was going on that was pressing.  We get denial, a story about a video, and screamed at: "what difference does it make now?"

We know Benghazi was the ship-from place for weapons to rebels in Syria, as reported in the Times of London:
(quoted below)

With ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the NY Times reports. (further below)

If we were involved in that supply line, perhaps our top officials were advised to distance themselves from knowledge or involvement with the operation, kept their distance, told people with no authority to act to "handle it", they did nothing and four are dead.  

If we were secretly helping supply arms to rebels in Syria, why is that wrong?  

Cheating on Putin.  The alleged operation was allegedly going on in direct defiance to our peace through disarmament partner, Vladimir Putin, former Lt. Col. of the KGB.

Times of London report:  (link above)

    A Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria since the uprising began has docked in Turkey and most of its cargo is making its way to rebels on the front lines, The Times has learnt.

    Among more than 400 tonnes of cargo the vessel was carrying were SAM 7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which Syrian sources said could be a game-changer for the rebels.

    “This is the largest single delivery of assistance to the rebel fighting units we have received,” said Abu Muhammed, a member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who helped to move the shipment from warehouses to the border. “These are things that could change the tide — if they are used correctly.”

    The Times was shown the Libyan ship, the Intisaar or the Victory, in the Turkish port of Iskenderun and papers stamped by the port authority by the ship’s captain, Omar Mousaeeb, a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organisation called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support, which is supporting the Syrian uprising. …

    Rebel commanders interviewed by the Times said that organisers of the ship conferred with their Libyan counterparts to ensure that the cargo would be split evenly within various Free Syrian Army (FSA) units. But when the ship arrived, the consignment was registered to individuals from the Turkish IHH group, a charity with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
NYTimes:  C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition

    A Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria since the uprising began has docked in Turkey and most of its cargo is making its way to rebels on the front lines, The Times has learnt.

    Among more than 400 tonnes of cargo the vessel was carrying were SAM 7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which Syrian sources said could be a game-changer for the rebels.

    “This is the largest single delivery of assistance to the rebel fighting units we have received,” said Abu Muhammed, a member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who helped to move the shipment from warehouses to the border. “These are things that could change the tide — if they are used correctly.”

    The Times was shown the Libyan ship, the Intisaar or the Victory, in the Turkish port of Iskenderun and papers stamped by the port authority by the ship’s captain, Omar Mousaeeb, a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organisation called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support, which is supporting the Syrian uprising. …

    Rebel commanders interviewed by the Times said that organisers of the ship conferred with their Libyan counterparts to ensure that the cargo would be split evenly within various Free Syrian Army (FSA) units. But when the ship arrived, the consignment was registered to individuals from the Turkish IHH group, a charity with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
5354  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Senator Marco Rubio on: February 07, 2013, 06:02:59 PM
Is Marco Rubio worthy of his own thread?  We'll see what the host moderator says.) Marco Antonio Rubio, 'tea party' Republican Senator from Florida has become a leading spokesman for conservative, freedom loving principles.  He could be a short lived phenomenon, but he has all the potential to become an important, transformative figure in a very positive way.

He is at the forefront of a number of key issues, most recently taking a controversial stand on immigration, and was chosen to give the Republican response next week to Pres. Obama's State of the Union message.

Time magazine chose him for their current cover story:

WSJ columnist Dan Henninger critiques some past State of the Union responses and then says he expects Rubio to hit it out of the park.!11406B49-1CC3-4A3E-9C31-82790C90AD55

So much for keeping expectations low.

Noteworthy is that after rising to become Florida's Speaker of the House at a relatively young age, Rubio won a major, swing state, Senate race by a million votes.  Since then he has been one of the leading, articulate and persuasive voices on conservative principles and how they apply to the issues today.  

He declined to run in 2012 because he had barely started in the Senate.  

Of Cuban descent, he will deliver the address in both English and Spanish.  Some see that as pandering (or un-American?) but I assume the message will be exactly the same to both audiences.  We can judge his message by its content soon enough.
5355  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: February 07, 2013, 01:22:22 PM
Interesting to hear of isolated improvements.  This 'turnaround' comes is the context of zero net appreciation in the past 13 years.  Source:  Scott Grannis.  These nominal gains, if they are gains, are (also) in the context of trillions of dollars injected, as mentioned with oil and stocks.  We don't know right now what nominal gain in real estate you will need to break even with dollar dilution going forward.

Real estate is a hard asset.  Instead of comparing with an ever-changing dollar, how is it doing compared with other hard assets?
5356  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 07, 2013, 01:01:31 PM
Thanks Crafty.  These other offshore locations involve different risks.  Hopefully we have learned lessons from the gulf deepwater disaster that can make these operations even safer.  The major objection to near shore drilling is that our oil consuming electorate does not want to look out and see oil produced.  Like liberal Cape residents and visual windfarm 'pollution'.

The costs, lawsuits and bad publicity against BP, and Exxon previously, are quite a strong deterrence to having environmental screwups.  Regulators unfortunately are always behind the curve and not always working with the right interests in mind. 

The main arguments against ANWR were that oil is bad for us and that it would have taken 10 years to benefit from the vast new production, 16 years ago.  The new surge in American oil would have on line to help us at about the time we chose economic collapse instead.

If government has a role in this, it would seem to me that the main effort would be to ease the migration to domestic natural gas usage for individual transportation with 30% lower CO2 emission per unit of energy.  Right now it is only practical for fleet owners in most locations.  Instead the administration is planning its war against natural gas.
5357  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 07, 2013, 12:33:01 PM
"The simple fact of the matter is that most of us have missed a move of well over 100% in the DOW and Wesbury did not.  Indeed, Wesbury pretty much called it and we did not."

As with oil, there is also a dollar inflation component of these increases as well.  These indices went up in nominal dollar levels in the context of trillions of dollars injected.  Reminds me of housing in 2006.  Those who predicted a shoarp correction in that case, saying this couldn't keep going up forever, were wrong for a long time before they were right. 

The DOW is not a US index.  The stocks of McDonalds, Coca-cola, 3M, Qualcomm, GE, Ford, Dow Chemical, Intel, HP, Merck, T.I., Colgate, Apple all get majority of revenues and revenue growth from overseas.  Measure that index with US operations and tell me about the increase.  sad  For the wider S&P measure, the foreign component is around 40%.  Still these are existing company indices, not showing the failure of this economy to produce new startups.  Investing globally has been better than sitting on a declining dollar with zero percent interest at home.  To take from that the US is fine (I know you didn't say that) is wrong.  That Wesbury (or the gold guys) can show you how to invest around a US stagnation/collapse does not mean US political economy is not faltering badly. 

Your freedom to invest in companies from here that can get around US taxes and regulations by freely moving operations overseas is also under assault.

I wish the optimists the best of luck.  We are still allowed to keep and reinvest some of the fruits of our labor, about 33% in some cases.  The plowhorse will live and plow a little longer eating 33-50%% of its food requirement, but not at full speed and not long without more food coming. 

No one knows the future but I say that shifting the car from neutral to reverse means we are likely to move backwards.

Related links:
5358  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 07, 2013, 11:27:48 AM
Yes , , , but:

The Arctic Sea is a REALLY hostile environment, FAR more so than the Gulf of Mexico.  Look at how long it took to straighten out the BP mess.  Imagine trying to solve a similar problem with 20-30 foot seas on the surface in temperatures of 40 below zero with winds of 40+MPH.   NOT my idea of low hanging fruit!

Agreed re the relation between gold and oil.

Crafty, you are of the belief that the oil production in ANWR would be offshore?  My understanding is that the drilling platforms would be located safely on land.  

The opposition materials I read were based (intentionally) on old drilling technologies, not what can or would be built today.  No one is talking about drilling 5000 feet beneath the sea in the Arctic.  Temperatures of 40 below zero, 40mpg winds?  You guys think that's cold?  wink   Sea water freezes at 28 degrees, 68 degrees warmer than that.  It's those pesky in-between seasons where the cold breezes hits open water.  Not a big factor if the platforms proposed in ANWR are on land.  The cold frozen tundra may actually help contain a potential spill.  The deep water site was built in the ocean in a hurricane zone, and that wasn't what went wrong.  The explosion in the gulf was not with light, sweet crude.  The asphalt-like qualities of the heavier oil contributed to the risk of explosion and difficulty of cleanup in the gulf.  

If not ANWR, the easiest to refine oil sitting under US voter controlled land, which US oil sources are the 'low hanging fruit'?

More surprising is the impression that concerns out of LA or DC should override the opinion of the locals that the operation can be constructed and operated safely, which is exactly what happened.  States' rights don't apply in this case because ........... .

The damage in the gulf (also Valdez) was horrendous, perhaps unprecedented at the time.  What is the lasting effect of those?  Is the environmental damage less when the Chinese, Russians, Brazilians or Mexicans do our drilling?  When we leave the money (our energy demand) on the table, then what happens?  Someone else does it, and not with better environmental protections.

Is the expected environmental damage more destructive than the current policy of leaving American oil in the ground and shipping dollars to enemies for our oil.  Example: With consumption demand quite strong and stable, the supply choice, in part, is between supporting Chavez' support for Iran's planned destruction of Israel versus building well constructed facilities in the US.  Spills avoided in the Arctic by not producing oil there means other risks elsewhere are increased.  Right?

$4 and $5 gas in a stagnant economy ( is not the stopping point for rising energy costs.  If you don't drive much, think of proportional increases in jet fuel and airline travel.  Not producing oil with the strictest precautions at this point in time is a move against prosperity and freedom IMHO.

Similar dilemma for nuclear.  There was stupidity in the location of some facilities, but there also the largest, safest, cleanest energy supply ever produced, see charts in this thread.

I favor applying mathematical analysis to all honestly measured environmental risks from all sources and then making positive choices.    
5359  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: February 06, 2013, 10:35:12 PM
Off the top of my head, I can't say that S&P did not fall well short of a due standard of care, but yes this looks like economic fascist payback.

Agree on both counts.  They went after no one who appraised the homes wrong and no one who fleeced the GSEs but oddly they go after the agency that downgraded Obama's America when, as S&P said in its own defense, the government itself didn't see the collapse coming either.
5360  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 06, 2013, 10:31:25 PM
Frankly, ANWR drilling makes me nervous.  Look at what a clusterfcuk was created by BP in the placid, warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.    Now imagine that same mess in the exceedingly hostile environment of the Arctic Sea. 

Respectfully disagree.  ANWR I think is the low hanging fruit of oil.  The Alaskans favor it.  The caribou want it.  The drilling is the easiest.  Transport by pipeline I think is the safest.  Refining is far easier.  The deep water operation was confounded by - deep water.  They went deep because the cheaper, easier, safer sources closer to shore were blocked.  MHO.
5361  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: February 06, 2013, 10:25:50 PM
Could the loss of value for the dollar be a factor here?

Excellent observation.  Middle East oil tends to follow gold, not the dollar.  After the whole 1971 monetary crisis and the oil embargo of the 1970s it turned out that the price of oil, measured in gold, had remained largely unchanged.

We weren't seeing the loss of value so much yet but they certainly have noticed the diluting or our shares.
5362  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Plow Horse Enters Quicksand on: February 06, 2013, 10:21:07 PM
Maybe we have no Krugman types on the Board to engage, but can someone please explain or point to a link to a coherent economic theory that purporting to explain how our current policy and path leads to prosperity.

Trillion a year deficits combined with a no-growth projections forever.  Unfunded future liabilities that dwarf the the first 17 trillion of debt.  Increases in spending that never end (without total collapse).  A commitment from both parties to increase spending and guarantee that the lower 98% will never have to pay for spending they support, including basic life expenses like healthcare for people who make up to 70k.  Zero percent interest on savings.  Highest corporate taxes on the planet.  All encompassing regulations up to the point of requiring a permit to exhale.  Investment taxes approaching 100%.  Birth rates below replacement levels.  An aging population.  Men marrying men, women marrying their government for security, families obsolete.  Work unnecessary.  Disability rates doubling.  Food stamp recipients inflating into an obesity epidemic.  Pension/retirement funds empty,  backed by a bankrupt federal government, which is backed by the QE printing press, backed by nothing but a house of cards.  Extreme fiscal stimulus has became status quo, not stimulating anymore, if it ever did.  Long term real un/underemployment stuck at 20%.  All new policies anti-employment.  Lowest business start up rate in history.

The law of holes in 2012-2013 went from 'stop digging' to 'four more years'.

What kind of a load can a plowhorse pull, 200% of its weight? 400% of its weight?  Uphill?  Into "headwinds"?

"Plow Horse Enters Quicksand" was a Zerohedge headline in June 2012
5363  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics: Why are gas prices high right now? on: February 06, 2013, 07:49:14 PM
Anyone want to take a stab at it?

G M, I know, George Bush's fault.  No really, why?

My first thought is that the new oil increases from private lands are being offset by the lost production on public lands.  Our net increase in production is not enough to make a dent in the global market or price.

My second thought is that oil/gas up is an indicator of economic health in the global economy.  This one seems unlikely looking at the US and Europe, but there is growth in some developing countries.

Last is to recognize the distinction between new oil produced and refinery output of gasoline.  Asking this question through google brings up a string of stories from about a year ago warning of refinery closings, lost capacity and higher prices coming.  Who knew?

I thought the Cheney plan called for the permitting of new refineries.  Where are they?

What screws up the business of the refineries?  50 sets of rules for winter and summer gasoline blends for one (hundred) thing(s).  What are the Feds doing with all their new powers to fix this?  Why isn't CNG more available if we are awash in natural gas and if they want us to emit less carbon? 

What new refineries has Obama supported?

Another problem for refineries is that the new oil is heavy, of tar sands origin.  Where is the sweet, light crude?  We are leaving it in the ground up in ANWR.  Who opposes drilling for the sweet light crude?  The people who wanted these prices high. 

In spite of the brave capitalists in North Dakota, Mission Accomplished.

5364  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Foreign Policy: The Reagan Doctrine on: February 06, 2013, 07:15:17 PM
Once upon a time we had a President who supported freedom.  On this day in 1985 Pres. Reagan made clear that we support freedom across the globe, we believe in peace through strength, that a strong defense save lives, that supporting freedom fighters around the globe is self-defense, and his unflinching belief in the benefits of free trade.

"Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few; it is the universal right of all God's children." America's "mission" was to "nourish and defend freedom and democracy." More specifically, Reagan declared that, "We must stand by our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives—on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua—to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth." He concluded, "Support for freedom fighters is self-defense."

5365  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics, Sen, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on: February 06, 2013, 12:18:58 PM
I'll stick this under Energy but really it is liberal fascism running wild.  Combine this with healthcare and they have pretty much every aspect of your life under control.

This Senator, incoming chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, isn't just going to regulate the safety of the energy business, he is going to give deep thought to whether you should be using the energy at all. 

And if you produce natural gas legally and safely, and even though we already have a pipeline of it to almost every home, he is going to give deep thought to the question of who you should be able to sell it to.

I find this kind of extremism scary beyond words.

"The committee’s first order of business will be natural gas: how it’s produced, how it’s used and how much of it the U.S. should use it here or send abroad."

This is the government talking about what private business should be able to do.  Stopping one of our safest and cleanest sources of energy.  Based on what authority?
5366  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 03, 2013, 10:11:16 AM
Christina Romer, Timothy Giethner and President Barack Obama told us that if we "invested" these hundreds of billions in "recovery" unemployment would be about 5% by now.

They didn't know the consequences of their own policies, as they broke new leftist, anti-employment ground.

Unemployment ticked up to 7.9% nominal.  That translates into 10.8% at the old workforce participation rate.  That is the key number to judge the policies, implied by the fact that we were never told these policies would chase 8.5 million out of the workforce altogether. 

When things are this bad, you need to look to U6 for a better reading which has been holding steady at 14.4% and includes the underemployed.  Translating that for the workforce participation disappearance under Obama, this economy is under-employing this workforce by 19.7%, on a glide path to NEVER recover.

Plowhorse THAT, Brian Wesbury et al.
5367  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: February 03, 2013, 09:59:01 AM
"Don't think the immigrants will vote for Rubio."

Good point.  We are look for some kind of a bend in the curve, some kind a break in the 100% negative story line being taught to every generation, not total victory.  Also as GM backs into, we are looking for some kind of a law we might actually enforce, instead of the farce that is federal law and (lack of) enforcement right now.

I can't remember if Rubio had this note (Federal law) in his principles:

It is an explicit and unambiguous tenet in federal law that those granted entry into the U.S. must be able to support themselves financially.

Currently I think 36% of immigrant families get a check from the federal government, slightly below the U.S. average.(?)  For those eventually getting citizenship, that number should be closer to zero structurally, except for the unexpected things they might run into down the road like any other one of us.

If the new citizens were by definition not government dependent and paying in their own fair share, their voting ratios might not be quite as statist as it is predicted right now.

"The Immigration and Nationality Act specifically states: “An alien who…is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.” "
5368  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: February 01, 2013, 10:57:39 AM
"More competition equals lower prices for one's labor/services."

Yes, for the stagnant supplier who refuses to change, improve, expand.

"Of course the low wage worker from elsewhere benefits, but exactly how does a lawyer who has to compete with Indian lawyers for reading depositions benefit?  Yes the partners of the firm benefit, and to the extent that the cost to the clients decreases, they benefit, but my point at the moment is addressed to, for example,  the young associates in the firm who have lost this work."

I wrote that the able-minded people in a dynamic economy will adapt - and you bring me lawyers helping people sue and be sued as the test of that?  (so many emoticons...)  With sarcasm, how could they possibly change or grow in the face of low cost competition?  They are only lawyers capable of one thing.  Reminds me of the Michael Moore movie out of Flint Michigan where no one has done anything else but work (overpaid) for General Motors for four generations.  There is nothing else they could do.  (Especially if we pay them to do nothing else.)

How about put energy into something that has a bright future instead of dying one?  If that part of their job wasn't going away today, it was going away tomorrow.  I gave the example of 8 track tape manufacturers.  Disruption was going to occur, what then?  Move on, move forward, innovate.  Use these new tools to YOUR advantage.

Let's say the young lawyers were getting $200 an hour for a task, reading the deposition, that can be done just as well by lawyers(?) not even in the room, in the country...

It is beyond my pay scale to write everyone's innovation by here are a few ideas.  Let's start with acknowledging that they didn't deserve that money if they weren't adding value and were so easily replaced.  They could do what other professionals have to do, sell the idea that their service is worth it, their knowledge and experience is unique and valuable. 

Lawyer friends of mine have taken hot topics of the moment, asbestoes and mold defense are examples, they assembled the research, wrote the papers, set up the seminars across the country that other lawyers need to be up to speed, for a considerable fee I presume.  A room full of paid seminar attendees pays more and provides more value than one lawyer taking one deposition.

Innovation in every industry is possible, or resources move elsewhere - to their most productive use.

Lawyers, like people, can do things other than law.  (A worldwide martial arts operation comes to mind.)  Back to the others, take the years of accumulated $200 shakedowns and invest in a new idea, hire people, build a product, offer a service that is in demand and can't be done just as well someone less qualified 8000 miles away.

I did not say (or mean to say) a dynamic economic has no dislocations in the short run.  I said everyone is better off with the competition and with the dynamic aspect of it.  For the lawyer, maybe he loses a low end task but gains more clients, bigger clients, from the increased success from Freidmanesque connectnedness running wild in other sectors.

Back to inevitable, what is the alternative to letting the low cost competitor compete and force the high lost provider to adapt and innovate.  Legislate away the freedom of the client to transact a better deal and enable the high cost supplier to stagnate, to collect those fees another year?  Then look at those protected economies putting up those barriers and tell me they are more prosperous with lower unemployment than the free zones I mentioned.  They aren't. 

Does it mean the people don't have to constantly innovate and sharpen their skills, change and improve their product or service in a dynamic situation, and constantly question and tweak their business plan to survive and prosper?  No, it means precisely that they must, and that it is a very good thing.

(I'm enjoying this Crafty, but on vacation, won't be very timely in a back and forth.)

5369  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: January 31, 2013, 12:50:08 PM
No math, that should read and JMHO.
5370  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: January 31, 2013, 09:50:29 AM
Forced to adapt in an open, dynamic economy, but not worse off.  Actually worse off when artificially sheltered from real competition. It's not a fixed pie and someone else working does not take from yours/ours. Someone else working means one more potential customer, supplier or employer

When able minded people fail to adapt  it is because we pay them not to.  Then the problem is with that program, not the increased comnectedness.

Freidman showed no mstj, no graph and no inflectiom point. All fiction and cliche.
5371  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: January 31, 2013, 04:21:15 AM
I get your point but at the same time I confess to having a similar notion to TF's e.g. when I read of outsourcing reading depositions to lawyers in India.

Global trade increases employment at both ends just like local trade does.  Comparative advantage.  As Rbt Bartley, former WSJ editor put it, it is both a) beneficial and b) inevitable.  If you don't like a) see b).  Examples, the traders of the exploring eras, Denmark, Netherlands etc. increased wealth.  See Hong Kong.  See Germany.  West Germany I think used to be the leading exporter in the world.  Why wasn't it East Germany with lower wagers?  Germany even after absorbing the East is still the strongest economy in Europe.  Dubai in the Middle East.  The alternative I used to call the Albania plan. I forget the details, let's say a hundred years of closed borders and a dollar and per capita GDP the worst around.  See North Korea, their not outsoursing jobs to China or anyone else and have no wealth.  How to convince people who aren't convinced of this is another matter.  Singapore, already mentioned, perfect example.  They aren't lower wage than Vietnam, India, China or anyone around them, but they are a free trade port.  1.9% unemployment.  Show me the exception, the free trade port that is losing out to cheap labor.  

If you limit a study to one thing at a time, let's say hand stenographers or 8-track tape manufacturing, then maybe we lose.  We do not lose with open trade in a dynamic economy, not with India, nor do they lose trading with us.  It is by definition mutually beneficial on every consensual transaction.
5372  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics - Freidman Inflection Points on: January 30, 2013, 10:17:15 PM
"what do you make of his point about a fundamental economic change due to "the great inflection"?"

Like GM says, Friedman from the old neighborhood sees very profound things in his own thinking and writing.  The inflection point is where the curve begins to turn a different direction, where concavity changes sign.  From or to where did it turn?  

What is the fundamental economic change due to the great inflection?

He is saying (I think) that because of globalization, technological advancement and hyper connectedness that a few can get extremely wealthy (Bill Gates, Apple, Qualcomm, google, etc) because when you invent something you can sell it to a zillion people instead of a thousand like a local butcher or a million like a good regional supplier.  The corollary is that the rest of us get left behind and for that we get no evidence.

The middle class did not get left behind in the last 2-3 expansions, that was false math and measurements exposed recently.  If people around me get richer in a global market and I mow lawns, paint houses or remodel kitchens, then more people around me can better afford to do those things and pay well.  It also means that if I want to follow them I can find niches and do apps that run on google, apple, microsoft or innovate with other product and service ideas that a richer world can now better afford to buy.

"In 2004, I wrote a book, called “The World Is Flat,” (Freidman said for the five thousandth time) about how the world was getting digitally connected so more people could compete, connect and collaborate from anywhere".   - Nothing in that or his other random sentences about the world changing more quickly leads to his big conclusion:  "This is exacerbating our unemployment problem."

Obama says the ATM caused unemployment too and it is complete bunk.

Freidman you blockhead (I reply with all due respect), the unemployment is caused by the policy war against business, investment, expansion and innovation that you seem to support and is caused by nothing else.  Are things less connected, technologized or globalized in Singapore at 1.9% unemployment and at less than half the rate of taxation, with a culture that says you work instead of ride?  These amazing developments help us to employ people; they don't keep us from employing people.  Where in his empty logic string did he even think he made that case?  

These super successful, hyper-connected companies, here it is 3M for example, turn down business opportunities everyday that don't meet their corporate requirements for expected IRR, internal rate or return, leaving millions to be made by others because the big guys can only think in billions.  Again, I just don't follow how everything getting more productive leads to bad economic outcomes.  It is our political, policy choices, stupid.

There is an emerging new middle class numbering in the billions in India, China and Brazil wanting to buy your products.  You will need an eBay and Paypal account to sell there.  That takes 10 minutes and costs nothing.  Crafty's seminars the world over are a great example of connectness leading to business opportunities.  When I started in export you needed telex, hundreds of dollars an hour for phone service, plus export licenses, letters of credit, sight drafts and translators.  Good grief, it's not getting harder to make a living, there are just too many people taking from your income, and when did you NOT have to keep your skills up with the times to be considered a professional of any kind?  
5373  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: January 30, 2013, 09:00:44 PM
But why give citizenship instead of a green card?  A key variable here is how many family members will get brought in via the new legal status; it's not just 11 million but a multiple thereof.

I think I heard Rubio say back of the line for citizenship and up to a 16 year process.  Having some path to citizenship for people we all know are living here permanently I think has to do with the 3/5ths thing in our history, getting the right to vote at some point if America is your permanent home.  It has to do with not being able to move forward politically on other things while they hold this over our head and we keep losing national elections.  It follows from Tom Tancredo and Mitt Romney not winning the Presidency and it follows from George Bush as President and Gingrich, Hastert, Boehner as Speakers not closing the border.  And obviously it follows from electing Democrats.  There is some path, some penalty and some contract to be kept in the principles.  That should be better than the status quo, having laws we don't respect.

"Didn't it used to be a bad thing to reward criminal behavior? "    - Yes.

Maybe you mean jail the Feds, Census workers and LE who didn't report and send them home all these years.  Joking, but what do you do when you encounter an illegal?  Do you get a team out of Washington to track down the source and extent of it and prosecute to the full extent of the law.? Still joking.

The law breaking that is settled and plea bargained away might be seen in the context that other laws have statutes of limitations 3 years to 7 years except for murder.  This is mostly about the fact that the status quo is a losing standoff.  The law isn't enforced.  The violators don't face a consequence.  As Reagan believed, their wanting to come here (when it was the greatest nation in the world) is their fault? 

What is the best deal that can put this behind us.  Hardline conservatives like myself are not going to win enough elections to ever have the power or guts to send them all home.  It isn't happening no matter how tough we talk.  Taking no acceptance whatsoever on illegals is costing us the legals.   I know they vote other factors, but this is a major standoff affecting legals and illegals.  Meanwhile we are two-faced, house them, feed them, educate them, healthcare them all anyway and sue states that interfere with the current lawlessness. At some point in time there isn't home somewhere else to go back to.  The undesirable terms in the deal are a cost of getting the the good terms.  If border security or any other requirement going forward is a sham and its just an instant voter plan for Democrats, then Rubio, me, WSJ and all the other turncoats hopefully reject a bad deal and won't get fooled again.

Somebody with credibility (Rubio) has stepped forward and tried to hammer out the framework for a very tough deal.  Reagan's mistake was that the deal was false, no problem was solved.  More recently we've had no new net migration for quite a while now, the entire Pelosi-Obama depression, a chance to catch a breath.  McCarthy attacks specifics in the proposal, but there isn't a bill, only a set of principles.

I have two Canadian buddies who live, work and raised their kids here for 20 years.  Send them home.  If you are Hispanic, you have at least one friend or family member affected every time a Republican says send them all home.  There is no gain in saying it when it isn't being done.  Obama sent back more than his predecessors, but thosse are felon-type, law enforcement situations.

If we adhered to other principles, like that you can't vote to have someone else pay your living expenses, I wouldn't worry so much about how other people were going to vote.

What BTW is the other solution, seriously?  Have Republicans see who is the toughest again in the long primary season and then scratch our heads again the second week of November with still no one sent home?
5374  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / BO's The Second Bill of Rights comes from the Soviet Constitution on: January 30, 2013, 05:47:51 PM
The Second Bill of Rights of which Obama, Sunstein et al speak has been sourced:

"guaranteed employment and pay in accordance wit the quantity and quality of their work, and not below the state-established minimum"

"the right to education. This right is ensured by free provision of all forms of education, by the institution of universal, compulsory secondary education, and higher education - free vocational and professional training, improvement of skills, training in new trades or professions, and development of the systems of vocational guidance and job placement"

"the right to rest and leisure... a working week not exceeding 41 hours"

"the right to health protection. This right is ensured by free, qualified medical care provided by state health institutions; by extension of the network of therapeutic and health-building institutions; by the development and improvement of safety and hygiene in industry..."

"the rights to housing...well-appointed dwellings, and by low rents and low charges for utility services."

"the church is separated from the state, and the school from the church"

"It is the internationalist duty of citizens to promote friendship and co-operation with peoples of other lands and help maintain and strengthen world peace."

A more perfect union has been found.  (All quotes from USSR Constitution linked above.)
5375  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Wesbury replies on: January 30, 2013, 05:27:31 PM
So other than the offsetting factors that brought it to zero, we had 3.4% growth.  In a mixed results, zero growth quarter, Wesbury is able to point to things that went up.  Sounds like cherry picking.  Next quarter I expect good growth too, except for all those one-time things that keep bringing it back to zero.

If we would start by admitting the 1.1% expectation is essentially nothing, then the zero result might not be so shocking.
5376  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: January 30, 2013, 05:27:10 PM
Rubio makes far more sense on this than McCarthy, to me.  By getting out front on it, setting hard conditions, getting leaders of the other party to accept them, he is potentially putting the shoe on the foot, leaving Obama as the one who hasn't come to the table.  Rubio will accept terms on the principles he laid out.  I think he won't accept a deal where enforcement isn't in it or when amnesty replaces the long process he describes.  OTOH, if Rubio can bring House Republicans along to accept the same tough deal that he and the Senators would and this deal lands on the President's desk, that is leadership and getting things done.  If the President just jawbones and demands voting citizenship with no negotiations, debate, proving ground, process or waiting period and loses Rubio, nothing gets done.  Sure the President might prefer to keep the issue, but for what?  Reelection??  To win the House?  But he doesn't for sure win that way, it is a gamble when everyone know his opponents were sitting at the table ready to deal.

The do-nothing idea of 2012 still works if you are a right wing pundit, but not for a major state or national politician.  Enforce the law, round 'em up, send them all home.  Sounds good and the far right keeps buying your publication.  As Rubio said, conservatism means having some tie to reality.  We aren't sending them home.  They aren't self-deporting except to the extent that our economy sucks and we aren't competing for the entire nation in our elections. 

Figure out what is the toughest deal you can get that satisfies all the conditions laid out and get it done.  If it ends up with Democrats backing out of real enforcement or a good bill sits on the President's desk vetoed, fine.  Take that to the next election. 
5377  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: America's Inner City on: January 30, 2013, 01:50:48 PM
(from gun related)
Well, at least the victims of the government policies that destroyed the black family reject the political party responsible for this nightmare,  right?

Failure creates more dependency and more votes ironically for big government with better turnout because not in spite of the downward spiral.  The inner city got tragically worse under the first black President and all he could think of was reelection turnout operations.  He said to these people, "I need your help".  "I can't do it without you!"   Do WHAT??!! 

If he had turned around America's inner city alone, he would have a falling unemployment rate (for real), a falling deficit, a rejuvenated economy and reelection without needing all the data mining tricks.

What a wasted opportunity to motivate and inspire.  Now what? We expect him to change course after winning?  This all goes on for another generation if not forever.
5378  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics Thomas Friedman on: January 30, 2013, 01:18:53 PM
Whenever I get ready to rip Friedman for his emptyness, I read closer that you already did: "the fascist public-private partnership horsefeathers nonsense".

Yes, he intermixes truth and insight in with his distortions to stay relevant.

The reason a growing economy with foundations in technological advancements does not help everyone is because we pay half the people to NOT participate in our productive economy and put ropes, weights and anchors on all the rest.

"if we’re to sustain the kind of public institutions and safety nets that we’re used to, it will require a lot more growth by the private side (not just more taxes), a lot more entrepreneurship, a lot more start-ups and a lot more individual risk-taking "

Every policy out of the current power structure is about thwarting all this and it has succeeded.  As visionary Rush L famously and controversially said, I hope he fails (to kill off entrepreneurship, start-ups, individual risk-taking, and private sector growth).

"things the president rarely speaks about"

He spoke about it to Joe the Plumber.  He said fuck you Joe. He said I'm going a different direction and I got bigger fish to fry.  He said you are not my problem and you are not my voter. 

It isn't that the President rarely speaks, it is that the President rarely listens.  I continue my unrefuted contention that this Ivy-League President has not read a book on economics that was not about opposing and dismantling the world's most successful system.

"The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime."

This President is about taking down winners, not finding and motivating more of them.  You can succeed if you want in spite of him and his government but the deck is stacked against you.  It is mostly insiders only who can win now.  To take private initiative you need to fight off 9 layers of government working against you and still have the time and resources left that Edison and Bell had to invent, reinvent, set up shop, mass produce, market and sell your goods.  Those guys were few and far between enough.  Today your first ten million need to all go toward lawyers, lobbyists and accountants, good luck paying enough software engineers to stay ahead of your foreign competition before revenues come in.  Who has that kind of money?  Far less than one percent of us.

This doesn't get solved by pressing Obama to do more.  Friedman thinks Obama could change a couple words, just say yes you can, or whip inflation now, lol.  Good f'ing grief.  If he thinks America could stand to slant a little more toward private initiative, how about taking that unpopular NYT stand PRE-election?! 
(My frustrations are aimed at the author, not the poster. wink )
5379  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: January 30, 2013, 12:28:04 PM
For another thread perhaps, what I intended with 'America's Inner City', but most of what is wrong in inner Chicago has nothing to do with gun laws either way.  Yes, guns laws have left the law abiding and the innocent unarmed and exacerbated the crisis, but the shootings - the willingness to kill and risk life in prison and to be killed yourself at the rate of over 500 per year(!) - has to do with a cultural problem caused by multi-generational government inference in the finances and structure of the family more than by anything else IMHO.

An adult male, who does not have the responsibility of helping raise and support his family, to get to bed early and set an alarm clock for work, will go do what?  Almost anything.  Gang, drug, street fight, armed robbery, turf war, murders, yes.  Start a white collar investment company that caters to all the thriving and growing small businesses in the neighborhood and marry his college sweatheart? Probably not, if those of you further away from these neighborhoods have seen the youtubes of the cultural climate their.

The murders are the symptom of the dysfunction, not the cause or the main problem. 

The 500+ per year murders in just one, out of control city are in a different category of crime IMO than the mental health related, mass, copycat shootings of strangers for final attention that started this current, anti-2nd amendment, ball rolling.
5380  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness Popularity below Nixon, tied with 'W' at this point on: January 30, 2013, 12:00:18 PM
Mr. Smooth, with everything going right from reelection to inauguration to winning every exchange with congress, has Gallup popularity below Nixon at this point and tied with George W. Bush for most unpopular re-elected president since Gallup began measuring presidential job-approval.  That dismal figure could be his best and last before word of economic stagnation/freefall starts to get around.

Obama has about 3 minutes to start something going in the right direction or he will lose control of most of the next 4 years.  Little tricks like lying about progress in Libya and Egypt, boxing in opponents over budgets and stonewalling congress over scandals like Fast and Furious are not going to do it.

The lead guy on immigration reform is now Marco Rubio.  The lead guy on entitlement reform and budget sanity is still Paul Ryan.  The lead guy on anything to do with American liberty is Rand Paul.  Policy initiatives advanced during his last, easy, big interview with '30 minutes' were completely missing. 

Good luck getting a second bill of rights centered around big government through the 26 states that sued, lost and are angry over Obamacare.  One guy calling it a tax increase instead of a cost savings did not rescue its unpopularity.

He should consider sitting back and writing a memoir, except he's already done that twice.  Could work on his golf game, but been there, done that too.  Now what?
5381  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: January 30, 2013, 11:30:39 AM
The context to the current lull in illegal immigration is that the unemployment rate in Mexico is under 5% (4.7%).  In Canada, if measured by our metrics, is is around 6%, and in the U.S. according to BLS close to 8% (7.8%).  Real unemployment/underemployment in the U.S. is closer to 20% by any honest measure.

Those leaving the workforce at the low end aren't hiring new workers and those scaling back their businesses and not starting new ones at the high end aren't hiring anyone new either.

It's a pretty good time, thank you Barack, to secure the border and set up a legal, worker tracking program - while business is down.
5382  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Plowhorse stopped plowing to take a #%^& in face of higher taxes, regulations on: January 30, 2013, 11:00:09 AM
4th quarter 'growth' is negative.  Wesbury apologizes, resigns.   First Trust in talks with our own G M.

Who knew... that if you choose anti-growth policies at every decision point, at some point you will have no growth.  Even zero growth against this policy mix shows the amazing resilience of the American economy.  I wonder what shock in the 4th quarter (Nov. 6) could have sent this plowhorse momentum into a tailspin...  Any lesser country would have collapsed by now.  I don't get the part of 'shock', 'surprise' and 'unexpected' that mixes into the coverage.

If the numbers hold up to revisions and if it contracts a second quarter in a cold winter that has one month already gone, they won't call it a recession, they will call it The _____ Recession, and the middle name won't be Bush.
5383  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 29, 2013, 07:34:34 PM
The humor in the skeet shooting challenge is that we have seen his golf swing.   embarassed   shocked

Not exactly Heisman precision:
(turn volume at least partway down)
5384  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: January 29, 2013, 07:20:31 PM
Sen. Marco Rubio interviewed on Rush L show today.  Excellent discussion IMO. 
16 minute audio youtube:
5385  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security - Guantanamo not falling? on: January 29, 2013, 06:27:03 PM
A tiny ray of light shines through 2nd term changes, the diplomat assigned to handle the Guantanamo closing transition has been quietly reassigned.

Drones flying at all hours and torture facilities kept open, good thing this guy is a liberal or he would be lambasted, if that is still legal.
5386  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: January 29, 2013, 06:09:47 PM
VDH knows Calif! 

"Are opera tickets and a street light that still has its wire worth it?"

I am a little slow but now they are stealing the wires out of the street lights.

What can go wrong when people have no skin in the game?  Everything.
5387  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela - Chavez statement?? on: January 29, 2013, 01:40:38 PM
Odd story:  Chavez allegedly released a statement to a international summit meeting in Chile yesterday.  Odd that he has not communicated to his own country yet and odd that the only person saying he is well and coming back and now providing and reading his alleged statement is the VP who would become President if Chavez ever gets inaugurated and has to step down.

"Chávez calls for Latin American unity"
5388  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 29, 2013, 01:27:23 PM
My father was a big believer in "The Peter Principle" (in an organization, people rise to their level of incompetence i.e. they get promoted as long as they are doing a good job, until they get to where they aren't doing a good job-- and that is where they stay).

That is worse than that by quite a bit!!!

Yes!  Lew I'm sure is a sharp guy and so was Geithner.  They got caught up in implementing and defending horrendous policies.  Lew didn't cause Citicorp's failure, but wouldn't you think the people responsible that are not prosecuted would have to return to ordinary jobs. 

As you suggest, this is worse than the Peter Principle.  This is not promotion until you reach your level of incompetence, this is promotion after a record of abject failure.

The problem with us analyzing from across the aisle is that we are seeing it backwards from his view.  Pres. Obama's business is collectivist-failure and Lew has a well rounded background in it.
5389  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues - a joke became a nightmare on: January 29, 2013, 11:47:43 AM
WSJ witty visionary and online editorial editor James Taranto joked facetiously in April 2008 that outgoing Republican Senator Chuck Hagel could be candidate Barack Obama's Secretary of Defense.

Taranto writes now: "Mr. President, would it do any good if we said that secretary of defense thing was a joke? We didn't think so.  Well, we've learned our lesson. Humor is just too dangerous and unpredictable a weapon. We will never use it again."
5390  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - How Jack Lew F'd Up on: January 29, 2013, 11:32:43 AM
How Jack Lew Failed Up - WSJ

Jack Lew profited from failed crony capitalism, took millions, left the losses to taxpayers, now promoted to Treasury Secretary nominee.

At NYU he was making more than the University President.  Doing what?!52D5B70E-FBC8-4800-9973-3E0962DEB069
5391  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Monetary Policy: John Taylor - Fed Policy is a Drag on the Economy on: January 29, 2013, 11:26:46 AM
"Ironically, the harmful effects of these interventions lead policy makers to expand them, which further increases their harmful effects."

"While borrowers like near-zero interest rates, there is little incentive for lenders to extend credit at that rate."

"[these] policies perversely decrease aggregate demand and increase unemployment while they repress the classic signaling and incentive effects of the price system"
My new favorite economist John Taylor of Stanford says that Fed Policy is a Drag on the Economy.  My hope is that President Rubio will put Taylor in charge of the Fed if we still have a nation worth saving at that point.  (excerpted)

...Early in 2010 [the Fed] predicted that growth in 2012 would be a robust 4%. It turned out to be a disappointing 2%. And as the recovery fell short of their expectations, they continued and then doubled down on the emergency interventions used in the panic in 2008.

The Fed ratcheted up purchases of mortgage-backed and U.S. Treasury securities, and now they say more large-scale purchases are coming. They kept extending the near-zero federal funds rate and now say that rate will remain in place for at least several more years. And yet—unlike its actions taken during the panic—the Fed's policies have been accompanied by disappointing outcomes. While the Fed points to external causes, it ignores the possibility that its own policy has been a factor.

At the very least, the policy creates a great deal of uncertainty. People recognize that the Fed will eventually have to reverse course. When the economy begins to heat up, the Fed will have to sell the assets it has been purchasing to prevent inflation.

If its asset sales are too slow, the bank reserves used to finance the original asset purchases pour out of the banks and into the economy. But if the asset sales are too fast or abrupt, they will drive bond prices down and interest rates up too much, causing a recession. Those who say that there is no problem with the Fed's interest rate and asset purchases because inflation has not increased so far ignore such downsides.

The Fed's current zero interest-rate policy also creates incentives for otherwise risk-averse investors—retirees, pension funds—to take on questionable investments as they search for higher yields in an attempt to bolster their minuscule interest income. The low rates also make it possible for banks to roll over rather than write off bad loans, locking up unproductive assets. And extraordinarily low rates support and feed the spending appetites of Congress and the president, increasing deficits and debt.

More broadly, the Fed's excursion into fiscal policy and credit allocation raises questions about its institutional independence and accountability. This reduces public confidence in the central bank.

The large on-again off-again asset purchases have already created highly variable money growth—from 10% in January 2009 to 2% in June 2010 and back to 10% in early 2012 and then down again. Wide swings in money supply reduce macroeconomic stability—a danger that Milton Friedman warned about long ago.

There is yet another downside. Foreign central banks—whether they like it or not—tend to follow other central banks' easy-money policies to prevent their currency from appreciating sharply, which would put their exporters at a disadvantage. The recent effort of the new Japanese government to force quantitative easing on the Bank of Japan and thus resist dollar depreciation against the yen vividly makes this point. This global increase in money risks commodity booms and busts as we saw in 2011 and 2012.

When dissenters in and outside the Fed point out these costs, a majority of the Federal Open Market Committee—the main policy-making branch of the central bank—respond that the costs are outweighed by a huge benefit. They argue that the ultralow interest rates and asset purchases reduce unemployment by increasing aggregate demand, and they back up the argument with macroeconomic models.

But these models, which are useful for evaluating conventional monetary policy such as rules for the interest rate, were not designed and are not useful for evaluating the Fed's unconventional policies of the past few years. Instead, a basic microeconomic analysis shows that the policies perversely decrease aggregate demand and increase unemployment while they repress the classic signaling and incentive effects of the price system.

Consider the "forward guidance" policy of saying that the short-term rate will be near zero for several years into the future. The purpose of this guidance is to keep longer-term interest rates down and thus encourage more borrowing. A lower future short-term interest rate reduces long-term rates today because portfolio managers can, in a form of arbitrage, easily adjust their portfolio mix between long-term bonds and a sequence of short-term bonds.

So if investors are told by the Fed that the short-term rate is going to be close to zero in the future, then they will bid down the yield on the long-term bond. The forward guidance keeps the long-term rate low and tends to prevent it from rising. Effectively the Fed is imposing an interest-rate ceiling on the longer-term market by saying it will keep the short rate unusually low.

The perverse effect comes when this ceiling is below what would be the equilibrium between borrowers and lenders who normally participate in that market. While borrowers might like a near-zero rate, there is little incentive for lenders to extend credit at that rate.

This is much like the effect of a price ceiling in a rental market where landlords reduce the supply of rental housing. Here lenders supply less credit at the lower rate. The decline in credit availability reduces aggregate demand, which tends to increase unemployment, a classic unintended consequence of the policy.

Research presented at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association this month by Eric Swanson and John Williams of the San Francisco Fed is consistent with this view of credit markets. It shows that during periods of forward guidance, the long-term interest rate does not adjust to events that shift supply or demand as it does in normal periods. In addition, while credit to corporate businesses is up 12% over the past two years, credit has declined to noncorporate businesses where the low rate is more likely to be a disincentive for lenders. Peter Fisher, head of fixed income at the global investment-management firm BlackRock and a former Fed and Treasury official, wrote in September: "[A]s they approach zero, lower rates . . . run the significant risk of perversely discouraging the lending and investment we need."

Ironically, the harmful effects of these interventions lead policy makers to expand them, which further increases their harmful effects. No one should want a continuation of this vicious circle... more at, link above
5392  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness, Denis McDonough on: January 29, 2013, 10:55:19 AM
My first positive post on the Obama administration, I heard firsthand this weekend from a good friend that knew him personally, that local native Denis McDonough, Obama's new chief of staff, is quite a good guy, smart, genuine, etc.

That concludes the positive portion of my post.  As deputy national security adviser, McDonough handled the Benghazi attack aftermath from inside the White House - and got promoted.
5393  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 29, 2013, 10:27:41 AM
Steve Kroft's Softball Obama Interviews Diminish '60 Minutes'
All 14 questions the award-winning correspondent posed in his recent sit-down were glaringly flawed.

The president and his outgoing secretary of state were so laudatory of each other on the CBS news program that they were practically cuddling.  - Daily Beast

KIRSTEN POWERS: "It was really something you would expect from like, the state-run media. It was that kind of level of propaganda"

Steve Kroft: 'Obama ‘Knows We’re Not Going To Play Gotcha With Him’

Brit Hume: I Must Have Missed "60 Minutes" Giving Bush A Friendly Interview

Update, full transcript:
5394  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: January 28, 2013, 04:06:34 PM
GM, Are you suggesting the Dem Senator from NJ would be treated differently by msm if he subscribed to a different political view?  Mark Sandford in some similar situation (?) would get a scandal question in an MSM policy interview? Can't believe what I am hearing. 

I know. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. I've been told Martha Raddatz was a professional and now I don't know what to think.

She IS a professional, by current industry (MSM) (double) standards.  And our job is to point out how ridiculously un-even-handed they really are no matter how few people care.

No doubt it was a condition of the interview that no embarrassing questions were to be asked.  A condition that Martha insisted on and Sen. 'John' Menendez agreed.

Same goes for the hard hitting celeb interview last night for Steve Kroft and 60 minutes.  The ongoing campaign should have to pay for that time slot.
5395  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science and Military Issues: Against Women in Combat on: January 28, 2013, 12:21:29 PM
Kenneth Johnson, Marine Corps veteran of three combat tours, argues:

    What kind of a man is it who can send women off to kill and maim? What kind of society does that?

    What kind of men sharing a fire-team foxhole with a woman and two other men don't treat the woman more gently?

    What kind of society bemoaning that men don't seem to respect women can't see that part of the respect they demand is predicated on the specialness of the other?

    Perhaps it is possible in a firefight to distinguish between how one treats women and men, but I doubt that I could do it. And if I am trained to treat men and women the same throughout my career, can this have no significant effect on how I treat women otherwise?

5396  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues - NYTimes spent 4 years denying O-liberalism, now banners it! on: January 28, 2013, 12:04:54 PM
GM, Are you suggesting the Dem Senator from NJ would be treated differently by msm if he subscribed to a different political view?  Mark Sandford in some similar situation (?) would get a scandal question in an MSM policy interview? Can't believe what I am hearing.  shocked

After Four Years of Denying It, New York Times Banner Headline Admits Obama's 'Liberal Vision'   (WSJ excerpted, subscriptions at

"... the Times has spent the last four years insisting against evidence that Barack Obama, who pushed through government control of health care and a huge ineffective "stimulus" package, while maligning the wealthy and pushing higher taxes, is some kind of moderate. Back editions of the Times are littered with claims Obama was a centrist or moderate:

Reporter Jeff Zeleny on April 10, 2011 wrote a story under the online headline: "President Obama Adopts Centrist Approach.' Zeleny also considered Obama a "pragmatist" in December 2009: "He delivered a mix of realism and idealism....he continued a pattern evident throughout his public career of favoring pragmatism over absolutes."

An April 19, 2009 story by David Herszenhorn and Jackie Calmes claimed: "In some of his earliest skirmishes, Mr. Obama eventually chose pragmatism over fisticuffs....Pragmatism, [his aides] add, is an Obama hallmark, and among the changes he promised - and has delivered - is a break from his predecessor's often uncompromising style."

Here's reporter Jodi Kantor on Obama the law professor, May 3, 2009: "Former students and colleagues describe Mr. Obama as a minimalist (skeptical of court-led efforts at social change) and a structuralist (interested in how the law metes out power in society). And more than anything else, he is a pragmatist who urged those around him to be more keenly attuned to the real-life impact of decisions."
5397  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance Glibness: All Americans are Poorer, Poor hit Hardest on: January 28, 2013, 11:53:10 AM
"All Americans are poorer as a result of Obama's policies, but the poor are hit hardest."

"Forbes magazine calculates that if long term discouraged workers, those who've dropped out to collect disability payments, and those working part time because they cannot find full time work were counted, the real unemployment rate would hover around 22 percent."

"The anti-poverty talk was missing from the 2012 campaign. It was all about the middle class. Perhaps that's because Obama's first term created so very much more poverty. There are more poor people in America today than at any time since the Great Depression. There were 32 million Americans collecting food stamps in 2008. Now that figure is 47 million. Spending on food stamps doubled between 2007 and 2011."
5398  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich: The Challenge confronting the Rep Party on: January 28, 2013, 11:15:20 AM
Interesting ideas by Newt.  He admits being "so shaken by how wrong I was in projecting a Republican win on election night" and needs a period of 6 months to "methodically examining where we are and what we must do".  It hasn't been 6 months yet and his 24 point plan doesn't have the typical focus and clarity that Newt at his best possesses.  He is right we need to learn all they can about the Dem methods but Republicans cannot compete and win on their field.

Simply put by Michael Barone today:  "Democratic core constituencies -- blacks, Hispanics and gentry liberals -- tend to be clustered geographically in big metropolitan areas. Obama's large margins there helped him carry many electoral votes, but not so many congressional districts."

In the inner city I saw the blockworker with her pencil and clipboard the day before the election and she saw me from across the street.  I braced myself for a repeat of the conversation I had with the ACORN people wasting each others' time in 2004.  I was shocked when she didn't come over but this past year they were working smarter.  I didn't fit her demographic and she had worked the area long and hard enough to know I was the landlord not the resident. 

Take one Dem inner city for example: If they had an 87% turnout in Milwaukee preferring Obama by 79-19 (  For another, 119% turnout in liberal Madison is beyond impressive. (  Studying and doing the same for Republicans is not going to work.

In the 'rich Republican' areas, no one does person to person exact tracking of every household and you can't.  My own legislative candidate came by my house and missed me 7 times.  I voted for her anyway but she doesn't know that.  Houses are more spread out and people are busy.  Caucus turnouts are a few in a thousand and they don't want to get on email or call lists much less go door to door or voice the phone banks.

We must learn all we want from the other side but the answer is not simply to copy them.
5399  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: January 28, 2013, 12:34:24 AM
I finally took the very painful step of reading the Obamacare decision in its entirety, a part of my life lost to invasive government that I will never get back.  Everyone should have been required to read it before the last election IMHO as that election was about the selection of Supreme Court members and it was about the question of keeping versus repealing Obamacare at the political level.  Would anyone like to discuss the Court decision at this late date?  I admit coming into this with a strong bias against it.

The decision has 4 main parts.  Chief Justice John Roberts, former conservative, was the deciding vote, upholding for reasons different than the 4 so-called liberal members also voting to uphold the law.  Paraphrasing Roberts, if you can find a way to uphold a law then you do that and he did.  He found a way to construe a mandate as a tax even though the supporters of the bill said and wrote explicitly the opposite.  His view is quite easily refuted in the dissent IMO.

Justice Ginsburg wrote the main pro-Obamacare opinion.  I found her legal opinion to be mostly a political opinion in favor of the legislation (flawed IMO), starting off with the premise that the function of the legislation is to lower costs and pointing to nothing in it that does that.  She explains it is about the need to pay somehow for at least minimum emergency services but the bill is not at all argued to be about simply paying for minimum emergency services.  The Ginsburg opinion could just as easily been written by Nancy Pelosi or White House staff.  Paraphrasing badly, she argues that legislation that clearly goes FAR beyond any previous federal government power in precedent is supported in precedent in the sense that we are always expanding federal powers to keep up with the needs and times.

The main dissent I found to be rambling, unclear and repetitive.  Four 'conservative' justices seemed so blown away by the big expansion of government power that they could not point exactly to why, how or where it violated the constitution, a formerly limited powers document.

Last was an additional short dissent by Justice Thomas where he feels a need to add in dissent that he would also overturn many previous expansions of the Supreme Court definitions of Commerce Clause powers if other Juistices were so inclined.  No one joined that opinion.

My view as an opponent is that the weak arguments of the four liberals was entirely predictable.  The interpretation of Chief Justice Roberts is shocking.  Either he is smarter than everyone else in America to find and take a completely solo view or he completely lost it here under the historic pressure.  Worst to me was that the main arguments I would make against the legislation were never made by the lawyers in opposition or by the Justices in dissent.  Put simply by this layman, Obamcare is not a enumerated power and it STOMPS ALL OVER some very obvious unenumerated rights:  a) I have or had before this legislation a right of choice to procure healthcare services like with all other products and services, as needed, by paying a listed or negotiated fee for service price and terms payment option. b) I had the right to choose a plan that offers a different array of service and cost levels than than that very chosen by the federal government in this legislation.  Now I don't.  And c) I had a right of privacy regarding all these arrangements.  Why, how and where (I guess I know when) did I lose my right to not disclose to the government my personal financial arrangements for healthcare products and services.  The provider may be required in tax law to report revenues as captured but as far as I know that's it.  The income tax amendment allows the government to know my income and tax it, and that's it.  I don't know any situation where I am required to take or disclose every available deduction or expense.  The comparison to car insurance by some was a complete non-starter.  For one thing it was states acting individually and no one ever lost the right after the insurance mandate to ride with someone else, walk or stay home without penalty.  With this you most certainly did.
5400  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: January 27, 2013, 11:41:44 PM
CCP  Thanks for the nice response. 

I'm all for having people's doctor helping them to live longer, a key reason we go there.  Governing is different.  Defend our shores, plow our streets etc. but not control all our behaviors and choices.  Cigarettes under current science seem kind of obvious.  Your odds of bad health consequences go way up.  I'm fine with the warning label mandates and all kinds of educational efforts. 

Problem is the government does not know where to stop.  For this board, I point out an obvious future target and hope no one in government reads it: Martial Arts has health risks.  And soccer, football, hockey, skiing, skydiving and eating breakfast lunch and dinner - all involve risk taking.  A friend just died of snow shoveling (heart attack).  Sex for older people they are already saying ask you doctor if that is okay for you, next could be prohibition.  We joked that after cigarettes, what's next, french fries and soft drinks?  It's not a joke anymore.  Give them that power and it becomes their responsibility forever and they won't always get the science right or respect personal choices. (understatement)

   -  "Have you been told yet you to ask your patients about guns in the home?  It's a health care cost now."   The only time I ask anyone that is if I am concerned they are so depressed that they may commit suicide.

Pediatricians ask here.  I let my daughter field the question, I had one at the time that she didn't know about.  The doctor meant no big invasion, it was in the context of kids wearing bike helmets for safety.  I just didn't like that it came as a direct question, as part of checklist, making a record on a very private matter he seemed compelled to ask.  Maybe I am sensitive but I see a distinction between informing us about safety and creating a very personal record easily breached. 
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