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5351  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics of Health Care: vitiating elements of a contract on: March 24, 2012, 01:17:14 PM
Followup on contract law which is taught both in business school as well as legal training:  The elements of a valid contract always first require competent parties which I would presume to be someone capable of freely choosing whether to enter or not enter the contract.  Also required is 'consideration'.  Googling around I found this description of the validity of consideration:  "The payment doesn't need to be a fair payment. The courts will not intervene where one party has made a hard bargain unless fraud, duress or unconscionable conduct is involved."

Whoops, that link came from Australia.  http://www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/four-essential-elements-of-a-contract/  They aren't allowed to look at foreign law for guidance, right?

Here's another take on it: "The vitiating factors or elements are misrepresentation, duress, undue influence and certain forms of mistake."  http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_vitiating_elements_of_valid_a_contract

There use to be an out-clause when our state auto insurance became 'mandatory' for motorists:  you could post a bond or other assets as another way to demonstrate financial responsibility up to the minimum requirements of the new law.  Speaking of auto insurance, the closest I've come to empathizing with a rape victim was when I had to Geico that I needed to change the bank account of my auto-pay.  They went through every imaginable personal question possible just short of asking me what I was wearing.  What will be your right of privacy with your new, state run health insurance company (do they get to know your first elementry school attended and your mother's maiden name?), and who will be overseeing their ability to pay?  Dodd Frank with a side payment to Newt to keep down the scrutiny?

In the case of financial responsibility pertaining to healthcare, I believe it is the loose freedom of personal bankruptcy that allows young, healthy, financially able people to avoid the risk that they may have to pay for large unforeseen healthcare costs for the rest of their lives if the don't freely choose to procure insurance.  People wipe out these debts in amounts that are only a fraction of a year's income in our court system.  Funny that many other debts cannot be wiped out in bankruptcy: tax debt, child support, and student loans are examples.  It is quite a strange web that we weave to convince ourselves that the most egregious destruction ever of our most intimate privacy rights is given up in the name of 'necessary and proper'.  What a bunch of bs.
5352  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / George Will: Is your health insurance a contract? on: March 24, 2012, 09:40:43 AM
"The individual mandate is incompatible with centuries of contract law. This is so because a compulsory contract is an oxymoron."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamacares-rewriting-of-contract-law/2012/03/23/gIQAVuFmWS_story.html

George F. Will
    Opinion Writer

Obamacare’s contract problem

View Photo Gallery —  Both supporters and opponents of the Affordable Care Act are organizing efforts to raise support for their respective sides when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the health-care law in late March.

By George F. Will,

On Monday the Supreme Court begins three days of oral arguments concerning possible — actually, probable and various — constitutional infirmities in Obamacare. The justices have received many amicus briefs, one of which merits special attention because of the elegant scholarship and logic with which it addresses an issue that has not been as central to the debate as it should be.

Hitherto, most attention has been given to whether Congress, under its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce, may coerce individuals into engaging in commerce by buying health insurance. Now the Institute for Justice (IJ), a libertarian public interest law firm, has focused on this fact: The individual mandate is incompatible with centuries of contract law. This is so because a compulsory contract is an oxymoron.

The brief, the primary authors of which are the IJ’s Elizabeth Price Foley and Steve Simpson, says that Obamacare is the first time Congress has used its power to regulate commerce to produce a law “from which there is no escape.” And “coercing commercial transactions” — compelling individuals to sign contracts with insurance companies — “is antithetical to the foundational principle of mutual assent that permeated the common law of contracts at the time of the founding and continues to do so today.”

In 1799, South Carolina’s highest court held: “So cautiously does the law watch over all contracts, that it will not permit any to be binding but such as are made by persons perfectly free, and at full liberty to make or refuse such contracts. . . . Contracts to be binding must not be made under any restraint or fear of their persons, otherwise they are void.” Throughout the life of this nation it has been understood that for a contract to be valid, the parties to it must mutually assent to its terms — without duress.

In addition to duress, contracts are voidable for reasons of fraud upon, or the mistake or incapacity of, a party to the contract. This underscores the centrality of the concept of meaningful consent in contract law. To be meaningful, consent must be informed and must not be coerced. Under Obamacare, the government will compel individuals to enter into contractual relations with insurance companies under threat of penalty.

Also, the Supreme Court in Commerce Clause cases has repeatedly recognized, and Congress has never before ignored, the difference between the regulation and the coercion of commerce. And in its 10th Amendment cases (“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people”), the court has specifically forbidden government to compel contracts.

In 1992, the court held unconstitutional a law compelling states to “take title to” radioactive waste. The court said this would be indistinguishable from “a congressionally compelled subsidy from state governments” to those who produced the radioactive waste. Such commandeering of states is, the court held, incompatible with federalism.

The IJ argues: The 10th Amendment forbids Congress from exercising its commerce power to compel states to enter into contractual relations by effectively forcing states to “buy” radioactive waste. Hence “the power to regulate commerce does not include the power to compel a party to take title to goods or services against its will.” And if it is beyond Congress’s power to commandeer the states by compelling them to enter into contracts, it must likewise be beyond Congress’s power to commandeer individuals by requiring them to purchase insurance. Again, the 10th Amendment declares that any powers not given to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people.

Furthermore, although the Constitution permits Congress to make laws “necessary and proper” for executing its enumerated powers, such as the power to regulate interstate commerce, it cannot, IJ argues, be proper to exercise that regulatory power in ways that eviscerate “the very essence of legally binding contracts.”

More at the link.
5353  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 23, 2012, 07:23:20 PM
"Having mentally filed her as "progressive harpy", I don't spend any time watching RM, but apart from getting some of her facts wrong in BD's post, that was one helluva rant"

Yes.  Like following and responding to Krugman, she is relevant.  That is as close to a story line on Mitt Romney that they will get.  Note that the question of whether or not he is a better or worse liar than the President and the administration is a side-step from who has a better vision for the future.  What scares them most is that it is now Mitt Romney with his various moving positions on the issues who offers the blank slate for the voter to paint on.  Case in point: I am to the right of Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and Dick Cheney too for that matter, but stand ready to cast my Presidential vote for Mitt Romney and take my chances.

Key 'lies outlined by Maddow:

'Lie' #1:  [Obama inherited a recession and] ..."he made it worse".  It took her to 7:18 on the tape to get to a point, any point, and that was her lead.

She points to the less than breakeven 'growth' in the economy to 'prove' him a liar.  The unemployment rate went down while the workforce participation rate collapsed.  In my estimation he made it worse by adding additional long-term, structural problems on top of the problems we already had and corrected none of the underlying faults.  He took emergency spending levels and made them permanent.  He took impending tax rate increases and made them impending again in 2 years.  He took a housing correction and did everything he could to keep it from correcting.  He took the automobile industry and put the rule of law and rules of limited government on its ear.  He did everything he could to make energy unaffordable, then points to increased private production at the higher prices he caused as his doing.  He took away my health plan when he said that no one would lose their current health plan.  He put people into EPA that can regulate what we exhale and he put two people on the supreme court sure to rationalize the role of unlimited government, which will be tested starting next week.  He made it worse and finally someone said so.  The brilliance politically in that statement is that it begs the followup question which lewads to the unraveling of the administrations economic record.

'Lie' #2: [After he was a one term governor] he left the world of politics to go back into private business.

She points out that the he declared his candidacy for the presidency only 30 days later, not really leaving the world of politics.  Interesting point with some validity, except that in terms of income, unlike Newt at Freddie Mac, Santorum as a lobbyist, and Obama as a public office holder and selling his public office fame at the bookstore, Romney was not on the public payroll in any way.  He was supported by his private investments and really quite a long shot for President in 2008.

[Mass. healthcare] 'was only for our state, our circumstance'.  Yes, it is a haven for liberals and they were going to have healthcare with or without Mitt Romney.  But Obama could learn "a thing or two" from what we did in Massachusetts?    - I can see a distinction there.  She cannot? Learn a thing or two, like to do it state by state instead of against the US constitutions is a distinction.  Not exactly on a par with the Commander in Chief understating in a public address on crucial economic policies the oil reserves of the United States of America by 20-fold!

[He promised to lower the deficit] but 'he doubled it'.    - Clearly wrong but I see a couple of escape routes.  Obvious to me that he was mis-speaking about doubling the debt not the deficit (as they all do).  Obama was maintaining emergency levels of spending and expanding them for as far as the eye can see.  His budgets projected out double the debt and already surpassed 8 years of Bush.  If you take his full career in Washington instead of his Presidency, since taking the majority in congress and de facto leadership in the Senate he has more than doubled the deficit.  The deficit was less than $300 billion when Dems including Obama took power and more than 4 times that in his Presidency, all accumulating with interest.  Hardly a lie in underlying meaning even if the words were convoluted or wrong.

Maddow:  'We should take this seriously'...'Americans deserve better' ... this is "unprecedented deceit".    - Oh really?  The campaign season will bring out the deceit Romney will be running against, while yes, he better get his own factual act together.  Besides the lies I have attributed to the President on matters crucial to our prosperity and survival, I recall the factual errors of Joe Biden in the VP debate as enough to turn any stomach and the free pass he got from the press on that as enough reason for anyone rational and informed to give up on politics.

There is nothing unprecedented about having to go back through any of these people's words and sort out the truth for yourself.
5354  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science: Beacon on: March 23, 2012, 10:20:54 AM
"If I remember correctly Beacon was a favorite of the Huber-Mills "Powercosm" off-shoot from George Gilder in the year 2000.  Pretty nifty technology having to do with flywheels keeping the quality of electricity high.  It surged after being picked by Huber-Mills.  I was amongst those that stayed too long at the party and lost money.  Now, twelve years after I was the fool, Team Obama catches up with me."

Pres. Obama's premature exuberance at industries and technologies is a bit reminiscent of Gilder, but with far less effort and knowledge, and he chooses them for the wrong reasons.  People in the know tell him these are neat technologies (in need of subsidy).  Gilder believed the market would prove him right and if true getting in early is profitable.  Obama believes partly that we can get in early because he is smarter than the other people not doing that, but he also has the more fascist view that we don't care what the market thinks because we are control the direction.  He is wrong.  Where his subsidy and preference picks made no sense or were poorly timed, the federal cash infusion served only to temporarily block that information. 

Gilder and Huber-Mills hit winners from time to time.  Obama's picks are bad by definition because the good ones do not require public subsidy to succeed.
5355  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science - Truth about US oil reserves, it's not 2% on: March 23, 2012, 10:03:05 AM
CCP,  Yeah, I capitalized the L-word (LIE) trying to make sure I wasn't using this by accident or mistake.  I had this argument with JDN about oil reserves.  I was wrong he argued because I came to the information through a blog versus his info which came straight from the President and wikipedia.  I care about the truth, not the source and the truth is what holds up after more and more people look deeper into it.  Rep. Buerkle and GM post take the numbers straight from Obama administration sources.  OBAMA IS OFF BY 20-FOLD on a crucial, strategic question.  In the US, proven oil reserves is a legal term controlled by the SEC.  If you don't have the government permit to drill it, it isn't an oil reserve even if every geological scientist on earth agrees it is oil down there, recoverable oil.

He is wrong just in the fact that he downplays the importance of oil, oil prices and oil reserves.  We deserve a President who knows the significance.  For the carless Sec. Chu, he had his eye opened to the possibility of how it would hurt someone who happened to require transportation.  He could see the significance there - in the hypothetical.

The difference between a mistake and a lie is that, like the Obama's mom health insurance story, they stay with the untruth after they have it pointed out that it just isn't so.  Known or should have known, in this case they own and run the agency that proves them wrong - by 20-fold!
5356  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / In rebuilt Grozny, Chechnya, an awkward peace with Russia on: March 22, 2012, 04:26:46 PM
Very interesting tidbits in this story such as the trade of Presidential votes for autonomy.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/in-rebuilt-grozny-an-awkward-peace-with-russia/article2365069/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=Home&utm_content=2365069

In rebuilt Grozny, an awkward peace with Russia
mark mackinnon
GROZNY— From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 09, 2012 6:33PM EST
Last updated Sunday, Mar. 11, 2012 9:39PM EDT

It looks triumphant: Vladimir Putin’s portrait hanging over a peaceful commercial street in Grozny, the capital of a Chechen Republic he went to war to keep as part of Russia. The boulevard was even given a new name to reinforce that impression of conquest; what was once Victory Avenue, marking the Soviet Union’s defeat of the Nazis in the Second World War, is now called Putin Avenue.

Beneath the portrait, something has indeed been accomplished. Where once there was only rubble (I stood on Victory Avenue in wartime 10 years ago and failed to find a single building undamaged by heavy weapons fire) is now a tree-lined boulevard framed by marble-fronted buildings housing cafés, pizzerias and advertising agencies.

When Russian voters returned Mr. Putin to the presidency last week, they did so in part because he is seen as having brought something like stability to Chechnya after almost two decades of no-holds-barred warfare here that often and horrifyingly spilled over into Moscow and other Russian cities. But in Grozny, it feels like it’s the Chechens – not Mr. Putin – who got what they wanted from the wars.

Chechnya today is ruled by Chechens under a form of Islamic law. Russia has maintained its territorial integrity, but the Russians who lived here once are gone, and few have any desire to ever see Grozny again. It’s easy to wonder whether two wars and some 160,000 deaths could have been avoided if the two sides had been willing to accept the awkward compromise they have now.

It’s Ramzan Kadyrov, a one-time rebel whom human-rights groups accuse of murder and torture, who really rules Chechnya. (At the south end of Putin Avenue is the city’s main Kadyrov Square, where a neon sign reads “Thank You Ramzan for Grozny!”) He maintains something resembling stability through a constant display of arms – Kalashnikov-toting police direct traffic in the city – and by dispensing billions of rubles from the Kremlin treasury, the price Moscow pays to have Mr. Kadyrov do the dirty work of fighting Chechnya’s remaining Islamic militants.

Another part of the Faustian pact Mr. Putin struck with Mr. Kadyrov was laid plain during the presidential election. According to the official count, an astounding 99.7 per cent of Chechens cast their ballots for Mr. Putin, though it’s easy to find those who say they voted otherwise or not at all.

Stuffed ballot boxes and Putin portraits aside, the state Mr. Kadyrov is building more closely resembles a Middle Eastern sultanate than any part of the Russian Federation. Facets of sharia law are in place – it’s the only part of Russia where alcohol isn’t freely bought and sold, and women who work for the government are required to wear head scarves. And the previously flat skyline is taking on a taste of Dubai, with a clutch of soaring skyscrapers and one of the largest mosques on the continent. The lone portrait of Mr. Putin is outnumbered by hundreds of smiling pictures of Ramzan and his father, Akhmad Kadyrov, the former Chechen president who was assassinated in a 2004 bombing as he sat in the VIP bleachers of the city’s main soccer stadium.

“I was a child of war. There was nothing good in our lives. Today, people come here from other republics to shop,” said Zalina Bisayeva, the 25-year-old manager of a boutique that sells Chechen-designed men’s and women’s clothing. “Everything is better now thanks to our President, Ramzan Kadyrov.”

Most jarringly, other than a military base beside Akhmad Kadyrov Airport, there are almost no Russians to be seen. (In a cruel twist of fate, nearly all of the 200,000 Russians who once lived here were killed or driven out by their own army's repeated sieges of the city.) The signs on the streets are still in Russian, but the language of life is Chechen.  (Click 'next page' at the link.)
5357  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: March 22, 2012, 04:07:03 PM
The campaign is still lying about Obama's mom's battle with her insurance company over the treatment of her cancer:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-road-weve-traveled-a-misleading-account-of-obamas-mother-and-her-insurance-dispute/2012/03/18/gIQAdDd4KS_blog.html

None of our business except that is it was given as a first hand example and primary reason that we needed the 1.7 trillion dollar, anti-constitutional healthcare act.  Also interesting to find out from time to time, who tells the truth and who doesn't.
5358  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics: Issa report rips Sec Chu and the administration policies on: March 22, 2012, 10:17:53 AM
Obama administration is called on the carpet for its continuing LIE that the U.S. has only 2% of the world's petroleum reserves.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_G6EaJgasV0#!  400 Billion barrels of known reserves available from current technology, 20 times more than deceptive figures used by the Obama administration?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves

Also the corruption and executive bonuses tied to 'green' energy and crony corruption based, failed federal loan guarantees.

This really is all about glib-dissonance buy I stick under the energy politics for topic.

http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/FINAL-DOE-Loan-Guarantees-Report.pdf  Corruption and boneheadedness

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_G6EaJgasV0#!  Rep. Buerkle NY and Sec. Chu, Watch the youtube!

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/03/issas-oversight-committee-rips-secretary-chu.php  Nice coverage:

March 20, 2012 by John Hinderaker

Issa’s Oversight Committee Rips Secretary Chu

It has been a busy day in Chairman Darrell Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. This morning, the committee released a report titled The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs. The report is a devastating indictment of the Obama administration’s “green” energy cronyism. It documents the extraordinary series of shaky (and sometimes shady) loans that DOE has made, often to administration allies.

You really should read the report in full; it describes how the Obama administration failed to follow its own rules, failed to diversify its investment portfolio, ignored clear signs of impending insolvency on the part of borrowers, and sometimes fraudulently characterized technologies in order to justify loans. This is the beginning of a section titled “Systemic Risks from ‘Crony Capitalism’ and Wasteful Spending:”

    There is evidence a number of loan guarantee recipients have engaged in clearly profligate spending. Such wasteful spending threatens the financial viability of the recipient companies, creating risks to both the DOE’s loan commitment portfolio and taxpayer dollars. It is particularly troubling that this waste often takes the form of large cash bonuses to company executives – such payments feed the perception that taxpayer funds are being used to line the pockets of green energy executives.

    Beacon Power Corp, the second recipient of a § 1705 loan guarantee, paid three executives more than a quarter million dollars in bonuses in March 2010.58 Eighteen months later, Beacon declared bankruptcy, leaving taxpayers to repay the loan. Adding insult to this injury, these bonuses were explicitly linked to the executives securing the DOE loan guarantee. Similarly, bankruptcy records show Solyndra doled out executive payments just months prior to its late August collapse and early September bankruptcy.59 In Solyndra’s case, former executives have stated that DOE explicitly allowed federal funds to be used to pay out executive bonuses.

    Wasteful spending is not limited to executive compensation alone. BrightSource Energy, recipient of a $1.6 billion loan guarantee to build a solar generation facility, has spent more than $56 million on a desert tortoise relocation program.62 Furthermore, BrightSource will build 50 miles of intricate fencing, at a cost of up to $50,000 per mile, designed to prevent relocated tortoises from climbing or burrowing back into the solar generation facility.63 BrightSource has indicated that the exploding cost of tortoise relocation program threatens to derail the entire $1.6 billion project – leaving taxpayers on the hook for the enormous sums on money spent on construction thus far.

The Committee’s report also takes us behind the “green revolving door” and sheds light on corruption in the Obama administration:

    Nancy Ann DeParle, the current Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy in the White House, had a financial stake in the success of Granite Reliable, which received $168.9 million loan from DOE. Prior to joining the White House, DeParle was a Managing Director of multi-billion dollar private equity firm CCMP and she both had a financial interest in and sat on the Board of Directors for Noble Environmental Power, LLC.178 Noble owned Granite Reliable, a wind energy project.179 Prior to her departure, her position on Noble’s board of Directors positioned her to understand the most confidential and material aspects of Noble Environmental and its subsidiary Granite Reliable. DeParle misrepresented her relationship with Noble Energy, claiming on disclosure forms that her interest had been divested, when in fact it had merely been transferred to her 10 year old son.180

Energy Secretary Steven Chu testified before Issa’s committee this morning and was grilled by some of the Republican members. Here, Ann Marie Buerkle of New York blasts the administration’s false claim that the U.S. has only 2% of the world’s oil reserves and therefore can’t begin to meet its energy needs by domestic production:

In this clip, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina asks Chu about his wish, expressed in 2008 just before he was named Secretary of Energy, that the government should “boost” gasoline prices to European levels. A visibly uncomfortable Chu explains that this was his opinion as a private citizen, but that since he became Secretary of Energy he has not pursued policies designed to increase prices:

I don’t believe him for a moment, but one wonders, in any event, why anyone would appoint a Secretary of Energy whose expressed desire is that energy costs rise, thereby impoverishing the American people.
5359  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Fed, Bernancke: Gold would hamper our ability to address problems on: March 22, 2012, 10:04:53 AM
I don't favor a return to the gold standard for reasons different from the Fed Chair.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/20/us-usa-fed-gold-idUSBRE82J17A20120320

Bernanke says gold standard wouldn't solve problems

WASHINGTON | Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:55pm EDT

(Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday took aim at proponents of the gold standard, saying that such a system handicaps the government's ability to address economic conditions.

Bernanke spoke in the first of a series of four public lectures at George Washington University that is the central bank's latest effort to counter a raft of negative public sentiment that has arisen from its handling of the financial crisis. The former Princeton economics professor delivers a second lecture on Thursday and two more next week.

"Since the gold standard determines the money supply, there is not much scope for the central bank to use monetary policy to stabilize the economy," Bernanke said. "Under a gold standard, typically the money supply goes up and interest rates go down in a period of strong economic activity - so that's the reverse of what a central bank would normally do today." (more at the link)
5360  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care 1798 on: March 22, 2012, 09:53:23 AM
Yes, an interesting mandate.  Seems to me the distinction GM points out is noteworthy.  There is no mandate to participate in that kind of commerce, but if you do you must participate in the cost.

Obama-care mandates that if you exist, you must purchase this product.  The income tax code comes close except that a constitutional amendment specifically authorizing it was required.  Certainly without the amendment our tax code is unconstitutional.

The Obama administration argued in it's passage that Obamacare is not a tax and argued in its constitutionality that it is.

The closest precedent for the individual mandate was the internment mandate of Japanese-American imposed by the FDR administration. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1662.html  By merely existing a mandate was placed on you.  As is the case now, it was really in their own best interest: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=323&invol=214
5361  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / (House and) Senate Races 2012: Pete Hegseth R-MN on: March 21, 2012, 10:46:43 AM
"Starting this thread:"  - There will be some good and some crucial races this year!

Here's a good one:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/02/pete-hegseth-for-senate.php

Oddly, incumbent senior Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar to the left of Al Franken has an amazing approval rate 61% in a somewhat purple state.  She is a policy clone of Hillary and Obama.  She entered congress as Dems took congress back in Nov 2006 / Jan 2007 when unemployment was at 4.6% and finishing 51 consecutive months of job growth.  Her economic record is historically miserable even though MN is doing b etter than most of the rest of the nation.  She is badly in need of a strong challenger.

Enter Pete Hegseth, native of Minnesota, Princeton graduate, enlisted in the Army and has served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most recently, he has been in Afghanistan, training the troops who will in turn train the Afghans who ultimately take over responsibility for that conflict.  Dir of Vets for Freeedom.

Pretty good story at National Review including policy positions:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/293259/hegseth-arena-brian-bolduc?pg=2

...the general against the formidable Klobuchar. But Hegseth remains undaunted. “Senator Klobuchar has been very good at getting involved in easy, noncontroversial issues that lend themselves to photo ops,” he says. “But when it comes to big issues, such as how we ensure our energy security, she’s not willing to step out and take a stand.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/293259/hegseth-arena-brian-bolduc
5362  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 21, 2012, 09:26:33 AM
Looks like about a 12 point win, Romney 47, Santorum 35%, off of a 7 to 1 money advantage with low turnout.  Oh well.

As painful as the process has been, Romney is in a very nice position coming into the general election.  With 4 different candidates still running, no one on the right can say they didn't have choices.  With the outcome now mostly known, the battle remaining doesn't have to be so mean.  The most moderate choice is winning, so independents who fear and distrust the far right can breathe a sigh of relief and have a voice on the ballot.  Yet the guy is still pro-life, pro-defense, pro-energy, for spending and regulatory restraint, anti-Obamacare, and committed to cutting tax rates by 20%.  As the late Wm F Buckley would say, pick the most conservative candidate who can win.

If he holds himself up as competent, ready and instills confidence, he could win and bring with him a slightly Republican House and Senate too.

Turning this country around has never been easier.

Regarding turnout, the excitement is about the choice in Nov, not about picking between the choices now.

If I were Romney right now, I would tell each remaining competitor privately that I don't care how long they stay in the race, that is their business, and that in each case, Santorum, Gingrich and Paul, that I stand to learn something from each of them and that I want a line of input open to them in the difficult process of governing.

5363  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Santorum on: March 20, 2012, 09:11:41 PM
I heard Glenn Beck ask Santorum about Paul Ryan's budget.  Santorum said the simplified two tax rate plan at 10 and 15% is very similar to his, 10 and 28%.

Who knew?
5364  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 20, 2012, 09:08:46 PM
"since FDR, few second-term presidents have been capable of great mischief"

He has done his mischief.  He isn't capable of undoing any of it.  Many people around think we don't have - 4 more years - to get turned in the right direction.
5365  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: March 20, 2012, 09:04:59 PM
"when they are not with their parents"

She is 13, traveling to a third world earthquake zone, without parents, I assumed the trip was for national security purposes.
5366  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness on a teleprompter - Our closest allies on: March 19, 2012, 10:49:26 PM
And THIS is what he does best?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=erYpXzE9Pxs#!
5367  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: March 19, 2012, 02:27:37 PM
"Please complete the following sentence.  This course we are on is sustainable because .......................................................... ."  [Accompanied with the picture of our eternal deficit trend.]

Crafty: "because , , , ummm , , , well , , , nevermind."
-------------------------
The gallant effort is duly noted though I think that is also what Geithner (Treas. Sec.) said when asked what year the outgoing administration's budget balances.

One of three things is going to happen.

1) We can slash current spending by a net trillion a year to balance the budget - or can we?  This is pretty much the Ron Paul proposal but he hasn't even won a far right caucus state yet.  The trillion would have to be net savings, not just cutting government jobs where the people end up getting federal dollars anyway.  Politically speaking, this option is not even on the table for discussion.  For all the root canal negotiations for cuts last year following the landslide, power changing, off-year elections, domestic spending was up another 5%.

2) Win a mandate and implement supply-side, pro-growth policies that include tax system reform, regulatory reform and spending growth restraint, and keep all the reforms in place over an extended period of time while we grow our way out of this.

3) Stay on the present course and find out exactly when GM's prediction of our demise will come true - where the only investments surviving are canned foods and dry gun powder.

I would like to choose door number two.
5368  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market - Wesbury QE3 off the Fed table on: March 19, 2012, 02:03:05 PM
"...the Fed finally admitted the economy has improved, while, for all intents and purposes, it also took additional quantitative easing – QE3 – off the table."

This is not Fed-speak but Wesbury's words.  Does this mean that right now the U.S. is selling US Treasury bills, bonds, notes, IOUs in the full amount required to cover all of our trillion plus dollar per year deficit spending habit with no further monetizing of the debt?  (I highly doubt it.)
5369  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - employment on: March 19, 2012, 07:44:27 AM
Another graphical look from Scott Grannis.  Employment is one of the best and most important indicators of how an economy is really doing.  Take a look at the recent uptick in employment that Wesbury and others are seeing - in the context of the hole that we dug. 

Keep in mind also the budget gap, separate post.  Climbing out of this hole is not optional!

5370  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: March 19, 2012, 07:41:12 AM
Trillion plus still in deficit and the budget thread slipped to page two in political topics.  Not very sexy, not even urgent?

Another chart with credits to Scott Grannis.  Policy-caused recessions and slowdowns cause budget gaps on their own confounded by additional policy choices/mistakes, so there are at least 4 levels of collective stupidity on display here.  Note that when the economy is running reasonably well the gap tends to close in spite of our horrific appetite for wasteful largess.

Look at the more recent uptick in revenues, but also look at it in context with wherever you judge the long term trtend line should be.

Please complete the following sentence.  This course we are on is sustainable because .......................................................... .

5371  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: March 19, 2012, 07:33:09 AM
Reading several blog pages back from Scott Grannis, this chart of his shows graphically what I think of the current 'reecovery'.  A real recovery would show sharp growth aimed back at the line formerly known as 'growth trend'.  The gap under is becoming what in Japan they called the 'lost decade'.  You don't have to lose a decade.  Decline, slow gfrowth and no growth, these are policy choices.

5372  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 18, 2012, 01:10:28 PM
"Where is the Dem party brain trust?"  "You mean Marx, Alinsky and Soros?"

No, I mean the ones who should be chasing those demons out of their party.  Where is the 'rising tide raises all boats', 'peace through strength', 'it is what you can do for your country' message today on their side of the aisle?

The only economic growth argument they have going, I just posted on the tax and political economic threads, is a combination of more debt, higher disincentives to produce and more assignment of blame, as if there is still room to improve on what already has been exhausted.  Algae and tire pressure checks for a better tomorrow.

After this election I would assume that some real leadership will have to emerge from the dormant, pragmatic and centrist wing of that party.  A lot of those people will have time on their hands...
5373  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: March 18, 2012, 12:47:36 PM
"Scott Grannis doesn't [think we aren't heading to an economic collapse]."

Scott has good insight and data.  I would like to go back a little through his blog which I haven't read for a while.  Like Wesbury, it seems to me that we are hearing positive words that describe a very lethargic non-recovery.  I wrote this about housing too, but I'm not going to count any margin of error level 'growth' as any kind of rebound.  Maybe we aren't currently headed into collapse, but we also aren't building up enough economic strength to survive the next, major, self-inflicted setback.

I think both Wesbury and Grannis would agree that the 'growth' they are reporting, from the lowest of all lows, is a fraction of what it ought to be and that our policies are desperately in need of change.
5374  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - It's not as trendy as it was to be in the Obama campaign on: March 18, 2012, 12:25:35 PM
"It's not as trendy as it was to be involved in the Obama campaign"
   - Barack Obama, March 2012

You don't say!

'Landslide' 2008 was a 7 point win running an error-free blank slate against and aging and confused challenger hated by his own party.  The only demographic group in the country where Obama's approval has not dropped 7 points in popularity is right-ring Republicans.

I quit touting my prediction made at the height of his approval that Barack Obama will not be the nominee of his own party because the only substitute they can think of is to have Hillary run on the exact same record, policies and rhetoric.

Where is the Dem party brain trust?
5375  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Barron's cover story: Housing ready to rebound on: March 18, 2012, 12:12:53 PM
Actually ready to rebound by spring of 2013, this pretend optimism is another way of confirming what PP told us a year ago - to get ready for at least 2 more years of downward movement.  So far, pp has been right on the money.

http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424053111904797004577281453828447714.html?mod=BOL_hpp_highlight_top#articleTabs_article%3D1

After falling 34% over the past six years, U.S. home prices will soon bottom. They could turn back up by spring 2013.

(nice ads at the link, try 4 weeks free!)
--------------------
My prediction was that the housing rebound is tied to the employment and income rebound which is inextricably tied to the Nov 6 election and the policies and expectations that come out of it.

Point of clarification: a 2 or 3% bump following a 40% collapse is not exactly a 'rebound'. 
5376  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on Energy on: March 18, 2012, 12:00:01 PM
This could go in Energy Policy but it really is only about nonsense coming out of the mouth of the President of the United States:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/03/17/krauthammer_obama_energy_speech_a_double_technical.html

Charles Krauthammer on the Obama Community College energy speech:  “You know, in basketball this would be a double technical,” Krauthammer said. “Obama will stomp on anybody, living or dead, if he’ll get a laugh out of it, and you know eight people who will end up on his side on Nov. 6. But I think the whopper in his speech was where he said, at one point, he said, ‘The real way to reduce prices on gas in America is to decrease demand.’ Then, within three minutes of the same speech, he said we can increase production offshore all we want. It will have no effect on the world price.”

Does he even read these speeches before he delivers them.  Is he a complete moron or does he think you are one?
5377  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Have you been unemployed long? on: March 18, 2012, 11:54:40 AM
The human damage they are willing to do in their ideological battle against economic freedom is appalling.
5378  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Keynesians say we need more stimulus on: March 18, 2012, 11:48:23 AM
Former chief economic adviser Christina Romer says what we need to get different results is more of the same:

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/u-economy-needs-more-fiscal-stimulus-not-less-120516082.html;_ylt=ArC3bUsdYUwVwF.MUUT2fFGiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0a3NjZGI2BG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIFRvcCBTdG9yeSBSaWdodARwa2cDNTU5Nzk1NGQtYzBkNS0zMjI1LWJlYmEtZDZiYjc4MWQzNGI

"I absolutely think more fiscal stimulus would be very helpful," she says. "We need faster growth [to bring down unemployment]. Fiscal stimulus could help do that."
------------

Good grief.  $6 trillion wasn't enough, we need more fiscal stimulus.  Somebody is trying to get her job back.
5379  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy: Christina Romer on marginnal tax rates on: March 18, 2012, 11:40:24 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/business/marginal-tax-rates-and-wishful-thinking-economic-view.html?_r=1

"A family’s marginal tax rate is what its members pay to the government if they earn another dollar. If the government takes a smaller chunk of that dollar, a family has more incentive to earn it. Workers may choose to work additional hours, or a stay-at-home spouse may decide to work outside the home. Likewise, entrepreneurs may invest in a new enterprise or expand an existing one. Lower marginal rates also reduce people’s incentives to shield income from taxes, through legal and illegal means."

Oddly, Romer goes on to try to minimize that reality.  With all the scrutiny over copyrights, I end my interest in what she has to say right there.  My advice is don't bother click on the link or read it all.  She is trying to tell potential skydivers without parachutes that the law of gravity is no big deal.
5380  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 16, 2012, 11:58:49 PM
"Santorum wants to ban hardcore porn."

That kind of position should be backed up with an stated opinion of where the authority for federal jurisdiction comes from in the constitution.  I suppose it is interstate commerce as much as growing tomatoes on your own property is.
5381  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: March 16, 2012, 11:46:20 PM
Romney called the President a economic lightweight.  That is giving him the benefit of the doubt.  This is a great charge because it begs the followup question to press Romney to back that up with something which is a slow hanging curve ball over the heart of the plate.  If you can't hit that one out of the park you shouldn't be in the game.

The Rutherford Hayes thing is weird.  Mr. President, 6 million jobs are gone, Iran, North Korea and al Qaida are going nuclear, the middle east is in flames, we're a trillion a year in deficit, we shrunk the economy, we diluted the currency by multiple trillions and 19% of the workforce can't find full time work  - why are you babbling about Rutherford Hayes!?
5382  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 15, 2012, 05:17:18 PM
"A better measure would be the poll numbers from the swing states."  

Here is a 2008 Obama electoral map.  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/maps/obama_vs_mccain/
Some of the swing states and red states that Obama won:

Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida
Virginia, North Carolina
New jersey, New Hampshire
Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana
Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado

The R. nominee needs about 97 points out of states Obama won last time, which by my count is about 7 good sized states from that list.  That is a very high bar.  Really have to aim for a landslide, not to eek out a close one.

I think there is a poll showing Obama now leading in Florida.  We will see.  Marco Rubio (2012 VP nominee?) won Fl in 2010 by a million votes; second place was another Republican.

Ohio is also crucial.  Colorado, Virginia and battleground Wisconsin will all be leading indicators.  If the Republican wins the real swing states, the truly red states will already be won.  

What will we need to do to win bigdog's vote?
5383  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / 1990 Thomas Sowell explains Derrick Bell: Black does not mean skin color on: March 15, 2012, 04:50:00 PM
Adding this video gem from 'politics'  http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=943.msg60936#msg60936  to the race thread by request:

http://www.therightscoop.com/1990-thomas-sowell-explains-derrick-bell/

Sowell: "...[Bell] also said that by black, he does not mean skin color, he means those who are really black, not those who think white and look black. And so what he is really saying is he wants ideological conformity in the people that are hired to fill this position."

Harvard law student Barack Obama made his early mark championing the cause of Prof. Derrick Bell, Harvard Law School's first black professor.
5384  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 15, 2012, 03:04:35 PM
Quote from: bigdog on March 13, 2012, 10:22:47 AM
http://redtape.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/13/10657012-up-against-the-wall-should-district-be-allowed-to-demand-middle-schoolers-facebook-password#.T19jBCz3f8g.facebook
A 12-year-old Minnesota girl was reduced to tears while school officials and a police officer rummaged through her private Facebook postings after forcing her to surrender her password, an ACLU lawsuit alleges.
------------
Interesting case thought the key fact seems to be at issue.  I'm not sure what to think of the privacy rights of a 12 year old posting on the internet.  My first thought is that the issue would go through the parents.  The district says that they did.

'The Tinker case basically found that students can say what they want as long as the speech doesn't cause a disruption at school.'  Certainly there are posts on Facebook that become disruptions in school.  

The issue of privacy for a 12 year old on facebook is confounded by the requirement of facebook that she be 13 to join.

Same group (ACLU) took the other side (?)  http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/dcblog/2011/07/bondi_asks_court_to_not_consid.html  regarding the blocking of Pediatricians from asking the child if there are firearms in the house.  http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/dcblog/2011/07/bondi_asks_court_to_not_consid.html  A free speech right of the doctor??  Isn't a direct question from your own doctor similarly intimidating, though admittedly not 'armed with a Taser'.

Privacy and free speech depend on the whom is asking what - ?
5385  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar: The 'real' inflation rate on: March 15, 2012, 10:54:56 AM
CPI is calculated by removing those volatile items that go up the most.  Some argue the real inflation rate is higher:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/price_clubbed_in_jRGGyS9wKfAKjxAs0bkVnO

America’s real inflation rate has moved above 8%

Read it at the link, click on the ads.
5386  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 1990 Thomas Sowell explains Derrick Bell: Black does not mean skin color on: March 15, 2012, 10:47:51 AM
Prof. Thomas Sowell was writing and speaking about the Derrick Bell controversy long before the nation heard of the student who championed him, Barack Obama.

http://www.therightscoop.com/1990-thomas-sowell-explains-derrick-bell/

If Sowell is correct, the storyline implied in the Frontline piece is incomplete.  Was this about a racial divide or about race AND ideology.  IMHO, that is a HUGE difference!  No time to explore that in a two hour documentary(?), just a clip leaving the impression he championed a black professor with an affirmative action cause and brought the two sides together.  Radical whites and radical blacks are now all working together. 

Sowell: "...[Bell] also said that by black, he does not mean skin color, he means those who are really black, not those who think white and look black. And so what he is really saying is he wants ideological conformity in the people that are hired to fill this position.
5387  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: March 15, 2012, 10:09:13 AM
GM, It is interesting that they have the highest marginal rates in the nation and yet revenues are tanking, but stay tuned.  Rapid economic growth is right around the corner... lol.

We heard the opposing view expressed that tax rates and over-regulation at the margin do not have a noticeable on economic activity or growth. (I asked for data to back up that view - it should be coming shortly.  wink 

The rich simply use the higher rate to calculate their new tax bill and have no interest, motive or option of altering their behavior, to either invest less or invest elsewhere.  That view unfortunately requires a complete denial of the definition of what it means to be rich. 

One of the economists used to track the one-way, UHaul, medium sized truck price movement index to estimate the speed of assets leaving California.

The economic loss of once-great Calif to the rest of this nation is not like Europe losing Greece.
5388  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: March 15, 2012, 09:57:38 AM
"sensing that we are about to see the reversal of a decades long trend of downward interest rates.
If I am right, a lot of people will be wanting to sell bonds.
Will this money then be a source of funds flowing into equities?"

Oops, I am trying to quit agreeing with GM but sometimes he nails it... Yes, interest will have to go up, but nothing good in equities comes out of financial panic or collapse in the world's largest economy.

Interest rates can only be super low now if we are not selling all the bonds required to cover current deficit spending.  (QE-to the umpteenth power is already/still happening.)  The market force interest rate right now without central bank manipulation would be a scary high number IMHO.
5389  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: March 15, 2012, 09:40:43 AM
"Interesting that Santorum is close enough that he may be within the statistical margin of error!"

True.  Also interesting and scary is that, if the election were held today and it isn't, the difference of 3 points of margin of error polling is the difference between winning the White House, ending Obamacare, lowering tax rates, vetoing spending bills, choosing the Supreme Court nominees, Fed nominees, the entire Executive branch, etc. and losing and leaving all that to Obama and his associates from the Ayers, Alinski, Rev. Wright side of politics.

I was listening to Jay Cost or Weekly Standard yesterday who a polling result analyst formerly with Real Clear Politics.  He pointed out Santorum has 2 sides like Newt.  He has the perfect American story with blue collar roots and attracts lower income workers to the Republican side.  Then he also puts his foot in mouth and gets off-message sometimes like his anti-JFK talk recently. In the middle of the BCP religious freedom debate RS was saying JFK should have brought his Catholic faith more into governing?  Valid or not valid, it is about as focused for this election as the lunar colony proposal.  We have a 16 trillion dollar debt, have 35 million people un- or under-employed, are losing our largest state, Iran going nuclear, among other problems.


Santorum carried 27% of independents in his last PA election.
5390  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - March 2012 polling on: March 13, 2012, 12:05:30 PM
The media and Dems successfully shifted the conversation back to social issues with the help of candidate Rick Santorum and the vulgarity of Rush L.

Manipulated unemployment figures are down a bit to 8.3%.  Bin Laden captured, troops home from Iraq.  Afghanistan war ending as far as we know.  Auto industry up?  It doesn't get much better than this...

CBS/NY Times poll shows Pres. Obama tanking http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/us/politics/obama-approval-rating-down-in-new-york-times-cbs-poll.html  though they have upgraded the title of the story from “Obama Approval Rating Shows Big Slip in Poll” to “Obama’s Rating Falls as Poll Reflects Volatility.”

Rasmussen has Romney leading Obama by 5 points and the generic congressional ballot with R's ahead of Dems by 7-8 points.

One big problem is that lower income people notice gas and grocery prices while Ivory Tower liberals see only the positive side of that.

CBS reports that most Americans believe there should be an exception to the mandate requiring employers who may have a moral or religious objection to cover birth control for their employees — by a margin of 57-36!  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57395832-503544/poll-most-say-employers-should-be-allowed-not-to-cover-contraception/

One more CBS/New York Times poll. A majority of Americans say they would favor using U.S. military action against Iran to prevent the country from acquiring nuclear weapons — by a margin of 51-36. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57395830-503544/poll-most-support-u.s-military-action-to-stop-iran-from-getting-nuclear-weapons/

That doesn't even get to the key questions of the day:  How do you like the idea of leaving your children and grandchildren to live in a third world country, and are you better off now than you were SEVEN trillion dollars ago, when Pelosi-Reid-Obama took over Washington with unemployment at 4.6%, partner in crime Rep. Keith Ellison of Mpls. swore on Thomas Jefferson Quran to destroy this country as we once knew it?
5391  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Unemployment is up or down? on: March 12, 2012, 10:44:06 PM
Gov't figures showed job growth up last month, adjusted for climate model type adjustments.  Of course the denominator of the equation has dropped by 6 million jobs gone.

Gallup has unemployment up last month http://www.gallup.com/poll/153161/Unemployment-February.aspx and real unemployment, the percentage of people looking for full time work and cannot find it is up to 19%.

Unemployment in North Dakota where energy production is legal is 3%.  Nothing to be learned from that.

Unemployment in the Twin Cities metro is 5%.  California 11%.  Nevada 13%.
5392  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: March 12, 2012, 05:42:19 PM
"he'll be slapping high fives"

It could also be that he knows the difference between an ally and enemy but doesn't know what to do with that information.

If I were commander in chief, besides intelligence briefings I would have psychological experts on whatever is wrong with Ahmedinejad advising me as well.  Correctly predicting and preparing for the enemy's next move is crucial, but difficult to do with raving maniacs.

Allowing Iran to go nuclear is unthinkable.  Blowing up one location to set them back a year while confirming the view of the rest of the world that it is the "Zionists and the American Imperialists" (stealing a phrase from Saddam) who are the aggressors is not much gain.

Somewhere in the larger picture, nations like Russia and China shouldn't be able to play nice with us on other matters and smaller matters and then stab us in the back on crucial areas of non-proliferation and global security.  If this is the biggest containable threat of this time, how about we treat it that way in our relationships with the other members of the security council. 

The commitment to keep Iran non-nuclear needs to have more staying power than one first strike.
5393  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hope and change - an earlier documentary on: March 12, 2012, 02:29:25 PM
I on a lighter note I would note that platitudes similar to those in the 2008 Barack Obama stump speeches were advanced by Pat Paulson's in 1968.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTHge8q0zwY&feature=related
5394  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: $8 trillion at 'teaser interest rates'. on: March 12, 2012, 01:04:53 PM
IIRC, the precedent for this was Sec Rubin under Bill Clinton.  He made a very large and irreponsible gamble of putting long term debt out at short term rates to save money in the shart term that panned out quite well where they were able through other actions (capital gains tax cuts, welfare reform, spending restraints, internet buildout, etc.) balance the budget for a short time (in a bubble economy).

Now that kind of irresponsibility is the norm even though now we KNOW interest rates must go up and that we will be fiscally punished for doing this.  This is not in the context of throwing a Hail Mary to balance the budget.  This is in the context of multi-year, trillion dollar deficits, spending at nearly 1.5 times revenues, immeasurable entitlement liabilities accelerating and releasing yet another budget that reaches balance at date certain: NEVER.
5395  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: March 12, 2012, 12:53:32 PM
CCP, nice job following this.  It will come down to what Netanyahu can and will do without advance American backing and your questions will dictate much of the aftermath.

Cynical but my take on the White House position is that they are still polling focus groups to measure whether or not Iran going fully nuclear will be considered by historians and the public in general to be George Bush's fault.
5396  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Frontline conclusion: Obama in a very old fashioned sense is a conservative guy. on: March 12, 2012, 12:42:10 PM
I watched the full 2 hour Choice 2008 of Frontline.  

The Frontline piece IMO covers the edges of those controversies but completely glosses over the implications IMO. The impression left is that the issues (at Harvard law School) were horribly divisive and that he was the healer, the one who could reach to both sides.  What were the views he was championing?  Not covered, was my take.  

The top 10 or 12 objections I would have to a Barack Obama administration did not receive any mention, but the viewer of such an exhaustive piece might b e left thinking they have now done their homework for voting.

The next two chapters in American political history were already being written, the beginning of Obama's governance and the 2010 tea party / conservative total repudiation of that.  The setup for both of those eventualities was the real story (IMHO) of the campaign of 2008 - not contemplated whatsoever in the documentary.  What people were voting for in 2008 and what they got were judged quickly to be two different things (in full vetting?), but the essence of that was completely missed by a documentary of such enormous length and painstaking detail (because IMO the producers likely don't even know their own bias).

3 points of interest in the long version:

28:50+ on the long version is where the shorter clip is taken.  Already mentioned, what were the (radical) views he was championing? You would likely need to follow far right wing media to know that.  Young college grad Obama "needed to know if there was a better way to lift people out of poverty", so he pursued improving his resume and increasing the power of his influence instead of studying economics.  He was accepted at one of the nation's most prestigious law schools (no question of how or why he was accepted), he took on student loans (implying that was how it was paid for, really?).  What racial issues was the country going through in the late 1980's?  Dred Scott?  Rosa Parks?  Jackie Robinson??  Was an Ivy League campus keeping out blacks?!  What was Prof. Derrick Bell saying that was divisive?  They say Obama championed his cause (the point conveyed I think was courage), they show him saying Bell was 'speaking the truth', but they did not say what that 'truth' was.  Maybe that is in some other Frontline episode, lol.

Around the 57:00 mark of the first hour they get to the Trinity Church controversy, introduced this way:

"It was a big, popular inner-city church that was known for its community work."

They go on to cover the controversy of Reverend Wright.  Seems to me that is exactly backwards to the point to the rest of America.  Preaching things like "God Damn America' and "America's chickens have come home to roost" is what was drawing the extremely large and  enthusiastic crowds in the heart of the 'capital of black America'; they also do community work.  I can think of other figures in recent history who preached hatred yet did community work, but will decline to name the analogies.

At one hour and 50 minutes:  Obama is described for choosing of Joe Biden as his VP choice: 'Obama is someone who is cautious, someone who in a very old fashioned sense is a conservative guy," - Ryan Lizza NY Times, and used as PBS Frontline's Oct 15 2008 ending on Obama (before they headed back to close on McCain's choice of Sarah Palin).

Yeah, a conservative guy, that's who suburban white soccer moms, 78% of Jewish Americans and the majority of deficit-first independent voters were electing. (Emoticon unavailable)  If that piece passes as full vetting I have some nice property for sale... Respectfully, Doug.
5397  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants - re. Coffee is an essential benefit too, and gender wars on: March 12, 2012, 10:42:07 AM
How can we not at least grant congress the power to mandate employers at a minimum make peas and carrots available to workers during the work day?  What kind of a country have we become?  Maybe the article is written in jest but just where does nanny state, cradle-to-grave government begin and end, no one knows.

Going the other direction with it, Dem female lawmakers are avenging proposed limits on the slaughtering of our young with viagra legislation.

Bill introduced to regulate men's reproductive health
Part of a trend, she likens the bill to men legislating ‘a woman’s womb.’

By Jackie Borchardt, Columbus Bureau Updated 11:53 PM Saturday, March 10, 2012

COLUMBUS – Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way.

The Cleveland Democrat introduced Senate Bill 307 this week.

A critic of efforts to restrict abortion and contraception for women, Turner says she is concerned about men’s reproductive health. Turner’s bill joins a trend of female lawmakers submitting bills regulating men’s health. Turner said if state policymakers want to legislate women’s health choices through measures such as House Bill 125, known as the “Heartbeat bill,” they should also be able to legislate men’s reproductive health...

Read more at the link: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/bill-introduced-to-regulate-mens-reproductive-health-1341547.html  and click on the ads.

I would note in the false declaration of gender wars that I think it is women who are the most energetic of the pro-life movement (anti-women's rights?) and my guess that it is older women who might like to enjoy their aging husbands' erection one more time.
5398  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - Constitutuency Group Justice on: March 10, 2012, 01:05:27 PM
Social-justice, racial-justice, gender-justice, in this case her cause is "Reproductive-Justice".

"Justice" does not need a hyphen or a qualifier, FYI, in the USA in 2012 - other than when used in the context of 'liberty and justice for all'.

A right or a liberty is not defined as requiring someone else to do something for you.

223 years of a right to bear arms and no one has demanded or received a free gun.

If I walk into a synagogue knowing the rules and demand that pork chops and Holy Communion be offered and they refuse, maybe someone watching the spectacle calls me a name, which of us is being boorish?

Unbelievable that people make a hit and run on this without acknowledging the underlying issues. 

Border agents dead, troops in Afghanistan killed, a shooting in Cleveland, 6 million jobs gone perhaps forever, and the President calls and sympathizes with an intentionally divisive, anti-religious rights, anti-limited-government activist/provocateur. 

Let the lines be drawn.
5399  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Romney trouble clinching the nomination on: March 09, 2012, 11:57:25 PM
CCP, For some reason there is a difference between a Republican looking rich and a Democrat looking rich.  Clinton, Obama, they call themselves fortunate.  Romney, to them, did it on the backs of the poor.

Santorum is less rich but wears sweater vests.  He made a living lobbying and in public office.  Gingrich, ditto.  Taught a college class, sold some books based on his experience and influence - like Clinton and Obama.  Made some money from Freddie Mac and spent it at Tiffanys.
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Here is a negative piece on Romney in a conservative publication: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/mitt-romney-santorum-gingrich/2012/03/08/id/431848   He echoes some points Crafty made, outspending Santorum 12-1 in Ohio for example to get a one point win. 

Still I don't see the conclusion.  There is a bigger than ever race going on right now for leader of the free world and he is the only one winning.  Obama may win in the end but for now he hasn't run against anybody or won a contested vote.

"he's lost almost every Southern state"  - He won the important one, Florida, or is that the East?

"Romney has done really well in blue-state primaries. But Republicans won't win these states this November. Rollins adds that Romney loses badly in many red states — ones he must carry in November."  - The truly red states anyone not Obama will win.  It is the divided states that determine the election.  Losing badly in red states and the south?  He is in a virtual tie in Alabama and Mississippi.  That not bad for a 'Massachusetts moderate'.

The closing point is of much more concern: "The truth is that his policy advisers and campaign staff are filled with moderates who are out of step with the base of the Republican Party."  - That IS a problem, if true.  Yet he just came out with a 20% across the board marginal tax rate cut, is very strong on national security issues and to the right of Newt on border security and immigration reform.  Santorum voted to the left of Bill Clinton and Al Gore on NAFTA. 

The left, right, moderate model of politics is not very helpful with this Republican field.

P.S.  The loser so far is Ron Paul who was quite a force at the start and hasn't won a single state, even a caucus. 

The link again: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/mitt-romney-santorum-gingrich/2012/03/08/id/431848  and be sure to click on the ads.

Romney's Fuzzy Math for a Fuzzy Campaign

Thursday, 08 Mar 2012 10:00 PM

By Christopher Ruddy,  Newsmax

I am continually amazed how those at the Romney campaign continue to act victorious when they have such a poor case to make about cinching the nomination.  ...

5400  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: March 09, 2012, 11:27:41 PM
Newt's job is to either drop out or spin things positive the best that he can.  The Cain ruile is that you are all in verbally and in fund raising until the last minute that you are out.  The race for second OTOH is important because front runners can and do stumble.  But getting beat 3 to 1 margin by a 'weak frontrunner' and bragging about it isn't looking too good.

The delegate count is a little misleading because several of Santorum's wins were in in caucus states where no immediate delegates were awarded but his delegates disproportionately moved forward to the conventions where Presidential delegate votes will eventually be awarded.

Newt's strength is the south.  He says he is leading in states in a statistical tie where the momentum is against him.

I like that he won his home state where people have known him longest and know him best.  His daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman wrote a nice op-ed on that recently.

Yes GM, letters to contributors are a plea for help.   wink

If either Santorum or Newt could see the other as the next Reagan emerging, then maybe one would drop out.  No one I guess drops out based on sympathy for the other competitors.  You drop out because you are out of money or to save face.

How does a 'brokered' convention, best case for Rick or Newt, endorse anyone other than the far and away front runner.  The elites switch to the second or third place candidate on the second ballot or to someone who skipped the process entirely or dropped out early?  I just don't see it.  I've been at a lot of endorsing conventions.  In a bitterly divided party you always have the option of not endorsing.  That is unthinkable.  Delegates move their vote on subsequent ballots to where they see strength and momentum.  For the Dems in '08, Hillary had momentum at the end, Obama had strength.  A small lead guaranteed victory because the elites were not going to reverse that in August to lose legitimacy in November.  Elections, even primaries, have consequences.
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