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5551  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: December 28, 2009, 11:32:16 PM
I agree with profiling and the Israeli model, mostly just a commitment to think clearly and try to stay a step ahead of the enemy, across the globe, 24/7.   If TSA was any kind of an intelligence agency instead of a bureaucratic logistics operation of managing lines, gates, shifts and breaks, then by now they would know and recognize most of their law abiding regular customers.  Every man-minute that they spend frisking my frequent business traveler sister is a minute they don't spend updating their system with Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab's Yemeni terror training certification.  For some reason TSA can't stand it that I wrap my skis inside my ski bag inside of ski pants and a jacket to protect and cushion them a little flying to a ski destination; they always get opened and picked apart.  But when a known terrorist buys a cash ticket to a major US airport, flies internationally trans-Atlantic, without luggage, on the only religious US federal holiday, after applying for student visas to bogus colleges...  For the money we spend and the privacy we give up for this operation, we deserve a little more competence and some mission focus.

Or as the man made disaster Czar says, the system worked.
5552  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Deflation? on: December 28, 2009, 04:04:46 PM
Ran across the piece below at the American Thinker over the holidays.  I have warned others that if/when the economy comes back we will see inflation and high interests rates because we have already 'inflated' the currency with 'printed money' and price increases are a result or symptom of the already inflated currency.

One flaw and one omission to that line of reasoning.  The omission is in the if/when the economy roars back.  Under today's policies, why would it?  The reported 3rd qtr growth was adjusted down and looks to be government sector only.  If you hire, earn or save, you are screwed.

The flaw in inflationary thinking is that while we are 'printing' or injecting a couple trillion a year in the U.S. we have also destroyed 50 trillion of wealth wordwide.  For every bank loan dismantled and asset de-leveraged, there is a shrinking of money besides the loss in value.

Look at the Fed.  Looks like everything they are doing is inflationary with 0% interest etc.  Maybe  with all the info they have they think the strongest need is still fighting off deflation.  At roughly zero interest, they don't have room to go any further.

We had this discussion before I believe and it is important to understand that deflation is not the opposite of inflation.  It is just another ailment like strep vs. viral infection or heart attack vs. stroke.  They are both the opposite a vibrant, healthy economy with a stable currency and positive public policies guiding it like reasonable incentives to produce, save, invest, hire, etc.

BTW, I don't know anything about the credibility of this author.

December 22, 2009
The Deflation Threat
By Paul Berkowitz
Contrary to what you are hearing in the media, the worst economic news may still lie ahead: A deflationary depression is descending upon us.

Breakneck federal printing of debt and dollars, gold and stocks rising, the dollar falling -- surely these trends presage inflation, or even hyperinflation. So goes the narrative across the media. But a contrarian and increasingly likely view is that deflation, not inflation, awaits.* What is deflation? How will it develop? How will it affect us?

Most of us have known only inflation, in which prices rise over time. In deflation, prices fall. The last time this happened in the U.S. was during the Great Depression. Japan has been living it these last fifteen years.

A falling price trend is at first a benefit to consumers. But then it leads to a spiral of economic decline: a depression. Deflation occurs when money for whatever reason becomes scarce, and therefore more valuable. Lower prices are the effect. Producers starve for profits, which leads to layoffs, loan defaults, and bankruptcies. Borrowers find they have to repay with more expensive dollars, so they pay off their debts. Low debt throttles growth and slows purchases. Expensive dollars make exports less competitive. Unsold inventories waste away on the shelf, crumble in value, and must be sold at deep discounts. Prices fall further, and so on, in a vicious circle.

Normal downturns are triggered by cyclic imbalances in which supply temporarily exceeds demand. Growth pauses while inventory excesses are liquidated. This time, however, things are different. The triggering event was an asset valuation bubble -- high stock and real estate prices -- boosted excessively in a buying mania fueled by cheap credit during the last fifteen years. Lots of borrowing creates financial leverage, which pumps up profits during good times and wipes them out during bad. Consumer credit swelled with the aid of cheap mortgages and home equity lines. Businesses borrowed cheap short-term money and invested long-term, expecting to roll the loans over as profits expanded. Most significantly, bankers ran high ratios of what they lent out versus what they took in. All of this borrowing was encouraged by the Federal Reserve Board and Congress to foster social goals like full employment and high levels of homeownership.

But the system eventually became unstable. The real estate that served as collateral for trillions of dollars of debt on the banks' (and the bank-like Fannie and Freddie) balance sheets became priced too high, and for the first time in seventy years, prices began a serious decline. Many highly leveraged borrowers had their equity wiped out, so they threatened to default. An increased sense of risk rippled through these debt pools, erasing much of their value and rendering them unsalable, or "toxic." Soon, a "run," or loss of general confidence, pervaded the U.S. and European economies. Though it has come to be called the housing bubble recession, a better name is the great credit bubble depression.

Deflation stems from a shortage of money. Isn't the Fed creating trillions of new dollars that they lend to banks and to the Treasury for disbursement in "stimulus" programs? Yes, but even as the Fed has recently created $2 trillion in new assets, many times, more money has been and will continue to be taken out of the world's economy through the process of de-leveraging -- that is, the paying off or writing off of a portion of the hundreds of trillions in credit floated around the world. Despite talk of TARP success and nascent recovery, those toxic assets are still on the books, some with the banks and some with the Fed itself. Eventually, much of this money will become worthless. As fast as the Fed is printing new money, money is being destroyed as debt is taken off the table. In the end, the Fed will lose as the quicksand of depression sucks more and more money into its muck.

Ironically, the 60% stock market rally of 2009, which in itself is anti-deflationary, is no source of comfort. Though it's hard to prove why stocks move, the recent rally is most likely due to a "carry trade," in which banks borrow cheaply from the Fed and invest in high-return risk markets like stock, gold, or even foreign currencies. The Fed is encouraging this with low rates precisely because this asset re-inflation makes the dollar less valuable. They are fighting the inevitable deflation.

But they are also creating a new asset bubble just like the one that imploded last year. They have lowered short-term interest to zero. As prices correct downward and the dollar rises as deleveraging continues, the Fed can take rates no lower. The last remedy available is for the Fed to buy government and corporate debt in the open market, literally printing money at will -- adrenaline for a burst, perhaps, but not sustainable. Other government measures like deficit spending and expansion of primarily public sector jobs in the "Stimulus" program are simply wasteful, destroying more dollars in the present and creating public debt to burden the future. These effects are deflationary.  Obama's plans for new taxes and regulations, which extinguish dollars, are also deflationary.

What about the oft-cited signs of recovery like upticks in GDP, consumer sentiment, and retail sales? Well, even in a trending economy -- and ours is trending down -- it is normal to see short blips, zigs, and zags against the trend. The numbers are also somewhat cooked for political effect. You'll know that the grip of deflation is tightening if you continue to see more of the following: discounts, price reductions, joblessness, real estate vacancies, bank failures, business failures, public finance failures, pension defaults, loan defaults, shrinking debt and credit, higher savings ratios, and frugal spending.

Obama's economists, Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke, are smart enough to understand and see the lurking deflation, even if they publicly brag that the worst is over. They might even quietly suspect that their current policy mix will not stop deflation. So what have they told the boss? If they are speaking honestly, then Obama must already know how much pain is coming our way. Or are these generals cowering before their stern commander, who will shoot a messenger bringing unwelcome news? The mood must be pretty tense.

*While the forecast is deflation for the next few years, inflation is still a long-term threat. Economic trends swing to and fro. A mild deflation could be followed by a mild inflation. Unfortunately, we may see a very deep deflation change into a hyperinflation as panicky anti-deflationary policies overshoot their mark.
5553  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: US bankruptcy? on: December 28, 2009, 11:57:51 AM
The Porter Stansberry piece is very interesting.  I don't take the US bankruptcy worry very seriously because we already are in a sense.  Question IMO is just how much more damage.

Clinton saved billions with a very high risk by financing with short term debt.  The risk really at what cost will be the replacement debt.

The U.S. Treasury does not risk not being able to find buyers for bonds.  We currently use the Bernie Madoff technique on steroids.  We just print (monetize) as they come due and sell replacement bonds as we see fit.  If they sell - they sell.  If not - then it stays monetized.  Like issuing more stock instead of borrowing.  The current owners shares just get a few trillion more diluted.  We can't default in our own currency under our own rules.  It is all play money in a sense from the point of view of the policy makers.

For the zillionth time, I ask the question, what right does a congress today have to obligate a congress of tomorrow?  It violates the principle of consent of the governed.  Tomorrow's voter is boxed in without choices.  What if in the future they want a lower tax, lower spending society or different programs from the flawed ones of today?  The establishment of these long term entrenched programs takes choices away from future voters and that is WRONG IMHO.
5554  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 22, 2009, 10:42:13 PM
"How does one handle this debating method?"

Admit it.  They are better at getting their message out.  Think what they could do with a better message.

Did I really hear them all say at the end that they pledge allegiance to the government??
5555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / electoral process, vote fraud (ACORN) - Yes, MN was stolen. on: December 22, 2009, 10:33:51 PM
"Doug, not that it matters at this point but do you think Coleman was robbed of the election?
The msm of course is dead silent on this issue."

Please watch the video at the link:  This is the definitive piece on the recount IMO.  8 minutes of investigation reporting by the local ABC affiliate, no follow up, and like CCP said, the national media didn't pick up on it at all.  They got what they wanted.  The report closes by saying we haven't heard the end of this.  That was a month ago.  I guess we did.  They even let the link fall off their website already. 

Basically the election was a tie.   Coleman won with the original data.  Franken won with the 'adusted' data.

Ballots were counted in liberal strongholds that wouldn't have been counted elsewhere in the state - enough to win.  ACORN and George Soros picked Sec of State says he didn't bring his reading glasses to the interview - didn't know he was going to have this sprung on him.
5556  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rant - Strange Bedfellows on: December 22, 2009, 01:04:47 AM
I now find myself more closely allied politically with Communist China, Russia, Dictatorship of Cuba and the ACLU than I am with the current power within the US government:

a) Communist China has more power than 40 Republican Senators to curb the growth in spending and the increase in government debt.  "The world does not have so much money to buy more US Treasuries."

b) Russia broke the Climategate story and also is whistlblowing on these pretend-science cleptocrats for tampering with the non-warming temperature data coming out of Russia.  If Russia isn't warming, Antarctica isn't warming and Minnesota isn't warming, then it makes you wonder if the other anecdotal stories are truly global.  "now the Russians confirm that UK climate scientists manipulated data to exaggerate global warming"

c) Cuba says Obama lied in Copenhagen.  "Cuba and other poor nations have refused to recognize the agreement because they weren't permitted to participate in its development."  - an agreement not binding on them is not binding on us??

d) The ACLU has made a better case for privacy in Health Care records than any Republican or conservative:
The ACLU is Against Obama Health Care
Jul 21, 2009 ... If Obama digitizes health care records the ACLU could be all that stands between Pizza Palace and your privacy.
5557  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gubernator - a house divided on: December 22, 2009, 12:26:47 AM
"...he has been utterly pussywhipped by his wife's crowd and his disease to please them.  He IS a Democrat.    No respect left from me."

Let this be (another) case study on insecure, happily married men.   In politics they always parade the photogenic family for what it brings in for votes.  We had an R-Senator with Ahnold's problem.  Wife was liberal and he was a moderate R, now called RINO.  On the biggest issues, these selfless men put their family first... unfortunately I would not have voted for the wife.  Most Republican Californians would not have voted for Ted Kennedy's agenda.  Beware of this (for life) while choosing future leaders. 
5558  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hall of Shame: re. missing Lockerbie bomber had Swiss bank account on: December 21, 2009, 08:45:33 AM
Will be hard for the Obama administration to protest as they release 12 more terrorists to their home countries.  4 to Afghanistan, 2 to Somali, 6 to Yemen, more to come, what could possibly go wrong with that?
US transfers 12 Gitmo detainees to home countries

(AP) – 12 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has transferred a dozen Guantanamo detainees to Afghanistan, Yemen and the Somaliland region as the Obama administration continues to move captives out of the facility in Cuba in preparation for its closure.

The Justice Department said Sunday that a government task force had reviewed each case. Officials considered the potential threat and the government's likelihood of success in court challenges to the detentions.

Over the weekend, four Afghan detainees were transferred to their home country. Two Somali detainees were transferred to authorities in Somaliland, the semi-autonomous northern region of Somalia. Six Yemeni detainees also were sent home.
5559  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care rant on: December 21, 2009, 08:32:21 AM
Politics:  I am amazed that not one democrat senator from any of the other 49 states has enough backbone to stand up to the special rewards offered to Nebraska to purchase Ben Nelson's vote, to Louisiana to purchase Mary Landeau's vote or to the mystery state that will receive a free hospital on the federal taxpayers' dime. 

Legal issue:  I will also be amazed if a court can twist original meaning of the constitution far enough to uphold special treatment of states in the legislation to buy votes can somehow be considered to be 'equal treatment under the law'.

Voter fraud:  The ACORN takeover of Mn Secretary of State and Minneapolis vote count control provided the 60th vote with uneven counting standards applied to heavily liberal voting precincts.  Who says crime doesn't pay?

Even if there is a major political shift and Dems lose both the house and senate, almost impossible, it is still impossible to repeal legislation without a veto-proof majority.

Whatever happened to the concept in law that one congress should not have the power to bind future congresses.  We deserve these liberal policies, marxism, socialism, statism, released terrorists, you name it for these 2 years.  Then a new congress should come in and pass news laws, funding etc. based on THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

60% oppose this legislation.  60 senators voted for it.  I have not seen numbers like that since Chavez exit polls showed him losing 40-60 and sure enough he 'won' by 60-40.
5560  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science, Ice Melting on: December 15, 2009, 12:30:26 AM
Two follow up points that I think weaken the melting ice masses argument, one is a post from 2006 via UPI, the BBC and a Dutch-British research team analyzing radar altimetry data gathered by the European Space Agency's ERS-2 satellite that discovered that in spite of Arctic ice mass loss, the Arctic oceans levels are falling.  Not what they expected and they have no idea why.

Second is the conflicting info coming out of Antarctica.  I suppose it depends on where you look and when. This report indicates that Antarctica contains 90% of the world's land based ice and at least at that writing it was gaining ice mass:

“In the March 25 2008 issue of EOS, there was a News item by Marco Tedesco titled “Updated 2008 Surface snowmelt Trends in Antarctica” (subscribers only). It reports the following:

Surface snowmelt in Antarctica in 2008, as derived from spaceborne passive microwave observations at 19.35 gigahertz, was 40% below the average of the period 1987–2007. The melting index (MI, a measure of where melting occurred and for how long) in 2008 was the second-smallest value in the 1987–2008 period, with 3,465,625 square kilometers times days (km2 × days) against the average value of 8,407,531 km2 × days (Figure 1a). Melt extent (ME, the extent of the area subject to melting) in 2008 set a new minimum with 297,500 square kilometers, against an average value of approximately 861,812 square kilometers.”

This evidence suggests that Antarctica, where 90% of the land based ice in the world resides, is increasing in mass. And this fact is ignored or downplayed in virtually every mainstream report available today, and indeed the mainstream press continues to infer that Antarctica is melting at an alarming rate. But on balance, the ice mass in Antarctica is not melting, it is probably getting bigger."

Other links:   East Antarctic Ice Sheet Gains Mass and Slows Sea Level Rise, Study Finds  Recent Data On Surface Snowmelt In Antarctica

This site: intending to debunk skeptics finds a 3 year trend of land ice decreasing and a 30 year trend of sea ice increasing.

My advice Crafty unfortunately is to not look for simple answers to climate questions.
5561  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science, Glacial Melting on: December 14, 2009, 02:50:50 PM
No simple answer except to note that reports come with an agenda.  They note the places and periods of ice loss.  Net ice loss is expected though, with or without man, as BBG noted, because we are still coming out of an ice age and that is the trend  (There was no hockey stick.).  If the last decade was the warmest or second warmest in our short recorded history, even though no warming occurred during the decade, then continued ice loss is a result, with or without the puny contribution from man.

When ice masses were increasing on Antarctica, that was attributed to global warming as well.  Warming caused the excess snowfalls in winter more htan could melt in summer.

We saw a similar argument for water levels in the great lakes.  In fact it is amazing how stable they are considering the huge amounts of water that go in and are evaporated every minute, every year.  Other factors there may tell the story, such as usage of water taken from the incoming stream sources.  

After climategate it is really hard to know temps or changes etc. with any real accuracy.  At best I think we see only  the smallest of samples, tweaked results and desired, catastrophic conclusions.  Still we are only seeing temperature variances of tens of a degree Celsius over a millenium.  Those who say they can notice a difference in local weather from their childhood deceive themselves.  Forecast here for tonight is -7 F (-22 C).  A century ago, that would be -22. and a fraction.  You won't convince me that a person or polar bear can tell the difference.  A glacier may know the difference over time but it is still a sample of the planet.

As Kilimanjaro and Himalayan reports indicate, perhaps it was unique weather patterns of the past that allowed that glacier to last unusually long as the rest of the remnants of the ice age around it have disappeared.

What's missing in this though is man's tiny part in it.  The melting of the glaciers argument implies that the melting is caused by us.  The burden has to go back to those who make that  implication.  What would the temp be if not for man-made CO2?  The answer is that man's contribution probably between 0.1% and 2.0% of the warming is well within the existing margin for error, so the glaciers would be melting anyway.

Also flawed are any projections forward because of the flawed assumptions in the model(s).  Will the next decade be warmer or colder than the last 10 years?  We don't even know that except to know that they were wrong for the last decade and roughly 5 of the last 10 decades if todays models had been used then.
In my last 'debate' on this topic with a liberal friend, he posed that: the earth is warming (and man is causing it) or its not.  I insisted on changing the debate to: the science is settled on this or its not.  It didn't take many of the studies posted on this forum to 'prove' that the science is not settled, which leaves all other questions unanswered.

Water vapor is another emission, rarely mentioned, from burning hydrocarbons.  Water Vapor is a major greenhouse gas, but cloud cover has offsetting characteristics.  

And no one has proven whether CO2 causes warming of if warmer air simply holds more CO2, also true.
If I ever see a comprehensive global ice mass loss chart, not selected places and periods, I would like to compare it with the chart of ice loss without man's involvement or ice loss after implementingKyoto / Copenhagen / economic collapse etc. or whatever they are proposing to do with the chart.
5562  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Christina Romer on Meet the Press on: December 13, 2009, 10:34:00 AM
Romer, who heads the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said: "no one is talking about raising taxes during a recession..."

She didn't say why not.  I wish she would spell that out.  Maybe she would say that raising tax rates   reduces the incentives to take on economic risk, to hire, to invest, to make capital purchases, to make larger consumer purchases, etc, etc, etc.  Everybody knows that (?).

We've been through this here before, but a very important economic point is that the promise of raising tax rates has the EXACT SAME AFFECT on stifling new investment.  Or perhaps worse as investors sit out the uncertainty rather than respond to a new, worse set of rules.

Pelosi to the speakership, Obama into the senate majority in 2006 and obviously Obama to the White House... this group came to power on the promise of significantly raising key tax rates on Americans who hire and invest.  They still hold the promise of doing that as soon as they see a little bit of life in the economy.

That promise, even yet largely unfulfilled, more than anything else IMO, killed off this economy.

Where I part with Keynes and these current demand siders is that I would not ever do in good economic times what everyone knows would be harmful in bad economic times.
5563  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness and Mrs. on Oprah on: December 11, 2009, 11:34:48 PM
I'm sure it's just me but watching a few promos for the Oprah at the White House Sunday special - it looks a little creepy to me.  I know this is a payback for Oprah's campaign endorsement along with Obama's understanding of the endless campaign and his need to be in the spotlight, but this level of lightness seems a little weird in the context of ... 2 wars, a surge starting, a surge ending, OBL still frolicking at Tora Bora, Copenhagen, Oslo, the EPA ruling, health care takeover, proposed new record energy taxation, record deficits and piling debt, income and estate tax cut expirations, collapsing auto makers, foreclosure increases, a jobless double-dip recession, 'the earth has a fever' and if we don't act within 10 days it will be unreversible, not to mention a religious holiday and still no new reverend.  In context, the Oprah special looks to be reminiscent of when MTV asked Clinton about boxers or briefs.
5564  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Top Down vs. Bottom Up on: December 11, 2009, 10:38:41 PM
"politicians are acting either in ignorance of specialist knowledge or by manipulating and misusing it in the conviction that central planners can organize and control human behavior better than individuals can through markets and voluntary action"

Stealing a thought from Michael Barone's column at the DC Examiner, 4 examples:

"Writing in Policy Review, economists Paul Gregory and Kate Zhou compare the success of market reforms in China and their failure in Russia. They point out that reform in China was bottom-up: Peasants started producing food for private sale and, as markets thrived, Communist leader Deng Xiaoping winked at their rule-breaking and changed the rules. The economy mostly thrived.

In contrast, reform in Russia was top-down: Mikhail Gorbachev changed the rules, but that allowed apparatchiks to gobble up state industries and created new monopolies, over which Vladimir Putin's government re-established control. The economy mostly stagnated.

The Democrats' health care and cap-and-trade bills are classic top-down legislation. Many inside players have bought into the changes and are preparing to game the new systems. Far from banishing lobbyists from Washington, Barack Obama has provided them with enormous amounts of new business.

An alternative approach was taken in George W. Bush's major domestic legislation. Tax cuts, the education accountability bill and the Medicare prescription drug benefit law opened up areas where markets and incentives could operate. Costs came in lower and revenues higher than projected. An economy stalled by recession proved capable of creating new jobs without direction from central planners."
5565  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 07, 2009, 11:42:28 AM
CCP, My favorite analyst might well be Scott Ott over at Scappleface  smiley We report, You decipher
Obama Brings Afghan Strategy to Health Care Reform
by Scott Ott for ScrappleFace

(2009-12-02) — President Barack Obama announced he would apply his Afghanistan war strategy to domestic health care reform.

“It’s important that we seize the initiative,” the president said, “and put the resources in place so that we can withdraw them in 18 months, leaving the uninsured with the capacity to take care of themselves, to buy their own health insurance on the open market.”

The president said he’ll commit 30,000 new bureaucrats to this effort, who will begin deploying in early 2010, to train the uninsured in how to buy health insurance, and to equip the unemployed to find work, or to start businesses, so that they, too, can buy health insurance.

The president said the entire objective of his health care reform plan is to “hand over responsibility to the people, and then get our government forces out of their lives as quickly as possible.”

“This effort must be based on performance,” said Mr. Obama. “The days of providing a blank check are over. And going forward, we will be clear about what we expect from those who receive our assistance.“
5566  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: December 07, 2009, 11:32:55 AM
"It was pure politics that led to mammograms before 50 to be approved by some groups years ago. "

I don't know enough to argue statistically, but know kids who grew up without a mom because of breast cancer in her 40s, and just lost a friend to colon cancer prior to his first recommended screening also.  I don't know the answer but I do know that the latest word from the best professionals in the world on matters like these changes over time.  Which brings us to your other point:

"A mammogram is only a couple hundred dollars - if women want it why can't they pay for it?"

Close to my view, get the cost of all healthcare down and let people decide how much of it they want.

New jewelry, Mammogram? New jewelry, Mammogram? I can't decide.  Maybe the government knows better.  Maybe I can buy the frivolous and get the entitlement free...
5567  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues, Mara Liasson on Fox panel on: December 07, 2009, 11:12:41 AM
Worst part of this story (?) is that Obama through Anita Dunn is the force that caused the scrutiny.

Should the inmates be handpicking the guards at the asylum?

If Fox was guilty of bias, wouldn't critics want more not fewer Mara Liasson's on the panels and more liberals not fewer as guests?

What they really want is to hurt your career and your income if you criticize or affiliate with administration critics.

If I could I would cut back on my donations to NPR.

Meanwhile, no word yet (?) from ABC, CBS, NBC or the news pages of major liberal bankrupt newspapers about the 16 day old largest scandal of our time - climategate.
5568  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 04, 2009, 08:59:11 AM
GM you are right about shredding.  My volume of paperwork is overwhelming; I think I will go back to separating personalized paperwork, including a lot of junk mail, from the trash and burning it in the occasional home campfire.  Unfortunately all that extra effort doesn't save me from the larger identity risks out there.  Almost every bank in North America already knows my mother's maiden name.  If I ever forget it, I can probably buy a used hard drive on eBay and just look it up.

The bank gets my info because I want/need their service and thus agree to their terms.  What about car insurance companies?  I prefer self insurance but do business with them by government mandate.  But I choose to drive on a public street and need to pay by automatic means to be punctual so that makes it consensual.  Then comes health care.  Rhetorical, but why do they get to know everything? Now comes the mandate.  Even if I refuse to be treated I need to 'buy' the policy and disclose all info including health, financial, credit and behaviors.  If you have taken a kid in for a checkup lately you have been asked if there are guns in the house, among other things.

We need a resurgence in privacy.  Not from law enforcement when a crime was committed, but for just living and going about your business when you are not harming someone else.
5569  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 03, 2009, 08:06:24 PM
There is a lot of parsing going on with the gate crashers.  IMO they were waved in by someone, maybe a czar.  Hopefully we will find out.  Maybe the Obama'a were comfortable with the breach but another major world leader should not be put in that situation.  BTW, when did state dinners drop to the level of picnic in a tent...
NY is not one of the states that passed further restrictions after Kelo so that decision will be interesting to look at.
Regarding the privacy of garbage: Considering other decisions like Roe and Kelo standing the test of time, I'm not surprised to find I disagree with the court over garbage.  If someone sees a couch discarded at the curb and picks it up, that is one thing.  No harm done.  If someone combs for account numbers and personal correspondence maybe a well organized militia could be the remedy or deterrent.  smiley  I shouldn't need to shred everything when I pay a private company to dispose of it.

Once again, LE with serious reason to believe is another thing IMO. What they see and what they find still remains private (just my view) except for how it may apply toward solving a case. 
5570  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 02, 2009, 10:47:00 PM
For a slightly different angle... Your cell phone signal and its records are private, your health care with its records are private, your banking and credit card records are private and yes, your garbage is private.  My garbage cans are on my property.  My contract with my hauler is to take it carefully and professionally and dispose of it, not to share it, sell it or data mine it.  Guess I won't be chosen for the court anytime soon.

The syllabus started: "Having reason to believe " which sounds vaguely like probable cause.  That changes things back to giving law enforcement the tools to do their job and making search reasonable.  If those who we trust abuse that power, knowingly dummy up the 'reason to believe', then they are violating the constitution and should be fired, fined, sued and caned IMO.  Fair enough?
5571  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors: "Balderdash" on: December 01, 2009, 10:33:23 PM
Ronald Reagan "...The sale of AWACS, just the tip of a massive arms sale and a realignment of US policy to embrace Saudi Arabia, took place under Reagan's watch..."

   - True.  I'm not aware of how Israel was harmed by that.

"Arms to Israel were embargoed and delayed after the 1981 Osirak reactor bombing..."

    - For the complicated web we weave, the US supported Israel on that one with its silence and its UN Security Council veto while the entire rest of the world demanded condemnation for the preemptive attack if I recall correctly.

"... the Pollard affair pulled the US-Israel relationship to new lows."

    - Pollard was a spy stealing national secrets and caught red-handed.  Separately there is a process for allies sharing secrets.  What was Reagan supposed to do?

"[relations]...worsened when his secretary of state, James Baker, was quoted as saying, "F*** the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway."

    - He uses the quotation marks but omits the source, context or link.  (Sometimes insiders try hard to sell books.) If true (is there a youtube?), it sounds like back room, private, inappropriate, profane, political banter of standing up to interest groups, not likely to be said aloud if the hatred was real or the intent was to harm Israel.

The whole recap reminds me of a famous American who found nothing to like about America before Barack.
5572  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion - It ain't a tree on: December 01, 2009, 12:46:21 PM
Thanks Guinness,

Quoting: "Every time an anti shows me pictures of aborted fetuses I ask 'em what they had for breakfast; if it included a pork product ask if I showed them pictures of fetal pigs would they stop eating bacon and, if not, why they expect their appeal to emotion to be any more successful."

Disagree. The point to me of the fetal photo is an appeal to logic more than emotion.  Logic, visuals, science etc. tell you the thing has 2 arms, 2 legs, a head, heartbeat, fingerprint etc, although kind of ugly - like a newborn.

Your pork comparison also works in reverse.  We kill for self defense, war, food.  Even good hunters and fisherman are committed to eat what they kill, not to waste one of God's creatures, even with 4 legs or scales and gills.  A pig farmer does not kill and discard.  Repugnant,  but abortive 'mothers' might imagine that standard and think twice before shooting. 

I read the Thompson piece and will be happy to comment as I offend more and more people here.  An acorn is not an oak tree, true, but an oak tree is not a human being.  We tear down an oak tree to build a house or a road in the best location.  We hopefully don't do that indiscriminately but we do cut them down when we decide they are in our way.  The real failure of the acorn analogy is that the tree develops its value gradually; it is not just an acorn or a mighty oak, but also a scrawny seedling along the way.  The newborn, like a fetus, is also an undeveloped, two-bit seedling, totally unviable without assistance, with nothing invested in the real world and nothing to show for accomplishments.  Environmental extremists don't protect a one inch tall sprouted acorn.   Should the newborn's rights only develop gradually as it grows and proves its salt? They don't and no one says they should. 
5573  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: December 01, 2009, 08:01:06 AM
Hard to set policy right if we can't agree (or discuss) when life begins. 

"wish to be left alone...without the government interfering with laws about morality"

Some feel that way about domestic abuse in the privacy of their own home.  It depends on whether or not one believes a separate life worth protecting is involved.
5574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / When Life Begins on: November 30, 2009, 10:33:23 PM
From Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life", on Meet the Press apparently quoting Peggy Noonan:  She said, you know, "If you ask the question when does life begin," she said, "any 16-year-old boy who's bought a condom knows when life begins."

5575  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward - VDH - Change We Can Believe In on: November 30, 2009, 10:25:22 PM
Prof. Hanson writes a blog at Pajamas Media called Works and Days.   Most recent entry fits well into the discussion of the way forward and ideas for the points of the new contract with America, my personal favorite: moving the UN headquarters to Lagos!
 November 29th, 2009 9:24 am
Change We Can Believe In

So, fellow critics of Obama, what would we do instead? It is easy to harp, as Obama did in 2007-8, but hard to govern, as Obama learned in 2009. So for all the criticism, let us put up some sample proposals of our own.

Ok, try the following.

1. Pay as you go, balanced budget—whatever you wish to call a return to fiscal sanity. Conservatives need to stop talking about tolerable deficits in terms of GDP; and liberals should cease the charade that trillion-plus annual borrowing is great stimulus.

The psychological effect on the American people of paying down the debt through annual surpluses would be incalculable. “Decline” is as much psychological as real, and begins with perceptions of financial insolvency. We have a $11 trillion economy, so balancing the books is not impossible. Note how Obama intends to “address the deficit” only after he has set two budgets that will increase it by nearly four trillion dollars. Note how Bush’s sin of running up large annual deficits is used to excuse Obama’s mortal sin of doubling them. Note how Democrats, after lining up for a trillion-dollar federal take-over of health care, are worried about a multi-billion dollar expense in Afghanistan.  Cuts in defense, as the later Romans knew, are always the first reaction to profligate domestic spending and entitlement.

2. Freeze federal spending at the present rate, and let increased revenues balance the budget. The idea that we could ever cut outright the budget seems long ago impossible—given the culture of complaint and the melodramatic rants about starvation and murder if another entitlement is not granted. Still, some sort of leadership is required to remind the American people that much of what their government does is not just unnecessary, but counter-productive and they would be better off without it.

Apparently, Obama simultaneously believes (a) he can create a permanent loyal constituency of millions who either receive or disperse federal “stimulus”, in the fashion of the old Roman turba; (b )he can borrow so much money that higher taxes will be seen as vital and therefore the original intent of income redistribution accomplished; (c) that, having had little experience in the private sector, but much financial success as a community or government employee, he can assume that money comes out of thin air and is to be dispersed non-stop through public benefaction; (d) the upper-middle class, which strives to be as rich as he is, is somehow culpable. A common theme throughout history is a paradoxical hatred of the equestrian, productive class, by both the idle aristocratic and entitlement constituents, who hand in glove need each other.

3. Some sort of fair or flat tax that ends the trillion-dollar industry of tax preparation, avoidance, and fraud.  For about a quarter of the population April 15 is a spooky sort of Halloween. Instead, we need a tax system in which one can complete the necessary preparation in about 2 hours. Whose bright idea was it to excuse nearly half the American households from income tax exposure (Clinton and Bush, and now Obama?)—a fact that explains why in Pavlovian fashion recently Senators have been saying that we can add on a new war tax, a health-care surcharge, and a new high rate on “them”? The justification of a 40% income tax, 10% state income tax, 15.3% payroll tax, and new war and health care surcharge taxes can only be that one’s income was undeserved, ill-gotten, and thus better “rectified” by more enlightened federal redistributors.

4. Close the borders to illegal immigration, through completion of the fence, biometric IDs, employer sanctions, beefed up enforcement—coupled with a radical change in legal immigration law that favors education and skill, rather than simply family ties. The present mockery of existing law undermines the sanctity of every law. Those who knowingly break immigration laws, and know that they will not in the future be enforced, naturally assume that other laws likewise will not apply to them, from tax reporting to the vehicle code. We really must ask—why the national outcry over whether illegal aliens will be included in the new health care plan when $50 billion is sent back as remittances to Latin America each year? In rough math, each of the supposedly 11 million illegal aliens sends out on average around $4000-5000 per year southward. Perhaps we could tax remittances to fund their health care? Something is strange about the attitude of “I must send $400-500 a month home to support my family, but now I am broke and need someone to pay for my care at the emergency room, etc.”

5. A can-do energy plan. Offer tax incentives for development of nuclear power. Promote exploitation of gas and oil reserves in, and off, the United States, as a way to transition over 20 years to next generation fuels without enriching our enemies or going broke in the process. I never understood why nuclear power for electricity and natural gas/hybrids for transportation—we could be nearly energy independent through both—were declared environmentally incorrect when dotting pristine fields, deserts, and mountain passes with ugly wind turbines, acres of solar panels, and miles of access roads was considered “green.” Does Obama really think that the truther Van Jones knows more about power production than the head of a natural gas or oil company, or the engineer of a nuclear power plant?

Now the symbolic and randomly odd suggestions:

1. For grades 8-12, teachers could choose either the traditional credential or the MA degree in an academic subject. Few laws would have wider ramifications in curbing the power of the education lobby and its union partners, and vastly improve classroom teaching performance.

It would cost nothing and do more for educational progress than anything of the last three decades (high school students can sense who wrote a MA thesis on the Civil War and who got a teaching credential taking Bill-Ayers-like courses on race, class, and gender stereotyping). Why can PhDs and MAs in American history walk into a JC classroom, but not a high-school history class? Eliminate tenure for teachers and professors, replaced by 5-year renewable contracts, subject to completion of contracted targets on classroom performance and continuing education. The combination of a therapeutic curriculum, with an increasingly illiterate student, has resulted in a national disaster. Hint: when students arrive ill-prepared from dysfunctional families as was common in the last few decades, they need more math, grammar, and basics, not more self-esteem and “I am somebody” pep courses. Each year I taught, I was struck by the ever more common phenomenon of students ever less prepped in grammar, syntax, and “facts”, but ever more ready to expound on something—anything really—about themselves, usually with the theme of their own victimhood.

2. Transfer the UN headquarters to an African or South American capital closer to the problems of hunger, disease, and poverty. I suggest either Lagos or Lima. Global elites could not walk from five-star hotels  to the CBS studios to grandstand about US pathologies. But delegates could match their solidarity rhetoric by concretely living with the other. We would get away from the “U.S. did it”.  UN forces could ring UN headquarters when a nearby Chavez or Mugabe was rumored to be saber-rattling and crossing borders. When the Kofi Annans of the world got upset stomachs from their luncheon salads, perhaps they could address world sanitation and government corruption rather than Israel.

3. An end to affirmative action based on race. If “help” is needed, it should be based on class and income. Why should Eric Holder’s children be classed as in need while someone from the Punjab (of darker hue) or Bakersfield (with less capital) is considered ineligible? Why should a Carmel female at the corporate level be seen as progress, but not a son of Appalachian coal miners? The entire corrupt system is redolent of the 1/16 laws of the Old Confederacy, as almost every American is conning some sort of Ward-Churchill-like heritage to pull off what Ward Churchill did—get some edge over the competition for something that they otherwise might not obtain. Whether intended or not, affirmative action has become the pet project  largely of elites, who feel their own capital and insider connections will ensure their own do not suffer from the unspoken quotas they impose on others—as a sort of cheap psychological penance for their own guilt over their own privilege.

4. Return of the US Homestead Act and expand it to urban areas. Instead of redevelopment for wealthy insider grandees who tear down neighborhoods for convention complexes, state and local government should be encouraged to deed over idle properties to individuals willing to build homes and stay 10 years on the property. Shedding, not adding to, government land-owning makes more sense.  Who knows, one might find self-help recolonization projects in downtown Detroit. Maybe Californians and some of their industries might move to the empty top third of their state, rather than families paying $1 million for a 800 sq foot bungalow in congested Menlo Park.

5. Outlaw the naming of federal projects after any living politicians. Don’t laugh. Without their names on highway stretches, bridges, and “centers”, most of these projects would not be built. Once a senator or congress-person accepted that there would never, never be  “The Hon. Tadd Burris Community Center” or “Mt. Bud Jones Wilderness Area”, much of the earmarks would cease. What is the logic behind the notion that we immortalize a senator or congresswoman who uses someone else’s money to build a bridge, or lobbies for an earmark for his district, or, at best, simply does his job? Should carpenters get every fourth tract house named in their honor for their work? Should teachers have their classrooms forever emblazoned with their own names (Instead of “room 11,” we would get The “Skip Johnson English room”?)? Should doctors have surgery rooms with their own names on the door? People who give their own money have a right to eponymous monuments, but not those who do it as part of their job descriptions and with someone else’s capital. Our political class, not content with being increasingly corrupt, is now buffoonish as well. The career of the court-jester John Murtha is emblematic of the age.

There!—some modest suggestions for change we can believe in.
5576  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science - Stop Dithering on: November 30, 2009, 10:04:10 PM
Thanks CCP, I like the way you are thinking.  To me, it is not total energy independence that we need, but at the least we should be able to survive with what can be produced in partnership with a friendly Canada and stop enriching enemies and shipping crucial supplies through faraway, difficult to defend waters.

I was planning to post a plan from Victor Hanson in 'the way forward' and I still will, but here is his energy component:

VDH: "A can-do energy plan. Offer tax incentives for development of nuclear power. Promote exploitation of gas and oil reserves in, and off, the United States, as a way to transition over 20 years to next generation fuels without enriching our enemies or going broke in the process. I never understood why nuclear power for electricity and natural gas/hybrids for transportation—we could be nearly energy independent through both—were declared environmentally incorrect when dotting pristine fields, deserts, and mountain passes with ugly wind turbines, acres of solar panels, and miles of access roads was considered “green.” Does Obama really think that the truther Van Jones knows more about power production than the head of a natural gas or oil company, or the engineer of a nuclear power plant?"

The answer of course is all of the above.  We can keep expanding wind and solar and developing 'next generation fuels' but still need to power the economy in the meantime. 

Hanson writes:  "nuclear power for electricity and natural gas/hybrids for transportation".

I wrote similarly in the nuclear thread (8/11/09): "If we substitute nuclear for natural gas in electricity and American natural gas in place of foreign oil in transportation, besides solving the CO2 spiral we would also be sending fewer dollars sent to Chavez and the Mullahs.  It would be good for the currency, simplify foreign policy and ease the cost of national defense."

Instead we dither.
5577  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NBC Meet the Press today, outrage? on: November 29, 2009, 11:48:49 AM
I was rebuked strongly (understatement) for comparing something horrific with something horrific in a post of mine in this thread in October.  

Dr. Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life" hardly a fire-brand far right wing extremist, was a Thanksgiving weekend guest of David Gregory on NBC's 'Meet the Press' and shared his otherwise sensible views on many subjects but also used the h-word to describe the tragedy of 46 million killed since Roe v. Wade. ,
5578  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How they got the 60th vote on: November 29, 2009, 11:20:42 AM
Al Franken couldn't hold a 14 point Obama margin against popular centrist Republican incumbent Norm Coleman, but he did hold his election to a zero point margin, and that was enough because of the victory guarantee program his party had put in place ahead the election.

The near sweep of 2006 included replacing a competent (R) Secretary of State with one that was hand-picked by and heavily supported by the left-wing activist group  At the tiime no one outside of the Bush-Gore inner fight understood the significance.  Simultaneous to state change and even preceding it was the takeover of the inner city election process by ACORN.

Twin Cities ABC affiliate KSTP-5 just ran an extensive investigative report concluding that whether or not your questionable or clearly defective ballot was accepted or rejected depended wholly on what jurisdiction you lived in.  In the outlying areas, state law was followed.  In the liberal inner cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, ballots without signatures, witnesses or addresses were commonly accepted.

They interviewed the MN Sec. of State for 90 minutes and he refused to break out his reading glasses to look at any of the material they presented, sticking to generalities that prevailed in the court challenge to the end result.
5579  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Continuing to fund the criminal enterprise that helped elect President Obama on: November 28, 2009, 09:42:17 PM

Republican blasts ACORN reprieve
Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor November 27, 2009

A top House Republican today blasted a ruling by the Justice Department that allows the Obama administration to pay ACORN for services provided under contracts signed before Congress passed a law banning the community advocacy group from receiving taxpayers money.

Republicans have been on the warpath against ACORN since its voter registration efforts came under scrutiny during the 2008 presidential campaign. After conservative activists, who posed as a prostitute and pimp, released videos appearing to show ACORN staffers advising them how to skirt the law, Democrats joined in the outrage, leading to the congressional funding ban that Obama signed on Oct. 1.

Since 1994, ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has received about $53 million in federal aid, much of it in grants to help poor people obtain affordable housing. The Justice Department asked whether the funding ban applied to prior contracts. In a ruling first reported by the New York Times, a department lawyer said the payments under prior contracts should continue because the language of the law did not expressly wipe them out.

But Representative Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said "the bipartisan intent of Congress was clear -- no more federal dollars should flow to ACORN."

"It is telling that this administration continues to look for every excuse possible to circumvent the intent of Congress," Issa said in a statement. "Taxpayers should not have to continue subsidizing a criminal enterprise that helped Barack Obama get elected president. The politicization of the Justice Department to payback one of the president’s political allies is shameful and amounts to nothing more than old-fashioned cronyism."
5580  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science, Washington Post on the Emails on: November 27, 2009, 10:24:29 PM
This should really be in 'Media Issues' since the silence of the "Lamestream Media" on the biggest story of the decade has started to become the story and the piece has no science or substance.  The Editorial has to explain about the email leak since the news department seemed to miss it, then explain that the conclusions remain the same, obviously, even though all the supporting data is now in doubt.  That makes sense to them, I suppose.

I post this both to rip them and to cover what the 'other side' is saying in the absence of dissent on the forum.

Like most liberal pieces, it starts with a lie in the first sentence and throws in a name-call for good measure: "Stop hyperventilating, all you climate change deniers."

In fact, the hyperventilating is coming from the alarmists, 'we must act now or the planet will die of a fever' and the people he calls deniers of a normal cycle, climate change are climate change rationalists, not deniers.  The reality deniers are the ones who see a 0.5 degree rise over a century and call it 'unprecedented'.   

E-mails Don't Prove Warming is a Fraud
By Eugene Robinson,  Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- Stop hyperventilating, all you climate change deniers. The purloined e-mail correspondence published by skeptics last week -- portraying some leading climate researchers as petty, vindictive and tremendously eager to make their data fit accepted theories -- does not prove that global warming is a fraud.

If I'm wrong, somebody ought to tell the polar ice caps that they're free to stop melting.

That said, the e-mail episode is more than a major embarrassment for the scientists involved. Most Americans are convinced that climate change is real -- a necessary prerequisite for the kinds of huge economic and behavioral adjustments we would have to make to begin seriously limiting carbon emissions. But consensus on the nature and scope of the problem will dissipate, and fast, if experts try to obscure the fact that there's much about the climate they still don't know.

Here's what happened: Someone hacked into the servers at one of the leading academic centers in the field -- the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England -- and filched a trove of e-mails and documents, which have been posted on numerous Web sites maintained by climate skeptics.

Phil Jones, the head of the Climatic Research Unit, released a statement Wednesday saying, "My colleagues and I accept that some of the published e-mails do not read well." That would be an example of British understatement.

In one message sent to a long list of colleagues, Jones speaks of having completed a "trick" with recent temperature data to "hide the decline." The word "trick" is hardly a smoking gun -- scientists use it to refer to clever but perfectly legitimate ways of handling data. But the "hide the decline" part refers to a real issue among climate researchers called the "divergence problem."

To plot temperatures going back hundreds or thousands of years -- long before anyone was taking measurements -- you need a set of data that can serve as an accurate proxy. The width of tree rings correlates well with observed temperature readings, and extrapolating that correlation into the past yields the familiar "hockey stick" graph -- fairly level temperatures for eons, followed by a sharp incline beginning around 1900. This is attributed to human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting increase in heat-trapping atmospheric carbon dioxide.

But beginning around 1960, tree-ring data diverges from observed temperatures. Skeptics say this calls into question whether tree-ring data is valid for earlier periods on the flat portion of the hockey stick -- say, 500 or 1,000 years ago. Jones and others acknowledge they don't know what the divergence means, but they point to actual temperatures: It's warmer now than it was 100 years ago.

Another e-mail -- from Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. -- is even more heartening to the skeptics. Trenberth wrote last month of the unusually cool autumn that Colorado was experiencing, and went on: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."

He appears to be conceding skeptics' claim that over the past decade there has been no observed warming. In truth, though, that wouldn't be much of a concession. At issue is the long-term trend, and one would expect anomalous blips from time to time.

From my reading, the most damning e-mails are those in which scientists seem to be trying to squelch dissent from climate change orthodoxy -- threatening to withhold papers from journals if they publish the work of naysayers, vowing to keep skeptical research out of the official U.N.-sponsored report on climate change.

In his statement, Jones noted that the e-mail hack occurred just days before the climate summit in Copenhagen. "This may be a concerted attempt to put a question mark over the science of climate change," he said. There's that understatement again.

The fact is that climate science is fiendishly hard because of the enormous number of variables that interact in ways no one fully understands. Scientists should welcome contrarian views from respected colleagues, not try to squelch them. They should admit what they don't know.

It would be great if this were all a big misunderstanding. But we know carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and we know the planet is hotter than it was a century ago. The skeptics might have convinced each other, but so far they haven't gotten through to the vanishing polar ice.
5581  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Glen Beck on: November 27, 2009, 08:32:16 PM
I noticed that Crafty mentioned watching Glen Beck daily and the LA TImes entertainment writer didn't.  Someone told Tim Rutten that Glen Beck was overly provocative and the audience of  vulnerable adults is dangerous so he wrote a piece about it.  Rush has gone through that for 2 decades.  Haters collect quotes and clips eliminating meaning and context.  Then they post at the NY Times and left-wing sites and elites feel justified hating and ripping the program and its following.

I've listened to Glen Beck on radio plenty.  His 'conspiracy' charge is that this administration's playbook is right out of extremist Saul Alinsky's radical rules.  That happens to be true whether by design or coincidence.  Rutten is accusing Beck of correctly noticing it and pointing it out.   He suggests that Beck should be pulled off the air for doing so.

Also like Rush critics, he assumes the audience has no mind of their own and considers it dangerous for them to hear (honest) criticism of the President.

Why not take on ANY of Beck's points head-on, like that Valerie Jarret is a radical, Jeremy Wright - obviously, Van Jones and on and on and on.  The attacker declined to do that.

I have no idea of the Hitler context, just know from listening that he has it wrong and that he was mum when worse was done to Bush, when Kerry, Durban, Murtha called our own troops terrorists, when Harry Reid declared the Iraq War lost, and when Obama and his Proxies ran a full page to say our commanding General was perhaps 'Betraying us'.  

The selective outrage is sickening.

Regarding  the Anti-defamation League: I assume ADL was once a respected group looking out for Jewish interests and unfair treatment.  I regret linking them here when looking into the Pat Buchanan complaint because what I learned by looking was that besides some serious charges against PB's words, they went on and on accusing him of other bigotry that simply wasn't.  For example, castigating him for not backing the gay preferred rights agenda or equating anti-welfare stances with racism.  Those to me say something about their politics and agenda and nothing about him, and they dilute, weaken and cheapen their original point IMO assuming it had any validity in the first place.
5582  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward for conservatives: on: November 26, 2009, 10:09:54 PM

If we don't want to go down this rat hole of socialism and decline, we better get clear right now about what it is exactly that we want, why that is a better path than the one we are on, and start speaking out, and writing, showing up, etc.  Whatever it takes.

The word for Republicanism of recent past might have been fogginess.  Sometimes the principles were ignored; sometimes sold, almost always they were compromised or invisible and inaudible.  Sometimes the policies were right but the explanations were wrong, missing or mumbled. 

We need clarity as in easy to understand, distinctness, precision.  Clarity as a consequence of being explicit.  Clarity where actions and words are consistent with clear, stated principles that our great nation has already agreed on.
5583  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: November 26, 2009, 09:20:22 PM
Thanks BBG regarding VDH post.  My thoughts exactly, just expressed far better.  How can anyone be very optimistic economically when everything we are doing and likely to do is the opposite of what needs to be done to grow back a healthy, vibrant economy.

Gas prices are reasonable right now, only because of global recession.  Every year gone by is another year we didn't allow expansion or domestic sources, increase refining capacity, convert transportation to CNG or get started on new (carbon-free) nuclear plants.  Any new economic growth will be choked out by the resulting energy cost escalation.  Instead of action or solution, we plan the opposite - highest in history new energy taxes and regulations.  All increases in energy purchases will result in equal problems of trade, payment and currency imbalances.

Interest rates are at zero out of the Fed.   If they need to lower them further, they can't.  But they will need to raise them, and the cost of anything burdened in debt (consumers, homeowners, federal governments, states, school districts, businesses, you name it) will go up drastically with no visible, offsetting benefit.

Taxes will go up and public spending will not go down as deficits continue no matter what the election gains are in 2010.  Regulations in general aren't going to be eased in any foreseeable timeframe.

We can't go this far or this fast down a road in the wrong direction and turn it around on a dime - especially when we don't have consensus that we are headed in the wrong direction.

If this Keynesian stimulus appears to work with a short term uptick, we will follow it with what? More of what appeared too work, more public spending with more trillions in debt and more government takeovers of industries, choices and liberties.

If we add a 2 1/2 trillion dollar federal healthcare control system and find out that cost level isn't enough to do the job, we will then do what? Scrap it?  No.  We will be trapped and guilted into increasing taxes, debt and funding just like we still do with the first thousand-plus federal social spending programs.

Hard to be optimistic with these leaders facing these problems.
5584  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Environmental issues - re: Sea Levels on: November 25, 2009, 11:34:16 PM
The oceans go up and down more each day than they do in a century.  

Rotterdam is a 1000+ year old city, the dam was built in the 1260s, the sea level issues I assume pre-date CO2 escalations.

The piece can't resist blaming it all on 'climate change' and that humans caused it:
"A rise in temperatures around the world due to carbon emissions since the industrial revolution means many icecaps and glaciers are steadily melting."

But if icecaps melting is what causes sea levels to rise, how do we explain Arctic and Indian oceans levels falling:

"Europe's Space Agency's ERS-2 satellite has determined that over the last 10 years, sea level in the Arctic Ocean has been falling at an average rate of about 2 mm/year."  -

"Indian Ocean - sea levels falling
In 2003, Nils-Axel Mörner and his colleagues (see below) pub-
lished a well-documented paper showing that sea levels in the
Maldives have fallen substantially – fallen! – in the last 30 years.
I find it curious that we haven't heard about this.

"The Maldives in the central Indian Ocean consist of some 1,200
individual islands grouped in about 20 larger atolls," says Mörner.
In-as-much as the islands rise only three to seven feet above sea
level, they have been condemned by the IPCC to flooding in the
near future.

Mörner disagrees with this scenario. "In our study of the coastal
dynamics and the geomorphology of the shores," writes Mörner,
"we were unable to detect any traces of a recent sea level rise.
On the contrary, we found quite clear morphological indications
of a recent fall in sea level."

Mörner’s group found that sea levels stood about 60 cm higher
around A.D. 1150 than today, and more recently, about 30 cm
higher than today."

Besides drought and flood, warming and cooling, not surprisingly, the United Nations also says that climate change also causes prostitution:

"The effects of climate change have driven women in communities in coastal areas in poor countries like the Philippines into dangerous work, and sometimes even the flesh trade, a United Nations official said."
The Sky Isn't Falling and
the Sea Isn't Rising
By S. Fred Singer, Professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project in Fairfax, Va.
Back to the original piece: "Rotterdam is promoting the use of green roofs to collect rain water" - No mention of how many green roofs in Rotterdam it will take to bring the ocean down to its intended, optimum level.
If the earth did not have humans,IMHO the areas we call Rotterdam and New Orleans would still have water issues.
5585  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: November 24, 2009, 03:57:36 PM
"PS he was one of Al Gores big sources for his movie."

Boyo,  You are correct; these are the lead scientists of the IPCC. These are the guys that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.   I hope that doesn't diminish the accomplishments of this year's winner...

The US EPA categorized CO2 as a toxin based on their work.  Anyone committed to honest and accurate science would demand immediately that ruling be revisited.
5586  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 24, 2009, 01:17:28 PM
"The 'Real' Jobless Rate: 17.5% Of Workers Are Unemployed"

For young blacks that number is 35%.  Hope and change...
5587  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: November 24, 2009, 01:08:37 PM
Likewise, Thanks BBG for covering this.  I have traveling, reading about it here, and wondering when the so-called mainstream will be forced to cover it.

There will be a response.   Usual is shoot the messenger, in this case the 'hacker'.

Looks more to me like a whistleblower (hero) than a hacker.

I wonder if any of this will be followed with legal action.  Against the hacker?   What about charges regarding the fraud committed on the public or on the funders of the tweaked data and faulty work, for example the 'scientist' who promised to delete the data before he would release it for McIntire's request under the Freedom of  Information Act...

Will these frauds be fired or have credentials and appointments pulled?
5588  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Common Sense Conservatism on: November 15, 2009, 01:39:24 PM
Rarick wrote: "Maybe if the Republicans moved to a more Libertarian stance, they would gain some more traction."

Not just libertarian as if that were just one possible direction to turn, but to truly make the honest reading and adherence to founding principles and constitutional limits on government that these elected officials are already sworn to uphold; that is what I would like to see.  Unfortunately, constitutional and libertarian labels remind people of candidates that tend to win about a half percent of the vote.  People see them as uncompromising on principles (a compliment in my book) but unworkable in today's society.  In other words, if you were sworn to these principles you could do nothing but dismantle most of the 'government' as we know it.  People envision disruption and riots in the streets.  The dependency we have created over the last half century or so is very real and not easy to repeal.

Another concept comes from the NY Pravda article just posted about Palin is the term 'common sense conservatism'.  One commentator during the last campaign looked at Palin's record as Governor and called it 'pragmatic conservatism' with the idea that supporters who expect her to govern with uncompromising conservatism will be sadly disappointed.

The key poiint in my mind is for the candidate or the leader to always know we need to turn, even with very small steps, in the right direction, toward limited government, founding principles, individual liberties and responsibilities and private sector solutions, not to pretend that we can dismantle huge programs overnight.

Another active non-candidate of this type is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty who has been visiting Iowa, New Hampshire etc.  He is NOT a sweep you off your feet, charismatic candidate, but he is a level-headed, common sense conservative that opponents easily underestimate.  After plenty of ground testing efforts he hasn't broken out of the lower single digit support and probably won't until the bigger name, front runners start beating each other up.  What he has done is run, win and govern in a medium sized, blue to purple state - 2 terms. 

In terms of his home state polling, half of Minnesotans predict that he will win the nomination.  Amazing number considering most Americans haven't even heard of him, also a higher percentage than actially plan to vote for him if he is the nominee.

Picking Pawlenty wouldn't guarantee you a win in MN; his wins were against second rate candidates, not the leader of the free world with the support of the Chicago machine.  Picking Palin doesn't deliver you Alaska because that is already a red state.  Picking Mitt doesn't bring you Massachesetts (or Utah) nor does picking Huck bring you Arkansas, those are not swing states.  So this will all come down to political skill, positioning and presentation that can be effective across the heartland and in all the usual key states.
5589  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: re. Democrats Checkmate Themselves on: November 13, 2009, 02:23:54 PM
Very interesting take.  Democrat Senators in red and split states might as well vote yes on the Pelosi-Obama agenda, against their constituents, because otherwise they will be destroyed by their own parties and activists.  That doesn't bode well for defeating the bill.  Voting against health care in the Dem party would be like one of us leaving our country.  They could switch parties but I don't any of them are in a position or interest to do that.

I would not want to be in the situation of these moderates, R or D, trying to figure out what to do politically without having any backbone or principles of their own. 

5590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate, Causes of the Crash on: November 13, 2009, 02:07:59 PM
Crafty,  The Pinto piece is the best I have read describing how this all went wrong.  Liberals think it was the greedy capitalists packaging and disguising bad loans in portfolios that caused the problems, but \packaging mortgages of different sizes and shapes would not have caused any new problem IF the underlying loans had been based on creditworthiness, with real valuations and down payments, with default rates at or under the historic levels of between 1 and 2%.

Unfortunately there is a segment of America not ready for home ownership and forcing them in before they are ready doesn't work.  There is a segment of our country without a consistent work history, that does not have good credit or a history of paying all their bills, much less on time.  They tend to live in America's inner cities and they are disproportionately non-white.  If you lend based on creditworthiness or opposed the bill of 1992 or the expansions upon expansions of forced and incentivized bad lending policies, you were labeled racist.

Programs made in the name of affordability are what made the product unaffordable - just like we are doing with health care and college tuition. 

If we wanted real affordability, we would: 1) use market discipline to control the price, not skew it with artificial rules and subsidies, and: 2) Affordability, meaning cost as a fraction of income, comes mostly from the denominator - INCOME, which is based on education, effort and getting people to participate positively in our economic system.  Most government intervention and spending programs do the opposite.

Handing people freebies that require negative behavior to qualify, and artificial flooding of markets with taxpayer money has exactly the opposite affect; it increases dependency and pushes costs up further and further from reach.
5591  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security, re. political master stroke on: November 13, 2009, 01:36:07 PM
CCP, I agree.  This is a political stroke and a governing error that will likely blow up (figuratively) in their political face.

Some problems with criminalization of terror:
a) Suicide martyrs want to die anyway, love the attention, and are already incarcerated.
b) Goal of anti-terrorism is preemption / prevention; 'punishment' does nothing.
c) Discovery blows the cover of people and methods.
d) Defense will put USA, our anti-terrorism efforts and justice system on trial, while getting evidence thrown out.

Will the next Mohamed Atta or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed need to be caught exactly in the act, require probable cause to be bothered, be read his rights and consult an attorney, etc. before the US can take preventive, security actions??
5592  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Daily Expression of Gratitude on: November 13, 2009, 12:14:08 AM
I am grateful for the military police who shot the Ft. Hood killer.

Guide Dog on Veterans Day already thanked all who served and I belatedly second that, to those I don't even know, to my own father and to my grandfathers before him.  I am grateful.

I wish I could single out and thank everyone who served, but here's one great American.  I ran across this reading about the Fort Hood victims.  This could be under rest in peace, but I just want to say I am grateful for amazing courage and service:
Sgt. Amy Krueger

Krueger, 29, of Kiel, Wis., joined the Army after the 2001 terrorist attacks and had vowed to take on Usama bin Laden, her mother, Jeri Krueger said.

Amy Krueger arrived at Fort Hood on Tuesday and was scheduled to be sent to Afghanistan in December, the mother told the Herald Times Reporter of Manitowoc.

Jeri Krueger recalled telling her daughter that she could not take on bin Laden by herself.

"Watch me," her daughter replied.

Kiel High School Principal Dario Talerico told The Associated Press that Krueger graduated from the school in 1998 and had spoken at least once to local elementary school students about her career.

"I just remember that Amy was a very good kid, who like most kids in a small town are just looking for what their next step in life was going to be and she chose the military," Talerico said. "Once she got into the military, she really connected with that kind of lifestyle and was really proud to serve her country."
5593  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Legal issues: Ft. Hood, 14 Dead, Selective enforcement of federal laws on: November 12, 2009, 11:49:25 PM
14 Dead, not 13.  So many categories this could fall under... Leave it to Michelle Malkin to pick up what everyone else is ignoring, so far.

Was a crime committed (on the 14th victim)? Was a life ended?  Apart from the law and regarding the 14th, does this (in your opinion) violate Thou shalt not kill? 

"seldom mentioned is the most hidden victim — soldier Francheska Velez’s unborn baby. Velez was on maternity leave when she stopped at Ft. Hood, where she and the child she carried in her womb fell victim to Hasan’s bullet."
The Obama Justice Department will never prosecute, but raising the question provides a teachable moment:

    In the interest of true justice, Hasan should be prosecuted under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as Laci and Conner’s law, named for the pregnant woman and unborn baby who were murdered in California by Scott Peterson, the baby’s father.

    It would seem that the law applies in this case for three reasons: the act of violence was committed on federal property…the shooting was allegedly done by a member of the military…and the violence could be classified as an act of terrorism.

    …The Obama Administration has a moral obligation to press for prosecution of Hasan under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. If such a legal path is ignored, it will demonstrate to the world that the President is caving into a pro-abortion lobby who will not recognize the legal rights of any child in the womb—even a child whose mother desperately longs to give birth.

    My father had a favorite saying which he applied to criminal and terroristic acts: “Who weeps for the victim?” Let’s hope that, in this case, the President weeps for the victim who never had a chance to see a mother’s loving face.
Here's the law:
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-212) is a United States law which recognizes a "child in utero" as a legal victim, if he or she is injured or killed during the commission of any of over 60 listed federal crimes of violence. The law defines "child in utero" as "a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."[2]

The law is codified in two sections of the United States Code: Title 18, Chapter 1 (Crimes), §1841 (18 USC 1841) and Title 10, Chapter 22 (Uniform Code of Military Justice) §919a (Article 119a).

The law applies only to certain offenses over which the United States government has jurisdiction, including certain crimes committed on Federal properties, against certain Federal officials and employees, and by members of the military. In addition, it covers certain crimes that are defined by statute as federal offenses wherever they occur, no matter who commits them, such as certain crimes of terrorism.
5594  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Trickle Down Destruction on: November 12, 2009, 10:31:33 AM
$13 trillion of American wealth has been destroyed since San Francisco liberal congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was chosen by America to be Speaker, Minneapolis congressman Keith Ellison put his hand on the Koran to serve with her, all the committee chairmanships turned over to the likes of Barney Frank and Charlie Rangel, and young Obama moved from the minority to the majority to the White House in a successful takeover of the other branches of government.

$13 Trillion destroyed and now the U6 measure of unemployment approaches 17% and rising.

That's the good news; think where we would be without trillions in phony Keynesian stimuli and the resulting millions of jobs created or saved.  shocked sad  huh

So ... from all we have learned ... what is our political - economic policy going forward?

a) Let the 'Bush' tax cuts expire for a massive tax increase on 'the rich', the only ones capable of hiring anyone.

b) Pass a 2000 page multi-trillion dollar government expansion and control program to handcuff all Americans but especially to place more burdens and mandates on businesses, in particular those who hire and employ people.

c) Remove the cap on 'FICA' income making the tax rate on 'wealthy' go way over 50%, before state, local, double taxation, and other new taxes such as energy, and reducing social security from a supplemental insurance program to just another failed general welfare program.

d) Add $3000 per family for a new energy tax - from all that extra money you have lying around - and really go after companies that still actually do anything or produce anything in America.

e) Raise the Death Tax from zero to 55%, leaving basically no reason whatsoever for anyone who knows how to  build wealth and employ anyone to continue to do so.

f) Raise capital gains tax rates, just as our largest economic competitor is lowering tax rates.

g) Increase Government Spending at dollar and percentage levels never heard of before.

h) Instead of a 'Fair Tax' to replace the income tax, the talk now is for a federal VAT/sales tax ON TOP OF raised levels of income taxation.  Why? because they already know that the tax rate increases on the rich are just punitive and dramatic in nature and don't actually bring in more revenue, like rate decreases did.  So first you must punish the rich - who most easily can rearrange their affairs, then you still have to raise revenues.

i) Inflate the currency.  Continue to flood the market with dollars at unprecedented levels while the economy stagnates or contracts.  That is inflation, by definition.  Price increases and wealth destruction follow.  We already know that but continue to do it.

j) Generational theft.  For all talk and action about tax increases, no one even pretends they will be enough to close the gap on unfunded liabilities.  Unlike our predecessors leaving things better than ever before, the result of the above economic destruction policies, uncontrolled spending, high rates of taxation and regulation/strangulation, debt, devalued dollars and unfunded liabilities, is to leave the bills behind for our children and our children's chilren.

How is that for hope and change?   - Doug
5595  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: November 11, 2009, 12:08:50 PM
"China roughly 1 billion people is installing coal plants  and doubling their capacity.  USA about 400 million people is installing solar plants and doubling their capacity at the same rate.  Look at the proportionality- the energy needs of the 400 million will be met by the solar capacity way before the same will happen with 1 billion.  Therefore there is no way that the "industrial wealthy west" will ever be able to balance off the developing countries."

The conclusion is true and exemptions make no sense, we will never 'balance off' their CO2 increases no matter our effort.  I didn't follow you on the part before that regarding solar.  I assume you are being illustrative,  but we now get roughly 0% (with rounding) of our total energy from solar.  After we double that, solar production will grow to roughly 0% of total energy requirements.

If manufacturing is made to be even more prohibitive in the west, it will continue to shift to where the restrictions don't exist.

We can dabble in solar at 15 times the cost of current electricity, we can dabble with wind at 5 times the cost of unsubsidized electricity and we can pursue other hobbyist sources.  But we still will need the energy to drive the economy unless we just accept economic failure as is the policy of the current leftist machine.

Ethanol steals farm land from our food supply.  Natural gas at the electric plant level is a complete waste because it can be piped to location eliminating the transmission loss.  Both still involve carbon release.  Also gas taken for electricity drives up the cost to heat homes and makes it less available for a transportation substitute.

New carbon-free power in any real quantity will come from nuclear, and there is about a 10 year delay to get a new plant producing.  Or it will come from some other method not yet invented, but it is more likely to get invented after we quit subsidizing known failures and crippling our economy. (MHO)
5596  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: November 11, 2009, 11:36:44 AM
Between the China bulls and bears, I think the truth is somewhere in between.  There has been amazing growth but within that growth are numbers that wouldn't survive serious audit as well as a foundation built partly on a house of cards like bank loan portfolios etc.

Speaking of supply side, they actually lowered their corporate income tax rate in Jan. 2008 right while we were transitioning into Marxism.

It is actually good for the US economy to have the rest of the world strong economically.  In the case of China, my wish is for them to collapse to the point of breaking the regime, and then survive and grow as a free and strong economy that would challenge us to get our own economic house in order.  (Is that too much to ask?)
5597  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Stimulus failure - Must look at it both ways on: November 11, 2009, 11:27:47 AM
My initial reaction as I read the report was similar to Crafty's but not as harsh.  I couldn't think of reply lines other than sarcasm... Stimulus was poorly targeted, didn't solve the problem - no kidding...

Though it looks like a deck chair debate on a Titanic going under, I think it IS VERY important for serious studies like this one to look at the results of this nonsense and get the failed results out there for the electorate to see.

If the trillions were not targeted at the problem areas in the country, and they were not randomly dropped from an airplane - actually be a better Keynesian attempt than this one - then the funds were disbursed based on other cynical means,  political influence of the members in power and even worse, the cronyism of the unelected staffers serving the public from their extremist organizations, spreading our not-earned-yet money on the family and friends plan.

Just like Glen Beck's program to study the Czars and a trillion times more important is for investigators to follow the money trail of these people that would trivialize the term drunken sailors. 

Most closed auto dealerships had Republican ownership.  I don't know what that means or why you rebuild an industry a federal mandate to close sales and service locations, but that is a heads-up that EVERYTHING they do and every dollar they printed, borrowed and wasted needs to be scrutinized.

The corruption and cronyism might be the sword that brings this group down, but as Crafty states, the way forward is not Keynesian economic flooding and tampering, it needs to be a comprehensive system of responsible, pro-growth measures - so far not even on the table for discussion.
5598  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American History on: November 10, 2009, 12:11:22 AM
Thank you Crafty for marking Reagan in particular for his leadership that led to the collapse of the wall.  Much as Barack and Hillary think it is all about them and others think that everyone worked toward that goal, really most didn't.  IIRC, Reagan stood up to a Democratic congress over defense spending, he stood up to massive protests in Europe for the deployment of Pershing II missiles, he stood up to the objections of both Gorbachev and his own advisers regarding SDI at Reykjavik.  And he stood up to his own speechwriters and diplomacy team regarding the command to tear down the wall.
The quote:  "There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Keep in mind that the wall was in Berlin, East Germany and Mr. Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union.  Reagan didn't even bother to call on East Germany to tear down the wall.   He was calling it out for what it what it was - a puppet repressive machine controlled from a distance and he was calling out his counterpart to back up his talk about openness and reform, glasnost and perestroika, with action and deed.

Here is an inside story written by the speech writer:

Watch the video again with the sad thought in mind that the current first family never found any reason to be proud of America before Barack was nominated.  sad
5599  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government Programs, spending - We salute you, Mr. Earmarker on: November 09, 2009, 10:37:43 PM
5600  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 09, 2009, 10:07:47 PM
Amazing and appalling that these public officials were in such a hurry to take these homes and that now, a decade later, the project will not be built.

Your home is your castle.  You are constitutionally protected against unreasonable search.  But condemnation, taking of the title and bulldozing can be done simply in the name of economic favoritism according to Anthony Kennedy siding with all the 'liberals' on the court.
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