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5451  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 12, 2010, 02:15:26 PM
Reminds me of the smoking argument.  It IS an addiction yet people quit everyday, so there is both choice and addiction.  Food is as addicting i would think as a cigarette, probably more so because you always need to have some.  People eat out of boredom, a routine and availability probably more than out of hunger.  I think it is the deferred gratification argument.  What do you want most versus what do you want now.  Maybe you want a flat stomach and less load on yours knees, but what you want right now is to eat big, eat well, and eat often.  I am definitely on the 'choice' side of this argument for most people and we know people make good and bad choices about all kinds of things.  There are plenty of others where as the good doctor has pointed out, that it just won't ever happen and a staple in the stomach or a pill or other artificial solution is the best course of action.

Back to public policy and freedom, being out of shape is a lousy way to go through but shouldn't be illegal, shouldn't be decided by someone else and really isn't much of the government's business.  When we turn to the government for health care is when someone else's personal behavior seems to become everyone's business - and that is mostly wrong IMO. Part of the problem is a consequence of wealth and part is tied to paying other people to do nothing and part has to so with so many people becoming wealthy enough that the cost of unlimited food is no issue.  Either way, 25% of fresh foods get thrown out.  I notice that friends who travel with expense accounts tend to eat excessively well.  We have huge numbers of people who receive free food and have nothing but time available to consume it all because their productive activities were stopped by program eligibility requirements.  How are they supposed to round up the will power to limit their diet to match their inactivity when nothing much else going on?  Along with drug testing for welfare, we could put some limits on free food programs or change the structure of those programs for those who are unable to otherwise control their intake.
5452  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 12, 2010, 01:16:56 PM
53 seats recaptured would be nice.  If true, it makes a 106 vote swing- from 77 seats down to 29 seats up(?) or something like that.  Too early though to start counting totals before elections.  Send money instead and call people.  As Obama used to say, get in their face, lol.  Volunteer to be a poll judge.  There will be important close races and we will no doubt slide back into recount wars again.

O'Donnell never should have spoken out against America's favorite pastime; not the business of a small and limited government.  People should handle that decision on their own.  Still, I like O'Donnell.  You would think the opponent's flirt with Marxism would be worse for the country than a little youthful witchcraft.

If the momentum continues, the next races that need to swing are Calif. Senate (Boxer) and the MN Governor race.

Regarding likely voters and off-year elections, I honestly don't understand why someone rational would care about the Presidency but not enough about the congress to go out and vote.  A no-show is a form of a no confidence vote.  The lesser of two evils is still a very important decision.  
From BBG's link: Slavery Begins with Mandatory Volunteering
Right Wing Extremists: Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Me
Freedom is a Right, ( I like: Freedom is MY Entitlement Program)
5453  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending: SSI on: October 11, 2010, 01:29:32 PM
Mentioned previously, 8 million people receive roughly $500/mo. ( mostly under the following loose disability rules:

"Disability means inability to engage in any SGA [substantial gainful activity] by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which...has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."

Normally paid via cash card in addition to all other programs of eligibility.
My reason for posting was because of hundreds of personal observations of what I would consider to be abuse of the program.  Already answered by CCP as to what kind of situation it puts the doctor in.  One note from a doctor is worth 6k per year, year after year, and we pay for the doctor visit, and a taxi in some cases to get to the doctor.

Who is hurt most, the taxpayer or the recipient?  I say the one who learns to end the search for productive accomplishment within their own mental and physical capability.
5454  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: October 11, 2010, 01:09:18 PM
Also politically incorrect, the Wash. Post and others pulled this regularly scheduled cartoon that made it onto their website called "Where's Muhammad?"

At first glance, the single-panel cartoon he drew for last Sunday seems benign. It is a bucolic scene imitating the best-selling children's book "Where's Waldo?" A grassy park is jammed with activity. Animals frolic. Children buy ice cream. Adults stroll and sunbathe. A caption reads: "Where's Muhammad?"

Miller's cartoon is clearly a satirical reference to the global furor that ensued in 2006 after a Danish newspaper invited cartoonists to draw the prophet Muhammad as they see him. After the cartoons were published, Muslims in many countries demonstrated against what they viewed as the lampooning of Islam's holiest figure.

What is clever about last Sunday's "Where's Muhammad?" comic is that the prophet [sic] does not appear in it.
5455  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness, Dubious Donations on: October 11, 2010, 12:54:46 PM
As Commander in Chief he has time and inkling to weigh in on the phony Chamber of Commerce doantion question of which he knows nothing.  As candidate, he had no time to look after his own lack of controls against foreign donations. Flashback to October 2008:

"Della Ware" contacted The New York Times to report her experience contributing under a fictitious name and address ("12345 No Way") to the Obama campaign, while her contribution was rejected by the McCain campaign. Times reporter Michael Luo verified "Della Ware's" account and reported it online at the Times' campaign blog. But Luo missed the story's point... The Obama campaign is running a system that complicates the discovery of "something wrong." It has chosen to operate an online contribution system that facilitates illegal falsely sourced contributions, illegal foreign contributions and the evasion of contribution limits...

According to journalist Kenneth Timmerman, the Obama site did not ask for proof of citizenship until just recently - in contrast not just with McCain but also with Hillary Clinton. Sen. Clinton's presidential campaign required US citizens living abroad to fax copies of their passports before it would accept donations. By contrast, foreign donors to Obama can just use credit cards and false addresses. - NY Post 10/27/2008

The author of that story just before the election wrote (on Powerline) he assumed it would be looked into after the election - but it wasn't.
5456  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics, More big government drivel from Krugman on: October 11, 2010, 12:39:22 PM
His columns come out so often I should try to ignore ridiculous points, but knowing that:

"non-defense discretionary funding has increased by 57 percent since Obama took office"
(and remember, spending was outrageous under Bush)

or as Krugman put it yesterday: "the big government expansion everyone talks about never happened."

Besides ignoring the 57% increase, Krugman says: "Health care reform, for the most part, hasn’t kicked in yet, so that can’t be it."

But Pelosi-Obama-Care coming already IS a job killer.  So is Cap-Trade pending though without being passed.  It inserts risk, cost and uncertainty into business expansion and investment decisions.

Current budget is roughly 2.5 trillion revenues in with $4 trillion out in federal government spending alone: a trillion and a half a year of deficit spending. Krugman says: "the key problem with economic policy in the Obama years: we never had the kind of fiscal expansion that might have created the millions of jobs we need."  What would a large stimulus be to Krugman? 2.5 trillion revenues with $5 or 6 trillion in spending??
5457  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science:New Zealand actual warming: 0.06°C /100yrs on: October 11, 2010, 11:22:06 AM
0.006 warming per decade is the total warming, not the man-made component much less the man made portion that could be eliminated with severe new laws.  100 years and well within the margin of error, all I can conclude is how stable and resilient the nature of our planet is.

New Zealand is interesting to me. I can judge warming (or lack thereof) here with my own eyes and exposed skin, but an update from the far corner of the earth gives another perspective.  I think NZ was a subject within warming scare movies (please be ready to evacuate!). Also interesting that the 'adjusted', wildly exaggerated figure is still less than one degree per century during this brief period of relying on fossil fuels.  It might be more accurate to say we don't know how to measure the temperature of New Zealand now, much less the globe, or to pretend we have 100 year accuracy in any of that, and if we did that would still be too small a sample of time to conclude very much of anything.

"There’s a litany of excuses. The National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) claims New Zealand has been warming at 0.92°C per 100 years. But when some independent minded chaps in New Zealand graphed the raw NZ data, they found that the thermometers show NZ has only warmed by a statistically non-significant 0.06°C. They asked for answers and got nowhere, until they managed to get the light of legal pressure onto NIWA to force it to reply honestly. Reading between the lines, it’s obvious NIWA can’t explain or defend the adjustments."
5458  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: October 11, 2010, 09:29:34 AM
The techniques that I would consider reasonable to extract information from a known terrorist to disrupt a planned, major terror act are far too graphic to post on this family friendly site.  I would distinguish anything to do with mass murder, genocide or suicide bombing from the rules of criminal law enforcement as we once knew it.  Besides the casualties of the act and the terror infliction on society, it is not possible to punish the suicide bomber after the fact.
5459  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Privacy, Reasonable Expectation of Privacy on: October 10, 2010, 03:05:44 PM
GM, This article is very helpful to understand their thinking and the criteria they use.  It answers one of my questions regarding the planting of the device.  I disagree slightly with their thinking.

If my private car is parked in a public location or close to the street in my driveway and someone without permission is seen climbing under it to attach something to it, pipe bomb, etc,  my reasonable expectation is that if law enforcement saw them, attaching, removing, tampering, whatever, they would arrest them, not be the ones planting or removing the device.

Planting a device and capturing (partially) private data goes IMO way beyond the comparison in the court case to aiding physical vision with binoculars.  In the case of Knotts/Armstrong, the FBI in fact planted the device with permission to the supplier and it was the supplier of the chemical that betrayed the trust of the suspect in the interest of preventing his product from being used for criminal activity.  Personally I see a distinction though I couldn't tell if the court did.

To the layman it seems like a small but important step to go from convincing the chief of police or FBI superviser, that a specific crime is so likely (probable) that it 'warrants' such a bold action, to convincing a judge of probable cause.  The difference is a tighter legal standard and having the review done by a somewhat neutral third party.
5460  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 09, 2010, 10:00:18 PM
When the governments all default, will we be able to take back their assets, like the 30% of American land that the federal government owns?

Crafty, yes, growth is the only way out other than collapse and implode.  NY Timers hasn't considered that because they oppose it.

If debt burden is x% of all income, then double your income while you pay down one dollar of debt, and your debt burden is cut by more than half - survivable.

Instead we have income stuck and runaway deficits while we wait for a tax rate increase we know will be contrationary.

The new congress will have its hands tied in vetoes unless some new light comes on in his anti-productive-economy brain and there is certainly no sign of that.
5461  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: October 09, 2010, 09:22:37 PM
Crafty, Thanks for getting me headed right on that.  I will fix that post. I've never seen a foreclosure document; I like the ones that say paid in full. smiley  Was there a law requiring personal signatures of bank officers on foreclosure documents or is someone trying to make tighter rules now?

If foreclosures were defective then they have to go back and do it again and that helps no one.  A simple quit claim deed would also do if the defaulting homeowner is not fighting the repo.  I hear about  'cash for keys' programs which I believe are really cash for documents (quit claim?)  so this may just be a cost of doing sloppy business.  Too bad the taxpayer is on the hook for what should be private sector business.  If it takes another 6 months, 12 months (?) then the defaulting party is just that much further away from ever making their loan current, and living for free never seems to have benefit the defaulter.
5462  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: October 09, 2010, 02:07:50 PM
JDN,  I also favor fewer poisons in the environment to a choking smog and toxic water supply.  Do you then favor zero emissions - no driving, no flying, no roadbuilding, no farming etc. to some emissions?  Back to the point of the story, do you favor honest, informed consent or perhaps getting a stricter standard passed with false data that exaggerates emissions by 4-fold? The latter may be cleaner and healthier...

5463  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chávez's Secret Nuclear Program on: October 09, 2010, 09:09:45 AM
Note: Readers here knew this from Denny's posts since at least Oct.8 2009 and  May 25 2010 above: "Brazil and Venezuela have a nuclear deal with Iran."

The consequences from the U.N. or the Obama Administration will be what?


Chávez's Secret Nuclear Program
It's not clear what Venezuela's hiding, but it's definitely hiding something -- and the fact that Iran is involved suggests that it's up to no good.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez admitted last week that his government is "carrying out the first studies" of a nuclear program. He attempted to portray it as an innocuous program designed solely for peaceful purposes.

On Sept. 21, I held a briefing for journalists and regional experts where I revealed for the first time information about Chavez's nuclear program and his troubling and substantial collaboration with Iran. This research -- conducted during the past 12 months by a team of experts who analyzed sensitive material obtained from sources within the Venezuelan regime -- paints a far darker picture of Chavez's intentions.

Chávez has been developing the program for two years with the collaboration of Iran, a nuclear rogue state. In addition to showing the two states' cooperation on nuclear research, these documents suggest that Venezuela is helping Iran obtain uranium and evade international sanctions, all steps that are apparent violations of the U.N. Security Council resolutions meant to forestall Iran's illegal nuclear weapons program.
5464  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: Calif. Law based on 340% error on: October 09, 2010, 08:45:40 AM

Overestimate fueled state's landmark diesel law

Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
San Francisco Chronicle October 8, 2010
(10-08) 04:00 PDT Sacramento - --

California grossly miscalculated pollution levels in a scientific analysis used to toughen the state's clean-air standards, and scientists have spent the past several months revising data and planning a significant weakening of the landmark regulation, The Chronicle has found.

The pollution estimate in question was too high - by 340 percent, according to the California Air Resources Board, the state agency charged with researching and adopting air quality standards. The estimate was a key part in the creation of a regulation adopted by the Air Resources Board in 2007, a rule that forces businesses to cut diesel emissions by replacing or making costly upgrades to heavy-duty, diesel-fueled off-road vehicles used in construction and other industries.
5465  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: October 08, 2010, 06:07:05 PM
I know of no lookup better than google.  smiley

ap·o·thegm also ap·o·phthegm  (p-thm)
A terse, witty, instructive saying; a maxim.
[Greek apophthegma, from apophthengesthai, to speak plainly : apo-, intensive pref.; see apo- + phthengesthai, phtheg-, to speak.]
apo·theg·matic (-thg-mtk), apo·theg·mati·cal (--kl) adj.
apo·theg·mati·cal·ly adv.

I always say if none of your friends has ever used it in a sentence, it doesn't belong on the scrabble board.
5466  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Law Enforcement vs. Privacy on: October 08, 2010, 05:59:50 PM
Like Crafty expressed, I am enjoying the contention (in a sort of painful way) between our rights to be left alone and our rights to have crime and corruption rooted out as necessary.

I am thankful for a couple of stings the FBI did within Minneapolis City Hall a few years back that shook up some of the corruption that festers when you have single party rule.  I am thankful for 19 al Qaida related arrests they made before I had to do with any of these people on a tenant application, though I know none of the facts so far.  I am thankful the IRS, after a couple of swings at me, determined that I am mostly a law abiding citizen and definitely a small fish unworthy of very much of their time.  They can be far more abusive than local police or FBI IMO.  I am thankful that my own small town on the outskirts of the metro has never had a rape, murder, abduction or armed robbery that i know of.  Leaves our fraction of a LEO very free to observe lumens from taillights and important matters like that.

Most of what is wrong in this country has to do with excessive laws, not excessive enforcement.  Little things like saying the houses have to be the same height and the same distance from the street piss me off more than current drug dealer and murder investigation techniques.

Every new law passed and every GPS bug planted, judge or no judge, should be with the understanding that most of us are innocent and want to be left alone.
5467  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ayers wrote the 'Dreams' book, not Alinsky on: October 08, 2010, 12:50:36 PM
Whoops. Thank you GM.  Getting sloppy with my leftists.
Ayers wrote Obama's book.  Alinsky wrote the book they govern by.
I'm reading Agassi's book, also by a ghost writer. At least he openly acknowledges it.
5468  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2010 Elections; 2012 Presidential on: October 08, 2010, 12:38:58 PM
Palin is an intuitive conservative, not an intellectual/scholar, and not a policy detail person like perhaps Paul Ryan or Gingrich.

She governed as a pragmatic conservative, not an ideologue.  That record is gone now and replaced with the quitter ending.

She wasn't ready for Gibson and Couric.  I don't know if people get a second chance.  She was about 12 times more accurate than Biden in her debate.  Still she came across there as trying too hard to stick to a few repetitive themes. 

She rubs liberals the wrong way that's too bad.  If she rubs our ownresidient conservative-centrist wrong - even a couple of years later - that is an electoral problem.

She is not the one I am looking for but acceptable to me.  I place a high value on winning though so how well she brings people in is just as important as how she can energize the base.  We need to do both!
We both pointed out that Bolton's stand on bombing Iran is controversial yet may become accepted wisdom.  It proves he not just a follower of polls or pundits (though maybe a warmonger, kidding).  People are war-fatigued so it will be hard to exude strength, though easy to contrast with Obama.  Bolton was a recess appointment to Ambassadorship IIRC because the senate would not confirm him.  That too may become a badge of honor but not a great early indicator of crossover appeal.  I like that he understands if he wants to be considered, to step forward now. He already forced palin's hand in that regard.  Regarding foreign policy, he was in the room for a period during most of the tough issues.  Regarding economics, it sounds like he learned from some of the best conservative minds.  There is plenty of time and we will see.

I am anti-Huckabee still and I can't see how Romney who signed different government healthcare is the guy to repeal-replace federal healthcare, no matter his stated positions.  Giuliani got a nice decade off his name following 911 but disappointed last time and seems very out of the picture now.  Gingrich...? Again acceptable to me but I don't think the winner.  Huntsman was the centrist they were supposedly grooming for the job.  It took 2 pages on google to even find him.  Most of the new faces emerging now are too new to be President in '12.  Obama lacked experience but he had burst onto the national political scene by 4 years previous to his election.

Too bad we can't get a pro-growth, pro-strength, pro-freedom, pro-constitution Democrat (why is that an oxymoron?) to win the nomination, hold his/her feet to the fire from congress and live with divided / bipartisan government.
5469  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nuclear Power on: October 08, 2010, 11:42:13 AM
Please correct me if I am wrong:

We are not building more nuclear plants right now because we choose to not build more. Yet we desperately need energy, and hate oil, coal, etc.  Certain government actions are required to get a new plant rolling.  Same for waste storage.

Major moves with energy have 8-10 year lead times.  What we didn't do 8-10 years ago is killing us now.  We are creating enough other lingering problems for the next generation besides no energy or having all our energy coming from elsewhere.

Current nuclear energy technology of the US and other western countries has the best safety record of any energy source on the planet.

Wind and solar provide a drip of energy and require substantial subsidy. You don't power an auto plant or even a wind turbine plant with solar, lol.  Eventually you run out of other peoples money, and we did.

Current nuclear technology has zero carbon dioxide emissions, so it is the cheapest, safest and the cleanest.

Obama saying yes to nuclear is like Obama saying yes to off-shore.  A head fake for political cover.  Like healthcare, certain political actors don't care if they cripple our economy or starve us of resources, like affordable, clean, safe energy.  Adults will have to step forward and make tough decisions.  If not nuclear, then what, and WHEN?

Result is that in fact we are building plenty of new manufacturing capacity, plenty of new coal plants and plenty of new nuclear plants and adding plenty of new manufacturing jobs, with our money... in China.

Someone who favors this current policy of wait for the unknown and don't build today, please explain to me how this makes sense or which part I have wrong.
5470  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness, Dinesh, Obama Sr. and Alinsky on: October 08, 2010, 11:39:31 AM
"Couple that with the lessons he learned from Alinsky..."

CCP,  I came to the same conclusion you did, that both theories are partly true.  He grew up largely off the mainland, maybe idolized his absent father, learned an anti-colonial view, opposite of so-called American exceptionalism.  His absent mother was plenty leftist too.  Then mixed with left- extremists like Alinsky..

My belief at this point is that Alinsky wrote that Obama book.  It was with Obama's notes, but Alinsky tied his storyline through it.  Same to differing extents with (nearly) all books by big shots, so that is not new; it just means take anything too literally. 

Now BO is tied to his own policies so the key forward is to expose those, sell the alternative like individual economic liberties and defeat him with his policies.

The inner brain workings of another President from a dysfunctional family don't interest me that much except in how to understand him enough to defeat him.
5471  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: October 08, 2010, 12:33:54 AM
For those with an interest,  here is a brief powerpoint presentation for free worth thousands in tuition:

5472  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 07, 2010, 10:43:25 PM
"...asked BO how he could be for increasing the Cap Gains rate when it would lead to less revenues-- and BO's answer was that it was a matter of "equity/fairness". "

The teleprompter was off and the truth slipped out.  Raising that rate was more important to him than raising revenue.  A successful campaign idea - go after the rich - was more important than governing, the best interests of the country, following the constitution or following the ten commandments, like covet, steal or worship other gods. I do remember that and it was pretty much the same as the Joe the Plumber incident.  When caught Obama did not back off of misguided, poorly articulated ideas.  I don't understand why he won't back off of bad ideas now, while governing.  To him, this is still a campaign and that is what he knows.  Everyday was a campaign to Bill Clinton too, but it was a campaign to promote himself and to shift himself when necessary, not a campaign to stick with bad ideas no matter the political cost or the real damage caused to the country or to the economy.

Like a large voice on radio said: I hope he fails [to accomplish what he has set out to do].
5473  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics: velocity and inflation on: October 07, 2010, 03:04:22 PM
Continuing a thought going back to Crafty's mention that MV=PQ. (or MV=PY: money supply, velocity, price level and real output)  Among many poorly measured and poorly defined terms in economics, inflation is often described as:

'More money chasing fewer goods.'   (

Note that the verb 'chase' is your velocity.  We have more money, we have static output, but we also have no chase (velocity), so we do not yet have general price level increases.  Money is largely sitting idle on the sidelines, waiting.

If/when economic activity picks up again, the reality of an increased money supply will multiply with new velocity, at least back to normal or historic levels, and could very easily result in spiraling price level increases *** depending on changes in all other variables.  That is the fear of all economists except Krugman who already knows the results of these policies.

Milton Friedman's license plate:
5474  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 07, 2010, 02:08:44 PM
From GM's post: "Net tax collections are still about 20% below where they were two years ago"

I never understood why big spenders from the Dem side never latched onto the successes with the big revenue surges from supply side incentives, such as after the JFK rate cuts, the Reagan rate cuts, the Gingrich Clinton capital gains rate cuts or the Bush tax cuts.  I don't think any sane company president ever got away with saying that our revenues are down 20%, let's raise our prices until we make up the shortfall and start growing again.

5475  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: October 07, 2010, 02:01:19 PM
GM, As a foreclosure buyer and one who rents to people on unemployment and welfare, I am in the exuberance phase of Pelosi-Obama enjoyment.  I'm not sure how much more of this fun I can take.
5476  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Krugman Economics. government central v. economic freedom on: October 07, 2010, 01:50:18 PM
Tenebrarum correctly points out that an economic bust brings with it new realities.

"A case in point is that after so much capital has been malinvested in the housing sector due to businessmen erring about the future demand for homes on account of artificially low interest rates, there is now far less demand for construction workers than there used to be. Those who lost their employment in this sector need to do something else and  that requires different skills. It takes time to learn what they are and to acquire them."

A VERY important point.  The politics of usual is how can we get unemployed auto workers back to making bad cars, how can we get hard working home builders back to building huge, beautiful homes of the wrong size in the wrong place for the demographics of today and the future, and how can we make unemployed workers more comfortable unemployed and less likely to ever adapt to new economic realities.
I love his rip on economic models.  Economic models "can make no correct predictions and are not even accurate descriptions of economic phenomena."

Basically what you have are poorly measured phenomena put into highly complex mathematical equations spitting out nonsense because of the inaccuracies and what I wrote earlier, not all other factors are ever held constant.

To me it boils down simply to choices between to pro-growth and anti-growth policies.  Our best CBO and OMB forecasters were wrong to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars recently underestimating the the economic energy unleashed by slight improvements with pro-growth policies and worng to the tune of TRILLIONS of dollars of wealth destruction that resulted from anti-growth policies. 

When we as a nation decided to change course in Nov 2006, we had 50 consecutive growth and 4.6% unemployment, along with some some false positives, like unrealistic, unsustainable values on housing.  The electoral choice was in denial to the reality that growth comes crashing down with in an anti-growth climate.  Now we have some version of bust and we get to pick up the pieces from here.  We don't get to go back.  Not with trillions of printed dollars dropped from airplanes, and not from pretending to go back to that time.  I don't ever care to read or argue out the details of a model with a 400 page mathematical analysis of the implications of a bunch of bad policies that we know inhibit growth, risk taking, hiring or profit making.  We only need to choose again now going forward a set of policies favorable to economic growth, including a friendly but necessary regulatory environment, an efficient but necessary non-punishing tax system, law and order, level playing fields, a healthy environment for investment and risk taking, clear sets of rules with long term predictable continuity, with no accommodation for those who covet, badmouth, punish or curtail legal, successful, productive activities.

As a famous radio host use to say: 'Now go do the right thing'.
5477  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: October 07, 2010, 01:02:03 PM
Inflation on purpose?  Along with a very nice luxury of so far having our debt in our own currency, we also have the power to devalue/erase our nominal obligations, in the tens of trillions... except for that the fact that it might be a violation of the oath to uphold the constitution including 'the validity of the public debt'. 

I have searched and not found the exact wording of the oath of office that some of these people take, particularly Federal Reserve Chair and Governors.  It is a well known fact (I think) that about 1% inflation is intentional because of deflationary fears which is why I don't think 2 or 3% is so bad with so many other factors so far out of whack, like budget, trade and employment.  Still, any intentional inflation I would think is a violation of the oath of office for any public official involved.

Further I would ask, what business is it of your government to meddle in the decisions you make of whether to spend, save or invest with your after tax money in a free society?
5478  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islam in Europe: Mugged in Amsterdam on: October 06, 2010, 11:27:37 AM
"What happened?"
CCP, Here is the story of my brush with 'Islam in Europe' and my only experience with nationalized healthcare.  On the latter, I was treated very nicely and stitched up for free.  When they listed my address as just 'Amerika' I realized I wasn't going to see a bill in the mail.

Dec. 1991, I was in charge of exports for a US telecom manufacturer with the Europe 92 initiative (European Union) coming, which for us would open the telecom networks of Europe to US products for the first time ever. I had appointments in 5 capitols in 5 days, spent every evening on a plane and traveled in and out of Europe through Amsterdam.  At the end of the week returning to my original hotel in Amsterdam I was tired of dinner on a plane and no exercise the whole trip, so I got off the train from the airport, skipped the taxis and walked to my hotel with early December darkness setting in.  

Amsterdam is designed in a horseshoe shape. I  picked a route to cut over to a different major street and picked the wrong one.  After a half block down this street in prime evening time  I realized I was alone, no one in sight on the street or sidewalk either side, no car, no pedestrian, no one visible in windows of the residential buildings lining the street.  Then footsteps came up pretty fast from behind me which seemed odd.  I shifted over thinking how could I possibly be in their way on an empty street, like can't they see me.  When they shifted over too, I knew.  I turned to face them.  The first guy froze but the other guy was already taking a swing at me.  I ducked down and away and he still got me on the back of the head.  He fell and I didn't.  I dropped my bags, stepped back a few steps and screamed for help. No one heard me but I got it out pretty loud. They hesitated, looked around, then left in the direction I had been headed, so I grabbed my stuff and headed back where I came from and briskly cut through on a better street to my hotel.

The guy who hit me seemed to have something hard like an oval shaped rock cupped in his hand but from the bleeding it must have had a sharp blade in it.  I felt okay the rest of the walk, got to the hotel and sheepishly started to explain my situation to the desk clerk who remembered me from the previous weekend.  She figured out what I was trying to say when she saw the blood on my hand from holding my head and got me a ride to the ER.  I sat down and then lost all my strength.

I described the attackers to the hotel manager driving me to the hospital.  He said they are Moroccans. I don't like to call them that because a favorite in-law of mine is from Morocco. I never told him of this experience. Now I call them al Qaida for a better story.  One strange part, it never occurred to me I was attacked for money since they never took anything.  It just felt like a hate crime or something territorial.
From Wikipedia: "Netherlands hosts an estimated 850,000 Muslims, including approximately 320,000 Turks and 280,000 Moroccans.[1]  Most of them live in the major cities, concentrated in low-income neighborhoods with poor housing quality, chronic unemployment, and high levels of crime."

I did not know that.
5479  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: October 06, 2010, 11:23:08 AM
"Paul Krugman is the very embodiment of intellectual dishonesty."

I seriously would like to someday read whatever he once wrote in the past that earned him the clout he seems to carry.  He is the front man for the NY Times editorial thought on (distorted) economics and they are the blueprint for the editorials for our paper, the Red Star-Tribune and so many other echo chambers across the country.  I so far haven't found any depth that goes beyond a Joe Biden level analysis or Bill Clinton level honesty.  You would think he would run and hide facing these results from his policies.

Crafty, I like very much the lengthy Tenebrarum piece.  He touched on enough of my points to wonder if he reads the DB forum.  smiley   I would like to come back to some important points he adds to the discussion but have no time right now.
5480  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: October 06, 2010, 11:12:17 AM
Rarick,  Sorry I hadn't seen your question about the background to verify or just a snide remark.  Answer for me is neither.  Just amateur speculation about what the future will bring.  I strongly believe the era of fossil fuels is a blip in time with or without government action to stop it, that move on faster without the government action and that we likely can't truly fathom right now the invention or discovery that will largely replace them.  Fusion seems to hold that potential on the smaller decentralized level where fission seems just for large scale reactors requiring power lines everywhere, which seem to me a very 20th century method from the future's perspective.

Meanwhile I favor building more of today's nuclear plants, more clean coal, more oil drilling, far more use of domestic natural gas sources and setting the private sector on a freer course to innovate to the next level without the guidance of government.  We won't get where we are going by impoverishing ourselves.
5481  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: October 05, 2010, 11:47:56 PM
Going back a couple of steps in this argument... I wrote regarding the placing of a GPS device on a crack dealer that they should get a warrant, with probable cause, "otherwise they could be tracking any one of us on a suspicion... "

GM replied with a question relating to counter-terrorism.  But I am with GM on that.  Whether by Patriot Act or new legislation if needed, I support going further to prevent an act like blowing up a city, than we would under criminal law or defendant rights.  The loophole in the 4th is the word "unreasonable" searches and seizures.  I posted previously that if I had dialed by accident or inadvertently bumped into one of bin Laden's henchmen I would expect and welcome the idea that some federal surveillance might be on me until my good name and the misunderstanding got cleared up. 

Preventing a crack deal from taking place doesn't rise to that level.  Probable cause seems like a fitting test to authorize a hidden device planted on the subject of a tip or suspicion, as you would need to enter their home.

Reading the US v. Knotts appeal at I found: "On February 28, 1980, Minnesota agents delivered to the Hawkins Chemical Company a can of chloroform in which a beeper had been placed with the company's consent." The authorities were following a product they corrupted with permission, as it changed hands a couple of times to a suspected illegal use, not directly tracking a person under suspicion. I'm not sure how that that affected the decision but 'with the company's consent' seemed to be a relevant point in the facts. 

US v. Knotts is supportive of GM's argument to a point but I can't say I agree with the decision if it truly means the right to plant a GPS tracking device on a citizen without probable cause.

I wonder how a beeper of 1980, presumably a short range device of limited accuracy, compared with "using binoculars to enhance your field of vision" is analogous to planting a GPS device for satellite and computer based tracking indefinitely, based on (any?) 'reason to believe', short of probable cause. Assume I am found to be innocent, who owns the device hidden on me, do they sneak in again and take it back, inform me I am no longer under suspicion, or leave it on me for others to track me?  Does it contain metal and go off when I enter the airport or government center?  Did I have a reasonable expectation of that?  Or will they use the GPS that was required to be implanted in my phone for (reasonable expectation of) 911 services only.

Likewise with On-Star.  The listening device is already planted in the vehicle and it transmits over public airwaves.  The courts I believe require a warrant issued before the provider will switch on the listening capability for law enforcement. Even in all my attempts to be law abiding, I think still I will stay away from that technology.

5482  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy, GPS tracking on: October 05, 2010, 12:50:17 PM
Tracking the movement of a crack dealer by law enforcement makes perfect sense... except for that small detail, 'without a warrant'.

Whatever the police reasons were, they needed to run it by a judge first, otherwise they could be tracking any one of us on suspicion rather than probable cause. 
5483  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 05, 2010, 12:37:01 PM
"The dem's class warfare is boosting investment..... overseas."

GM, correct! Unfortunately.

The main beneficiaries of cars for clunkers were Honda and Toyota.

Here is a nice explanation of how a stimulus can get away:

"Andy Xie has an interesting angle on why U.S. stimulus won't work this time around...

Essentially, the world is too globalized today, whereby demand remains local but 'supply is global'.

In the past, when a government stimulated demand within a country, such as the U.S., this stimulated an investment expansion within the U.S.. Companies invested in domestic expansion in order to increase their product supply and meet stimulated American demand. This domestic investment expansion adds jobs, which sets off a cycle of economic expansion.

Yet in today's globalized world, companies don't need to expand within the U.S. in order to meet stimulated U.S. demand. They can expand their facilities in other countries, say China, in order to meet stimulated American demand. Thus American stimulus doesn't create a sustainable cycle of economic expansion within the U.S. as it used to -- it creates jobs in places like China rather!"

Read more:
5484  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: End of year tax hikes on: October 05, 2010, 12:04:11 PM
"Absent action on Capitol Hill, those increases will take $4 trillion out of the economy over the next ten years"

Worse yet, the higher rates may capture no new revenues as the players in the economy respond to impending doom with a "contractionary" response.

What most liberals, progressives etc. don't get whatsoever is that even if these new increases never happen, the fact that they have been looming and promised really since Nov. 2006 when Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Hillary et al took control of congress has already caused immeasurable carnage to our economy that had 50 consecutive months of job growth when power shifted.  One simple measure is unemployment.  For certain there were other factors (not all other things held equal or constant), but when the party promising extension of tax cuts was in power, the last unemployment figures were: "adult men (3.9 percent), adult women (4.0 percent)", 4.5% overall, compared with 9.6% overall today with across the board tax increases coming:, the last figures available for the leftist regime leaving power. 

A doubling of unemployment is not a punishment to the rich, as it was intended.  The filthy rich have individually lost millions but are doing fine.  Shrinking the payroll for them is not all bad. Fewer government forms to fill out. Smaller parking lot to seal coat, probably could plant some greenery on the unused employee parking spaces and help the environment as well.
5485  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islam in Europe: Geert Wilders free speech trial on: October 05, 2010, 11:39:23 AM
This is about free speech in Europe on trial; the underlying issue is about Islam in Europe and a tolerance that has been abused by the welcomed immigrants.  As one who was mugged and knifed in Amsterdam by 'immigrants', it seems to me that it should be legal to voice dissent to all the openness and tolerance that has been spit upon (worse) by certain new residents in a free society.
Dutch MP on trial for 'hate speech'
He risks up to a year in jail or a 7,600-euro ($10,471) fine for his comments if convicted.
Here is one of the more offensive quotes on trial, and it is no doubt offensive:
"I've had enough of Islam in the Netherlands; let not one more Muslim immigrate," he wrote in the paper. "I've had enough of the Quran in the Netherlands: Forbid that fascist book."
From personal experience, I would say it is the behavior of certain people from among the new immigrants who incited the hatred, not the free speech of those who point it out.

If you are allowed to speak in favor of something, calling Islam a religion of peace for example when we know plenty of examples of people reading and acting on those passages do not come in peace, then why should people not be be allowed to speak out against that same thing, even if what is said is offensive?

If Wilders had called for violence against the Muslims, and he didn't, that would be very different than calling for an end to additional immigration.

I wonder what Theo van Gogh thinks about the issue.
5486  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: October 05, 2010, 10:47:23 AM
"...the point that the US is not a closed economy"

Bloomberg yesterday: "International ownership of U.S. municipal bonds jumped 37 percent in the first half of the year from the end of 2009 to $83 billion, a Sept. 17 Federal Reserve report shows."

Besides the international ownership, Krugman conveniently omitted the fact that states and municipalities (and businesses and homebuyers and students) also need room left in the credit markets after the feds buy and steal all of the available funds.

Bloomberg again: "Illinois, with the lowest credit rating of any state from Moody’s Investors Service, dangled yields higher than Mexico"  shocked

Crafty: "MV=PQ".  Velocity of money is fascinating to me.  As you point out in the equation, it has equal importance with the supply of money.  I would point out in return that these are imperfectly measured measures, but extremely important concepts.  People's eyes tend to gloss over when you discuss velocity of money.  If a dollar changes hands fourteen times in a day or fourteen hundred times, is it still one dollar? lol.

It's hard to cut and paste economic discussions without the charts, but here is a little discussion on the topic from a capital advisory group that reinforces the same point that Crafty just made:

Having an understanding of the Quantity Theory of Money (QTM) will provide one with an understanding why some strategist are concerned about future inflation. The factor in the QTM that is holding back inflation at the moment is the fact the "velocity" of money has declined substantially. So what is the Quantity Theory of Money?

The QTM is based:  "directly on the changes brought about by an increase in the money supply. The quantity theory of money states that the value of money is based on the amount of money in the economy. Thus, according to the quantity theory of money, when the Fed increases the money supply, the value of money falls and the price level increases."

A great deal has been written recently about the fact that the Fed's effort to provide for more liquidity in the financial system has really not produced much growth as bank's are holding the liquidity in excess reserves (click on chart to enlarge).

The importance of this has to do with the Quantity Theory of Money (QTM) which describes the interplay of nominal GDP, money supply and velocity.

Recently though, the velocity of M2 and the YOY percentage change are showing increases. As the below charts do show (click on each to enlarge), it is not uncommon for velocity to take some time to pick up following an economic recession.

The relationship between velocity, the money supply, the price level, and output is represented by the equation:

    * M * V = P * Y where
    * M is the money supply,
    * V is the velocity,
    * P is the price level, and
    * Y is the quantity of output.
    * P * Y, the price level multiplied by the quantity of output, gives the nominal GDP.

This equation can thus be rearranged as V = (nominal GDP) / M. Conceptually, this equation means that for a given level of nominal GDP, a smaller money supply will result in money needing to change hands more quickly to facilitate the total purchases, which causes increased velocity. In the QTM, velocity is assumed to be constant in the short run since it is not easy to manipulate. If the above equation holds and output is not quickly changed, prices will rise. Additionally, a rise in prices multiplied by an unchanged output will result in higher GDP. The question is whether or not there is demand for the output.

We do believe the consumer demand side of the equation is being restrained for a number of reasons, the uncertain regulatory environment, consumer deleveraging and high unemployment to name just a few. We are cautiously optimistic that higher velocity is being realized and will lead to higher nominal GDP via an upward pressure on prices.
5487  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs: charity vs. welfare on: October 04, 2010, 11:37:21 PM
I pulled this short paragraph of wisdom out of Victor Hanson's lastest post over at Works and Days / Pajamas Media:

The upper-middle-class is not greedy, but they do have three reservations about the Obama pie-slicing: they want to have a little say in the distribution; they better than Obama know how much they can afford to give; and they sense that something for nothing is not a neutral act, but a sort of evil in creating dependency and destroying initiative — all for that selfish feeling of benefaction among elites that comes from handing out someone else’s money.
5488  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 04, 2010, 01:26:02 AM
GM wrote: "I'll state for the record that the economy will be much worse than it is now. Think double dip with an L-shaped bottom. We have a narrow window (The next two elections) to pull out of this death spiral."

I agree with you on the time frame.  It is not the election cycles but the policies that come out of it with a 180 degree change in thinking, and I am pessimistic about it even if elections go nominally well.

I posted a Krauthammer piece a while back called "Decline is a Choice".  The title says it all for where we are now.  People say they voted for Obama because they didn't like Bush, and before that in 2006 for similar reasons, having a Republican congress didn't mean anything positive even in a growing economy.  But they also chose these policies.  As Obama told the activists in the last week, he has accomplished 70% of it so far. Now people allegedly will vote against Pelosi-Reid-Obama because of policies, a vague dislike for the expansion of government and the lack of positive results from it.  I don't buy that people can really change their thinking that radically, that quickly.  Not enough people get it economically, from my point of view, in terms of recognizing a distinction between pro-growth and anti-growth policies and choosing enough economic freedoms and incentives to get things rolling again.  On top of that there is an impending demographic trainwreck headed at us that we are totally unprepared for.

Reminds me of what they said about Japan in about 1990 IIRC, only worse.  The only thing that would avoid the stagnation and deflation coming (in Japan at that time) was bold action, and the one thing their form of government was incapable of was bold action of any kind, so the pessimistic predictions all came true.

A large grass roots movement is ready for change.  Not necessarily a majority.  What really is missing is one leader who can do it, communicate it, get it right, and win. Unfortunately I don't see one and the time frame is running short.

Imagine 1980 with no Reagan.  Reagan was a front runner but barely got himself separated from a crowded field.  People barely understood what he meant by the Kemp-Roth cuts and mostly didn't know if he was serious or if it would work.  Plenty of people still don't know it worked.  Does anyone think a quarter century economic expansion would have begun or the cold war would have ended in 8 years with eastern Europe free and the Soviet Union gone if moderate George H.W. Bush had won then, or Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker, or John Connally, or Illinois Congressmen John Anderson and Phil Crane had won the nomination or if the Incumbent President James Carter had been reelected or if his challenger Teddy Kennedy had won it all?  What were any of them going to do that would have lifted out of that hole?  That is the roughly the question I would ask this crowded field that is developing today and I am skeptical about hearing a convincing answer.
5489  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics, Answering Krugman's Straw Man Shell Game on: October 04, 2010, 12:12:03 AM
I wanted to answer Krugman point by point but by the 6th or 8th paragraph I realized he so far had nothing of substance.  Marc your paraphrase was much more to the point:

"what of the predictions of inflation and high interest rates from some on our side that have come to naught?   How do we explain that?"

In Krugman's words,"So, how has it turned out? The 10-year bond rate is about 2.5 percent, lower than it was when Ferguson made that prediction. Inflation keeps falling. The attacks on Keynesianism now come down to “but unemployment has stayed high!” which proves nothing — especially because if you took a Keynesian view seriously, it suggested even given what we knew in early 2009 that the stimulus was much too small to restore full employment.  The point is that recent events have actually amounted to a fairly clear test of Keynesian versus classical economics — and Keynesian economics won, hands down."

1) "So, how has it turned out?"  Is that where we are?  We have the final score from this debacle? That was the policy and here is the result?  There is no ticking time bomb left out there to decimate our economy as we know it?  What an insincere idiot.  Has he seen THIS?  Instead of arguing about timeframes, let's call this moment of looking at the results so far HALFTIME, not game over.  I will concede to him that price increases SO FAR are within normal and reasonable levels.

2) Inflation is not price increases.  Inflation is about the currency, more dollars relative to the amount of goods and services in the economy.  We have more dollars, an increasing money supply by any measure and we have stagnancy in production of goods in services.  Price increases are a lagging consequence of that, ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL, that can spiral and build for quite a while after the dollar/monetary inflation.

3) All other things being equal is the little qualifier that economists forget to put at the end of EVERY sentence because it starts to sound repetitive, not because it isn't necessary to make the sentence true.

4) As GM already put it, consumer demand is down, unemployment is up.  The stagnation in the economy and the soft demand delays the price increases.  THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THERE ARE NOT MORE DOLLARS / FEWER GOODS and that inflation of our currency has not already occurred.

5) Krugman hit one point right.  Supply side economists and other responsible economists have been warning about inflation for about 28 years since it eased last time, not just during the Pelosi-Obama stimulus bailout era.  Warning about inflation is what they do and we keep watch over (like guarding the border and warning about invasion). Study the WSJ editorials for that entire time, since the Carter era inflation eased and worry is what they do. I had a short, cordial argument with Scott Grannis about that which I will replay in another post, but our inflation, at a few percent per year, is pretty good IMO under the circumstances of the other factors running out of control in the mis-management of our economy and in a situation where any deflation is far more dangerous than a point or two of inflation.  

6) That Krugman is right (IMO) about that historical observation (economists warning about inflation for 28 years that didn't come) does not make him right now.  Crazy price increases may be coming.  Recall that the Carter inflation had roots back far before Carter.  It was Friday the 13th in Aug 1971 when Nixon and 15 advisers at Camp David decided a PRICE WAGE FREEZE was necessary and preferable to a free economy due to unacceptable, out of control inflation. 7% then and double that by the end of the decade.  The damage to our currency preceded that, back to the mid to late '60s and resulted in the dollar erosion of the '70s and all the economic carnage of 1981-82, so don't tell me the final chapter of this round is already written and scored!

7) Interest rates, Krugman again: "the classical theory of the interest rate, in which it’s all about supply and demand for funds, and something like a quantity theory of money, in which increases in the monetary base lead, in a fairly short time, to equal proportional rises in the price level. This led to the prediction that large fiscal deficits would lead to soaring interest rates"

Prof. K, the U.S. economy with U.S. deficits IS NOT A CLOSED SYSTEM.  We are not selling all of our borrowings within our economy and (again) it is not with all other things remaining equal.  Increases in borrowings are measured or judged against other things least of important of all is what was your previous debt level IF that level was not already dangerously high.  If a sober person has a sip of beer, he/she may be fine and live happily ever after whereas a person alreadyintoxicated slams a pitcher of margaritas and dies of alcohol poisoning.  A Nobel Peace Laureate seriously does not see that distinction??  

In the 1980s debt went up, but revenues doubled and GDP more than doubled and the world economy followed suit with economic growth.  In 2010, debt levels are already out of sight, debt is doubling but GDP and revenues have shrunk and stagnated.  Again, Prize winning Prof, YOU SEE NO DISTINCTION??  I don't believe you.

Interest rates are partly market driven and partly manipulated by the Fed.  The deficits are being partly monetized and partly borrowed.  As a government, we pay our bills first with printed money and then sell back 'treasuries' not in the exact amounts or the exact timings of the expenditures, but ease them into the (global) market.  If those were forced on the market in real time, and could only be bought with existing funds from within the stagnated US economy, the good Prof thinks the interest rates today would still be low - where they are today?? Bullshit. (Is there a nicer way of saying that?)  A smart guy like that, there is no way he believes that! Instead we have foreigners holding our debt and buying our assets, and that has no gathering negative consequence?

8.) Fact is about borrowing, it depends on a) how able you are to afford the burden of the debt and b) how productive was the use of the funds you borrowed.  If a business borrows at 5% and generates an internal rate of return at 10% with that money and can afford the cash flow burden of the payments and the interest, maybe no one is hurt and something of value is gained.  If a young family borrows within their means to buy a house with a mortgage, they may pay 3-fold with interest for the house still within their means but they have a house to live in with the kids growing up instead of buying it for cash at the end of their life (for 3 times more) and living in a swamp or cave in the meantime.  Reagan's debt bought us, for one thing, an end to the cold war and jumpstarted economic growth to the tune of a quarter century of unprecedented economic expansion.  Obama's stimulus debt is maybe 7% on infrastructure and 93% pissed away in the wind by most measures. Krugman argues only size of the stimulus, not use. (Perhaps he is compensating for something?) When it is done we are where we were, actually worse off, and owing a trillion and a half a year more, plus interest burden forever.

9) When you live beyond your means now, you will live beneath your means later.  Crafty, your kids' share of debt and mine is supposedly 121k each per taxpayer right now.  Let's assume that the more productive half of taxpayers pay double that and assume our kids end up in that more productive half, so double that.  Depending on their age now and their age when they start being productive, I would say double it again, maybe more, AND THEN ADD INTEREST FOREVER TO IT.  Let's say they marry, so for 2 productive people that is roughly a MILLION DOLLAR MORTGAGE in today's dollars BEFORE INTEREST and BEFORE THEY GET A HOUSE and another mortgage or pay a penny on a student loan.  No problem Prof. K.(??)  I notice that Krugman has no kids.

10) Krugman thought the stimulus was too small.  We have $4 T in expenses, 2.5 T in revenues, 1.5 T in new deficits/yr, new debt AND HE THINKS THE STIMULUS IS TOO SMALL!

11) That was so far was in answer to his straw man argument, NOT why supply-siders think Keynesian economics is dead.

12) Keynesian Economics has a few central threads running through it.  One is the Phillips curve, that there is a tradeoff between inflation and unemployment.  High unemployment or a soft economy brings low inflation and low unemployment brings with it a high demand and higher inflation.  That inverse relationship was proven false.  Two examples: The Jimmy Carter malaise stagflation of the late 1970s had both high inflation and high unemployment.  Then the two pronged fix for that cured both and we had low unemployment and low inflation running simultaneously for years.  I doubt Keynes if alive today would want his name on that false theory.

13) The second aspect and central theme of Keynesian thought is that an interventionist government, by adjusting the economy these so-called stimuli, larger and smaller deficits, can ease the pain of the natural business cycles when we move too far to one side or the other of the already proven false Phillips Curve.  Again proven false by Krugman's own policy, the current stimulus.  He says it didn't work because it was too small by half.  But it didn't stimulate us half way to where we want to be either!  That is because a shortage of government spending had nothing to do with what was wrong with the economy.  One of the problems was too much debt, not helped by more debt.  Another problem is/was too big a load the public sector was putting on the private economy with taxes, spending and excess regulations, also not helped by doubling the wasteful spending and cranking up other burdens like healthcare.  None of our current  problem has anything to do with natural business cycles.  So none of his prescription, doubled or not, makes any sense.  This downturn was 100% caused by failed public policies and no proposal of Krugman's seeks to redress any of them.
5490  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: October 03, 2010, 06:09:21 PM
"quite right"

I look forward to CCP's comments as well.

The entire book is accessible at the google books link.

The Pledge to America I think compels a new R. House to revisit this issue and at least vote on repeal and replace with something consistent with limited government principles.
5491  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 03, 2010, 05:23:25 PM
"Gas Is Going To $5 A Gallon, Consumer Spending Is Dead, And House Prices Will Fall Another 20%"

If it were based only on our failed energy supply policies gas wouldn't stop at $5 but would go to $25/gallon and beyond.  But of course it is also based on affordability so the suppliers do not maximize revenues by raising up with no limit.  High energy prices were a contributor to our recent economic downfall, but rising prices are partially a sign of global economic strength.  There is no new pipeline coming in from Alaska or from anywhere else, no new refineries (as well as no new coal plants and no new nuclear plants that need many years of lead time to get going) so short supply is also a cause of the price rise.

Consumer spending was a bubble like housing in this throw away society and a correction is not all bad. When you can't bump up your home equity loan and you are buying down your credit cards, logic starts to compete with emotion. Other than three wise men baring gifts I don't recall anything in scripture about seasonal shopping mall madness.  These are more recent phenomena.  Now I see Goodwill more crowded.

Housing markets are all intertwined but primarily regional.  Maybe they will drop further with still more foreclosures coming on line and most foreclosure buyers are thoroughly exhausted in more than one sense.  I bought another investment property for an amazingly low price last week, while other buyers sit out.  It is a little scary being a contrarian, I just figure in that next 20% drop now and assume that the people who don't jump from their office window will have to live somewhere.  As soon as the income and employment situation rebounds (we probably need a war to change those policies), housing will do just fine.  If not, I'm screwed anyway so who cares.

This is no longer a plunging economy on the brink.  Two years past Sept 2008 this economy is what it is.  We elected anti-growth, anti-production policies.  We vote for trillion and a half dollar deficits and we get stagnation with impending inflation along with energy scarcity and too many regulations for anyone to want to hire or manufacture. Still we rebound slowly because that is what Americans, the half who contribute, do.

It is always surprising to me that economists who strongly oppose PelosiObamanomics like our own Scott Grannis are still rather upbeat about the outlook.  His most recent 4 or 5 posts are fairly positive and based on real data, and that theme there has been consistent for months:
Auto sales point to ongoing economic recovery
ISM indices continue to point to moderate growth
Unemployment claims situation is slowly improving
Online job demand points to rising employment
Tech and consumer stocks have recovered nicely
The housing market has adjusted to new realities
Household financial obligations have eased considerably
Commodities reach new all-time highs
Capex continues very strong
No shortage of money
Housing market remains weak - oops, mostly positive.
5492  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 03, 2010, 04:32:41 PM
" That one made me slap the side of my head; good grief people we have got to seal that border..        P.C."

Not just the ordinary violent thugs, gangs and cartels of Mexican and Latin American origin but I can imagine some middle east types with 911 hijacker style motives coming across the southern border or those home grown British and northern European terror types like the London bombers, Theo van Gogh's killers or Danish cartoon protesters coming across our northern border or vice versa. 

We have about the right number of thugs of our own here already IMO.  The new people coming in need to be screened and held to a little higher standard like being crime free and trained in field where we have a shortage of workers.  Right now it seems like it is the border gang and drug cartels doing that screening for us and using the wrong criteria.
5493  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Photos from the one nation rally you won't see in the MSM on: October 03, 2010, 01:28:35 PM

Identical buses lined unloading people with matching shirts.  Signs promoting socialism, marxism, terrorism. Litter strewn.  About a 6 or 7 year old girl promoting socialism for the 21st century.

Why wouldn't the media show these?
5494  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2010 Elections; NT Times on Christine O’Donnell on: October 03, 2010, 01:15:12 PM
My first time posting a Frank Rich opinion from the NY Times.  He makes the point that her trouble in finding jobs, paying bills, keeping a home, even writing a resume, may resonate with more people than some would expect.  (More so than others with maid problems etc.)

"The more O’Donnell is vilified, the bigger the star she becomes, and the more she can reinforce the Tea Party’s preferred narrative as “a spontaneous and quite anarchic movement” (in the recent words of the pundit Charles Krauthammer) populated only by everyday folk upset by big government and the deficit."
Rich's real point is that she is an idiot following a Palin script and the movement is phony, has links to billionaire backers etc.  (No mention of Dems like the MN Dem Gov candidate whose biggest contributor is his ex-wife, a Rockefeller big oil money.)

5495  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Progressivism: Reusable Grocery Bags Breed Bacteria on: October 03, 2010, 12:54:12 PM
I think we need a category for Unintended Consequences.  Removing meat preservatives increases botulism. Banning DDT causes Malaria outbreaks.  Raising minimum wage law increases unemployment.  Raising taxes on capital unemploys labor.  CFL light bulbs release Mercury when broken.  Smaller car means death more likely on impact.  Now reusable grocery bags breed bacteria.  Who knew?? I have long argued that every new piece of legislation should require that an Impact Statement of Unintended Consequences be debated and passed first, just like the requirement for a shopping center developer to first file an environmental impact statement.

DENVER -- They are good for the environment, but reusable grocery bags are also a breeding ground for bacteria.

Many responsible shoppers carefully choose their groceries and put them into the same cloth or plastic bags over and over again on every trip to the store.
5496  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 03, 2010, 12:14:09 PM
"Taiwan formally declaring independence would absolutely trigger a war with China. The Taiwanese don't want a formal declaration."

GM, thank you.  My thought was purely hypothetical.  We have no leadership to stand up to China on anything.
5497  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 03, 2010, 12:07:32 PM
"It is a giant game of "gotcha"."

True and too bad both ways.  I assume Calif has larger problems.  I'm not following the campaign, we have our own governor's race, but the choices in general are spend more / more of the same vs. spend less / control spending and I assume both campaigns work hard to blur the choices.  From the state budget point of view, illegal immigration puts a burden on state spending.  No one will say no to  public services for illegals, especially their children.  Even bringing up that budget burden offends legal, law abiding Hispanic voters.  From the federal point of view, either we have borders or we don't.  If not, then we have no nation, no way to plan, spend, or budget services for our citizens.  Either we are a nation of laws or we are not.  The good laws we need to enforce and the bad laws we need to repeal.

JDN, thanks for the candid reply. I didn't you are a golfer, maybe I can win back the money I might lose to you in squash...  Jerry Brown' previous experience as Governor, like Reagan's, like Brown's father, was in a different time.  California was leading the nation and the nation was leading the world all in a positive sense. Now the opposite.  I doubt if either of these people can fix it but I would vote for whoever I thought would stand up stronger to the legislature.  Probably not someone in the legislature's same party with the same donors and same power groups.

5498  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: Uproot U.S. HealthCare on: October 03, 2010, 11:32:43 AM
Let's implement these ideas.
If Obamacare Is Repealed, What Then?
By Deane Waldman     October 03, 2010

(J. Deane Waldman MD MBA is the author of "Uproot U.S. Healthcare," Tenured Professor in both the Medical and Management Schools at University of New Mexico and Adjunct Scholar for the Rio Grande Foundation.  Educated and trained at Yale, Chicago Medical, Mayo Clinic, Northwestern, Harvard, and Anderson Schools, he has authored over one hundred academic citations in medicine as well as healthcare strategy and management. He has been chief of pediatric cardiology at three major medical centers.)

Most opponents of Obamacare (HR 3590), including its Republican detractors, offer nothing substantive as an alternative. If healthcare is truly "broken" and if Obamacare is so wrong, what should we do instead?

The answer is surprisingly straightforward: practice good medicine, rather than smarmy politics, on sick healthcare. That is the thesis of my book "Uproot U.S. Healthcare."

There are five steps in good medical practice, whether on a sick person or a sick system.

    * 1. Review all past and present evidence. Depending on logic alone is not acceptable.
    * 2. Diagnose the reason(s) for illness -- do root cause analysis.
    * 3. Treat cause(s), not the signs and symptoms. Avoid the ‘blame game.'
    * 4. Partner with the patient. You cannot dictate to her, him, or it.
    * 5. Adjust the treatment plan if outcomes are not those desired.

As is obvious, Congress did none of these. (In medical practice, this is called malpractice.) What would happen if the principles of good medical practice were applied to healthcare?

Evaluating past evidence proves the following.

    * 1) When any system disconnects the consumers from control of their money, they cannot economize and have no reason to do so. Therefore, with limited ‘supply' and unlimited ‘demand' for health care services, the government must ration, as is done in every country with universal health care. Check out any recent British newspaper.
    * 2) Every cost projection of every entitlement Program ever enacted by Congress has underestimated its true cost. In 1990, the GAO found that Medicare cost 854% more than Congress' original projection. Medicare is now projected to go broke by 2017. If ObamaCare is estimated to cost >$1 trillion, imagine what the actual price tag will be, that our children will have to pay.
    * 3) When government manages anything, the bureaucratic cost explodes at the expense of the public. Before HR 3590, 40% of all healthcare dollars went to the bureaucracy. With the massive bureaucratic expansion enacted by ObamaCare, that number will approach 50%. When you are talking about trillions, Congress is creating an unsustainable waste of our tax dollars.

Root Cause Analysis shows 10 reasons for increased healthcare spending.

See details in "Uproot US Healthcare."

    * 1. New value (care not possible in the past)
    * 2. More people who live longer
    * 3. Actions without evidence
    * 4. Bureaucracy, Inefficiency, Reconciliation, and Regulatory Compliance. This is called the "waste of the middle."
    * 5. Disconnecting consumers from control of their money
    * 6. Rewarding outcomes that we don't want
    * 7. Defensive medicine
    * 8. Adverse outcomes and errors (medical)
    * 9. Money taken out of healthcare legally
    * 10. Fraud, abuse, errors (financial) and embezzlement.

Curative treatment

Clearly, we want to spend money on the first two above. To stop wasteful spending permanently or using medical terms to cure the patient, we need to fix #3 through #10. If action without evidence (#3) wastes money, we should require evidence before spending. Unless a regulation and its accompanying costly Federal bureaucracy are proven to be worth the expense, show them the sunset. If defensive medicine is due to the tort system, replace the tort system. If you want insurance companies to make less or no profit (#9), change how they do business.


The American people hate (I do not use that word lightly) being dictated to by government. Our nation was founded on an act of rebellion against what we now have again: a government that ignores the wishes of the people.

The only way to develop a healthcare system that will be acceptable to the populace is by asking them what they want the system to do and what they are willing to do. If government tells people what the system will do for them and to them, Americans will rebel.

Do you want proof? First, note the lowest approval rating for Congress in the history of our country. Second, witness the success of the Tea Party, whose sole unifying concept is its opposition to excess government spending.

With Obamacare being clearly "wrong," what is "right?"

Until we practice good medicine on healthcare, it will continue to decline and we will keep paying with our money and our lives.
5499  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. 2012 Presidential: John Bolton on: October 03, 2010, 12:40:52 AM
GM wrote: "He'd eat captain teleprompter for lunch in a debate."

On that same vein, whoever wins the R. nomination (if not Bolton) will have to debate and defeat him.  They better start seriously preparing now.

My introduction to Bolton was the liberal uproar when he was picked for UN Ambassador.  He seems to be a consistent hawk, which is mostly good to me but with less appeal over on the RINO side of the party.

UN Ambassador I think was George Bush senior's highest job when he was thought to be so highly qualified in 1980.  He was widely respected for being a moderate but when the party and the nation needed a sharp u-turn toward security and growth, they didn't pick the moderate.  They picked a conservative clear in his convictions.  Maybe Bolton can be that, he has a clarity and confidence about him, but I don't think he will start near the front of the pack - nor does he.

He will be ridiculed for his call to bomb Iran, but that criticism may backfire by Nov. 2012.  By then the threat posed by Iran's nuclear reality could be a serious concern.
Checking in with the Bolton Campaign
September 16, 2010 11:23 A.M.
By Rich Lowry     

We mentioned our favorite dark-horse candidate for president, John Bolton, yesterday. I checked in with him about the state of his campaign.

First, on its rationale, “We just don’t have enough discussion on national security. Obama views it as a distraction. None of our candidates are talking about it on a serious, sustained basis.”

On the long odds: “I have absolutely no illusions as someone who hasn’t run for elective office before. But I have been talking to people about it to find out whether they break out laughing. I’m sometimes met with a dumbfounded look when I mention it, but most of people then say, ‘Well, why not?’”

On his foreign-policy focus when a presidential campaign will have to be more wide-ranging: “Before the Bush 43 administration and since I left, I spent all those years at AEI,  surrounded by the best economists in the country. I have absorbed a lot of that. And don’t forget: I worked in Ed Meese’s Justice Department when he was formulating the case for originalism and I was a student of Robert Bork’s and the law-and-economics school of thought.”
I will be giving Bolton a serious look.   - Doug
5500  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 02, 2010, 11:58:11 PM
"this has hurt Whitman"

I read but did not watch the 2nd debate so I cannot gauge the reaction.  Certainly this is a major, unwanted distraction. 

JDN, I don't get a vote in Calif. What is yours likely to be? and why.
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