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5751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: June 03, 2009, 10:41:26 PM
Who is/are the biggest donors to the democratic party?" "Anyone care to guess"

Rich Limosine Liberals?  White Guilt? Second and third generation wealth? Buffet, Soros, rich movie directors like Al Gore and Spielberg?

Recently appointed interim Senators and their families?

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae? Lehmann Brothers? LOL

The PRC, DPRK, PSUV, KGB, and the PLO??
5752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: June 03, 2009, 03:39:25 PM
"Never said the tax code was "simple" "  - Oh? To this reader it read: 'Reynolds wrong, here are the correct rates'.

"it wasn't taxes and regulation that sunk them(General Motors); it was bad management and a poor product" - Likewise, never said it was, though interesting that all seemed to fail simultaneously indicating that it wasn't just a couple of flawed individuals.  Business regulations and tax compliance were among the big burdens they had to carry, even at the zero income tax level.  The 2 things that really brought them down IMO were the regs banning most new production of oil and gasoline and the bizarre relationship with labor where a company pays healthcare (among other things)for ten times as many people as it employs while the feds keep inventing new mandates (family leave?)  $4 per gallon on vehicle manufacturers that make most of their money on SUVs and trucks was a killer and prices higher than that are certain to come back.  But now they are little more than a government agency while we mandate they build vehicles they are not good at building, that consumers don't want and that don't turn a profit.  I digress but was the power granted for that in Article II - or WTF?

Yes, as we discussed federal corporate income tax rates I knew you would measure something different to prove you right (?) since that taxrate is second highest in the developed world.  So you find another study making a different measurement finding the US to be exactly average... sad

We come at this from different points of view, you from your point of view and me believing in American exceptionalism - at least up through November 2006.  I wonder what the founding fathers would think of taxation rates here on business that compare with state-run economies and stagnant social democracies at levels near 50%, before they are double, triple and quadruple taxed, and "exactly average" with the systems we tried so hard to not become.  To find just one tax rate higher than a state run, oppressive, communist(?) country is shocking and shameful.  I would hope it strikes others that way as well.

Even JDN admits he would not want to see the rate go higher for the damage it would do. Quite a change in just a couple of days: "don't know if that is too high or too low". (Am I that persuasive or ?) Does that not mean that even in your estimation we are at or near a point where lower rates would bring in greater revenues?  If so then what is the advantage of the higher rates , other than scaring evil employers out?

Curious, did Ireland bring in more or less revenue and did it bring in more or fewer employers when it decided to become a low marginal tax rate state?

And for the stagnant social democracies of western Europe that we wish to emulate, do we also strive to attain their levels of unemployment as well - that have been historically double ours? 

If so, we are making good progress.
5753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, adjustments and tax rates on: June 03, 2009, 10:24:01 AM
"How can you make "logical adjustments missed in the tax code" if we are discussing the marginal TAX rate?"

Reynolds is aware of nominal tax rate tables, lol. No one argues that.  The tax rates from the tables are applied to income or as you say - profits.  The table you pasted took up a paragraph of space and the tax code takes 7500 pages.  You will find if you look that there is substantial disagreement over the ever-changing government definition of business income.  I wonder how many changes have been enacted since my business school accounting taught us that corporations must always keep at least 2 sets of books...

For example, the first 'Bush tax cut' repeal from the Pelosi-Obama congress took effect in 2008 and had to do with favorable depreciation treatment in the tax code for capital equipment investments.  Like it or not, that has the effect of a change in the marginal tax rate if you compare apples with apples for the same measurements of previous years, without rewriting the tables.

America's corporate tax rate is second highest to Japan in the developed world.  While you refer back to verify that, China was lowering theirs.

We also 'tax' corporations with our plethora of regulations, some helpful and some not, but all requiring teams of lawyers, lobbyists and accountants that are not involved involved in production, marketing or innovation.

Before you tell us again how simple it all is, please post all the rules that go with the tables and all the rates, adjustments and exclusions of the 50 states along with the federal and state individual tax rates that the share owner must also pay in order to see a spendable dime in return for his or her ownership investment in a c-corp.
Not a great example, but even a one man senate candidate couldn't figure it out:
"tax experts say the accountant should have known that Franken needed to pay taxes in the 19 different states where Franken earned money in the last four years." Of course the rules, rates and adjustments are different in each one.  Same goes for Geithner and Daschle, much less GE or the former General Motors.  I wonder what tax and regulation compliance costs General Motors paid in order to make a ZERO profit these last several years.  What is the marginal tax rate on profits there??! Infinite and unmeasureable.
5754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care - the meeting was closed to reporters on: June 03, 2009, 09:37:47 AM
Huss notes the meaninglessness of Obama's positions in the campaign to his own positions now.  Unbelievable how many times on so many topics that has already happened, starting with when he joked (?) about things said in a campaign when he appointed Hillary to be Sec. of State.

I was most struck by a phrase tucked at the end of the AP story:

"... Obama said before the meeting was closed to reporters" !!!

When it was the old Hillary task force or when it is the new leftist machine, they do that to get things done for the American people.  When it was Cheney trying to develop a proposal for energy production so that the economy would not collapse in 8 years (whoops), it was black helicopters and evil conspiracies. 
5755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: June 02, 2009, 11:20:04 PM
CCP correctly notes the berating of the US in glibness speeches.  I would add the hypocricy of acknowledging Iran's need for nuclear power generation while denying ours.
5756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Alan Reynolds analysis on: June 02, 2009, 11:14:41 PM
Guinness posted and Crafty agreed that Alan Reynolds is insightful and well respected.  Our usual critic pretended to refute Reynolds analysis by posting nominal tax tables.  Believe it or not nominal tables do not tell the whole story, hence the need for a whole case of printer paper if you care to see tax tables in context.

Reynolds was clear in what he was measuring:  "Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments)"

Crafty wrote: "he may be taking into account other taxes e.g. state taxes, as well."

No, I believe that Reynolds is making logical adjustments missed in the tax code and saying the federal corporate taxes increase ate up 74% of new profits.  Then the rest of that gets chopped with double, triple and quadruple taxation when you figure in state corporate tax, federal individual and state individual taxes.

One confused poster wrote, regarding US corporate tax rates: ""I don't know if that's too high or too low"...

If we want to compete for production (and jobs, income, etc.) in a global economy - it's too high!

For comparison, Eastern Europe's rates are lower. Western Europe's rates are lower.  Even Communist China's rates are lower and they reduced them further in 2008.
5757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Legal issues: Living without consent of the governed on: June 02, 2009, 01:17:49 PM
I condemn the murder of the abortionist.  May he face the full penalties of the law including death penalty if available. 

Beside the crime, he hurts his own movement, encouraging drivel like this: "anti abortion groups.  A rather cold blooded and vicious lot...Lock them all up; for a very long long time."  - Lock up whom? The ones who killed an abortion doctor (we already do that) or the ones who are trying to save lives?

"A late term abortion doctor praying in a church produces in me a deep sense of cognitive dissonance."

I've shed not a tear yet for the late term abortionist, but his life would have been saved IMO if we lived under one of our own pretend principles called 'consent of the governed'.  As posted elsewhere, no serious anti-abortion law has EVER been proposed that does not make exception for protecting the life of the mother.  Assuming the killer's objective was to save innocent life, he would not feel driven to murder, so powerless in the democratic process if there was a possibility in his state to even debate, lobby or petition the government for the right to protect innocent human life from slaughter.

Instead that issue is determined for us by the likes David Souter et al posing as royalty for life, like a third world country.  They even time their departures to allow for the continuation of their agenda with 'policy makers' that cannot be recalled by election and will not answer anything in confirmation that resembles a 'litmus test'.

Regarding the church, offering forgiveness for sins on Sunday for those who then continue their lawful killing on Monday through Friday, may I refrain from posting my view of how the late term abortionist will be judged when he meets his maker.

Sorry I didn't follow the argument about which one of these guys was a martyr.  One kills at least in his mind the guilty to stop the killing of innocent human life, and these are not gobs of goo or embryos.  These are formed, small humans with unique DNA and beating hearts but 'the law' from the liberal elites does not allow any legal means to pursue their protection.  The other was also a martyr, bless his soul, killing to protect the right of the mother to not be forced give birth to a baby, defective or unwanted by her.  The baby is killed inside the womb because a 'legal issue' is created if you remove from the womb first and then kill it.  Also the gruesome procedure allows them to shrink the killed, late term 'little one' to make the procedure easier for the doctor and 'the mother'.

As we judge a wrong and a wrong after removing the issue from legitimate debate in the political arena leaving only street 'justice', we might also take a look at the kill ratios of the 2 martyrs. One killed once wrongly, and the other M-F by occupation.

Regarding prosecution ratios, I don't believe any abortionist killers have ever walked free.  Still waiting for our followup from France regarding the prosecution of the peaceful protesters by day who lawlessly torch vehicles by night.  Even if they are not one and the same, the 'peaceful' protesters  benefit from the intimidation.  He who made the false comparison could post the prosecution rate for cars torched and other violent acts in that particularly peaceful French municipality, but that I don't expect.

Repeating, their is no legal issue over aborting to save the life of the mother.  That is true in far less than 1% of abortions according to planned parenthood statistics and not banned under any pro-life proposal.  And there is no legal issue about prosecuting the accused murderer under the full extent of the law.  His action was wrong and it was illegal.  Too bad that it is likely in his view that it was the only recourse left to him living in an undemocratic society that rejects the principle of consent of the governed for its most hotly contested life and death issue.
5758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sotomayor on: May 28, 2009, 01:29:56 PM
"But President Obama won, is a liberal and gets to put liberals on the court. That's the way it works. Ideology aside, is she qualified?"

No.  They are subject to confirmation (that's the way it works) and we require them to take the oath of office to uphold the constitution which involves upholding the right to bear arms and uphold equal protection under the law.  If she is honest, she will decline the oath and the search for a good liberal justice will start anew. 

Seriously, this process should become a conversation between the party competing for power and trust and the American people about the meaning of the constitution and it should become a challenge to the leftist machine's views and methods BEFORE they win another lifetime appointment. Why do they think it is okay to change (AMEND) the constitution WITHOUT going through the rigorous amendment process spelled out in the CONSTITUTION.

For example, should free health care or ANY kind of FEDERALLY subsidized health care be a right for anyone? If yes, then great, start working on getting support from 2/3 of the house, 2/3 of the senate and 3/4th of the state legislatures and make it a constitutional right. 

How about an amendment to abolish private property rights, that your right to stay put in your home depends on the whim of your city council and 5 justices supporting Kelo!  Let's get that issue on the agenda in 50 states as we consider another forced quota and distributionist for a lifetime of mockery 'upholding' the limits on government.
5759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 27, 2009, 05:16:03 PM
Wealth and savings destroyed and federal revenues down 34% (?) but reassuring to know income disparity is lessening.
5760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues on: May 24, 2009, 02:22:12 PM
"I am currently not interested in discussing abortion and I don't see that changing." - Rachel

During your break from this divisive issue, I offer to switch sides of the issue with you.  You would make a WONDERFUL Pro-Life advocate for the unborn life and I can personally attest to the inconveniences of having to raise a child as a single parent in difficult circumstances. 

The unplanned pregnancy with an unable mother and canceled abortion has been disruptive to me in so many way. Financially in costs and I had to sacrifice my career path.  Parenting takes up otherwise valuable time everyday as I drive my daughter to her activities constantly and look after her every need.  Did I mention braces now and college soon! OTOH, I am a little bit proud as I helped this blob of cells develop into a healthy, beautiful, outgoing, blue-eyed, smiling, red-haired girl, with a large, supportive, extended family on both sides, completing her first year of high school with straight A's, 3 sports letters, second chair viola in the top orchestra, first place ski racer, USTA tennis champion, performed at Orchestra Hall - sold out, and completed the confirmation program within her religion.  And won't clean her room.  I could go on.

Let me know if you think the switch will work.  smiley   - Doug
5761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 19, 2009, 12:13:49 PM
"And on that gracious note, may I suggest we move on from this particular little discussion."

Like the best NHL hockey referees, they wait unitl the fighters are exhausted and then they break it up.
5762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 19, 2009, 11:13:13 AM
CCP and all , thanks for health care info.  One piece said the virtual was cheaper (assuming no follow up invasion is needed) and I think another said virtual costs more (maybe because of the follow up).  I will be getting quotes soon.  I have only major medical coverage so I will be the ever so rare, cost-conscious patient.  We have family history of colon cancer - I should have done this starting at age 45.  The photo sounds a lot better to me than the snake.  Besides the cost, I think I have snake through anus phobia.  Now at 52 and change I should be a fine candidate for a free one at a medical university (wiulling to travel) - any suggestions? 

As a polical matter, liberals contend that health care is much better in western Europe than the US but then they measure it in percentage insured.  I would measure heath care systems by survival rates of the worst ailments we are most likely to face.  For men here that include prostate and colon cancer (women - breast concer etc.)and I think survival rates are much higher in the US.(?)
5763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 19, 2009, 10:38:49 AM
Thanks Huss, here is a link:

After the 2003 tax rate cuts we had incredible double digit growths in revenues that ended with the inauguration of the Pelosi-Obama congress promising to reverse the cuts especially on investors and employers.

Looks like we have fiscal year to date increases of 17% growth in spending not counting trillions in new future obligations along with a 24% decline in revenues!  I guess the promise that the era of irresponsibility is over was just a bunch of BS.

"A budget is more than simply numbers on a page. It is a measure of how well we are living up to our obligations to ourselves and one another."
                                              – President Barack Obama

"when push comes to shove, the only way the government is going to come up with the money needed to meet its aggressive spending is to print it up."  - But when we print it up we don't really have more money, we are just printing the word dollar on something that is really only a fifty cent piece.  sad I doubt if that is the policy that many of the supporters were supporting.

Maybe someone can help me here, but is there not a constitutional obligation of these officials to protect the value of our currency and honor our obligations?? 

If we were done borrowing, devaluing our currency would be a very clever trick to lower our debt.  Unlike third world countries, we have borrowed at least until now in our own currency.  Conversely, the day we have to borrow trillions in yuan or euros we return to third world status asking others for debt rescheduling and forgiveness.  sad

"Im curious to see how obama is going to fund health care"  - Of course he is NOT going to fund it because tax rate increases we know are not how you grow revenues.

It was hard to find actual numbers.  Not on a search of OMB, CBO or google...  Try this:

(It would be nice if cut and paste from a pdf worked better)

Table 9. Summary of Receipts by Source, and Outlays by Function of the U.S. Government, April 2009 and Other Periods
[$ millions]
                                                                                                               This Month,  Fiscal Year to Date, Comparable Period Prior Fiscal Year

Net Receipts

Individual Income Taxes ... 136,668  566,369  747,558
Corporation Income Taxes... 14,545 70,781 171,142
Social Insurance and Retirement Receipts:
Employment and General Retirement............................................................................................ 90,985 508,833 507,153
Unemployment Insurance... 7,058 17,117 18,801
Other Retirement ... 323 2,401 2,415
Excise Taxes ... 5,642 34,343 37,130
Estate and Gift Taxes ... 3,976 16,082 18,121
Customs Duties ... 1,878 14,063 15,717
Miscellaneous Receipts ... 5,158 26,077 31,684
Total... 266,232 1,256,066 1,549,720

Net Outlays

National Defense ... 54,273 385,925 359,275
International Affairs... 4,341 21,699 16,171
General Science, Space, and Technology....................................................................................... 1,963 13,911 13,210
Energy ... -25 193 -29
Natural Resources and Environment ............................................................................................... 2,550 18,963 17,303
Agriculture ... 566 22,070 19,470
Commerce and Housing Credit... 3,520 202,359 755
Transportation ... 5,918 43,967 41,123
Community and Regional Development........................................................................................... 1,813 17,230 13,870
Education, Training, Employment and Social Services.................................................................... 7,940 53,538 52,538
Health ... 33,541 189,735 163,115
Medicare... 36,888 243,177 220,427
Income Security... 49,527 321,196 256,969
Social Security... 56,649 380,825 353,363
Veterans Benefits and Services... 8,024 54,214 48,608
Administration of Justice... 3,831 27,674 26,580
General Government ... 1,261 11,989 9,103
Net Interest... 19,223 114,047 145,301
Undistributed Offsetting Receipts ... -4,663 -64,352 -53,962

Total... 287,139 2,058,360 1,703,191

It all reminds me of a personal story from more than a dozen years ago.  I was at a friend's home for a party.  He is a conservative, his wife's politics I don't know, but they met at a liberal twin cities college and these were their friends.  A gal talking was the daughter of the Minneapolis congressman, Kieth Ellison's predecessor (name withheld) who went on tho become state senator of south mpls and a failed Dem. candidate for Lt. Governor.

She explained in the sweetest most genuine way that the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats care mostly about others while Republicans care mostly about themselves.  I waited for my chance to jump in and tried so hard not to say anything that would get me thrown out before the food was served.  I replied that 'Republicans know how to load the wagon and Democrats know how to unload the wagon so we really need BOTH!'  She looked stunned and said she never heard anything like that before.
5764  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: tennis elbows on: May 18, 2009, 04:53:21 PM
My experience with it also is from racquet sports.  I suffered for about 2 years and stubbornly played through it.  My logic was to not quit what I enjoy while still aggravating it in the more mundane tasks of life that I can't quit so easily.  Besides when I tried to quit sports I ate more and got more irritable to be around. sad I received advice from many sources.  My advice is do all of the above. Disclosure:  I am not a trained professional, just passing along what I think I've learned.

1) Ice it after use like you would a badly sprained ankle.  I was told it is a similar injury to a sprain although mine was mostly in the upper forearm more than in the joint.  Make ice by filling paper Dixie cups in the freezer.  Then break the cup to give an ice massage, pressing the cold past the skin deep into the tissue areas that hurt.

2) Rest, then rest and stretch carefully, then rest and stretch and strengthen carefully.  As you come back, try for lower impact and shorter periods of time.  Stop at the first sign of trouble if you can. With rest alone, the pain subsided for me and I felt healed, but the partial healing was brittle and re-injured instantly on the next impact.

3) Anti-inflammatories: People recommended ibuprofen which I take for other achs and pains, but for me nothing alleviated this pain.  Then from two different sources I received advice to take low levels of anti-inflammatories continuously over a period of time.  One was from an MD, but not of this specialty, and the other was from an athlete I thought least likely to put these poisons in his systems.  This was the remedy that seemed to work.  Run it past your trusted medical advisers first as I assume these can be bad for stomach, liver and kidneys.  I took a fraction of maximum dosage several times a day - something like 1 (or even 1/2) tablet ibuprofen at a time instead of 2 as over-the counter might suggest or 4 like pharmaceutical strength, and 1 Alleve (or a half) over night - longer lasting.  I don't remember for how long but the plan was something like 3 weeks, not completely continuous because I feared the other damages, but often. If you try this, make sure you keep up the other therapies, ice, rest, stretch and very carefully strengthen.

4) 'Elbow brace': The only that works in my experience is this, go here  You can buy it in a large tennis store.  Basically it absorbs the shock before it goes into the elbow or protects whatever areas in the forearm/elbow that you choose.  You tighten down two pads but still allow blood flow.  Don't bother with the other styles IMO especially if tightening hard cuts off the flow and most don't really absorb the shock. Search the words 'bandit elbow brace' in google to get competitive prices online.  I use the white one and continue to use it for prevention.  The black one includes magnets for increasing blood flow.  Costs more and I haven't tried it.  I don't know about those claims.  If you are serious and willing to spend the money, buy 2 of each.  Maybe try the magnets without tightening for treatments when not training or competing.  I know chiropractors have treatments that stimulate blood flow for healing tennis elbow or at least to make you feel good enough to keep you coming back.  I think they use ultrasound(?).  For hockey I wear the elbow brace under the protective pads and for outdoor sports in colder seasons I wear it under the clothing.

Good luck and keep us posted. 
5765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF What if this mess was Palin's? on: May 16, 2009, 09:53:34 AM

President Palin’s First 100 Days
A near disaster.

By Victor Davis Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first 100 days of the Palin presidency, according to a consensus of media commentators, have proven a near disaster. Perhaps it was Palin’s scant two years’ experience in a major government position that has eroded her gravitas, or maybe it was her flirty reliance on looks and informal chit-chat. In any case, the press has had a field day, and it is hard to see how President Palin can ever recover from the Quayle/potatoe syndrome. Here is a roundup of this week’s pundit mockery.

“Ted Stevens may have gotten off,” wrote Bob Herbert in the New York Times, “but he taught our Sarah something first — like using $100-a-pound beef for her state dinners. And what’s this $50 mil for her inauguration gala? Since when do you fly in your favorite pizza-maker from across the country on our dime? Or send the presidential 747 for a spin over the Big Apple for a third-of-a-million-dollar joyride? Does Palin think she’s still in Alaska and has to have everything flown in from the South 48 by jumbo jet?”

Also in the Times, Gail Collins weighed in on the already-tired yokelism of the new commander in chief. “What we’re getting is Wasilla chic. That’s what we’re getting. She arrives in the Oval Office, and first thing sends back Blair’s gift of the Churchill bust as if it’s a once-worn Penney’s outfit. Then she gives the Brits some unwatchable DVDs as a booby prize — as if she idled the old Yukon and ran into Target’s sale aisle. Did Sarah send Bristol into Wal-Mart back in Anchorage for that ‘engraved’ iPod for the queen? And what’s this don’t-bow-to-the-queen stuff, but curtsy for a Saudi sheik? Maybe that explains why she brags to Stephanopoulos about her ‘Muslim faith.’ So far, the best things going for her are Todd’s biceps.”

“Well,” lectured Paul Krugman, again in the Times, “we were worried that they didn’t teach math at Idaho U., and now we know for sure they don’t. Is it $1.6 trillion, $1.7 trillion, or $2 trillion in red ink this year? Are we supposed to be impressed that she offers ‘fiscal sobriety’ by cutting 0.003 percent of the budget? She gives out money to those who don’t pay taxes and calls it a tax cut. And now Queen Sarah tells us that in four years she’ll ‘halve’ the deficit, as if she hasn’t borrowed another $5 trillion in the meantime. Does she think we’re morons? How many ‘Drill, baby, drill!’ oil wells can she tap into up there in Alaska to pay for the extra $11 trillion in debt she’s saddling us with?”

ABC’s Katie Couric summed up the general disappointment with the president’s communication skills. “I tried to warn the American people in that interview a few years back what they would get if they voted for her. Let’s face it: She’s a walking embarrassment. I mean just count ’em up: The mayor of Wasilla thinks Austrians speak some lingo called ‘Austrian.’ Then she tries her hand at Spanish and comes up with some concoction, ‘Cinco de Cuatro.’ Next thing she’ll walk into the window of the Oval Office and expect it to open — oops, she’s already done that. No wonder that when her Teleprompter stalls, she shuts her mouth until it catches up. I’m surprised she managed to get sworn in. And did she think that tasteless ‘Special Olympics’ slur was funny? Or making fun of octogenarian Nancy Reagan’s séances? No wonder Wanda Sykes feels at home.”

A “dragon lady in heels” is what President Palin is, according to the NYT’s Frank Rich. “Don’t fall for this pageant nice-girl stuff. Our former beauty queen is a ward hack. Look at her nominations. Can’t Palin find anyone who has paid his taxes — or do they simply ignore that stuff in no-tax Alaska? Does ‘No more lobbyists’ mean ‘More lobbyists than ever’? Her chief performance overseer doesn’t perform too well herself — and, like Daschle, Geithner, and the rest, skips out on her taxes. When Palin brags about fiscal sobriety, it really means record deficits. In Sarahland, not wanting to take over banks and car companies translates into, ‘She already has.’ Highest ethical standards equates to ‘There are none.’ Calling herself the VA president means she’s just told vets to use their own health insurance.”

“Pretty crude, pretty petty,” Sally Quinn sighed in the Washington Post. “No manners at all. Does our new mom in chief think it’s neat to laugh when her court jester at the correspondents’ dinner calls Michael Moore a traitor and a terrorist — and hopes he dies of kidney failure? Is that funny? Ask those on dialysis. Is that what Alaskan hockey moms do — scream out at every talk-show host who hurts their itty-bitty feelings? Limbaugh, Hannity — who will it will be next? Poor old Jim Cramer?”

“She’s a Bush clone,” the Times’s Maureen Dowd chimed in. “Bush is out, Palin is in — but we keep getting renditions, military tribunals, wiretaps, e-mail intercepts, Predator drone executions over Pakistan, the same in Iraq, and even more of the same in Afghanistan — all retrofitted with new ‘hope and change’ banalities. I mean, who’s putting Mommy Dearest up to this — Wolfie, Perlie, Cheney?”

“There is no foreign policy,” Chris Matthews said on Hardball, his voice dripping with scorn. “She just tours the world and nods, as if her good looks and serial apologies are going to win us a collective tingle abroad. I don’t think Hugo Chávez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad care much that she’s got great legs and a nice wink. How many times can Ms. Vapid say, ‘We’re sorry’ and ‘Hit that old reset button’ and expect thugs to make nice?”

Eugene Robinson worried in the Washington Post about Palin’s emphasis on race. “Look, she gets 95 percent of the working-class white vote. She promises next month to talk to the ‘Christian world’ from Estonia, of all places. Hello? She goes to the Summit of the Americas and immediately puts race on the table — as if we are supposed to separate those with European heritage from those without. Then she tells al Arabiyya that she hopes to heal the rift with Europe ‘because of my own shared European heritage that seems to resonate in ways I hadn’t imagined throughout the EU.’ I guess we’re learning that those ‘gaffes’ last year on the campaign trail, like her ‘typical black person’ remark and Todd’s ‘I am finally proud of my country again’ nonsense were not gaffes at all.”

Howard Kurtz summed up the press cynicism the best in his Washington Post column. “How long does she think she can keep picking on her right-wing plants in the audience for these softball Q-and-A sessions? I mean, there are only so many pukey ‘What has surprised you the most about this office? What has enchanted you the most about serving in this office?’ questions you can lob.”
5766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 16, 2009, 09:48:16 AM
"I simply went from one form of aggression to another."

I try to only get bent out of shape in 3 situations:  attacks on life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
5767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 16, 2009, 12:03:11 AM
BBG, Squeegee man looks more even-handed to me than the 9th circus.  What's illegal in their venue is not in yours or mine.  How 'bout that for equal protection.  We are into about the 6th round of pretending the issue is "criminality".  Before the digression it was "free speech we all value", with values being the process of trying to make distinctions between right and wrong.  But that failed so we went for the straw man.

For now, the ignore button rests somewhere between the urge and the click finger and I failed the test miserably.
5768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Selective Literalism (continued as a Rant) on: May 14, 2009, 03:42:26 PM
From Islam in Europe,  I agree with Huss exactly on choosing and encouraging positive immigration before the fact.  Mass deportations never seem to happen.

The JDN conversation with the Justice was interesting for him.  Bringing it here is what the Justice would call 'heresay' because the paraphrasing of cherrypicked answers to cherrypicked questions might not tell the whole story.

I suspect he wasn't asked the question about protesters rights in the checkout lane or dead-baby delivery room at an abortion clinic because they are banned to the sidewalk.  I doubt he was asked whether a gang with "straight power" signs could remove gay oriented products from stores shelves and I doubt he would say no problem on the record, or whether shingles protesters could disrupt a job site by moving the neatly stacked materials in carts and dropped in a pile at a different point on the property.  In that scenario, I think we would be discussing second amendment rights more than the first.

Even more ridiculous than saying the boycotted and removed goods might have been paid for by the hate-Israel people is to believe this justice would have allowed them a protest, with speeches and cameras, removing Israeli-made chairs from their arrangement in his courtroom, while in session, under his watch, without consequence, and even he did, that would be on public property, not in a privately owned store. 

But let's assume he does think I am obligated to host your free speech in my living room or business showroom and vice versa because it's 'free speech' and that you get Justices Breyer and Ginsburg along with Mother Theresa to agree with you, that does not change my view that their utter disrespect for the sanctity of private property is contemptible.
5769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 13, 2009, 05:24:12 PM
BBG, Thanks for kind words, the appreciation is mutual.  Problem here is that this isn't supposed to be a debate IMO, just each person who wants to make their own observations about a situation.  I am here to look for a wider and deeper understanding, not here to dish out punishment.

I made the mistake of repeating points already made as if saying again would help.  It didn't.

My interest was not to narrow the focus to the contents of a promo film for a hate group, but to widen the focus and learn more about the context, who these people really are, what else do they do, how do they decide which cars to torch, who are they linked with and what will they do next.

I came across the video originally on powerline, a rare conservative voice out of MN.  I posted it mostly because of the interest here in the subject of Islam in Europe.'The most telling part was to translate their website and read their hate views on Obama and their adoration of the mob violence in Malmo, Sweden.  They literally put their "boycott" label right over their posting of the thugs throwing bricks at the authorities.  So I know that "Boycott Israel", to them means 'Destroy Israel' and it means 'Destroy the U.S.' too as time permits and their reach widens.

The violence in Sweden preventing spectators at the Davis Cup is a tragedy.  Assuming tennis is one of the top two sports in Sweden, keeping fans out is an act of war in my book, but a fact of life in Malmo and a feather in their cap to these thugs.

So Islam or middle easterners in Europe are tied to these business disruptions and car fires, riots and events canceled in Sweden, the cartoon violence in Denmark, the Theo van Gogh murder in the Netherlands, the threats to Salmon Rushdie, the bombings in London and Madrid and one other important one: these thugs attacked me on my last trip to Europe..

Forget my brush with Islam, or the murders, the car fires, the riots and the bombings... it is offensive and intimidating beyond words for these groups or any protesters, smiling or masked, to enter a private store and stage their event.  I share no values that I know of with anyone who thinks that is 'free speech we all value' and that no harm was done to the store when they are tromping all over the rights and freedoms of others.
5770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues, cell phone jamming on: May 13, 2009, 09:27:43 AM
The prison application of cell phone jamming is extremely persuasive though I would think guards also need some form of wireless communication for emergencies such as calling for backup.

In a church or music/theatre application I have mixed feelings.  When I turn my ringer off I miss calls half the following day until I discover it off.  But on silent mode in a quiet area I at least might know what calls I've missed and could excuse myself.  Playing tennis or golf with doctors on call for example, it may be rude to take a call,  but if jammed they couldn't participate if they couldn't regularly look to see if calls were missed.
5771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: May 13, 2009, 09:09:36 AM
Previous media post of Huss where the student fools the media but gets caught by wikipedia is funny, but sad.

Similarly, here is the vice glibness spoofing the Washington Post.  Reminds me of Jay Leno on the national enquirer, 'you know it's true because they check, double check and check again before they run with a story' lol.


Washington Post (May 11) served up this headline: "Obama Enlists Biden's Expertise About High Court." The sole source cited by the Post for the proposition that Biden has a major say in selecting the next Supreme Court nominee is Biden himself. The only other source in the portion of the story that deals with Biden's role in policy matters is Ron Klain, Talkin' Joe's chief of staff. Klain touted Biden's foreign travels and asserted that "having a vice president who can do that sort of work has been a huge asset to the president."
5772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 12, 2009, 03:25:51 PM
"suggesting a boycott is a valid and legal method of protest, isn't it?" - No.  They were not "suggesting a boycott", they were physically removing items from the shelves. You can't walk into a department store and take down their display.  You can't walk onto a roofing project, object to their shingles and move the shingles, after they are carried and stacked near the roof, to another location on the property, unstacked.  Not in a civilized country.  But these people would love to turn France, Sweden or the US into a third world country, parts of each are already.

"Baseless accusations"?

"Trespassing" - Yes. They are entering the store, private property, with no intention of buying, applying for a job or anything to do with why the doors are open to them.

"Vandalism" - Yes. Disrupting the flow of business and taking down displays of value to the store.

"Stealing merchandise" - No. Why lie? I didn't write that.  I said stealing the investment they had in the labor etc. invested to place the items in the locations where they wanted them.  I have explained that 4 times now.

"took a few items off a retail supermarket shelf, decided they didn't want to buy these items, and then simply left them in another part of the store" - No. Who are you fooling? Anyone reading this can see the video and that isn't what was happening.

This is what I take away from this exchange: You and I don't have shared values enough to have any kind of back and forth exchange and the time I spent trying to explain myself to you, only to have it twisted back, is part of my life I will never get back.

I will try not to comment on your posts in the future and ask the same in return.
5773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 12, 2009, 10:21:56 AM
"I am always grateful I live in America where we all can express our different views."

 - Same goes for freedom in France.  This group however openly favors the Taliban over the elected government of Afghanistan for example, which means to forcibly remove rights from others that they currently enjoy.

"IF (no proof that I am aware) the product was taken (stolen)..."

 - I will try a third time.  The product was taken from shelves.  If it was left in baskets instead of destroyed or stolen to avoid arrest for theft, they have still taken and stolen from the shopkeeper.  A store is not just a pile of products randomly strewn.  Part of the 'product' IS the placement and design.  The right to have oranges neatly arranged and stacked in the produce section and shampoos of the vendor's choice in the shampoo section.  If one customer takes one item from the shelf, changes his mind and leaves it by the checkout, that may be a nuisance less than a crime.  I have left a loaded cart in a store when I discovered that I had no chance of a checkout in a reasonable amount of time.  But I did not take their products from their shelves WITHOUT the intention of buying them as is the case here, on a massive and systematic scale.

The "product" in "GDP" includes goods and services.  The product of a supermarket is again not a pile of random goods, it is a arrangement, a presentation, an offering to the customer that they will be able to find and purchase that which they expect to be able to find and purchase and we know the shopkeeper wanted THOSE GOODS on THOSE SHELVES until someone takes the quantity they desire for purposes of BUYING them, which is where he can finally recover his sunken from buying the goods and PAYING THE LABOR cost and electric lighting cost and property tax, insurance etc to try to eek out a profit.  The store owner paid to have them put there and pays everyday to have them always look full and neatly arranged!  That is where he wanted them, until sold.  A mob even with a smile that undoes that has STOLEN something from him.  On the third try, do you really still not see that??

"An example of free speech which we all value highly."

 - Please do not include me in your "WE ALL VALUE...".  I certainly don't value any type of "free speech" that tromps all over other peoples rights and freedoms such as the right to conduct business in a legal manner of their choosing, to buy and sell products from the sources of THEY choose and for the shopkeeper's right to design his own displays and have product stay in those arrangements until a customer comes and takes them with the intent of buying.  What you say 'seemed peaceful' I witnessed as LITERALLY trespassing and vandalism, even more evident and 'proven' than a brick thrown at a window that did not break glass.
5774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 12, 2009, 12:13:39 AM
JDN, I was wrong and I apologize.  You are only selectively literal since you remain confused over  whether or not the boycott people (boycott means DON'T BUY) were kind enough to pay for the items they ransacked off the stores shelves.  The placement of the items on the shelf is part of the investment of the proprietor and part of the product the store offers its customers.  The placement of the products was taken by the protesters WITHOUT COMPENSATION and they also should all be hauled off to jail for theft and destruction as much as the 'Swedish' rioters who were unable to break a window.

Your tolerance is not reciprocated.  They hate you the exact same amount that they hate GM or myself.

I'm guessing you don't own a store and never had a gang come in and 'peacefully' strip your shelves.

Arrest and prosecution did not not happen because of car fires, arson and intimidation.  Even though you don't see that, God Bless your right to hold and express a view.
5775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: May 11, 2009, 11:51:30 PM
"...called on the intelligence community to declassify documents..."
"In a letter to CIA Director Leon Panetta..."

Thank God they didn't pick someone political for that critical job, lol.
5776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 11, 2009, 02:36:14 PM
Huss,  I don't disagree with your point that this mess is not over.  Would just add to points on econ stats: Unemployment tends to be a trailing indicator and that large job layoffs get widely publicized and hirings rarely do.

On another point, it is amazing that we have come to a point where 17 billion is chump change.  If I could every man, woman and child to pay in a full dollar to support a fund, I would raise only $300 million.  If I could get a full dollar from everyone who really makes any money, we are down to about $100 million.  17 Billion is 170 times that amount and still a drop in the bucket.  The near term spending that needs to be cut is about $10 Trillion.  To do any part of that we need to change our view government.  Too bad the view of the founders is so out of date. sad
5777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe, Protest videos France and Sweden on: May 11, 2009, 12:58:56 PM
We received two types of responses from the 'BOYCOTT' video, one a literalist who saw nothing other than peaceful, free expression, and all others who connected this intimidation with car fires and property crime at the least, the implied threat of burning the store and ‘I am going to cut you until you die' at the worst.

I wanted to ask the one who saw nothing wrong in the France 'boycott' what he thought of the brick throwing rioters attacking 'Polis' cars in Sweden, but anticipating the answer that there was no connection, I refrained, but there is a connection.

I went to 'boycotters' website (google will translate websites but not videos) and found that they hate more than Jews and they support and applaud more that non-violence.  They attack Obama's war in Afghanistan and they link and post nice comments about the Swedish riot protesters.  Reading the website in its entirety it is pretty easy to ascertain that the expression "boycott" is meant in jest, allowing them more freedom to operate in France but that their view is that this is a war, they are participants, and you very likely are the enemy.

Computer translations are not so perfect, here is 'europalestine' on Obama:
Obama stronger than Bush to Massacre the Population of Afghanistan

Published on 8-05-2009 (

The aviation of NATO has achieved a new record this week, killing more than 140 Afghan villagers, mostly women and children, in the western province of Farah. This is the balance the bloodiest in a single strike, attributed to U.S. troops and their subsidiary, since the launch of the war seven years ago.

The horror, that the U.S. authorities have sought to silence for 48 hours under a stream of lies, has finally been declared Wednesday afternoon, while Barack Obama received exactly the White House its Afghan puppet Hamid Karzai.

The U.S. administration has made a few crocodile tears over the bodies of Afghan villagers, but it has no intention of slowing its destructive madness, quite the contrary.
Obama has just to ask for a special supplementary budget of more than 60 billion dollars only for military operations in Afghanistan during the next fiscal year (October 2009 - September 2010) to finance the dispatch of tens of thousands (including 21,000 in the next quarter) troops as reinforcements.

BOYCOTT BOYCOTT   [Code word for destroy, destroy.  Please read.  - Doug]

No spectators, but many police officers for the Davis Cup in Sweden

Publié le 8-03-2009 Published on 8-03-2009

C'est dans un stade vide de 4000 places, protégé par un millier de policiers, que s'est déroulé le match de la Coupe Davis de Tennis, qui opposait un joueur Suédois à un tennisman israélien, hier à Mälmö. In a stadium of empty seats in 4000, protected by a thousand police, that held the match of the Davis Cup Tennis, a player who opposition to a Swedish tennis player Israel yesterday in Malmo.

La Fédération Internationale de Tennis, a eu beau faire les gros yeux, la Suède a maintenu sa décision de faire jouer cette coupe à huis clos, samedi. The International Tennis Federation, took to the big beautiful eyes, Sweden has maintained its decision to cut the play closed on Saturday.

Plus de 7000 manifestants s'étaient déplacés pour manifester contre les massacres israéliens à cette occasion, et le stade a dû être protégé par un millier de policiers, rapporte Al Jazeera. More than 7000 protesters had come to demonstrate against the Israeli massacres at this time, and the stage had to be protected by a thousand police, reports Al Jazeera.

Pas tout a fait une première en Suède, où la même chose s'était produite en 1975, lorsque la Suède avait accepté de recevoir un joueur d'une équipe chilienne de tennis, alors que le dictateur Augusto Pinochet faisait régner la terreur dans son pays. Not quite a first in Sweden, where the same thing occurred in 1975, when Sweden had agreed to receive a player from a team of Chilean tennis, while the dictator Augusto Pinochet was a reign of terror in his country .

Israël est désormais paria, de la même façon. Israel is now a pariah in the same way.

Et dans tous les cas de figure, c'est sous haute protection policière que ses représentants sportifs, culturels, artistiques, scientifiques, devront désormais se produire, dans le monde entier. And in any case, it is under police protection high that its sports, cultural, artistic, scientific, will now occur throughout the world.

Car aucun de ses sportifs, artistes, intellectuels... Because none of its athletes, artists, intellectuals ... ne conteste la colonisation israélienne et son escorte de crimes. does the Israeli settlement and its escort of crimes. Bon nombre d'entre eux font même partie de l'armée israélienne, et acceptent sans broncher —entre deux matches, deux concerts, ou deux dédicaces de livres— de participer à l'occupation des territoires palestiniens et la répression qu'ils subissent depuis plus de 60 ans. Many of them are also part of the Israeli army, and accept without flinching-two matches, concerts or two book-signings to participate in the occupation of Palestinian territories and the repression they suffered from more than 60 years. Et quand il n'y vont plus eux-mêmes, il y envoient leurs enfants, jouer le rôle de bourreaux. Car on sait le peu de valeur qu'ils accordent à la vie et à la moralité de leurs enfants. And when there are more themselves, send their children, act as executioners. Because we know how little value they attach to life and morals of their children.

BOYCOTT ! So to those who ask in the heart the mouth that "we do not mix politics and sport" or "politics and culture," we answer: BOYCOTT!

The words say "BOYCOTT!"  The photo immediately below the word "BOYCOTT" shows masked protesters trying to break windows on Swedish police vehicles by throwing large bricks.  You do the math.

5778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: May 11, 2009, 12:05:54 PM
The truth in the Thomas Sowell quote of what is happening now is sickening.  We justify our accelerating ignorance of constitutional limits on federal power by pointing to a slippery slope tradition of all recent administration doing the same and court opinions in place that uphold most of it.  We can expand the powers of the federal government simply because of a 53% majority that for the most part didn't know what the were voting for or against.  It used to take a grueling, nationwide amendment process to do that.
5779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 10, 2009, 07:19:38 PM
What a great question, Huss wrote:  "If the economy is on the way to recovery why does the FDIC need a new office with 500+ new employees in Georgia whose specific task will be "to manage receiverships and to liquidate assets from failed financial institutions" ?  Keep in mind the office wont be up and running until sept which is still 5 months away and they will only be serving the south east.  what do they know that we dont?"

I don't know the answer.  My guess is that they build government buildings and hire hundreds because they can, probably stimulus and TARP money.  If the recession bottomed, we are probably in for shaky and lethargic growth at best as the investor class is aware of an unprecedented amount of uncertainty going forward. 

I posted that economist Brian Wesbury recently headlined a post 'the recession is over, no more shoes to drop' but we need a bunch of qualifiers on that. Headlines of scientists and economists are usually overblown.  Click on the link, see the data, read the analysis and remember that the best forecasters don't really know the future.  'No more shoes to drop' he means we already know about the collapses of transportation, energy, housing, banking, insurance, release of terrorists, etc. etc.  We are not exactly sitting on the grassy knoll looking at the shining city on the hill.  Disposing of the so-called bad assets and trying to recover some value will be a major industry for some time to come.  At least in the case of FDIC, most people might agree there was some proper role for government, more so than taking over the automakers, insurance companies or the healthcare sector anyway.

Here is my prediction.  Recession I in this series is over and Recession II begins the day Obama and Pelosi ramp up their next attack on the private sector.  They seem to be delaying tax hikes on the wealthy - I wonder why?  Not because they know higher rates destroy economic growth I don't suppose. shocked  But in June - next month - I wouldn't be surprised if the House of Representatives passes both a version of socialized health care and a version of CO2 cap, trade, tax and ban. 

Those two freedom and enterprise killing bills along with the impending expiration of previous tax cuts should be enough to set off some kind public reaction as well as investor reaction.  They will go a little slower in the senate.  Red state Democrats will measure the uproar and the downturn and stake out their positions. In committee we will decide more about the future about this country than we decided with the constitution and the Revolutionary war combined.  I hope I didn't understate the importance of stopping this train wreck. 

In any case the next downturn is on Obama's watch and we will see how smoothly this smart man with a gift can transition our economy into communism or rescue his own career by flip flopping on his own key issues and pulling these proposals back off the table at least for a spell.
5780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe, france video comments and a sweden video on: May 09, 2009, 12:53:44 PM
Crafty and GM covered most of what my reaction to it is.  We don't need a translation to know that this group is not buying up all the products from Israel.  JDN, I hope you were pulling our chain or just enjoying an adult beverage as you wrote.

"And this boycott seemed rather peaceful"

Did you miss the intro that explained that this is the area with the car fire riots?

Again, with or without a translation there is a level of intimidation present IMO that you and I can hardly imagine.  

There is a difference between a free speech boycott and physically removing items from shelves that a private store keeper obviously paid people to put on the shelves.  This is a serious violation of the storekeepers private property rights, with or without knowing the laws of France.

At least an implied threat of violence exists to the patrons and the establishment, based on the numbers and the known past of the movement, with or without a visual sign of weaponry.  

The distinction between hating Jewish people and hating all people of Israel is lost on me.  I am neither and I fear these people greatly.  To most Americans, protecting Israel is part of protecting America and for Europe, turning their back on Israel and coddling Israel's enemies has not been helpful to security at home.

Not mentioned was that this is actually a promo video for the group ransacking the store, posted to the internet, obviously encouraging others/all to copy and join them.

An example of a free speech boycott IMO would be to put a sign on YOUR lawn or YOUR website and encourage people not to buy certain products from certain origins.

How about if 500 straight people walked into a shop of gay orientation all wearing colored shirts boldly marked 'straight power' and removed all items from the store that are gay oriented?  Still just an expression of free speech, not tromping on the civil rights of others?  I don't think so.

I posted and removed a video ('wrong thread') from Sweden in March that showed unrest (a peaceful boycott?) against Israel.  The victims were the tennis fans of Sweden because a major event, the Swedish hosted Davis Cup match, had to be played in an empty stadium BECAUSE OF FEAR OF VIOLENCE if they did not succumb to the wishes of the protesters.  Another version or the video is posted below.  My point then was that there is cross-link between the social behavior of these do-nothings and the social programs that pay people who contribute nothing.  Unemployment in the immigrant-ghetto neighborhoods is as high as 40%.  They do not come to the greatest social welfare states in the world for the job opportunities, or to Sweden for the climate or to France out of French pride.  Whether you call it hate-politics, intimidation or jihad, it is an invasion exploiting the generosity (and weakness) of the developed nations, not a friendly merger.

5781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 08, 2009, 05:34:40 PM
From WSJ - Crafty's post, Debra Burlingame,sister of Charles Burlingame, pilot of the flight that was crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001:

"bringing unlawful combatants into the federal courts would mean giving our enemies classified intelligence -- as occurred in the cases of the al Qaeda cell that carried out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and conspired to bomb New York City landmarks with ringleader Omar Abdel Rahman, the "Blind Sheikh." In the Rahman case, a list of 200 unindicted co-conspirators given to the defense -- they were entitled to information material to their defense -- was in Osama bin Laden's hands within hours. It told al Qaeda who among them was known to us, and who wasn't."

What a powerful, specific example in the argument about why NOT to criminalize terrorism or bring court prosecutions of enemy combatants in times of war.  Defendants in courts receive rights including the right to see the evidence against them, which creates a motive to commit more acts of terror, get caught, expose our intelligence - information, people and methods - and sabotage our security.
5782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 07, 2009, 12:40:30 PM
From powerline: A video of Israel haters scouring a French supermarket to remove Israeli products from the shelf. There isn't a manager in sight. All the shoppers go about their business like it is 1942 Vichy France. The video was apparently shot in the northeastern suburbs of Paris that gained attention as the scene of the mysterious French "youth" riots of 2005.

This video is even more grotesque than you think. It was shot in a suburb of Paris called Aulnay-sous-Bois. The next-door town to Aulnay is called Drancy, about one mile away. Drancy was used by the Nazis between 1942-1944 as a deportation holding camp for the Jews of Paris prior to the deportation to the extermination camps in eastern Europe. Sixty-five thoursand Jews passed through Drancy, of whom 63,000 were killed. In other words, the Israeli boycotters have chosen, of all the supermarkets in France, the one closest to France's most important Holocaust memorial site. Look on Google Maps to see how close they are.

5783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: May 07, 2009, 12:30:16 PM
"China registered 6.1 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first quarter of 2009, down from the 6.8 percent growth rate for the fourth quarter of 2008."

That's a bit hard to believe for an export-based economy with falling exports.  Considering all the false economic statistics bandied around here in the U.S., makes me wonder how accurate theirs are.  Strat goes on to question those numbers as well.  Their analysis is excellent IMO. 

The Chinese economy is less that one third of the US, with more than 4 times as many people to support.  The people's acceptance of the government comes from a) coercion and b) a sense of security including economic.  Not exactly positioned for large downturns or turmoil.

If a Chinese citizen wants accurate economic data I suppose they could just 'Google' it?  No, Google works with the oppressive government to ensure consistent censorship.
5784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: May 07, 2009, 12:10:19 PM
"The lone Democrat voting against the bill opposed it [Islam Day] on church-state separation fears."

That makes sense.  While we struggle to build a conservative party, it would be nice if the ruling party would exercise a little common sense and respect for the history of this country.
5785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 07, 2009, 10:19:57 AM
Speaking of nuclear weapons in the middle east, the Iraq Study Group concluded that although we did not find stockpiles of WMD, that Saddam in 2002 retained the ability and determination to restart his programs and would likely have nuclear weapons capabilities within 5-7 years.  FWIW, 5-7 years has gone by.  Obama and Israel are lucky to have this one threat removed as they attempt to isolate Iran.

I favor Israel dropping its nuclear weapons program also ... dropping in on Iran's nuclear facilities.  wink
5786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 07, 2009, 10:05:00 AM
"Huge deal that this is, I believe it understates the number-- and we need to remember that health care is about 15% of GDP.  Put the two together and we are looking at the feds being about 40% of GDP."

And then add in 'Government Motors' and the impending takeover of the energy sector... Luckily you don't have a large state government also.  embarassed

"Clinton says U.S. debt to China threatens security - Monday, March 31, 2008"
GM: "**So, was Hillary right?**"

Of course she had it exactly upside down.  The fact they are invested in the U.S. may be our only security after Obama-Pelosi unilaterally disarm us. 

Couple of months ago I posted: "the only check/balance on the American Left machine is 'Communist China'.  If they stop buying our debt, we will have to cut spending by most of the $10 trillion (and eat the rest as inflation) even without the participation in the process of Republicans."

With the Specter jump and Al Franken likely, China's unwillingness to buy more debt has become the 41st senator. As with other debt ridden third world countries, they may require some restructuring and discipline before agreeing to a 'bailout'.  Hopefully they will also impose their lower business tax rates on us as part of any agreement.

At this point I would rather see Obama inflate than borrow on that scale.  Then maybe we can muster up the political will to spend less.
5787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: May 05, 2009, 10:16:53 AM
"President Obama is pouring more than 20,000 new troops into Afghanistan this year"

Just a note on political support for the wars, I notice most signs and stickers on liberal homes and cars that said "Stop the War" and "End the War" seem to be down.  Turns out it was more about who they were protesting than what they were opposing.
5788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Recession is Over on: May 05, 2009, 12:20:17 AM
May 3rd I wrote that many of the free market economists like Brian Wesbury are optimistic now even with policies they oppose, and on May 4th Wesbury posted"

"Recession is Over; No More Shoes to Drop";_no_more_shoes_to_drop

I'm not saying he's right, just that he's optimistic.
5789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Republicans killed Jack Kemp? on: May 04, 2009, 11:54:57 PM
From 'Rest in Peace' , Sen. Specter blamed the Republican party for the death of Jack Kemp.  My first reaction is just bad manners; sounds like Specter is getting angry and bitter along with growing old. I saw Specter on the shows - he is not senile but getting a little slower and sadly desperate in his cling to power.  For his new party, though, this type of thinking is an accepted pattern.  They said the same things about cures they say should have happened for Christopher Reeves and Michael J. Fox. 

Besides bad manners, one issue with Reeves and Fox is the stem cell issue and the other with Specter, Kemp and cancer is about public spending. (Let's leave stem cell controversy for another day.)

Public spending on medical research is Specter's beef (or maybe he's just rambling because he saw a camera and microphone on - like Biden does).  My view is out of the mainstream, but I think the federal government should be a whole lot smaller, the cost should be a whole lot lower, privately we would be a whole lot wealthier and then our favorite form of charity might be to give money directly to medical research for the ailments that are most likely to strike our families.  Cancer research is certainly at or near the top of anyone's list.

Ironically, prostate cancer might be one of the most likely types many people here might face and the survival rate here is the U.S. under our current, 'failed' system with underfunded research is far higher than in the countries with the national healthcare systems that we strive to emulate.

If we were to slash all the programs out of the budget that aren't called for in the constitution I would hopefully cut medical research last, but I would prefer to see it off of coercion-based funding. That's just me, but I wouldn't put a man on the moon at taxpayer expense either.

One objection I always have is that we measure compassion (and results) in dollars spent.  As some watching the global warming fiasco have noticed, science at major institutions sometimes seems to be more about the funding than about the cure or the truth.  Published results always seem to call for more study needed and more funding.  CCP, you have more real world exposure to the medical research side than most of us so let us know what you see...

Another related point is that in health care we spend a huge portion of the money on the last 6 months of life.  In the federal budget other than medical research we spend zillions on programs that are either counter productive or lower in benefit to cost ratio than crucial medical research.  Setting priorities means putting something AHEAD of something else for funding, not just sending more and more to every feel-good bill that ever passed a previous congress.  Did Specter make clear what we should spend LESS on in order to fund eternal life?

Two ideas for government involvement in research:  a) offer rewards for results instead of funding for study, or b) consider buying up the best patents and then making 'the cures' available everywhere for free, a public good.

MD's here may see it differently but I doubt that there is 'a cure' or elimination for cancer.  I think that we just trudge forward with better preventions, better treatments, better results and longer life expectancies just like we are doing and seeing now.

[If Specter really wanted to save lives and protect the weakest among us, he could change his position on the first issue he mentioned having in common with his new party, pro-choice support for abortion rights.]

CCP and others, your thoughts?
5790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Souter Retiring: Ayers, Wright Downplay Rumors on: May 03, 2009, 04:34:34 PM
Souter Retiring: Ayers, Wright Downplay Rumors

by Scott Ott for ScrappleFace ·

(2009-05-01) — As speculation runs rampant about who President Barack Obama will pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, two long-time associates of the president have downplayed rumors that their names might be on the president’s short list.

William Ayers, a Chicago educator and Jeremiah Wright, Mr. Obama’s former pastor, each denied they had been in recent contact with the White House.

“While I have been a vocal advocate of justice for years,” said Rev. Wright, “I’m enjoying my retirement, traveling around, and spreading the good news of God’s condemnation of America. I’m certainly qualified for the high court, and I already have the wardrobe, but these rumors are premature.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Ayers, who exploded onto the national scene in the 1960s and 70s, and has intimate knowledge of the legal system, said he’s “too busy preparing youth to live in the new America to mull a court appointment at this time.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said it’s unlikely that the president would appoint either Mr. Ayers or Rev. Wright, “since he knows many other similarly-qualified candidates with less name recognition.”
5791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re. Jack Kemp, RIP on: May 03, 2009, 03:40:00 PM
God Bless Jack Kemp.  He was an inspiration to many including Ronald Reagan (and me).

What an optimist and believer in the best of all people.  A great life and great accomplishments, but I am also left to wonder about what could have been.

IMO he was much fit to follow President Reagan than the sitting Vice President was.  It didn't turn out that way.  People I suppose doubted he was strong enough to defeat a candidate with the gravitas of Mike Dukakis.  I don't know if he would have handled the Saddam crisis of 1990-91 as well as Pres. Bush I did but I think he would have been much better for the country economically which might have prevented the door for opening for the then governor of Arkansas. 

In 1996 as a Republican I think we had the ticket upside down.  Kemp was a poor fit with Dole because of different philosophies.  Also I thought Kemp choked a bit in his VP debate, as any one of us might in that situation.  It was disappointing because I know he was such a brilliant, enthusiastic, articulate and persuasive guy.  I think his performance would have been different if he was there to defend his own views instead of those of the top of the ticket.

Pretty hard to find anyone who knew him who didn't find him to be a wonderful man and a great American.

As a footnote to the obits who give him credit for Reagan's Kemp-Roth tax cuts but point out that critics say the policy brought us deficits and debt, I would note that revenues doubled in the 1980's ( and that the deficits came clearly from the spending side, just as they do today.
5792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Internet and related technology on: May 03, 2009, 02:55:19 PM
Very interesting read Rachel, Isenberg is very thought provoking. 

Small point of clarification, when he says 97% of the homes still don't have fiber, I think he means they don't have fiber all the way to the home.  Pretty close to 100% of our communications other than face to face run mostly over fiber.  Cell towers and WiFi, even dial up internet over ordinary telephone lines lead into fiber lines that would not work the way they do, or facebook or cloud computing,  if not for the capital investments that someone made in the 'ducts and spices'.  Also an aside, Google would not locate new facilities near the wind farms in Iowa if not for the fiber optic buildout that cost billions in private, capital investments.
5793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 03, 2009, 02:07:46 PM
Rachel, I agree with everything you wrote in this post quoted below.  We probably strike the balance in a different place.  My comment of central planning vs. market choice was not aimed at you or intended to oversimplify, I just believe we already moved way too far in the wrong direction from my point of view and we want to correct by moving further, so I am referring to direction rather than destination.  Sorry about when my posts drift from what started me going to addressing what others may have wrote or said elsewhere.  My admitted anti-government bias is really against government doing things other than governing; setting up health plans and running the automakers would be examples.

I strongly favor roads, bridges, libraries, police, fire, snow plowing and national defense.  Also level playing field laws like insider trading laws etc. and a far stricter interpretation of equal protection under the law.

Interestingly, many of the free market /  supply side economists I read (cf. Brian Wesbury and Scott Grannis are rather optimistic now even with policies they oppose, not sky is falling or buy gold. They were optimistic up to the fall while most doomsayers were predicting doom throughout the boom period so all we can do is read and sort out our own view.  This is nice opportunity here to do that.

My complaint and my point which I didn't actually make was--

I tend to get annoyed by articles  about how the world is ending, the sky is falling and it will never get better.  I  dislike  economic advice  that says  keep  all you money in cash  or better gold,  buy lots of guns,ammo and learn how to farm.  Learning how to farm etc is not  necessarily bad  but  it is not great economic  advice.   Huss's article  on demographics didn't  actually  say any of that  but it shared some common themes.     Maybe the buy gold  people are right -- we will see but they do not have a crystal ball and the sad little data we do have is not all bleak. 

I was  actually  not discussing the difference between central planning and  market choice.  It is not black and white anyway.

Unless you think market choice should pay for the military, police,fire, road system. etc.

Taxes  obviously have a negative economic effect but the interesting  question is  what is worth  the negative economic effect and what isn't.

Obviously you can be in very different ball parks about the correct size of our government  but no one here anyway wants anarchism or communism.

This a philosophical discussion not scientific one because the data is so weak. Correlation is not causation etc
Philosophically, Do we want to be more like " Old Fashion America" or more like Europe?

I happen to like America philosophically  better in many things  but Canada and the UK are not Nigeria or Russia.
5794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs - fifty cents on the dollar on: May 02, 2009, 09:21:03 PM
Just wanted to offer my street knowledge as an inner city landlord that the conversion rate to trade EBT dollars (government paid cash card) for real currency is 50 cents on the dollar.  The card spends like cash but is limited to items like groceries; important things like cigarettes require real money.  Unfortunately the taxpayer pays double.  Just like tax loopholes and campaign finance laws, money finds a way.
5795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: May 02, 2009, 09:05:59 PM
"What happened to basic contract law? ...But why should the Secured Creditors go along?
One of the many things that has made our country great is the concept of risk/reward."

Great Points JDN!  I am with you on this one.  We are in the process of neutralizing the upside and downside of risk, degrading reward and eliminating consequences and corrections, all from leadership in the executive and legislative branches that are disdainful of the economic system that made America great.
5796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: May 02, 2009, 12:17:12 AM
We will stop 'intensive interrogations' in order to impress the Arab-street with our civility.  Let's look at theirs for a moment.  Water tricks and underwear photos don't compare with these guys...

"A 45-minute tape shows a man that the Government of Abu Dhabi has acknowledged is Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan — one of 22 royal brothers of the UAE President and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince — mercilessly and repeatedly beating a man with a cattle prod and a nailed board, burning his genitals and driving his Mercedes over him several times."

This was over a grain deal gone bad.
5797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / U.S. Census 2010 on: May 01, 2009, 11:47:19 PM
Next year's Census has already begun as I have met workers the last couple of days that are beginning to track the housing units with GPS and preparing to find, count and interpolate results for the number of people living in each jurisdiction in the United States.

This could have been broken down into a rant, a glibness post, an economic discussion, a media issue, an election fraud entry, and an illegal immigration comment but IMO they are all intertwined in this process that should NOT be a political issue but it is so it deserves its own topic.(? We'll see what the boss says...)

First, the direction of the Obama Census was pulled out of the Commerce Department and into the White House because specific and crucial political objectives are at stake. Imagine the media reaction if Bush-Cheney had done that. At the heart of the matter is to make sure we count, interpolate and extrapolate all potential Democratic constituencies, legal or not, at least once and then do some tweaking of the data as we do with global warming temperatures to make sure that the results fit our preconceived notions of what they should or might be.

Second, as I have whined often, the Census workers will be directed to make sure that income of the lower income groups is under-counted so that the rich will look richer and the disparity figures will look as disturbing as possible as that is the premise for the entire current governing philosophy.  As usual we will not count any of major sources of income for the underclass; we will not count subsidized housing as income, we will not count the EBT card as income (Electronic Benefits Transfers, formerly called food stamps etc.) even though they spend just like cash would for the benefits, we will not count free health care as income even as its value starts to climb into the tens of thousands per family and we will not Section 8 housing or energy assistance as income even though these programs often pay 90% or more of a family's housing cost, another 5 digit 'income' stream not counted.

And last for now, at a time when the number of trespassers in this country has reached into the tens of millions, we will spend well over ten billion dollars to send a million and a half ACORN organizers, xx I mean census workers, out to 'accurately' count every person living in this country.  STUPID QUESTION (?): wouldn't this also be a good time to find out who is a citizen, who is a legal, documented visitor and who is trespassing?? And do something about it!  Otherwise aren't we also going to be gerrymandering congressional and electoral vote representation to people who can not even vote in this country??

We will determine citizenship by asking them - just as you might find out if bank robbers robbed a bank - by asking them.
5798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Expect the worst, Obama Supreme Court based on outcomes, not rule of law on: May 01, 2009, 11:01:06 PM
I recall Chief Justice John Roberts saying just the opposite.  (Paraphrasing from memory) Question: Will you side with the little guy? Answer: When the constitution is on the side of the little guy I will side with the little guy; when the constitution is not on his side I won't.

A lawless president looks for a lawless Supreme Court Justice
May 1, 2009  Paul Mirengoff

President Obama made a short statement about the retirement of Justice Souter in which he outlined what he will be looking for in Souter's replacement. He stated, in part:

    "I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives -- whether they can make a living and care for their families; whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation."

    "I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving as just decisions AND OUTCOMES"
(emphasis added)

By indicating that his concern is not just with just decisions but also just outcomes, Obama reveals the lawless quality of his thinking. The legitimate function of a judge is to reach just decisions, full stop. Once judges, or the president who appoints them, start thinking about just outcomes, we are well down the path to judicial tyranny. And once just outcomes are defined as those that display empathy for "the people," we could be starting down the road to banana republic status.

Obama apparently wants outcomes that will make people feel welcome in their own nation. It's not clear to me what he's referring to here. But whatever it is, the extent to which people feel welcome must be determined by how their neighbors view them and, to the extent (limited, one hopes) the law becomes involved, the rights and benefits conferred by the language of the laws in question.

If Obama wants to appoint a Justice who has run or worked in a soup kitchen, that's fine. But it looks to me like he wants to appoint a Justice who will reach outcomes that establish "soup kitchens" regardless of whether that's the best view of the legal provision he or she is interpreting.

Expect the worst, not just from this judicial nomination but from all subsequent ones.
5799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - Joe Biden on: May 01, 2009, 09:00:04 AM
Joe Biden was the first clue that Obama would have trouble assembling a competent team, also a clue that he (Obama) is all about politics (neutral Democratic political choice) and nothing about finding the best and the brightest for the country.  Reuters says the administration is "clarifying" his remarks.  The administration should be "clarifying" why Obama picked Biden to be a heart beat away in the first place.

Kerry and Gore were buffoons and Bush often appeared to be one, but Obama is top-of-the-class intelligent while Biden was a bottom-of-the-class flounderer before finding comfort in the Democrat party.  The coalition that elected Obama includes a strange combination highly educated liberal whites along with an underclass of minorities; blacks in particular are very proud of Obama. I don't understand why either group feels any identification with the Obama-Biden ticket rather than just with Obama.

Hard to come up with an analogy, but if the conservative candidate was a scholar like Victor Davis Hanson and the VEEP was Daffy Duck, I would vote for the ticket but only buy the sticker that said 'Hanson', not 'Hanson and the Duck'.
5800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Taxing inflationary gains on: April 30, 2009, 06:18:01 PM
Great post, thank you Guinness!

"President Obama's ...proposes raising the tax rate on capital gains from 15 percent to 20 percent.[1] In real terms (that is, adjusted for inflation), the tax rate on capital gains already far exceeds 20 percent."

The feds and even the good analysts always refer to the capital gains as if they are only taxed once - add another 9.5% if you live in our state.  All states with income tax as far as I know tax capital gains as ordinary income, even though they are just taxing inflation and punishing you for being invested with too much for too long; you will often be in the top tax bracket the year you sell your asset no matter how poor you are, and certain asset types can't be split into pieces to stay in lower brackets.

No problem, just use income averaging, you might say.  Sorry, that program was dropped a couple decades ago as a 'loophole'.

So is it a 'gain' or is it inflation?  Maybe if you guessed right on a company and now you own shares in a bigger and better company - so it is partly gain - but they issued more shares during that time also so you own a smaller share of a bigger company.  My (remaining) investments are all trapped in real estate.  In each case, it's still the same damn building on the same damn lot.  I don't own something more than I bought except how someone else values it at a different point in time - it's all inflation from my point of view.  If anything, each house or property is just that much older and closer to its eventual teardown. 

Real estate hedges inflation real nicely, except that you can NEVER sell and keep the money.

I actually think 19-20% would be a reasonable tax - for everyone - on real income or 'real' gains.

Instead the real tax is probably over 50%, so instead I hold the property that I don't want and the Treasury collects zero.
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