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5551  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: July 23, 2012, 01:36:34 PM
I don't follow these tragedies closely but in the hypothetical, if everyone in the front row was a concealed carry holder, the shooting might have stopped sooner.

Still in the hypothetical, if they had a sign saying this establishment bans all guns on the premises, it would prevent defense, not crime.

They didn't have such a sign as far as I know and Colo is a concealed carry state.
5552  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: July 23, 2012, 01:20:47 PM
Yes.  I am relieved to find out he is an alleged moderate just to slow the flood of irrationality.  Pointing out the completely obvious, if he were a conservative or tea party member he would be a fraud anyway because shooting innocent life is not to hold other people's life, liberty and pursuit of happiness up as unalienable rights.

I care about the victims and I care about his capital punishment.  I don't care about his politics.
5553  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market: The September Surprise on: July 23, 2012, 12:38:34 PM
What caused the crash of September 2008?

Conventional wisdom is that the housing bubble caused the crash.  But we had versions of a housing bubble for a decade leading up that crash.  What caused the crash?  Greed caused the crash?  No. Greed (self interest) is constant, the crash had specific timing.

It was (IMHO) the impending tax increases.  (As I have written before) Investors needed to not only sell their assets before 12/31/2008 to capture gains at the old rate, but they also needed to sell them before the other investors sold off or else there is little or no profit to tax anyway.  And the panic began.

September is when people start paying attention for elections and for year end.  This year we face the same fiscal cliff as 2008, just fewer gains and investments to sell off.  All economists say you don't raise tax rates in a recession because of the damage it will cause, yet for all practical purposes, that is what's coming.

Former NH Gov. and Sen. Judd Gregg spells this out better at:
5554  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics, dangerous moderates on: July 23, 2012, 12:18:17 PM
There is nothing political about the Colorado shooting that I know of, nonetheless there was a rush to try to tie him to tea party or right wing causes as if supporting defense with a gun is similar to shooting up a crowded theater.  If he were Muslim / Jihad we would draw conclusions quickly too.

But now it is reported that on his profile he is self described "middle of the road" politically.  Those people scare me. 

What's actually scary is that before Friday someone could meet this person with a click and a message.
5555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: July 23, 2012, 11:57:01 AM
Taking on Wesbury spin, not the messenger. )  I always appreciate his data.  Unbelievable that he still has something positive to say at 0.9% growth.  

FWIW, apartment building construction growth means some construction jobs but also during a foreclosure epidemic means roughly that for each unit or two built a foreclosed home may never be sold.  Homes that are torn down and not replaced destroy the tax base in the most fiscally troubled municipalities.  Translation: worse than a zero sum game because the losing sector still needs a bailout.

He says Plow Horse Economy, I say a 'you reap what you sew' economy.

Actually his plow horse characterization matches my 'wagon' analogy.  Some people pull the wagon and some people ride.  Some of the very poorest, some of the handicapped and some of the elderly can't pay all of their own way and some some who are capable need a hand up for a short time.  When we started accepting that 50% can ride and half of the rest are kids, the load got too heavy what is left of private enterprise to pull.  The Dem answer to that: let 99% ride; 1% can pull.

Regarding the US economy and investments, sell.
5556  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california, Republican death spiral on: July 23, 2012, 11:30:29 AM
I read through that without seeing the source, NY Times.  It looked like pretty good reporting except for having the main story line upside down.  For all I can tell reading through, the R. party may have its policies just right and it is the voters choosing the death spiral.  Or as I was calling it 'Decline by Design'.  The implication is that the last 30% should surrender.  More likely they will leave.

Yes, the 1994 Prop 187 effort drove a big wedge between Hispanics and Republicans, but remember that a California Republican President (Reagan) already signed a 'comprehensive' bill establishing both amnesty and border security (lol) in 1986.  If those kinds of policies worked, why would there be a serious issue with illegals using too many public services in 1994?

The article keeps making R's sound extreme yet they keep offering up moderates for office as I see it.  Whitman and Fiorina the latest, but look at that fiscal wuss Arnold.  Didn't he cave on every fiscal and reform issue like a good moderate while he already agreed with liberals on every social issue?  What good did that do for the state or the party?

California needs pro-growth policies that they aren't about to vote for.

This isn't unique to California, all the large decaying cities have the same political problem, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis come to mind.  How are the Republican parties doing within those city limits?  Mpls city council has 12 Dem and 1 green.  There were no Republican candidates for either Mayor or any City Council post in a recent election, with one Republican running for Library Board, according to Wikipedia.  Minneapolis has shrunk 25% from its peak down to its size of 90 years ago; fewer than 1 in 8 in the metro choose Minneapolis.  It would be bankrupt if not held up by an otherwise prosperous county and state.  Detroit lost 25% in a decade.  About that loss , Detroit's Republican Mayor said ....  just kidding, Dems have run Detroit since the (other) Great depression.  HuffPost says Obama won Detroit by 97-3%?!  Now the 'real' unemployment rate is around 45%.  But the unemployed make good Dem voters - if they stay - and if someone else will pay for the services.
5557  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America, Bachmann letter, Huma Abedin, MB infiltration, etc. on: July 22, 2012, 03:19:44 PM
Andy McCarthy of National Review defends Bachmann's line of inquiry:
Paul Mirengoff of Powerline has a pretty good take on this, it is liberal infiltration more than Muslim Brotherhood infiltration that has led to the slant of State Dept. policy decisions in favor of Islamic extremist groups.

"I would speculate that the State Department’s tilt towards the Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with Abedin. The State Department is prone to want to hitch U.S. policy to anti-Western extremists, claiming they aren’t as bad as they look (and talk). This tendency predates the Obama administration. Once Mubarak fell in Egypt, it was probably inevitable that an Obama State Department would follow this tradition in dealing with the Brotherhood. The policy, then, appears to be the product of the liberal imagination, not Brotherhood infiltration.

Of course, this is just speculation. But so is the thrust of the opening portion of Bachmann’s letter. To that extent, the language of the letter is unfortunate, and has tended to undermine its worthy goal of raising legitimate and serious concerns about the substance of State Department policy."

5558  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Monetary Policy & other currencies: ECB and negative interest rates on: July 22, 2012, 12:46:06 PM
Unbelievable.  Like treating a failed car ignition system by continuously overflowing the gas tank.

No more than one in three adults in Europe have a full time job in the private sector in Europe.  They aren't starting new businesses and there's no incentive to expand an existing one.  You are taxed heavily if you earn, taxed heavily if you spend, taxed if you save and regulated to death.  Economic growth is done and instead of fix any of all of what is broken, they increase the money supply.

We not only copy their insanity, we back it.
ECB Coordinates With Federal Reserve to Provide Dollars to Euro-Area Banks
Sep 15, 2011 Bloomberg

The Frankfurt-based ECB said it will coordinate with the Federal Reserve and other central banks to conduct three separate dollar liquidity operations to ensure banks have enough of the currency through the end of the year (2011).

This is not a crisis.  It is a you-reap-what-you sew economy.  Decline by design.
5559  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 21, 2012, 07:56:32 PM
Abe Lincoln:
"and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

"and that people of the government, by the government, for the government, shall not perish from the earth because of the government".

ccp, "Your no Lincoln!"

Great line CCP!  Isn't that the truth.
5560  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: welfare reform law changed by HHS? on: July 21, 2012, 01:48:00 PM
For all the negotiations and struggles with welfare reform that went with getting a Dem President and an R congress to finally agree on specifics after two vetoes and many re-writes (, now one side can unilaterally change the law?  Because of what, our the new government by Czar?  Which article authorizes that?
5561  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 21, 2012, 12:56:59 PM
On the debunk continued, Obama Sr. didn't leave the US in 1961, Stanley Ann wouldn't go meet his family alone - pregnant, and nothing is anywhere near Hawaii for travel by air, land or sea.  Looks like you could get a flight today for about $2600 with 2-3 stops and 35 hours fly time each way.  Quite a bit longer in 1961. The certificate, BTW, was for one generic US baby born in Africa-other, not an Obama born in the Kenyan region .

I'm not saying HRC would win at either position, just that they are the ones in need of changing the dynamic of the race.

Not to pile on, but while 1 more term of Obama is unthinkable, Hillary is eligible for 2 more terms, don't get that started.  " Aaaaccckkk!!!  "

Defeat this man the old fashioned way and let Hillary age gracefully on the sidelines.
5562  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Need to stop birthing ) on: July 21, 2012, 02:42:40 AM
The only news story I could find in Google News about 'Kenyan Birth Records Found' was a 2009 Huffington Post story about a Kenyan forgery.

Looks to me like they blur the image - I can't read it it.  And no link.

After they say it is proved they go on with a different argument, Barack Sr. didn't declare he had a son.  That isn't conclusive of anything.

We need Barack Obama on the ballot in order to defeat him and his policies.  There is no shortcut.

If Democrats had to replace him on the ticket between now and the election, it would be the perfect storm, wet dream, shiny object extravaganza for them.  They could put a new name on the ballot not directly tied to the current economic record - and you know who she would be...   (
5563  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IBD Editorials: Syria's Chemical Weapons Came From Saddam's Iraq on: July 20, 2012, 12:55:44 PM
IBD Editorials
Syria's Chemical Weapons Came From Saddam's Iraq
Posted 07/19/2012 07:02 PM ET

War On Terror: As the regime of Bashar Assad disintegrates, the security of his chemical arsenal is in jeopardy. The No. 2 general in Saddam Hussein's air force says they were the WMDs we didn't find in Iraq.

King Abdullah of neighboring Jordan warned that a disintegrating Syria on the verge of civil war puts Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons at risk of falling into the hands of al-Qaida.

"One of the worst-case scenarios as we are obviously trying to look for a political solution would be if some of those chemical stockpiles were to fall into unfriendly hands," he said.

The irony here is that the chemical weapons stockpile of Syrian thug Assad may in large part be the legacy of weapons moved from Hussein's Iraq into Syria before Operation Iraqi Freedom.

If so, this may be the reason not much was found in the way of WMD by victorious U.S. forces in 2003.

In 2006, former Iraqi general Georges Sada, second in command of the Iraqi Air Force who served under Saddam Hussein before he defected, wrote a comprehensive book, "Saddam's Secrets."

It details how the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria in advance of the U.S.-led action to eliminate Hussein's WMD threat.

As Sada told the New York Sun, two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, and special Republican Guard units loaded the planes with chemical weapons materials.
mp3Subscribe to the IBD Editorials Podcast

There were 56 flights disguised as a relief effort after a 2002 Syrian dam collapse.

There were also truck convoys into Syria. Sada's comments came more than a month after Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam "transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria."

Both Israeli and U.S. intelligence observed large truck convoys leaving Iraq and entering Syria in the weeks and months before Operation Iraqi Freedom, John Shaw, former deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, told a private conference of former weapons inspectors and intelligence experts held in Arlington, Va., in 2006.

According to Shaw, ex-Russian intelligence chief Yevgeni Primakov, a KGB general with long-standing ties to Saddam, went to Iraq in December 2002 and stayed until just before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

Anticipating the invasion, his job was to supervise the removal of such weapons and erase as much evidence of Russian involvement as possible.
5564  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Income Mobility: 70% of children did not end up in their parent's quintile on: July 20, 2012, 11:19:39 AM
Romney needs to answer the leftist income inequality obsession with the inspiration and reality of income mobility optimism.  The latest study from Pew actually shows all kinds of progress even though they continue to exclude the primary sources of income for lower incomes, "does not include the value of Medicare, Medicaid, the EITC, Section 8 housing vouchers nor SNAP (food stamps)" which exaggerates inequality.  Making dollar errors in the multi-trillions for the poorest and then publishing results as if you covered it all.  Buyer beware! 

Movement across class lines has been reasonably robust. 60 percent of children born to the richest fifth of Americans in the late 1960s fell out of that category, with 8 percent landing in the bottom fifth. 57 percent of children born into the bottom fifth moved up, and more than half of them moved into the middle fifth or higher. Overall, 70 percent of children didn’t end up in their parents’ quintile.

The rise in incomes holds across the economic spectrum. Among the poorest fifth, inflation-adjusted income grew by 74 percent, from $11,064 to $19,202. It grew even more substantially in the highest quintile but the Pew study may well understate growth in the real income of the poor.

Even with the exclusions that cause incomes of the poor to be understated, these incomes have risen considerably, as have incomes across the economic board.



5565  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Krauthammer: Obama's Vision Places Government, Not People, First on: July 20, 2012, 10:30:17 AM
Obama's Vision Places Government, Not People, First

 Posted 07/19/2012

"If you've got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Barack Obama, Roanoke, Va., July 13

And who might that somebody be? Government, says Obama. It built the roads you drive on. It provided the teacher who inspired you. It "created the Internet." It represents the embodiment of "we're in this together" social solidarity that, in his view, is the essential origin of individual and national achievement.

To say all individuals are embedded in and the product of society is banal. Obama rises above banality by means of fallacy: equating society with government, collectivity with the state.

Of course we are shaped by our milieu. But the most formative, most important influence on the individual is not government. It's civil society, those elements of the collectivity that lie outside government: family, neighborhood, church, Rotary Club, PTA, the voluntary associations that Tocqueville saw as the genius of America and source of its energy and freedom.

Moreover, the greatest threat to a robust, autonomous civil society is the ever-growing Leviathan state and those like Obama who see it as the ultimate expression of the collective.

Obama compounds the fallacy by declaring the state to be the font of entrepreneurial success. It created the infrastructure — roads, bridges, schools, Internet — off which we all thrive.

Absurd. We don't credit the Swiss postal service with the Special Theory of Relativity because it transmitted Einstein's manuscript to the Annalen der Physik. Everyone drives the roads, goes to school, uses the mails. So did Steve Jobs. Yet only he conceived and built the Mac and the iPad.

Obama's infrastructure argument is easily refuted by what is essentially a controlled social experiment. Roads and schools are the constant. What's variable is the energy, enterprise, risk-taking, hard work and genius of the individual. It is therefore precisely those individual characteristics, not the communal utilities, that account for the different outcomes.

But the ultimate Obama fallacy is the conceit that belief in the value of infrastructure, and willingness to invest in its creation and maintenance, is what divides liberals from conservatives.

More nonsense. Infrastructure is not a liberal idea, nor is it particularly new. The Via Appia was built 2,300 years ago. The Romans built aqueducts too. And sewers. Since forever, infrastructure has been understood to be a core function of government.

The argument between left and right is about what you do beyond infrastructure. It's about transfer payments and redistributionist taxation, about geometrically expanding entitlements, about tax breaks and subsidies to induce actions pleasing to planners.

It's about free contraceptives for privileged students and welfare without work — the latest Obama entitlement-by-decree that would fatally undermine the great bipartisan welfare reform of 1996. It's about endless government handouts that, ironically, are crowding out necessary spending on, yes, infrastructure.

What divides liberals and conservatives is not roads and bridges but Julia's world, an Obama campaign creation that may be the most self-revealing parody of liberalism ever.

It's a series of cartoon illustrations in which a fictional Julia is swaddled and subsidized throughout her life by an all-giving government of bottomless pockets and "Queen for a Day" magnanimity. At every stage, the state is there to provide — preschool classes and cut-rate college loans, birth control and maternity care, business loans and retirement. The only time she's on her own is at her gravesite.

Julia's world is totally atomized. It contains no friends, no community and, of course, no spouse. Who needs one? She's married to the provider state. Or to put it slightly differently, the "Life of Julia" represents the paradigmatic Obama political philosophy: citizen as orphan child. For the conservative, providing for every need is the duty that government owes to actual orphan children. Not to supposedly autonomous adults.

Beyond infrastructure, the conservative sees the proper role of government as providing not European-style universal entitlements but a firm safety net, meaning Julia-like treatment for those who really cannot make it on their own — those too young or too old, too mentally or physically impaired, to provide for themselves.

Limited government so conceived has two indispensable advantages. It avoids inexorable European-style national insolvency. And it avoids breeding debilitating individual dependence. It encourages and celebrates character, independence, energy and hard work as the foundations of a free society and a thriving economy — precisely the virtues Obama discounts and devalues in his accounting.
5566  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left - Trashing achievement on: July 20, 2012, 10:24:50 AM
This is a theme running through both Presidential and congressional threads.  Thomas Sowell spells it out quite well:  "Personal responsibility, whether for achievement or failure, is a threat to the whole vision of the left, and a threat the left goes all-out to combat, using rhetoric uninhibited by reality."

Trashing Achievements

By Thomas Sowell - July 20, 2012
There was a time, within living memory, when the achievements of others were not only admired but were often taken as an inspiration for imitation of the same qualities that had served these achievers well, even if we were not in the same field of endeavor and were not expecting to achieve on the same scale.

The perseverance of Thomas Edison, as he tried scores of materials for the filament of the light bulb he was inventing; the dedication of Abraham Lincoln as he studied law on his own while struggling to make a living -- these were things young people were taught to admire, even if they had no intention of becoming inventors or lawyers, much less President of the United States.

Somewhere along the way, all that changed. Today, the very concept of achievement is de-emphasized and sometimes attacked. Following in the footsteps of Barack Obama, Professor Elizabeth Warren of Harvard has made the downgrading of high achievers the centerpiece of her election campaign against Senator Scott Brown.

To cheering audiences, Professor Warren says, "there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You build a factory out there, good for you, but I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers that the rest of us paid to educate."

Do the people who cheer this kind of talk bother to stop and think through what she is saying? Or is heady rhetoric enough for them?

People who run businesses are benefitting from things paid for by others? Since when are people in business, or high-income earners in general, exempt from paying taxes like everybody else?

At a time when a small fraction of high-income taxpayers pay the vast majority of all the taxes collected, it is sheer chutzpah to depict high-income earners as somehow being subsidized by "the rest of us," whether in paying for the building of roads or the educating of the young.

Since everybody else uses the roads and the schools, why should high achievers be expected to feel like free loaders who owe still more to the government, because schools and roads are among the things that facilitate their work? According to Elizabeth Warren, because it is part of an "underlying social contract."

Conjuring up some mythical agreement that nobody saw, much less signed, is an old ploy on the left -- one that goes back at least a century, when Herbert Croly, the first editor of The New Republic magazine, wrote a book titled "The Promise of American Life."

Whatever policy Herbert Croly happened to favor was magically transformed by rhetoric into a "promise" that American society was supposed to have made -- and, implicitly, that American taxpayers should be forced to pay for. This pious hokum was so successful politically that all sorts of "social contracts" began to appear magically in the rhetoric of the left.

If talking in this mystical way is enough to get you control of billions of dollars of the taxpayers' hard-earned money, why not?

Certainly someone who claimed to be part Indian, as Elizabeth Warren did when applying for academic appointments in an affirmative action environment, is unlikely to be squeamish about using imaginative words during a political election campaign.

Sadly, this kind of cute use of words is not confined to one political candidate or to this election year. The very concept of achievement is a threat to the vision of the left, and has long been attacked by those on the left.

People who succeed -- whether in business or anywhere else -- are often said to be "privileged," even if they started out poor and worked their way up the hard way.

Outcome differences are called "class" differences. Thus when two white women, who came from families in very similar social and economic circumstances, made different decisions and got different results, this was the basis for a front-page story titled "Two Classes, Divided by 'I Do'" in the July 15th issue of the N.Y Times. Personal responsibility, whether for achievement or failure, is a threat to the whole vision of the left, and a threat the left goes all-out to combat, using rhetoric uninhibited by reality.
5567  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 20, 2012, 10:11:40 AM
Crafty, a couple of days ago:  "Discretionary spending is an insufficient target for serious deficit reduction.  Serious debt reduction requires going after the obligations defined by entitlements-- and in this race no on is talking about that."

Yes.  Most of what we call government is not governing functions at all but transfer payments to individuals.  That isn't going to end but as competent economists have suggested, pass reforms that roll the costs back to 2007 levels, when this economy was last close to functional.
5568  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 20, 2012, 10:05:50 AM
Crafty:  "I just don't get the Condi Rice for VP boomlet"... (among other things) "absolutely ZERO background in economics"

John Podhoretz writes today: "The issue today is the economy. Not to mention the economy. Also, the economy."

For 8 years I tried to like the work product of Condi Rice and I struggled, kept thinking there is more going on behind the scenes than what we know.  If he wants, Romney can try to bring her back as Secretary of State, or keep Hillary Clinton for that matter to offset diplomatically a re-energized Defense department.  This election is the economy.  Rubio is the visionary and skilled orator who might make a great President someday and Paul Ryan is the current policy heavyweight.  We will see.
5569  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney drumbeat? on: July 20, 2012, 02:02:24 AM
The 'drumbeat' looks like it's the same three people.  I still don't see where Romney acquired the July 19 deadline that he allegedly missed, lol.  The drumbeat line JDN took from my Elizabeth Warren post, but the analogy fails.  Her deadline is everyday to correct her outright lie.  Romney, as far as we know, did nothing wrong.

The witch hunt from Bachmann is offensive but a witch hunt serves the right political purposes, well that is different.  Romney is presumed guilty until proven innocent.  The charge sounds like a dictionary definition of un-American.
5570  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: July 20, 2012, 01:12:10 AM
Russ,  Wow, great writing and analysis!  Nice to have you on board.

It's been 23 years since the Tiananmen protests and the regime's use of force against them.  I believe freedom will prevail but I've been wrong about the timing for a very long time.
5571  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy - Hillary CLinton Smart Power on: July 19, 2012, 04:51:06 PM
Significant piece published yesterday in the New Statesman by Hillary Clinton, explaining policy, bragging about her efforts and their record etc.

The art of smart power

As the balance of world power shifts, the US is developing a novel range of diplomatic, social, economic, political and security tools to fix the world’s complex new geopolitical problems.
By Hillary Clinton Published 18 July 2012

I haven't read it all yet.  Will come back and post the text after I have.
5572  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: You Didn't Build That! on: July 19, 2012, 04:46:03 PM
Must see.  Keep clicking on next page at the bottom of each page at the link, it continues...

I like this one:

5573  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 18, 2012, 06:27:37 PM
Nicely put. That is exactly the question being called in Nov. now that the President so gracefully proclaimed that he is on the opposite side. 

Of the things that government does best (a short list), other than defending our shores shorter list yet), are there really $3-4 trillion worth of services that the federal government is uniquely able to perform and is authorized to do so in the constitution?  Do you want the decisions about road building around your home and business to go through Washington?  Really? Local schools, bridges and rail lines, that is federal and authorized in what article of the constitution, by what stretch of the imagination??  It is a complete straw argument to think you couldn't make cuts close to the immediate trillion a year Ron Paul was proposing and still have all those things that are both authorized in the constitution and are of value to all of us.
5574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, pjmedia: The President is right! (Read it all) on: July 18, 2012, 01:24:06 PM
President Obama’s instantly infamous “You didn’t build that” speech is a major turning point of the 2012 election not because it was a gaffe but because it was an accurate and concise summary of core progressive fiscal dogma. It was also a political blunder of epic proportions because in his speech Obama unintentionally proved the conservatives’ case for limited government.

When Obama implied at the Roanoke, Virginia rally that some businessmen refuse to pay for public works from which they benefit, he presented a thesis which, like a three-legged stool, relies on three assumptions that must all be true for the argument to remain standing:

1. That the public programs he mentioned in his speech constitute a significant portion of the federal budget;
2. That business owners don’t already pay far more than their fair share of these expenses; and
3. That these specific public benefits are a federal issue, rather than a local issue.

If any of these legs fails, then the whole argument collapses.

For good measure, we won’t just kick out one, we’ll kick out all three.

“Small Government” Is Not the Same as “No Government”

Progressives critique the fiscal conservative/Tea Party/libertarian position by purposely misrepresenting it as anarchy. When fiscal conservatives say “We want smaller government,” progressives reply, “Oh, so you want no government?”

“Government” in this particular discussion is shorthand for “communal pooling of resources for mutual benefit.”

Fiscal conservatives have never called for no government — that’s the anarchist position, and contemporary anarchism is actually dominated by extreme leftists, not extreme conservatives. Instead, fiscal conservatives clearly and consistently call for limited government, or for smaller government — but not for the absence of government altogether.

So when President Obama and his mentor Elizabeth Warren justify their call for tax hikes by pointing out that all entrepreneurs benefit from communal infrastructure, they’re committing the classic Straw Man Fallacy by arguing against anarchy — a position that their opponents do not hold.

Here’s the shocking truth: President Obama and Elizabeth Warren are correct — we all benefit from certain taxpayer-funded collectivist government infrastructure projects and programs. And here’s the other shocking truth: Therefore, we should limit government expenditures to just those programs.
5575  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Congressional races: Elizabeth Warren, You didn't build that on: July 18, 2012, 01:18:37 PM
I had not seen the real video of Elizabeth Warren when I posted the parody.  OMG.

Actual Warren:

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own!  Nobody!  You built a factory out there?  Good for you!  But I want to be clear.  You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for!"

(Not to be confused with the parody:
5576  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: You Didn't Build That! on: July 18, 2012, 01:02:24 PM
Taking over from tax returns, "You didn't build that" seems to be the defining statement of the campaign.

If the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, etc. didn't build that, then why the hell are the rest of you, the unwashed, trying to build something?

Meanwhile we advertise with taxpayer dollars for more food stamp recipients: it's easy, it's healthy and it's fun!  And we add more to permanent disability than we add to full time employment.

It was really a Freudian slip for the 11 million dollar book writing President because we can say with certainty Mr. President: You didn't write that!

Punditry caught the President's new line and their collective jaw dropped.  It took a few days for it to really sink in.

John Podhoretz, Commentary magazine:  "The Biggest Mistake of Campaign 2012 is not Mitt Romney’s handling of Bain Capital, or anything Mitt Romney has done. The biggest mistake was the one made by Barack Obama on Friday, when what you might call his now-familiar “Declaration of Interdependence” went completely off the rails. Obama’s “we’re all in this together” bit has been a feature of his speeches during the past year, as he cites the government-led activities that have made this country better—land-grant colleges and infrastructure and the social safety net. It sounds kind of uplifting, which is why he likes to say it, and it fits his general message of a country in which government plays a central role for the good of all.  But when he extended it to personal and private endeavor, the president revealed the danger of this message—to him. ...This statement is a colossal opportunity for Mitt Romney and will prove a suppurating wound for the president, who revealed a degree not only of condescension but of contempt for the very people who are going to decide this election.  And if there’s one thing people recognize, it’s when they are being viewed with contempt."

Rich Lowry, National Review:  Obama against the Self-Made Man

If Bartlett’s ever puts together a collection of insultingly deflating quotations, it should include President Barack Obama’s take on business success before a crowd in Virginia the other day: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.”

Obama was explaining — as is his wont — why the rich should pay more taxes. They might have had a great teacher. Or they drive on public roads and bridges. “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that,” the president explained, apparently in the serene confidence that he wasn’t speaking to an audience bristling with proud business owners. “Somebody else made that happen.”

The Obama theory of entrepreneurship is that behind every successful businessman, there is a successful government. Everyone is helpless without the state, the great protector, builder, and innovator. Everything is ultimately a collective enterprise. Individual initiative is only an ingredient in the more important work when “we do things together.”

The Obama riff is a direct steal from Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts who sent liberal hearts aflutter by throwing the same wet towel on the notion of individual success a few months ago. The Obama/Warren view is a warrant for socialization of the proceeds of success. Behind its faux sophistication is a faculty-lounge disdain for business, and all those who make more than tenured professors by excelling at it. Behind its smiley we’re-all-in-it-together façade is a frank demand: You owe us. ...

WSJ today:
The Presidential election has a long way to go, but the line of the year so far is President Obama's on Friday: "You didn't build that." Rarely do politicians so clearly reveal their core beliefs.

Speaking in Roanoke, Virginia, Mr. Obama delivered another paean to the virtues of higher taxes on the people he believes deserve to pay even more to the government. "There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans," he observed, and many of them attribute their wealth and success to their own intelligence and hard work. But the self-made man is an illusion: "There are a lot of smart people out there," he explained. "Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hard-working people out there.

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help," he continued. "There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business—you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

This burst of ideological candor is already resonating like nothing else Mr. Obama's said in years. The Internet is awash with images of the President telling the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and other innovators they didn't build that. Kevin Costner's famous line in "Field of Dreams," as adapted for Mr. Obama: "If you build it, we'll still say you didn't really build it."

Beneath the satire is the serious point that Mr. Obama's homily is the soul of his campaign message. The President who says he wants to be transformational may be succeeding—and subordinating to government the individual enterprise and risk-taking that underlies prosperity. The question is whether this is the America that most Americans want to build.

Paul Ryan:

    Every now and then, he pierces the veil. He’s usually pretty coy about his ideology, but he lets the veil slip from time to time. … His straw man argument is this ridiculous caricature where he’s trying to say if you want any security in life, you stick with me. If you go with these Republicans, they’re going to feed you to the wolves because they believe in some Hobbesian state of nature, and it’s one or the other which is complete bunk, absolutely ridiculous. But it seems to be the only way he thinks he can make his case. He’s deluded himself into thinking that his so-called enemies are these crazy individualists who believe in some dog-eat-dog society when what he’s really doing is basically attacking people like entrepreneurs and stacking up a list of scapegoats to blame for his failures.

    His comments seem to derive from a naive vision of a government-centered society and a government-directed economy. It stems from an idea that the nucleus of society and the economy is government not the people. … It is antithetical to the American idea. We believe in free communities, and this is a statist attack on free communities. … As all of his big government spending programs fail to restore jobs and growth, he seems to be retreating into a statist vision of government direction and control of a free society that looks backward to the failed ideologies of the 20th century.

    This is not a Bill Clinton Democrat. He’s got this very government-centric, old 20th century collectivist philosophy which negates the American experiment which is people living in communities, supporting one another, having government stick to its limits so it can do its job really well … Those of us who are conservative believe in government, we just believe government has limits. We want government to do what it does well and respect its limits so civil society and families can flourish on their own and do well and achieve their potential.

    How does building roads and bridge justify Obamacare? If you like the GI Bill therefore we must go along with socialized medicine. It’s a strange leap that he takes. … To me it’s the laziest form of a debate to affix views to your opponent that they do not have so you can demonize them and defeat them and win the debate by default

    I think he believes America was on the right path until Reagan came along, and Reagan got us going in the wrong direction. And and he wants to be as transformational as Reagan by undoing the entire Reagan revolution. … I think he sees himself as bringing about this wave of progressivism, and the only thing stopping him are these meddling conservatives who believe in these founding principles so he has to caricature them in the ugliest light possible to win the argument.
5577  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races: Charlie Rangel on: July 17, 2012, 10:56:39 PM
"whatever happened in Charlie Rangel's race?  I remember reading it was very close and that the results were not immediately available"

He won his primary with a thin margin. They didn't call the winner right away.

5578  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Decline, Fall, and Resurrection of America on: July 17, 2012, 10:07:04 PM
"it is not unreasonable for the oil/gas industry to spend a relatively small amount to monitor and study the situation rather than go in full bore"

Agreed 100%!!!

Absolutely.  Note that many who are most skeptical of shale also don't want to allow use of light, sweet crude out of Alaska either.  There isn't a plan for prosperity that doesn't include the energy to power it.  If not oil or coal, then natural gas.  If not any fossil fuel, then nuclear.  But you must legalize and produce something or get used to the idea of becoming a third world economy.

Isn't it interesting that the war against energy production that drove prices up actually caused the shale oil and fracking revolutions.

5579  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left, serial cheater on: July 17, 2012, 09:52:29 PM
Writes it singular again, 3 times after having the plural nature of the serial mistakes over an extended period on a multitude of problems pointed out.  I posted 3 sources detailing more than 10 major tax law compliance errors cited.  They didn't fall randomly either; all were on the side of TAX EVASION.  You and I can't get away with that, don't kid yourself.  The context was a historic financial crisis and the opposition looked the other way to give the popular new President a good start.  So they put him in charge of the guy who is in charge of tax law compliance.  In hindsight that was stupid.  He is a buffoon and we should have known.  Doesn't know Treasury, doesn't know tax law and doesn't know or care about the constitution. (
Good luck to you - it's fun having our own internet troll.
5580  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: July 17, 2012, 08:13:50 PM
A mistake? Can you STILL not grasp the errors was not SINGULAR??!??!??!
5581  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 17, 2012, 07:52:30 PM
Double standard etc, yes.  I jumped categories (cog diss of the left) to refresh memories.  Yes, how many Dem votes would a Republican tax cheat get on the committee? 

JDN, He didn't think he had to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for several years (source WSJ) because ...................................... .

a) diplomatic immunity
b) he gave at the office
c) dog ate his homework
d) by taxing the rich, I meant the other guy
e) hey, look at that shiny object - over THERE!!

Besides re-filing 6 other years when he found out he was entering new scrutiny...  Employing domestics formerly known as illegals, etc.

He made "a" mistake.

For Romney, all they want is more clarity on the "filthy" part of rich.

Meanwhile, more have gone on food stamps and disability under Obama than have found new jobs, and the blind enablers keep looking every time he says hey, shiny object.

5582  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left: Geithner, He made a mistake, lol. on: July 17, 2012, 07:38:48 PM
Yeah, he made a mistake (depends on what the word 'a' means) and it was a DOOZY.  Keep in mind, the Treasury Secretary is the cabinet official responsible for the IRS.  Having Geithner in that position would be like having Eric Holder at DOJ oversee the ATF.  Oh, never mind, I forgot about the double standard.
Geithner's Tax History Muddles Confirmation
Timothy Geithner didn't pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for several years
(Imagine the uproar if they find that on Romney; a leftist wet dream!)
Timothy Geithner's Tax Problems
Monday, January 19, 2009
At a time when the nation needs a reliable, respected voice on financial issues at the Treasury Department, is an admitted tax cheat the best we can do [front page, Jan. 14]
Geithner's Tax Troubles Are Serious
Brian Wingfield, 01.13.09, 07:22 PM EST
The issues surrounding Obama's choice for Treasury secretary may be worse than Democrats are letting on.     

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Timothy Geithner has just run into a potentially serious obstacle on the road to his confirmation as Barack Obama's Treasury secretary.

Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee made public concerns about Geithner's tax obligations, which resulted in his recent payment of $42,702 in additional taxes and interest for tax years 2001 to 2004. In addition, the committee's report on the matter says that in 2005 Geithner employed a housekeeper for about three and a half months after her ability to work in the U.S. had lapsed. (Maybe we can let the states handle immigration enforcement.)

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., described Geithner's errors as "serious," but he said they were "honest mistakes" that "do not rise to the level of disqualification." Baucus also said Geithner corrected the problems as soon as he learned of them. The Montana Democrat wants to have a confirmation hearing on Friday because he says it's important to have a Treasury secretary on "day one." Obama's inauguration takes place Jan. 20.

But Geithner's tax troubles are more worrisome for his confirmation than Baucus lets on--and not just because the Internal Revenue Service is part of the Treasury Department.

According to the Senate committee's report, Geithner "recently filed amended tax returns" for each tax year from 2001 through 2006. (3 strikes and you're out??  I guess not.) However, the report doesn't specify when these returns were filed, leaving open the question about how long Geithner knew about the improprieties before he fixed them.

On Dec. 5, Obama's transition team told Finance Committee staff that Geithner hadn't paid social security or self-employment taxes on income received from the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2004, the report says. Three years ago, the IRS audited Geithner for tax years 2003 and 2004, which resulted in him paying back taxes and interest--but no penalties--totaling $16,732.  (I guess he didn't make a mistake.  More like a series of mistakes, all in his favor.)

However, Geithner voluntarily amended his 2001 and 2002 returns only after Obama expressed interest in nominating him to the Treasury post. The total bill this time: $25,970.

Income taxes for U.S. citizens who work for the IMF can be tricky. The IMF doesn't withhold an employee's share of social security taxes, and all of the organization's employees are responsible for meeting their own tax obligations. The IMF gives its employees--Geithner included--direction on how to pay self-employment taxes. And Geithner, a former Treasury official who is now president of the New York Fed, has dealt with complicated tax issues before, the report notes.

Was Geithner previously aware of irregularities on his 2001 and 2002? Did he only correct them when it became evident that a congressional committee would likely scrub his tax records in anticipation of confirmation hearings? The report doesn't say. Officials from Obama's transition team were not immediately available to comment.

But there's another concern, related to three people who have worked for him as household help since 2004. "He did not obtain the required Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, from these persons at the time they were hired to verify their legal work status," the Finance Committee's report says.

Nonetheless, Geithner was apparently aware of their legal status--someone entered into an address book owned by the Geithners, the report says. The Geithners apparently made a record that one employee's legal work status expired in July 2005, though she "did not renew her legal work status and the Geithners did not follow up with the employee to confirm whether she had done so." The person remained on the family's payroll until October 2005.

For now at least, Obama is standing by Geithner...  Obama has pledged to make addressing the economic crisis his top priority. The timing for this couldn't be worse.
Forbes Jan 13, 2009

5583  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance His Glibness: 20 reasons it's great to be Barack Obama on: July 17, 2012, 12:15:59 PM
1) It's all the golf you can play and as many free vacations as you want. The teleprompter tells you what to say to the crowd and if anybody makes a joke about you, someone calls him a racist!

2) You get a Nobel Peace Prize just for showing up.

3) No matter how much worse black Americans do under you than George W. Bush, Kanye West is never going to say, "Barack Obama doesn't care about black people."

4) You can eat a dog and PETA will still love you.

5) No one seems to find it odd that you simultaneously repeat Harry Truman's famous line, "The buck stops here" -- as you blame George Bush, Republicans in Congress, greedy corporations, the European economy, and even ATM machines for your many, many failures.

6) The Occupy Movement still loves you despite the fact that you've shoveled billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars to Wall Street firms via bailouts and loan programs.

7) You can have a net worth of 11 million dollars, go on multiple 6 figure vacations per year, and hobnob with the wealthiest Americans at swanky 40k a plate fundraisers; yet no one bats an eye when you criticize Mitt Romney for being rich.

8 ) The press doesn't incessantly repeat the body count in Afghanistan in every article about the war, like it did when George Bush was in Iraq.

9) You get to keep Gitmo open, sign on to the Patriot Act, fight in Afghanistan and kill terrorists with drone attacks while leftists complain that you haven't tried to go after Bush for committing "war crimes" because he did the same things.

10) The mainstream press judges you not on what you've done, but on whatever you happen to be saying right this moment, even if it's different from what you were saying yesterday.

11) After creating jobs overseas with stimulus money, you can criticize Mitt Romney for having a Swiss bank account without being laughed at despite the fact you're holding fundraisers in Switzerland, Sweden, Paris and China.

12) The same press that was utterly uninterested in your background when you ran for office in 2008 considers Mitt Romney's religion, what date he left Bain Capital, and how hard his wife worked when she was taking care of their kids much more important than anything you did over the last 3 1/2 years as President.

13) You can simultaneously block the keystone pipeline and ANWR while you hold up offshore drilling in the Gulf and demonize oil companies, yet claim with a straight face that you're trying to reduce gas prices.

14) Despite the fact that you're conducting war across the globe and have never served in the military, nobody calls you a chickenhawk.

15) Even though your administration helped kill 300 people with guns, including an American citizen, gun control advocates have zero interest in getting to the bottom of it.

16) You have the single most important job on earth and yet, most people seem to be thrilled that you're spending more time campaigning for reelection than you do working.

17) The mainstream media is much more concerned with the possible racism or bad motives of anyone questioning you than it is with whether your policies actually work.

18) No matter how much of an utter failure you are, most black Americans feel compelled to pretend you're not a disaster because they're afraid everyone will judge them by how incompetent you turned out to be.

19) You have a National Debt Charge Card with a limit of "Infinity" and you're not scared to use it.

20) Your biggest accomplishments so far after killing Osama Bin Laden are ending the manned space program, having the longest string of over 8% unemployment of any President since WWII, putting more Americans for food stamps than any other President in history, killing the work requirements in welfare, giving up on stopping illegal aliens, adding more debt in three and a half years than Bush did in eight, and decimating America's health care system with the least popular entitlement program in history. Yet, you still have a chance to be reelected. It doesn't get any better than that.
5584  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Productivity, innovation, capital and jobs,Andy Kessler WSJ on: July 17, 2012, 12:11:15 PM
The Incredible Bain Jobs Machine


Did Mitt Romney and Bain Capital help office-supply retailer Staples create 88,000 jobs? 43,000? 252? Actually, Staples probably destroyed 100,000 jobs while creating millions of new ones.

Since 1986, Staples has opened 2,000 stores, eliminating the jobs of distributors and brokers who charged nasty markups for paper and office supplies. But it enabled hundreds of thousands of small (and not so small) businesses to stock themselves cheaply and conveniently and expand their operations.

It's the same story elsewhere. Apple employs just 47,000 people, and Google under 25,000. Like Staples, they have destroyed many old jobs, like making paper maps and pink "While You Were Out" notepads. But by lowering the cost of doing business they've enabled innumerable entrepreneurs to start new businesses and employ hundreds of thousands, even millions, of workers world-wide—all while capital gets redeployed more effectively.

This process happens during every business cycle and always, always creates jobs. Yet is ignored by policy mavens.

It is now four years after the wheels fell off our financial system. The government has tried every gimmick to revive the economy: fiscal stimulus, monetary easing, loan write-downs, foreclosure modifications—all duds. It seems like no one remembers how an economy creates jobs anymore. The right answer, in fact the only answer, for jobs and better living standards, is productivity.

Economists define productivity as output per worker hour. But ramping up the output of trolleys or 8-track tapes won't increase living standards. It is not just technical efficiency that matters, it is also effectiveness—that is, producing what the economy really needs and consumers will pay for.

And so, in a broader sense, productivity is really about doing the right things the right way. Using modern construction equipment, we could build a pyramid on the National Mall in Washington with amazing efficiency, but it would not be effective.

So how does productivity result in more employment?

Three ways. First, some new technology comes along that allows something never before possible. Cash from an ATM, stock trading from an airplane's aisle seat, ads next to Google search results.

The inventor or entrepreneur who uses the invention benefits from sales and wealth and hires people to produce the good or service. We don't hear about this. Instead we hear about the layoffs of bank tellers, stockbrokers and media salesmen. So productivity becomes the boogeyman for job losses. And many economic cranks would prefer that we just hire back the tellers and toll collectors.

This is a big mistake because new, cheaper technology becomes a platform for others to create or expand businesses that never before made economic sense. Adobe software killed typesetters, but allowed millions cheaply to get into the publishing business. Millions of individuals and micro-size businesses now reach a national, not just local, retail market thanks to eBay. Amazon allows thousands upon thousands of new vendors to thrive and hire.

Consider Uber, a 20-month-old start-up, whose smartphone app knows where you are and with a simple click arranges a private car pickup to take you where you want. It doesn't exist without iPhones or Androids. Taxi and limousine dispatchers lose. Customers win. We'll all be surprised by new tablet applications being dreamed up in garages and basements everywhere.

The third way productivity results in more employment is by attracting capital to satisfy new consumer demands. In a competitive economy, productivity—doing more with less—always lowers the cost of products or services: $5,000 computers become $500 tablets. Consumers get to spend the difference elsewhere in the economy, and entrepreneurs will be happy to sell them what they want or create new things they never heard of, but will want. And those with capital will be eager to fund these entrepreneurs. Win, win.

The mechanism to decide the most effective use for this capital is profits. The stock market bundles profits and is the divining rod of productivity, allocating capital in cycle after cycle toward the economy's most productive companies and best-compensated jobs. And it does so better than any elite economist or politician picking pork-barrel projects and relabeling them as "investments."

The productive use of capital is not an automatic process, of course. It is all about constant experimentation. And it is never permanent: Railroads were once tremendously productive, so were steamships and even Kodachrome. It takes work, year in and year out—update, test, tweak, kill off. Staples is under fire from Amazon and other productive online retailers. Its stock has halved since its 2010 peak and is almost at a 10-year low. So be it.

With all the iPads and Facebook and cloud-computing growth, why is unemployment still 8.2% and job creation stalled? My theory is that productivity is always happening but swims upstream against those that fight it. Unions, regulations and a bizarre tax code that locks in the status quo.

In good times, no one notices. But in slow-growth economies, especially in the last 10 years, regulations and hiring rules and employer mandates and environmental anchors have had a cumulative dampening effect on productivity.

How can government do the right thing to help productivity and the employment it fosters? Get out of the way. Every government-mandated low-flow toilet, phosphorous-free dishwasher detergent, CFL light bulb, and carbon-emission regulation is another obstacle on the way to a productive, job-creating economy that produces things consumers really want. 
5585  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Dept Unable to Locate $500,000 in Equipment Bought With Stimulus Money on: July 17, 2012, 12:02:50 PM
I'll put this under government programs, but really the category is information I would like disclosed more relevant than another year of tax returns from Mitt Romney.

Energy Dept. 'Unable to Locate' $500,000 in Equipment Bought With Stimulus Money
By Penny Starr
July 16, 2012
Department of Energy

( – An audit conducted by the Energy Department’s Office of Inspector General was "unable to locate" $500,000 worth of equipment purchased with stimulus money by a recipient of funds distributed through the deparment's “Advanced Batteries and Hybrid Components Program,” according to an audit report published by the OIG.

The DOE said it would not be "appropriate" to release the name of stimulus-money recipient where the $500,000 worth of equipment could not be located.

The program was given nearly $2 billion in stimulus funds "to support the construction of U.S. based battery and electric drive component
manufacturing plants...   More at the links:
5586  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 17, 2012, 11:53:45 AM
I'm sorry that as usual you missed my point and that the points you make are unresponsive to the questions I posed.  Another approach to an exchange would be to try to answer the questions posed and in doing so you might stumble into the point made.  Yes he will probably disclose more information.  The July 17 deadline is the shiny object.  It MUST be answered NOW because 3 more people are clamoring for it.  You already called his wealth filthy and in pure moderate partisanship you posted no objection I know of to the sitting Treasury Secretary's tax evasion.  Nothing in Romney's background indicates anything other than squeaky clean and he already disclosed that he was successful and paid all the taxes that he owes.  But still we need shiny objects.  Who would want to face ISSUES?

Romney's income is interesting because he was in business you say?  Well, Obama's academics are interesting because he was in academics.  One sided clamoring won't get that information out - ever.  In spite of you repeatedly repeatedly repeatedly saying otherwise, that is relevant.

They keep the storyline going that Barack Obama is smarter than all of us, yet serving in his current position, he is stuck on stupid, reduced to looking for shiny objects from his competitor.  He hasn't even told us what involvement he had in Fast and Furious that would require an executive privilege assertion to take the scandal IN HIS ADMINISTRATION past the election.  Why hasn't he fired his attorney general yet for not prosecuting his own contempt of congress citation and where is THAT clamoring?  The Sound of Silence: Hello Darkness my old friend...

Meanwhile, we must know, where does Mitt Romney bank anyway?
5587  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Look at this shiny object, over HERE! on: July 17, 2012, 10:57:07 AM
"your private life becomes public"

No. Candidates pick and choose what they make public and what they don't, including FAST AND FURIOUS documents, don't they?  Why won't you post all your tax returns, what do you have to hide?

"Romney should release his returns."

He did and he will.  That's not enough.  What number of them is enough, exactly?  What number is required to run for public office?  

My understanding, please correct me if I'm wrong, is that you have to release your tax returns on a timely basis - to the IRS, and that's it.

When exactly did candidate Barack Obama release any information he didn't want to because of the clamoring?  And I don't mean 1040EZ tax returns for a guy who never ran a business.

If Romney releases all tax returns back to age 16, how will that change President Obama's job killing record?
5588  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: July 17, 2012, 10:01:47 AM
I would like to see JDN's tax returns posted here.  I know you're not running for President and not required to do so, but I would like to see them posted anyway.
5589  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cherokee Drumbeat continues against Elizabeth Warren: Stepping Stones on: July 16, 2012, 08:05:01 PM
In this case some beautiful flute music accompanies the Cherokee message to Warren:
5590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: A Tornado of Misinformation on: July 16, 2012, 07:55:07 PM
John Hinderaker of Powerline covering for BBG on Pathological Sdcience: 

A Tornado of Misinformation

No matter the season, weather is highly variable. So global warming alarmists never miss an opportunity to turn the latest bad weather into an argument for taxing carbon, or whatever. When tornadoes struck this spring, the alarmists and their minions in the press were quick to blame global warming. Just a few examples:

Think Progress: “Poisoned Weather: Global Warming Helped Fuel Killer Tornadoes.”

CNN: “That’s climate change we are seeing.” “[T]ornado season doesn’t usually begin until April, leading climate scientists to link the warmer weather to earlier (and potentially longer) seasons.”

NBC News: “ANNE THOMPSON: Extreme weather blew March 2012 into the record books. It saw almost three times the average number of reported tornadoes. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says our the unusually warm weather created conditions favorable for twisters. And while there’s no one culprit to blame for the rising thermometer, there is a prime suspect.

TOM KARL [NOAA]: Right now, we have a climate on steroids. What we mean by that is green house gases continue to increase in the atmosphere.”

And there was even more alarmism about global warming and tornadoes last year. So, what are the facts? If someone is going to argue that atmospheric CO2 is causing an extraordinary number of tornadoes, the prerequisite is an extraordinary number of tornadoes. Unfortunately for the alarmists, there is no evidence that tornadoes are increasing in the U.S. or anywhere else. Paul Homewood at Watts Up With That has the data. This chart shows “strong to violent tornadoes” as classified by NOAA from 1950 to the present. As is immediately obvious, there is no upward trend, although 2011 happened to have a lot of major tornadoes:

How about 2012? Is there any evidence of an unusual number of tornadoes this year? No. In fact, 2012 is, so far, a below average year for tornadoes:

It would be bad enough if the alarmists merely capitalized on random increases in bad weather phenomena to support their case. But the fact that the alarmists try to blame global warming in years that are actually below average in adverse weather events illustrates why they have no credibility with the American people.
5591  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post on why Obama is in panic mode in July on: July 16, 2012, 07:40:21 PM
July panic for Obama — for good reason
By Jennifer Rubin

Why has the Obama team been publicly wailing about losing out to Mitt Romney in the money race? Why would the president accuse his opponent of not merely being wrong or unqualified but criminal? After all, the polls are tied, so why so much worry in Obamaland?

Like a mystery novel, the answer is in front of our noses: The candidates are still tied in the polls. Let’s go step by step with the most logical explanation of the Obama campaign’s conduct.

The Obama team knew months ago that the economy would not sufficiently improve before Election Day to justify his reelection. Its polling showed simply blaming President George W. Bush wouldn’t be sufficient. The president and his political hacks concluded that it was too late and too risky to adopt a whole new second-term agenda. (It would risk offending either the base or centrists and reveal his first-term agenda to have been entirely inadequate.) So what to do?

Extend the Republican primary by running ads hitting Romney and encouraging Democrats to vote against Romney in Michigan and elsewhere. Then, before Romney could fully get his bearings, unload a barrage of negative attacks, scare mongering and thinly disguised oppo attacks through the mainstream media, taking advantage of many political reporters’ relative ignorance about the private equity field and their inclination to accept whole-hog President Obama’s version of “facts.”

The extent of that effort is only now becoming clear. The Associated Press reports: “President Barack Obama’s campaign has spent nearly $100 million on television commercials in selected battleground states so far, unleashing a sustained early barrage designed to create lasting, negative impressions of Republican Mitt Romney before he and his allies ramp up for the fall.” Think of it like the Confederacy’s artillery barrage on the third day of Gettysburg before Pickett’s charge — you have to in essence disable the other side before the charge begins or its curtains.

Virtually all of the ads were viciously negative, and judging from the number of Pinocchios they’ve racked up, continually and materially false.

But it didn’t work. Romney and Obama are still deadlocked. (The AP quoted Republican operative Carl Forti: “I don’t think . . . [Obama’s] got a choice. He has to try to change the dynamic now, but the polling indicates it’s not working. He doesn’t appear to be making any headway in the polls.”)

Few Democratic pundits are as sharp or as honest as William Galston, who concedes:

    On the one hand, the last round of Bain attacks has clearly rattled the Romney campaign, and a smattering of survey evidence suggests that the sustained ad campaign in swing states has scored some points. On the other hand, the Pew survey found no shift since May in swing-state voter preference.

    But it’s not too early to say that Obama’s vital signs look dicey. Over the past 33 months, his job approval has been lower than George W. Bush’s at a comparable time in his presidency for all but one week. Bush averaged above 50 percent in the quarter before his successful reelection campaign, while Obama has been stuck in the 46-48 percent range for months. And the famous “wrong track” measure now stands at 63 percent, versus 55 percent in the days preceding the vote in 2004. If these two numbers don’t improve for Obama, his presidency will be in jeopardy. And they probably won’t — unless the economy perks up noticeably.

So the Obama team has shot its wad. Its opponent has more ammo and more money now. Romney hasn’t been mortally wounded. And there isn’t money from Obama to keep up the 4-to-1 spending barrage. In fact without it, Obama might well have fallen behind in the race. So the Obama team pleads for money and turns up the volume of the attacks. (After calling Romney a criminal in July, what’s left for September and October?)

Obama is now committed to a strategy that isn’t working. He’s left to unleash his attack dogs and to pray for a miracle. Maybe the economy will rebound. Perhaps Romney will implode or pick a Sarah-Palin-type for vice president.

The reason, you see, that Obama’s camp has become so frantic in July is that its ineffectiveness in the summer subjects its side to grave risks. Having to defend his record, rely on his debate prowess and be evaluated on the economy over the last three years is as risky as, well, as sending thousands across a vast, empty field as enemy fire rains down upon them.
5592  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / John Taylor continued, Monetary Policy and the Next Crisis on: July 16, 2012, 07:21:50 PM
July 5, 2012 | Wall Street Journal
news » hoover daily report  Hoover Institution Stanford University
. . . ideas defining a free society

Monetary Policy and the Next Crisis
by John B. Taylor (George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Economics; Chair, Working Group on Economic Policy; and member of the Task Force on Energy Policy)

At its annual meeting of the world's central bankers in Switzerland last week, the Bank for International Settlements—the central bank of central banks—warned about the harmful "side effects" of current monetary policies "in the major advanced economies" where "policy rates remain very low and central bank balance sheets continue to expand." These policies "have been fueling credit and asset price booms in some emerging economies," the BIS reported, noting the "significant negative repercussions" unwinding these booms will have on advanced economies.

The BIS emphasizes the view that international capital flows stirred up by monetary policy were a primary factor leading to the preceding crisis and that these flows would lead to the next one. This is in stark contrast to the "global saving glut" hypothesis—which says that the funds pouring into the U.S. in the previous decade originated largely from the surplus of exports over imports in emerging market economies.

The BIS should be taken seriously. It warned long in advance about the monetary excesses that led to the financial crisis of 2008.

The capital-flow story starts during extended periods of low interest rates, as in the U.S. Federal Reserve's low rates from 2003 to 2005 and its current near-zero interest rate policy, which began in 2008 and is expected to last to 2014. These low interest rates cause investors to search elsewhere for yield, and they buy foreign securities—corporate as well as sovereign—for that reason. Global bond funds in the U.S. thus shift their portfolios to these higher-yielding foreign securities and investors move to funds that specialize in such securities.

Low U.S. interest rates also encourage foreign firms to borrow in dollars rather than in local currency. U.S. branch offices of foreign banks play a key part in this process: As of 2009, U.S. branches of over 150 foreign banks had raised $645 billion to make loans in their home countries, making special use of U.S. money-market funds, where about one half of these funds' assets are liabilities of foreign banks.

This increased flow of funds abroad—whether through direct securities purchases or through bank lending—puts upward pressure on the exchange rate in these countries, as the foreign firms sell their borrowed dollars and buy local currency to expand their operations and pay workers. That's when foreign central banks enter the story. Concerned about the negative impact of the appreciating currency on their country's exports or with the risky dollar borrowing of their firms, they respond in several ways.

First, they impose restrictions on their firms' overseas borrowing or on foreigners investing in their country. But the differences in yield provide strong incentives for market participants to circumvent the restrictions.

Second, central banks buy dollar assets, including mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasurys, to keep the value of their local currency from rising too much as against the dollar. One consequence of these purchases is a foreign government-induced bubble in U.S. securities markets, as we saw in mortgage markets leading up to the recent crisis, and as we may now be seeing in U.S. Treasurys.

The flow of loans from the U.S. to foreign borrowers is effectively matched by a flow of funds by central banks back into the U.S. There is no change in the current account, and no role for the so-called savings glut.

Third, in order to discourage the inflow of funds seeking higher yields—which would drive up the exchange rate of their own currency—foreign central banks hold their interest rates lower than would be appropriate for domestic economic stability. There is much statistical evidence for this policy response, and, when you roam the halls of the BIS and talk to central bankers, as I did last week, you get even more convincing anecdotal evidence. Call it the lemming effect: Central banks tend to follow each other's interest rates down.

This is what happened in the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis, and it has helped fuel Europe's current debt crisis. In the 2003-2005 period, low interest rates led to a flow of funds into U.S. mortgage markets as foreign central banks bought dollars, aggravating the housing boom and the subsequent bust.

Moreover, the European Central Bank's interest rate moves during 2003-2005 were influenced by the Fed's low rates. By my estimates, the interest rate set by the ECB was as much as two percentage points too low, which also had the effect of spurring housing booms in Greece, Ireland and Spain. Ironically, the European debt crisis, which originated in the booms and busts in Greece, Ireland and Spain, now has come around to threaten the U.S. economy.

The Fed's current near-zero interest rate policy, designed to stimulate the U.S. economy, has made it harder for other central banks to combat credit and asset price booms. A group of 18 emerging market central banks—including Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Turkey—held their interest rates on average as much as five percentage points below widely used policy benchmarks—and global commodity prices doubled from 2009 to 2011, a boom rivaling the excesses leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. This global, loose monetary policy was likely a big factor pushing up commodity prices. The current sharp slowdown in most emerging markets coincides with an inevitable bust of this easy-money induced boom, and the decline of foreign demand for American goods is now feeding back to the U.S. economy.

The Fed needs to pay closer attention to global capital flows and the reactions of other central banks to its decision to set interest rates very low for long periods of time. This does not mean taking one's eye off the U.S. economy, but rather preventing booms and busts abroad from slowing growth at home precisely when we need it most.

Mr. Taylor, a professor of economics at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the author of "First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity (Norton, 2012).
5593  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: July 16, 2012, 07:16:34 PM
Headline writers are funny.  Republicans don't threaten the treaty, they oppose it - in numbers great enough to stop it.

"...anti-treaty advocates..."   a.k.a. pro-sovereignty advocates.

"Treaty opponents claim ratification would effectively tie the hands of the U.S. Navy to conduct operations worldwide, because those missions would have to be reviewed and approved by treaty members."    - Is that a claim or a fact?
5594  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics - Road to Recovery by John B. Taylor, What would Hayek do? on: July 16, 2012, 07:08:30 PM
Read, learn, discuss and vote, please!   smiley

City Journal Summer 2012.
Table of Contents
A quarterly magazine of urban affairs, published by the Manhattan Institute.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Praise for City Journal.
John B. Taylor
The Road to Recovery
As Hayek taught, freedom and the rule of law drive prosperity.
Friedrich Hayek, second from left, at the London School of Economics in 1948
Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images
Friedrich Hayek, second from left, at the London School of Economics in 1948

Burdened by slow growth and high unemployment—especially long-term unemployment—the American economy faces an uncertain future. We have endured a painful financial crisis and recession, the recovery from which has been nearly nonexistent. Federal debt is exploding and threatening our children and grandchildren. In my view, the reason for this predicament is clear: we have deviated from the principles of economic freedom upon which America was founded.

Few thinkers of the past century understood the importance of economic freedom better than the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek did. As we confront our current situation, Hayek’s work has much to tell us, especially about policy rules, the rule of law, and the importance of predictability—topics that he discussed in his classic The Road to Serfdom (1944) and in greater detail in The Constitution of Liberty (1960). But his work in these areas goes beyond economics into fundamental issues of freedom and the role of government. That’s why reading Hayek is more important than ever.

As Hayek would insist, we need to be careful about what we mean by economic freedom. The basic idea is that people are free to decide what to produce, what to buy, where to work, and how to help others. The American vision, as I explain in my book First Principles, held that people would make these choices within a policy framework that was predictable and based on the rule of law, with strong incentives emanating from a reliance on markets and a limited role for government. Historically, America adhered to these principles more than most countries did, a major reason why the nation prospered and so many people came to these shores.

But we haven’t always followed the principles consistently. Leading up to the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve cut money growth sharply, deviating from a predictable policy framework. The federal government then worsened the Depression by raising tax rates and tariffs and by passing the National Industrial Recovery Act, which overrode market principles and went well beyond sensible limits on government. From the mid-1960s through the 1970s, federal policy again deviated from the principles of economic freedom: the era saw unpredictable short-term stimulus packages, discretionary “go-stop” monetary policies, and wage and price controls—the antithesis of an incentive-based market system. The results: double-digit unemployment, a severe slowdown in economic growth, and the Great Inflation. Well before that time, Hayek had rightly lamented such short-term approaches: “I cannot help regarding the increasing concentration on short-run effects . . . not only as a serious and dangerous intellectual error, but as a betrayal of the main duty of the economist and a grave menace to our civilization.”

In the 1980s and 1990s, America moved back toward its first principles, a restoration that lasted until recently. Temporary stimulus programs were out; permanent tax reform was in. Steady-as-you-go monetary policy replaced go-stop monetary policy. We removed the last vestiges of price controls and reduced inappropriate regulations. The major federal welfare program devolved to the states. The results this time: declining unemployment, lower inflation, and eventually a revival of economic growth.

Now we have tragically gone off the path again. Leading up to the latest downturn, the Federal Reserve held interest rates too low for too long, deviating from the rules-based monetary policy that had worked so well in the 1980s and 1990s. Government regulators failed to enforce existing rules on banks and other financial institutions, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The resulting crisis prompted the Wall Street bailouts, which soon extended beyond their original mission. The auto-company bailouts resulted in arbitrary infringements on creditors’ rights and interventions into business operations. Then came the return of the failed stimulus packages of the 1970s, the Fed’s quantitative easing, and the regulatory uncertainty associated with the 2010 health-care legislation and the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law—which gives government the discretionary authority to take over any failing financial firm and rescue its creditors.

One sign of the increase in policy uncertainty is that over the past 12 years, the number of provisions of the tax code expiring annually has increased tenfold. Another is that the number of federal workers engaged in regulatory activities (excluding those in the Transportation Security Administration) has grown by 25 percent from 2007 to 2012. Most emblematic of the deviation from our basic principles is the self-inflicted fiscal cliff that we face at the end of this year, when virtually the entire tax code will change. And the Fed has effectively replaced the money market with itself, setting a zero-percent interest-rate policy through 2014.

Government policy has largely caused these problems. It follows that we can restore prosperity by changing the policy and implementing a plan based on our core economic principles. We should reduce federal spending, as a share of GDP, to what it was in 2007, which would let us balance the budget and stop the debt explosion with revenue-neutral, pro-growth tax reform. We should unwind our monetary excesses and normalize monetary policy, using a rules-based system of the kind that worked well in the 1980s and 1990s. We should halt the rapid expansion of the entitlement state, keeping entitlement spending growth close to GDP growth and doing it in a way that gives decision-making responsibility to people and states, rather than to the federal government. And we should replace most of Dodd-Frank with bankruptcy reform and simpler regulations, with the goal of ending government bailouts.

In implementing this new economic strategy, policymakers should be guided by Hayek, especially by his emphasis on the rule of law and the predictability of policy. As he wrote in The Road to Serfdom, “Nothing distinguishes more clearly conditions in a free country from those in a country under arbitrary government than the observance in the former of the great principles known as the Rule of Law. Stripped of all technicalities, this means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand—rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan one’s individual affairs on the basis of this knowledge.”

Rules-based policies produce more stable economies and stronger economic growth. When people make decisions, they look to the future. Prices that convey information and provide incentives reflect the future. So good decisions as well as the prices that guide them depend on the predictability of future policy—and thus on clear policy rules.

But Hayek emphasized that rules for government policy do something more. The rule of law protects freedom, as the title of Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty suggests. Hayek traced this idea through the ages—first to Aristotle, then to Cicero, about whom Hayek wrote: “No other author shows more clearly . . . that freedom is dependent upon certain attributes of the law, its generality and certainty, and the restrictions it places on the discretion of authority.” Hayek also cited John Locke, who wrote that the purpose of the law was “not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. . . . Where there is no law, there is no freedom.” Finally, Hayek pointed to James Madison and other American statesmen who put these ideas into practice in a new nation. These thinkers distrusted government officials as protectors of freedom; the rule of law, they believed, was more reliable.

So rules have a dual purpose: encouraging economic growth and protecting freedom. The best way to understand the two advantages of rules is to examine what happens in their absence, as in the case of wage and price controls. Such controls are arbitrary: they require decisions by people at the top about virtually every price and wage; they distort economic signals and incentives; they create shortages and surpluses. These effects occur whether the price controls are imposed on the whole economy or on a particular sector, such as health care.

Many wonder how a system of rules can work in practice, with politicians and government officials continually pressured to “do something” about economic problems. Rules mean that you do nothing, say the skeptics, and that’s impossible in today’s charged political climate and hour-to-hour, even minute-to-minute, news cycle. My colleague George Shultz calls the problem “the urge to intervene.”

Hayek had an answer to that challenge. In The Road to Serfdom, he pointed out the need to clear up a “confusion about the nature of this system” of formal rules: “the belief that its characteristic attitude is inaction of the state.” Offering one example of a rules-based system, he noted that “the state controlling weights and measures (or preventing fraud or deception in any other way) is certainly acting.” By contrast, a system in which the rule of law was flouted wasn’t necessarily characterized by action: “The state permitting the use of violence, for example, by strike pickets, is inactive.” Similarly, simple rules for monetary policy don’t mean that the central bank, in response to events, takes no action at all with interest rates or the money supply. The bank might provide loans in the case of a bank run, for instance. But these actions can be taken in a predictable manner. For that matter, deviation from the rules sometimes results in inaction. A decision by government regulators not to act when financial institutions take on unreasonable risks, for example, constitutes both inaction and a violation of the rule of law.

Some argue that crises like the present one force policymakers to deviate from rules and the rule of law. But a crisis may be the worst time to do so. In a crisis, what is vital is increased strategic clarity, not increased unpredictability. That fact became clear following the first bailout of the recent crisis, the Bear Stearns intervention: few knew what to expect the next time a financial institution wanted help, since no strategy had been articulated. The crisis worsened. The sooner people can make decisions with knowledge of the rules, the sooner recovery will come about.

To get America back on track, we must choose leaders who believe in the principles of economic freedom and will implement them. But here, Hayek issued a warning. In a chapter in The Road to Serfdom called “Why the Worst Get on Top,” he suggested that people with the ambition to become leaders, either by election or by appointment, are often interventionists, since their tendency is to do whatever it takes to succeed. Further, those who benefit directly from discretionary government interventions naturally support such officials. Industries and firms that benefit from bailouts will favor officials comfortable with bailouts, for example, and even academic research on economic policy will become biased toward interventionism. Perhaps the answer to Hayek’s warning is to elect or appoint people regarded as overly committed to the principles of economic freedom. Then, after experiencing the heavy pressure pushing them toward intervention, they may emerge with a sensible balance. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan took this tack, appointing many Ph.D.s from the University of Chicago’s free-market school of economics to positions of leadership.

John Maynard Keynes took a different view. In a famous letter to Hayek about The Road to Serfdom, Keynes expressed his preference for more interventionist appointees—but he wanted only those whom he viewed as beneficent interventionists. “What we want is not no planning, or even less planning, indeed I should say we almost certainly want more,” Keynes wrote. “But the planning should take place in a community in which as many people as possible, both leaders and followers, wholly share your own moral position.” Milton Friedman later cited this letter to illustrate Keynesianism’s defining characteristic: its focus on discretionary interventions taken by people in powerful government positions.

Even those who support the principles of economic freedom can sometimes get off track. One might argue that such deviations were needed in the fall of 2008; perhaps the actions taken then prevented a more serious panic. But that’s no reason to embrace the discretionary policies that led to the mess in the first place. Such an argument is like saying that the person who set fire to a house should be exonerated because he then put out the fire and saved a few rooms.

Is today’s departure from economic freedom any less serious than the assault on freedom that Hayek wrote about in The Road to Serfdom? Am I exaggerating when I say that the future of American prosperity—or even global prosperity—is at stake?

While central planning may not be the right term for it, consider the 2010 health-care law, which gave the federal government the power to mandate the terms of everyone’s health-insurance package and which created an Independent Payment Advisory Board to determine the price, quantity, and quality of the medical services—from number of MRIs to the necessary accuracy of CT scans—that a medical professional provides. Is that so different from the way centrally planned economies determine the price, quantity, and quality of livestock, wheat, or steel that can be produced? Or consider monetary policy. A few years ago, I coined the term “mondustrial policy” to describe the Fed’s practice of quantitative easing, which combined industrial policy (discretionary assistance to certain firms and industries) with monetary policy (printing money to finance that assistance). Since then, the Fed has purchased $1.25 trillion of mortgage-backed securities. In fiscal year 2011, it purchased 77 percent of the newly issued federal debt, long after panic conditions had subsided.

Hayek argued that inflationary monetary policy undermines economic freedom, in part because it hits the elderly and the poor particularly hard, rationalizing more discretionary interventions. Though the inflation problem is less severe now than in the 1970s—at least so far—the impact of the Fed’s multiyear, zero-percent interest-rate policy resembles that of the Great Inflation era: it significantly cuts real incomes for those who have saved over a lifetime for retirement.

By moving away from the basic principles of economic freedom, government policy has caused our recent economic malaise. It should be no consolation that some of our friends in Europe are facing worse economic struggles, often because they moved even further away from those principles. The good news is that a change in government policy will alleviate the problems and help restore economic prosperity. Understanding Hayek’s work, written during similar circumstances, will help us greatly as we undertake that difficult task.

John B. Taylor is the Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University and the George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Economics at the Hoover Institution. His article is adapted from the 2012 Friedrich Hayek Lecture, which he delivered on winning the Manhattan Institute’s Hayek Prize.
5595  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: July 16, 2012, 05:02:12 PM
"even Herman Cain who wrote the partisan piece..."

Democrat Obama is dismantling previous Dem Pres. Clinton's signature achievement - that Newt wrote and Bill with his zipper down took the credit.  Pointing that out is partisan?  Good grief.  Transfer payments are MOST of the federal budget.  We believe in states' rights and therefor are not entitled to comment on programs and requirements - that we are paying for??  Huh?  We lost that war FYI and we WILL comment!  Helpful might be if YOU put in YOUR post what YOU think about whether there should or should not be a federal work requirement in these pay to not work multi-trillion dollar federal programs that are destroying our country and our culture - instead of ad hominem on the others.

"All it is is a test if you will, for each state to do as it sees fit on how to handle the situation of welfare to work programs.  Sounds reasonable to me."

I agree these all should be state programs, but IS it a state program or is it a federal program?  Let's give states choices on other federal programs too, like whether or not to collect the federal income taxes, estate taxes or to allow abortions in their state as well.  Sound reasonable?  Maybe we could structure it all so that the central government had just limited powers in the first place, lol.
5596  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races: Wisconsin Senate on: July 12, 2012, 09:37:34 AM
Very good coverage of the Wisconsin Senate race at the link, very interesting:

Dem retiring.  Dems picked a far left lesbian activist from the state's most liberal city.  R's have establishment candidate Tommy Thompson a 3 term Governor and former Health and Human Services Secretary plus 3 tea party types competing for an August primary win.

As with each close race, control of the Senate is presumed to be at stake.
5597  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: July 12, 2012, 09:25:28 AM
The Democrats answer to illegal border intrusions was to decimate the job situation in our economy.  Got to hand it to 'em, it worked.

Illegals entering down, crime rate down.  Hmmmm.
5598  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: July 12, 2012, 09:10:09 AM
EBay reputation tracking is a public market version of what Scott G posted for bond traders' reputations, keeping their word off a phone call and a hand written note.  I wouldn't argue for no regulation but I would guess that would be more effective than what we have now.
5599  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: July 12, 2012, 09:04:46 AM
The boat is marked Texas Highway Patrol.  Don't let the facts get you off message.

Arizona doesn't blame immigrants for their problems.  What a bunch of Bullshit to intentional confuse armed robbers with invited guests.  Hard to say what the crime problems would be without Eric Holder arming them.
5600  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues: Texas "Highway Patrol" Gunboats Patrolling the Rio Grande on: July 12, 2012, 12:49:18 AM
How long until Obama/Holder shut this operation down?  (2 minute Houston television news, must see video)

"Now, to deal with the Federal failure to secure the river and the drug and human smugglers who use it, Texas Department of Public Safety  has deployed gunboats on the river, armed with major firepower. DPS now has 4 shallow-water vessels (soon to increase to 6), each armed with six M-240, 30-caliber automatic machine guns that fire 900 rounds per minute.

Each of the boats, equipped with armor-plating, night vision equipment and a small arsenal of weaponry, costs about $580,000."
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