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5501  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glenn Beck radio on the capital of Israel on: September 11, 2012, 04:07:32 PM
What is the capital of Vermont? (We should all know this.) Montpelier is the capital of Vermont.   Really??  How do we know that?  What if we do know that but it hurts our relationship with New Hampshire to say that?  Then what is the capital of Vermont?

(answer: It is still Montpelier.)
5502  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues, remembering 9/11 on: September 11, 2012, 03:54:32 PM
Excellent attention to remembering 9/11 in the media today.  Why?  Because Obama killed Osama.
5503  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: September 11, 2012, 02:10:29 PM
Why should she?

Surely you jest.
5504  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - Wesbury, recoveries and economic growth on: September 10, 2012, 04:49:38 PM
"Three decades ago (under Reagan), the economy skyrocketed into recovery. Real GDP grew at a 6.6% annual rate in 1983-84 and the jobless rate fell 3.5 points in only 21 months.

If Wesbury was able to find optimism to write about over the last 4 years, he is going to LOVE 24 years of the Romney, Ryan and Rubio administrations.
5505  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - DNC speeches, Clinton text, Obama on: September 07, 2012, 03:05:15 PM
Looks like others can cover adequately Obama's speech.  Politico called it lame, Bob Schieffer: "that soaring rhetoric that we heard in the speech in 2008, I didn’t hear that tonight", "that soaring rhetoric that we heard in the speech in 2008, I didn’t hear that tonight", Washington Post: "Mr. Obama’s hazy agenda for a second term".

What he can't and didn't do is lay out a credible economic theory about how adding 50,000 new regulations in 42 months and promising to raise taxes on virtually all new employers will ever make the economy grow faster than 0.0%.

Crafty wrote regarding Bill Clinton's speech: "Unencumbered by its variances from reality and the facts, unfortunately Clinton gave a politcally masterful speech last night IMHO, well designed to appeal to fence sitters."

I listened on the radio and Crafty I am guessing watched the speech.  On the radio, reduced to words, it was one notch less impressive, especially if one has a full grasp on reality.  Here is the text of Clinton's speech, interrupted in bold from time to time:
Bill Clinton on stage  the DNC:  "We're here to nominate a President, and I've got one in mind.

I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside. A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.

I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.

As I said to a liberal during the RNC, you have to endorse the candidate to get on the stage.

In Tampa, we heard a lot of talk about how the President and the Democrats don't believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everyone to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.

The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made. One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain't so.

We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think "we're all in this together" is a better philosophy than "you're on your own."

It is a straw argument of course to say of Republicans who will support $4trillion/yr of federal spending that ANYONE is completely on his or her own.

Who's right? Well since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What's the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!

Crafty wrote part of this earlier, and I agree, by today's standards JFK was one of ours, same for the 6 years of Gingrich.  Nixon and Ford turned out to be two of theirs, look at the record.  The first two years of W. Bush before his policies were enacted were runners left on base by Obama's own standard, and during the two years preceding the Obama administration it was most certainly the Pelosi-Reid-Obama congress in charge of domestic economic policies.  Do the math on that and you will find that nearly all economic growth is tied to pro-growth policies no matter the name of party affiliation on the oval office door.

It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.

Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats. After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system. And as governor, I worked with President Reagan on welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals. I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we've done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.

Through my foundation, in America and around the world, I work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are focused on solving problems and seizing opportunities, not fighting each other.

When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better. After all, nobody's right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes. Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn't see it that way. They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness.

One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation. He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation. He appointed a Vice President who ran against him in 2008, and trusted him to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act. And Joe Biden did a great job with both. He appointed Cabinet members who supported Hillary in the primaries. Heck, he even appointed Hillary! I'm so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team for all they've done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I'm also grateful to the young men and women who serve our country in the military and to Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for supporting military families when their loved ones are overseas and for helping our veterans, when they come home bearing the wounds of war, or needing help with education, housing, and jobs.

Cooperation?  Good God.  Obama's signature achievement by his own measure included reaching out to NO republicans for their vote.  Now it still suffers from widespread disapproval.  Clinton pivoted with the voter after 1994; Obama said fck you to the voters of 2010 and the majority party with whom they chose for him to share power.

President Obama's record on national security is a tribute to his strength, and judgment, and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship.

He also tried to work with Congressional Republicans on Health Care, debt reduction, and jobs, but that didn't work out so well. Probably because, as the Senate Republican leader, in a remarkable moment of candor, said two years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work, but to put President Obama out of work.

Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we're going to keep President Obama on the job!

In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President's re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn't cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.

In order to look like an acceptable alternative to President Obama, they couldn't say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years. You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending two trillion dollars more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they'll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids. As another President once said – there they go again.

I like the argument for President Obama's re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.

Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month. The answer is YES.

We lost 3 million jobs and what they call job growth now is below the rate of population increase. Aka negative growth, aka decline.

I understand the challenge we face. I know many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy. Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don't feel it.

I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995. Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn't feel it yet. By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history.

President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the President's contract you will feel it.

I believe that with all my heart.

President Obama's approach embodies the values, the ideas, and the direction America must take to build a 21st century version of the American Dream in a nation of shared opportunities, shared prosperity and shared responsibilities.

So back to the story. In 2010, as the President's recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around.

The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95% of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. But last year, the Republicans blocked the President's jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here's another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, Congressional Republicans zero.

Over that same period, more than more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama – the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.

The auto industry restructuring worked. It saved more than a million jobs, not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country. That's why even auto-makers that weren't part of the deal supported it. They needed to save the suppliers too. Like I said, we're all in this together.

Now there are 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than the day the companies were restructured. Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here's another jobs score: Obama two hundred and fifty thousand, Romney, zero.

The agreement the administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is another good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and add another 500,000 good jobs.

If Crony capitalism is your game and avoiding restructuring equals restructuring, then this makes perfect sense.

President Obama's "all of the above" energy plan is helping too – the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near 20 year low and natural gas production to an all time high. Renewable energy production has also doubled.

Pres. Obama's energy policy is called None of the above.

We do need more new jobs, lots of them, but there are already more than three million jobs open and unfilled in America today, mostly because the applicants don't have the required skills. We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology. That's why investments in our people are more important than ever. The President has supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for open jobs in their communities. And, after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the drop-out rate so much that we've fallen to 16th in the world in the percentage of our young adults with college degrees, his student loan reform lowers the cost of federal student loans and even more important, gives students the right to repay the loans as a fixed percentage of their incomes for up to 20 years. That means no one will have to drop-out of college for fear they can't repay their debt, and no one will have to turn down a job, as a teacher, a police officer or a small town doctor because it doesn't pay enough to make the debt payments. This will change the future for young Americans.

College, like healthcare, is overpriced BECAUSE of 3rd party pay.

I know we're better off because President Obama made these decisions.

That brings me to health care.

The Republicans call it Obamacare and say it's a government takeover of health care that they'll repeal. Are they right? Let's look at what's happened so far. Individuals and businesses have secured more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80% to 85% of your premiums to be spent on health care, not profits or promotion. Other insurance companies have lowered their rates to meet the requirement. More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents can now carry them on family policies. Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including breast cancer screenings and tests for heart problems. Soon the insurance companies, not the government, will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with pre-existing conditions. And for the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4%, for the first time in 50 years.

So are we all better off because President Obama fought for it and passed it? You bet we are.

The only popular provisions in Obamacare were also in the Republican alternative plan.

There were two other attacks on the President in Tampa that deserve an answer. Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing Medicare of 716 billion dollars. Here's what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits. None. What the President did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren't making people any healthier. He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. It's now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn't weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.

The only proposal on the table to save and strengthen Medicare belongs to Paul Ryan.  Instead of running from it, Romney chose him as his running mate.

When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama's "biggest coldest power play" in raiding Medicare, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. You see, that 716 billion dollars is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget.

At least on this one, Governor Romney's been consistent. He wants to repeal the savings and give the money back to the insurance companies, re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. So now if he's elected and does what he promised Medicare will go broke by 2016. If that happens, you won't have to wait until their voucher program to begins in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it.

But it gets worse. They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade. Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that's not all. Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Downs syndrome or Autism. I don't know how those families are going to deal with it. We can't let it happen

Now let's look at the Republican charge that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work.

Here's what happened. When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama Administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%. You hear that? More work. So the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform's work requirement is just not true. But they keep running ads on it. As their campaign pollster said "we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." Now that is true. I couldn't have said it better myself – I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad.

Clinton is supposed to be quite the advocate for welfare reform, unless you remember he vetoed it twice before feeling forced to accept the stronger version they are now dismantling.  It isn't all about details of the policy, it is also about one branch undoing what took quite an effort by two branches to enact.

Let's talk about the debt. We have to deal with it or it will deal with us. President Obama has offered a plan with 4 trillion dollars in debt reduction over a decade, with two and a half dollars of spending reductions for every one dollar of revenue increases, and tight controls on future spending. It's the kind of balanced approach proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.

I think the President's plan is better than the Romney plan, because the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don't add up.

It's supposed to be a debt reduction plan but it begins with five trillion dollars in tax cuts over a ten-year period. That makes the debt hole bigger before they even start to dig out. They say they'll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code. When you ask "which loopholes and how much?," they say "See me after the election on that."

People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic. If they stay with a 5 trillion dollar tax cut in a debt reduction plan – the – arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen: 1) they'll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle class families will see their tax bill go up two thousand dollars year while people making over 3 million dollars a year get will still get a 250,000 dollar tax cut; or 2) they'll have to cut so much spending that they'll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they'll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or 3) they'll do what they've been doing for thirty plus years now – cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy. Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down.

President Obama's plan cuts the debt, honors our values, and brightens the future for our children, our families and our nation.

Romney's plan calls in every way for economic growth.  Economic growth by Clinton's own words is the only way to balance this budget.  Obama's policies in every way cry out for economic decline which causes revenues to shrink, spending to accelerate and deficits and debt to soar.  LOOK AT THE RECORD.

My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in. If you want a you're on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities – a "we're all in it together" society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you want every American to vote and you think its wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama. If you think the President was right to open the doors of American opportunity to young immigrants brought here as children who want to go to college or serve in the military, you should vote for Barack Obama. If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama.

The American dream is not Julia growing from government program to government program.  It is a freedom that makes every individual believe anything is possible.

I love our country – and I know we're coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we've always come out stronger than we went in. And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor – to form a more perfect union.

If that's what you believe, if that's what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama.

God Bless You – God Bless America.

Missing in the above, that everything wrong today is because of Obama's predecessors and the housing-led financial crisis, is that Bill Clinton was the architect of the CRAp and the push for lenders to lend on criteria other than creditworthiness, while Sen Obama was the number one recipient of Fannie Mae contributions opposing ANY reform during the year of the housing meltdown.

Four more years?  Four fewer would have been smarter.
5506  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: September 06, 2012, 12:21:56 AM
Looking forward to reading a point by point rebuttal to Bull Clinton's speech tonight.  If the Romney campaign can't get it done on their own, we will do it for them here on the forum.
5507  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 05, 2012, 10:55:32 AM
How can it be said that Israel didn't try to coordinate with the US on this. How can they know what the administration's position by judging their ever-changing, contradictory words.  Like it or not and take action or not, it affects us when our enemies and terrorists acquire nuclear weapons. 

If Israel strikes and if a drawn out war ensues, we are going to sit on the sidelines during the destruction of Israel.  REALLY?

If so, this is why we have elections. I don't wish to change your morally neutral mind. I wish to defeat that kind of dangerous indifference and elect responsible leaders interested in OUR security.
5508  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Paul Ryan on: September 05, 2012, 10:35:01 AM
I will just say that 3 things:

1.  Mitt Romney has experience as an executive and it would be unwise to pretend that he is a totally different guy, now.

2.  Ryan has a voting record.  Some of what is there is difficult to justify.

3.  Lesser of 2 evils voting is why we have to have conversations like this.

Dreatx, I hope you will expand on that, what is evil about romney's exec experience and ryan's voting record.
5509  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Michael Barone: Inspiring but not slick, Romney showed right stuff on: September 02, 2012, 01:16:49 PM
Barone's view matches my reaction pretty closely.  I know people only tuned in here and there if that but still I see the whole week as the Romney speech.  He chose the people who chose the speakers and the messages and orchestration and viewed together I thought he got the job done.
What people didn't see the first time is still excellent material available for campaign advertising this fall.

Inspiring but not slick, Romney showed right stuff    Michael Barone, Washington Examiner

The 40th Republican National Convention is now history, and political strategists and pundits are poring over the poll numbers to see whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are getting a post-convention bounce in what have been very closely divided polls.

Romney's convention managers made some correct and some interesting decisions. First, don't relitigate 2008, as some conservatives would love to do.

Romney and Ryan both acknowledged the hopes for change motivating so many erstwhile Obama voters. They looked back on his record in office more in sorrow than in anger.

Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis eloquently described his own disenchantment with the president. You can see why they didn't want to air a minute of his talk on MSNBC. It would have undercut the cable channel's relentless narrative that Republicans are racists.

There was a special callout to young voters, 66 to 32 percent for Obama last time, when Paul Ryan talked of 20-somethings in their childhood bedrooms "staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life."

And there was a reachout to the unquantifiable but undoubtedly large number of voters who feel that it would be a bad thing for Americans to be seen rejecting the first black president.

That's the one reason I can think of why the Romney people made the otherwise puzzling decision to put on Clint Eastwood at 10:00 Eastern, when the broadcast networks began their hour of coverage. It's summed up in one sentence: "And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go."

This was not as tightly scripted a convention as the George W. Bush or Bill Clinton conventions. Eastwood spoke without a teleprompter, and so, very effectively, did Condoleezza Rice.

In back-to-back speeches, Ann Romney talked about "love" and Chris Christie said respect was more important than love. That seemed dissonant.

Actually, the two themes are reconcilable. A leader acts out of love for the people but, as Machiavelli taught, prefers to be feared than loved.

But slicker convention management would have rewritten one of the texts. The Romney folks left interpretation to a mostly hostile press and, they hope, a more sympathetic public.

I suspect the point was not to seem slick. Romney has a cool demeanor and the convention was a device to humanize him.

He and his wife described their personal lives in ways that resemble those of almost everyone. The kids roughhousing, the misfortunes that come sooner or later: They may have more money, but their lives are like those of lots of people.

The testimony of fellow church members about the Romneys' service and caring were genuinely moving, recounted by people who are the opposite of slick. The convention floor was almost silent as they spoke, and we'll see them again in TV ads.

The point is that the Romneys contributed something that is in short supply even among the very rich: time.

The convention also addressed concerns that have undoubtedly surfaced in focus groups. Yes, the candidate is open to women taking a lead role, as they have on his staff.

Yes, the candidate did help create businesses that employ tens of thousands and provide goods and services that people found they needed. Yes, Republicans care about education, and education choice so that disadvantaged children have a chance to move upward.

Romney made that point in his speech, and it was underlined earlier in the evening by Jeb Bush, an extraordinarily successful governor and a politician whose behind-the-scenes support at crucial moments made possible the national career of the man who introduced Romney, Sen. Marco Rubio.

Coming off the convention floor, I heard raves about Romney's speech from rank-and-file delegates and limited praise from those more experienced. Not spectacular, they said, but good enough.

That's actually high praise. Democrats like their presidential candidates to be philosopher kings. They must be not only competent, but intellectually dazzling and oratorically thrilling.

Republicans have more modest ambitions. They see politicians as tools, and are satisfied if they are good enough to do the job.

Mitt Romney, in selecting Paul Ryan, in staging an inspiring rather than slick convention and in delivering his acceptance speech, convinced Republicans in the hall and around the nation, and probably many undecideds, that he is a more than sufficient tool to do the job.
5510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential Dem keynote on: August 31, 2012, 10:06:14 PM
Big Dem line of the season is that Rs are waging a war against women.

Then for their own keynote mentor they choose their most notorious abuser of our time.

Still waiting for a mainstream commentator to note the contradiction.
5511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney Bain Rolling Stone piece on: August 31, 2012, 09:36:28 PM
Thanks for posting, good to be aware of these stories.  It is all just pointing to shiny objects to me. 

If it is all true and we dont know that, a number of key points are still not refuted:

a. Romney has very extensive business experience,

b. that experience includes start ups and turnarounds,

c. his experience and record overall was unquestionably one of success by every measure,

d. no business career has all ups and no downs,

e. the playing field of business today includes wading through many artificial factors, tax avoidance, regulatory hurdles, tax deductions, shelters, bailouts, you name it.  Opposing those rules doesnt mean you dont play by them.

f. None of the mudslinging even begins to imply he isnt the most ethical executive possible, and successful.

g. The question isnt whether Mitt Romney is up to the job of running Bain. The question is whether Barack Obama is up to the job of being President.
5512  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: August 31, 2012, 08:39:26 PM
As one who has done decades of conventions I can tell you R. platforms are normally a consolation prize for the activists who just accepted endorsement of a RINO. It doesnt tell what future law will be or even what Republican votes will be.  Republican platforms make nice fodder for people like Kinsley.

Banning abortion after rape ignores the fact that the woman did not in any consentual way take on the responsibility of carrying and caring for that life.

The tragedy of abortion is that 98% plus are being killed for no good reason.  In the case of rape, another life, the rape victim has a competing right to not have the victimization continue.
5513  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 31, 2012, 08:04:16 PM
I thought Romney's speech, in the context of following superb works from Christy, Ryan, Rice, Eastwood, the Olympians and Rubio, was just right.  I give the whole lineup the grade of  A and I thought Romney hit all the right notes.

Hard to say when was the last time a candidate looked that Presidential or came in that prepared for the office.. maybe Eisenhower

The stage is set for an Obama rebuttal and a robust, 2 month, back and forth debate leading up to the election.

5514  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential, George Gilder, the Real Reagan lesson for Romney Ryan on: August 30, 2012, 07:06:58 PM
George Gilder: The Real Reagan Lesson for Romney-Ryan
Follow Peter Drucker's advice: Don't solve problems, pursue opportunities. Like unlocking America's entrepreneurial value.

(WSJ excerpt, please subscribe at for full coverage)


Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan could soon be facing a David Stockman moment. Mr. Stockman was President Reagan's young, first-term budget director assigned the titanic task of retrenching government spending in the midst of the Cold War. In this role, he made the covers of all the most fashionable magazines as "Mack the Knife" or some other compassionless conservative slashing the growth rate of federal spending to a Dickensian 2% above the inflation rate.

Yet Mr. Stockman ended up capitulating to his critics, abandoning supply-side economics as a naïve mistake, and skulking off to write books and articles about the virtues of "spreading the wealth around."

Mr. Stockman has re-emerged in this election year echoing President Obama. He writes in the New York Times that vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan's "sonorous campaign rhetoric about shrinking Big Government and giving tax cuts to 'job creators' (read: the top 2%) will do nothing to reverse the nation's economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse." Fashioning himself as the nemesis of "crony capitalism," Mr. Stockman blames much of the current economic crisis on the Republicans' supposed "tax cuts for the two percent." Here he's taken a sure path to lavish media laurels as a heroic truth-teller applauded by all the Democratic cronies.

How can Messrs. Romney and Ryan escape the Stockman fate?

By grasping the Peter Drucker wisdom: Don't Solve Problems. When you solve problems, you end up feeding your failures, starving your strengths, and achieving costly mediocrity. You become a Stockman. Instead of solving problems, pursue opportunities.

Ronald Reagan in the White House with his first budget director, David Stockman.

Everyone knows about America's liabilities. Everyone knows that they will have to be addressed and many know that Mr. Ryan's plan will address them. But the real opportunity is to transcend them by reversing the devaluation of America's human and capital assets, which is what renders the liabilities increasingly unsupportable.

Today, 70% of government discretionary spending devalues human assets by paying people to be unemployed, unmarried, retired, sick, poor, homeless, hapless, disabled or drugged. With the eclipse of family life in the inner cities of America, we have created a welfare state for women and children and a police state for boys. Supposed problem-solving programs accomplish nothing beyond expanding themselves by spreading dependency and tragic waste. Reforming them is all upside.

Such upside policy change can redeem all the stocks and bonds and hopes for initial public offerings dashed and devalued by the maze of taxes and regulations; all the land wasted and ruined by ethanol and windmills and druidical sun henges and water rules; all the industrial innovation and venture capital sicklied over by a pale cast of green goo; all the real energy resources capped and crimped by litigation, chemophobia and specious species bans; all the real estate wasted and plundered by federal blight and insurance scams; all the youthful aspirations and talents depleted by debt loads at schools of self-esteem; all the banks debauched by federal insurance, zero interest rates, Treasury privileges and social causes; and all the military deterrence and innovation depreciated by disarmament pandering from President Obama and his team.

Mr. Stockman may have disdained Reagan, but Reagan understood the Drucker rule. Reagan horrified David Stockman by raising government spending massively more than his predecessor did. He did so to pursue the opportunity of leading the West to victory in the Cold War.

Reagan's near-trillion-dollar bulge in defense spending transformed the global balance of power in favor of capitalism. Spurring a stock-market, energy, venture-capital, real-estate and employment boom, the Reagan tax-rate cuts and other pro-enterprise policies added some $17 trillion to America's private-sector assets, dwarfing the trillion-dollar rise in public-sector deficits and creating 45 million net new jobs at rising wages and salaries.

Ultimately the Reagan boom would raise private-sector assets by another $60 trillion over 20 years, not halting until 2007. Under the Obama administration, for the first time since the 1970s, the U.S. economy is suffering capital flight. For the first time ever, as economist David Malpass has reported, it is experiencing a net emigration of high-technology talent.

The Romney-Ryan opportunity is an all-upside campaign to reverse these crippling trends.

The challengers understand that capital and labor are not competitive but complementary. As workers become more productive, employers hire more—not fewer. Capital linked with private-sector knowledge releases creativity and new employment. With drastically lower marginal tax rates on income and capital formation, Mr. Romney's plan would endow millions of more jobs at higher pay. To further spur companies away from tax-and-profit avoidance—and toward creativity and entrepreneurship—Mr. Romney might also embrace Mr. Ryan's suggestion that the world's highest corporate rate eventually be replaced with an 8.5% business-consumption tax applying to the difference between costs and sales.

With their skills, experience and improving health, seniors could remain in the workforce as assets rather than becoming liabilities for their diminishing numbers of grandchildren. Saving Social Security and Medicare is an opportunity for keeping seniors healthy and in the workforce rather than driving them out by punitive tax rates on their earnings and halting innovation in government-directed health care.

The most obvious rule of social science is that people will abuse any free good. The price of "free" evokes unbounded demand while choking off supply. In the perverse feedback loops of "free," free health care comes to mean hypochondria, illness caused by needless exams and treatments, queues for an ever-expanding portfolio of mediocre services, and ultimately euthanasia under government bureaucracy. Free drugs mean widespread addiction to existing medications and an end to medical innovation. Free money, manifested in the near zero-interest-rate policy of the Federal Reserve, diverts the wealth of savers to favored governments and crony capitalists while creating shortages for everyone else.

A supply-side change in policy can effect an instant and sharp improvement in the value of all entrepreneurial assets. If Messrs. Romney and Ryan win election and choose to pursue this path, they can galvanize another American century.

Mr. Gilder is a founding fellow of the Discovery Institute. His books include "Wealth and Poverty: A New Edition for the Twenty-First Century" (Regnery, 2012).
5515  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / PR speech: [Obama's slogans] like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind on: August 30, 2012, 07:01:00 PM
Paul Mirengoff at Powerline:

“Yesterday’s wind,” and tomorrow’s

The great thing about Paul Ryan’s speech last night is that it worked at so many levels. As I tried to show in my initial post about the speech, it worked as an indictment of Obama administration policy, as deft support for Mitt Romney, and as traditional pulling of the heartstrings.

And it worked at an additional level that I neglected to note — a portryal of Barack Obama as a fad. Ryan made this point most memorably in this line:

    College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.

But he also made it poetically with this exquisite one, perhaps my favorite:

    It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new. Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at a moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.

If the images of Obama have already faded; if the slogans are already tired; if the Obama moment has already passed, then what is the case for reelecting him? It can only be that the other guys are awful. But only die-hard Democratic partisans could have watched Paul Ryan last night and concluded that he is awful.

Ryan is younger than Obama, fresher than Obama, and not so very far behind Obama (the 2008 version) in the oratory department. He doesn’t need Greek columns to provide heft to his words. That’s because his words aren’t light ones such as hope and change. His words, well-used, are pillars in their own right — the pillars of our country: responsibility, opportunity, freedom.

Most polticians make these words seem tired. Ryan made them seem like today’s wind.
5516  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: "annul the acts of the usurpers" on: August 30, 2012, 06:26:33 PM
"...and in a last resort a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can by the elections of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers."

Prescient!  Exactly what I took from the Ryan speech.
5517  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Paul Ryan - Fact check the fact checkers... on: August 30, 2012, 06:22:02 PM
Excellent post.  There was a rash of Ryan lied liberal posts out today and I am glad someone took the time to answer their own deception.

I read a long way into the Salon piece and found nothing more than a disgruntled political opponent.
5518  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 30, 2012, 05:52:21 PM
"I thought Ryan's speech last night was GREAT!"

That was my reaction as well.  Vision and clarity.  More important might be what a real swing voter thought of it.

I am looking for a home run-grand slam from Romney tonight.  The stage is set for really laying out a contrast and an opposing vision in a very Reaganesque way.  Friendly audience, perfect timing, doesn't need to go through Gwen Eifel or Charlie Gibson or anyone else to talk directly with the American people.

We will see.
5519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: August 28, 2012, 07:23:11 PM
This digressed into just shoot the messenger.  Posts of no substance. How about JDN you post your oponion and best sources and let Obj post his. Refute points of substance if you want, like a discussion, or a forum.

A legitimate question was asked, quite a long ways back in the thread, with no answer forthcoming.
5520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Noonan: 'Ich bin ein Tampon.' on: August 24, 2012, 02:16:02 PM

It is good that Joe Biden is going to the Republican National Convention to hold high the flag of his party. People make fun of his gaffes, of his embarrassing verbal forays, but he's no fool and he knows how to take it to the other guy. The speech he is working on, to be given in the heart of downtown, just across from the convention site, will be stirring and stentorian: "All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Tampa, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, 'Ich bin ein Tampon.'"

Very funny.
5521  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races - Sen. candidate Todd Akin, R-Mo on: August 24, 2012, 02:03:32 PM
Big scandal, the woman shuts down conception during a real rape? I've had more radio access than internet this week and this was the only story.  It will hurt Republicans in more than this one race.  It plays perfectly into the war against women false accusation being propagated.

Rounding to the nearest point, abortion that  follow rape make up 0% of total abortions while convenience abortions make up 98%.  If the federal govt issue of 2012 was abortion (it isn't), the focus should be on the latter.

This guy should go just for sloppy research and messaging,  Call it a self-inflicted wound or an unforced error.  Sort of a Bachmann moment.   To take that extreme of a stand, one better have their facts and studies in order, not 'I think I read it somewhere' pass around email? 

A write-in campaign won in Alaska in 2010 with a name Murkowsky way harder to spell than Kit Bond.

GOP doesn't need a loose cannon in a swing state damaging the brand and stepping on the message nationwide in the final stretch of a crucial election.
5522  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney - Energy Independence for North America on: August 24, 2012, 12:58:23 PM
It was nice to see candidate Romney in the neighborhood yesterday.  Energy independence for North America.  That makes perfect sense.  It would be good for national security, manufacturing, exports, trade deficit balnace of payments, revenues to the treasury, deficits, debt, the value of the dollar, consumer prices, national income and our standard of living.  Yet the opponent opposes it, with opposition to pipelines and opposition to drilling in ANWR, federal lands and offshore.

John Hinderacker reports for us:

An Evening With Mitt Romney

I didn’t exactly spend the evening with Romney, of course. I spent it driving to the Lafayette Club on Lake Minnetonka for Romney’s only Minnesota appearance of the campaign; waiting in line for a photograph for a considerable time because the candidate ran an hour late; listening to Norm Coleman warm up the crowd, following Congressmen John Kline and Erik Paulsen in that role; and finally hearing Romney speak for 20 minutes or so.

It was great fun. The event was a big success, raising a considerable amount for Romney’s campaign. And how was Romney? Sensational. But let’s go back to the beginning.

Rounding the corner to pull into the Lafayette Club’s parking lot, security was tight. Across the road, a pathetic, ragtag group of left-wing protesters were chanting, as usual, “We are the 99 percent.” There were conservative counter-protesters too; I couldn’t tell which group was more numerous. The largest sign said “Romney Creates Jobs.” I wanted to park my car, get out and confront the leftists, but unfortunately the security arrangements didn’t permit that. Otherwise, I would have approached some of them and taped interviews. The question I always want to ask is, “If you are the 99 percent, why are there only 11 of you?”

Once inside, the size of the crowd was impressive. Staff diverted me to the photograph line, where I spent quite a while, saw a lot of old friends, and made a few new ones. Once Romney arrived the line moved fast, and I only had time to say, “Governor, you and I overlapped at Harvard, but you were more successful in later life.” Which provoked a cordial laugh from the candidate.

When I proceeded to the main hall, Norm Coleman was speaking; he and the others performed heroic service because of the delay. This photo gives you an idea of the size of the crowd: (

Before long the photo line was done and Romney appeared to thunderous applause. Which is, of course, the point of this post: how did Mitt do? The answer is, he was great. He spoke for 20 minutes or so, no notes, no teleprompter, totally comfortable with his material. He tossed in facts and figures here and there, but his themes were generally broader: the power of the individual, the Constitution, entrepreneurship and rewarding success, the importance of American power, and so on. His themes were deeply conservative, yet unifying. At no time did he pit one group of Americans against another. He said, “I don’t want to raise anyone’s taxes!” Even though there was probably not a single Democrat in the audience, he said that there are good Democrats and independents, and he wants to work with them in Washington. He did, really, a beautiful job of weaving together the various strands of conservative thought.

What was most striking was how impassioned Romney was. He was nearing the end of a very long day, but he was not just energetic but passionate. America has obviously gone off the rails under the direction of an incompetent administration, and he wants to restore America’s greatness for the benefit of future generations. The strength of his emotional commitment to this cause was palpable.

As I listened to Romney, I asked myself: what better spokesman for conservative ideas have we had in recent years? I couldn’t think of any. You can go back to Reagan, of course. Reagan’s style was more cerebral, less passionate. He was a great articulator of conservatism, but no better, in my opinion, than Romney. Since Reagan? I can’t think of anyone.

While Romney spoke, I was flanked by two of Minnesota’s most dedicated conservative activists and donors. I asked each in turn, what better spokesman for conservative principles has our movement had in recent years? Like me, they couldn’t come up with any. Romney is as effective on the stump as any conservative I can remember. Of course, most voters will never see him this way. I think the Romney campaign needs to film him before audiences like tonight’s, and edit 30 or 60 second ads of him speaking to a friendly crowd the way he did tonight. Or, as one of my friends suggested, they could emulate Reagan and buy 30 minutes of network time for a more comprehensive speech. One way or another, Romney needs voters to see him unleashed and unedited.

I think Mitt Romney is going to be our next president. I heard tonight that the latest private polling has Obama leading Romney in Minnesota by only one point. This is down from five points a month or two ago. If Romney comes close to winning Minnesota, the election won’t be close. But let’s not take any chances. I dug down a bit to support Romney’s campaign tonight; if you haven’t yet done so, you should. This is the pivotal election of our lives. There is, as Adam Smith wrote, a lot of ruin in a country. But I am not certain that the United States could come back from another four years of the incompetent and foolishly left-wing Barack Obama administration. So if you haven’t already contributed to the Romney campaign, please do so. If, God forbid, Barack Obama is re-elected, it would be hard to look in the mirror and realize that we didn’t do all we could to put America back on the path to prosperity and freedom.  - John Hinderacker,  PowerLine
5523  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, economic freedom on: August 21, 2012, 01:28:19 PM
Freedom  or  free stuff (while it lasts)

Choose one.
5524  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs, spending, deficit, and budget, lengthen the debt on: August 21, 2012, 01:26:04 PM
Crazy that there are ads every hour on every station that these are the lower rates ever and anyone sane must lock in now for 30 years, but for the world's biggest borrower this is a novel idea.
5525  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: August 21, 2012, 01:22:12 PM
Grateful for seat belt, airbag and guard rail all in good working order.
5526  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: August 17, 2012, 11:56:34 AM
Once you admitted you're a liberal it's okay to say "good riddance" to the poor because people know you care.  The real

My 2012 story is from 2009 data, the latest available.  More important is that it is after more tax increases.  Your 2009 story is from pre-crash 2007 data.  One point overlooked is that income disappearing does not mean the people moved, just changed course in terms of career, business or investments, either by choice or by consequence.  Weren't you the one worried about offshore and a Swiss bank account for Romney?  Why? Because it might escape taxation and not create jobs here, whether it would be Massachusetts or California. 

A third of high income earners vanished since your data was collected, if that does not concern you then you are not the intended recipient of that post.  (Is there an emoticon for hands over eyes and ears like the see no evil guy?)

No question California was the best place on earth.  No question Texas for one is kicking their ass in terms of economic growth and has worse weather and fewer idle millionaires.

The poke at MN means nothing; we try to fly under the radar.  MN was the number one state on Gallup's latest ranking on economic confidence and no one is moving their business here.  Native Minnesotans have a work ethic that overcomes high taxes.  The Twin Cities unemployment rate before Pelosi-Reid-Obama was about 2%.  Our incoming poor come from failing midwest cities like Detroit and Chicago; they like the shorter welfare lines and better customer service.  Property values on Lake Minnetonka are just like you described for good areas there.  Summers are glorious and winters are survivable with more indoor tennis courts and hockey arenas per capita than anywhere in the world.  It is easier to work or study late when it is dark and cold.  One of the yellowest states nationally (DBMA banned the red-blue designation) but the people don't trust the DFL (Dem machine) with anything more than divided state government, even tried rule by a wrestler.  The budget is balanced and the streets get plowed before you wake up.  Sky-blue freshwater everywhere you can see. 
On a conciliatory note, we will be investigating the regional differences more thoroughly when my daughter comes out to visit the distressed coastal area of Santa Barbara this coming week.  If you want to tell a midwesterner all the greatness of Calif maybe you can drive her there from LAX on Monday, but not on your motorcycle!   )
5527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: August 16, 2012, 03:33:23 PM
The statistic I posted wasn't about the poor leaving and expletive to you for not caring about them.  What the two posts demonstrated is that wealth is leaving and therefore so is leaving your ability to tax it.  Do you have a Plan B?
5528  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Top earner group in California shrank by a third on: August 16, 2012, 10:55:14 AM
Searching around to find out why Victor Hanson wrote this:

"2,000 upper-income Californians are leaving per week"

I found this story below from Bloomberg Jan 2012 with a different measurement covering the years 2007-2009.

Previously in the thread I argued that to raise revenues with higher marginal rates on the rich you would first have to lock the exits.  Even that of course would not work because the phenomenon of income mobility is not limited to people improving their also applies high earners and achievers choosing not to continue their medical practices or pursuing new business enterprises and just move their assets into less productive uses.  For answer on another thread I pose this question on income inequality, are the rest of us really better off when the rich are in decline?

Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to balance the state budget in part with higher taxes on the wealthy depends on a group of top earners that shrank by one-third from 2007 to 2009.

Tax returns with adjusted gross incomes topping $500,000 fell to 98,610 in 2009, the latest year available, from a recent peak of 146,221 two years earlier, according to data from the Franchise Tax Board, the state agency that collects income and corporate taxes.
5529  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California? There is no California. - VDH on: August 16, 2012, 09:21:12 AM
"2,000 upper-income Californians are leaving per week" ??!!

There Is No California

By Victor Davis Hanson - August 16, 2012

Driving across California is like going from Mississippi to Massachusetts without ever crossing a state line.

Consider the disconnects: California's combined income and sales taxes are among the nation's highest, but the state's deficit is still about $16 billion. It's estimated that more than 2,000 upper-income Californians are leaving per week to flee high taxes and costly regulations, yet California wants to raise taxes even higher; its business climate already ranks near the bottom of most surveys. Its teachers are among the highest paid on average in the nation, but its public school students consistently test near the bottom of the nation in both math and science.

The state's public employees enjoy some of the nation's most generous pensions and benefits, but California's retirement systems are underfunded by about $300 billion. The state's gas taxes -- at over 49 cents per gallon -- are among the highest in the nation, but its once unmatched freeways, like 101 and 99, for long stretches have degenerated into potholed, clogged nightmares unchanged since the early 1960s.

The state wishes to borrow billions of dollars to develop high-speed rail, beginning with a little-traveled link between Fresno and Corcoran -- a corridor already served by money-losing Amtrak. Apparently, coastal residents like the idea of European high-speed rail -- as long as noisy and dirty construction does not begin in their backyards.

As gasoline prices soar, California chooses not to develop millions of barrels of untapped oil and even more natural gas off its shores and beneath its interior. Home to bankrupt green companies like Solyndra, California has mandated that a third of all the energy provided by state utilities soon must come from renewable energy sources -- largely wind and solar, which presently provide about 11 percent of its electricity and almost none of its transportation fuel.

How to explain the seemingly inexplicable? There is no California, which is a misnomer. There is no such state. Instead there are two radically different cultures and landscapes with little in common, each equally dysfunctional in quite different ways. Apart they are unworldly, together a disaster.

A postmodern narrow coastal corridor runs from San Diego to Berkeley, where the weather is ideal, the gentrified affluent make good money, and values are green and left-wing. This Shangri-La is juxtaposed to a vast impoverished interior, from the southern desert to the northern Central Valley, where life is becoming premodern.

On the coast, blue-chip universities like Cal Tech, Berkeley, Stanford and UCLA in pastoral landscapes train the world's doctors, lawyers, engineers and businesspeople. In the hot interior of blue-collar Sacramento, Turlock, Fresno and Bakersfield, well over half the incoming freshman in the California State University system must take remedial math and science classes.

In postmodern Palo Alto or Santa Monica, a small cottage costs more than $1 million. Two hours away, in premodern and now-bankrupt Stockton, a bungalow the same size goes for less than $100,000.

In the interior, unemployment in many areas peaks at over 15 percent. The theft of copper wire is reaching epidemic proportions. Thousands of the shrinking middle class flee the interior for the coast or nearby no-income-tax states. To fathom the state's nearly unbelievable statistics -- as the state population grew by 10 million from the mid-1980s to 2005, its number of Medicaid recipients increased by 7 million during that period; one-third of the nation's welfare recipients now reside in California -- visit the state's hinterlands.

But in the Never-Never Land of Apple, Facebook, Google, Hollywood and the wine country, millions live in an idyllic paradise. Coastal Californians can afford to worry about the state's trivia -- as their legislators seek to outlaw foie gras, shut down irrigation projects to save the 3-inch delta smelt, and allow children to have legally recognized multiple parents.

But in the less feel-good interior, crippling regulations curb timber, gas and oil, and farm production. For the most part, the rules are mandated by coastal utopians who have little idea where the gas for their imported cars comes from, or how the redwood is cut for their decks, or who grows the ingredients for their Mediterranean lunches of arugula, olive oil and pasta.

On the coast, it's politically incorrect to talk of illegal immigration. In the interior, residents see first-hand the bankrupting effects on schools, courts and health care when millions arrive illegally without English-language fluency or a high school diploma -- and send back billions of dollars in remittances to Mexico and other Latin American countries.

The drive from Fresno to Palo Alto takes three hours, but you might as well be rocketing from Earth to the moon.
5530  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, Klein Bordo, Taylor... on: August 15, 2012, 10:45:31 AM
I found the title disconcerting enough to look into it.  I did not find the distinctions made by the economists to be so.  I posted links and exact quotes.  In the Bordo example the research was the in-depth data about 26 downturns and recoveries collected and presented.  The analysis is what different economists make of that.  That the analysis would come out differently would not be disconcerting, but as quoted it did not seem to be very much different.  I disagree strongly with interview points made by Bordo, that this is not a policy caused downturn for example and the implication that 1.5% growth (economic decline) is all that is possible now because of the static nature of housing.  I agree very strongly with Prof. Taylor that robust growth is possible right now with the right policy mix.  Looked to me like it was Bordo disagreeing with conclusions in his own co-authored study that I quoted verbatim in my post.  Why?  I don't know but it would seem he wanted to distance himself from any implication that he was endorsing Romney's plan.  It is clear that he isn't.  Klein reports that two economists differing with the Romney plan also disagree with each other. Not uncommon, but the data one researched on recoveries and the other on the negative effect of cash for clunkers I still find relevant and helpful.

Constitutional law I think is a perfect analogy.  Wouldn't it be possible that two reasonable and honest Justices could hear and quote the same oral testimony or written argument or empirical study but draw a different conclusion?

In economics the example that comes to my mind is a paper published by Christina Romer in June 2010 "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks" arguably making the case that any significant 'fiscal shock' could push the fragile recovery back into recession just as the administration was fighting to do exactly that with tax rate increases.  I don't think the intent of her work was to give backing to administration opponents but it did and she was out of that job as chief economic adviser to the President in a matter of days.  Later the President backed temporarily away from that policy for the same reasons.  (

Very cool to be cited by the transition team!  If you are willing to send any links to your writings by private message I promise to respect your privacy and anonymity on the board.
5531  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 14, 2012, 04:18:10 PM
JDN, you crack me up.  Accepting spending at the 4 trillion level and increasing it over 10 years by 5 trillion is not failure to compromise; that is utter hogwash.  It is the other side that failed to compromise to the point of governing by czar, by executive order and by passing transformational legislation without attracting a single crossover vote.  So that can't be your real yardstick.  Like CCP said, you just need to admit it; you are one of them.   wink

[Romney] "during this election he's about to fall off, or maybe he's being pushed, the right wing cliff"

FWIW, the right wing, tea party, fiscal conservative, expanding individual liberty, returning to founding, limited government  principles movement is not the cliff.  Nice try.  We don't want to stop you from driving a Prius, giving to the poor, choosing your doctor, changing your work schedule or eating an organic french fry.  The status quo is the cliff.  Stay on it and the next generation is bankrupt.
5532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Ezra Klein and the case of the disagreeing economists on: August 14, 2012, 04:03:03 PM
"Economists to Romney campaign: That’s not what our research says"

Bigdog, Thanks for posting that.  It is not that uncommon that economists don't like the conclusions that others draw from their research.  The headline is quite clear but the arguments made by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post that follow seem quite convoluted to me, and there were far more than 3 economists quoted in that piece.  

I'm glad we are trying to hold both sides accountable.  The study (Tax Policy Center) currently being cited by Obama regarding the Romney economic plan is one of the most deceptive I have seen in years of watching deception, and the main attack still levied against Paul Ryan on Medicare was awarded Politifact's 2011 Lie of the Year Award, not exactly a right wing organization.

Ezra Klein:  "Hubbard, Mankiw, Taylor and Hassett make three main points: The first is that this recovery has been terribly slow, even by the standards of post-financial crisis recoveries. The second is that the Obama administration made a grievous error by relying on (spending) stimulus. And the third is that Romney’s tax and economic plans would usher in an era of rapid growth that would both be good for the country and provide the boost to revenues and employment necessary to make their numbers work out."   - So far, so good.  Should have stopped there IMO.

“This recession is really quite different,” Bordo said. But he didn’t see government policy as the obvious cause.    - That is absurd IMHO and not at all studied or proven in the research cited.

"Both Sufi and Bordo agree that the housing market was at the core of this recession..."
   - Nothing about houses, 2x4's, roofs or siding caused or the bubble or the collapse.  It was the government policies toward creation of money and lending on houses without regard to creditworthiness or logic that led to the insanity.  Mortgages were 90% federal and the rest were all under the complete jurisdiction of botched federal regulations.

Klein regarding economist Bordo: But when I probed whether Bordo was implicitly criticizing the Obama administration’s housing policies, he essentially shrugged. “We didn’t have massive government intervention in it anyway,” he says.

What??  90% control of mortgages and moratoriums on foreclosures including the 10% they didn't control along with infusions of trillions and lending based on non-creditworthiness considerations, this is not massive government intervention??  Nonsense, and also NOT IN THE STUDY.

The only quote in the paper from Bordo that I saw is that "a slow growth recovery is not inevitable".  That is fair conclusion one could make looking at 26 cycles studied in the research paper that Bordo co-authored and pretty close to their own conclusion: "Our analysis of the data shows that steep expansions tend to follow deep contractions, though this depends heavily on when the recovery is measured. In contrast to much conventional wisdom, the stylized fact that deep contractions breed strong recoveries is particularly true when there is a financial crisis. In fact, on average, it is cycles without a financial crisis that show the weakest relation between contraction depth and recovery strength."  (This contraction most certainly had a financial crisis!) If Bordo now contends that this slow recovery was inevitable, then maybe he is satisfied with current economic growth.  The rest of us aren't.  Pretending that what is wrong in this economy today is about housing when nearly everyone has a house and houses are arguably still overvalued is absurd, and not demonstrated in the study.  Isn't ousing construction according to Wesbury is growing faster than the rest of the economy anyway?

4 years past Bush we are on a glidepath to never solving our problems without changing leadership and changing direction and making serious governmental reforms.  Meanwhile Ezra Klein with an unhidden agenda writes about shiny objects, over here!

The current policy direction arrow on all major Obama policies is anti-growth.  Other goals, Pres. Obama's quest for 'fairness' and his propensity to give goodies to targeted constituent groups, are paramount to seeking enterprise driven growth in all policy considerations as far as I can see.

The way you recover housing is to allow incomes to grow.  The way you grow incomes is to allow economic freedoms to expand.  These policies are aimed entirely in the opposite direction.  This is Decline by Design no matter how it is spun.  MHO
5533  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 14, 2012, 02:17:06 PM
"Some years ago I agreed with this supposed compromising strategy."

Yes, Dr. CCP was my formerly favorite moderate on the board.   smiley

We used to argue the merits of smaller government versus bigger government, compromising with big spenders versus not.  Now we argue big government versus going bigger and bigger and bigger with no idea whatsoever how to pay for it.  Can't we get 51% or so to settle for just big government at all levels instead of total control of all aspects of our lives?

As posted, taking a 4 trillion/year out of control spending habit, keeping all of it and increasing it by 5 trillion over 10 years is still considered hard right politics and pushing Granny over the cliff.
5534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 14, 2012, 01:45:40 PM
Thank you JDN; that was a very responsive post.  The question was who would you choose today so I have no argument.  That is your choice and those are your reasons.  The point of my question was that I did not understand all the negativity about Romney if you were still going to vote for him, but if after all we've been through you still support Obama, then your negative feelings about Romney are genuine.

"I think Obama inherited many of the current problems from Bush."  - Don't forget the Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden congress.  We had 4.6% unemployment when Dems took congress not 8.3 or 9 or 10%.  It came from Bush.  It came from Dems and it came from Dems in congress and it came most elected Republicans who supported to some degree all the same CRAp:  a federal program for everything, spending beyond our means, straying from all principles, regulations beyond logic and a government that controls markets and centrally tries to pick winners and losers.

"Also, the world's economy is in the doldrums; it's not just us."  - That is a one edged sword?  We used to lead the world but now it is that their demise bringing us down.  Why not a mention that our wrong-headed policy-based failure to recover is bringing down the world economy?

"I...believe it should be combination of cuts and tax increases."  - Just a few weeks ago I thought we agreed to distinguish tax revenue increases and tax rate increases.  As Crafty already posted, there are no spending cuts in anyone's proposal so that half is hot air and the historic correlation is with increasing tax revenues by cutting tax rates rather than by increasing them.  Years of citing data, links, studies and proof can not trump such likable rhetoric from big government ideologues.  Even Obama admits that raising tax rates is about "fairness" not revenues.  Four historic examples AGAIN: JFK's ( a Dem) tax rate cuts had a lasting effect, Reagan tax rate cuts doubled revenues within a decade, Clinton-Gingrich capital gain rate cuts led to a balanced budget and even W Bush's rate cuts caused the static scorers to misunderestimate revenues with forecasting shortfall errors in the HUNDREDS of BILLIONS.  Oh well.  Maybe some else reading these threads got the point.

"I don't think the "rich" will mind nor will it change their lifestyle to pay another 2-3 percent." 

  - They may not mind it or all vote against it but they do invest and employ less at the margin.  "2-3%" is not the increase that is on the table from the Obama administration 2.0.  More like a tripling of cumulative tax rates in some cases.

"Further, I think capital gains, frankly all income should be taxed nearly the same."

   - I think you mean quadruple-taxed the same; most capital gains have already been taxed at least 2 or 3 times before you figure the 15% additional or whatever that rate becomes.  A long term capital gain at anytime in our lifetime has by definition an inflation component to it.  Have you EVER taken the time to read, think, understand and agree that continuous devaluation of the dollar is not income?!?!

"Romney's 12% tax rate, maybe lower in previous years, and even lower under Ryan's
proposal, doesn't seem right to me when others, i.e. middle class are paying over 30%."

   - The top 20% earners in this country make 50% of the income and pay 70% of the taxes.  Any implication that the rich as a group do not pay their share is based on lies and deception.  The group that isn't paying their share is the poor and no one is proposing that they do.  If you could confiscate every penny earned by the rich you still can't pay for spending at these levels.  What perplexes me is your previous support of Huntsman's plan which is markedly to the right of both Romney and Ryan.  Huntsman proposed ELIMINATING all federal taxes on capital gains because the income has already been taxed.

"I don't think Romney really understands the middle class."   - The middle, median, 50th percentile adult in this country pays ZERO federal individual income tax.  The thing that Romney needs to understand, and does, is that killing off investment kills off jobs.  What is to understand about anyone who is working his/her tail off except that they might like the opportunity to make more, keep more and not pass on all that debt to their children.

"He's (McCain) more middle of the road (reasonable) and aligned with my opinion; Romney day by day is going right and further right...."

    - Obama was the leftmost Senator and our leftmost President.  McCain was the most "middle of the road" possible and yet you chose the leftmost over the centrist.  Romney was the RINO-most of the Republicans running.  Did you not see the hate speech on the far right sites towards him.   :wink:He picked a very reasonable and thoughtful running mate (who wants to raise spending by just 5 trillion) and still you prefer the leftmost.  That speaks about you, not much about him.  I seriously appreciate your very candid comments.  No offense but the goal is not to win over people who want the leftmost President to continue to transform, not reform.  The goal over on our side is to defeat you.   wink

5535  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 13, 2012, 03:52:50 PM
I don't think you or the daily beast understand that the people who think they can spend more and more and more and get someone else to pay for it or not pay for it are in Governor Romney's target market in the first place.  They already have an app for that!

If you are so certain of the consistency and accuracy of your pushpolling links, then how do you explain the win of Republicans in the most recent election by 7 points nationally with the same choices on the table?

JDN, who would YOU vote for if the election were held today?
5536  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Paul Ryan on: August 13, 2012, 11:03:41 AM
"The commitment Mitt Romney and I make to you is this," Ryan said at a rally Saturday. " We won't duck the tough issues; we will lead. We won't blame others; we will take responsibility. And we won't replace our founding principles; we will reapply them."

Knowing Paul Ryan as we do, we have no reason to doubt him.  - Milwaukee Journal Sentinal editorial
5537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Paul Ryan on: August 13, 2012, 10:57:30 AM
I am enjoying the reading and analysis on the Ryan pick.  One oversight in much of it is that is that Romney picked Ryan for the number two slot, not the top of the ticket.  Ryan will be defending the Romney plan and contrasting and attacking the Obama record.  It is not exactly the case that Romney needs to defend the Ryan plan.  Missing in the coverage of the Ryan road map is that he always said he was open to other ideas and other plans; none were  forthcoming from the Dems in congress or the too-busy-with-other-things White House.

The strange timing of the pick missing a big media spotlight came from the fact (reported at that the Milwaukee tragedy was in his district and the service was Friday.  Waiting for a bigger media splash opportunity would not have been worth holding up the announcement and getting on with the campaign.

I think we got the pick and the reasons for it right on the board, which is nice, and so did Romney.

Gov. Romney has taken my 16 year plan a step forward.  Instead of two terms each of Romney and Rubio, this allows for a 24 year plan with Romney, Ryan and then Rubio.   This gives Rubio quite a bit more time to prepare to be the best President ever.  24 years of competent, limited government governance could put this country back on the right-track in a way that everyone (except the outgoing first lady) could be proud of.
5538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: August 09, 2012, 09:14:25 PM
"Exports are now at all-time record highs and do not show any clear signs of slowing due to the financial situation in Europe or a slowdown in China."

Hard to criticize that--except to note that it undercuts the argument that the US economy is slowing down because of Europe.

True.  Also undercuts the claim that exports are up because of the President's policies.  The increase according to the original story comes oil and energy production, but that occurred outside of limits the Obama administration placed blocking deep sea drilling, ANWR Alaska still blocked, one pipeline blocked, one closed, and drilling limits on federal lands.

The only sign of economic health came from an industry the President sought to take down.

Like Rush Lombaugh said, "I hope he fails" [to destroy the country].
5539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America on: August 09, 2012, 08:55:43 PM
"No one seems to care except you Objectionist1"

    - This statement is categorically false.  Read the thread.

"JDN makes absolutely NO attempt to refute anything contained in the Andrew McCarthy piece I posted earlier in this thread, which effectively destroys his laughable claim that this is simply a "witch hunt."  There are plenty of FACTS in that piece.  JDN evidently isn't interested in facts - only in character assassination."

    - This statement is true.

An honest difference of opinion debated passionately would be perfect for the question at hand.  Unfortunately one side of the argument hasn't shown up yet.

Let me help frame an answer for the character assassin.  Inquiry and oversight into the question of how highest level staff with at least indirectly ties to terror organizations were vetted is not warranted because ________________________.
5540  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: August 09, 2012, 08:44:08 PM
"If he wins, it's in spite of himself, not because of himself."  - JDN, attached to no position on any issue.

Ad hominem (directed at the person), ad nauseum (unpleasurable to the point of nausea).

Do you troll or post opinions on issues?  You haven't even said you will vote against the guy.  Hundreds of millions are being spent to drive up his negatives and then they poll to ask same people what do you think of his negatives.  Then the poll becomes the news story.  Not anti-growth, anti-employment policies, just at the person BS.

If the poll is the news story, how about posting the poll internals. How many Dems, how many R's, and now many independents in the "random adult survey"? 
5541  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: August 09, 2012, 08:25:01 PM
Does JDN know what he's posting?

a) Mitts is singular unless you've got two of them, and
b) the 'quote' is from Netanyahu, not Gov. Romney, and the source is unnamed.
c) The reference to Romney's policy is posed with a question mark! 
d) Both the headline writer and the poster did not read the article it appears, yet both found it worth passing on for others, lol.
5542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: August 09, 2012, 03:00:39 PM
"exports are up 7.1% while imports are up 2.2%"

This is measured good news.  Both are up from abysmal levels.  2.2% (flat) imports is a sign of consumptive malaise.  7% growth in exports means we still can compete and sell on the world market so maybe it really still is worth turning around the anti-business climate in this country.

"Two (and a half) years ago, President Obama popped a surprise into his State of the Union address: His administration would double American exports in five years, helping to create two million jobs."

No, we aren't on track to do that.  NY Times said we are growing exports at 16%/yr as of last January.m  That fell to 7% in just 6 months??
5543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney - Ryan budget? on: August 09, 2012, 02:54:12 PM
The negative to Ryan as a choice it is said is that it ties Romney to Ryan's budget and its specifics, except where he has said he differs.

The problem with that thinking though is that the Obama/Dem camp is tying Romney to the Ryan budget anyway.  Might as well run on it as a strength and as an agenda for a mandate and bring on board the person best able to defend it.

That is roughly the point of Stephen Hayes and Bill Kristol here:
5544  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: August 08, 2012, 12:39:54 PM
Crafty: "My own in-house marketing survey, my wife, resonated to him very well.  This is a good sign! "

Yes, how they inspire the base and how they received by voters who are more independent are both important.  Picking Ryan means he is serious about solving our economic problems.  Seldom do you see a real congressional leader put on the ticket by either party.  Ryan has been front and center on reform to stand up against the President who has been the antithesis to reform.

It isn't just about winning, but to convey that they know how to govern if they win.  If the House,the Executive Branch and 50+ Senators can get on the same page, we are a few cloture votes away from turning this country around.

46% may like Obama but well over 60% say we are on the wrong track.
5545  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 08, 2012, 11:40:49 AM
Good post and very good point made by obj on govt programs and ending welfare reform.  Pres. Obama seeks to run on Clinton's jobs record yet oppose him on Clinton's jobs agenda.

Speaking of the legs of a stool, with a nudging from Newt and the 1994 electorate, Clinton built some growth success on some solid conservative principles:

a) Capital gains tax rate cuts spurring American investors to invest in America, Obama opposes that, see the Obama-Buffet rule.  After-tax tax rates needs to be higher than regular tax rates.
b) Ending the unpopular quest for national health care.  He got beat up in the mid term, changed the agenda and sidelined his unpopular wife.  Imagine that.
c) "The age of big government is over." Actual quote.  At least in rhetoric, there is not a government program that cures all problems.
d) Free trade to grow jobs and build prosperity.
e) "Ending welfare as we know it."  The timing was perfect.  They messed with comfort of idle welfare at the same time that businesses were begging for workers.

For Obama, he is trying two familiar takes on insanity.  Do more of the same in terms of policies for a second term and expecting a different result, and using the opposite strategies to those that grow jobs but expecting job growth to re-appear anyway.

How that can poll above 45% is beyond me.
5546  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Romney Running mate: Paul Ryan on: August 08, 2012, 11:15:30 AM
This is the time for VEEP choices.  The campaign and media are having some fun with trial balloons, Rubio, Portman, Condaleeza Rice and now Gen. Petraeus.   Take your own shot at it, lay out your preference for running mate and your reasons soon - or else no complaining about the choice later.  wink   The predictions all seem to be based on what Romney thinks he needs and where he sits in the race when he makes the choice, which is right about now. 

They say his favorite surrogate is Pawlenty.  Advantage is that as a 2-term Gov and pretty serious candidate himself he already faced the scrutiny.  He doesn't bring you his home state or any other state with any certainty.  What he brings is a good salesman for Romney and the discussion remains about Romney, not the running mate.

Rubio is my favorite for future President.  He is the best orator and spokesman for the cause.  He is a big picture visionary for a very young man.  Besides wonderfully clear and persuasive explanations, he puts a friendly, non-threatening face on freedom and conservatism.  He offers some help attracting or minimizing the damage with Hispanic voters.  2 years in the senate is his drawback though he has a very accomplished Florida background. 

Maybe Rubio helps with crucial state Florida and gives a more uplifting speech, maybe Portman helps with Ohio, maybe Jindal makes the picture not so white for anti white racists, but Paul Ryan is the heavyweight in the room if this comes done to arguing the agenda, as it most certainly will.

As suggested elsewhere, this election is a one legged stool - upside down; picture the Eifel Tower.  The base is built on economic freedom and the American entrepreneurial spirit connecting throughout a complex grid to the pinnacle which is American strength.  There isn't a foreign policy of strength that comes out of a domestic economy of weakness.

This election is either about the economy and an agenda to bring back its greatness, or it about convoluted discussions of arguing sideways and pointing to shiny objects.  Romney has to make the case that his agenda, the unread 59 point plan, will grow the economy and create opportunity and prosperity available to everyone.  It will, but the question between now and November is whether the sale is made and whether the plan becomes a mandate for real reform.  Enter Paul Ryan...

These days, you hear it everywhere — from Republican donors and veteran operatives, and at Capitol Hill watering holes. A few weeks ago, it was a wishful rumor floating in the Beltway ether. Now, sources close to the Romney campaign say it’s for real, that the taciturn former Massachusetts governor is quietly warming to the idea.

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the budget king of the GOP, may be Mitt Romney’s veep.

“Ryan is very highly respected not only by the candidate, but by Romney’s policy shop,” says Tom Rath, a Romney adviser. “Beyond the political relationship, he has a good personal relationship with Romney, and he has been a strong and reliable surrogate since the primary.”

For months, Ryan has been considered a dark horse for the number-two spot. At age 42, he has accomplished much, such as winning seven straight congressional races and authoring his party’s blueprint for entitlement reform. But his lack of executive experience, and his criticism of the Bay State’s health-care program, made his chances look relatively remote.

Yet behind the scenes, Ryan’s stock has been steadily rising. Romney, a former Bain Capital consultant who relishes data and metrics, has clicked with the youthful Badger State wonk. They have campaigned together and speak frequently on the phone, comparing notes on policy and strategy. And earlier this year, with Ryan’s blessing, Romney hired three of Ryan’s Budget Committee advisers to help him in Boston.

“Romney has spoken out about how we can’t let ourselves evolve into an entitlement society, so you can see why Ryan is attracted to Romney,” says former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour. “You can also see why Romney likes Ryan: He’s bright, articulate, and courageous. He’s willing to tell the truth to the American people, and he understands entrepreneurship. He’s also from Wisconsin, which is an important state.”

In late June, National Review Online reported that the Romney campaign was seriously vetting Ryan — and that Ryan had shared paperwork detailing his financial and personal records with a handful of Romney’s Boston-based counselors.

Since then, sources say, Ryan has slowly floated to the top of Romney’s vice-presidential shortlist. In conversations with senior advisers and donors — at the campaign’s summer retreat in Park City, Utah, and at his lakefront home in New Hampshire — Romney has repeatedly expressed his admiration for the Wisconsin lawmaker.

“Having observed Romney and Ryan together at some events, it’s clear they have very good chemistry,” says Charlie Black, an outside adviser to the Romney campaign. “They are philosophically in tune, especially on economic and fiscal policy.”

The Romney-Ryan alliance actually began during the early days of the primary, months before Ryan formally endorsed. Romney was struggling against Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and Ryan offered candid, private advice on numerous occasions, which Romney reportedly appreciated.

Speaking with NRO in late March, a week before Ryan endorsed him, Romney highlighted their political kinship. “We chat on a regular basis,” he said. And on policy, “we’re very much inclined in the same direction.”

Publicly, Ryan has consistently been a loyal soldier — championing Romney’s positions, especially to skeptical conservatives. “He doesn’t need to lay out new policies,” Ryan told NRO last week, when asked about Romney’s specificity. “It’s simply about getting up there and offering a vision, emphasizing the choice between two futures. It’s a counter-narrative, a myth of sorts, that [Romney] hasn’t been specific enough.”

Romney is a low-key, non-ideological nominee who has found Ryan’s support invaluable in maintaining friendly relations with the base. If he were tapped, Ryan would continue to generate conservative enthusiasm for the ticket, and he’d further reinforce Romney’s aura of number-crunching competency.

“We are big fans of Ryan,” says Sal Russo, a strategist for the Tea Party Express. “Ryan learned a lot from the great Jack Kemp,” the late fiscal hawk and the GOP’s 1996 vice-presidential nominee. “And anyone who shares Kemp’s ideas gets an A from me.”

Ryan worked as a speechwriter for Kemp and former Reagan cabinet member Bill Bennett before becoming a top Republican staffer to a couple of senators during the Clinton years. Born and raised into a large, Irish-Catholic family in Janesville, Wis., he returned there in 1998, after his stint as an aide, to run for the House.

Of course, a Ryan pick would come with some potential problems. National Journal recently dubbed him Romney’s “riskiest running mate,” owing to the Democrats’ eagerness to blast Ryan’s entitlement proposals. Conservative leaders also have some reservations about potentially sending one of the House’s leading reformers to the Naval Observatory.

“If I had my druthers, I would hope Romney would pick one of the other options,” says Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and a Ryan supporter. “The most important thing in the first year of a Romney administration would be a U-turn on the road to serfdom, and the way to do that is by passing the Ryan budget, which requires a major mover not just at the White House, but in Congress. It’d be easier to do that with Ryan in the House, since he has walked through it already with every Republican.”

Romney, however, may want Ryan to walk through his plan with the country. It would be a bold pick, but if you have been reading the tea leaves, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
5547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - 'Stimulus' is really a depressant, Arthur Laffer on: August 06, 2012, 10:34:15 AM
Very significant piece today in the WSJ.  Please read, learn and vote.

Arthur Laffer: The Real 'Stimulus' Record
In country after country, increased government spending acted more like a depressant than a stimulant.

"The macro economy is the sum total of all of its micro parts... stimulus spending really doesn't make much sense. In essence, it's when government takes additional resources beyond what it would otherwise take from one group of people (usually the people who produced the resources) and then gives those resources to another group of people (often to non-workers and non-producers)."

"government taxing people more who work and then giving more money to people who don't work is a surefire recipe for less work, less output and more unemployment."


Policy makers in Washington and other capitals around the world are debating whether to implement another round of stimulus spending to combat high unemployment and sputtering growth rates. But before they leap, they should take a good hard look at how that worked the first time around.

It worked miserably, as indicated by the table nearby, which shows increases in government spending from 2007 to 2009 and subsequent changes in GDP growth rates. Of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, those with the largest spending spurts from 2007 to 2009 saw the least growth in GDP rates before and after the stimulus.

The four nations—Estonia, Ireland, the Slovak Republic and Finland—with the biggest stimulus programs had the steepest declines in growth. The United States was no different, with greater spending (up 7.3%) followed by far lower growth rates (down 8.4%).

Still, the debate rages between those who espouse stimulus spending as a remedy for our weak economy and those who argue it is the cause of our current malaise. The numbers at stake aren't small. Federal government spending as a share of GDP rose to a high of 27.3% in 2009 from 21.4% in late 2007. This increase is virtually all stimulus spending, including add-ons to the agricultural and housing bills in 2007, the $600 per capita tax rebate in 2008, the TARP and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, "cash for clunkers," additional mortgage relief subsidies and, of course, President Obama's $860 billion stimulus plan that promised to deliver unemployment rates below 6% by now. Stimulus spending over the past five years totaled more than $4 trillion.

If you believe, as I do, that the macro economy is the sum total of all of its micro parts, then stimulus spending really doesn't make much sense. In essence, it's when government takes additional resources beyond what it would otherwise take from one group of people (usually the people who produced the resources) and then gives those resources to another group of people (often to non-workers and non-producers).

Often as not, the qualification for receiving stimulus funds is the absence of work or income—such as banks and companies that fail, solar energy companies that can't make it on their own, unemployment benefits and the like. Quite simply, government taxing people more who work and then giving more money to people who don't work is a surefire recipe for less work, less output and more unemployment.

Yet the notion that additional spending is a "stimulus" and less spending is "austerity" is the norm just about everywhere. Without ever thinking where the money comes from, politicians and many economists believe additional government spending adds to aggregate demand. You'd think that single-entry accounting were the God's truth and that, for the government at least, every check written has no offsetting debit.

Well, the truth is that government spending does come with debits. For every additional government dollar spent there is an additional private dollar taken. All the stimulus to the spending recipients is matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis every minute of every day by a depressant placed on the people who pay for these transfers. Or as a student of the dismal science might say, the total income effects of additional government spending always sum to zero.

Meanwhile, what economists call the substitution or price effects of stimulus spending are negative for all parties. In other words, the transfer recipient has found a way to get paid without working, which makes not working more attractive, and the transfer payer gets paid less for working, again lowering incentives to work.

But all of this is just old-timey price theory, the stuff that used to be taught in graduate economics departments. Today, even stimulus spending advocates have their Ph.D. defenders. But there's no arguing with the data in the nearby table, and the fact that greater stimulus spending was followed by lower growth rates. Stimulus advocates have a lot of explaining to do. Their massive spending programs have hurt the economy and left us with huge bills to pay. Not a very nice combination.

Sorry, Keynesians. There was no discernible two or three dollar multiplier effect from every dollar the government spent and borrowed. In reality, every dollar of public-sector spending on stimulus simply wiped out a dollar of private investment and output, resulting in an overall decline in GDP. This is an even more astonishing result because government spending is counted in official GDP numbers. In other words, the spending was more like a valium for lethargic economies than a stimulant.

In many countries, an economic downturn, no matter how it's caused or the degree of change in the rate of growth, will trigger increases in public spending and therefore the appearance of a negative relationship between stimulus spending and economic growth. That is why the table focuses on changes in the rate of GDP growth, which helps isolate the effects of additional spending.

The evidence here is extremely damaging to the case made by Mr. Obama and others that there is economic value to spending more money on infrastructure, education, unemployment insurance, food stamps, windmills and bailouts. Mr. Obama keeps saying that if only Congress would pass his second stimulus plan, unemployment would finally start to fall. That's an expensive leap of faith with no evidence to confirm it.

Mr. Laffer, chairman of Laffer Associates and the Laffer Center for Supply-Side Economics, is co-author, with Stephen Moore, of "Return to Prosperity: How America Can Regain Its Economic Superpower Status" (Threshold, 2010).

5548  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 04, 2012, 10:32:52 AM
With 3 months to go the election is coming down to a choice between President Obama's view that someone else broke it and he can't fix it and his opponents' view that the movement toward the policies of Obama that preceded his presidency brought the economy down and he can't fix it.  At least we all agree that he can't fix it.
5549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 04, 2012, 09:14:22 AM
BD,  Very exciting! 

Beware of exit poll history, 2004 comes to mind. 

"Throughout election night, the national exit poll showed the Massachusetts senator leading President Bush by 51 percent to 48 percent. But when all the votes were counted, it was Bush who won by slightly less than three percentage points. Larger discrepancies between the exit poll estimates and the actual vote were found in exit polls conducted in several states. At the request of the media sponsors, Mitofsky and Lenski are continuing to examine exit polling in Ohio and Pennsylvania, two critical battleground states where the poll results were off."
5550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 04, 2012, 12:45:29 AM
"Following up on Doug's work:"   - I appreciate knowing they (the WSJ) read and follow up on our posts here, and occasionally give credit.

“Indeed, if the participation rate were at 66%, which is around where it hovered for many years ahead of the recession, the headline unemployment rate would be a little more than 3pp higher than currently reported,”

Missing in the projections is that if we put an aggressive pro-growth mandate put in place, a turnaround that includes abundant opportunity and potential for real prosperity and economic freedom that counts entrepreneurs in the mix, a workforce participation rate higher than the past is possible. 

There is some math to do, but if you put in place an array of positive incentives (Romney's 59 point plan comes to mind), a return of productive investment and enterprise could grow the workforce a couple of points above historic averages instead of a couple of points below historic averages.  By the time we return the unemployment rate to near a pre-Dem-rule rates of 4.6% and elevate business start rates to new record highs, amazing amounts of income and wealth are possible if we quit fighting against it.  This budget would be in balance in my estimation at that point and the world recession would be over.

Is that worth changing horses in mid-drowning.
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