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5451  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: April 05, 2009, 09:30:58 AM
"Guantanamo: 99% of the abuse is of the prisoners against the guards ..."

I think I was low on that estimate.  It is based on my opinion from all that I have read and heard from first hand accounts.  Here is one report,  though I was unable to find the most recent author that prompted me to post that comment.  Jdn, please also take into account my bias in not believing most allegations the captured terrorists make against American serviceman.
General Hood: It is not unusual for guards to have feces, and urine hurled at them.  Spitting is the most common.  Threats to their families back home may be the most serious.

I'm happy to look at other views.  Please post any reports you know indicating the detainees are respectful and well-behaved, lol.

5452  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Replying Robert Reich, Obamanomics just like Reagan except the opposite on: April 03, 2009, 09:36:48 AM
Crafty: "I disagree quite a bit with this piece (Robert Reich compares obamanomics to Reagan's success) do we respond?"
  - It took me a few days to find the time, but I will answer him point by point.  Reich's arguments are the same as Hillary's, same as Obama's, same as our Democrat Senators and probably the same as your local Democrats.  It is worth taking the time to go through this slowly and learn their points whether you want to join them or refute them.

Reich uses a mixture of scattered truths, straw man arguments, deceptive statistics and then draws conclusions from them that don't logically follow. Take a look.

For some reason, liberals like to start a serious piece with a false first sentence:

Twenty-eight years ago, Ronald Reagan used the severe economic downturn of 1980-82 to implement an economic philosophy that not only gave force and meaning to a wide range of initiatives but also offered a way back to sustained economic growth. Is there a similarly powerful animating idea behind Obamanomics?"

  - Reagan did not 'use' the economic downturn of 80-82 to implement his philosophy.  The downturn was caused by congress approving but delaying and phasing in the tax cuts while the Fed did not correspondingly delay the tightening of money.  The monetary and fiscal changes were intended to be simultaneous, not to squeeze the life out of the economy with tight money before stimulating new activity with across the board rate cuts.  As far as timing was concerned, Reagan was ready to go in 1976; he was not dependent on a recession that was largely avoidable.

Reich: "it's [Obamanomics] not a return to big government ...President Barack Obama's 10-year budget ...presents a remarkably conservative picture. In 10 years, taxes are expected to fall to around 19% of GDP, a lower level than the late 1990s. Spending is expected to drop to around 22.5% of GDP, about where it was under Ronald Reagan..."

  - Yes it is a return to big government.  Big government programs are scheduled to increase and accelerate forever if they can find a way to do it.  He downplays the growth in government by stating it only as a percentage of a false GDP projection.  GDP will grow more like a damaged speedboat pulling a larger and larger anchor - national health, federalized K-12, free college, national pre-K, mandatory universal civil service, limiting and taxing energy use, removing the ability to pass on a business, etc. etc.  These things don't accelerate growth.

Reich with the standard Democrat focus group tested, straw man argument:
"The real distinction between Obamanomics and Reaganomics involves government's role in achieving growth and broad-based prosperity. The animating idea of Reaganomics was that the economy grows best from the top down. Lower taxes on the wealthy prompts them to work harder and invest more. When they do so, everyone benefits. Neither Reagan nor the apostles of supply-side economics explicitly promised that such benefits would "trickle down" to everyone else but this was broadly understood to be the justification."

  - Only an opponent of supply side incentives says the strategy is "trickle down".  For one thing, there is no up-down to the economy; it is a complex, ever-changing jigsaw puzzle of interconnected parts.  Rate cuts unleash energy and creativity across the board.  The owner of an airline or bank or boat builder does not benefit from a tax cut unless someone else flies, makes a deposit or buys a boat.  You don't raise taxes on the rich, you raise taxes on the economy, hurting all its participants.  

Reich follows with deceptive statistics to find fault in a remarkable 26 year economic expansion:
"Reaganomics surely marked the beginning of one of the longest bull markets in American history and generated enormous gains at the top. But its benefits were not widely shared.  After the Reagan tax cuts, growth in the median wage slowed, adjusted for inflation. After George W. Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, the median wage dropped.

  - When you add 20 million jobs, even if every earner increases their earnings, statistically 'the median wage falls.  How can that be?  A university doesn't hire many more Deans and Department Heads when it grows.  More likely it adds teaching assistants and research assistants.  The company doesn't hire more CEOs but it might hire more entry level people in every department.  Conversely, if we laid off all our lowest seniority, lowest skill, entry level workers - chopped off the lowest rung of the ladder (as Reich's minimum wage proposals are designed to do) - the median wage increases with every job lost.  That is a very deceptive statistic.  A better measure is total receipts to the Treasury.  That is the financial interest that the feds have in the private sector anyway.  

Reich continues with deceptive statistics, all the negative ones they could find:
"Meanwhile, an increasing share of total income went to the top 1% of income earners. In 1980, before Reagan took office, the highest-paid 1% took home 9% of total national income. By 2007, before the economy melted down, the richest 1% was taking home 22%."

Like median statistics, top 1% stats are bait and switch also.  You are not measuring the same people.  Yesterday's rich could all hold and increase their wealth while the new rich achieve even more as they invent, innovate, produce and sell into a much larger and richer and more globalized economy.  Comparing the best in the world 27 years apart is interesting but not telling.  Disparity is a contrary indicator: it increases in times of rapid growth because the rich are more invested.  And disparity fell during the collapse.  Is that what we want more of or less of?

Another false characterization and invalid conclusion, Reich continues:
"Obamanomics, by contrast, holds that an economy grows best from the bottom up. The president proposes to increase taxes on the highest 2% of income earners starting in 2011. Those tax increases will fund more Pell grants allowing lower-income children to attend college, better pay for teachers that show they're worth it, broader access to health care, improved infrastructure, and more basic research. These and related expenditures are designed to help Americans become more productive. You might think of it as "trickle up" economics."

  - First, he is not lessening the power of the top, he is transferring it over to smarter and nicer people at the government.  Second, taking from the 2% doesn't pay for what they said it would pay for - witness the $600-700 billion rosy scenario out-year deficit projections.  When Hillary was frontrunner (same message) she was going to repeal George Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (a sleight of hand because the cuts were across the board with the percentage cut getting larger as you go down the income spectrum) and she was going to 'use the money' to pay for health care, and then use it for education, and then use it again to buy down the deficit, depending on who she was talking to.  The dirty little secret is that there is actually more money collected from the rich at the lower rates.
Deception continued: "The key is public investment. Reaganomics did not view any public spending as an investment in the future except when it came to spending on the military. Hence, since 1980, federal spending on education, job training, infrastructure and basic research and development (apart from defense-related R&D) have all shrunk as a proportion of GDP..."

Again he minimizes the social benefit of defeating the Soviet Union and minimizes the increases in social spending by only citing it as a percentage of rapidly moving target, GDP growth under Reagan.  Why doesn't he cite social spending as a percentage of a fixed number like 1980 GDP.  Then the chart would show phenomenal growth, if that's what we even want, more grow in out-of-control social spending.

To summarize his view, we can have policies that are exactly the opposite of pro-growth policies, experience all of the growth anyway, and somehow in fairy tale fashion the gains will be beautifully distributed across the interest groups and electoral base of the Democrat party.
5453  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: April 03, 2009, 09:04:48 AM
Laffer makes a good point that the estate tax is one of the least efficient.  Two other problems: death tax double taxation on after tax assets is designed to discourage the creation of wealth by those who are best at it.  That presumes a false, zero-sum game, i.e. that the wealth they would have created will now go to someone else.  It's just not true.

The worst aspect though is to buy into the idea that it is okay for a majority to think of taxes to pass that will only apply to others. There is something important missing there (consent of the governed).
5454  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: April 03, 2009, 08:55:10 AM
Guantanamo: 99% of the abuse is of the prisoners against the guards while  99% of the stories are about alleged abuse against the prisoners.  Seems to me our concerns are misplaced.
5455  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: March 28, 2009, 12:05:27 AM
"...the Big Lie that "the free market caused it" is becoming accepted fact." - the markets that are the most screwed up are the ones that experienced the most government intervention, and vice versa.  Besides housing finance with Fannie Mae and the Community Reinvestment Act Program (CRAP), health care is very close to the top of that list.

Whatever and whoever 'our side' is, we always seem to lack a war room with a rapid response team and a clear message back refuting falsehoods.  Maybe that is Michael Steele's job.  Conservatives answer this kind of bs but they are only heard and read by conservatives.

Luckily, some truths are so true and so obvious that even unspoken they can become known truths.  For example, the fact that the policies of the current left machine embody tyrannical socialism. 

People have learned hate Nancy Pelosi and the politics she represents even though we are only fed glowing fluff reports about her everywhere we turn.  'Rasmussen Reports has the latest numbers:  Sixty percent (60%) of U.S. voters now have an unfavorable opinion of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, including 42% Very Unfavorable, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.  Even Democrats are now bailing on Pelosi.'

Reelection rates in congress are typically 98-99%, but every seat goes up for campaign and reelection next year.  The way forward - step one - is to retake the house or at least retake the momentum in the country in the next congressional election.  I'm sure the Republicans are already working on the next 'contract with America'.  It will feature a number of positive agenda items but the underlying message is that 'we' offer a vision a little closer to the pursuit of happiness that Jefferson, Madison or Lincoln might have called the American Dream and a little further from the rationed benefits and downsized equality handed out by central planners and central enforcers like Stalin and Pelosi.

Right now the only check/balance on the American Left machine is 'Communist China'.  If they stop buying our debt, we will have to cut spending by most of the $10 trillion (and eat the rest as inflation) even without the participation in the process of Republicans.
5456  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues - Press Conference, no questions on either war on: March 25, 2009, 12:58:47 PM
Not one single question on either war even though Obama last month ordered 17,000 more Americans into Afghanistan. Wonder if a Republican president could escalate a war and then hold a economic press conference?
5457  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: March 25, 2009, 12:11:29 PM
Under what provision in the constitution does it grant authority to the Obama Administration or to Congress to give the Treasury Secretary the authority to take over non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds?

Please watch conservative representative Michele Bachmann, a private tax attorney, ask about constitutional authority and watch Treasury Sec. Geithner dodge and squirm.  He is not familiar with the document.  Fed Chair Bernancke also receives tough questions and handles them better.  Committee chair Barney Frank cuts off the time without allowing an answer to the last question asked, how would taxpayers be paid back for their investment in the private companies.
5458  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: March 24, 2009, 12:15:04 PM
If what powers are not granted to the feds are left to the states - by constitutional mandate, is there no legal issue regarding feds bailing states out of their budget errors?

At least 7 of the top 10 bankrupt states are 'blue states' and are among the largest and richest states needing bailouts from working people across the fruited plain.  Besides the obvious legal issue of granted powers,  does not their own state constitution require a balanced budget?  Crying like a baby for a bailout is easier than spending, subsidizing and governing less, but is it constitutional for feds to pay for state powers?
5459  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Toxic Assets We Elected on: March 24, 2009, 11:56:53 AM
George Will does a nice job today of exposing the glibness and his troubled policies. We are now to the left of Sweden on government meddling in private sector affairs.
The Toxic Assets We Elected
By George Will

WASHINGTON -- With the braying of 328 yahoos -- members of the House of Representatives who voted for retroactive and punitive use of the tax code to confiscate legal earnings of a small unpopular group -- still reverberating, the Obama administration Monday invited private-sector investors to become business partners with the capricious and increasingly anti-constitutional government. This latest plan to unfreeze the financial system came almost half a year after Congress shoveled $700 billion into the Troubled Asset Relief Program, $325 billion of which has been spent without purchasing any toxic assets.

TARP funds have, however, semi-purchased, among many other things, two automobile companies (and, last week, some of their parts suppliers), which must amaze Sweden. That unlikely tutor of America regarding capitalist common sense has said, through a Cabinet minister, that the ailing Saab automobile company is on its own: "The Swedish state is not prepared to own car factories."

More From RCP: 10 States in the Biggest Budget Trouble

Another embarrassing auditor of American misgovernment is China, whose premier has rightly noted the unsustainable trajectory of America's high-consumption, low-savings economy. He has also decorously but clearly expressed sensible fears that his country's $1 trillion-plus of dollar-denominated assets might be devalued by America choosing, as banana republics have done, to use inflation for partial repudiation of improvidently incurred debts.

From Mexico, America is receiving needed instruction about fundamental rights and the rule of law. A leading Democrat trying to abolish the right of workers to secret ballots in unionization elections is California's Rep. George Miller who, with 15 other Democrats, in 2001 admonished Mexico: "The secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose." Last year, Mexico's highest court unanimously affirmed for Mexicans the right that Democrats want to strip from Americans.

Congress, with the approval of a president who has waxed censorious about his predecessor's imperious unilateralism in dealing with other nations, has shredded the North American Free Trade Agreement. Congress used the omnibus spending bill to abolish a program that was created as part of a protracted U.S. stall regarding compliance with its obligation to allow Mexican long-haul trucks on U.S roads. The program, testing the safety of Mexican trucking, became an embarrassment because it found Mexican trucking at least as safe as U.S. trucking. Mexico has resorted to protectionism -- tariffs on many U.S. goods -- in retaliation for Democrats' protection of the Teamsters union.

NAFTA, like all treaties, is the "supreme law of the land." So says the Constitution. It is, however, a cobweb constraint on a Congress that, ignoring the document's unambiguous stipulations that the House shall be composed of members chosen "by the people of the several states," is voting to pretend that the District of Columbia is a state. Hence it supposedly can have a Democratic member of the House and, down the descending road, two Democratic senators. Congress rationalizes this anti-constitutional willfulness by citing the Constitution's language that each house shall be the judge of the "qualifications" of its members and Congress can "exercise exclusive legislation" over the District. What, then, prevents Congress from giving House and Senate seats to Yellowstone National Park, over which Congress exercises exclusive legislation? Only Congress' capacity for embarrassment. So, not much.

The Federal Reserve, by long practice rather than law, has been insulated from politics in performing its fundamental function of preserving the currency as a store of value -- preventing inflation. Now, however, by undertaking hitherto uncontemplated functions, it has become an appendage of the executive branch. The coming costs, in political manipulation of the money supply, of this forfeiture of independence could be steep.

Jefferson warned that "great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities." But Democrats, who trace their party's pedigree to Jefferson, are contemplating using "reconciliation" -- a legislative maneuver abused by both parties to severely truncate debate and limit the minority's right to resist -- to impose vast and controversial changes on the 17 percent of the economy that is health care. When the Congressional Budget Office announced that the president's budget underestimates by $2.3 trillion the likely deficits over the next decade, his budget director, Peter Orszag, said: All long-range budget forecasts are notoriously unreliable -- so rely on ours.

This is but a partial list of recent lawlessness, situational constitutionalism and institutional derangement. Such political malfeasance is pertinent to the financial meltdown as the administration, desperately seeking confidence, tries to stabilize the economy by vastly enlarging government's role in it.
5460  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues - targeting individuals on: March 24, 2009, 11:37:44 AM
Thanks Crafty for raising the legal/constitutional issues of the targeted tax hike.  I clipped this from the pajama medias post from Obama on 60 minutes:

"...Kroft’s question about the constitutionality of the attempt to tax away the bonuses of the AIG executives and Obama’s answer:

Kroft: I mean, you’re a constitutional law professor. Do you think this bill is constitutional?

Obama: Well, I think that as a general proposition, you don’t want to be passing laws that are just targeting a handful of individuals."
So we don't want to be doing exactly what we are doing.  It was a VERY nonchalant response for a professor of constitutional law.  Reminds me that who picks nominees for the courts is one of the top reasons to stay involved in elections even when it feels like choosing the lesser of two evils.

I've called Kelo the worst decision of recent memory.  They took private property for private purposes - because they could.  One logical reaction was a proposal to 'take' the David Souter place in New Hampshire and build a hotel: "This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."

Of course it was quickly pointed out that you can't pass laws that target or punish individuals.  Hmmm.....

It occurs to me that Obama is a worker under public subsidy who at 400k makes more than 250k at his day job.  Seems to me any constitutional interpretation of the 90% over 250k tax would apply it to him as well. 
5461  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Peter Schiff and the collapse on: March 22, 2009, 01:30:58 PM
Schiff hit the nail on the head regarding real estate bubble and gives an excellent explanation of why attention to the supply side of the economy comes first and demand follows.  I disagree with him on the importance of some other points.  You must certainly give credit to someone who wrote a book about collapse in such a timely manner but also be aware that books and warnings like these were available throughout the last 25 year expansion.  The key is in the details of the analysis.

Schiff (from GM's interview link): "I saw this guy from Freddie Mac (and you know no one talks about this – it’s amazing this isn’t a front page story) – just recently last week(March 2007), they announced they were going to tighten their standards with respect to subprime mortgages that they buy. Going forward (it’s starting in a few months), they are not going to buy mortgages where there is a strong likelihood that the person can’t make the payment and it’s going to end in default. Now, that’s an amazing statement because it means up until that point they were buying those mortgages.

I like this quote, Schiff: "The problem is modern day (demand side) economists measure an economy just based on these GDP numbers, and if it is all consumption based on borrowing they don’t differentiate that. They don’t take a look at where the consumption is coming from, and they’ve confused the cart with the horse. The horse is savings and production; the cart is the consumption. You don’t drive an economy by consuming – the consumer is not the engine, the consumer is the caboose – but we’re acting like we’ve got this great economy simply because we consume, and the whole world owes because we’re doing it like we’re doing everybody a favor. It’s just nonsense."

OTOH, putting the focus on 'profiting' from the coming collapse instead of anticipating it, avoiding it, or surviving it reminds me a bit or Gilder picking stocks instead of just explaining trends.  'Profiting' sells better than just expanding your knowledge.  My question would be how much better off are you to hold gold with $500 taken out of a strong economy and then own $1000 worth that you can convert back to a worthless currency for a collapsed economy.  Seems to me you are screwed either way.

I don't agree that impending inflation was the trigger or the force that brought this down nor the trade deficit nor do I agree that it was the US bringing down the world; most measures indicate the downward force hit elsewhere first and hardest.

I still look for the best explanation of the collapse.  The US economy is an amazing, dynamic machine that can withstand an amazing number of shocks and bad policies up to a point, but you can't forever keep chopping its roots and arms and legs off and still see it grow.  A number of negative factors kept accumulating.  The biggest 3 I see were real estate, energy and anti-growth tax and spend policies.

Like Schiff says in his book, "bubbles burst, don't they".  Real estate values haven't made any sense for a long time.  Zero equity with 100% borrowing, full deductability, teaser front end payments that expire with wildly exaggerated purchase prices led to a collapse accelerated by mark to market rules that combine good loans in with the defaulted ones.

Energy demand grew with the global economy.  Supply here and elsewhere was curtailed.  Prices rose until the weakest links in demand chain broke, crippling the economies.

Pelosi and the gang came with their promise of punishing all capitalist activity while opinion polls showed that they were here to stay and would be soon joined by an administration to her left, eager to crush capitalism.  Eventually the rational and awake investors ran for cover while the rest of us watched our values implode.

The way out isn't complicated IMO: a) pro-growth fiscal policies (lower, simpler, flatter tax rates coupled with spending within our near-term means), b) commit to allow the private sector to produce as much energy as we expect to consume (at the forecasted 4% economic growth level), and c) real estate lending practices based on a meaningful down payment and a reasonable likelihood of paying back the loans.
5462  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 20, 2009, 10:55:05 AM
Judging nuclear power IMO must be done in the context of all the alternatives.  In the case of supplying the electric grid today, the choice I think is coal or nuclear.  The others offer some minor supplement, such as hydro, wind, solar.  Traditionally the energy loss on the transmission lines has been about 2/3 (that's why we heat northern homes with natural gas) so the non-cost-effective clean sources become even further from cost-effective on the grid.

The environmental issue of the day is CO2.  Carbon dioxide is released in the mining of coal and in the burning of coal or any fossil fuel.  I am with the skeptics here on the magnitude of the problem; I have posted that I think our use of fossil fuels adds only 0.00003 degrees C per decade of warming.  I'm not alarmed because the number is small and the reliance on fossil fuels is temporary, a blip in earth's history.  Still, I think it is better to not emit, and less emission is preferable to more.

Nuclear is the only large source of power that has zero emissions.

Risk is serious but calculated.  Look at the safety record.  Again must compare with others.  Chernobyl I believe doesn't count when evaluating new or existing plants here because we aren't building to their lack of safety standards.  Golf carts probably kill more people than nuclear plants.  I know the 19mph light rail here has killed more.

The size of the waste problem is of our own making.  What we call waste is still a large energy source.   France and elsewhere reprocesses the waste down to much smaller amount with a much lower energy level remaining.  Our system is based on reprocessing rules from the cold war era, not energy efficiency engineering.

"I remember that the Diablo Canyon Reactor was built on an earthquake fault here in CA.  Have you ever lived through any earthquakes?  I have and that experts would build a reactor on a fault destroys my faith in them and their process."

I haven't ever lived through an earthquake at all.  We suffer with winter here, in exchange for that we are free from hurricanes, earthquakes, drought, wildfires or even the need for air conditioning.  Curious what scale earthquakes you have lived through.  I think it would be one of the most frightening things possible.  Building a power plant on it seems stupid and unnecessary, but living on or near a known fault seems unimaginable to me but we all live with risk and make choices.

Looking up Diablo I find: 'Diablo Canyon is designed to withstand an earthquake of 7.5 on the Richter scale'   - I don't know what that means about the remaining risk level.

I see your point about losing trust but the safety record for producing huge amounts of electricity without pollution is unsurpassed.

France uses nuclear to produce about 79% of its electricity, for the US it is about 19%.  Looking into the reasons, I found that France lacked oil, gas, coal etc. and got scared during the oil shock of 1973 when they committed to producing energy domestically.

Last night, I heard the glibness tout his visit to a plug-in hybrid car and state (falsely) that they would get up to 150 mpg and then imply that you would come home and sell your leftover energy back to the grid and make some money.  Besides that he needs a teleprompter to get his energy facts straight (the 150 assumes energy on the grid is magical and free), I actually like the idea of plug-in hybrids.  I wouldn't waste my money on being partly electric until I could plug in.  But imagine as he does that we move a major amount of the transportation sector over to the grid.  We will need more power plants and they will be coal with emissions or nuclear or else some taxpayer boondoggle because the other sources are not cost effective.

With everything we know now, which energy source(s) should we expand to power our lives and our economy?

5463  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Alignment - leg shortened by impact on: March 19, 2009, 01:54:47 AM
Thanks for all the contributions here - what a wealth of information. The alignment  topic has been central to my life for about 35 years.   When I was 17, I was hit hard as a pedestrian by a car going roughly 50. I was hit on the lower left leg.  There was swelling like a basketball and about 50% overlap on the tibia and fibula. They decided that the set was good enough to heal and fill in, and I was plastered from hip to toe. 

On the first follow up the swelling had gone down and the alignment was checked by x-ray and modified by cutting and shimming the cast at the break with a cork and re-plastered over it.  Still the inside of the cast was loose and the resulting alignment was better but still off. 

I had doctor reports about alignment.  If I recall, the lower half of the lower leg is angled forward and out by 11-14 degrees, the foot is angled a little inward and the knees are fairly loose and slightly knock-kneed on both sides.  Amazingly, only one doctor thought to measure length and discovered that I lost 7/8 of an inch.  If I didn't notice almost an inch, there are people out there unaware of a 1/16 that foxmarten says should be addressed.

When I exercised and trained and built muscles around the knee I felt pretty good.  When I didn't play sports I would also lose the strength to stand or walk much.  My senior year in college I went on a mission to decide what to do about the alignment .  At each stop the first orthopedic surgeon would call in a colleague and then the department head.  It was amazing to me that I could sway their recommendation by whether I complained or downplayed my symptoms.  It seemed like there was little science to it.  I saw the head of the orthopedic department at the Mayo Clinic.  He wouldn't say he recommended re-breaking to correct the alignment, but said he would do it if that is what I wanted and we set an appointment for an osteotomy.  They would re-break higher on the bone than the original break and take out a notch for alignment.  I would actually have lost even more length.

I saw another specialist who recommended against it, wouldn't take on the risks of non-union, non-healing etc.  I canceled the procedure, got on with my life and have rarely looked back.

I tried to find out about a lift for the shortened leg.  Heal lifts were no good because they change the ankle position which is instant pain for me. I walked into medical supply places, asked questions and finally got a referral to a custom orthopedic shoe provider.  They build a 7/8 inch full length lift on a leather shoe, high topped to prevent ankle rollover and I wear it for everything, even golf. I felt better instantly and could feel years of damage go from 'hurt to heal to harmonize'. 

Now I'm 52 and doing well.  It's hard to tell which aches and pains are from sports, which are from aging and which are from this battle.

Some comments and observations:  Kids often notice the unmatched shoe heights instantly while many adults I've known for decades have no idea.

As I think Richard wrote, the alignment and function at the hips is the key to the back and spine.  Sitting and standing too long are strangely harder for me that playing up to 10 sets a day of tennis. 

Maija: "Everything is connected to something or how does that go?" - Lol.  When I tell people that their knees are connected they think I'm crazy, but the knees are only separated by a couple of hips, and the alignment on one side directly affects the other.  Limping to favor one side hurts the other. 

Paul (Foxmarten): the joke about being careful when you talk to someone who carries a knife is prophetic for me.  I've already got more good years without surgery than they would have predicted with it.  They were not selling a fast, certain or complete recovery.

Interesting point about the knee hurting with a shim.  In the ski boot business they do something called canting.  My racing boots have allen screws that allow you to set the sideways tilt of the boot to the footbed so that the ski will sit flat on the snow as you stand naturally. 

5464  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: March 18, 2009, 12:32:37 AM
CCP:" I wonder where drugs would be on the list of imports from Mexico if records were kept."

  - Good point.  Also it is said that if China paid full price royalties for the software, music and movies that it takes, that would entirely close the trade gap.
"One wonders how we export so much oil rather than use it all here?  It must not be that simple."

  - I don't know the mechanics either - shipping lanes or refined versus crude etc.  We have a large geography.  Reuters: "The biggest share of U.S. oil products exported went to Mexico, Canada, Chile, Singapore and Brazil",
Looks to me like refined product gets shipped out the west coast (no doubt that some of it originated in Canada, hence both import and export).  I looks like the US east coast is a large importer, remember the Katrina refinery shutdowns in New Orleans (south coast?).  I know Iran for example has no refining so they export oil but have to import all their gasoline. When Venezuela was threatening to cut off oil to the U.S, one analyst wrote that they would then have tankers going both directions through the Panama canal.  It is a global market.  Wouldn't it be easier to just switch the shipping labels.
5465  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Trade Deficit Down on: March 17, 2009, 02:03:37 PM
Thanks for the feedback that my link did not light up correctly.  I use this bookmark for the economic posts of Brian Wesbury:   All of the posts marked commentary or analysis are well worth the read IMO.

For the latest trade deficit link, scroll down to: "The trade deficit in goods and services fell to $36.0 billion".  I'll try to hot-link again:$36.0_billion_in_january

My point was that if imports declined by 23% and exports declined by 16%, both are bad news even though the 'trade deficit' is now smaller.

(Wesbury should have been Bush's Fed chair pick instead of failed Fed insider Ben Bernancke.)
5466  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / World's 10 most dangerous cities on: March 16, 2009, 12:08:42 PM

10.London - knife related violence
9. Saskatoon - aggravated assault and robbery
8. Norilsk - pollution, life expectancy 40, no living tree within 30 miles
7. Johannesburg - theft, robbery and violence
6. Rio de Janeiro - violent gun crime, assassinations and drug-trafficking
5. Detroit - violent crime, property crime, most notably rampant arson and car theft
4. Caracas - homicide rate doubled under Chavez, 'Murder Capital of the World'
3. Linfen - dirtiest air in the world
2. Ciudad Juarez - epicenter of rival drug cartels, smugglers, kidnappers and criminals
1. Mogadishu - gun battles between rival militias and tribal factions
5467  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: March 15, 2009, 11:32:44 PM
"The biggest exporter is Germany"

Impressive statistic for Germany but not a fair comparison with the US economy IMO for the following reason:  When Germany ships to any other country in European Union it is counted as an export, when someone in Florida, Texas, California, New York, Massachusetts or 45 other states ships across state lines it does not.

"I am trying to find out what our biggest exports are; autos? gas? oil? technology?"

Here are some trade stats to sift through, imports:,  exports:, Other countries:

What you see there might surprise you.

5468  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Trade Deficit Down on: March 13, 2009, 09:11:38 PM
Addressing a strain of political economics that considers imports and trade deficits to be symptoms of economic weakness or failure, it is interesting to note that in this bad economy our trade deficit is 'improving', down to its lowest level since our last bad economy.  (We also had a trade 'surplus' during the great depression.)$36.0_billion_in_january

I'll try to explain my view better... commerce is good (except for warheads to tyrants etc.), each transaction involves productive behavior between consenting adults and EACH transaction is a win-win situation for BOTH parties or they wouldn't make the deal.  So each import is good and each export is good.  More is better. To make a judgment about how they are going you should ADD them together for the trade figure instead of subtracting one from the other.  You don't see growing imports in a contracting domestic economy or growing exports in a contracting global economy.  In this bad economy, both imports and exports are way down.  That is a more meaningful observation than comparing one with the other IMO.
5469  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Results of Universal Healthcare and Free Everything in Sweden on: March 13, 2009, 06:17:10 PM
Riot/protest video edited out of this topic per moderator directive. I stand by my observation that this unrest is now in Sweden because these people moved there, not for the weather, not for the jobs with 70% unemployed, but for the world's most lavish welfare benefits including universal healthcare. - Doug
5470  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: March 13, 2009, 11:03:27 AM
CCP, The way forward IMO involves building the coalition between the factions you allude to, not to abandon EITHER core group in favor of another.  There is nothing 'Christian' about being pro-life or else at least half of Christians aren't Christian.  The second strongest defense of pro-life views I ever heard came from radio host Dr. Laura Schlesinger who is Jewish, and the strongest argument I've seen comes from science and ultrasound photography.

The point you make about the platform is correct.  The platform tradition should be ended instead of ignored by the elected candidates.  It is used only by opponents to demonstrate the extremism of their opponent.  The pro-life wording in the platform you cite would trump abortion for even the areas where all serious elected conservatives politicians would draw an exception.  The platform process is dominated the small minority of the involved and should be replaced by a Newt-style contract, agreed to and promoted in public, finding core principles that overlap realistic, electable plans for governing. 
5471  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: March 13, 2009, 10:44:32 AM
Crafty: "I find the question about the likely dramatic decline of Chinese exports and the domestic consequences thereof to be an interesting one."

I have long believed that the Chinese rulers would not survive a serous downturn in their economy, but I also have learned over time that I am more offended by the oppressive regime there than the Chinese people are.  I don't know how an uprising would happen nor do I understand how such a small ruling class could contain a billion people over these years as they watched most of the globe move to consensual government.  In any case, they haven't been tested with real economic troubles.  The words of Rahm come to mind - you hate let a good crisis go to waste.

The leaders know to pre-empt upheaval by flexing their military strength and commitment.  As they try to energize nationalism, maybe Obama is of some advantage in this situation.  When they try to play the U.S. as the reason to pull together, maybe the evil, pre-emptive warmonger George W. Bush was a more convincing bogeyman for the masses than the affable, green behind the ears, can-we-talk, Barack.  As they see the disarm, talk and surrender foreign policy of this administration it will be hard try to convince your people that your nation is under a serious threat from afar.
5472  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People, shooting sprees on: March 12, 2009, 09:49:13 AM
Interesting take Prentice.  "They didn't say anything about the lack of mental heathcare or look at the pressures of family life and at work or school." 

I haven't looked into these cases at all but in general would add that the tools to force treatment or confinement for the suicidal have been dropped in our society.  Their freedom comes with these risks. 

Just like the terrorists, fear of administrative penalty on equipment violations isn't a motivator for those intent on ending their own life.  Only a giant government magnet can make certain that criminals and wackos comply with each new law change.

I hope that I am with one of my concealed carry friends if ever caught up in one of these rampages.
5473  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues - Obama eligibility on: March 11, 2009, 11:14:24 AM
It seems to me a matter of timeliness that has elapsed.  The accusers needed to challenge this when he went on the ballot, not when he started winning or after he won and was sworn in.  This case was tried by the voters who knew he had a foreign father and spent overseas time as a child.

Let's say for sake of argument there is something fishy about the original birth certificate on file in Hawaii.  The accusers still would need more than a hunch and multiple theories to get a judge to force a look.  And what if they now find a sloppy or reconstituted document?  Then what? Put the document on trial.  Prove it's not original. And then what?  Even a right-wing congress or conservative court would still not remove him now from office IMO.  If the story of the sources in the WND piece are true, which is doubtful because Justices don't speak candidly on open matters to their spouses, much less at book signings, it sounds like you would have 3 votes maximum out of 9 at most AFTER proving the President ineligible to serve.  I think no Justice and no congress would reopen this under any circumstance

I watched the hysteria on liberal boards about non-stop Bush impeachment talk that made it all the way to the fringe members of congress.  The answer then was that the President will leave at the end of his term and in this case after being defeated or serving two terms. Trite but true: elections have consequences.  There is a way forward and this isn't it.
5474  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward Michael Steele on: March 09, 2009, 05:58:14 PM
Chad, Thanks for posting.  Steele will be fine IMO if he can now hit the ground running.  If not for the mis-steps (all publicity is good publicity?) no one would have noticed or cared that a black man is now running the Republican Party.  Repubs had a black man and black woman at the highest cabinet posts and a black man to the highest court in the land without black voters noticing or caring.  If/when Michael Steele has accomplishments as RNC Chair, maybe then he will become a national voice and begin to influence a voter or two.  There is plenty of room for Steele to make a huge difference, but this defense of Steele came from his own PR person. We will see.  We will see what he can do with top down leadership for a deflated structure that needs to be re-built from the bottom up.

One public improvement that comes to mind is to stop having the equal-time opposition speaker talk to an empty room.  These should be done with enthusiasm that spills from the live audience to the television, radio and internet audience - either with stadium sized support or in a staged, Letterman/Leno type setting.  A citizens version of a joint session of congress is what they need IMO.  The future political leaders need to speak to a crowd and the party had better go find and train the candidates that can do it.  They also need clarity of message...
5475  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: March 09, 2009, 01:11:42 PM
Mark to Market is one valuable tool to analyze the value of an asset.  The rigid accounting of nothing but mark to market on all loans ignores the reality that most families will stay in their home and make the payments un der most circumstances. 

We have a long tradition of incompetent regulation.  That is not an argument for no regulation nor is it an argument to increase the size or budget of the failed regulators.  To me it is an argument to define the role of the federal government down to a manageable, constitutional size and hold regulators to efficiency and performance standards in line with their responsibilities.
5476  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude - Rachel on: March 08, 2009, 03:57:32 PM
I am grateful for intelligent dissent on this board, especially from Rachel.

"Every time I go to post all I seem capable of writing is snarky comments or a harangue. I deleted these kind of  comments before they were posted.  I'm sure you all could handle my negatively but that is not the person I want to be."

Likewise, I have seen other boards digress that way and wish for my own postings and thoughts to not stoop that way.  I regret when my replies to you have crossed that line without being cleaned in the proofread.  My intent was always to challenge you politically, intellectually and morally on the issues, such as pro-life vs. reproductive freedom, not to put you down or myself as superior.  And to be challenged back which is often lacking, especially in your absence.
5477  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - George Gilder on: March 07, 2009, 10:37:07 PM
There has been a lack of clarity about what got us into this mess and what should have been the way out now. 
Gilder is at his best on economics IMO, not stock picking...

GEORGE GILDER, Featured in "The
Claremont Review": In the current financial and political circus, with
Fabian fantasists and climate cranks in control of economic policy, the
mainstream media join Ivy League sages in condemning Adam Smith’s
invisible hand. Free market ideology has blinded conservatives, say many
sophisticates, to a crime wave on Wall Street, as Adam Smith gives way to
Bernie Madoff as the epitome of capitalism.

For perspective on what is going on, however, we should contemplate the
view of Richard Armey, the crusty cowboy who long served as Republican
majority leader and economic guru in the House, who pointed out to me more
years ago than I want to recall, that economics has more hands and feet,
visible and invisible, than the media imagines. Confounding the market’s
invisible hand during the past decade’s financial follies were the
government’s very visible handouts. These outlays massively and
conspicuously supported popular causes and constituents: low income
mortgage seekers, affirmative action litigators, failed farmers, US
automakers, ethanol junkies, sugar beet shysters, hustlers of solar power
and windmills, socialist educators, climate cranks, and other altruistic
but addled government dependents, plus all the interventionist CRAP
(Community Reinvestment Act programs) that mandated the suspension of
credit rules for politically favored home buyers. With much of this murky
activity guaranteed by the government, it prompted orgies of overreach,
with the “assets” of Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac rising from a few hundred
million to five trillion in a decade or so. Democrats fervently celebrated
all these visible handouts and wish to expand them hugely.

Meanwhile (in perhaps Armey’s best trope), the invisible foot of
government went to work. This millipedal regulatory force covertly kicks
at the underpinnings of private economy activity by capriciously
debauching the dollar; imposing onerously progressive tax rates on
successful economic ventures but making investors eat the losses;
fostering anti-business law suits and class action rackets; restricting
access to energy resources; snarling international trade; and enacting
ever more intricate mazes of contradictory laws and regulations with ever
more acute moral hazard, which assures that the results of the
intervention will be the opposite of its goals. The effect of these
relatively inconspicuous activities is to unleash the visible foot of the
market—all those bankruptcies and foreclosures—and increase demand for the
visible hand of government largesse.

In general, to rectify the situation, the invisible foot of government
must be removed—regulations retrenched, tax rates reduced, tariffs
eliminated, the value of the dollar restored. But instead conservatives
focus most of their energies attacking Leviathan at its strongest and most
popular point: the visible handouts of government spending—earmarks,
subsidies, and such—which matter relatively little if the invisible
assaults are suppressed. Since the visible handouts cannot be reduced in a
recession, the only spending cuts that actually happen as a result of the
Republican complaints are in defense.

A few decades ago, supply side economists, such as Arthur Laffer and
Robert Mundell and inspired journalists such as Jude Wanniski and Steve
Forbes pointed out the politically feasible remedy. Lower tax rates and
retrenched regulations result in more revenues for the government and less
need for visible handouts. Because this footloose outcome allows the
expansion of government and the defense of the country while the private
sector grows even more rapidly, it was extremely popular for a few years.
Its truth, demonstrated globally (look it up), is incontrovertible. Supply
side policies enable the otherwise impossible combination of guns and
butter: large defense efforts with low tax rates and rapid economic
growth. Countries with low or declining tax rates can increase their
government spending three times faster than countries with high or rising
tax rates, because the low tax countries grow six times faster than the
high taxers.

Why then is this truth controverted today by all reputable economists?
Even the disreputable supply siders seem to concede to the Democrats that
it is possible to increase revenues by increasing tax rates from current
levels or to sustain social security and medicare without reducing the
payroll tax. The reason is that all economists have been tied to the
procrustean bed of existing national models which exclude all the
factors—economic growth, tax shelters, entrepreneurial innovations,
transnational and interstate investment flows and demographic
migrations—that register the supply side effects.

Meanwhile, the profession upholds the phantasmagorical models of demand
side economics. Because these models find no confirmation in reality—as
Jean Baptiste Say proved centuries ago, demand is always and only a side
effect of real supply—established economic theories are extremely
difficult to learn and remember. You get Nobel prizes for minor and
obvious insights in economic geography. Thus the exponents of the standard
model are deeply threatened by any reality-based economics.

These experts are now completely in control of Washington, attempting to
spend their way to political dominance, while taking well over half the
voters off the federal tax rolls and giving actual taxpayers a greater
incentive to hide and shuffle existing wealth than to earn or create new
wealth. These measure will retard recovery from the recession and reduce
revenues. But globalization means that entrepreneurial creativity—in which
the United States is increasing it lead—can survive by adopting foreign
locales and resources. Countries such as Israel (a global center of
innovation) and Ireland (a low tax haven), China (a manufacturing dervish)
and India (ascendant in software), are taking the lead and will help
capitalism survive the Lilliputians currently trying to ruin it in the
United States. What will matter, after all, is not whether President Obama
approves of markets but whether markets approve of President Obama, who
may think he has protected his future by buying off the middle class with
tax rebates but will soon discover that his future will be decided by
global markets for currencies and stocks.

To any socialist revival, the invisible hand will still deliver the final
5478  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants - It Ain't Your Money to Spend on: March 07, 2009, 09:53:30 PM
This belongs in music but it is political so I will enter it as a rant - a beautiful, beautiful rant.  The Obama-resistance movement now has a tune...

Hey Washington, It Ain't Your Money to Spend

If the link doesn't work try the artist's website:

  Hey Washington ...


2009, Words by Steve Jones, Music by Kathleen Stewart

Don't spend my grandson's paycheck.
He's only two years old.
With Obama in the White House,
His future's bought and sold.
Stop this immoral spending spree.
Stop assaulting our liberty.
Let me help you comprehend:
It ain't your money to spend.

Born and bred for freedom.
Got me a lot of rights.
They're all but disappearing
Before your fiscal appetites.
You're taking the fruit of my labor
To give your next-door neighbor.
I'll say it from beginning to end:
It ain't your money to spend.

It ain't your money to spend.
You're acting like a bunch of jerks.
I'm the one who earned it.
I'm the one who works.
Your income redistribution
Doesn't jibe with the Constitution.
So I got a little message to send:
It ain't your money to spend.

You started a spending orgy and then,
You made me long for Georgie again.

You gave some cash to ACORN.
Those folks are so corrupt.
All the pork and all payoffs,
It makes me want to erupt.
Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi,
The scariest folks since Bela Lugosi.
Let me help you comprehend.
It ain't your money to spend.

It ain't your money to spend.
You're acting like a bunch of jerks.
I'm the one who earned it.
I'm the one who works.
Your income redistribution
Doesn't jibe with the Constitution.
So I got a little message to send:
It ain't your money to spend.
5479  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica on: March 07, 2009, 09:15:02 PM
I jump in on this Spanish language discussion of oppression in Venezuela with a rough attempt at translation.  Please correct me if wrong...

Photos show celebration and demonstration by Chavez who 'won' a right of permanent reelection and is consolidating military power with new appointments to the highest positions.

Crafty thanked Denny for informing us with his first hand look from Venezuela:  'Thanks for your reports. I see that for every post that there are almost two hundred persons reading it. Impressive!'

Denny: On the contrary, I am the one who should give you the thanks in name of my compatriots by yielding us the space and the readers in this fight for liberty and decency.  There are many forums where they have prohibited me to publish news of Venezuela.  I wish that people never have to fight against [this kind of] oppression. 

There is no reason that a tyrant [should be able to take from us] our right to [freedom and pursuit of happiness].

With a grand fraternal hug I give you the thanks.  - Denny

God Bless you Denny.  Be safe and keep up the good fight.
5480  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, NY Times didn't know illegal immigration was ... illegal on: March 05, 2009, 09:09:16 PM
Powerline does a nice job of bias and accuracy watch over a place that Crafty calls the NY Slimes. 

The Times Clears Up a Misunderstanding

The New York Times has long been an advocate for illegal immigration. Today we got some insight, perhaps, into what has motivated the Times' editors, via the paper's corrections section:

    An editorial on Feb. 22 stated incorrectly that unlawfully entering the country is not a criminal offense. It is a misdemeanor for a first-time offender.

It's quite remarkable: until today, the Times' editors believed that illegal immigration was legal!
5481  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cognitive Dissonance, Does he do it on purpose? on: March 05, 2009, 08:45:03 PM
Is He Doing It On Purpose?

There's a school of thought that the Obama administration is deliberately damaging the economy and gutting the stock market, on the theory that doing so will make more people dependent on the government and pave the way for a far-left regime. Doug Ross makes the argument:

Consider that, in the teeth of a devastating recession, Obama has:

• Raised taxes on small businesses, the engines of entrepreneurship and job growth

• Raised the capital gains tax

• Lied about "tax cuts for 95% of Americans", offering instead $13 a week, achieved not through tax cuts, but by changing the federal withholding tables!

• Destroyed charitable giving by axing the tax breaks for 26% of all giving (or $81 billion in 2006)

• Proposed a carbon cap-and-trading scheme designed to punish oil companies and further tax consumers

Why would Obama inflict these destructive policies while the economy is collapsing? Simple. Each step strengthens the role of government in people's lives.

• Squelching the stock market kills its attractiveness as a parking lot for private capital. Combined with an increase in the capital gains tax, investors will swarm to bonds -- tax-free vehicles like municipal bonds, which benefit the growth of state and local government. And unions, of course.

• Carbon cap-and-tax will raise taxes on all Americans as the cost of goods and services will increase to address a non-existent threat.

• True tax cuts would grow the economy, which is why, of course, Obama shuns them. The last major recession was Jimmy Carter's malaise. It consisted of of double-digit inflation and unemployment. It was finally licked by across-the-board tax cuts for everyone (even the despised rich), which touched off a twenty-plus year run of prosperity.

• Charities reduce the role of government assistance for those in need. That, in Obama's world, can not be tolerated. That is why charities must be choked off and allowed to die. Especially faith-based institutions.

The only plausible explanation is that Obama's destruction of the economy is intentional.

It is based on a failed ideology that has never -- and can never -- succeed.

It is, I admit, an intriguing theory, but I don't buy it. Obama can't possibly want to be a one-term failure. That's what happened to Jimmy Carter, and Obama must know that it will happen to him, too, if his policies are perceived as dragging down the economy.

More likely the explanation is that Obama is an economic illiterate, and subscribes to the idea--which I think is rather common among Democrats--that what the government does has little impact on the economy. Obama likely believes that the economy will recover on its own, and in the meantime--in Rahm Emanuel's immortal words--he shouldn't let the crisis go to waste. So he enacts every left-wing measure that he wanted to do anyway, expecting that when the economy eventually recovers he can take credit for it, even though his policies, if anything, retarded and weakened the recovery.

That's a cynical strategy, although not quite as cynical as destroying the economy on purpose; the difference is that it may well work. - John Hinderacker
5482  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants - America copying western Europe on: March 05, 2009, 12:57:12 PM
I posted recently in "Islam in Europe" that Sweden will host the Davis Cup tennis this weekend versus Israel in Sweden's third largest city Malmo and allow no spectators due to Sweden's inability to provide security.  Imagine if you will the Super Bowl, World Series or the Masters golf at Augusta played without spectators.  What a sad state of affairs that would be.

Curious, I looked a bit into the history and demographics of Malmo which is on the southern tip of Sweden, just a bridge away from Copenhagen, Denmark - home of the Islamic prophet cartoon controversy.  From Wikipedia:

"By 1985, Malmö had lost 35,000 inhabitants and was down to 229,000. However, the toughest difficulties were yet to emerge. Between 1990-95, Malmö lost about 27,000 jobs, and its economy was seriously strained.

However, thanks to several government-funded projects, Malmö started to emerge as its current modern incarnation by 1995. Malmö has the highest proportion of individuals of non-Scandinavian extraction of any Swedish city. It remains a city of sharp social divide and high unemployment."

Reviewing this Swedish 'border' experience, they built an economy on government funded projects (stimulus bill), they offer free health care to anyone, whether you work or not, whether you paid in or not, whether you are a citizen or not, and now they have a massive population of non-Swedish speaking, non-Scandinavian people with high unemployment, high crime and total lack of security - so bad that they are unable to host a tennis match.

And we want to copy them.

As we Americans head full-force toward becoming a United socialist State in the western European tradition of powerful central government with free-everything guaranteed it is interesting to note that Sweden, Canada and France have since elected right-leaning governments that are unable to put the socialist-welfare toothpaste back in the tube.   - Doug

5483  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - The Way Forward for Democrats on: March 05, 2009, 12:14:39 PM
As Newt has pointed out, we need some common sense conservatism to emerge among Democrats and independents as well.  Looking to 2010, the entire House is up for election, but the recidivism rate is around 98-99% due to the advantages of incumbency.  The senate is even tougher to turn over because only about a third are up for election each cycle and of those, there are very few vulnerable, red-state Democrats.  Running the same calculations are those red-state Democrats who are up for reelection and wanting not to be vulnerable.  First to triangulate away from Pelosi-Obama is Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.  Watch for North Dakota's Byron Dorgan to follow and for Harry Reid of Nevada to just continue to look confused. - Doug

Update: Russ Feingold (D-WI) also plans to vote no, not because he is centrist but because he is running for reelection in a state with mixed politics, where welfare reform began.

Deficits and Fiscal Credibility
A Democratic senator says no to a huge federal spending bill.


This week, the United States Senate will vote on a spending package to fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year. The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 is a sprawling, $410 billion compilation of nine spending measures that lacks the slightest hint of austerity from the federal government or the recipients of its largess.

The Senate should reject this bill. If we do not, President Barack Obama should veto it.

The omnibus increases discretionary spending by 8% over last fiscal year's levels, dwarfing the rate of inflation across a broad swath of issues including agriculture, financial services, foreign relations, energy and water programs, and legislative branch operations. Such increases might be appropriate for a nation flush with cash or unconcerned with fiscal prudence, but America is neither.

Drafted last year, the bill did not pass due to Congress's long-standing budgetary dysfunction and the frustrating delays it yields in our appropriations work. Since then, economic and fiscal circumstances have changed dramatically, which is why the Senate should go back to the drawing board. The economic downturn requires new policies, not more of the same.

Our nation's current fiscal imbalance is unprecedented, unsustainable and, if unaddressed, a major threat to our currency and our economic vitality. The national debt now exceeds $10 trillion. This is almost double what it was just eight years ago, and the debt is growing at a rate of about $1 million a minute.

Washington borrows from foreign creditors to fund its profligacy. The amount of U.S. debt held by countries such as China and Japan is at a historic high, with foreign investors holding half of America's publicly held debt. This dependence raises the specter that other nations will be able to influence our policies in ways antithetical to American interests. The more of our debt that foreign governments control, the more leverage they have on issues like trade, currency and national security. Massive debts owed to foreign creditors weaken our global influence, and threaten high inflation and steep tax increases for our children and grandchildren.

The solution going forward is to stop wasteful spending before it starts. Families and businesses are tightening their belts to make ends meet -- and Washington should too.

The omnibus debate is not merely a battle over last year's unfinished business, but the first indication of how we will shape our fiscal future. Spending should be held in check before taxes are raised, even on the wealthy. Most people are willing to do their duty by paying taxes, but they want to know that their money is going toward important priorities and won't be wasted.

Last week I was pleased to attend the president's White House Fiscal Responsibility Summit. It's about time we had a leader committed to addressing the deficit, and Mr. Obama deserves great credit for doing so. But what ultimately matters are not meetings or words, but actions. Those who vote for the omnibus this week -- after standing with the president and pledging to slice our deficit in half last week -- jeopardize their credibility.

As Indiana's governor, I balanced eight budgets, never raised taxes, and left the largest surplus in state history. It wasn't always easy. Cuts had to be made and some initiatives deferred. Occasionally I had to say "no."

But the bloated omnibus requires sacrifice from no one, least of all the government. It only exacerbates the problem and hastens the day of reckoning. Voters rightly demanded change in November's election, but this approach to spending represents business as usual in Washington, not the voters' mandate.

Now is the time to win back the confidence and trust of the American people. Congress should vote "no" on this omnibus and show working families across the country that we are as committed to living within our means as they are.

Mr. Bayh, a Democratic senator from Indiana, served as governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997.
5484  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy - Consumption based tax, no income tax on: March 05, 2009, 10:13:51 AM
Coming back to Freki's points and enthusiasm toward the Fair Tax... I will answer and clarify some key points but I think we both made strong points already and neither was persuasive to the other.

Amending the constitution and REPEALING the authority for a federal income tax:  "Granted this is a real problem and the main obstacle to the fair tax, but you can not win a fight by standing idle."  - In rough terms, it would require around 75% popularity where we can't even win 50% approval to stop the current expansion of government and taxation complexity.  Ronald Reagan only won his first time with 51%.  With current demographics they say that total would only make 46%... 

Inclusive v. exclusive:  " is just in how you chose to do the math."  Yes, but the burden is on the proponents to blow the opponents argument out of the water.  When you calculate as an add-on sales tax, it is a 30% tax, which becomes a 37% sales tax in my state and I think as high as 39.5% in the highest sales tax locations.

"It is my understanding that even the government would pay the fair tax.  It was stated in the fair tax book and on their web page."  - But of course the government can't pay, we do.  The public sector, including counties, schools, roads, military and on and on comprises close to 40% of the economy, but let's say 30% of purchases.  While you strive to be 'revenue-neutral', it is implied that we will fund the same sized government.  Therefore, to be 'spending neutral' we need to raise and spend enough  additional to cover government's share of the tax.  By my math, the 30% sales tax becomes 40% which becomes 47% with state tax here and over 49% in the highest tax areas.

State Income Taxes, I wrote: "Unless you live in South Dakota or another location without a state income tax you will still need to file a complete income tax return including all of the schedules with the government every year. (Who really thinks the states will soon quit taxing income.)  Freki replied:  "These states with state income taxes I believe will fall into line once the people see how easy it is to do their taxes.  They will demand their states change.  The power of goverment lies with the people.  If this is no longer the case then our civilization is on the downward slope.  I still have hope we can fix it."

I chose South Dakota as the example because it is the nearest state to me (in MN) that has no income tax and because it sounds so remote.  In fact, seven states have no state income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.   We come at this from different perspectives because I am in an oppressive, high tax state and I think you are in one with no state income tax.  I envy that, but keep in mind that most of the other 43 states are totally and completely addicted to the complicated and progressive taxation of income.  Imagine California today canceling it's income tax.  Is that realistic?

Freki wrote:  "What system do you prefer?  Where is your support going and why"

This is a great question which slowed down my response to think about this.

I think we should evaluate tax choices on many different levels, efficiency first - that is to raise the money while doing the least harm to the incentives that make the economy work.  Morality - I think there is a case to be made for right and wrong in the way that taxes are applied and debated, and of course trying to be politically realistic. 

If we were starting from scratch and creating a LOW tax, simple system to finance the basics of constitutional government, I think I would be with you and favor a small tax rate against consumption instead of income.  The founders had a tariff on imports which I would oppose,  but would accept an across the board tax applied to everything evenly at a very low rate.  In hindsight, it would have been far easier to defeat the income tax amendendment then than to repeal it now.

From where we are today, I think the outrage, the battle and the uprising has to be first aimed at spending.  We must tax enough to pay our bills, but our bills are out of control.  I just can't get excited enough to work decades and dedicate a part of my life to such a large cause as defeating almost everyone in the House and Senate to move this forward and take this movement across the land to pass it in 3/4th of the legislatures if the reward at the end is to have a revenue-neutral change in tax systems that funds all of the crazy programs, cradle to grave, that we currently demand.

I would like to see the current income tax simplified and applied more widely at much lower rates.  I actually think all income should be taxed at exactly the same rate no matter who earns it or how.  As a political matter I know that isn't going too happen, but we need everyone to have 'skin in the game'.  I would settle for a mildly progressive system with continuously variable rates that start with a very low rate on your first dollar of income and cap at something lower than what we have today, perhaps 24% with VERY FEW or no deductions.   If we could apply a tax rate more evenly across the electorate, then maybe we could lessen the demand for wasteful programs and spending.
5485  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: March 05, 2009, 09:04:11 AM
"...[Obama's] speech was formal, so that is the reason the Marines seem so stiff."

Yes, but the leaders and handlers in the front applaud and try to get some excitement going while the room of Marines remain stiff and silent.
5486  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: March 04, 2009, 02:53:17 PM
Seems diversionary to me to refer to (false IMO) numbers about an effective or average tax rate when it is the marginal tax rate that sets the disincentive to invest, expand, hire or build further.

Please document one major oil company that posted a record profit while paying next to nothing in taxes.
5487  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: March 02, 2009, 08:07:25 PM
It crosses my mind as I fill up at 1.80 per gallon that no one (not just here) points out the role that unaffordable energy played in collapsing the global economy.  I remember that gas used to be the example of inelastic demand.  As a country, we refused to drill, build or refine more product, but as consumers, our usage is a little bit inelastic in the short run and within certain ranges.  For example, when gas went from 50 cents to 60 cents or from 1.19 to 1.29 per gallon, people still lived the same distance from work, from church, from Grandma's house, from the store etc. so we bought the same amount of gas.  When we replaced our vehicle we still needed the same number of seats and hauled the same cargo. 

When gas prices double and triple, we started combining some trips and thinking about sharing rides with family, friends and co-workers.  At $4 per gallon and $80 per tank or at some higher number, we gradually change our usage but we keep buying the product until bankruptcy because we still need to get places to live our lives.  As consumers, gas was still a relatively small piece of the family budget. 

But as oil hit $120-$150 per barrel, there were places around the globe less prosperous than the US that cried uncle first.  All the data seems to indicate that the current downturn hit the rest of the world first and hardest.  Factories shut down and workers were laid off.  That leaves me to believe that energy prices around the world, not just Fannie, Freddie and other US shenanigans, played a major role in the global meltdown.

Today we don't talk about energy shortage because gas prices are artificially low.  But they are low because of financial ruin.  If/when the economy rebounds around the world, we still have the same energy shortage or worse that we had.

Instead of addressing the energy shortage, the far-left machine is hellbent on crippling supplies for the future.  Somewhere in that debacle is an opportunity for an out of power party to gain traction and bring forward a positive agenda.
5488  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues - Human caused warming .00003 degrees C per decade? on: March 02, 2009, 04:22:22 PM
Guinness,  Thanks for your attention to this topic. 

"Natural causes of "greenhouse gas" emissions dwarf manmade, but that often escapes the notice of the environmental apocalypse mongers."

Toward the end of page one of this thread (Feb. 07) I posted some crude math that I entitled 'global warming math', (no replies).  The alarmists it seems will always tell us that man's role in warming is large, significant, even fatal, but they never tell us just how much, so I did my own math.  I'm interested in your view and others.  How much warming was caused my man?
" I give it my first shot. I recognize that all components of my math are inexact (wrong) and controversial, but they are based on the best estimates I have found, and I already disclosed my bias above.  Please re-do the math with the data you trust better and post your answer to the question - at what rate is mankind warming the planet?

Estimate of total warming over the last 50 years:  0.5 degrees Celsius  (Doesn't count recent cooling back to starting point)

Proportion of atmosphere CO2 attributable to humans:  3% (0.03)

Proportion of greenhouse effect attributable to CO2: less than 2% (0.02)

Negative feedback factor estimate: 50% (0.5)

Conversion factor of 50 year warming to per decade warming: 1/5 (0.2)

Total warming attributable to humans: 0.5 x 0.03 x 0.02 x 0.5 x 0.2 =0.00003 degrees C per decade.

This is not in contradiction to the wording of scientists that it is very likely, with 90% certainty, that human activity is contributing to global warming."

The reason I'm not alarmed is not just because the number is infinitessimally small, but also because the system has automatic corrective forces and because I believe the period of time that man will depend heavily on fossil fuels is a blip in time in terms of the history and life of the planet.  I expect we burn gasoline for maybe 50-70 more years maximum out of more than 4.5 billion years.

5489  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives/the American Creed on: March 02, 2009, 12:34:11 PM
Interesting piece on Newt.  Of course the person who can electrify the room at CPAC is not likely same one who can connect with the other demographics that need to stop seeing a massive government in control of everything as the American dream.  Far more urgent than the Presidential election of 2012 is the congressional election cycle of 2010.  For certain, the Republicans / conservatives need to nationalize these contests the way Newt did in 1994.  Even then, very few Democratic Senate seats are vulnerable (maybe Harry Reid in Nevada?) while several Republican ones are.

5490  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Fair Tax on: March 02, 2009, 12:01:33 PM
Freki, I very much like the way you are thinking in terms of simplifying and changing the current system and abolishing the IRS, but I oppose this proposal.  I wrote an opinion in 2007 explaining why I think it is unworkable.  I will summarize here, this time with fair tax in the title so it can be found again. I look forward to your comments and others.  I think it is extremely important that like-minded people debate the policies now and get on the same page before the next election cycle or face yet another trouncing.

My top ten reasons that the 'FairTax' is a non-starter.  IMHO you can stop reading after the first sentence of point 1) below which constitutes a total and complete show-stopper.

1) Changing over to the 'FairTax' requires the repeal of the 16th amendment. You will not see 2/3rds of Nancy Pelosi's House, 2/3rds of Harry Reid's Senate and 3/4ths of the legislatures, including states like Senator Amy Klobuchar's Minnesota and Senator Hillary clinton's New York, voting to 'permanently' cancel the authority of the federal government to tax income at all while their careers are fully focused on "raising taxes on the wealthiest among us" to pay for health care and more government of all kinds.

2)  A 23% "inclusive" tax is a 30% sales tax.  When you buy a $1 item you pay $1.30.  The inclusive version is fine for comparing with income tax rates but this is a sales tax and you add 30% (best case) to the price.

3) Unless you live in South Dakota or another location without a state income tax you will still need to file a complete income tax return including all of the schedules with the government every year.  (Who really thinks the states will soon quit taxing income.)

4) Somewhere approaching 40% of the economy are the government purchases.  You can make them FairTax-exempt and then adjust the 30% tax WAY upward for the rest of us.  If we make them not-exempt, then adjust our public spending 'needs' up by 30% to cover the tax.

5)  The so-called "prebates" that remove the harshness of sales tax regressivity also remove the simplicity which was the primary strength, purpose and justification for the 'Fair Tax'.

6)  New items are taxed and used items are not taxed again because they already were, yet 'used' homes will be taxed!  Again, there goes the simplicity and the lobbying as it means the rules are negotiable.

7)  Fairness? For whom? Those who worked hard, paid taxes and saved for the future and now want to enjoy it will be openly double taxed.  So much for fairness.  Again, if we adjust for fairness, out goes the simplicity.

8.) What kind of real and restructuring tax reform is revenue neutral?  Those who want reform generally want lower tax burdens.  Those who preach the populist 'tax the rich' message of today oppose efforts to lower or remove the burdensome taxes on production.

9)  The false promise (IMO) of ending taxation on income has split and damaged the already feeble movement to truly reform our massive, incomprehensible tax system.  Case in point, look at the GOP contest in Iowa (2008) that will spread from there.  The already thin minority of Iowans who are inclined to be a) caucus-goers, b) fiscal conservatives and c) have a tax reform orientation are now split candidates with income tax reform proposals and one who just recently co-opted the 'FairTax ' banner.  IMO that means certain defeat for the larger cause of simplifying and lessening the burden.

10)  I take issue with the nomenclatures and slogans of "FairTax"  and "revenue neutral".  They remind me of telling us that taxes are mere "contributions".  Changing to consumption-based taxation is not fairer, it is just different.  It is not revenue-neutral to the individual taxpayers.  It would shift burdens around and half the people would certainly cry out 'unfair!'.

Bonus, 11)  A national 30% sales tax would compete and worden the state and local sales taxes that are as high as 7% and higher.  States and localities would then shift taxation heavier toward the income side, potentially removing most or all gains after adding an enormous new layer of taxation.  Imagine your local public schools looking at all that new revenue potential.  Nothing in the federal constitution or future amendments removes the ability of the state, county, local, school, or waste, stadium or transit commissions to go after any revenues that the feds leave on the table.

5491  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: February 27, 2009, 01:43:10 PM
[the Obama plan] "will no doubt result in less benefits, more costs to patients, and much more controlled care."

Costs paid directly by the consumer and prices yielded directly to the producer comprise the mechanism that allocates resources the most efficiently.  But the more crucial the market, the more we try to use inferior mechanisms to allocate the resources.  In the 1990's the WSJ published an unbelievably complicated flow diagram of how healthcare decisions would be made, almost cartoon-like, taken from the literal text of the Hillary-care proposal.  Congressional staffers and mid-level bureaucrats will be making very important decisions for people they never met.
Scott G wrote this week:  "we could probably solve 80-90% of the healthcare problem by simply changing the tax code so that anyone, not just employers, could deduct the cost of healthcare insurance. This would reintroduce basic market dynamics to the healthcare market, and that is the only thing that can make healthcare cost-effective and widely available."
5492  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: February 27, 2009, 01:07:35 PM
"Why are they blasting Hillary? The anger should be directed at the source - BO."  - More convenient and less controversial to attack HRC.  They want to influence the Pres. not damage or destroy him, or even being seen undermining him.

"Jews and Blacks are not as aligned..."  - It's a strange coalition that makes up the Democrat power base.  Blacks and Jews are aligned by a common political enemy - Republicans.  Far left extremists are the most anti-Israel of any voters in the country, yet share a party with most Jewish voters.  Non-Jewish far-righters are the strongest defenders of Israel in this country, for not for religious reasons.  Meanwhile Blacks love school vouchers and school choice, directly at odds with another huge money and power base of the party - the education unions.  But no matter how much they all hate or disagree with each other, they will not jump parties. 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but liberal American Jews would rather stand quiet while Israel is destroyed before they would ever support a moose hunting, peace through strength, conservative for Commander in Chief, just as Catholics pull the lever for for abortionist supporting candidates at the same rate as the rest of the country because of other liberal priorities. 
5493  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe - Davis Cup without Spectators on: February 24, 2009, 02:45:06 PM
I had the opportunity to see a Davis Cup semifinal years ago featuring USA v. Sweden in Minneapolis.  There were no riots in the streets or car burnings.  This story in Malmo is amazing, they are host to Israel v. Sweden and the show just won't go on.  I would be very interested in hearing from people who have witnessed the unrest in places like France and Sweden.
 Anyone for tennis in Malmo?
February 24, 2009

The AP reports that spectators will be barred from the Sweden-Israel Davis Cup match next month in Malmo. There appears to be a vague concern about controlling Swedish youth in Malmo:

    The Davis Cup matches between Sweden and Israel will be played without spectators in Malmo next month. Attempts to move the venue to Stockholm fell through.

    Officials have cited security concerns for the World Group series, which will be played March 6-8. Several anti-Israeli demonstrations have been planned in Malmo.

    Stockholm had offered to host the matches, saying it was better prepared to guarantee security arrangements. But that possibility ended when Stockholm officials said they couldn't get organized in time for Sunday's arrival of the Israeli team.

What's the problem in Malmo? Interested readers are left to fill in the blanks for themselves.   
5494  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, re Ron Paul opposition to Federal Reserve on: February 24, 2009, 09:54:03 AM
I don't like to see misguided policies confused with criminality.  Of course there should be oversight and any criminals jailed but I disagree with the idea that we would be better off if the politicians had even more direct control over the supply of money.  I also think it is unrealistic to think that printed dollars will ever again have a direct redemption in gold.  Most money and transaction value never sees a printed dollar.

The Fed is about as private as the Supreme Court.  The President appoints the Directors, the senate confirms, and the profits all revert to the U.S.Treasury. 
5495  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: February 24, 2009, 09:27:25 AM
"I disagree with "stimulus" in general." - Crafty

This wisdom from Scott G's site sums up the rationale opposing govt stimulus superbly:

“The usual effect of attempts of government to encourage consumption, is merely to prevent savings; that is, to promote unproductive consumption at the expense of reproductive, and to diminish the national wealth by the very means which were intended to increase it.” - J.S. Mill

"Want to turn things around in a flash?  Abolish the capital gains tax" - CD

Yes, but zero chance with the social justice crowd in power. But we should stop taxing the inflation component of the gains and, at the minimum, lock in current rates for today's investors to rely on.  Even then you can't undo the panic that was caused by the transfer of power starting in Nov 2006 that promised to punish investors who don't rush to dispose of their assets.

"Put the auto companies through Chapter 7... Let bankrupt banks go bankrupt."

I would add, let foreclosed homes be foreclosed.  How can resources flow to their most valuable and productive use when we constantly put up roadblocks to block the flow.

"Cut the corporate tax rate down to the level of other major economies (from 34% to low 20s) , or LESS!"

Amazing how the same politicians that are furious about corporations moving operations elsewhere keep coming up with proposals and policies to punish them if they stay here. 
5496  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants - Housing prices on: February 20, 2009, 03:13:58 PM
What is the 'right' price level for housing?

It was propped up artificially by government policies.  The unrealistically high prices were unsustainable and led to the eventual and unavoidable collapse in home prices along with the end of residential construction, the layoffs of the workers, the rise of unemployment, the collapse of the securities markets, the fall of the banks and the economic depression world-wide - to put it lightly.

The Obama-Pelosi response:  We need to artificially re-prop up home prices.

Median price home in America is/was around 200k.  Should it be higher?  Should it be lower?  Which branch and departments of government should set housing price levels?  Maybe we could call Nixon's Price-Wage board back in...

Speaking of generational theft, who does this help?  I own homes but it doesn't help me either way.  My primary residence isn't for sale, so the eight-fold increase I've earned on paper just leads to eight-plus-fold increases in property taxes.  My rental properties can't be cashed out because of impending capital gains increases at the federal level and confiscatory taxes on the inflationary gains at the state level as well.  I can't even move out of state to avoid capturing that income in this state.

Do artificially high home prices help the young people who hope to branch off on their own and buy and live in at least as nice a place as they grew up in?  - NO!

Sorry I'm having so much trouble adapting to our new fascist-socialist system and they haven't even finished working on healthcare.  Soon you will have your heart stints specified by the people who picked our bridge gusset plates.  Good luck.
5497  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: February 19, 2009, 09:40:34 AM
CCP,  Thanks as always for the thoughtful reply.  I appreciate Colin Powell for all the things he did for this country - past tense.  For my money, he is worthless now to the party.  'We' nominated the least conservative, most centrist candidate for the purposes of winning in a Republican-unfriendly environment - and he ran against the Senate's most liberal and least experienced member.  Gen. Powell couldn't contain himself with the excitement of voting for a half-black man and the media attention of finally distancing himself with the administration he once served proudly.

For sake of argument, let's just stipulate that Rush is another negative that R's have to deal with while 'reaching out' to minorities, young people or other potential new supporters.

Obama gave away to me in his pork, massive government-enlargement bill signing ceremony the key to the message for Republicans moving forward:

"We have begun the essential work of keeping the American dream alive in our time."

The party and the candidate of the opposition better learn to articulate a different view of the American dream.  $5 billion to ACORN, picking and choosing which homeowners to help, federal takeovers of banking, housing, healthcare, transportation, education... Is socialism unevenly applied by lobyists and staffers who write bills that representatives can't read the American dream.  I thought that term was coined to describe something like the viewpoints you read here: rugged individualism, self-discipline, work hard, retain a right to self-defense, look back regularly at statements about individual liberties in the actual words of the founding fathers, the right to personal freedoms and self-determination and maybe even the right to choose which charities you support with your excess income instead of having it rammed down your throat by Washington.

We need someone to paint that picture.  Reagan was 1980s and our next leader runs in 2012 so he is no longer relevant, and we can pick at his errors or inconsistencies, but what he did overall was project the bigger picture of the American dream for all, over the hodgepiodge of federal programs for the unlucky who qualify.
5498  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: February 17, 2009, 03:17:14 PM
Just pointing out the most obvious in media bias and failings,  I was struck during the 'stimulus' press conference last week by the fact that no one asked the President where the money was coming from.  McCain has called it generational theft.  If this were a business proposal from a company president, the board of directors' first question would be where is the money going to come from.  Same if it was a proposal for a case study project at any reputable school of government.  The professor's first question would be, where is the money you propose to spend going to come from?  But no curiosity whatsoever from the White House puppet press corps.  That is the sad state of the fourth estate.

Any chance that wouldn't be Helen Thomas' first question if this were 'W' or even McCain?
5499  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for Reps/Conservatives on: February 17, 2009, 03:01:45 PM
"Colin Powell is right.  If we don't change our message we are destined to continue losing market share."

    - I am curious what you think would be a good summary of Colin Powell's positions on the issues of the day.  I don't know what they are and I don't think Republicans will ever win by running with Clinton or Obama style ambiguity.  I also think he can get away with flip-flopping (supporting Bush, then supporting Obama) only because he is a war hero and a NON-candidate.

"Limbaugh IS wrong." 

   - Wrong on style to run for office, but like Colin Powell, Rush will not be the candidate.  He is intentionally too rough on people who hold different views (as if Obama is tolerant of other views, lol).  So aside from style or temperament, what positions do you think Rush holds on the issues of the day that are too conservative?
5500  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: February 13, 2009, 09:39:23 AM
Speaking of agencies not speaking to each other, we have the INS (immigration enforcement) which I think has changed names and changed departments (are they still in business?) and we have the Census Bureau which periodically tracks every little private detail about every living person hidden anywhere in the country, for political purposes.  One reason Judd Gregg stepped down from becoming Commerce Secretary was because the Glibness Group wants control of the Census moved from Commerce to the White House.  The reason the WHite House wants greater control is to make a more aggressive count of the 'new people' in the country.

It ocurrs to me that while we are spending federal dollars and sending federal agents to comb all neighborhoods, finding out every private detail about their life for political purposes... maybe we could also use that opportunity to ask them for documentation for citizen or visitor status.  Just a thought.
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