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5651  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / (Famous people reading this forum) The Obama Spending Record on: May 31, 2012, 10:56:51 AM
Also could be entitled famous people reading the forum.   wink

The Obama Spending Record

Every journalist not in the re-election tank has been shredding President Obama's recent claim that spending growth has been modest on his watch. But kudos in particular to the Associated Press for hitting several White House accounting gimmicks in a dispatch last week.

Team Obama has lately been arguing that the astronomical spending blowout of fiscal 2009 was President Bush's fault and that outlays have since climbed only moderately. This means ignoring that Mr. Obama's $831 billion stimulus was enacted during that notorious fiscal year that straddles both presidencies. And AP cataloged various other distortions embedded in the Obama claim. For example, early in his term Mr. Obama signed an omnibus appropriations bill that also increased spending in fiscal 2009. This was less than a month after the stimulus.

Beyond the AP report, it's also worth noting that Mr. Obama endorsed other 2009 spending that he now blames for today's deficits. As a senator, Mr. Obama was habitually absent during significant votes. But one that he did show up for in 2008 was the Senate's vote on the 2009 budget resolution, and he voted "yes." Mr. Obama showed up again in the fall to vote for TARP. One can reasonably label this as Bush spending, but it occurred with an explicit Obama approval.

Where Senator Obama did oppose the spending patterns of the Bush years, it was often, as with Medicaid, because Mr. Obama wanted to spend more. Speaking of health care, and given all of this attention on the Obama spending history, it should not be forgotten that the big taxpayer bills generated by ObamaCare are still to come.

Is federal spending really the issue that Barack Obama wants at the center of this campaign?
5652  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 31, 2012, 10:48:27 AM
I leave the underlying problems of the inner city for another thread and my views are out there.  The analogy point was that in-migration / out-migration at the margin matter immensely at balancing a public budget.  You need all these factors moving in the right direction - and then some.  And they aren't.   I agree that Gov. Brown cannot solve problems without the electorate and the assembly on the right track.  I have not followed Brown closely, but my guess is that if all he has proposed were enacted it would not improve or solve things.

I don't know how to say it more persuasively, but another 2% tax (20% tax increase on job creators) won't bring in another 2%.  Experience says it will bring in about the same amount or less and if investment leaves, jobs leave. The rich adjust their behavior; they are already paying all of what they are willing to pay.

Both Brown and Schwarznegger were mavericks at one point in their own parties with the potential to do some straight talk and push for sweeping change.  None of that to my knowledge is happening.

You're entitled to your own state governance.  My problem is that I don't see how America gets healthy with California in hospice.
5653  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: May 31, 2012, 10:07:29 AM
Okay, point taken.
5654  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 31, 2012, 09:57:38 AM
JDN, Of course Calif is beautiful, so is Greece.  Solving the economic problems is a matter of moving things in the right direction in terms of business climate and productive investment.  California needs robust growth going forward to survive, not a gradual erosion of its economic greatness, Silicon Valley, etc. Those other states are doing something right.  Calif, not Wisconsin or Iowa, leads this nation economically, at the moment it is in the wrong direction.  Calif can't survive having so many factors moving against them, lower workforce participation rates, out migration of workers, business investment out or down, (still) increasing regulations on business, failure to develop natural resources, inflationary capital gains taxed at very high ordinary income rates, the worst corporate tax rate in the developed world, etc. etc.

Remember the economic greatness of Japan and how it stalled.  At the start of the stall, it was said (WSJ I believe) that what Japan's economy needed was bold action on a number of policy fronts, and that what Japan's political system was incapable of is bold action.   

California's economic problems today are far worse.  Long term unemployment is undermeasured at 10-11%,  underemployment at 20%, workforce non-participation rate dropping toward 50%, and productive resources in a net-outflow direction?  What they need (MHO) and are incapable of is a sharp turn toward red-state style governing, Scott Walker style public sector reforms, sharp public spending cuts, sweeping deregulation (the excessive ones, not pollution, corruption etc.) and tax rates competitive with its neighbors and competitors.  JDN, you may support some of this but really these ideas are not even on the table.
Here is a different example of a net in-migration solving budget problems, my daughter's outer ring suburban school district.  They have conservative governing principles, a strong academic focus, a 99% graduation rate and a 93% on-to-college rate, and put out color glossy annual reports and advertising to tout it.  That shouldn't matter in the public sector but MN has a public school open enrollment policy so kids (parents) can choose their school district without moving if the district has the space to accept them.  Roughly 10k/year of state funding follows the kid to the district.  The net inflow to the good districts allows them to fully utilize existing resources and hold the line against new tax levies.  With a class size close to 30, $10,000 per kid per year is a revenue stream of close to 300k per classroom, enough to hire a teacher, a smartboard and pay for quite a bit of overhead (hockey arena, domed stadium, orchestras, foreign language immersions, college programs etc.  In Mpls OTOH, they probably have far better diversity training, Head Start participation and other programs, friendship camps etc. but the graduation rate is 50%, the outflow of students and money in massive, the cost is double at 20k/yr/student and the budget situation is a mess. When they closed North high, hardly anyone noticed because the enrollment was a fraction of what it once was.  It isn't just the out-migration that is killing them (or Calif), it is that the underlying causes of that movement keep going unaddressed and unsolved.
5655  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: May 30, 2012, 10:05:38 PM
"some did hold thumbs up watching Jews pass by on trains to death camps" - comment below

"For centuries Poland was indeed tolerant of Jews."  - agree.

It was just movie but one thing I took from Schindler's List was that even people in the line were not fully aware of what was happening.  The crime was so horrendous the victims couldn't comprehend it.  Who knows what an outward sign of approval meant.
5656  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 30, 2012, 05:12:38 PM
"I can't imagine moving to Iowa from CA"

The post was empirical, not imaginary.  It didn't say you would move; it said others already have.  A serious rebuttal would be to quote a study to the contrary or point out what is wrong with their methodology.  Nothing but silence on those scores.

JDN's reaction to be called out on condescension for the heartland is to pile on more of it.  What a shame.  Iowa jokes are big here.  Keyword is joke, not just snobbery - like you and the bitter clingers guy.  What part of half the unemployment rate and friendlier to business (and cleaner air, cleaner water, better education and lower crime rate) don't you get? That only applies to people out of work?  Okay, but by that definition it still applies to millions of people.  Of course they are too poor or too stupid to matter?  What wealth do unemployed people have is just more snobbery.  One thing each unemployed, willing-to-work person has is perhaps 1-5 million dollars or more of future earnings.

It is no joke here in the Twin Cities that the income tax rate across the border in South Dakota is zero.  Look at what they don't have culturally that we do... still jobs leave.  Not all jobs leave but some do.  3M (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing) fought for years with the state government over taxes, then expanded in a lower tax state:

We've had this discussion before.  That you won't admit what happens at the margin is CRUCIAL in economics, doesn't mean it isn't so.  There is a force pulling economic activity out of California.  That doesn't mean all economic activity leaves.  But a net out-migration of productive human resources is a force large enough to prevent you from solving your state budget mess without having to do even more painful root canal work.  Keep in mind you do not have to leave Calif to make some of your US income taxable in other states.

Another choice for Californians besides leaving or ignoring what is wrong or mocking those who govern responsibly would be to fix what is broken.  Good luck solving your problems without admitting them, or caring.

Unemployment rates by state, April 2012, BLS, link above
Rank   State   Rate
1    NORTH DAKOTA    3.0
2    NEBRASKA    3.9
3    SOUTH DAKOTA    4.3
4    VERMONT    4.6
5    NEW HAMPSHIRE    5.0
5    OKLAHOMA    5.0
7    IOWA    5.1
8    WYOMING    5.3
9    MINNESOTA    5.6
9    VIRGINIA    5.6
11    UTAH    6.0
12    KANSAS    6.1
12    MONTANA    6.1
14    HAWAII    6.3
14    MASSACHUSETTS    6.3
16    MARYLAND    6.7
16    WEST VIRGINIA    6.7
16    WISCONSIN    6.7
19    DELAWARE    6.8
20    ALASKA    6.9
20    NEW MEXICO    6.9
20    TEXAS    6.9
23    LOUISIANA    7.1
24    ALABAMA    7.2
24    ARKANSAS    7.2
24    MAINE    7.2
27    MISSOURI    7.3
28    OHIO    7.4
28    PENNSYLVANIA    7.4
30    CONNECTICUT    7.7
30    IDAHO    7.7
32    TENNESSEE    7.8
33    COLORADO    7.9
33    INDIANA    7.9
35    WASHINGTON    8.1
36    ARIZONA    8.2
37    KENTUCKY    8.3
37    MICHIGAN    8.3
39    NEW YORK    8.5
39    OREGON    8.5
41    FLORIDA    8.7
41    ILLINOIS    8.7
41    MISSISSIPPI    8.7
44    SOUTH CAROLINA    8.8
45    GEORGIA    8.9
46    NEW JERSEY    9.1
47    NORTH CAROLINA    9.4
49    CALIFORNIA    10.9
50    RHODE ISLAND    11.2
51    NEVADA    11.7
5657  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans, Polish Death Camps? on: May 30, 2012, 04:28:18 PM
Analogy would be if Romney's teleprompter said 'Amercia' and he pronounced it "a-mer-see-a".

Republicans are used to being held to a double standard on areas they are purported to be strong on, such as moral behaviors.  I don't a lot of sympathy for Mark Foley and the young pages or the Idaho Senator soliciting in the MSP men's room. Out they go often taking the party and the principle with them.

"give Obama the same break"

Obama has been held out to us as the smartest guy to set foot in the oval office, Rhodes scholar Clinton notwithstanding.  I believe it was JDN that pointed out in 2008 that McCain finished last in his naval academy class meaning that intelligence matters and that we will point out all evidence to the contrary.  (McCain knows how to pronounce 'corpsman'.) Obama still chooses to not let us know how he got where he got, whether it was based on merit or on something else.  I wonder how many times Bush was ridiculed for saying nuc-yular or other Bushisms.  When people see evidence that this emperor has no clothes and the msm take a pass on it, it is going to be circulated around the other places where people point things out to each other.

His teleprompter writer needs to write Corpsman as core-man to cover his ignorance and lifetime disinterest in all things military.  His handlers who proofread his speeches are so careful and thorough in honoring great American socialists but could give a rat's ass about offending our allies.  They should be replaced with better ones if he is interested in a second term.  Assuming Pres. Obama knows better, it tells me he is too bored with his own speeches to listen carefully while he delivers them.

Speaking of gaffes, his first real Presidential decision was to choose Joe Biden, a clean and articulate Senator, as the second smartest person in the land, assuming smarts are paramount.  His governing philosophy from Obamacare to Solyindra to carbon tax to cash for clunkers is that the smart people in Washington know better than you what is best for you.  I not only don't want to be ruled by people smarter than me but I also stubbornly deny that they in fact are.
5658  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans on: May 30, 2012, 02:01:56 PM
Speaking of gaffes  shocked
"But the Web was taking no shortage of presidential potshots Wednesday over Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s new mobile app, which embarrassingly misspelled “America.”
Yes, Internet. Welcome to AMERCIA."
This will be exploited by the 57 states/CorPsman guy?  We may look back and say this cost Romney the election.
5659  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: May 30, 2012, 01:56:27 PM
While you were asking how they could possibly leave with the condescension that no state in the heartland is livable after living in California, $10.6 billion of lost economic activity left.  Much of Calif FYI is not on the beach.

The idle ivory tower, liberal think tank, second and third generation, never-built-a-company wealth might never leave.  Those striving for future wealth are leaving in droves.

The article isn't about whether I think people could possibly out-migrate; it is about the part that is already happening.

Let's try asking another way about the desirability of building products in California.  Of all the great products made by great California companies (like Apple, Intel, Standard Oil of Calif and all the rest) what portion of those products are made in California employing another generation of Californians?  None??

5660  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 30, 2012, 01:37:34 PM
"A brief search on the subject.   Amongst Jews there were many memories of Poles very happy to see them exterminated.  Is this fair?..."
CCP, This quote from your link says it all:
"Poland was the only country in occupied Europe where giving any kind of help to the Jews resulted in summary execution of the helper and his or her family."

When death to your family was at stake in a Nazi military occupation, it is hard to judge any lack of resistance.  I assume there was no death camp in Poland that preceded Nazi-occupation.  Poles suffered enough in WWII and don't need to be blamed in American President misspeak for hosting the Holocaust. 

You would think the President pushing anti-wall street / anti-wealth rhetoric now, not much different from 1930s politics, would be more careful.

Obama has shown his lack of historic knowledge previously: "I had an uncle who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps." 

Auschwitz was 'liberated' by the Soviets.
5661  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance Glibness - Obamanomics is polling no confidence on: May 30, 2012, 12:56:02 PM
IBD Editorials takes a look at performance and confidence in this 'recovery' compared to Reagan recovery and even the Bush economy.

A No Confidence Vote For Obamanomics
05/29/2012 06:45 PM ET

Economy: Consumer confidence took a "surprise" tumble in May, as home prices hit 10-year lows. Tell us again why economists keep calling bad economic news about Obama's so-called recovery "unexpected"?

Analysts had predicted the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index would climb to 70 in May. Instead it dropped more than four points to 64.9, the biggest drop since last fall.

It's the latest in another round of disappointing numbers. Just a few weeks ago, new jobs came in "unexpectedly" low. And before that, GDP data disappointed.

Underperforming economic indicators have been so common under Obama that the only mystery is why the experts keep getting caught off guard.

In the case of the Consumer Confidence Index, the current number — bad as it is — doesn't even tell the whole story.

First, it's worth noting the index has fallen for three months. Even if it had hit forecasts, it would still be well below 90, which signals a healthy economy.

The current reading is worse when you realize that under President Bush — you know, the guy who Obama says ruined the economy — confidence averaged 88.

That's despite two recessions, a terrorist massacre and two long wars. Throughout Obama's "recovery," the index has averaged 57.

To really get a sense of how dismal Obama's confidence ratings have been, you need to compare them to those during the Reagan recovery (for a visual display, see chart).

The 1981-82 recession lasted almost as long as the last one — 16 months vs. 18 months — and pushed unemployment higher. Yet confidence roared back as Reagan's economic policies powered a strong and sustained recovery, with the index topping 100 most months.

What reason do people have to feel confident today?

Almost three years into the recovery, unemployment is still above 8%, household incomes are down more than 5%, gasoline prices remain at historic highs, and the economy can only eke out meager gains.

On top of this, we learned this week that housing prices are back at their mid-2002 levels. So, naturally, Obama's again making excuses and shifting blame.

It's the fault of the long recession, he says. The economy is still facing "head winds." The GOP is "standing in the way" of his new stimulus spending plans and creating "uncertainty" with its calls for more spending cuts in exchange for another debt ceiling increase.

The real reason the economy is so vulnerable to "head winds" is because Obama's recovery has been so lousy. That has nothing to do with the recession, since deep recessions are typically followed by even more powerful recoveries.

Indeed, the only reason the economy continues to struggle for breath is because Obama continues to choke off its air supply. Even now, he has no clue how his policy prescriptions of vast new federal spending, gargantuan debt, massive regulation, a government health care takeover, and endless bashing of businessmen, profits and the "rich" are hampering growth.

Still, we are confident of one thing. The economy will come roaring back to life once all that stops.
5662  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California's net out-migration: $10.6 billion in lost economic activity on: May 30, 2012, 12:43:23 PM
In order to truly raise taxes on the rich, you must first bar the exits.

Editorial: Still heading for exits from California

Tax group finds 125,000 more people left California than arrived in most recent period.

The 1996 Kurt Russell movie "Escape from L.A." might be remade as "Escape from California." New data show record numbers of Californians "outmigrating" to other states. The state's population is still growing, although at a slower rate, because of in-state births and immigration from other countries. However, recent immigrants generally have lower incomes than citizens, thus lowering the tax base.

The figures come from a new calculator created by the Tax Foundation, a taxpayers' rights group. It's online at:

During 2009-10, the latest period available, 406,833 Californians migrated to other states, while 281,521 people came here. Net outmigration: 125,312. Lost economic activity from those who left: $10.6 billion. Given that state and local taxes take about 10 percent, that comes to about $1.6 billion in lost tax revenue – for just one year.

Let's calculate the past decade, 2000-10. During that time, 4.9 million left the state, 2.5 million came in. Net out-migration: 1.4 million. Yearly lost economic production: $146 billion. Lost tax revenues, about $14.6 billion a year. That's almost twice the $8.5 billion Gov. Jerry Brown seeks in his tax increase on the November ballot.
(Much more at the link)
5663  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 30, 2012, 12:33:13 PM
No one is going to lose their health plan.  Really??  (I lost mine.)

Both sides of this debate need a plan to follow the Supreme Court decision, either way, next month.

Obamacare diagnosed as quackery
Court, Congress advised to quash it
By Sally C. Pipes
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - Updated 1 day ago

The Supreme Court hasn’t yet rendered its verdict on Obamacare, but the nation’s doctors have. And they think it will wreck America’s health care system.

The latest evidence comes from a new survey of young doctors by the Physicians Foundation. Nearly 60 percent of doctors aged 40 and under are pessimistic about the future of American health care. Just 22 percent are optimistic.

The number-one reason doctors cited for their pessimism? Obamacare, which was singled out by more than a third. Add in related concerns — like distrust of government to do the right thing and the feeling that government intervention hurts patient care — and the docs’ hostility to Obamacare becomes even more intense.

When asked specifically for their diagnosis of Obama- care, just 23 percent say it will have a positive impact on their practice. Half say the effect will be negative.

These findings line up with an earlier survey of doctors by consulting firm Deloitte, which found that two-thirds of all doctors expect the quality of health care to decline under Obama- care.

Physician pessimism is understandable, as Obama- care’s promises are crumbling even before the law takes full effect.

For example, Americans were promised repeatedly that they could keep their insurance if they liked it. But the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now admits that as many as 20 million people could lose their employer-provided coverage and have to buy insurance on government-run exchanges.

Obamacare was also supposed to bend the health care cost curve down, but the government now estimates that it will add more than $300 billion to the nation’s health tab over the next decade. According to the CBO, the cost of the law over the decade commencing in 2010 has risen to $1.76 trillion — almost double the original estimate of $940 billion.

Why should doctors trust that Obama- care’s other promises about improving the quality of care will be any more reliable? After all, Obamacare contains several provisions expressly designed to limit doctors’ ability to effectively treat their patients.

Take the law’s Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). These integrated networks of health care providers are supposed to improve the coordination of Medicare patients’ care by bringing multiple doctors under one roof.

Improved communication among doctors should lead to less waste and lower costs — or so the theory goes.

But according to the Cleveland Clinic — one of the health systems that inspired the ACOs — the administration’s rules are “replete with prescriptive requirements that have little to do with outcomes” and “detailed governance and reporting requirements that create significant administrative burdens.”

In other words, ACOs will effectively dictate to doctors how they must treat their patients.

Or consider the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The board has broad authority to force Medicare to meet pre-set spending targets.

But the panel cannot make any changes to Medicare’s fee-for-service structure or adjust the level of benefits that seniors receive. So the board has only one legitimate option for getting Medicare spending under the targets — lowering reimbursement rates for doctors, nurses and hospitals.

Lower reimbursements may cause some providers to reduce the number of Medicare patients they’ll see — or refuse to treat them altogether.

Already, some doctors are shutting their doors to senior citizens. An American Medical Association survey found that nearly a third of primary care physicians restrict the number of Medicare patients they will see.

Another Obamacare creation, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, will be just as destructive as IPAB. It is supposed to improve health care quality by comparing the effectiveness of different treatments.

But this “outcomes research” will likely be used to create top-down treatment guidelines that physicians will be expected to follow in order to get paid — even if the recommendations contradict their judgment of what’s best for a particular patient.

Such research led federal officials to recommend three years ago that women avoid getting regular mammograms in their 40s, even though breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women aged 35 to 50.

The Supreme Court could invalidate Obamacare in its entirety this June, when it renders its verdict on the law’s constitutionality. If it doesn’t, then Congress will need to heed the warning coming from the nation’s doctors that Obamacare is the wrong prescription for the nation’s health care system.

Sally C. Pipes is president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute.

5664  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate, Housing values down on: May 30, 2012, 12:24:32 PM
Beating Wesbury to his positive spin take on this, keyword with continued downtrend is "surprising".

US pending homes sales post surprise fall in April

Wed May 30, 2012 11:12am EDT

* U.S. pending home sales fall 5.5 percent in April

* Mortgage applications drop 1.3 percent in latest week

By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) - Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell in April to a four-month low, undermining some of the recent optimism that the housing sector was touching bottom.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, fell 5.5 percent to 95.5, its lowest level since December, after a downwardly revised 3.8 percent increase in March.
"The drop in pending home sales is clearly disappointing," said Pierre Ellis, an economist at Decision Economics in New York. "It remains to be seen whether this is the beginning of a real downturn."  - WHAT??
Wednesday's report showed contracts fell 12 percent in the western United States and 6.8 percent in the South. They edged lower in the Midwest and rose slightly in the Northeast.
The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes sank to the lowest in 60 years.
Housing is still roughly 100% subsidized by the Fed - what would interest rates and mortgage payments be if the Fed's job was to protect the value of the dollar?.  Other than that, where is the recovery??

5665  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Polish death camps? on: May 30, 2012, 11:37:42 AM
In Poland they prefer to call them Nazi death camps. You would think a Harvard Law Review Editor would be an expert at catching this kind of error blamed on his teleprompter writer.

This is the lack of global awareness we would expect from a repub who reads nothing but hunting magazines..

It's not like it's a pattern snubbing our allies the Poles, although he did choose to play golf on the day of the funeral of the Polish President Lech Kaczynski, the Polish First Lady, and 94 senior officials who perished in the Smolensk air disaster, eight months after he humiliated Warsaw by canceling the agreement to place a missile defense site in Poland(and the Czech Republic).
5666  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Romney Ad, Not Even Half on: May 29, 2012, 03:08:06 PM

Look and see where our money is going.  This is a good ad IMO.
5667  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Real federal deficit dwarfs official tally on: May 28, 2012, 04:23:43 PM
Deficits and debt hurt everyone going forward, especially the youth.

"the government ran red ink last year equal to $42,054 per household — nearly four times the official number reported under unique rules set by Congress."

In 2008 candidate Obama won the youth vote (18-29) by 68% to 30% for McCain.  The youth vote in particular needs to look very critically at the accumulating debts, what led to them and what the choices are going forward.

In rough numbers, half of America is not in the workforce and half of the workforce does not pay a significant part of the burden.  Therefore those who significantly pay in are on the hook for far more than even what is reported here.

My daughter will vote this year.  She is stubbornly non-political now and was only 13 years old at this point 4 years ago during Obama's historic rise to the Presidency.  We will see with this one voter, but all young voters are faced with a starkly different set of facts coming into 2012 than in 2008.  Hope and change has a scorecard.  The are-you-better-off-now-than-you-were-$6trillion-ago question may pack a bigger punch with the younger crowd than is currently projected.  The productive part of their generation just took on another home mortgage - and didn't get a home for it.
5668  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 28, 2012, 03:44:35 PM
Bigdog.  Your point is well taken, the Perot vote was much larger than Clinton's margin of victory in those states.  That does not mean those disaffected voters otherwise go to Bush; staying home and crossing over are two other ways besides a 3rd party vote to show discontent.  Perot voters in those states were willing to see Clinton win and Bush lose as a consequence of their choice.   We do not yet know whether 2012 is another big 3rd party year, or who that would favor.  

In Florida 2000, Dems say the 'Gore voters' who chose Nader more than cost him the election.  Nader argues more accurately that those were not Gore voters.

In the Montana 2006 Senate race, the Dem won by 3000 votes to join the new Pelosi-Reid-Obama majority while the Libertarian won 10,000 votes.  But all of the those 10,000 knew or should have known their vote was needed for a Republican victory and still chose to vote no.  The enthusiasm gap matters.  In the above examples, the customer was not sold on the product.  

In contrast, 1980 had a strong third party challenge a moderate Republican. Reagan won 44 states.

The disaffection of Dem voters from Obama in these 4 states is most importantly a warning sign of weakness in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and other crucial states.   Bitter clingers (people not sold on the Obama agenda) are not all Republicans.
5669  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: May 28, 2012, 03:18:48 PM
"Is there a URL for that?"

Oooops.  Here, and added back to original post.
5670  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: May 28, 2012, 02:24:05 PM
These are great contributions by BD and CD. 

"[Blackmun] ... said the right to privacy is fundamental."

I will agree to that.  In the context of other applications of the right of privacy, I would be most appreciative of a written expression of what that right is. 

"The viabilty question is medical, no matter how you word it."

Yes, but:  a) the point underlying the question of viability is the acknowledge that the unborn is a distinct human life, and b) medical viability is perhaps a moving target unlike trimesters on a calendar.  Pro-life extremists argue life begins at the instant of conception.  Pro-choice extremists argue there is no life in there of any value or notice until the moment of birth.  Blackmun is saying (my read on what is posted) that life begins at viability.  That is as good of a political or logical compromise as any other, but if I read Crafty's question correctly, where did the Judicial Branch of the federal government derive the authority to make that determination and settle the matter for the states?

While 5 people including Blackmun looked at viability, I doubt in early 1970s imagery they were also able to look at the formation of arms legs and a beating heart at 6 weeks that also could influence what one thinks medically about when life begins. 

5671  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, Dick Morris on: May 28, 2012, 01:25:21 PM
Interesting that 3 of these 4 states of no consequence to Democrats were carried by Bill Clinton.  That the Dem national party turns away from even their own voters in an entire region and a significant piece of the electoral puzzle elsewhere is a political decision that they made.  In Nov we will find out if it hurt them.  One of my more recent discoveries (of the obvious) is that margin of victory matters.  What both Morris and Taranto point out is telling about Dem side enthusiasm.  So will be the June 5 Wisconsin vote.  The Obama/public employee union side of the vote did not even win the Dem primary.
5672  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rant interesting thought piece- Bill Whittle, Why the Euro has Failed on: May 28, 2012, 12:59:26 PM
Entitled "Why the Euro Failed", this is way too wide ranging to put in the Euro category.  The first half is about why Flight 447 failed and he continues the analogy through the Civil War, Greece, Germany, the Euro and Wisconsin. 6 minutes of your time well spent IMO.
5673  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential- Nobody is challenging Obama in the Primaries, and doing well on: May 26, 2012, 12:41:20 PM
James Tarranto of the WSJ has a great sense of humor. He posts a free column during the day called Best of the Web.  Very insightful.

Nobody is challenging Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries this year--and is doing surprisingly well. One of the reasons some commentators thought Obama would be a shoo-in for re-election is that like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, he drew no serious primary opposition as an incumbent president. By contrast, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Bush père were challenged by Reagan, Ted Kennedy and Pat Buchanan respectively. Lyndon Johnson abandoned his 1968 re-election bid after Eugene McCarthy's surprisingly strong showing in New Hampshire and Robert F. Kennedy's late entry.

The theory goes that presidents lose re-election when they have a strong primary opponent and win when they don't. This requires treating Buchanan as a "serious" opponent, even though he didn't win a single primary in 1992 and his best showing, in New Hampshire, was 37%.

Writing at RealClearPolitics, the delightfully named Sean Trende reformulates the rule and carries it back a century: "There are only seven sitting presidents who have ever received less than 60 percent of the vote in any primary: Taft in '12; Coolidge, '24; Hoover, '32; LBJ, '68; Ford '76; Carter, '80; and Bush '92. All of these presidents, with the exception of Coolidge, were not re-elected." One of Coolidge's challengers, Robert LaFollette, ran a third-party challenge. He ended up with 16.5% of the nationwide popular vote and carried his home state, Wisconsin.

Nobody can beat Obama, they said.

Actually, there's an eighth sitting president who received less than 60% in a primary--in more than one, in fact. That would be Obama in '12, who, as Trende points out, received just 58.4% in Arkansas, 57.9% in Kentucky, 57.1% in Oklahoma and 59.4% in West Virginia. In Kentucky, his main opponent was "Uncommitted," another name for Nobody.

If the Trende trend is predictive--admittedly, a big if--Obama is much likelier than not to lose in November. "I think we can reasonably begin to view this as a sort of organic primary challenge to Obama," Trende writes. "Obama's not likely to lose any states outright in the primaries; think of this more like Buchanan's run against George H.W. Bush in 1992."
We now have seen Obama held under 60% by a slate of three candidates--antiabortion extremist Randall Terry, federal prison inmate Keith Judd and Tennessee lawyer John Wolfe--not to mention Nobody. Unlike the recently re-elected presidents, Obama does not have the full support of his party.
By all accounts, progressives and blacks are sticking with Obama. Yet the primaries in Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia suggest that Obama is dividing his party anyway. No, he doesn't need any of those states to win, and he didn't carry them in 2008. But four states Obama did carry "have substantial populations in areas geographically and culturally similar to these 'problem areas': southwestern Pennsylvania, western Virginia and North Carolina, and southeastern Ohio." If Obama loses those four states plus Florida...he is a one-term president.
5674  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Congressional races - Paleface Warren, more questions raised on: May 26, 2012, 11:45:32 AM
Volumes are written about how to survive scandals, Elizabeth Warren does the opposite.  Now her minority status is a symbol for liberal policy and cynical dishonesty of all politicians.  National Review below, then George Will's column follows.  The Boston Globe finally gets in, just yesterday.  Delaying a look into it just gave the story even more legs.  Last beolw, a video parody, as if she wasn't parody enough.

"Harvard Law School advertised Elizabeth Warren — blond-haired, blue-eyed, pale to the point of translucence — as its “first woman of color” enjoying tenure. It would later cite her presence on the faculty as evidence of its commitment to “diversity.” And she allowed it.>

"Ms. Warren, who checked the “white” box at the University of Texas before getting in touch with her inner Cherokee when she stormed the Ivies, owes it to the people of Massachusetts to make the records of the Harvard Law hiring committee available to voters. Harvard, though a private institution, owes the people of its home state the same. If Ms. Warren’s undocumented claim to minority status did in fact play a role in the law school’s decision to hire her as a professor enjoying a prestigious, middle-six-figures chair, that is a fact of public importance."   Excerpts, more at link.
The credibility of Massachusetts Democratic  Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren took another hit today(5/19) as Boston radio talk show host Howie Carr released evidence that appears to confirm Ms. Warren may have plagiarized at least three of the five recipes she submitted to the 1984 Pow Wow Chow cookbook edited by her cousin Candy Rowsey.

Elizabeth Warren’s identity politics

By George F. Will, Published: May 23


Blond, blue-eyed Elizabeth Warren, the Senate candidate in Massachusetts and Harvard professor who cites “family lore” that she is 1/32nd Cherokee, was inducted into Oklahoma’s Hall of Fame last year. Her biography on says that she “can track both sides of her family in Oklahoma long before statehood” (1907) and “she proudly tells everyone she encounters that she is ‘an Okie to my toes.’ ” It does not mention any Cherokee great-great-great-grandmother. A DVD of the induction ceremony shows that neither Warren nor anyone else mentioned this.

The kerfuffle that has earned Warren such sobriquets as “Spouting Bull” and “Fauxcahontas” began with reports that Harvard Law School, in routine academic preening about diversity (in everything but thought), listed her as a minority faculty member, as did the University of Pennsylvania when she taught there. She said that some in her family had “high cheekbones like all of the Indians do.” The New England Historic Genealogical Society said that a document confirmed the family lore of Warren’s Cherokee ancestry, but it later backtracked. She has said that she did not know Harvard was listing her as a minority in the 1990s, but Harvard was echoing her: From 1986 through 1995, starting before she came to Harvard, a directory published by the Association of American Law Schools listed her as a minority and says its listings are based on professors claiming minority status.

So, although no evidence has been found that Warren is part Indian, for years two universities listed her as such. She has identified herself as a minority, as when, signing her name “Elizabeth Warren — Cherokee,” she submitted a crab recipe (Oklahoma crabs?) to a supposedly Indian cookbook. This is a political problem.

A poll taken before this controversy found her Republican opponent Scott Brown trouncing her on “likability,” 57 percent to 23 percent. Even Democrats broke for Brown 40 to 38. Now she is a comic figure associated with laughable racial preferences. She who wants Wall Street “held accountable” is accountable for two elite law schools advertising her minority status. She who accuses Wall Street of gaming the financial system at least collaborated with, and perhaps benefited from, the often absurd obsession with “diversity.”

How absurd? Warren says that for almost a decade she listed herself in the AALS directory as a Native American because she hoped to “meet others like me.” This well-educated, highly paid, much-honored (she was a consumer protection adviser to President Obama) member of America’s upper 1 percent went looking for people “who are like I am” among Native Americans?

This makes perfect sense to a liberal subscriber to the central superstition of the diversity industry, which is the premise of identity politics: Personhood is distilled not to the content of character but only to race, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference.

This controversy has discombobulated liberalism’s crusade to restore Democratic possession of the Senate seat the party won in 1952 with John Kennedy and held until 2010, when Brown captured it after Ted Kennedy’s death. Lofty thinkers and exasperated liberals consider the focus on Warren’s fanciful ancestry a distraction from serious stuff. (Such as The Post’s nearly 5,500-word wallow in teenage Mitt Romney’s prep school comportment?) But Warren’s adult dabbling in identity politics is pertinent because it is, in all its silliness, applied liberalism.

The New York Times Magazine’s headline on its profile of her — “Heaven Is a Place Called Elizabeth Warren” — suggests the chord she strikes with liberals. They resonate to identity politics of the sort Warren’s campaign tried when, on the defensive, it resorted, of course, to claiming victimhood. Playing the gender card, it insinuated that criticism of her adventures as a minority amounts to a sexist attack on an accomplished woman. But an accomplished woman, Susan Collins of Maine, the only Republican senator rated more liberal than Brown (who last year voted with his party only 54 percent of the time on partisan issues), called this insinuation “patently absurd.”

Barack Obama, who carried Massachusetts by almost 800,000 votes in 2008, will win here again, and a senior official of Brown’s campaign thinks that in order to win Brown must run between 250,000 and 500,000 votes ahead of Romney. In the special election in January 2010, Brown defeated a female opponent (women are 53 percent of Massachusetts voters) by 107,317 votes. He won independents 2 to 1.

The turnout this November, with Obama on the ballot, probably will be larger, less white and more Democratic. But just 0.3 percent of Massachusetts residents are Native Americans, even counting Warren.

Filings add to questions on Warren’s ethnic claims

May 25, 2012|Mary Carmichael,  Boston Globe

US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has said she was unaware that Harvard Law School had been promoting her purported Native American heritage until she read about it in a newspaper several weeks ago.

But for at least six straight years during Warren’s tenure, Harvard University reported in federally mandated diversity statistics that it had a Native American woman in its senior ranks at the law school. According to both Harvard officials and federal guidelines, those statistics are almost always based on the way employees describe themselves.

In addition, both Harvard’s guidelines and federal regulations for the statistics lay out a specific definition of Native American that Warren does not meet.

The documents suggest for the first time that either Warren or a Harvard administrator classified her repeatedly as Native American in papers prepared for the government in a way that apparently did not adhere to federal diversity guidelines. They raise further questions about Warren’s statements that she was unaware Harvard was promoting her as Native American.

The Warren campaign declined Thursday to answer the Globe’s specific questions about the documents.

Parody from before scandal:
5675  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wasserman-Schultz, Apples and Coconuts on: May 26, 2012, 11:27:21 AM
Followup to CCP's post on Politics, DNC attacks, but can't answer it.
5676  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: May 26, 2012, 10:09:20 AM
Of course there is a right to privacy.  Not an absolute right.  Healthcare tromps all over it, as do most other government programs, like income taxation.

In the case of abortion, there is another life involved.  The courts, the laws, the legislators need to balance that all out.  Missing is where the USSC got jurisdiction.  Missing in the Roe v Wade decision is what changes in trimesters.  Is there a right, is there not a right, what interest are you balancing it against? Nothing? That false ambiguity demonstrates pretty easily that they were out of their realm in 'interpreting' law.  

Rachel acknowledged it is alive and human, even JDN started to by introducing his qualifier in bold in his last post, 'not a person in the whole sense'.

A person yes, but not in the whole sense.  Agreed.  I could say that about quite a few people.  wink 
A fetus at its various points is certainly an underdeveloped-developing person.  For whom is that not true?

The science is settled.  Denying what is in there is alive and human is of no use.  

FWIW, Roe changed her mind.  Has anybody done a followup on the baby?

Norma McCorvey was arrested in May 2009 at a Notre Dame pro-life rally protesting President Obama's visit to the University.
5677  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Surprisingly, Bush Presided over Obama's first year - Politifact on: May 26, 2012, 08:57:24 AM
"It included one time spending such as the spending for the Iraq Surge, TARP 1, "

Yes.  They not only include the emergency spending of Fall 2008 that 100% as much authorized by Obama as much as by Bush and McCain, they also include from inauguration 2009 until the end of the 'Bush' fiscal year on Sept 30, 2009.  During that time he had the Executive Branch, majorities in the House and Senate and a filibuster proof 60th vote during part of it.  What control could they possibly had over spending?

I am so sick of these fact check sites acting like they are one bit more accurate than any other pundit or blog.

Numbers don’t lie, but Democrats do

It’s been breaking news all over MSNBC, liberal blogs, newspapers and even The Wall Street Journal: “Federal spending under Obama at historic lows … It’s clear that Obama has been the most fiscally moderate president we’ve had in 60 years.” There’s even a chart!

I’ll pause here to give you a moment to mop up the coffee on your keyboard. Good? OK, moving on …

This shocker led to around-the-clock smirk fests on MSNBC. As with all bogus social science from the left, liberals hide the numbers and proclaim: It’s “science”! This is black and white, inarguable, and why do Republicans refuse to believe facts?

Ed Schultz claimed the chart exposed “the big myth” about Obama’s spending: “This chart — the truth — very clearly shows the truth undoubtedly.” And the truth was, the “growth in spending under President Obama is the slowest out of the last five presidents.”

Note that Schultz also said that the “part of the chart representing President Obama’s term includes a stimulus package, too.” As we shall see, that is a big, fat lie.

Schultz’s guest, Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston, confirmed: “And clearly, Obama has been incredibly tight-fisted as a president.”

On her show, Rachel Maddow proclaimed: “Factually speaking, spending has leveled off under President Obama. Spending is not skyrocketing under President Obama. Spending is flattening out under President Obama.”

In response, three writers from “The Daily Show” said, “We’ll never top that line,” and quit.

Inasmuch as this is obviously preposterous, I checked with John Lott, one of the nation’s premier economists and author of the magnificent new book with Grover Norquist: Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future.

It turns out Rex Nutting, author of the phony Marketwatch chart, attributes all spending during Obama’s entire first year, up to Oct. 1, to President Bush.

That’s not a joke.

That means, for example, the $825 billion stimulus bill, proposed, lobbied for, signed and spent by Obama, goes in … Bush’s column. (And if we attribute all of Bush’s spending for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and No Child Left Behind to William Howard Taft, Bush didn’t spend much either.)

Nutting’s “analysis” is so dishonest, even The New York Times has ignored it. He includes only the $140 billion of stimulus money spent after Oct. 1, 2009, as Obama’s spending. And he’s testy about that, grudgingly admitting that Obama “is responsible (along with the Congress) for about $140 billion in extra spending in the 2009 fiscal year from the stimulus bill.”

Nutting acts as if it’s the height of magnanimity to “attribute that $140 billion in stimulus to Obama and not to Bush …”

On what possible theory would that be Bush’s spending? Hey — we just found out that Obamacare’s going to cost triple the estimate. Let’s blame it on Calvin Coolidge!

Nutting’s “and not to Bush” line is just a sleight of hand. He’s hoping you won’t notice that he said “$140 billion” and not “$825 billion,” and will be fooled into thinking that he’s counting the entire stimulus bill as Obama’s spending. (He fooled Ed Schultz!)

The theory is that a new president is stuck with the budget of his predecessor, so the entire 2009 fiscal year should be attributed to Bush.

But Obama didn’t come in and live with the budget Bush had approved. He immediately signed off on enormous spending programs that had been specifically rejected by Bush. This included a $410 billion spending bill that Bush had refused to sign before he left office. Obama signed it on March 10, 2009. Bush had been chopping brush in Texas for two months at that point. Marketwatch’s Nutting says that’s Bush’s spending.

Obama also spent the second half of the Troubled Asset Relief Fund (TARP). These were discretionary funds meant to prevent a market meltdown after Lehman Brothers collapsed. By the end of 2008, it was clear the panic had passed, and Bush announced that he wouldn’t need to spend the second half of the TARP money.

But on Jan. 12, 2009, Obama asked Bush to release the remaining TARP funds for Obama to spend as soon as he took office. By Oct. 1, Obama had spent another $200 billion in TARP money. That, too, gets credited to Bush, according to the creative accounting of Rex Nutting.

There are other spending bills that Obama signed in the first quarter of his presidency, bills that would be considered massive under any other president — such as the $40 billion child health care bill, which extended coverage to immigrants as well as millions of additional Americans. These, too, are called Bush’s spending.

Frustrated that he can’t shift all of Obama’s spending to Bush, Nutting also lowballs the spending estimates during the later Obama years. For example, although he claims to be using the White House’s numbers, the White House’s estimate for 2012 spending is $3.795 trillion. Nutting helpfully knocks that down to $3.63 trillion.

But all those errors pale in comparison to Nutting’s counting Obama’s nine-month spending binge as Bush’s spending.

If liberals will attribute Obama’s trillion-dollar stimulus bill to Bush, what won’t they do?
5678  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: May 25, 2012, 01:31:29 PM
"In the absence of a suitable body, then the US Navy will do fine."

5679  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Life Deniers on: May 25, 2012, 01:29:18 PM
Crafty, Yes, I am pointing out the hypocrisy.  That is not obviously not the core of the objection.  The logic goes both ways.  If this is such a good thing, black women are benefiting disproportionately, affirmative action at its best!  The left amazingly worries that we execute too many black serial killers, but not killing too many black innocents.

(JDN) "As for gender choice in Asia, well China had to do something; it was a hard call, but doing nothing was worse; they would have imploded.  Looking at their economic success, maybe they made the right decision."

  - To kill off those least able to defend themselves.  Your callousness is beyond my comprehension.

(JDN) "I'm not sure it's our place to tell China what to do about an internal matter."

  - Yes, what business is it of me to COMMENT on the policies of the legitimately elected government of the Peoples Republic of China.  Again, your values and mine are different if not opposite.  I wasn't arguing jurisdiction Asia (always return with straw), I was writing about my free speech expression of the difference between RIGHT and WRONG and the outrage that a lot of other people showed.  What you miss completely is the original post was about the momentum of public opinion away from your view.  Rebuttal would be that it is an outlier poll, wrong in methodology or from a biased organization, Gallup??

(JDN) "As for black abortions, with no offense, most on site would argue as a group blacks are disproportionately on public assistance in some way.  Do you really want that many more unwanted babies that you will have to support?  And no one is "killing off" anyone.  No one has been born yet.  It's a voluntary procedure.  Frankly, it's cost effective for everyone."

Unwanted babies? Voluntary procedure? Killing black babies at three times the rate of white babies is cost effective?? It is the adult not the unborn who is guilty of unwanting.  It's the born parents that we have disproportionately screwed up with our culturally destructive policies, not innocent unborn life.  There is no data to show that a black baby has any other disproportionate disadvantage prior to birth.  I had a beer last night with one that turned pretty well.  I find the view that we are better off without them, instead of having an obligation to fix what is wrong in the neighborhood, repugnant, and racist. The unborn 'little one', black, white, Down, or other, has the exact same instincts and desire for survival as any born human life or of any other species.  Every day, not every trimester, the little one looks more and more like the mother and the father.  Do you have scientific or medical information to the contrary.  If so, please post.

I have no idea, after all that is discussed, how you have no awareness that there is another life involved.  

(JDN) "The first trimester, plus rape or incest, danger to the mother, some medical birth defect conditions, that is what the 77% in favor of abortion are talking about.  That is also my position."

'Trimesters' come from 1970s, science-denial thinking.  Human life does not develop in trimesters.  Why not compromise and instead set a standard such as the right to kill it off prior to something distinct and more rational like a detectable heart beat?

These would be good questions for state legislatures, if the people in their states, through their representatives, had the right to vote on life and death public policies.  Have you ever answered Crafty's point that Roe v. Wade is wrongly decided law?

5680  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: May 25, 2012, 12:28:50 PM
JDN, Thanks for clarifying your view. (?)  My goal is to defeat that view in the electoral process.
5681  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: May 25, 2012, 11:10:38 AM
"It IS in international waters."

Therefore The Republic of Djibouti and the United States of America should have an equal say in defense maneuvers for example to protect Taiwan or South Korea?

"if not someone like the General Assembly, then who do you have in mind?"

This question is posed backwards.  GIVEN: NOT the UN General Assembly to resolve ANYTHING, then start forming successful, functional, responsible international organizations before ceded rights and powers to them.
5682  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: May 25, 2012, 10:55:32 AM
"The share of Americans who believe that women should be able to legally obtain an abortion under at least some circumstances now is 77%."

Straw question answered.  People aren't outraged about the number of medical procedures performed  to save the life of the mother and no serious proposal lacks that exception, and others.  There isn't a serious political movement to crack down on irresponsible choices of rape and incest victims.  

Pro-life, FYI, means that some people are outraged about the 98% of abortions in the US that are committed for convenience reasons.  People are outraged by the hundreds of millions killed off in Asia for gender choices.  Some are actually offended that funded taxpayers abortions in the US to kill off black babies at more than 3 times the rate of white babies.  Is that equal rights or affirmative action, in the morally bankrupt, abortion for any reason movement?
5683  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: May 25, 2012, 10:42:00 AM
"WSJ: Dodd-Frank's too-big-to-fail dystopia
The government expands crony capitalism to insurers, securities firms and other non-banks."

Without crony capitalism and too big to fail would there even be a venue (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC) large enough to bring the big government people together with the Occupy Wall Street people for the 2012 Obama Acceptance Speech: We all gather here today in the unified fight against big business and big money, now a word from our sponsor, lol.
5684  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans on: May 25, 2012, 02:49:39 AM
It is a George Orwell world where you can take trillions in temporary, one time, emergency spending, make it all permanent, add another couple of percent on top of it, then have a fact check operation verify historic spending restraint!  The benchmark is to compare Obama administration spending, half under Republican congress, with the surge in spending that he advanced as a de facto leader of the Senate.

That didn't happen under his watch?

"Barack Obama has lowest spending record of any recent president"   "Mostly True"

By the exact same logic, this has been the coldest decade in recorded temperature history.
5685  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Food stamps, auto bailouts on: May 25, 2012, 01:57:39 AM
Belatedly getting back to BigDog from the Pres. thread (

"You don't understand the link between nutrition and health, Doug?!?"

My point was to doubt a link between receiving food stamps and improving health.  If there is such a link, please advise.  My link showed that obesity, not starvation, is positively correlated.  My take on the radio ad is that they were advertising for more enrollees.  Your point that they were saying to use the program to improve health is true as well.

Your personal story sounds to me like the program worked exactly as it was designed.  And it isn't me paying for you;  I'm sure you've paid more than your own way.  Just as true (IMO) are the examples I see where the program is not working as intended.

I don't know the answer to it,  I suggested three better possibilities.  I am mostly doubting that a doubling of food stamp usage is a positive sign that things are working.

(BD) "Is helping people eat bad?  Do you want children to starve?"

I posted in specific dollars three different and perhaps better ways of funding it:

(Doug) "Food for the hungry might be the best social spending program possible, but why is it federal?  Why is it government?  Would not closer to home be a better place to know the people, the needs, the  costs?  My county has a budget of $1649528239/yr. (There are over 6000 counties in the US) My state has a budget of $33793000000 /biennium.  (There are 50 states closer to the point ofneed than the federal government) What do they do that is more important than helping to feed people in the community who have no other source of food?  Charitable giving in the US is $290890000000.  What do they have that is more pressing than feeding the hungry.  If food for needy wasn't already paid at the federal level, charities would receive even more IMO.  If further away is better for funding, why not do the whole world via the UN instead of advertising for recipients who don't even know they need help."

If charitable giving in the US is $290890000000, why must food assistance be a federal government program?  Starving the children is not the only alternative to doing things the way we are.  

(BD)"These were not job creation attempts in any way I can recognize.  You know that whole "Buy American" push?  You know the car companies that were bailed out?  You don't recognize the connection to building cars in the US and US jobs?"

I value the system, structure and principles of freedom and enterprise that enabled to the US becoming the industrial giant and technological leader in the world.  I value the level playing field over manipulating the rules to get desired results for preferred operations.  The car bailouts were certainly a manipulation of the free flow of resources to their most productive use, a historic case of changing the rules to suit interests of those in power over other less connected.  

The two largest beneficiaries of the cash for clunkers were Honda and Toyota, an odd form of Buy American.  The general motors deal moved unsecured creditors ahead of secured ones.  It forced closure Republican owned dealerships and moved up the position of contributing unions.  Am I proud of emulating the economic system of a third world country to prop up centrally chosen core industries at the expense of all others? No.

I don't know how we look at the Obama Administration BLS Labor Force Participation chart and call these jobs created or saved.  The jobs below the line are being created or saved - in declining numbers.  

5686  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: May 24, 2012, 04:53:20 PM
"Without going into the details of this law"

  - That would be no way to judge it.

"our Navy supports this law"

  - We do not have rule by military.  This currently is a question for the Senate.  One Senator IMO already lost his seat over it.

 "Clinton AND Bush both supported this law."

  - And Reagan opposed it.  To pick at those two, Clinton bombed an aspirin factory and hit the Chinese embassy by mistake in Belgrade.  Bush in roughly your words invaded a country that posed no threat to us?  I disagreed with roughly half of what he did (Harriet Miers was the wisest Amercian available for the Supreme Court) so his support gives me no guidance.

"If I read it correctly, it only affects "operations beyond 200 miles of our coast" in other words international waters."

  - The have been unable to ratify it for 30 years with Dem and Rep. Senates, so looking at the harmless aspects without the objectionable parts isn't very helpful.  If you want to look at it thoroughly, one of the best resources available on the internet is right here in this DBMA thread.
5687  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law - L.O.S.T. on: May 24, 2012, 10:26:59 AM
"Mr. Kerry promised to keep the debate away from the “hurly-burly of presidential politics” by delaying a vote until after the election."

Right.  Nothing hurts responsible governance more than consent of the governed (sarc.).  Not only some Dems are leaving the Senate, but L.O.S.T. supporter Dick Lugar is leaving too.  I wonder how Washington resident Lugar will vote in a lame duck, what the people of Indiana want or what "everyone" knows is best for them...

Will U.S. Sovereignty Be LOST At Sea? Obama Supports U.N. Treaty That Redistributes Drilling Revenues

A proposed Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), which is supported by President Obama but has not yet been ratified by Congress, will subordinate U.S. naval and drilling operations beyond 200 miles of our coast to a newly established U.N. bureaucracy. If approved, it will grant a Kingston, Jamaica-based International Seabed Authority (ISA) the power to regulate deep-sea oil exploration, seabed mining, and fishing rights.

As part of the deal, as much as 7% of U.S. government revenue that is collected from oil and gas companies operating off our coast will be forked over to ISA for redistribution to poorer, landlocked countries. This apparently is in penance for America’s audacity in perpetuating prosperity yielded by our Industrial Revolution.

Under current law, oil companies are required to pay royalties to the U.S. Treasury (typically at a rate of 12 ½% to 18%) for oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and off the northern coast of Alaska. Treasury keeps a portion, and the rest goes to Gulf states and to the National Historic Preservation Fund. But if LOST is ratified, about half of those Treasury revenues, amounting to billions, if not trillions of dollars, would go to the ISA. We will be required to pay 1% of those “international royalties” beginning in the sixth year of production at each site, with rates increasing at 1% annual increments until the 12th year when they would remain at 7% thereafter.

Like the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol debacle that preceded it, this most recent LOST cause embodies the progressive ideal of subordinating the sovereignty of nation states to authoritarian dictates of a world body. The U.S. would have one vote out of 160 regarding where the money would go, and be obligated to hand over offshore drilling technology to any nation that wants it… for free.

And who are those lucky international recipients? They will most likely include such undemocratic, despotic and brutal governments as Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe…all current voting members of LOST.

The treaty was originally drafted in 1968 at the behest of Soviet bloc and Third World dictators interested in implementing a scheme to weaken U.S. power and transferring wealth from industrialized countries to the developing world. It had been co-authored by Elisabeth Mann Borgese, a socialist and admirer of Karl Marx who ran the World Federation of Canada. In a 1999 speech she declared: “The world ocean has been and is so to speak, our great laboratory for making a new world order.” Recognizing this as a global grab, President Reagan thought it was such a lousy idea that he not only refused to sign, but actually fired the State Department staff that helped negotiate it.

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton warns that world circumstances are even much less favorable to the U.S. for LOST enactment now: “With China emerging as a major power, ratifying the treaty would encourage Sino-American strife, constrain U.S. naval activities and do nothing to resolve China’s expansive maritime territorial claims.”

The treaty has been pitched as an effort to protect the world’s oceans from environmental damage and to avoid potential conflicts between nations. Accordingly, ISA would settle international maritime and jurisdictional disputes, possibly even to the extent of overriding our U.S. Navy’s freedom of navigation and governing where ships can and cannot go. ISA’s prerogative to do so would be entirely consistent with a “global test” definition advocated by key LOST proponent Senator John Kerry in 2004.

The treaty contains a clause empowering the ISA to take whatever steps it deems necessary to stop “marine pollution.”  According to William C. G. Burns of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, its expansive definition of pollution could be read to include “…the potential impact of rising sea surface temperature, rising sea levels, and changes in ocean pH as a consequence of rising levels of carbon dioxide in sea water.”  Burns warns that this could “give rise to actions under the Convention’s marine pollution provisions to reduce carbon emissions worldwide.” He warns that this can easily be expanded to include anti-global warming measures, and since it would be “self-executing”, U.S. courts can be used to enforce it.

Powerful environmental organizations love LOST because it will afford a legal system for dispute resolution which culminates in a 21-member international tribunal (ITLOS) based in Hamburg which can be enforced against American companies without possibilities of U.S. court appeal. Numerous lawsuits charging global warming dangers linked to greenhouse emissions from ships will most likely supersede binding rules of the discredited Kyoto Protocol which the U.S. wisely never ratified.

The U.S. Navy maintains that we need LOST to guarantee free transit in dangerous waters, such as in the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran has threatened to block, and in the South China Sea which is dominated by China. Yet freedom of navigation has been recognized under international law for centuries. It was policed by the British Navy over 400 years, and by ours since 1775. Since the U.N. has no navy, it will still be up to us to continue this role.

Given good prospects that the White House and Senate may have fewer Democrat residents after November, Senator Kerry has been working hard to speed up the approval process before moving vans arrive. Republican Senator Luger, another strong treaty supporter and career globalist, apparently didn’t want to highlight that fact during the course of his hard-fought Indiana reelection campaign. Now, with nothing more to lose following his primary defeat, he can be expected to help push for Senate ratification as early as next month.

U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had both supported the treaty during their tenures, but they never sent it to the Senate for ratification because of opposition over concerns that it will limit commerce and allow international bodies to wield control over U.S. interests. During W’s term of office, then-Senator Joe Biden introduced LOST before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he chaired in 2007, yet it was never brought to the floor for a vote. The Obama administration has now openly supported Senate action since at least 2009 when it released its Treaty Priority List.

Those who support the treaty argue that it will clarify rules regarding the high seas…ocean waters beyond our national jurisdiction and in the Arctic Ocean where the U.S., Russia Canada, and several Scandinavian countries have all claimed territorial rights. During her confirmation hearing for Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said: “If people start drilling in areas that are now ice-free most of the year, and we don’t know where they can or can’t drill or whether we can, we’re going to be disadvantaged. So I think you will have a very receptive audience in our State Department and in our administration.”

Peter Brooks, a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and current Heritage Foundation senior fellow disagrees with that rationale. He argues that: “While LOST’s navigational tenets for operations on high seas, including establishing waters and exclusive economic zones, are of little dispute, some of the other ‘non-navigational’ provisions are what really frighten the treaty’s detractors.” And in addition to establishing and having to deal with still another U.N. agency, and giving away many billions of dollars to “any number of bad actor, corrupt or anti-American regimes” at a time when our country is facing enormous fiscal and budgetary challenges, LOST considers the deep seabed as the “common heritage of mankind”.

Brooks continues: “But what they’re really getting at is if you want to harvest Davy Jones’ locker you need to ask pretty please of…tahdah…the ISA. This Mother-may-I would likely limit or discourage the private sector’s economic opportunities in the deep seabed, affecting the provision of this likely-significant bounty to global markets. Global energy demand…and prices at the pump…seem to be going anywhere but down. We don’t want to allow our energy exploration to be held hostage to the whims of some unaccountable international bureaucrats.”

Steven Groves, an international law fellow at the Heritage Foundation agrees, and observes that opposition from Republican members of Congress who have objected reflects a legitimate deep-seated distrust of the United Nations and other international bodies, observing: “This seems to me a bit of a Trojan Horse for the ability of one country to affect another country’s environmental policy. That’s generally something we do not like as conservatives and Americans.”

And why would anyone possibly doubt the U.N.’s objectivity and sagacity as an oversight organization? Well perhaps we might think about the history of its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which produced the 1992 Earth Summit Rio Declaration’s rules which have been adopted by a new U.S. National Ocean Council  (NOC) established by President Obama through an Executive Order.  Principal #15 states that: “In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by states according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

In other words, those protections can involve whatever restraints on drilling and other activities an organization such as ISA may deem necessary to protect the planet from global warming… whether or not they can scientifically establish that there is a problem…or whether or not those attempted interventions will make a bit of difference.

Headed by Science Czar and noted climate alarmist John Holdren, the NOC is seen by many as a back door way to sneak LOST in as a “soft law”, the same tactic used when the U.N.’s Agenda 21 failed to pass Congress. This enables it to avoid a 2/3 Senate approval vote hurdle required for all treaties.

What would Ronald Reagan say about what is now going on?  Let me guess.

Maybe, “Law of the Sea…get LOST…this time for good!”
5688  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Abortion, New Gallup numbers: pro-choice at record low support on: May 23, 2012, 12:25:04 PM
While critics were saying I would jail doctors and moms and I maintained that I was just trying to change hearts and minds before changing laws, Gallup reports:

Pro-choice  41%

Pro-life  50%

How is that trending for Obama and the extremists going to swing state North Carolina for the Dem convention this September?
5689  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gender, Gay, Lesbian: Random Thoughts on LGBT on: May 23, 2012, 12:14:50 PM
There is a N. Carolina preacher rant in the news saying to round up and kill off gays. It should go without saying, I condemn that.  We all do.

Over the past year or two I have come into acquaintance and friendship/respect with gay men and lesbian women as I have at other times in the past.  This reinforces my belief that all are entitled to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

The above does not change the fact that words and institutions have meanings, such as that marriage is when a man and a woman become a husband and a wife, no matter how government chooses to treat that relationship.  Gay people have the same right as everyone else to pursue or decline an opposite gender relationship or to create a new institution of their own.

Somewhere unspoken in the LGBT movement is the strangeness of including Bisexual-Transexual while trying to say we are just like you, except for same sex attraction.  What is to be celebrated about bisexual if the argument is about committed, monogamous relationships?  We don't accept hetero-polygamy.  And what about trans-gender; what is the political issue there?  Can't we agree that is a dysfunction, not something in need of special accommodation.  Can't we, at some point, just ask people to keep their private life private?
5690  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: The Fainess Czar, SF Chronicle on: May 23, 2012, 11:13:01 AM
May 22, 2012
Obama Thinks He's the Fairness Czar
By Debra Saunders,  San Francisco Chronicle

Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., came across as a moderate, sensible Democrat when he said on "Meet the Press" Sunday that negative political ads are "nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright."

Booker, a Barack Obama surrogate, later tried to walk back his comments. He posted a video in which he explained that he was expressing his frustration with negative campaigning when he spoke out, effectively undermining the president's re-election narrative. (Booker also referred to the biggest non-story in politics last week, about a political consultant who recommended that a super PAC use Wright in an anti-Obama ad. That ad didn't get made.)

But there is no walking back from Booker's disapproval of the Obama campaign's attacks on Bain Capital, the private equity firm that Mitt Romney founded. Last week, Team Obama released an ad that told the story of a Kansas steel mill that Bain bought in 1993 and that went bankrupt in 2001. In the ad, laid-off steelworkers had some choice words for Romney. Like "vampire" and "job destroyer."

The problem with such ads, Booker said Sunday, is that "we're getting to a ridiculous point in America." Pension funds, unions and others invest in companies like Bain Capital. Bain's record has been to grow businesses. To Booker, Bain Capital has been good for America. To Obamaland, Bain Capital has been bad for America.

As a mayor, Booker said, he, too, has had to lay off workers "because it's the only way" his "government would survive." He added, "Call me a job cutter if you want."

I should note that PolitiFact rated as "mostly true" this statement from the Obama campaign: "After purchasing the company, Mitt Romney and his partners loaded it with debt, closed the Kansas City plant and walked away with a healthy profit, leaving hundreds of employees out of work with their pensions in jeopardy." Missing from the story: the fact that Romney wasn't in charge anymore and that in 2001, the steel industry was in a world of hurt -- with low steel prices and high production costs -- which drove a lot of mills out of business.

I would add that the steelworkers in the political ad were talking about the heyday of the steel industry, which occurred long before Bain stepped in to rescue an ailing mill.

Monday, a reporter asked Obama about Booker's remarks and the role of private equity. The president explained that the goal of private investment is to "maximize profits," whereas a president's job is to make sure that everyone has "a fair shot" and that everyone pays his or her "fair share" of taxes.

That's the problem with Obama; he thinks he's the fairness czar. He didn't say that a president is supposed to create an environment that nurtures business success. He said a president is supposed to make sure that nobody walks away with too much.

When you're president, Obama said, "your job is to think about those workers who get laid off and how are we paying for their retraining." Obama's war is a war on private money. He thinks his job is to create job training programs, not create an environment that creates real jobs.
5691  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: May 23, 2012, 11:09:46 AM
" "Deductions, exclusions, credits...." have always been my complaint.  "

Deductions, exclusions, credits keep getting put in there because the rates are too high and the high rates are known to kill off businesses and investment- if not for the targeted mercy of our gift horse elected officials help9ing key constituencies.  That is the point behind across the board rate cuts; they alleviate the need for all the loopholes.  Eliminating real loopholes and lowering the tax rates correspondingly is something we all should be able to agree on.  The Huntsman Plan.

Targeted alleviation of tax burden is unequal treatment under the law.  There ought to be a constitutional amendment against it.

Keep in mind though that deducting normal business costs is how you accurately calculate income, such as the cost of a pharmaceutical company's research or an oil company's cost of drilling both producing and non-producing wells.  These are not loopholes no matter how often or loudly one demagogues them.  Eliminate the deductibility of legitimate business expenses and the job creating investment and production in those industries will dry up.

ROI.  Investors look at return on investment.  It is not what you send to the government, it was you keep after all that.  The Man from Marx calls it 'maximizing profits" - with an evil sound to it.  More simply, investors look for a return.  If the return is not there or not sufficient, they invest elsewhere or not at all.

Uncertainty is worse.  It prevents an accurate calculation from being made and acts to delay investment/expansion decisions, which means job growth lost.

If we had a coherent set of governing principles, then policy changes from day to day and year to year would only be minor adjustments to current policy, keeping uncertainty within a very narrow range.  That is not the case today.  Instead we are arguing today over whether we even want a free enterprise based system at all.
5692  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market: 'dead man walking'. Need Startups! on: May 22, 2012, 08:21:23 PM
From Wesbury yesterday:

"What we have on our hands is a sustainable, self-reinforcing economic recovery. It could be better. What’s holding it back is bad policy choices coming out of Washington, DC. Government spending is robbing the economy of potential and uncertainty about future taxes and regulation is a wet blanket.
Amazingly, the plow horse keeps moving forward. That’s the real news here - unending pessimism being defeated by the American entrepreneurial spirit."

I did not see where we have overall growth yet above breakeven levels.  I do not see any projection of current growth rates that ever grows us out of the current deficit and debt crisis.  Other than a potential electoral shift next Nov sending key people packing, I do not see any movement whatsoever on any of the "bad policy choices coming out of Washington, DC".   Government spending is projected to keep growing, "robbing the economy of potential".  Uncertainty about future tax rates is a certainty through summer and fall and longer unless the election is decisive one way or the other.  Regulations at this point in time are scheduled to keep getting worse.

Regarding the entrepreneurial spirit, we are starting hundreds of thousands fewer new businesses today than we could or should be.

Decline / stagnation is a choice.

Bringing this post forward:
Political Economics - What grows an economy?
« Reply #811 on: October 21, 2010, 08:25:47 AM »
“The single most important contributor to a nation’s economic growth is the number of startups that grow to a billion dollars in revenue within 20 years.”

The U.S. economy, given its large size, needs to spawn something like 75 to 125 billion-dollar babies per year to feed the country’s post World War II rate of growth. Faster growth requires even more successful startups.

Current policy is to stop this from happening.
5693  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate - Wesbury on: May 22, 2012, 07:50:35 PM
"Housing starts rose 2.6% in April to 717,000 units at an annual rate, well above the 685,000 rate the consensus expected. Starts are up 29.9% versus a year ago."

Other than the previous years in this downturn and the deep recession years of 1981-1982, this is still the worst level of housing starts in more than 50 years!

Up 29.9% from 2011?  And that is still Fed-subsidized housing starts with interest rates close to zero.  Put another way, it would take a 300-400% to come back to ordinary levels of the last half century.

The good news is that with personal income at these levels, we don't need any more houses or house payments.

5694  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney faith, POTH on: May 22, 2012, 07:23:43 PM
That is a pretty good piece.

"Mr. Romney speaks so sparingly about his faith — he and his aides frequently stipulate that he does not impose his beliefs on others — that its influence on him can be difficult to detect."

Begs the question of whether there will be a companion piece on the opponent's religious upbringing, Muslim in Indonesian, or the 20 years of 'Christian' "God Damn America" themed inspiration he received in his adult life in Chicago.  It's 'influence on him' can also be 'difficult to detect'.
5695  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama's 1983 College Magazine Article: Campus Activism (Unilateral Disarmament) on: May 22, 2012, 06:56:14 PM
A pdf keeper of Barack's only known published article at Columbia:

The piece drifts from journalism about groups on campus to his own views.  Written about anti-militarism, freeze and disarmament at a time when the opposite, peace through strength, was about to bring down the Soviet empire.  Or as Barack put it, "By being intransigent, Reagan is playing directly into the Russians' hands."

Young Barack was no more succinct then, and his views on negotiating with the Russians have not changed either.  This is only his closing; read it all at the link.

"Indeed, the most pervasive malady
of the collegiate system specifically, and
the American experience generally, is
that elaborate patterns of knowledge
and theory have been disembodied from
individual choices and government policy.
What the members of ARA and (Student groups: Arms Race Alternatives and Students Against Militarism)
SAM try to do is infuse what they have
learned about the current situation,
bring the words of that formidable roster
on the face of Butler Library, names
like Thoreau, Jefferson, and Whitman,
to bear on the twisted logic of which we
are today a part. By adding their energy
and effort in order to enchance the possibility
of a decent world, they may help
deprive us of a spectacular experience-
that of war. But then, there are
some things we shouldn't have to live
through in order to want to avoid the
and soon, it is quite probable that the
Germans will do something on their
own. The Reagan administration's stalling
at the Geneva ta1Iks on nuclear weapons
has thus already caused severe
tension and could ultimately bring about
a dangerous rift between the United
States and Western Europe. By being
intransigent, Reagan is playing directly
into the Russians' hands.

In 1933 the German establishment
thought it could use Hitler to restore a
modicum of order to the confused and
confusing Weimar Republic. In fact,
Hitler did strengthen the German establishment,
but not exactly in the way
the bankers and businessmen had
wanted; and now, fifty years later, it is
clear who was using whom.

Nevertheless, the Western World
did not complain in 1933 because Hitler,
though a fascist and a totalitarian, was
seen, like counUess American puppet
dictators today, as someone who leaves
the established order in place.

Not so the Greens. If a group of
young, anti-establishment pacifists
v,ith unusual ideas and uncomfortable
answers to hard questions terrifies us
more today than Hitler, Himmler,
Goering and Goebbels did back in 1933,
our terror says more about us than it
does about the Greens or the Germans.
It indicates that we have failed to comprehend
the meaning of Nazism and
hlind obedience to authority in their full
horror, and that we, unlike the Greens,
have yet ourselves to learn the dem<>cratic
lesson that we have taught the
Gennans so well.

Since the European peace movement
has long since become the American
peace movement, and since America
now has its own Green Party, the rise
of the Greens in Germany has profound
significance here. It is at once a warning
to us that the old solutions of more weapons
and again more weapons will no
longer be accepted in a Europe that is
already a powderkeg waiting to go off;
and it is an invitation to work towards a
peace that is genuine, lasting and nonnuclear.
5696  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IBD: BO Bio grows even sketchier on: May 22, 2012, 09:15:57 AM
"So too with the unasked questions about Obama’s radical past. The media saw nothing to report about Obama starting his political career in the living room of ex-terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn."...
"Then there’s the Reverend Jeremiah “God-damn America” Wright, whom Obama credits with leading him to Christianity, who officiated at his wedding, who gave him the title of his second book, and whose church he attended for 20 years."

You wouldn't think their glass house strategy would be to go hard after Romney's background, lol.

Investors Business Daily goes further with the Obama phenomenon today tying questions in his background to questions in his character:
IBD Editorials
Obama's Bio Grows Even Sketchier

 Posted 05/21/2012 07:00 PM ET

The Obama Record

The Obama Record: The discovery of the president's false book bio claiming Kenyan birth fits an increasingly disturbing pattern. We've long described Obama as radical, but he's also deceitful.

The mix of these two traits in the Oval Office is toxic. But the Washington media are anything but alarmed, still believing as they do the mythical savior figure they created in 2008.

The other night, MSNBC's Chris Matthews argued on his "Hardball" show that Americans would be wise to re-elect Obama because he's "the candidate we know." He claimed he's a trusted brand who "is who he seems to be."

He went on to describe the president as "a fairly pragmatic progressive" and "tough defender of the country." Therefore, he argued, he's the safer choice vs. GOP foe Mitt Romney, whom Matthews warns is an unknown commodity — "Brand X" — who could turn out to be a nutty puppet of the "radical right."

Of course, Obama isn't at all who he seems to be. And judging from Obama's sinking poll numbers, this is becoming more apparent to the electorate — thanks in part to the new media's revetting of Obama after the old media's half-hearted attempt in 2008.

Voters who don't watch MSNBC are starting to see that the president's public persona is merely a hologram created by media shills like Matthews, who define his identity and ideology and redefine it when facts disrupt the carefully constructed narrative.

The latest fly in the ointment for Team Obama is a promotional bio Obama's book agent put out in 1991. The old copy, dug up last week by, says he was "born in Kenya." Asked about the mistaken birthplace, the agent claimed it "was nothing more than a fact-checking error."
mp3Subscribe to the IBD Editorials Podcast

But that's not just any error. Getting a job title wrong is one thing. But screwing up a client's place of birth is a major — and bizarre — boo-boo.

More than likely, Obama supplied the error as fact, since the agency requires clients to submit their bio information. Adding to suspicions, Obama failed to correct it. For 16 years. He allowed his agent to continue to publish the error — despite several updates to his bio posted online — until 2007, when Obama ran for the White House and abruptly switched agents. Only then was the bio corrected.

Why would Obama fictionalize his life story? For answers, let's go back to 1991. At the time he got his book deal, Obama was graduating from Harvard Law School, which required strong grades for entry. Yet by all accounts, Obama had weak grades. Did he juice his application — a la his Harvard law pal, Elizabeth "Cherokee Liz" Warren — to hedge his bet in case his minority status wasn't exotic enough to overcome his grades?

Northwestern University professor John McKnight said a desperate Obama approached him for a letter of recommendation to Harvard, because he couldn't get any of his undergrad professors to pen one due to underwhelming academics. McKnight was one of Obama's radical Alinsky trainers and a key mentor, but not one of his professors.

The embellished bio makes the circumstances surrounding Obama's Harvard admission curiouser. And all the more reason to demand this president do what every other modern president has done, including Democrat candidates John Kerry and Al Gore, and turn over his academic records for public review.

At bottom, this is an issue of trust.

The notion that his author's bio, which played up high the phony foreign-born status, was simply a typo is about as credible as Obama claiming he never heard his radically anti-American preacher say anything unpatriotic while sitting in his pews for over two decades. Or that he hardly knew his Hyde Park neighbor Bill Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist who launched his political career from his living room. And who sat with him on the board of a few radical organizations. And who claims to have actually written the very memoir Obama and his agent began promoting in 1991.

Just who is this man sitting in the people's house? Increasingly, he appears devious and dishonest.

Character matters.
5697  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential campaign: Private Equity, David Brooks on: May 22, 2012, 09:01:47 AM
Even former Obama supporter David Brooks, NY Times, understands the role of private equity and what a distortion the Obama campaign has made, column below.

Pres. Obama struggled with the question of private equity yesterday at his press conference, rationalizing his campaign focus on Romney's old firm while exposing his own sketchy knowledge of how our economy works.  He can't explain the unexplainable, how you can attack capital without injuring labor.  The heart of capitalism and free enterprise is the free flow of resources to their most productive use; the concept is lost on this President.  "private equity is that it is set up to maximize profits... I think there are folks who do good work in that area."
How Change Happens
Published: May 21, 2012

Forty years ago, corporate America was bloated, sluggish and losing ground to competitors in Japan and beyond. But then something astonishing happened. Financiers, private equity firms and bare-knuckled corporate executives initiated a series of reforms and transformations.
Josh Haner/The New York Times

The process was brutal and involved streamlining and layoffs. But, at the end of it, American businesses emerged leaner, quicker and more efficient.

Now we are apparently going to have a presidential election about whether this reform movement was a good thing. Last week, the Obama administration unveiled an attack ad against Mitt Romney’s old private equity firm, Bain Capital, portraying it as a vampire that sucks the blood from American companies. Then Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. gave one of those cable-TV-type speeches, lambasting Wall Street and saying we had to be a country that makes things again.

The Obama attack ad accused Bain Capital of looting a steel company called GST in the 1990s and then throwing its workers out on the street. The ad itself barely survived a minute of scrutiny. As Kimberly Strassel noted in The Wall Street Journal, the depiction is wildly misleading.

The company was in terminal decline before Bain entered the picture, seeing its work force fall from 4,500 to less than 1,000. It faced closure when Romney and Bain, for some reason, saw hope for it in 1993. Bain acquired it, induced banks to loan it money and poured $100 million into modernization, according to Strassel. Bain held onto the company for eight years, hardly the pattern of a looter. Finally, after all the effort, the company, like many other old-line steel companies, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001, two years after Romney had left Bain.

This is the story of a failed rescue, not vampire capitalism.

But the larger argument is about private equity itself, and about the changes private equity firms and other financiers have instigated across society. Over the past several decades, these firms have scoured America looking for underperforming companies. Then they acquire them and try to force them to get better.

As Reihan Salam noted in a fair-minded review of the literature in National Review, in any industry there is an astonishing difference in the productivity levels of leading companies and the lagging companies. Private equity firms like Bain acquire bad companies and often replace management, compel executives to own more stock in their own company and reform company operations.

Most of the time they succeed. Research from around the world clearly confirms that companies that have been acquired by private equity firms are more productive than comparable firms.

This process involves a great deal of churn and creative destruction. It does not, on net, lead to fewer jobs. A giant study by economists from the University of Chicago, Harvard, the University of Maryland and the Census Bureau found that when private equity firms acquire a company, jobs are lost in old operations. Jobs are created in new, promising operations. The overall effect on employment is modest.

Nor is it true that private equity firms generally pile up companies with debt, loot them and then send them to the graveyard. This does happen occasionally (the tax code encourages debt), but banks would not be lending money to private equity-owned companies, decade after decade, if those companies weren’t generally prosperous and creditworthy.

Private equity firms are not lovable, but they forced a renaissance that revived American capitalism. The large questions today are: Will the U.S. continue this process of rigorous creative destruction? More immediately, will the nation take the transformation of the private sector and extend it to the public sector?

While American companies operate in radically different ways than they did 40 years ago, the sheltered, government-dominated sectors of the economy — especially education, health care and the welfare state — operate in astonishingly similar ways.

The implicit argument of the Republican campaign is that Mitt Romney has the experience to extend this transformation into government.

The Obama campaign seems to be drifting willy-nilly into the opposite camp, arguing that the pressures brought to bear by the capital markets over the past few decades were not a good thing, offering no comparably sized agenda to reform the public sector.

In a country that desperately wants change, I have no idea why a party would not compete to be the party of change and transformation. For a candidate like Obama, who successfully ran an unconventional campaign that embodied and promised change, I have no idea why he would want to run a campaign this time that regurgitates the exact same ads and repeats the exact same arguments as so many Democratic campaigns from the ancient past.
5698  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The personal Pronoun President: "my one congress" on: May 22, 2012, 08:35:05 AM
My = the possessive case for I and me.  And I thought it was the people's congress.

President Obama yesterday: "...this euro project...means that there’s got to be some more effective coordination on the fiscal and the monetary side and on the growth agenda.  And I think that there was strong intent there to move in that direction.  Of course, they’ve got 17 countries that have to agree to every step they take.  So I think about my one Congress, then I start thinking about 17 congresses and I start getting a little bit of a headache.  It’s going to be challenging for them."

They are separate articles, one and two. The legislative branch defined first is not any part of his executive branch, but is where fiscal bills originate.  The Federal Reserve was also an act of congress.

The President rightfully has some frustration with his congress and his budgets.  The House voted down his budget 414-0 and the Senate voted it down 99-0.
5699  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ed Koch endorses Obama on: May 22, 2012, 07:44:06 AM
President Obama's best endorsement to date because it comes from a Dem who has been critical of him, on foreign policy and support for Israel but always with Dems on economic issues.  Posted in the interest of balance on the forum; I don't agree with him.

"Most important, convincing me of the President’s firm commitment to the security of the state of Israel was our personal extended conversation on that issue on September 21, 2011."
5700  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: May 21, 2012, 01:34:10 PM
CCP,  Interesting stuff.  I notice that the Bill Gates "4th generation nuclear" is still a version of fission:

Earlier reports had this as being fusion.  I don't think that is right:
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