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5751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: Lector in Chief on: September 03, 2011, 12:19:26 AM
The writing is instructive.  Amazing for one thing because it seems to be a rare sighting of what is likely his own work.  He starts with a simple grammatical error, holds himself up as evidence the system is working and dives into to a logic-free loop of impossible to follow ramble.   When he said later, Harry I have gift, I think he meant the delivery not the writing of speeches.
Next week if everyone shows up we will have the entire Executive and Legislative branches assembled all in one room and the one who knows the very least in the country about job creation will be the only person allowed to speak. Unbelievable.
5752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: September 02, 2011, 11:11:20 PM
I enjoyed the Gilder interview very much.
5753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Water scarcity? on: September 01, 2011, 01:47:37 PM
Regional differences I'm sure, but I'm not a big believer in water scarcity.  I think the NYT had one story on this but has anyone else heard about the US Army Corps of Engineers caused floods along the Missouri River where 'spring' floods still have freeways closed and homes evacuated along its path:
5754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 01, 2011, 01:02:58 PM
"Being from WI I know what I will watch."

I will miss the Reagan center debates Wednesday with my aging warrior team (senior tennis) training for nationals.  For the great ratings war on Thurs maybe I will watch exciting debate replays.  Don't tell me who won.  wink

For a real Obama jobs plan announcement, may I respectfully suggest that he and his terrorist veep resign during the speech. THAT would signal to the markets and to the world that he is serious.
5755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Huntsman on: September 01, 2011, 12:34:26 PM
JDN,  First,. must note the humor that the LA Times headline says 'Straightforward and common sense'.  If the Perry plan is identical I expect a different headline even though presumably they are only quoting the candidate.  There is zero chance that the LA Times will be endorsing this plan over Obama in 2012.  (Happy to being proven wrong!)

I agree with all the economic points made in the article about his plan.  I still have foreign policy questions for him but this plan pretty much locks in my vote for him IF he is nominated.  Real tax reform, repealing Obamacare and reining in the EPA at least clarify for us why he ruins as a Republican.  Strange that for 2 1/1 months close observers weren't clear on that until now.  It would seem to me that, like what Romney went through in 2008, Huntsman now feels a need to reach rightward.  Instead of looking for contradictions, I would like to say welcome.  Is JDN reaching rightward too or will you now look for a different centrist moderate?  smiley

Note that the LA Times skipped this one:

Eliminate The Taxes On Capital Gains And Dividends In Order To Eliminate The Double Taxation On Investment. Capital gains and dividend taxes amount to a double-taxation on individuals who choose to invest. Because dollars invested had to first be earned, they have already been subject to the income tax. Taxing these same dollars again when capital gains are realized serves to deter productive and much-needed investment in our economy.

Pawlenty had that proposal too and maybe this vidicates himeven though his plan went by largely unnoticed.  I think the reasoning is largely true but unrealistic; it goes too far though I like the way he is thinking.  Locking in current rates or calling for another small, permanent decrease would be a huge victory over the prospects investors have faced constantly since the Pelosi-Reid-Obama electoral takeover of Nov. 2006.

As these economic plans begin to look similar, it will come down to who can win and who will actually get these things done.  That will come down to who can persuasively articulate why these things NEED to be done.  Posting them with solid reasons as he did on his position statement is a start.
5756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 01, 2011, 11:50:20 AM
"Looks like His Glibness is backing off from trying to speak during the Rep. candidates debate"

It seems the bully who wanted to take audience from the Republican debate now can compete the the long awaited NFL opener with the world champion Wisconsin Packers playing the 2 year ago champion New Orleans Saints.  The excesses of capitalism go straight up against yet another round of government-centric job talk.  Nielson ratings callers will be busy.
5757  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with Social Breakdown (The UK riots) on: September 01, 2011, 11:25:44 AM
Avoiding a complete shutdown is one of the advantages of the internet's decentralized design loaded with redundancies and endless, alternate paths - which our benevolent government would like to streamline for us.

"What happens if the internet itself goes off-line?"

That is something like the Y2K scenario; we were told that water and electricity would shutdown if computers went down.  We don't know exactly because it didn't happen then.  If all internet went down, the world we now know would stop for a moment and people would be forced to get up and walk out their front door to talk with other people.   wink
Excellent points by Tony.  The next generation raised with social media seem highly capable of staying organized. I'm still not clear on how you can broadcast all the right information to the right people without also informing the wrong people.

5758  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Politica on: September 01, 2011, 10:42:34 AM
"Venezuela can sell oil abroad in dollars and then transfer its currency reserves to gold"

Regimes of Venezuela, Iran and Russia are empowered by misguided U.S. policies that artificially drive up the price of oil and gold (just pointing out the obvious).

It is a no-win situation for the people of Venezuela but if the USA switched suddenly to pro-growth policies that started with major expansion of domestic energy production and combined sound fiscal and monetary policies it could simultaneously bring down the price of both oil and gold.
5759  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with Social Breakdown (The UK riots) on: September 01, 2011, 10:19:36 AM
"...this point about cell phones and social media..."

I recall that the start of the Arab spring uprising in Tunisia was both triggered by crackdowns on social media and organized on them.
5760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Progressivism: Gov. Hickenlooper, D-Colo. on: September 01, 2011, 10:08:20 AM
Contrast the Obama administration with what we find for Dem governance elsewhere across the fruited plain.  Kind of a fluff piece by George Will today but he points out that Colorado's new Dem Governor has a business background, and a more relaxed view of placating his state's divided electorate; he seems to be governing so far without Washington style, firebrand liberal activism.

“We are such a purple state” — Colorado is about one-third Republican, one-third Democrat and one-third unaffiliated — “we can avoid the big fights.”
From the NYT: In the 2010 midterms (when Hickelooper was elected), Coloradans sent four Republicans and three Democrats to the U.S. House. In 2008 the split was five to two in favor of Democrats.

5761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: September 01, 2011, 09:21:19 AM
"If I have my numbers right, the 1100 now vaporized jobs were created at a cost of $486,364 each (i.e. $535,000,000) this "public-private partnership" (a.k.a. economic fascism)"

In our elaborate system of checks and balances, I wonder if that 'investment' was properly vetted by the other branches of government like the Jobs Czar, the Auto Recovery Czar, the California Water Czar, the Car Czar, the Climate Czar, the Economic Czar, the Energy and Environment Czar, the Government Performance Czar, the Green Jobs Czar, the Health Czar, the Information Czar, the Pay Czar, the Regulatory Czar, the Science Czar, the Stimulus Accountability Czar, the TARP Czar, the Technology Czar, or the Urban Affairs Czar.  With all that oversight you would think that someone watching the public hearings on CSPAN would have smelled a rat!

(Those were only 19 of the 32 Czars listed at

Might I add my opinion that even if the subsidy of the federal government singling out and unequally helping one specific enterprise over all others was just $10 per job and even if the venture went on to become world champion, it is still a violation of founding principles and the constitutional concept of equal protection.

There is something sinister about injecting 'investment' into a 'market', where it is therefore in fact not a market.  Why not just go whole hog Soviet style state enterprise to the produce desired goods if you truly believe central government knows best?

At $486,364 each and $535,000,000 total over 1100 jobs, none of which materialized, could we at least get a full recap of political contributions that led to it or came from it?
5762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Marriage and Family on: September 01, 2011, 08:47:17 AM
Government not recognizing marriage would end traditions like spousal privilege or inheritance rights if not specifically willed?
5763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 31, 2011, 01:13:57 PM
Spokesman Carney says the organizers of the debate are free to "adjust the timing of their debate".

Obvious from the reaction that this petty move was intentional.  If Boehner accepts this I will support a new Speaker to work with the new President. 

How do spell Chutzpah?  I guess he did promise audacity.

Same guy would not allow a debate change that conflicted with the national emergency of the 2008 financial crisis.
5764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: August 31, 2011, 12:59:54 PM
"Why do we have to pay f*ckin rent all our lives - all our lives?  Why?  Why?? Why can't we just pay f*ckin rent for like maybe 10 years, you know, you stay in a place, you know pay f*ckin rent like 10 years and after that you shouldn't have to pay rent again ever and I mean like ever for as long as you live."

Youtube offers a sneak inside peak into my world.  sad  

5765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs for having children on: August 29, 2011, 07:32:04 PM
Just to expand slightly on maternity/ paternity leave from the humor on media issues.  I have taken 17 years off of full time work to raise just one - everybody's situation is different.  Mom bonding with baby is great.  Maybe 2 years or 5 years should be the law - and mom's without babies can pay for it??  Dumping the kid at day care full time at 2 days or 91 days is unbelievable to me.  No slam on Ms. Kelly, perhaps her husband or the kids grandparents watch and I doubt she is on the air 40 hours a week, who knows.  Point is that you can make a federal law to fit her situation, even though she already has it in her contract, then it applies to all women in all states in all industries at all pay levels and all company sizes.  Add gender fairness to that and it applies to men too.  Then if the employer can't afford to pay people not working, the company closes.  You can't pay out what you don't take in.  Even if you write the law perfectly and it all makes sense, it is one more mandate on top of thousands of others and it causes less hiring.  3 months off, if that is the magic number, could be the expense of the employee, the choice to not get paid for not working - that is extreme!  18 years off could be paid for with accumulated savings and investments if that was still legal or by having the other spouse work, if half the pay didn't go to the government - for other people's children.  A tangled web we weave - there is not a one size fits all solution available, I'm sorry. 

General Motors before the bailout was paying healthcare for 10 times more people than actually worked there.  9 out of 10 were on some kind of leave until the cost of healthcare surpassed the cost of all materials in the car, not to mention labor.  The what could possibly go wrong question already has.  Only big business knows how to jump through all the hoops, take GE with no income tax, but big business is inefficient and losing out to leaner operations everywhere else.

Can't people negotiate for themselves in a free society?  Or understand a connection between work and pay?
5766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 29, 2011, 06:59:59 PM
A couple of links:
Funny but misleading.  The original piece of her skewering the radio show host I thought really was funny though you couldn't tell if he was serious, if she was really mad or what any of her political views really are:

She was giving shit to a friend who asked for it.  He said something intentionally to get her going - the maternity thing is a racket. I doubt he doesn't understand mothers being with newborn.  Her time off was in a private contract, not a government entitlement.  Yes she said US in the dark ages on that with a twinkle in her eye, perhaps devil's advocate to a conservative radio host friend of hers. 

The Stewart assumption is that she is otherwise a complete anti-government anarchist because she works at Fox and has asked tough questions in the past about entitlements that can't be reformed.  He tried a few gotcha moments and for sure it worked with his audience.  A straw argument string of unrelated partial clips of her insinuating that overall entitlements have gone too far.  Yes they have.  The clip of her saying "the free market should dictate" was about the FAIRNESS DOCTRINE, not pregnancy, leave or child rearing.  Stewart has it down to either you favor all entitlements and government control 'like us' or you don't.  Everyone in between, like a moderate on Fox, is a hypocrite.
5767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afpakia: Drone Warfare on: August 29, 2011, 02:02:35 PM
This could go in a number of places on the forum but currently relates mostly to strikes in Pakistan.  The AEI author (conservative) comes down on the pro-drone side, but can you imagine the public uproar today if it was a Cheney or McCain administration who had quadrupled the unmanned aerial attacks inside a 'sovereign' country?  As an aside, I have a newer acquaintance who is a leading researcher/developer of UAV (drone) technology and I would be very interested in suggestions for intelligent, non-classified questions to ask if I am able to get some access.

The Morality of Drone Warfare
The reports about civilian casualties are unreliable.


Last week, the London-based nonprofit Bureau of Investigative Journalism published a series of articles accusing the U.S. of covering up civilian casualties caused by drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas. In a New York Times op-ed on Sunday, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, President Obama's former director of national intelligence, declared that America's drone campaign "is eroding our influence and damaging our ability to work with Pakistan to achieve other important security objectives like eliminating Taliban sanctuaries, encouraging Indian-Pakistani dialogue, and making Pakistan's nuclear arsenal more secure."

In reality, drones represent the most discerning—and therefore most moral—form of aerial warfare in human history. In Pakistan, they keep terrorists on the run. They also help Washington to pressure an ostensible ally that doesn't respond to carrots alone.

According to the Bureau's journalists, drones have killed at least 45 civilians over the past year. This flatly contradicts White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, who said in June that drones have not caused "a single collateral death" since last August.

Then there's the realpolitik argument. Drones allegedly create day-to-day friction in U.S.-Pakistan relations. Without the bad blood they cause, Adm. Blair suggests, ties between Washington and Islamabad would flourish.

To be fair, neither argument can be casually dismissed. The claim of zero collateral deaths in a land where militants often live with their families, or cheek-by-jowl with other civilians, appears implausible. The strikes—53 so far this year—tend to draw street protests and harsh criticism from the Pakistani press. Both Pakistan's parliament and the provincial assembly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province have passed resolutions calling for their end.

On closer examination, however, this case collapses. According to U.S. government officials quoted in the Times, the Bureau's reportage is unreliable. To begin with, Pakistani authorities, and the local reporters they hold sway over, have an incentive to fabricate or exaggerate casualty figures. And the reports rely, at least in part, on information provided by a Pakistani lawyer who publicly outed the CIA's undercover station chief last year.

Though even a single civilian casualty ought not to be taken lightly, the focus on alleged collateral damage distorts the essence of the drone program. Technology allows highly trained operators to observe targets on the ground for as much as 72 hours in advance. Software engineers typically model the blast radius for a missile or bomb strike. Lawyers weigh in on which laws apply and entire categories of potential targets—including mosques, hospitals and schools—are almost always out of bounds. All these procedures protect innocent civilian life.

As for affecting U.S. popularity, according to the Pew Global Attitudes survey, the U.S. favorability rating—long battered by conspiracy theories and an anti-American media—hovers at about 12%, almost exactly where it stood before the drone program's advent in 2004.

The program also serves a larger purpose. One of Washington's most pressing objectives in Pakistan is to end the use of its territory for attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan. Another is to wean the country off its historic support for terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan, India and beyond. It cannot achieve either without the help of the Pakistani army and its notorious spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.

But the Pakistani army, riddled with jihadist sympathizers, and with a two-decade old belief in its mission to dominate Afghanistan and bleed India, has shown little inclination to do much more than the bare minimum. The violently anti-American Haqqani network remains comfortably ensconced in North Waziristan near the Afghan border. And terrorists such as Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, whose group was behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans, routinely give inflammatory speeches to adoring crowds.

Against this backdrop, drones offer a practical way to eliminate some terrorists and keep others on the run. They also raise the incentives for the Pakistani military to crack down on terrorism, or else deal with the social unrest unleashed by the strikes.

Instead of cutting back on drones, the U.S. should threaten to ratchet up their use if the army and ISI fail to suppress anti-NATO forces in Afghanistan. Over $20 billion in aid in the past decade has not done enough to alter Islamabad's behavior. A carefully calibrated drone strategy, backed by resolve to stay the course in Afghanistan, may produce better results.

Mr. Dhume is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, and a columnist for
5768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 29, 2011, 01:47:59 PM
There are some like Ron Paul who think they will stop attacking if we stay home and stop fighting back.  Some like Huntsman share the JDN view that we mostly stay home and just strike out in perfect high threat situations like the Osama kill op.  But that intelligence comes only from being out there chasing every threat, and the information even then is never perfect.

Unfortunately wink it has been GM and Crafty who have been right on this.  Their commitment and patience to attack can be measured in hundreds or thousands of years, and look at us, losing our patience and commitment after about 10 pretty good years at home filled with horrific, mostly failed attempts.
5769  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Unusual Conditioning technique: The Pod on: August 29, 2011, 01:29:08 PM
Don't try this at home.  wink  I have an interest in high altitude training, this $75k pressurized capsule simulates something like that - allegedly for health and conditioning benefits:

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic hasn't earned his No. 1 ranking by taking the conventional road. There's his odd ritual of excessive ball bouncing before serves, which can break an opponent's concentration. There's his new gluten-free diet, which he's said has helped him feel stronger on the court.

Novak Djokovic and other athletes are using a secret weapon called a CVAC pod that they believe boosts performance by simulating high altitude.

Ever since last year's U.S. Open, Djokovic has been trying to improve his fitness by climbing into a rare $75,000 egg-shaped, bobsled-sized pressure chamber.

The machine, which is made by a California-based company called CVAC Systems and hasn't been banned by any sports governing bodies, is one of only 20 in the world. Unlike the increasingly trendy $5,000 hyperbaric chambers many professional athletes use to saturate the blood with oxygen and stimulate healing, the CVAC is a considerably more-ambitious contraption. It uses a computer-controlled valve and a vacuum pump to simulate high altitude and compress the muscles at rhythmic intervals.

The company claims that spending up to 20 minutes in the pod three times a week can boost athletic performance by improving circulation, boosting oxygen-rich red-blood cells, removing lactic acid and possibly even stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis and stem-cell production.

Djokovic is so convinced that the pod helps his game that during the U.S. Open, which starts Monday, he's staying (for the fourth year) with a wealthy tennis-trainer friend in Alpine, N.J. who keeps one of the machines on his property.

Djokovic has never mentioned the pod publicly before. He acknowledged using it for the first time last week during a sponsor event in New York after he was asked about it for this article. "I think it really helps—not with muscle but more with recovery after an exhausting set," he said. "It's like a spaceship. It's very interesting technology."

The pod, which is seven feet long, three feet wide and seven feet high with the lid open, looks like a cross between a tanning bed and the giant egg Lady Gaga emerged from at the Grammys. CVAC says its pod is different from other pressurized chambers on the market because it combines altitude pressure with cyclic compression (a combination some studies suggest is more effective than one or the other). Because the pressure, temperature, air density in the CVAC pod can be adjusted, the company says it enhances an athlete's ability to adapt to a range of conditions.

While pod users don't do much beyond sitting while they are inside (cellphone use is permitted), CVAC Systems chief executive Allen Ruszkowski says the treatment seems to have many of the same effects on the body as intense exercise. He claims that the technology may be twice as effective at helping the body absorb oxygen as blood doping—a banned form of performance enhancement.

Former U.S. Olympic wrestling coach Bob Anderson, motocross racer Ivan Tedesco and ultra cyclist George Vargas say they've used the pod and believe it helps. CVAC's Ruszkowski says a slew of other high-profile athletes use the Pod but often insist the company doesn't tell anyone, "because they feel it's a competitive advantage." Rock star Axl Rose owns a pod as well, according to his spokeswoman.
5770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: August 29, 2011, 12:57:13 PM
Tack this on to Crafty's post with the youtube of Sen. Marco Rubio at the Reagan Library - this is the Q &A that follows.  Off script he is just as compelling.
Questions: Will he be VP? How do we attract more young people to conservatism? Tax code reform? Defense? ("The world is as dangerous as it has ever been.  If somehow we think that weakening America's national defense is something we can afford to do we are sadly mistaken.  We cannot.  Weakening our national defense is not the way to balance the budget of the United States of America.")  What should the Tea Party focus on?
5771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: An Entrepreneurial Fix for the U.S. Economy on: August 29, 2011, 12:02:34 PM
Regarding the previous post, you can put Marco Rubio's name right into the title of The Way Forward thread, or would that be redundant?
My simplest proposal to jumpstart enterprise would be to waive all employment law in the first year for entrepreneurs other to avoid blatant discrimination and mistreatment.  Require only a 1099 for monies paid out, with no withholding or other forms required in the first calendar year.  This WSJ piece goes further:

An Entrepreneurial Fix for the U.S. Economy
Several reforms can make it faster and easier for new business startups.

The Kauffman Foundation recently proposed a way to do that with a set of ideas aptly called the Startup Act. Those ideas, which would cost the government virtually nothing, include:

• Letting in immigrant entrepreneurs who hire American workers.

• Reducing the cost of capital through capital gains tax relief for early stage investments.

• Reducing barriers to IPOs by allowing shareholders to opt out of Sarbanes-Oxley.

• Charging higher fees for patent applicants who want quick decisions to remove the backlog of applications at the Patent Office.

• Giving licensing freedom to academic entrepreneurs at universities to accelerate the commercialization of their ideas.

• Having the government provide data to permit rankings of startup friendliness of states and localities.

• Regular sunsets for regulations and a consistent policy of putting new ones in place only if their benefits exceed their costs.
5772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Foreign Policy: We’re All Cheneyites Now on: August 29, 2011, 11:32:29 AM
From Daily Beast and Newsweek, hardly right wing publications:

We’re All Cheneyites Now
Aug 28, 2011 10:01 AM EDT
The dark lord of American politics has a new book out, fiercely defending his Legacy. Lay down your arms, Dick. You won the fight.

On the Fourth of July, Dick Cheney surprised his friends and neighbors in Jackson, Wyo., by coming downtown for the parade, an annual procession featuring a rollerblading moose and a wagon of farmers tossing raw corn—the Wyoming equivalent of Mardi Gras beads—into the crowd. Cheney didn’t stay long and he didn’t say much. Mostly he chatted with folks about fishing (the water’s too damn high this year) and posed for a few pictures. But it was enough to reassure people that the former vice president, who had been rarely spotted during a year that combined recuperation from radical heart surgery with the burden of producing a lengthy memoir, was still on the scene.

This week, his book, In My Time, is scheduled to arrive in bookstores. Simon & Schuster paid Cheney a multimillion-dollar advance, and recouping it means mounting the kind of intensive marketing effort that would tax the energy of a much younger, healthier author. But much more than money is involved. After 40 years in the contentious center ring of American politics, this is Cheney’s last rodeo.

When he signed the deal in 2009, he was in bunker mentality—an embattled ideologue gearing up to defend a deeply unpopular terrorism policy under constant attack from the left. As his tome arrives in bookstores at summer’s end, the battlefield has changed dramatically. His defense brief lands after the court of public opinion has ruled—in his favor. President Obama has largely adopted the Cheney playbook on combating terrorism, from keeping Gitmo open to trying suspected enemies of the state in military tribunals. Obama’s drone war, which has quadrupled the number of attacks in the past two years, reflects Cheney’s whatever-it-takes approach. The leftist wrath once trained on Bush’s veep is aimed at the Democratic incumbent these days. Even the Bush-Cheney pro-democracy doctrine, born as a substitute rationale for the Iraq War after the failure to find WMD, is bearing fruit, toppling dictators from Cairo to Tripoli. The dirty little secret of the last few years is that the man George Bush called “Big Time” won. We’re all Cheneyites now.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney., David Hume Kennerly / Contour-Getty Images

But he’s still fighting the good fight—taking shots in the book at members of the national-security team who didn’t share his Manichaean view. George Tenet let the president down by bailing under fire, in Cheney’s telling; Condi Rice was wobbly on Iraq and suspect in her dealings with North Korea (Rice can return fire this fall, when her own book comes out). He’s rough on Colin Powell: “It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government.”

But then it’s no real surprise that he’s drifted far from Powell politically. Two years ago, he said on Face the Nation that he was closer to Rush Limbaugh than the general. He won the lasting admiration of conservatives for speaking out against Obama at the height of his popularity, while 43 maintained a studious silence.

On May 2, as the final version of In My Time was coming together, American SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Cheney praised President Obama, but the hit meant going back to the book for “updating” as his editor, Mary Matalin, put it. Whatever edits Cheney made, they didn’t require a change of mind about how to deal with America’s enemies. As the anniversary of 9/11 draws near, and In My Time hits the bookstores, Dick Cheney will have one more moment on the national stage to remind people that the policies of today were shaped by his strategic vision. And then, if his HeartMate II keeps pumping and the water recedes, he can go back home and fish in peace.
5773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 29, 2011, 11:19:11 AM
In our famous people reading the forum series, Hugh Hewitt in the Washington Examiner finally runs with my allegation that the 2007-2008 years were under 'their' watch as well:
"The hope and change hangover the country is experiencing is 100 percent the consequence of the policies adopted in 2007 and 2008 by President Obama in concert with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid."  (Short piece, read it all.)
100% blame is an overstatement and not all the destructive policies were adopted, but the fact that they have been looming over investors for all this time has been enormously destructive. 

From an economic point of view, the inflection point on the curve coincides exactly with the elevation of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden-Hillary-Ellison group to the majority in congress promising to inflict specific, anti-growth policies against an economy experiencing 50 consecutive months of job growth.  Taking the Presidency was just icing on their cake.  Assuming it ends, this was a 6 year, not a 4 year, experiment.

5774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: liberalism, progressivism: Ten ThingsCould have done differently on: August 29, 2011, 10:58:49 AM
There is a consensus that Obama both over-reached with leftism and is incompetent.  From a left point of view, over-reaching left is not good because it energized the opposition and potentially killed the movement.  And incompetence is never good.

Answering the 'clueless' series, this is a piece in the daily caller today with ten specific things Obama could have differently (better) and still be a progressive Democrat IMO.  I don't agree with all these, but I'm not a moderate Dem.  At the end he writes: "Would doing these 10 things have revived the economy? Who knows. Probably not. (Still clueless? - DM) FDR didn’t really revive the economy either until World War II began, as Alter knows. But Obama would have shown leadership and creativity. He wouldn’t be both unsuccessful and disdained." (I still say switch parties and switch directions.  Heading off the cliff at 60 mph vs. 80 mph have similar consequences!)

Top 10 Things Obama Could Have Done Differently: Excessively well-sourced Obama boosters are now channeling, not just White House spin but White House self-pity. Both Ezra Klein and Jonathan Alter wonder aloud why our intelligent, conscientious, well-meaning, data-driven President is taking a “pummeling.”   ”What could Obama have done?” (Klein) “What, specifically, has he done wrong .. .?” (Alter)

They’re kidding, right? There are plenty of things Obama could have done differently. Most of these mistakes were called out at the time.  Here, off the top of my head, are ten things Obama could have done:

1. Not subcontracted out the details of the 2009 stimulus to interest-group-addled Congressional Democrats.  Instead, he could have drawn up his own plan that relied more on large, quick payroll tax cuts rather than the ”shovel ready” infrastructure projects that, as Obama later admitted, weren’t shovel ready and (in the case of home-weatherization efforts) were delayed most of the year while bureaucrats figured out how to apply union-backed “prevailing wage” regulations. And why do we think aid to state and local governments–a stimulus centerpiece–had such a big Keynesian “multiplier”? Didn’t many states use the money to pay down their debts rather than retain workers?

2. Sold his health care reform as a valuable benefit for voters that would give them security (they’d be covered) and freedom (they could leave their jobs without losing insurance) rather than as an eat-your-peas plan that would not only “bend the cost curve” by denying treatments but somehow actually reduce the deficit–a sales pitch that assured Obamacare would be unpopular and vulnerable long after Dems rammed it through Congress. At the time, New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza said that Obama had “staked his presidency” on Budget Director Peter Orszag’s notion that “health care reform is deficit reduction.” It was a stupid bet. He lost it.

3. Made the UAW take a pay cut. Whoever else is to blame, the UAW’s demands for pay and work rules clearly contributed to the need for a taxpayer-subsidized auto bailout.  To make sure that future unions were deterred from driving their industries into bankruptcy, Obama demanded cuts in basic pay of … exactly zero. UAW workers gave up their Easter holiday but didn’t suffer any reduction in their $28/hour base wage. Wouldn’t a lot of taxpayers like $28 hour jobs? Even $24 an hour jobs?

4. Pivoted! In 2010, after the health care bill passed, Obama was going to “pivot” to jobs but wasn’t able to do that when … yeah, I don’t remember what prevented him from doing it either. What’s that FDR quote Alter likes to trot out, about “bold, persistent experimentation”?  That is not the attitude the Obama White House gives off when it comes to jobs. Maybe the Weitzman profit-sharing plan isn’t the answer. Maybe a use-it-or-lose-it credit card won’t work. Maybe a neo-WPA paying minimum wages wouldn’t attract unemployed middle class workers–though it could be tried in one or two states. But Obama’s attitude has been: “I tried A. I proposed B. So I propose B again. And again. And again.”

5. Not pursued a zombie agenda of “card check” and “comprehensive immigration reform”–two misguided pieces of legislation that Obama must have known had no chance of passage but that he had to pretend to care about to keep key Democratic constituencies on board. What was the harm? The harm was that these issues a) sucked up space in the liberal media, b) made Obama look feckless at best, delusional at worst, when they went nowhere;  c) made him look even weaker because it was clear he was willing to suffer consequence (b) in order to keep big Democratic constituencies (labor, Latinos) on board.

6. Dispelled legitimate fears of “corporatism“–that is, fears that he was creating a more Putin-style economy in which big businesses depend on the government for favors (and are granted semi-permanent status if they go along with the program).  I don’t think Obama is a corporatist, but he hasn’t done a lot to puncture the accusations. What did electric carmaker Tesla have to promise to get its Dept. of Energy subsidies?  Why raid GOP-donor Gibson’s guitars and not Martin guitars?  We don’t know. At this point, you have to think the president kind of likes the ambiguity–the vague, implicit macho threat that if you want to play ball in this economy, you’re better off on Team Obama. That’s a good way to guarantee Team Obama will be gone in 2013.

7.  Stolen some populist Tea Party thunder by going vigorously after Wall Street.  Even Alter says Obama “neglected to use his leverage over the banks and failed to connect well with an angry public.”  (Alter was also the first to get Obama’s admission of “shovel-ready” ignorance. How many does it take, Jon?)

8. Not appointed pro-union innovators to NLRB who try to hamstring our biggest remaining industrial exporter by preventing it from opening a non-union factory in South Carolina–and then not had his spokesman say there’s nothing the president can do about it because, hey, the NLRB is “independent.”

9. Faced with Republican demands for leaner government, embraced them! Instead of letting GOPs make him the champion of bigger government and higher taxes, Obama could have said he thought higher taxes are probably inevitable but that he wasn’t going to raise them or cut a penny from benefits until he was sure all the fat has been wrung out of Washington. Become Dr. Cut-the-Bloat! Instead of letting his top management official advertise for a new $80,000-a-year ”deputy speechwriter,” tell him to lead a government-wide diet of the sort private companies conduct all the time. Publicize and promote the agency heads who cut their staffs and lower their budget requests instead of those who protect their turf. Have some “RIFs”–actual layoffs of redundant bureaucrats. The goal would not just be to reduce the deficit but to shrink the government to a level that’s … how do they put it … sustainable. This would be the greatest gift Obama could give to liberalism, and it would leave the Republicans gasping for air, speechless, Don’t they teach “co-optation” in Alinsky School? Given the choice between a triangulator and someone who acts like a triangulator, people will vote for the real triangulator every time.

10. Defend the core of Medicare, a popular universal program that works and (according to Orszag) is cutting costs, rather than proposing to  shrink Medicare by raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67.  It seems like only yesterday Democrats were trying to lower the Medicare eligibility age to 55–a political winner. Now the party has to defend a standard bearer who wants to raise taxes but who has no sympathy for the most valuable things those taxes pay for. (Screw granny for “green jobs”!).
Would doing these 10 things have revived the economy? Who knows. Probably not. FDR didn’t really revive the economy either until World War II began, as Alter knows. But Obama would have shown leadership and creativity. He wouldn’t be both unsuccessful and disdained.

P.S.: I’m also not saying that Obama is necessarily headed towards a failed presidency in the larger judgment-of-history sense. Just a single-term presidency. If his health care reform sticks, he’ll go down as a success in a way Jimmy Carter won’t.  One day soon we may look back on 2011 with fond longing.  But that’s not the question Klein and Alter asked.
5775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 29, 2011, 10:31:30 AM
On 9/11 they had two hits on what they consider symbolic for the business center of the US (WTC), and they hit the Pentagon and almost / would have hit the White House.  3000 dead, that's the carnage.  300 million terrorized, that was the point.  Add in the attacks that followed in western Europe and it is more like a half billion terrorized.

Does anyone remember the first Superbowl after 9/11.  The game was delayed by a week because of 9/11.  There was a feeling in the air that they would love to blow up 73,000 in the Superdome with 100 million watching, maybe right while U2 was playing Beautiful Day.  What are the odds of that - with and without security?  [Reading the posts since writing, how about with half the place secured, or half of known al Qaida terrorists on the run, lol] One reason they didn't was because the master planners were running and hiding and having their satellite phones monitored.

Asymmetric warfare, yes, to their advantage. I have no idea how to fight back against someone who is willing to blow themselves up to accomplish a point I can't understand. We had to throw out our own rules of innocent until proven guilty.  They are pulling mostly young Arab-Islamic men, and GM would argue from all demographics, individuals from a pool of over a billion potential who are willing to do this.  They want Israel.  They want Western Europe.  They want Russia.  They want China, and they want the USA.  Of course they won't kill every one of us because we will fight back at some point. Sooner is better than later in terms of when to fight back.  Post-911 is not the time to fight back?  They would have quit attacking?  It's not true, they didn't.  Just write it off as small numbers of casualties and ignore it?  Why?  It's not small in numbers or locations.  They are trying to build a base of operations nearly everywhere.  If you don't believe everywhere, then try Madrid, London, NYC, LA and Minneapolis.  Do none of those hit close enough to home for you?  They do for me.

Regarding the radical-Islam threat being unreal, because it happened before I was born, Hitler's march seems unreal to me as well, no one would even want to do that or ever get any support - but it happened! He took Germany without force, no problem. Then he took Austria, Czechoslovakia, part of Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, The Channel Islands (UK), Greece, Yugoslavia (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia), Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia... and some were still arguing here that he didn't pose a threat here.  From my secure midwest location, the local police and the water patrol are strict enough.  I am thankful they don't display Nazi flags and enter my home.  If that analogy fails it is because Jihadists have far less compassion.

The best way to understand who the jihad wants to kill would be to listen to them.  They want to kill you.

The math-logic problem in the piece is that they measure the losses with a decade of our offense in place, including taking down all bases of harbor we could find and hunting down and killing their leaders, and with all our defenses in place including search and seizure of everyone in almost every public place.  To then say those efforts weren't that necessary because we are suffering so few deaths is absurd.  If you don't see a flaw in that math I unfortunately cannot help you.  Once again, they have said they want to kill you.  From their point of view: so many infidels, so little time.

[There are other places to cut the budget!]
5776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 28, 2011, 06:04:51 PM
So he said "almost treasonous", which means not treasonous, and he said he doesn't favor secession.  You'd think media attacks would be aimed at the misportrayers instead of the misportrayed.  Unless the deception is intentional.
5777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 28, 2011, 05:59:24 PM
" "So if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?" he said."

Correcting his math, how much did we spend to get it down from 1 in 1, certain death, to 1 in 3.5 million and was it worth it.

If at some point you will have to fight or die, at what point, as your enemy builds in numbers, weaponry, organization and momentum, would you like to get started?

5778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: August 28, 2011, 05:46:58 PM
Crafty, I see why you put that POTH article in this category; it fits nicely with the other current MSM / left wing takes that I call 'clueless'.  For one thing they quoting Gov. Granholm with her vision of the future without pinning her for her role in the region's demise.

While the central planners were raising taxes and piling on work rules, regulations and litigation costs, companies and comparative advantages were leaving.  Now they mourn an economic death and still have no clue or curiosity as to what killed it.

6 pages of evidence that industrial policy doesn't work and they are still pondering how it got a bad name - and where to target next.

I offer this clue to them.  Since we don't know where, by looking in the rear view mirror, the next great things will come from or what they will look like, why don't we just make the playing field level and competitive and as unobstructing as possible and let creativity and innovation happen - in a private, freedom-based enterprise system.  Imagine THAT! 
5779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics: Lessons from Depression I for Depression II on: August 28, 2011, 04:31:12 PM
Trying to figure out what cured the previous great depression and how that could apply today.

WPA spending, the largest new deal program, peaked in 1938 and there were no new 'New Deal' initiatives passed after 1938.  FDR's power was declining.  Unemployment was still 19% at the start of 1939 because programs then, like cash for clunkers and shovel ready projects today, failed in any real way to stimulate private economic growth.  Then, strangely and coincidentally, the unemployment and economic growth situation started improving exactly as the emphasis was shifting away from government-based programs.  (Who knew?)

They say it was the war that brought back the economy but the growth really surged two years before Pearl Harbor and America's direct investment in the war.  The war brewing elsewhere was boosting foreign demand.  Increased demand only has an effect if you are in a position to build and supply what they need and cannot build for themselves.  What products would that be today - as we ban drilling for oil, use up our corn wastefully as energy, close our pipelines, put a noose around coal mining, attack new methods of extracting natural gas, add an extra layer of direct taxation to medical devices, chase out semiconductor fabrication and put federal restrictions on aircraft manufacturers to keep them from addressing their uncompetitive cost structure - what will we build that they will need?

In 1939, we were rich with ready-to-go supplies of natural resources in demand elsewhere and we were filled with idle manufacturing capacity ready to produce the specific goods in demand.  

How does that measure up in 2011-2012?  Not very well.  In the current case the rest of the world is already doing pretty well largely without using many of our products.  They are especially unlikely to purchase from us anything that we are unwilling to produce.
5780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 27, 2011, 06:31:48 PM
Looks to me like Rove cannot bring down Perry.  Rove, like Newt, was the genius for a time, but he was not the genius when he left power.  I like to read him and listen to him for his electoral insights, but he wields no direct power.  The openness of the feud and differences between the Bush and Perry camps is exactly what Perry needs for his separation from the past.  If Perry was a Bush prodigy groomed and advanced by Bush Rove Cheney, he would not even be considered.  He is a bit too rough around the edges for Peggy Noonan types and that makes him anti-establishment, which in this moment is a huge positive.

Words: I can't follow a discussion about the importance of words that goes on to ignore their precise meanings.  'Almost treasonous' means not treasonous because treason has a specific meaning and 'almost' means some element of that is missing.  Obama and Bernancke have pursued policies that brought epidemic levels of unemployment, inflation impending, debt beyond wildest imagination, generational theft, destruction of our productive capability, deprivation of our citizens and industries of the energy necessary to succeed -  they have caused as much economic carnage in this country as any enemy ever has in any direct attack.  They are one discovered email or FBI taped meeting away from us finding out it was intentional or conducted in collusion with some enemy of the United States.  The damage is our worst enemy's dream come true; a felony except for missing the proof of intention. Almost treasonous is as accurate as any description I have seen.

Was Noonan up in arms when Obama said 'enemy' for political opponent, when Biden called Republicans 'terrorists', when the left called intensive questioning 'torture' or when the entire left said 'lied about WMD' which means knowingly and intentional when it was neither.  They tried to try their predecessors as war criminals, then tell us to talk nice, don't say something strong but absolutely true that could be misportrayed.  If the sides were reversed they would fall off their desks to hear conservatives even say 'nearly lied' if a different administration turned out to be partly wrong about WMD.

The central policies and direction of Obama and of the left are known to be anti-growth economic policies.  They are adding regulations daily to an already strangulation level of regulatory burden.  They have accelerated spending and borrowing on steroids.  They added two dozen new taxes through Obamacare and want other taxes to go up.  Where we have racial unrest they doubled black unemployment.  They continue to put up roadblocks to producing energy at home while praising and funding the same projects in Brazil.  All these moves are known to kill jobs and they did.  It kills off investment.  It enriches the people who bet against our economy like the buyers of gold.  The only close model for it is the Great Depression and in fact the more that FDR's policies made things worse and prolonged the carnage, the more power he acquired.

Bernancke is complicit in it all.  They don't spend a trillion and half more than they take in if he doesn't provide the money.  Housing didn't go up where it did if he didn't fund it.  Gold and oil don't get bid up to those levels if he didn't monetize it.  Where did that money go?  They say high energy prices helped some in Texas.  Maybe so.  Try also looking at places like Putin's Russia.  Our failed policies enrich him and expand his power and influence.  Also Chavez, Libya, Iran, all of OPEC etc.

People look at all the unemployment and wealth destruction and think the words used to describe it all are the problem??  Good grief.

I say stop the destruction and then stop the harsh words.  Instead President Obama is gearing up for another round of desruction - after this brief intermission to silence the critics.

"what works in Texas might not work..."

Looks like it IS working.
5781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 27, 2011, 12:43:21 AM
Noonan makes a good point about over the top rhetoric not being helpful but completely misses the the real significance of the point Perry made. 

The others talk in obtuse terms about what they might do in 1 1/2 years depending on what the circumstances might be then. Perry was the first to put anybody on notice that we don't want any more damage done in this country now, especially in the interest artificially propping up the incumbent. 

One thing the Bush-Cheney haters missed last decade was the friendship of Cheney and Greenspan and what role that may have had in him continuing the accommodative monetary policy far longer than they should have, in particular through the 2004 elections.  It wasn't lost on Perry. 

Perry put the Fed on notice that as the possible next President he expects them to do their job protecting the dollar responsibly.  THAT is off limits?  Using strong words that gets everyone's attention is a negative??  How so?  Check the polls on that, lol. 

And then there was secessionism.  The founders and framers were secessionists.  For one thing, secession to gain freedom from tyranny after trying everything else has nothing to do with secession for slavery.  Breaking up the union isn't anybody's first choice.  Freedom is.

Personally I favor fixing what is wrong, not leaving.  That said, I value freedom of speech and that includes brainstorming among friends about all theoretical ways of not having every decision and choice in your life being ruled by afar.  In a moment of extreme frustration, that discussion might include a mention of secession.

So politically we have a guy talking about extreme measures in the pursuit of  freedom and he is running against a guy in a candid moment that was caught talking about typical white people, clinging to religion and doing some blow.  I can work with that choice and Peggy Noonan can make hers.  A wordsmith she is, but if she would look past the deck chairs she might see the iceberg approaching.
5782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive dissonance of the left: Paul Krugman falsehoods continued on: August 26, 2011, 02:01:42 PM
CCP, Step one in helping the poor should be to not let yourself be poor, and step two should be to go out personally and help someone in true need.
Krugman this week repeats the mantra that WWII was the jobs program that ended the Great Depression.  Strange then that economic growth was 17% the year BEFORE spending US government money on the war effort.

a) Hoover was an economic meddler, Hoover increased federal spending by 50%, far from his revised legacy of a laissez faire administration, b) FDR's big programs worsened our problems in the 30s.  WPA funding peaked in 1938 - unemployment was 19% in 1939.   c) It was actually the winding down of New Deal programs and regulations*, significant WPA direction, funding and rules changes in 1940, that led to 17% growth in the year PRIOR to America being attacked in Pearl Harbor.


Other views?
5783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US-China: Why a Kindle can't be made in America on: August 26, 2011, 01:21:05 PM
This whole thing is sad because manufacturing of high technology is not about cheap, low end labor costs.  Our misguided policies over a long period have cost us far more of our manufacturing base and jobs base for more than what was needed based on just free trade and comparative advantage reasons.

“So the decline of manufacturing in a region sets off a chain reaction. Once manufacturing is outsourced, process-engineering expertise can’t be maintained, since it depends on daily interactions with manufacturing. Without process-engineering capabilities, companies find it increasingly difficult to conduct advanced research on next-generation process technologies. Without the ability to develop such new processes, they find they can no longer develop new products. In the long term, then, an economy that lacks an infrastructure for advanced process engineering and manufacturing will lose its ability to innovate.”
 Amazon’s Kindle 2 couldn’t be made in the U.S., even if Amazon wanted to:

    * The flex circuit connectors are made in China because the US supplier base migrated to Asia.
    * The electrophoretic display is made in Taiwan because the expertise developed from producting flat-panel LCDs migrated to Asia with semiconductor manufacturing.
    * The highly polished injection-molded case is made in China because the U.S. supplier base eroded as the manufacture of toys, consumer electronics and computers migrated to China.
    * The wireless card is made in South Korea because that country became a center for making mobile phone components and handsets.
    * The controller board is made in China because U.S. companies long ago transferred manufacture of printed circuit boards to Asia.
    * The Lithium polymer battery is made in China because battery development and manufacturing migrated to China along with the development and manufacture of consumer electronics and notebook computers.
5784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: A-zinger tweat on: August 26, 2011, 12:43:16 PM
Past PGA champion, ESPN Golf analyst Paul Azinger tweets:
Facts: Potus has played more golf this month than I have: I have created more jobs this month than he has.

(Azinger recently launched a new application for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch called Golfplan:
5785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nuclear Power- inside Fukushima on: August 26, 2011, 12:22:34 PM
More questions than answers still, but some interesting pictures from inside the facility, "the first photojournalist to gain unauthorised access to the power plant" here:

What I found most interesting is to take another look at the map, how amazingly close this historic earthquake and tsunami was to a massive, older nuclear facility.  Click on the map for the enlargement. 

If I am reading my Richter numbers correctly, the recent east coast earthquake (5.9) was 1/1000th the power and strength of the one to hit Fukushima.  What the Fukushima disaster has to do exactly with potential new uses for nuclear energy where I live or in Germany, hundreds or thousands of miles from similar fault lines, is something I am unable to fully understand.
5786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive dissonance of the left: Tax vs. Charity on: August 26, 2011, 12:01:56 PM
CCP, Interesting points.  I would add that line of liberal thinking is not limited to Jewish opinion leaders.  I'm out of my area to talk religion but it seems to me that the foundations of Christianity are the same.  Helping the poor is a wonderful theme - always on display in church.  We are merely arguing politically over which system helps them best.  I have not yet found in the Bible where they measure the good you do in terms of coercive measures you impose on other people's work and money, or anything that supports the erosion of responsible personal freedoms.  More specifically I believe it warns (commands) against the worship of these other Gods, like sacred govt entitlement programs.

1 in 2 children in America are born into food stamps.  The real needy among us, those families who truly are incapable of providing life's basics for themselves in a benevolent, free society, are an important but very small proportion.  Not 50% or anywhere near that.  We are doing a myriad of things to ourselves on all fronts to make basic, safe, healthy living so enormously and unnecessarily expensive that half the people can't afford it.  (Stop doing those things!) For those who are truly in need of food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, transportation, energy assistance etc etc, are they really best helped by totally blind, unaccountable government programs run from the furthest point away, based on coercive, baseline-expansion-based, runaway funding, or are they better administered on a personal level in the neighborhoods where people might actually know them and know the families, and funded by good and generous people living closer to them, on a voluntary, help your neighbor basis.

Even if you come down on the government side of that argument, why have it run from the furthest away point and why not get it completely out of the tax code and over to the spending side of the ledger.

Like CCP says, whether we see them as elitist or narscissist, decentralized solutions closer to home do not meet their needs for attention and accomplishment.  OTOH, the failures of their programs may leave us broke but more importantly (to the elitists/narsisscists) failure leaves them clueless and frustrated.  Still saying blame George Bush ("it was worse than we thought") at this 3rd/5th year point is really starting to sound like needing therapy.  George Bush has had no new domestic policy initiatives since the election of November 2006 and the left had all the legislative votes they needed for long enough to repeal anything at all that they wanted. 

The only thing they accomplished was answering their own question, what could be worse than George Bush and the reckless spending Republicans of the last decade.
5787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / cognitive dissonance of the left - Krugman blames Perry for today's Fed desicion on: August 26, 2011, 11:17:41 AM
Krugman with his Nobel peace prize doesn't need to use the logic or charts of Grannis to predict no new 'help' from the Fed.  He blames it on political intimidation from Rick Perry.
"Why don’t I expect much from Mr. Bernanke? In two words: Rick Perry.
O.K., I don’t mean that Mr. Perry, the governor of Texas, is personally standing in the way of effective monetary policy. Not yet, anyway. Instead, I’m using Mr. Perry — who has famously threatened Mr. Bernanke with dire personal consequences if he pursues expansionary monetary policy before the 2012 election — as a symbol of the political intimidation that is killing our last remaining hope for economic recovery. "
"...our last remaining hope for economic recovery" - is to destroy our currency?  This is from the lead economic opinion maker on the left?  Does the Nobel committee have no recall procedure??

If you are out of new ideas after two and half years and everything you tried failed, how about just give back the keys.
5788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Monetary Policy: Scott Grannis' QE Analysis linked on Real Clear Markets today on: August 26, 2011, 10:58:13 AM
"monetary stimulus is a very ineffective—if not useless—tool to stimulate economic growth"

"As this first chart shows, the inflation-adjusted value of the dollar against a broad basket of currencies today is as low as it's ever been. This is prima facie evidence that dollars are in abundant supply relative to the demand for dollars. Supplying more dollars to the world by buying more Treasuries or by reducing the interest rate paid on bank reserves would only weaken the dollar further, and eventually that can only stimulate inflation. Note that the first two QE programs were begun at a time when the dollar had risen in value during times of financial stress, which is a good indications that dollars at the time were in short supply. There is a legitimate reason for easing monetary policy when the dollar faces conditions of scarcity. That's not the case today."

'Our own' Scott Grannis linked through Real Clear Politics today in our series of famous people who read the forum.  wink
Loaded with charts that back up his statements.
5789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics- Comparisons with Reaganomics should end soon on: August 26, 2011, 10:45:44 AM
First this, from the previous post:
"...$20 million in federal grants...after more than a year only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program.”

I wonder how many homes would have been updated privately in that if the government didn't take half your money and make you spend more than 6 months of your year working an tax and regulation compliance instead of tending to your own home, blowing in insulation and sealing up leaky windows.
Stephen Moore, WSJ today
Obamanonics vs. Reaganomics
One program for recovery worked, and the other hasn't.

If you really want to light the fuse of a liberal Democrat, compare Barack Obama's economic performance after 30 months in office with that of Ronald Reagan. It's not at all flattering for Mr. Obama.

The two presidents have a lot in common. Both inherited an American economy in collapse. And both applied daring, expensive remedies. Mr. Reagan passed the biggest tax cut ever, combined with an agenda of deregulation, monetary restraint and spending controls. Mr. Obama, of course, has given us a $1 trillion spending stimulus.

By the end of the summer of Reagan's third year in office, the economy was soaring. The GDP growth rate was 5% and racing toward 7%, even 8% growth. In 1983 and '84 output was growing so fast the biggest worry was that the economy would "overheat." In the summer of 2011 we have an economy limping along at barely 1% growth and by some indications headed toward a "double-dip" recession. By the end of Reagan's first term, it was Morning in America. Today there is gloomy talk of America in its twilight.

My purpose here is not more Reagan idolatry, but to point out an incontrovertible truth: One program for recovery worked, and the other hasn't.

The Reagan philosophy was to incentivize production—i.e., the "supply side" of the economy—by lowering restraints on business expansion and investment. This was done by slashing marginal income tax rates, eliminating regulatory high hurdles, and reining in inflation with a tighter monetary policy.

The Keynesians in the early 1980s assured us that the Reagan expansion would not and could not happen. Rapid growth with new jobs and falling rates of inflation (to 4% in 1983 from 13% in 1980) is an impossibility in Keynesian textbooks. If you increase demand, prices go up. If you increase supply—as Reagan did—prices go down.

The Godfather of the neo-Keynesians, Paul Samuelson, was the lead critic of the supposed follies of Reaganomics. He wrote in a 1980 Newsweek column that to slay the inflation monster would take "five to ten years of austerity," with unemployment of 8% or 9% and real output of "barely 1 or 2 percent." Reaganomics was routinely ridiculed in the media, especially in the 1982 recession. That was the year MIT economist Lester Thurow famously said, "The engines of economic growth have shut down here and across the globe, and they are likely to stay that way for years to come."

The economy would soon take flight for more than 80 consecutive months...

Robert Reich, now at the University of California, Berkeley, explained that "The recession of 1981-82 was so severe that the bounce back has been vigorous." Paul Krugman wrote in 2004 that the Reagan boom was really nothing special because: "You see, rapid growth is normal when an economy is bouncing back from a deep slump."

Mr. Krugman was, for once, at least partly right. How could Reagan not look good after four years of Jimmy Carter's economic malpractice?

Fast-forward to today. Mr. Obama is running deficits of $1.3 trillion, or 8%-9% of GDP. If the Reagan deficits powered the '80s expansion, the Obama deficits—twice as large—should have the U.S. sprinting at Olympic speed.

In any case, what Reagan inherited was arguably a more severe financial crisis than what was dropped in Mr. Obama's lap. You don't believe it? From 1967 to 1982 stocks lost two-thirds of their value relative to inflation, according to a new report from Laffer Associates. That mass liquidation of wealth was a first-rate financial calamity. And tell me that 20% mortgage interest rates, as we saw in the 1970s, aren't indicative of a monetary-policy meltdown.

There is something that is genuinely different this time. It isn't the nature of the crisis Mr. Obama inherited, but the nature of his policy prescriptions. Reagan applied tax cuts and other policies that, yes, took the deficit to unchartered peacetime highs.

But that borrowing financed a remarkable and prolonged economic expansion and a victory against the Evil Empire in the Cold War. What exactly have Mr. Obama's deficits gotten us?
5790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / congnitive dissonance of the left: Jonathon Alter - clueless on: August 26, 2011, 10:31:00 AM
Jonathon Alters writes, in essence, what more could he have done, with a school kid title of "You Think Obama’s Been a Bad President? Prove It".

In a nutshell, all that he did was is the wrong direction.  Question is, what less (harm) could he have done?

The right answer IMHO is (again) streamline the tax system to remove as much of the disincentives to produce as possible while funding essential government functions, restrain public spending, open up the production of abundant energy, more progress across the globe on free trade and protect the US$.  Hard to think of one Obama initiative that wasn't in the opposite direction.

5791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 25, 2011, 11:14:28 PM
The teaser with Rubio is to tempt the Obama team to call a first term Senator unqualified to be Vice President.

Interesting endorsement of Perry by a former adversary. Daily Beast seems like an unusual venue a surprising Perry plug.

"he is a good, kindhearted man, and he once sat in on drums with ZZ Top. A guy like that can’t be all bad."
"These days, of course, I would support Charlie Sheen over Obama. Obama has done for the economy what pantyhose did for foreplay. "
"I agree with Rick that there are already too damn many laws, taxes, regulations, panels, committees, and bureaucrats. While Obama is busy putting the hyphen between “anal” and “retentive” Rick will be rolling up his sleeves and getting to work."  - Kinky Friedman
5792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, Perry v. Romney on: August 25, 2011, 10:33:32 AM
One unmentioned advantage Perry has over Romney is that he could pick a highly qualified, private sector trained northeasterner for his running mate to balance out that he has too much government executive experience and that he is 'too-Texas' for the rest of the nation, he could pick Mitt Romney.
5793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: August 24, 2011, 08:35:21 AM
I was surprised to learn from the administration that this unexpected east coast earthquake that could be quite damaging to the economy occurred on a little known fault line that crosses this country known as Bush's Fault.
5794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: August 23, 2011, 03:10:50 PM
QE3 is the answer to the question no one should be asking: How can we avoid addressing any of the real, structural, man-made problems that are causing our current economic sickness, but postpone total economic collapse for just a few more months?  Answer, print more money.

Defined in the article, quantitative expansion means the Fed buys our own bonds.  With WHAT?  They are already short on cash to pay bills at the rate of 120 billion dollars a month.

The one last hurdle after raising the debt ceiling to putting any reasonable limit on spending and borrowing is that in order to borrow another dollar there has to be a willing lender.  QE authorizes 'printing' dollars without limit and removing the need to find and negotiate with a willing lender and borrow in a marketplace.  QE means devaluing the investment of all previous people who bought our debt, making it even harder yet to sell in the future in a free marketplace.  QE is a form of dis-honoring the legal obligations of the United States of America.  One might even say that further quantitative expansion in light of all this is - 'almost treasonous'.
5795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive dissonance of the left - Ezra Klein, Clueless on: August 23, 2011, 02:46:56 PM
This could fall under media but the question posed is perplexing the left.  Ezra Klein, a 20-something year old 'whiz kid' is the Washington Post's answer to the demand for more leftists in main media opinion writing.  His column yesterday: "What could Obama have done?"  His answer is basically, I have no clue.

"But I’ve never been able to come up with a realistic scenario in which a lot more got done, the economy is in much better shape, and the president is dramatically more popular today. Anything that even comes close is really a counterfactual of what the chairman of the Federal Reserve could have done, and I’m not confident that I understand Bernanke’s constraints nor that a more massive intervention on the part of the Fed would have been the cure-all some suggest.

Indeed, if you had taken me aside in 2008 and sketched out the first three years of Obama’s presidency, I would have thought you were being overoptimistic: an $800 billion stimulus package — recall that people were only talking in the $200-$300 billion range back then — followed by near-universal health-care reform, followed by financial regulation, followed by another stimulus (in the 2010 tax deal), followed by the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” followed by the killing of Osama bin Laden and the apparent ousting of Moammar Gaddafi? There was no way. And yet all that did get done. But the administration hasn’t able to get unemployment under control — perhaps it couldn’t have gotten unemployment under control — and so all of that has not been nearly enough.

But perhaps I’m missing something obvious." - Ezra Klein, Washington Post 8/22/2011
Yes you are missing something (plural) obvious, namely how a private economy works.  First, your timeframe is wrong.  Obama burst on the scene as a surprise star speaker at the Dem convention, Aug 2004  When he said, "Harry, I have a gift", he meant a pied piper like gift of oratory and being able to say nearly nothing and sound like oceans have been moved.  He did not purport to know any special knowledge about how to turn around in a positive way an economy that was already running on all cylinders.  The question is, with all his rising star influence in the new majority congress, what policies should he have advocating and leading with as they campaigned for and took the majority in Nov 2006/Jan 2007.  They cam in promising anti-growth economics - and got it.

The answer is something like what just came out of an Arthur Laffer advice column to him just posted recently:

 “Reaganomics would fix any economy that’s in the doldrums,” Laffer said. “It’s not a magic sauce, it’s common sense.

“You’ve got to get rid of all federal taxes in the extreme and replace them with a low-rate flat tax on business net sales, and on personal unadjusted gross income. That’s number one.

“Number two, you have to have spending restraint. Government spending causes unemployment, it does not cure unemployment.

“Number three, you need sound money. Ben Bernanke is running the least sound monetary policy I’ve ever heard of," Laffer said.

“Number four you need regulations, but you don’t need those regulations to go beyond the purpose at hand and create collateral damage. The regulatory policies are really way off here.

“And lastly you need free trade," Laffer said. "Foreigners produce some things better than we do and we produce some things better than foreigners. It would be foolish in the extreme if we didn’t sell them those things we produce better than they do in exchange for those things they produce better than we do.”

He moved in the opposite direction instead and got the opposite results.  Now would be another time that he could try what has already been proven to work.

All the components need to be done at once.  Instead, none of the ideas are even on the table for the after Labor Day speech.
5796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cain 9-9-9 tax plan on: August 23, 2011, 11:22:19 AM
Taxing businesses at 9%, personal at 9% and consumption at 9%: Very interesting! I don't endorse his plan but I would admit that:

a) Cain's plan is the best or only real plan for success now on the table from the candidates, b) it is a significant improvement over his previous blind support for the 'Fair tax' that unrealistically requires and assumes repeal of the 16th amendment, the power to tax income federally at all, and c) his plan, if we could stick to it, would grow us out of this mess.

That said, I think the risk of initiating a new federal tax, a national sales tax, without repealing the federal  income tax, is not worth the risk in this pendulum political environment where radical the pro-tax, anti-wealth liberals will likely take back over once the job growth record again hits 50 consecutive months.

I would rather see them lower the income tax rates on everything, eliminate illogical loopholes and leave the sales tax base to the states who have their own financial challenges.
Pawlenty's plan of lowering capital gains rates to zero was (also) unrealistic - a critical political error that contributed to the fact that no one took his overall proposal seriously.
5797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 23, 2011, 10:45:27 AM
Who does Huntsman think is our enemy is and how does he propose to defeat them?

He offers a 1:37 video at this link that I find to be a start to that answer:  As it can be said about the other candidates, there is no point in the video where he could interject: "I am the candidate who has experience doing that."

He takes Obama's only success, the bin laden kill operation, and suggests all threat should be handled that way.  Gather perfect intelligence without boots on the ground and very sparingly carry out special forces operations at just that moment before real threats attack us inside our borders.  Good luck with that!

Huntsman favored the Iraq surge, influenced by his friendship with John McCain, also favored the Afghan surge as far as we know, but would bring all troops out of both Iraq and Afghanistan now regardless of events on the ground.  No contradiction there (sarc).  He opposed the Libyan intervention and has no real comment on 'Arab spring' or 'Chinese winter'.

That is a coherent foreign policy that would help Republicans win the White House and make the world more secure??  If so, his articulation skills are right up there with W. Bush.
5798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 23, 2011, 12:00:17 AM
JDN, Pro-life makes him human, not necessarily Republican or conservative.  wink  I found that brief video to be full of selective outrage and deception.
5799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glen Beck in Israel live this week on GBTV on: August 22, 2011, 04:37:49 PM

Primetime broadcasts from Jerusalem start this evening, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 
5800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 22, 2011, 04:26:07 PM
CCP,  Dick Morris said about Newt today, he is the fighter who is behind on points the whole fight but capable of delivering the knockout at any time, he is such a good debater.  He is wrong on that optimism IMO.  Newt is capable of developing the knockout argument for the eventual nominee, but not capable of winning himself.  Don't we already have a knockout argument?

Fred Barnes wrote a good piece about Jeb in 2006: If only his last name was smith':  (A little reminiscing reading the article, national unemployment was 4.6 as Dems were poised to take over Washington - that's George Bush's fault!  In Florida under Jeb it was 3.0!)

Highly qualified and accomplished like Perry.  More diplomatic, not as much of a lightning rod.   More conservative than W. Bush.  Jeb is too 'liberal' for your tastes on immigration policy.

Maybe not Jeb or his successor Crist, but the one who grew to national prominence and future Presidency out of that time in Florida perhaps was (VP nominee?) Sen. Marco Rubio.
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