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5351  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed -Constitutional Law: Electoral College on: December 08, 2011, 10:18:43 AM
This story is interesting to me in that they are trying to implement popular vote without a constitutional amendment.  Still I don't see how you end the electoral college without many states voluntarily giving up power they currently hold to states like Calif, NY etc.  Noteworthy is that only one side supports the movement.  Ending the electoral college is analogous to me to ending the equal representation of states in the Senate.  Like McConnell, I don't agree that a popular vote system would be preferable if you could implement it.  Just like we forgot in the Middle East, we weren't trying to implement a majority rule system.

A case is made that only battleground states have a say in national elections and that solid blue and solid red states never get any attention.  Missing in that argument is that the solid blue and solid red states already have a candidate that represents their consensus view.  It is the divided states that are struggling to decide which candidate represents them best.  The attention to battleground states is unfair IMO only when favors are offered like ethanol subsidies, if they constitute unequal treatment under the law.  But those of course are already banned elsewhere in the constitution. 

5352  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 05, 2011, 11:37:34 PM
If Newt did not win a national election in 1994, only his district not the election for Speaker, because electors were involved, then no President has ever won a national election. 

I asked about two term governors and you post Huntsman was Governor of Utah for two terms.  A term in Utah is 4 years.  His second term was from 2009-2009.  He didn't serve his second term.  You already know that, from your own post: "Following his term as governor..."(singular) , so you go from falsehoods to insults (right of Attila the Hun as some here prefer).  Who needs it. 

Everyone else I have encountered here comes in pursuit of the truth. 
5353  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, Newt, Huntsman, others on: December 05, 2011, 04:05:29 PM
Moving this over from Newt thread.

"What "national election" did Newt win?

He nationalized the 1994 congressional elections for the first time in 40 years, got all the candidates to run across the country on the same platform with him as leader, and he won - for the first time in 40 years.   Did you really need that explained?  If you don't agree it's a fact, then you must agree it is a well-supported opinion.  No?  Much better documented than any Huntsman foreign policy experience, what foreign policy decision did he make, lol.

"He was governor of Utah for two term."  Which two terms as a Governor did Huntsman serve?  Good grief.  Then he wasn't Ambassador?   "He did balance the budget."  Was it previously out of balance.  Did he fight off those entrenched, liberal, Utah special interests everyday to get that done, lol.  None of them have promised to come in and balance this budget.  Whether he will be a fiscal conservative or not in Washington is another blank canvas.
5354  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich in the race on: December 05, 2011, 12:46:48 PM
"Doug, I notice you were a big Cain fan, another conservative favorite, and you say you are an, "unforgiving family values voter" but I notice you are awfully quiet now on the subject of Cain since his withdrawal."

Cain is not relevant to me out of the race. Besides the allegations and perhaps affair and lie about the affair, he did not show even familiarity with many crucial foreign affairs questions. When I defended him against early allegations, there was no indication to me they were true.  I also posted that I liked other tax plans better than Cain's and his trademark was the tax plan.  I agree, morality matters (!), but Cain was not going to be President anyway, we discovered along the way.  The one of greatest disappointment to me is Gov. Perry. I like Romney's marital history over Gingrich's.  As a single parent, I also have learned you can't always judge the other person's circumstances perfectly from afar.

"But we didn't determine whether you are a voter we are trying to attract."

That part was not intended negative, just directional.  You have been posting economic views IMO more compatible with the other side.  That is your right and your choice.  The choice for the Republican candidate is for Republicans, in my case we are trying to offer a conservative alternative to the choices normally available and the current fight on the inside is against making our candidate mostly the same as theirs.  Since Reagan, we have had Bush Sr. a centrist tax raiser, Dole who had no pro-growth compatibility with his running mate Jack Kemp, a big spending W. Bush, and McCain who made a career out of tearing down Republicans to advance himself as the nominees (from my perspective).  That is a LONG drought! It is a wide open club, not at all private one.  All you have to do is share some core principles.  You, not me, get to decide if you share those principles.  Newt speaks quite eloquently about a certain direction for this country, but he disgusts you - an indication we aren't on the same page.  I like Huntsman's economic plan.  I think you like him in spite of his plan.  I tried to flush that out last week. 

"I would think the Republicans would welcome any vote from anyone with open arms."

No, I wish for people who favor the other philosophies, a larger controlling redistributive government for example, to vote their own conscience over on the other side of the aisle.  Maybe they are right.

My perfect candidate would take qualities pieced together from several of the candidates (and that isn't going to happen so I will vote for one of these).  Part would come from Cain, the business, entrepreneurial, executive experience and bold conservative economic views in particular.  I like Romney's presentation.  He looks and sounds like a President, exudes competence and has a wide range of experience. I thought early the nominee should have at least 2 terms as governor of at least a middle sized state, then Perry jumped in with 10 years successfully running a G13 country equivalent with views ALMOST identical to mine.  I have not ruled him out for me, but inability to articulate a view is a killer politically.  Newt has passion and substance, won a national election, balanced a budget, and already was next in the line of succession behind the VP to be President.  Watch the Huckabee forum - they aren't going to stump Newt by asking for a book recommendation, a supreme court case or a favorite founding father, much less a key issue he never contemplated. (He has other flaws.)  He has visualized this and prepared for this job for a very long time.  I would take his passion with Romney's focus and Perry's conservatism and Santorum's commitment to family, but it doesn't work that way.
5355  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: December 05, 2011, 11:41:36 AM
Question for GM or others with law enforcement familiarity:

I am seeing police reports (in Minneapolis) that come just from officers performing a lookup on license plates.  It occurs to me that it is an automated process where they shoot a picture of the plate and the computer checks it for warrants, expired plates, current license, good or bad driving record etc. These are on the fly situations without any indication of any other lawbreaking.  Do you know if that is so?

Example: Received in my email today from police regarding a former tenant still claiming to live at our address:

"While doing directed patrol in the xth Pct, I observed listed vehicle, license xxxxx, being operated in the above area.  I did a routine check on the license plate, and this showed the registered owner was shown to have a suspended Mn driver's license.  Arrested Party: xxxx xxxxxx - 27/ Address: xxx xxxxx.
5356  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: December 05, 2011, 11:03:47 AM
"I can't wait for the ads" [presumably DNC and anonymous outsider groups airing constant prime time advertising loaded with innuendo about a candidate's unfaithfulness more than a dozen years ago as the country goes down in decline]?  - That's what you hope the campaign is about?  I would counter with 60 second, unnarrated videos of the President's terrible golf swing; this occurred while he was President!  We can run the economic headlines in the subtitles.

"Obama compared to Gingrich is a SAINT."  - What we know about Obama's fidelity is a record of no accusations- yet.  Marital fidelity is considered an indicator that one as President would be faithful to his country's best interests.  Didn't someone add Eisenhower, HW Bush and perhaps Reagan in his first marriage to the list of Democratic Presidential cheaters, FDR, JFK, LBJ, and WJC, all since women's suffrage. President Obama already has a record of not supporting his country's best interest to judge IMO, running up the debt, devaluing the currency, investing in failed and corrupt companies with taxpayer money, leaving our oil in the ground while paying Brazil to drill.  We won't need innuendo from his bedroom to judge what he would do as President.  OTOH, I think Nixon was faithful.

"Think women vote.... or not...."

People who tolerate no sin are left, as usual, with no politician to support.  "Did some blow" comes to mind, distrusting white people, despising the clingers of middle America, running guns into international crime rings, etc.  With 11 months left, I would not assume this President will be without his own scandals. 

"Heck, even I find Gingrich disgusting...."

But we didn't determine whether you are a voter we are trying to attract.  If you don't also see the positive side of the Gingrich message that is grabbing the momentum by storm, perhaps you are among the voters we wish to defeat this coming year.

If the majority of people are already irreparably offended by Newt, why would attack ads be necessary?  If he can't get through the family values voters in Iowa and elsewhere, he won't be the candidate anyway.  But it's funny how the attacks on the person only make someone like me, an unforgiving family values voter, want to jump up to defend him.

The questions of 2012 IMO will be of bigger vs. smaller government and collapse vs. growth of our private economy, and surrender vs. survival in our global security interests.  Now that you mention it though, I am wondering if this President ever had pre-marital sex before Rev. Jeremiah Wright of "God DAMN America" fame proudly joined them in Holy matrimony.
There is no Republican social security proposal that takes benefits away from current recipients or people near retirement age but that is good reminder of the disingenuous smears that are sure to come.
5357  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 04, 2011, 08:21:39 PM
Crafty, thank you. He made a mistake that day and has been remarkably consistent and disciplined since then.
5358  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Huckabee Fox Candidates Debate Video Link on: December 04, 2011, 12:04:30 PM
5359  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Newt and right wing social engineering on: December 04, 2011, 11:28:35 AM
I am a day behind here but I dug back through the right wing social engineering question yesterday.  I know this happened back in 2011 so maybe it is no longer relevant.   wink  

Here is the passage, full context, on Meet the Press Sunday 5/15/2011:

MR. GREGORY: What about entitlements? The Medicare trust fund, in stories that have come out over the weekend, is now going to be depleted by 2024, five years earlier than predicted. Do you think that Republicans ought to buck the public opposition and really move forward to completely change Medicare, turn it into a voucher program where you give seniors...


MR. GREGORY: ...some premium support and--so that they can go out and buy private insurance?

REP. GINGRICH: I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate. I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare system with more choices for seniors. But there are specific things you can do. At the Center for Health Transformation, which I helped found, we published a book called "Stop Paying the Crooks." We thought that was a clear enough, simple enough idea, even for Washington. We--between Medicare and Medicaid, we pay between $70 billion and $120 billion a year to crooks. And IBM has agreed to help solve it, American Express has agreed to help solve it, Visa's agreed to help solve it. You can't get anybody in this town to look at it. That's, that's almost $1 trillion over a decade. So there are things you can do to improve Medicare.

MR. GREGORY: But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare.

REP. GINGRICH: I, I think that, I think, I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose upon the--I don't want to--I'm against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.
Summarizing the Ryan Plan:  (

... convert Medicare into a premium support program for which the government will spend a specific amount for beneficiaries' care, a fundamental shift from the current fee-for-service program....limiting the amount of money the federal government spends...the government would pay a percentage toward the insurance premium for each individual; there would likely be more help for low-income and sicker people. And enrollees could kick in more money to get better coverage. (It is the plan described in Gregory's question.)
(Doug:) Gingrich did not say Ryan’s Medicare reform is right-wing social engineering.  He was asked what he thought of Ryan's plan and said he didn't like right wing social engineering.

A distinction lost in ALL reporting:

Washington Post: Gingrich: Ryan budget plan ‘right-wing social engineering’  11:57 AM ET, 05/15/2011

PBS News Hour: Gingrich Calls GOP Budget 'Right Wing Social Engineering'

CBS: Gingrich slams GOP Medicare plan despite the fact he once said he'd vote for it  

Slate: Gingrich on Ryan Plan: "Radical" and "Right-Wing Social Engineering"

Fox:  Gingrich Calls GOP Medicare Plan 'Right-Wing Social Engineering'

Wall Street Journal:  Gingrich Blasts House GOP's Medicare Plan
Presidential Candidate Calls It 'Right-Wing Social Engineering,'
Agrees With Obama About Need for Insurance Mandate
Then in the aftermath:

Ryan argued Monday that his proposal is not “radical,” as Gingrich alleged in the interview over the weekend. And he questioned why Gingrich was choosing to align himself with Democratic critics of the GOP budget proposal.  "With allies like that, who needs the left?" Ryan quipped

Gingrich went "On the Record" with Greta van Susteren Tuesday night to respond to criticism over his comments.  He told van Susteren. "I made a mistake and I called Paul Ryan today, who's a very close personal friend, and I said that."  (

In a conference call Tuesday with conservative bloggers, Gingrich said that he was unprepared for a series of “gotcha” questions on individual mandates and the Ryan budget, both of which had been major stories for days before the interview.  “I didn’t go in there quite hostile enough, because it didn’t occur to me going in that you’d have a series of setups,” Gingrich said, according to the Washington Examiner. “This wasn’t me randomly saying things. These were very deliberate efforts to pick fights. (

In a live interview with Rush Limbaugh Thursday afternoon, Gingrich said he hadn’t actually criticized Ryan’s plan in his Sunday appearance on “Meet the Press,” and that he wasn’t referring to the Wisconsin congressman when he said those words.

Hotair later Thursday:  It’s true that Gregory didn’t mention Ryan’s name in his first question, but he did reference Republican plans to change Medicare and cited “premium support” — a hallmark of Ryan’s plan, which Gingrich surely would have known. Even if you cut Newt some slack there, Gregory did explicitly mention Ryan’s plan in his follow-up, which Gingrich proceeded to describe as a “too big a jump” and an example of “radical change.” But we needn’t quibble with the semantics. Plain and simple: If this was all a big misunderstanding about who he was talking about, why didn’t he say that three days ago? (

(Doug:)  There is no reference in the top 100 Google results to 'Right Wing Social Engineering' that is not attributable to Newt.  It's not in the lexicon. Social engineering is what the other side does.  He made it up the term, it's inflammatory IMO, and he was dying to use it - to boldly be a different kind of Republican - on who can jump right over the fence like the person who sat on the bench with Nancy.  This is a guy who at the top of his career had his lunch stolen by a triangulator, and he was trying something.

He made a mistake, I get it, but what was he trying to do?  Forget about Ryan.  What in the top 100 threats our republic faces right now is the problem of right wing social engineering, that a focused and disciplined candidate kicking off his campaign needed to draw to my attention?  My moderate friends would say right wing social engineering is the insistence on gender roles for bride and groom or the stubborn belief that a small life with a heartbeat is a life.   But no.  This was about spending restraint that could come out of Washington if Republicans exert too much power.  He landed a hard punch on the only Republican in the country at the time who was getting any traction.  Good grief.  Then he apologized, said he didn't mean it, then he said it didn't happen.  He meant something else.  

Triangulators do not have coattails.  Another way, with a dozen years in the solutions business, would have been to work with his friend Paul Ryan so the plan would NOT be too radical.

I wonder if this is something that Jon Stewart could try to run with...
5360  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: December 03, 2011, 02:22:11 PM
These are the guys we are not helping?
Syria Would Cut Iran Military Tie, Opposition Head Says


PARIS—A Syrian government run by the country's main opposition group would cut Damascus's military relationship to Iran and end arms supplies to Middle East militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, the group's leader said, raising the prospect of a dramatic realignment of powers at the region's core.

Burhan Ghalioun, the president of the Syrian National Council, said such moves would be part of a broader Syrian reorientation back into an alliance with the region's major Arab powers. Mr. Ghalioun's comments came Wednesday, in his first major media interview since he was made SNC leader in October.

Mr. Ghalioun also called on the international community to take aggressive new steps, including the possible establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria.

"Our main objective is finding mechanisms to protect civilians and stop the killing machine," Mr. Ghalioun, a 66-year-old university professor, said from his home in south Paris. "We say it is imperative to use forceful measures to force the regime to respect human rights."

Underscoring those concerns, the United Nations human-rights commission estimated Thursday that Syria's crackdown on its nine-month uprising has claimed "much more" than 4,000 lives, a toll that has grown by the hundreds in recent weeks.

    “ Stop the killing machine ” -- Burhan Ghalioun

This year's political uprisings in the Middle East increasingly have devolved into a power struggle pitting the U.S. and its Arab allies, such as Saudi Arabia, against Iran and its allies. Syria is viewed as the central prize, due to its strategic position and role in the Arab-Israeli struggle.
Related Video

The U.S. Senate approved economic sanctions on Iran targeting the country's oil industry adding to pressure from European countries that oil exports should be targeted. Benoit Faucon discusses these developments and potential impact on oil prices.

Syria would also appear ripe for realignment. President Bashar al-Assad's government is Iran's closest military and strategic ally in the region. Damascus and Tehran coordinate closely in funneling arms and funds to the Hezbollah movement that controls Lebanon and the militant group Hamas, which is fighting Israeli forces.

Mr. Assad and many of his top officials are Alawite, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. The regime's alliance with Iran, which is Shiite-dominated and Persian, is seen as unnatural by Syria's Sunni Arab majority; Mr. Ghalioun called it "abnormal." The SNC, and Syria's broader opposition, generally support dissolving the ties.

Such a position is welcomed by U.S. and European officials, who believe Mr. Assad's overthrow could cripple Iran's ability to project its power into the Palestinian territories and Egypt.

"There will be no special relationship with Iran," Mr. Ghalioun said in the interview. "Breaking the exceptional relationship means breaking the strategic, military alliance," he said, adding that "after the fall of the Syrian regime, [Hezbollah] won't be the same."

Mr. Assad, or members of his Alawite sect, could remain in power, of course. But should Damascus break from Tehran, diplomats believe, Iran's own pro-democracy movement, snuffed out in 2009, could be reinvigorated. Efforts to contain the spread of sophisticated weapons systems could also be aided. Skepticism remains high, however, that such a development will help solve the Arab-Israel conflict, as new governments from Egypt to Tunisia appear just as committed to the Palestinian cause.

The Syrian National Council, formally established in October, serves as the face of Syria's opposition to the international community and has proposed to lead a one-year transition to democratic rule. It is the broadest-based opposition coalition since protests broke out in Syria in mid-March, unifying Sunni Muslims, Christians, Kurds, youth committees and others.

But several Damascus-based political dissidents, and newer movements for political change, say the council was formed largely outside Syria and doesn't adequately represent the spectrum of Syrian society. Factions within the SNC have differed over issues of regional autonomy, the question of foreign intervention in Syria's crisis and the role of religion and Arab nationalism in any new state. The organization has also been hobbled by the lack of operating territory inside Syria and the cohesion of Mr. Assad's military and government.

U.S. and European officials have voiced particular concern about the SNC's lack of representation for women and religious minorities. They have also said that Sunni religious groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, could end up dominating the council.

But in recent days, U.S. officials have said Mr. Ghalioun is effectively building bridges between Syria's political factions.

"He's doing an impressive job," said a U.S. official. The officials added that momentum seems to be building behind the SNC, particularly after the Arab League nations voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to impose financial sanctions on the Assad government.

Mr. Ghalioun acknowledged in the interview that the SNC has faced challenges in uniting Syria's opposition after more than 40 years of the Assad family's dictatorial rule.

He said Syria's Kurdish minority has 33 parties, making the choice of representation difficult. He said the SNC has also made a special outreach to Christians, including sending a mission to the Vatican, amid fears that Christians' religious, economic and political rights could be curtailed in a post-Assad Syria.

Indeed, he said Syria, though roughly 70% Sunni Muslim, has a history of religious and ethnic diversity that would never allow it to be dominated by Islamist parties or Islamist law.

"I don't think there's a real fear in Syria of a monopoly of Islamists, not even 10%," he said. "The Muslim Brotherhood has largely been in exile for 30 years and their internal coordination is non-existent."

Mr. Ghalioun, too, has lived abroad for decades following the seizure of power by the Baath Party and a coup by Hafez al-Assad—Mr. Assad's father—as president in 1970. Mr. Ghalioun has served as a political sociology professor at the Paris Sorbonne University, while intermittently returning to Syria to agitate for political reform. A self-declared secular Sunni, he has called for religion and state to be separate.

His role as opposition leader could end as early as this month under the committee's bylaws, but discussions are under way to potentially extend his term.

In the interview, Mr. Ghalioun stressed that Syria will remain committed to reclaiming the Golan Heights territory from Israel, which Damascus lost during the 1967 Six Day War. But he said Syria would focus its interests through negotiations rather than armed conflict or the support of proxies.

He added that a new Syrian government would normalize relations with neighboring Lebanon after decades of dominating the country through its militarily and intelligence channels. A U.N. investigation has charged members of Hezbollah with assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, a charge the group has denied.

The SNC's president joined the U.S. and European Union with charging Iran of assisting Mr. Assad in cracking down on the political rebellion. Tehran has repeatedly denied this charge. But Iranian officials, as well as Hezbollah, have been vocal in their support for the continuation of the Assad regime.

Mr. Ghalioun and the SNC have been conducting stepped-up negotiations with the Arab League, Turkey, Russia and European powers in recent days to find ways to protect Syrians and guarantee the supply of humanitarian aid, according to participants in the talks. The SNC president has met with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé and U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Turkey, which on Wednesday joined the Arab League, U.S. and European Union in imposing financial sanctions on Mr. Assad's government, has raised the possibility of establishing a buffer zone inside Syria to protect civilians from Mr. Assad's forces. Mr. Juppé and the U.S. are pressing a plan to protect international monitors inside Syria.

The SNC's chief visited the Turkish border this week to meet the commanders of the Free Syrian Army, which is made up of defectors from the mostly Sunni mid-ranks of the Syrian military. The FSA has claimed responsibility in recent weeks of at least one attack on a state security building. But Mr. Ghalioun said he had reached agreement with the FSA's commanders that their military operations would focus solely on protecting Syrian civilians and not on offensive operations.

"We don't want, after the fall of the regime in Syria, armed militias outside the control of the state," Mr. Ghalioun said. "They assured us they will implement our agreement and abide by requests not to launch any offensive operations."

Mr. Ghalioun echoed Western confidence that President Assad's leadership is untenable in the long-term due to Damascus's mounting financial woes and diplomatic isolation, saying Mr. Assad can survive only "months" more in office. U.S. and European officials believe it could take much longer.

The SNC believes Damascus's foreign-exchange reserves are now below $10 billion, its leader says; Damascus officially cites between $17 billion and $18 billion. He also said that Syria's economy will contract by at least 10% this year. Syrian economists say the government is projecting growth of around 4%.

"There isn't even 1% chance that Assad will survive," the SNC president said. "His only choice to carry on…is to continue the killing. They know that if they stop, they're over."
5361  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 03, 2011, 02:14:25 PM
"I think we've found a slogan for Newt's campaign!"

Be nice now, you will be using those nose plugs soon.   wink
5362  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - George Will rips both on: December 03, 2011, 01:20:43 PM
Very impressive defense of Newt.  There is more negative comment out there, I didn't want to pile on until I knew we had people up to the task of answering. ) Vetting him now only makes him stronger.  Some follow up:  

On the Pelosi park bench scene, yes he said it was stupid - the single most stupid thing he has done in recent memory.  Forgiveness is fine but a smart man calling a calculated move stupid now is (IMO) a brush off of the question - what he was thinking when he did it.  

Freddie Mac, mortgage historian for millions of dollars?  Not totally candid.  Lobbyists don't call it lobbying.  He was taking money to help a very anti-conservative program be more palatable to conservatives.  Mortgages are now going from 90% federal to 100%, without reform.  

On the positive side of mandate support, unlike Pelosi-Obama, Newt included the option of posting a bond instead of being forced to buy an insurance product one may not want.  Holding people personally responsibility for their own expenses is conservative.  Bringing the federal government further into healthcare is not. (MHO)

Good point on the electronic medical records.  
George Will yesterday called Gingrich the least conservative candidate of the bunch.  Ripped Romney perhaps worse.  (His wife works for Perry.)  A few specifics with mostly broad brush swipes, Newt has somehow rubbed G. Will the wrong way over the years.

Romney and Gingrich, from bad to worse  (I think the editors write the titles)
By George F. Will, Published: December 2

Republicans are more conservative than at any time since their 1980 dismay about another floundering president. They are more ideologically homogenous than ever in 156 years of competing for the presidency. They anticipated choosing between Mitt Romney, a conservative of convenience, and a conviction politician to his right. The choice, however, could be between Romney and the least conservative candidate, Newt Gingrich.

Romney’s main objection to contemporary Washington seems to be that he is not administering it. God has 10 commandments, Woodrow Wilson had 14 points, Heinz had 57 varieties, but Romney’s economic platform has 59 planks — 56 more than necessary if you have low taxes, free trade and fewer regulatory burdens. Still, his conservatism-as-managerialism would be a marked improvement upon today’s bewildered liberalism.

Gingrich, however, embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive. And there is his anti-conservative confidence that he has a comprehensive explanation of, and plan to perfect, everything.

Granted, his grandiose rhetoric celebrating his “transformative” self is entertaining: Recently he compared his revival of his campaign to Sam Walton’s and Ray Kroc’s creations of Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, two of America’s largest private-sector employers. There is almost artistic vulgarity in Gingrich’s unrepented role as a hired larynx for interests profiting from such government follies as ethanol and cheap mortgages. His Olympian sense of exemption from standards and logic allowed him, fresh from pocketing $1.6 million from Freddie Mac (for services as a “historian”), to say, “If you want to put people in jail,” look at “the politicians who profited from” Washington’s environment.

His temperament — intellectual hubris distilled — makes him blown about by gusts of enthusiasm for intellectual fads, from 1990s futurism to “Lean Six Sigma” today. On Election Eve 1994, he said a disturbed South Carolina mother drowning her children “vividly reminds” Americans “how sick the society is getting, and how much we need to change things. . . . The only way you get change is to vote Republican.” Compare this grotesque opportunism — tarted up as sociology — with his devious recasting of it in a letter to the Nov. 18, 1994, Wall Street Journal ( And remember his recent swoon over the theory that “Kenyan, anti-colonial” thinking explains Barack Obama.

Gingrich, who would have made a marvelous Marxist, believes everything is related to everything else and only he understands how. Conservatism, in contrast, is both cause and effect of modesty about understanding society’s complexities, controlling its trajectory and improving upon its spontaneous order. Conservatism inoculates against the hubristic volatility that Gingrich exemplifies and Genesis deplores: “Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.”

Obama is running as Harry Truman did in 1948, against Congress, but Republicans need not supply the real key to Truman’s success — Tom Dewey. Confident that Truman was unelectable, Republicans nominated New York’s chilly governor, whose virtues of experience and steadiness were vitiated by one fact: Voters disliked him. Before settling for Romney, conservatives should reconsider two candidates who stumbled early on.

Rick Perry (disclosure: my wife, Mari Will, advises him) has been disappointing in debates. They test nothing pertinent to presidential duties but have become absurdly important. Perry’s political assets remain his Texas record and Southwestern zest for disliking Washington and Wall Street simultaneously and equally.

Jon Huntsman inexplicably chose to debut as the Republican for people who rather dislike Republicans, but his program is the most conservative. He endorses Paul Ryan’s budget and entitlement reforms. (Gingrich denounced Ryan’s Medicare reform as “right-wing social engineering.”) Huntsman would privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Gingrich’s benefactor). Huntsman would end double taxation on investment by eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends. (Romney would eliminate them only for people earning less than $200,000, who currently pay just 9.3 percent of them.) Huntsman’s thorough opposition to corporate welfare includes farm subsidies. (Romney has justified them as national security measures — food security, somehow threatened. Gingrich says opponents of ethanol subsidies are “big-city” people hostile to farmers.) Huntsman considers No Child Left Behind, the semi-nationalization of primary and secondary education, “an unmitigated disaster.” (Romney and Gingrich support it. Gingrich has endorsed a national curriculum.) Between Ron Paul’s isolationism and the faintly variant bellicosities of the other six candidates stands Huntsman’s conservative foreign policy, skeptically nuanced about America’s need or ability to control many distant developments.

Romney might not be a Dewey. Gingrich might stop being (as Churchill said of John Foster Dulles) a bull who carries his own china shop around with him. But both are too risky to anoint today.
5363  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 03, 2011, 01:20:12 PM
"Just read BD's post.  Makes sense to me."

"All of this distracts from an emerging truth: The global economy is rapidly falling into a new recession."

True, and excellent data is presented.

We are a cause, not a victim, of the global downward trend, IMHO.  The only country capable of real leadership chose economic decline as a national economic policy and direction, and it is all interconnected.  Instead of fixing underlying problems, now we will monetize Europe? With what?
5364  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The left and the right. on: December 03, 2011, 01:27:32 AM
Robert Mundell (just taking a stab at it) is one I greatly admire. 

Looking forward to any memorable stories from Prof. Ginsburg. 

Walter Heller, who I mentioned, was a Keynesian with quite an interesting bio.  Later a Ted Kennedy adviser working on national health care and gas rationing in the late 1970s, but I believe he was noticeably to the right of the current writings of Prof. Krugman:  (1915–1987) was a leading American economist of the 1960s, and an influential advisor to President John F. Kennedy as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, 1961-64.

He was a Keynesian who promoted cuts in the marginal federal income tax rates. This tax cut, which was passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress after Kennedy's death, was credited for boosting the U.S. economy. Heller developed the first "voluntary" wage-price guidelines. When the steel industry failed to follow them, it was publicly attacked by Kennedy and quickly complied. Heller was one of the first to emphasize that tax deductions and tax preferences narrowed the income tax base, thus requiring, for a given amount of revenue, higher marginal tax rates. The historic tax cut and its positive effect on the economy has often been cited as motivation for more recent tax cuts by Republicans.

The day after Kennedy was assassinated, Heller met with President Johnson in the Oval Office. To get the country going again, Heller suggested a major initiative he called the "War on Poverty", which Johnson adopted enthusiastically. Later, when Johnson insisted on escalating the Vietnam War without raising taxes, setting the stage for an inflationary spiral, Heller resigned.

In the early phases of his career, Heller contributed to the creation of the Marshall Plan of 1947, and was instrumental in re-establishing the German currency following World War II, which helped usher an economic boom in West Germany.

Heller was critical of Milton Friedman's followers and labelled them cultish: "Some of them are Friedmanly, some Friedmanian, some Friedmanesque, some Friedmanic and some Friedmaniacs."[1]

Heller joined the University of Minnesota faculty as an associate professor of economics in 1945, left to serve in government, and returned in the 1960s, eventually serving as chair of the Department of Economics. He built it into a top-ranked department with spectacular hires, including Nobel Prize winners Leonid Hurwicz (2008) and Edward C. Prescott (2004).
5365  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive dissonance of the left - Nobel on: December 02, 2011, 07:00:18 PM
Bigdog,  I am sorry for my ad hominem attack on Nobel prize winners.  In the context of all my previous posts, I was only referring to:
 a) I cannot connect Paul Krugman the columnist with the scholarly work he did previously,
 b) Al Gore and the IPCC who made wild inflammatory claims not even following their cherry picked data, and
 c) Pres. Barack Obama after a partial term in the Senate and a minute or two in his job.

These examples devalue IMHO the international gold standard for scholarly work.  I appreciate being held to account for my statements that go over the top.

FWIW, I was taught economics by the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson who was also economic adviser to Presidential candidate Sen. Kennedy.  He taught us that his answer is the answer.  I envy those who had the prominent conservative professors, or those who present more than one viewpoint well, as I assume you strive for in your teaching.  I never personally met one.  
5366  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 02, 2011, 06:39:11 PM
"Average weekly earnings ... declined 0.1% in November but are up 1.8% versus a year ago."

"the drop in unemployment was also due to a 315,000 decline in the labor force" (People quit looking for work, why?)

The current economic growth rate is around 2%, it was 2.5% last quarter.  Breakeven growth is roughly 3.1%.  Typical or healthy growth rate coming out of a downturn this large is much higher.  Average annual real GDP growth rate from 1983 to 1990 was 4.1% according to the Joint Economic Committee of congress:
5367  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 02, 2011, 03:00:43 PM
Looking at bigdog's link I think my earlier post is wrong.  The controversial provision is NOT in the bill that passed, if I now understand it correctly.  Senators vote differently depending on how the roll call is taken or did they get that many calls last night? I will come back to repair that post of mine.  Another version of the story:

Detainee Amendment Defeated in Senate; Sen. Paul Forced Voice Vote to Prevent Erosionn of Constitutional Rights

Friday, December 2, 2011 - 14:25 Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
Sen. Rand Paul prevented the passage of an amendment that would have further eroded Americans' constitutional rights. Offered to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2012 (S.1867), amendment No. 1274 would have allowed the U.S. government to detain an American citizen indefinitely, even after they had been tried and found not guilty, until Congress declares an end to the war on terror.
5368  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending is too low on: December 02, 2011, 01:08:33 PM
Posted elsewhere that leftists think govt spending is too low.  huh

Voters sent a message to Washington a year ago.  We had fights over "CUTS" that would cripple public services last summer.  Still spending is up anther 5%.  Why?  Because of, as Crafty has argued, the services baseline budget calculations still in place, so a cut isn't a cut, it is any number lower than what some elitists in the bowels of DC determine is enough to keep excesses constant.

A larger look at what they are stealing from the economy below.  A smarter parasite would not seek to kill off the host.
5369  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive dissonance of the left- Krugman: Not enough government spending on: December 02, 2011, 12:43:00 PM
Today's column is that Europe is spending too little, but his argument is the same here.  A Nobel Laureate (aren't they all?), I don't know what it would take to call him a discredited economist/pundit.
... And here, too, we desperately need expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to support the economy as these debtors struggle back to financial health. Yet, as in Europe, public discourse is dominated by deficit scolds and inflation obsessives.

So the next time you hear someone claiming that if we don’t slash spending we’ll turn into Greece, your answer should be that if we do slash spending while the economy is still in a depression, we’ll turn into Europe. In fact, we’re well on our way.
5370  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 02, 2011, 11:30:57 AM
I heard Glen Beck today outraged by this clause today.  He makes the distinction I noticed from the Pentagon lawyer story that the determination has shifted from the military to the DOJ.

There must be another way of strengthening the hand of those disrupting cells and attacks by citizens inside our borders using imperfect information short of proof beyond all reasonable doubt in a public court but short of indefinite detention judged solely by the DOJ.  Ideas?
5371  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 01, 2011, 09:05:11 PM
"Doug, your are a buzz kill"  - I think you refer mostly to the Geraghty piece in National Review.  We can all use the sad face on that as long as you don't shoot the messenger. 

(I get no joy in bringing more bad news or negative opinions to people, so for sure don't read this: or this cutting paragraph attributed to Mark Steyn:
5372  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The cognitive dissonance of the left on: December 01, 2011, 06:49:55 PM
GM,  Welcome to my world.  The court's goal after taking them away is to keep re-uniting them with their mother, 'the best interest of the child' and start it over again.

"I Got 15 Kids & 3 Babydaddys-SOMEONE'S GONNA PAY FOR ME & MY KIDS!!!"

Fiance and father of 10 of them arrested. No!  They didn't say what he did for a living before the arrest, lol.

"Somebody needs to pay for all my children"  "Somebody needs to be held accountable"  - Yes!

Cute kids.  Adopt them out early.  And take her to a humane society to be 'fixed' - voluntarily in a plea agreement.

What is a leftist solution to correcting no-consequences behavior?
5373  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 01, 2011, 06:03:11 PM
Great coverage on the issue by bigdog.

This story about the Obama administration's view does not mention the bill.

Dec 1, 1:27 PM EST

Obama lawyers: Citizens targeted if at war with US

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. citizens are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida, top national security lawyers in the Obama administration said Thursday.
U.S. citizens don't have immunity when they're at war with the United States.

Johnson [Pentagon lawyer] said only the executive branch, not the courts, is equipped to make military battlefield targeting decisions about who qualifies as an enemy.

5374  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 01, 2011, 05:27:32 PM
"I am on the sidelines at this point between Mitt and Newt."  - Me too. I will vote for someone on Super Tuesday but it is likely over by then.  They both involve political risk at least from a conservative point of view, and the potential for greatness.  Momentum will be a huge factor in the primaries.  The one who shows he can bring in votes in different early states will look electable and electability will be the number one criteria.

"I think people overestimate Newt's baggage."  - I disagreed with D. Morris when he wrote that Newt's past would be vetted in the primaries, but I agree with that now.  As GM wrote about Mormonism, Newt past is becoming older news everyday.  It will keep you from voting for him or it won't, but there will be much bigger issues.  If he wins with evangelists in Iowa he should be fine with the more socially liberal moderates in the general election.  More likely he will annoy them some other way.  The contrast between Obama and any of them in terms of direction of the country will be striking.  That said, I do not like conceding the moral high ground on anything to this administration.

"I am not happy with the illegal position but I understand it."  - The Romney camp put that out as a big deal after the last debate.  Since then Newt is up and Mitt is down.  No one knows what to do about otherwise law abiding illegals living long term here.  The boldness of it makes Newt look like he is thinking his the way through to the general election.  Mitt's hands aren't clean on it and no one has a better answer. 

Newt was asked by Hannity how he would show that he could stay disciplined politically and he said by being disciplined.  We'll see.  If so, will he be a focused and disciplined President.  The past indicates no, but he has never been President.  Maybe yes.
5375  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The cognitive dissonance of the left on: December 01, 2011, 04:19:14 PM
"Because uncaring capitalists like you won't shell out for a personal trainer and chef for this poor woman."

GM, You must write from a red state.  In the blue states we don't joke about new entitlements.  She is already entitled to a free cab ride to her taxpayer paid sex change operation.

A tornado ran through that town this year still needing cleanup.  If she had worked off some of that welfare she would be a much thinner, healthier version of ugly.
5376  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: The President visits Occupy Wall Street on: December 01, 2011, 12:42:22 PM
Obama is visiting the 0.001%, the 0.0001%, and the 1% respectively, as he begins his evening at a private gathering in Manhattan with "25 to 30 people, each of whom paid $10,000"  Next the president travels to Gotham Bar and Grill for a fundraiser with 45 supporters who contributed $35,800 apiece, including "Caroline Kennedy, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld and Susan Sarandon.  (Source: Fair and Balanced)

5377  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The cognitive dissonance of the left on: December 01, 2011, 12:36:01 PM

Photo of Occupy poster - obese woman - protesting for more food and welfare rights.  Good grief.
Welfare Rights Committee, St. Paul, MN.
5378  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Newt in the spotlight on: December 01, 2011, 12:31:26 PM
RCP has Newt as GOP frontrunner nationwide and leading in Iowa, SC and Florida.

Rasmussen has Newt over Obama 45% - 43%.
Meanwhile... Ron Paul releases Newt hypocrisy video:
NY Times, My Man Newt, By MAUREEN DOWD  Tongue in cheek praise for Newt from the left
And this at National Review:
Newt Gingrich Said What? by Jim Geraghty

A few of Newt Gingrich’s… Not-So-Greatest Hits:

August 30, 2004: “Now he’s back, preaching the gospel of party moderation. At an Aug. 30 forum held by the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership, Gingrich heralded the GOP’s new, bigger big tent. “Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve argued in favor of electing the moderates,” Gingrich said… He even chastised the fiscally conservative Club for Growth — a group that finances primary challengers to Republican incumbents they deem too liberal — for not getting with the program. “Their strategy is explicitly wrong,” Gingrich said. “The key is to elect more Republicans and have a bigger majority and be more inclusive.”

In June 2005, the New York Times raved about a “balanced and thoughtful” report from a bipartisan task force headed by Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader, declaring, “Lawmakers should take the time to at least thumb through this report, especially those who have been demanding Secretary General Kofi Annan’s resignation, supporting the ill-conceived nomination of John Bolton as the United States ambassador to the United Nations and backing the latest benighted attempt to withhold America’s legally obligated dues.”

In October 2005, Gingrich called for “universal but confidential” DNA testing.

In April 2006, Gingrich appeared to suggest that too many U.S. troops were in Iraq. At the time, there were 23,000 127,000 U.S. troops serving in Iraq. (The previous figure referred to Afghanistan). With the surge, the number of troops in Iraq reached 162,000.

    During speaking engagements Monday at the University of South Dakota, Mr. Gingrich faulted the White House for installing an American-run government in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was driven from power.

    “It was an enormous mistake for us to try to occupy that country after June of 2003,” Mr. Gingrich told students and faculty, according to the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, S.D. “We have to pull back, and we have to recognize it.”

In November 2006, Gingrich suggested “adopting rules of engagement” that would “break up” terrorists’ “capacity to use free speech.”

    “My prediction to you is that either before we lose a city, or if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us,” Gingrich said in the transcript.

    “This is a serious problem that will lead to a serious debate about the first amendment, but I think that the national security threat of losing an American city to a nuclear weapon, or losing several million Americans to a biological attack is so real that we need to proactively, now, develop the appropriate rules of engagement,” he said.

In April 2007, he raved about the leadership skills of New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg:

    “Mayor Bloomberg’s potential presidential bid is getting a boost from a former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, and a former Democratic congressman of Tennessee, Harold Ford, who during a visit to New York praised the mayor for his leadership and ability to make government run effectively.

    During a lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel with some of the city’s biggest political donors yesterday, Mr. Gingrich said he takes his hat off to the mayor for proving government can be effective. He also credited Chancellor Joel Klein for his work in the city’s schools.

    “The effectiveness they ‘ve shown in actually getting the city to work is an integral story of what could happen in Albany or could happen in Washington if you had leadership that understood the power of metrics and understood the power of forcing really big decisions,” Mr. Gingrich said.

Also that month, he took a surprising tone at a “debate” with Sen. John Kerry on the topic of climate change.

    Before Kerry got a word in, Gingrich conceded that global warming is real, that humans have contributed to it and that “we should address it very actively.” Gingrich held up Kerry’s new book, “This Moment on Earth,” and called it “a very interesting read.” He then added a personal note about saving vulnerable species from climate change. “My name, Newt, actually comes from the Danish Knut, and there’s been a major crisis in Germany over a polar bear named Knut,” he confided.

    The warm and fuzzy Gingrich surprised Kerry, who jettisoned prepared remarks that accused the former speaker of “marching in lock step with the climate-change deniers.” Instead, Kerry found himself saying: “I’ve always enjoyed every dialogue he and I have ever had.” He added that “your statement is very, very important” and gushed: “I frankly appreciate the candor.”

    The debate ended. They shook hands. Kerry put an arm around Gingrich. Gingrich put an arm around Kerry. For a brief but terrifying moment, they appeared to be on the verge of a hug.

In 2007, he accused the Bush administration of fighting a “phony war” on terrorism, and declared “a more effective approach would begin with a national energy strategy aimed at weaning the country from its reliance on imported oil.”

In 2008, he hailed John McCain’s efforts in the crafting of the TARP legislation:

    Gingrich put out a statement hailing McCain’s eleventh-hour intervention. “This is the greatest single act of responsibility ever taken by a presidential candidate and rivals President Eisenhower saying, ‘I will go to Korea’.” Eisenhower’s pledge was enough to reassure voters that if elected he would find a way to resolve the Korean conflict. McCain’s high-octane involvement in the bailout is meant to convey the same sense of stature and leadership, and to provide cover to reluctant Republicans to support a deal that runs counter to everything they thought they stood for.

In December 2008, he criticized the RNC for its ad attacking Obama’s connections to Rod Blagojevich, calling it “a destructive distraction.”

In January 2009, he declared that newly-elected RNC Chairman Michael Steele would be “a force for real change in America.”

In February 2009, he assessed three potential Republican nominees:

    Alaska’s Governor Palin, John McCain’s running mate in 2008, could be “very formidable” as a presidential candidate in 2012, Gingrich said. But he stipulated that would be the case only if she “seeks out a group of sophisticated policy advisers” and “spends time developing a series of fairly sophisticated positions.” He noted that “Palin starts in Iowa with a substantial advantage. I think she has a very big base among the fundamentalist wing of the party.” He also mentioned two other potential Republican presidential candidates. “If the economy is still a mess a year from now, then [former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt] Romney’s economic credentials start to come back in an important way,” Gingrich said. He cautioned that “Romney has got to figure out how to close the sale.”

    And if Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison becomes governor of Texas, the second largest state, “she is an instantly formidable candidate,” Gingrich said.

The former Speaker has also found time to review 156 books on, including a rave review of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s “Positively American.”
5379  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nature: 18' Great White Shark up close on youtube on: December 01, 2011, 11:56:13 AM
Circling a 21' boat 25 miles off Wrightsville Beach, NC:
5380  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 01, 2011, 11:30:07 AM
Answering some ACLU arguments:

ACLU: "American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea?"

Sounds like innocent people picked up randomly - no, no one thinks that is a good idea.

"The answer on why now is nothing more than election season politics."

Election season politics?  Not actionable intelligence.  What poll says people want this?  Assuming they are not in on intelligence briefing and many of the 61 Senators were, I would say they are willing to say anything.

"Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead..."

Mission Accomplished, Deja Vu?

"...a worldwide military battlefield, that even extends to your hometown."

Yes, my hometown I wrote yesterday had 24 al Qaida related arrests last year and is an active recruiting point for operations at home and overseas.  We were also home to where Zacarias Moussaoui learned to land jet airliners in an equal opportunity, career advancing, training center.  And the Imams demanding buckle extensions.

Whose hometown is not affected by terrorism??

ACLU suing the Bush administration over the Patriot Act:  "The ACLU filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Michigan on behalf of six mostly Arab and Muslim-American groups."

So far, heavy hitters here are the only ones favoring the other powers but drawing a line at this one.

I don't know the right answer to this at all but current policy is that we will relentlessly chase to the furthest corners of the earth with all means possible including UAV attacks in sovereign countries killing suspected terrorists along with known innocents, but we will not stop you if you hide right here in plain sight.
5381  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 01, 2011, 10:29:20 AM
Yes, GM's response knocked me off my chair - a Nixon going to China moment.  Maybe we take up drug legalization during his unexplained softness.   wink

The plot thickens on the Kopel post last paragraph update.  The first story left the impression that the house and Senate were giving powers to the administration that they would veto, but their objection is allegedly not directed at that. This needs to be sorted out.

I don't like to be on the side of limiting freedom, especially arguing alone to limit freedom in America, but there is some burden on the opponents to say how you will then fight large scale terrorism.

Sending it back to committee or running a 40% deficit in terror fighting successes for a dozen years doesn't work in this case if the need is now.

Rand Paul video:
He is the lead opponent and makes great points, but the speech was already written with his opposition to the Patriot Act, to the Iraq war and to any power that goes beyond traditional law enforcement.  That does not answer the threat IMO.  If they blow up the Superdome this winter like the Oklahoma City bombing and then track back the clues for a couple of years and maybe catch and prosecute two guys.  It doesn't work that way; suicide bombers are immune to prosecution and the timeline is backwards.  We don't know about the destruction until after it happens; the 'law enforcement' operation must be conducted in advance of 'the crime' or it is of no value.

Hypothetical: It is the summer of 2001 again.  We are partly onto the hijacker plot to destroy the largest symbols of America.  We have about half the pieces of the puzzle put together and are missing the other half.  Your team is in charge of disrupting the operation.  Assume these players are American citizens this time, not Saudi nationals on expired visas that cops pulled over and let go.  But each player and each piece of the puzzle looks small when viewed alone and the larger plan looks like a fantasy when articulated to a local judge.  I want the operation disrupted.  No one wants abuse of the powers but I want emergency powers to be available.

I don't know what liberty Rand Paul refers to if we live in terror. 

Ten years since the Patriot Act (Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism), it wasn't ordinary Americans who lost liberties, it is the ones with unexplained contacts and cooperation with enemies sworn to destroy us.  When you take up the cause of the enemy at a time like this while we are actively under attack, your 'citizenship' is a bookkeeping error to me.  If you are fully innocent and uninvolved and your contact with a known terrorist was accidental, I sincerely doubt your detention will be permanent.  It is the people operating in the gray areas such as meeting regularly with (free speech?) and/or supporting in small ways the forces of our destruction that have the potential to lose rights here. 

I am grateful to be on this board where questions like this are brought forward and scrutinized.
5382  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 30, 2011, 11:00:32 PM
I should add that my support for any enhanced police power in the name of terrorism includes this caveat : any law enforcement officer or government official who uses this power for purposes other than what is specified and intended shall also be detained indefinitely at Guantanamo.
5383  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 30, 2011, 01:02:06 PM
Torn makes sense and so does distrust. The gunrunner op makes you wonder.  I hate the airport security drill and being their subject.  Still, we give them the tools.  How would you prove the Delray Beach Florida residents with expired visas in the summer of 2001 were going to blow up airplanes, catch them with a box cutter?  A meeting in Hamburg, a camp in Afghan?  I don't know but I wish we had disrupted them.  If enough pieces of the puzzle form around you, I want tools to be available for your detention.  If you are innocent but carrying too many pieces of the puzzle and too close to the people who are involved, there is no good answer to that, it may take time to sort that out.  Every drone strike and every war hits innocent people too. I really don't believe we will fill Guantanamo with peace seeking, law abiding citizens.

Indefinitely only means we hold will you until radical Islam quits its war against us.
5384  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 30, 2011, 12:11:40 PM
"Where do you draw the line?"

Yes.  Draw the line.  We are at war.  Traditional punishments don't apply to suicide bombing.  What is an after the fact answer for suicide bombing?  The last big one brought us two wars and 10 years in Afghanistan.

What is "terrorism"?  - Really?  Still confused after all these years, all these attacks?  9/11, WTC-I, Cole, embassies, London, Madrid, Bali.  Anyone remember Munich?

These aren't either party's political opponents we are housing at Guantanamo.

This rule doesn't say lock anyone up, it says don't tie the hands of the people we elect and choose to protect us. 

It is a harsh rule, so don't have even casual contact with known terrorists.  If you call a known terrorist by accident, hang up quickly.  If you go to their meeting by mistake, try to get out, stay off their mailing list and speed dial.  We are at war.

2 of the Dem senators leading the effort were from Michigan which was both a stronghold and a target. LAX was a target too, IIRC.  Would you like it protected, then these are the tools.  Senators on key committees see intelligence that we don't see.  You would think the heavy number of liberty seeking peace loving Democrats alone, along with those liberty hating war mongering Republicans would demonstrate that current, known threats are still quite strong.

Proof beyond all reasonable doubt doesn't apply in war and the fight against homegrown terrorism is certainly the hardest war to fight.
5385  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 30, 2011, 10:26:46 AM
There is an irony that if Cain drops for adultery reasons Gingrich will benefit.

More irony, it could be Romney soon challenging Gingrich to a series of two-way Lincoln Douglas style debates.
On paper Perry is still the most conservative challenger with perhaps the best resume.  On the radio yesterday he sounded sharp.  Then in person in NH he made more gaffes.  None worse than Obama, but more gaffes right when he needs to be at the top of his game.  The gaffes like Bachmann are on peripheral points.  If the Republic is near collapse, why are you BSing about anything other than your top 3 or top 5 points?

Other favorites of mine did not hold up to the bright lights of pressure.  Besides Fred Thompson, I remember watching Jack Kemp freeze up in a VP debate on questions he would normally hit out of the park.

I don't care about their ability to debate but I do care about electability and ability to govern.
5386  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 30, 2011, 10:07:25 AM
From the detainment piece: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)..."We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge."

With a degree in history, I am surprised she isn't aware of WWII.  This would be for cause where FDR's Executive Order 9066 was for ethnicity.

No one IMO likes waiving fair trial rights, but terrorism and war is different than crime.  It is good news that both support and opposition to this not partisan.  16 Democrats voted for the "harsh detainee rules": Sens. Bob Casey (Pa.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), Herb Kohl (Wis.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Carl Levin (Mich.), Joe Manchin (W. Va.), Clair McCaskill (Mo.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.). plus Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.).

Minneapolis' Somali population had 24 al Qaida related arrests last year.  Carl Levin's Michigan is home to Detroit suburb Dearborn, MI which has the highest concentration of Arab and Islam of any American city (about 1/3 of 100,000) and some radical Islam problems.  Both Michigan Dems voted for it; neither of the MN Dems did.
5387  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 30, 2011, 09:22:53 AM
Paraphrasing good humor from James Tarranto WSJ 'Obama's path to 270', keep in mind Obama is trying to get to 270 starting with 2008 count of 365.  I hope he makes it to 270 and further, at least to 268!
I agree with Crafty on Romney and China.  I'm not fully on board with the exchange rate argument but intellectual property theft isn't funny anymore and there are other areas of contention.  We can voice and push our concerns and win some ground without starting a trade war by doing that, not by only buddying up and accepting the status quo.
Regarding Huntsman, being a fiscal conservative with the Utah budget is different than being a fiscal conservative in Washington today.  We are 40% out of balance!  None of them, not even Bachmann, will cut spending now by 40% or anything close to that, so they are all pragmatists and none of them conservative.  Oops did I forget about Ron Paul...

But my question to JDN was really about Huntsman's economic plan versus Obama's, not Huntsman compared to other Republicans. Huntsman is to the right of me in his economic plan, he would ELIMINATE the federal tax on capital gains, and I would not.  His top marginal tax rate cut makes the 1980 candidate Reagan look timid.  Reagan proposed to cut all rates across the board by 30%.  Huntsman's top rate cut on the wealthy is 42% from where the are scheduled to go right now in current law. 

I understand that you like and trust Huntsman for these other areas, that he is sounding centrist themes, and that none of us get all we want in a candidate, but my question is narrower.  With Huntsman coming in to the right of me, isn't the Obama's economic plan closer to the economic views you have argued for on the board than Huntsman's?
5388  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The cognitive dissonance of the left: Barney Frank on: November 29, 2011, 09:58:14 PM
Continuing from media issues, Crafty wrote: "It goes far deeper and far worser than missing the call.  He [Rep. Barney Frank] actively drove the disaster [Housing Freddie Fannie crisis]."


CRA and everything about affordable housing means making decisions on criteria other than creditworthiness and likelihood of paying the loan back.

"Beginning in 1992 and continuing through 2007, Fannie and Freddie were required to meet affordable housing goals established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. For most of these years, Frank was the staunchest defender of this policy."

That is what is was and he is who was driving it.

But Frank blames Republicans who controlled the house from 1995 through 2006.  Also true.  That is what we call RINOs, the go-along crowd.  These are liberal policies, but a coalition of Dems and RINOs is a governing majority even when Republicans in name control the House.

Flashback, here is Barney Frank at the end, chair of the committee, hellbent on cutting off Michele Bachmann's questioning of Geithner and Bernancke March 2009 (Rep. Bachmann and the 3 stooges):
5389  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gallup on Glibness: Lowest approval rating at this point since... ? on: November 29, 2011, 02:27:12 PM
What is sad for Obama is that this disapproval is happening while everything is going according to plan.  He got the debt limit increase he wanted, the spending, the stimuli, the QE, the economy is growing, we got bin Laden, won the war in Libya, other wars are ending, and unemployment is in line with what you expect for welfare state social democracies, actually below Greece, France and the EU overall.

Gallup didn't find any President with a lower approval at this point in the Presidency:

-- Barack Obama: 43 percent.

-- James Carter: 51 percent.

-- Harry S. Truman: 54 percent.

-- Dwight Eisenhower: 78 percent.

-- Lyndon B. Johnson: 44 percent.

-- Richard M. Nixon: 50 percent.

-- Ronald Reagan: 54 percent.

-- George H.W. Bush: 52 percent.

-- Bill Clinton: 51 percent.

-- George W. Bush: 55 percent.
5390  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: American Airlines signs up for Obamanomics on: November 29, 2011, 01:53:15 PM
Obama administration wants high fossil fuel costs and lower consumption.  Mission accomplished.  That is the opposite of prosperity and it isn't a failure of capitalism.

American Airlines files for Ch. 11 protection

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines' parent company is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it seeks to unload massive debt built up by years of accelerating jet fuel prices and labor struggles.
5391  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics: Thatcher - Create a society of Haves, not a class of them on: November 29, 2011, 01:27:39 PM
In 1987, Mrs Thatcher flew to Moscow to meet the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. In their famous conversations (not shown in the film), Gorbachev rounded on her. As she recalled it, “His view was that the British Conservative Party was the party of the 'haves’ in Britain and that our system of 'bourgeois democracy’ was designed to fool people about who really controlled the levers of power.” But she hit back: “I explained that what I was trying to do was to create a society of 'haves’, not a class of them.”
5392  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: November 29, 2011, 12:45:40 PM
CCP: "Great One was going to improve our relationships abroad."

Being liked, it was thought, is to be more like them.  Unarmed, vulnerable, broke, waiting for others to solve problems, lead from behind, talk of American excesses, capitalism excesses, fossil fuel excesses, apology tour, bowing, bone-headed gifts, etc etc

As I was (twice) reading the Caroline Glick piece, 'Call it by its proper name', I was recalling how all the pundits, advisers, media, experts, opponents, foreign leaders etc. just couldn't stand it when Pres. Reagan called the Soviet Union the evil empire.  I think they had 100 million deaths on their hands - worse than Hitler, offered zero freedom, locked people in, took over nearly half the world, still expanding, constantly threatening us, how can you call that an evil empire?  A focus group pollster or friendship counselor would never have approved of that.  Our own allies were outraged.

June 12 1987 Reagan said "Tear down this wall" - against all advice.  Nov 9 1989 the wall came down.

Wanting to be liked often leads you in the wrong direction.  I would prefer to be respected.

5393  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Best line of the campaign so far on: November 29, 2011, 12:25:09 PM
As Crafty said, Newt could shadow and taunt the President into extended debates with him.  Here is the taunt:

I will challenge him to 7 Lincoln Douglas style debates, no moderator, 2 adults, talking about the nation...

"If he wants to use a teleprompter that will be fine with us."
5394  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 29, 2011, 12:14:02 PM
JDN: I would have voted for him. [Huntsman]

Someday maybe you can explain your support for concepts further to the left economically with your support for Huntsman that continued after his rather bold and conservative economic plan came out.  Centrists puzzle me more than leftists. 

Regarding Huntsman, I never heard him tout what I thought was his biggest accomplishment in Utah, advancement of relatively cleaner and more locally sourced natural gas use in transportation.  Gas station sign in Utah 2008:
5395  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 29, 2011, 11:48:31 AM
Good memory about Gary Hart, that episode ran counter to my rule.   In his case it was current rather than dragged from the past and it may have been stupidity over infidelity. He also had a more solid and qualified competitor ready to be nominee if he showed any sign of stumble so there wasn't much question about dumping him. The Gennifer Flowers revelation might have derailed anyone but Clinton.  Maybe it would have brought him down if it came out earlier but that field at that time didn't have much else.  The real point might be deeper - powerful men (like Tiger Woods) aren't very faithful - another rule with exceptions...
Media coverage of the allegations against Cain makes sense because it is newsworthy - we are trying to vet these guys and we don't want to be blindsided later.  In the case of Politico, the obsession is bizarre  considering how little they had.  That was a business decision.  They wanted to keep their ownership of the story above any fair and balanced consideration.

GM is right IMO on John Edwards, the 'real' press wouldn't touch it until after he was out.  (already discussed while I was writing)

Ted Kennedy was a pretty serious challenger for the Presidency in 1980 even with all his baggage.  He almost upended a sitting President in his own party.  I agree with the BD assessment that Americans wouldn't let him be President for his personal past, but Democrats almost chose him.  His crime was far more serious (2 month suspended sentence embarassed).  From the left, his problem had to do with his electability with the center.  To Democrats, he was a hero. They kept him to represent their own state and they accepted him as a national figure; they just didn't trust the rest of us to vote this despicable man up or down. (As a hit and run victim, I can call him despicable, contemptible, vile.) Which Senate term was he in when the waitress sandwich allegation landed or when the drunken skirt chasing while married evening ended with his companion nephew charged with rape.  Neither of those resulted in the Mass. media or Dem electorate insisting he step down.  A sad reflection on all who admired him IMHO.

With JFK and LBJ, yes times were different in that voters didn't really know of the affairs.  My point is that knowledge later does not stain their honor with those who honor their service, but an allegation against a conservative... that is over the line!

It is the politicians who bring their pretty wives and charming children to the podiums at the rallies and into the photos in the brochures to show us what a man they are because of their dedication to marriage and family.  Certainly Bill Clinton did that, and JFK.  There was hardly a Newt sentence from the 1990s that didn't start with Marianne and I. His dedication to her is part of who he is. Or not.  Now without explanation it is Callista and I. At least Cain mostly kept his wife out of it.

Reagan was the first divorced President with 2 kids from each marriage, a potential character flaw.  One side focused on his right wing extremism and the other side liked where he was headed, so nothing came of that.

Cain is out for other reasons I think, but this seals it.  Newt is Newt - a unique case.   We will see, but I predicted Romney.  Nobody is perfect but Republicans in general don't like running against the character question.
5396  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 29, 2011, 12:21:02 AM
You can judge Newt.  I was writing about the voters' dilemma.  Weiner is disgusting.  In general, Republicans purge their most disgusting as they are discovered.  Democrats often don't.  Weiner almost wouldn't leave.  Marion Barry, the guy with the 100k in the freezer, Ted Kennedy, Dodd, Frank...  Just my observation. Did one of those guys really drown the girl, not call for help, then win reelection with 62% of the vote the next year and go on to serve 8 more 6-year terms and to become the 3rd longest serving senator in U.S History?

Mary Jo Kopechne, dead at 28
As for adulterers in the White House: Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton - more than half of recent Dems.  Judge whomever you want.  I already predicted Newt isn't the nominee.  Same guy on the other side - no problem.

Obama and Huntsman are one allegation away from being the subject here.
5397  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / WSJ: A funny thing happened on the way to the climate apocalypse on: November 28, 2011, 11:25:35 PM
Consider the case of global warming, another system of doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen.

As with religion, it is presided over by a caste of spectacularly unattractive people pretending to an obscure form of knowledge that promises to make the seas retreat and the winds abate. As with religion, it comes with an elaborate list of virtues, vices and indulgences. As with religion, its claims are often non-falsifiable, hence the convenience of the term "climate change" when thermometers don't oblige the expected trend lines. As with religion, it is harsh toward skeptics, heretics and other "deniers." And as with religion, it is susceptible to the earthly temptations of money, power, politics, arrogance and deceit.

This week, the conclave of global warming's cardinals are meeting in Durban, South Africa, for their 17th conference in as many years. The idea is to come up with a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire next year, and to require rich countries to pony up $100 billion a year to help poor countries cope with the alleged effects of climate change. This is said to be essential because in 2017 global warming becomes "catastrophic and irreversible," according to a recent report by the International Energy Agency.

Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the climate apocalypse. Namely, the financial apocalypse.

The U.S., Russia, Japan, Canada and the EU have all but confirmed they won't be signing on to a new Kyoto. The Chinese and Indians won't make a move unless the West does. The notion that rich (or formerly rich) countries are going to ship $100 billion every year to the Micronesias of the world is risible, especially after they've spent it all on Greece.

Cap and trade is a dead letter in the U.S. Even Europe is having second thoughts about carbon-reduction targets that are decimating the continent's heavy industries and cost an estimated $67 billion a year. "Green" technologies have all proved expensive, environmentally hazardous and wildly unpopular duds.

All this has been enough to put the Durban political agenda on hold for the time being. But religions don't die, and often thrive, when put to the political sidelines. A religion, when not physically extinguished, only dies when it loses faith in itself.

That's where the Climategate emails come in. First released on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit two years ago and recently updated by a fresh batch, the "hide the decline" emails were an endless source of fun and lurid fascination for those of us who had never been convinced by the global-warming thesis in the first place.

But the real reason they mattered is that they introduced a note of caution into an enterprise whose motivating appeal resided in its increasingly frantic forecasts of catastrophe. Papers were withdrawn; source material re-examined. The Himalayan glaciers, it turned out, weren't going to melt in 30 years. Nobody can say for sure how high the seas are likely to rise—if much at all. Greenland isn't turning green. Florida isn't going anywhere.

The reply global warming alarmists have made to these dislosures is that they did nothing to change the underlying science, and only improved it in particulars. So what to make of the U.N.'s latest supposedly authoritative report on extreme weather events, which is tinged with admissions of doubt and uncertainty? Oddly, the report has left climate activists stuttering with rage at what they call its "watered down" predictions. If nothing else, they understand that any belief system, particularly ones as young as global warming, cannot easily survive more than a few ounces of self-doubt.

Meanwhile, the world marches on. On Sunday, 2,232 days will have elapsed since a category 3 hurricane made landfall in the U.S., the longest period in more than a century that the U.S. has been spared a devastating storm. Great religions are wise enough to avoid marking down the exact date when the world comes to an end. Not so for the foolish religions. Expect Mayan cosmology to take a hit to its reputation when the world doesn't end on Dec. 21, 2012. Expect likewise when global warming turns out to be neither catastrophic nor irreversible come 2017.

And there is this: Religions are sustained in the long run by the consolations of their teachings and the charisma of their leaders. With global warming, we have a religion whose leaders are prone to spasms of anger and whose followers are beginning to twitch with boredom. Perhaps that's another way religions die.
5398  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics: Equality of rights or results? Sowell, Piven, Friedman, 1980 on: November 28, 2011, 11:19:39 PM
5 minutes, vintage, very interesting, still relevant.  Bringing it here from the political side by request.

Economics: Equality of rights or results? Sowell, Piven, Friedman 1980

Discussion between Thomas Sowell and Frances Fox Piven with Milton Friedman
5399  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: CO2 to warming link weaker than previously thought on: November 28, 2011, 10:08:58 PM
More coverage IBD of the story CCP already posted from the Economist.
The study in the journal Science found that global temperatures appear to be far less sensitive to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere than originally estimated...The study's findings are simple and devastating. "This implies that the effect of CO2 on climate is less than previously thought," said Oregon State University's Andreas Schmittner, the study's main author.
5400  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Cain affair? Gennifer Flowers, double standard on: November 28, 2011, 09:59:37 PM
I don't know when these problems accumulate to the point of counting without evidence.  If true I agree with one opinion I heard expressed today.  The double standard the media applies to Republicans and especially conservative Republicans is a fact.  Rather than scream out unfair, we should embrace the higher standard as part of our brand.  We hold our candidates to a higher standard.  It is what we do, not just because they do.

Elephant in the room is that front runner Gingrich has the same problem as the new Cain accusation.

I don't like where the accuser reflexively gets examined, however if you want to get at veracity that comes next. ABC News is on it:
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