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5751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 07, 2011, 11:25:25 AM
Quote from: DougMacG on November 06, 2011, 03:50:50 PM
I understand the free speech aspect.  I don't understand why those rights trump others.  When you are done speaking, shouldn't you go home, let others speak?  In terms of free speech, it seems like they are the 1% trying to occupy disproportionately the conversation while the other 99% aren't being heard. JMHO.

Woof Doug, I am not exactly sure what you mean here.  You think that other voices aren't being heard?  That others aren't speaking out?  Occupying a park doesn't appear to me to be all that limiting to others' speech rights. 
Yes, occupying a park or square is aimed at keeping out other people and other voices as I see it (and as they see it), but beyond speech there is also a right of others to enjoy the park, to take a turn standing on the step and sitting on the bench, to walk through unhassled.  The right of the restaurant owner in Oakland to not have his business driven away.

What is the meaning to the protesters of the verb 'occupy'?  It is a military term, is it not?  You occupy a country, you occupy a territory, you occupy the space in front of a private business like Wall Street, for the purpose of putting a restraint on what otherwise would be happening there.  The intention is to dominate, to drown out the other voices and disrupt other activities.  Dominate with numbers if you have to hire them like soldiers, dominate with time, dominate with space taken up.  Literally filibuster by staying without ending even when you are not speaking so others cannot have the space for the next rally and express a different viewpoint. 

What you don't see with an amazing background in constitutional and case law, my daughter saw in Madison without special training.  You can't walk State Street to the Capitol while visiting a major public university and enjoy the lights on a beautiful autumn evening without being forced to encounter the scene described in plenty of other posts, not speech at all but people living in the public square with all their ugliness.  My daughter understood the point of occupy, dominate and intimidate out other views:  As we walked through once in each direction, knowing my political proclivities, she said, "don't say anything, don't say anything. don't say anything".  She felt the intimidation they were intending to exude.  'Uncomfortable' I think was the word that landed Cain's accusers about 40k; we got nothing.

I love the zealotry over a constitutional principle like freedom of speech and I'm intrigued by the attempts to expand 'speech' to include almost anything, like resting up for speech and enjoying a little sexual release, consensual or otherwise.  But the Bill of Rights is larger and longer than that. What I don't understand is the willingness of same people in so many cases to tromp all over other constitutional principles, for example, equal protection.  While the definition of speech gets expanded, the definition of equal protection gets narrowed.  I already gave several examples like the estate tax, we tax estates only over 5 million, in case law we determine that it applies to everyone evenly right while we are saying to the public and on the floor of the legislative bodies that we are targeting one specific group - the people with these large estates.  Same with progressive taxation.  Higher rates don't just happen to fall on certain people, they are targeted, just as much as a law against dominating the public square for any cause does, IMO. 

We have laws up and down this country about how people should live for health and for safety, especially in the cities of the protests.  These laws limit freedom but pass constitutional muster I presume.  In residential housing law, if I have one burner on a gas stove that won't self light, one window blind torn or one latch on an interior door that won't latch just right, I am in violation of city law - meanwhile these people live in the city square without a bathroom, without a dressing room, with known public urination, defecation, masturbation, and publicly spreading lice ( and they are extended a higher level of protection.  Good grief. 

Politically and practically, my feeling is to let them be and keep the cameras and coverage on.  This is the 1% (far fewer) and they illustrate and bring to life various aspects of leftism better than any conservative can put to words. The more we pay attention or object to their presence, the longer they will stay and be bothersome.  But in terms of rights, I fail to see how others can fail to see that occupy means hold ground that was formerly public, against the rights of others.
5752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 06, 2011, 11:54:51 PM
CW,  I can't tell with just the written word if you are still pulling my chain a little, but thanks for opening up on a variety of issues.
5753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 94 Cain harassment stories on Polico in first 6 days: Media overplayin its hand! on: November 06, 2011, 08:33:19 PM

Politico coverage of biggest non-story of the campaign:

(Update since story, Politco today criticized Gingrich-Cain, Lincoln-Douglas debate for not addressing the 'the most high-profile issue in the campaign...' - the harassment story!

Update: 94. Under Herman Cain, NRA launched sex harassment fight

Update: 93. Herman Cain allegation: Accuser breaks silence

Update: 92. NRA confirms one harassment complaint

Update: 91. Cain: Attention stems from popularity

90. Accuser attorney: Settlement dated 9/99, Kilgore signed - Nov. 4, 2011 - Story

89. Block wants firings at POLITICO - Nov. 4, 2011 - Story

88. Cain may face more questions - Nov. 4, 2011 - StoryRove swats Cain for accusing Perry - Nov. 4, 2011 - Story

87. Cain accuser reportedly felt 'work hostility' - Nov. 4, 2011 - Story

86. Perry to Cain: No apology - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

85. King not buying reports on Cain - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

84. AFP investigating Cain-linked group - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

83. Cain accuser took complaint to National Restaurant Association board - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

82. Sources reveal new details about Cain allegation - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

81. No Gloria Cain tomorrow night, but eventually - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

80. Rush: 'Cain hasn't handled ... ambush very well' - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

79. Anderson wants 'transparency for everybody' - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

78. Restaurant association to decide Friday on accuser's request to make statement - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

77. Block backpedals on Anderson attack - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

76. Second Cain accuser got $45,000 - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

75. Cain accuser got $45,000 - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

74. Cain back attacking Perry camp - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

73. Baptist leader Land says 'complete transparency' needed from Cain - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

72. Rahm spokesman: WashTimes story 'absurd' - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

71. Santorum says accusations flap not Cain's biggest problem - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

70. Accuser's attorney asks Restaurant Association about issuing statement - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

69. Priebus on leaks: RNC isn't 'Sherlock Holmes' - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

68. Anderson says Cain 'floundering,' accusations a 'diversionary strategy' - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

67. Cain and Thomas, together at last - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

66. Herman Cain should start wising up - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

65. Cain flap exposes generation gap - Nov. 3, 2011 - Story

64. Furor follows Cain to Capitol Hill - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

63. Rahm! - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

62. Perry camp floats Mitt as culprit - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

61. Gingrich says Cain needs to regroup with his team - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

60. Cain lashes out at Perry campaign - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

59. Cain expected vindication - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

58. Bachmann drills harder on Cain allegations - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

57. Cain confronts more allegations - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

56. Cain accuses former adviser Curt Anderson of leaking - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

55. Iowa radio host accuses Cain of 'inappropriate' remarks - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

54. Third woman comes forward to AP - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

53. GOP pollster makes Cain accusation - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

52. Rove: Cain must let accusers speak - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

51.Attorney: Waiting for a callback from restaurant association - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

50. Cain brushes off harassment questions - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

49. Cain reaction: Not by the book - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

48. The sound of silence - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

47. Barbour tells Cain to 'get the facts out' - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

46. Still cautious on Cain - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

45. Iowa yawns at Cain flap - Nov. 2, 2011 - Story

44. A year's salary paid to one Cain accuser - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

43. Bachmann warns against candidates with 'surprises' - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

42. Lawyer: Lift gag on Cain's accuser - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

41. Cain won't say whether he will ask the Restaurant Association to let accuser speak - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

40. Santorum on Cain: 'Experience' a plus - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

39. Cain accuser's lawyer says she wants to tell her story - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

38. Gloria Cain may appear on Fox News on Friday - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

37. GOP senators to dine with Cain tonight - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

36. Cain now recalls 'couple of other' items in accuser's complaint - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

35. Cain says he remembered settlement Monday - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

34. Cain's damage control - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

32. National Restaurant Association closes ranks - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

31. The non-judgmental case against Cain - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

30. Restaurant group nixed backing Cain - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

29. Cain damage control adds fuel to fire - Nov. 1, 2011 - Story

28. Cain explains nationally - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

27. Cain's story shifts - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

26. Cain story divides conservatives - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

25. Cain's conflicting accounts - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

24. Experts: Quiet settlements not uncommon - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

23. Van Susteren husband at Cain event as 'friend' - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

22. Cain now acknowledges details of payout - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

21. VIDEO: Team Cain's responses - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

20. Cain contradicts former association HR chief on investigation - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

19. Cain sings - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

18. Cain claims 'enough said,' but story inconsistent - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

17. Cain Iowa chairman: 'Distraction' will help here - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

16. Cain acknowledges settlement details - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

15. Cain acknowledges harassment accusations - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

14. Cain-led restaurant group declines comment - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

13. Rove ratchets up pressure on Cain - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

12. Cain rebuffs question on NRA report - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

11. Rove to Cain: True or false? - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

10. Block denies harassment, hedges on settlement - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

9. Cain ducks press at AEI - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

8. Trump: Cain settled to dodge fees - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

7. Concerned Women for America wants answers from Cain - Oct. 31, 2011 – Story

6. Team Cain's 'recipe for disaster' - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

5. Cain to appear on Fox Monday - Oct. 31, 2011 - Story

4. Cain attacks, doesn't deny POLITICO report - Oct. 30, 2011 - Story

3. Cain attacks POLITICO report - Oct. 30, 2011 – Story

2. Paul camp responds to Cain story -- by hitting him on TARP - Oct. 30, 2011 – Story

1. Exclusive: 2 women accused Cain of inappropriate behavior - Oct. 30, 2011 - Story
5754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Occupieconomics, some followup questions... on: November 06, 2011, 05:54:34 PM
This quote is pulled out of Bigdog's post on Constitutional Matters where military and veterans were joining with occupy protesters:

"The 99 percent have to take a stand," Bordeleau said, to rectify the biggest income gap between rich and poor since the Great Depression, fueled by what protesters say is Wall Street's overblown clout in Washington politics.
 - - - - - - -
What is the measure they are using for measuring a widening gap; looks to me like it narrowed during the worst part of the recession, and the recession is what is hurting people.  What is the evidence of government causation?  Which government programs caused it? If the rich have all the clout, how did they get a marginal tax rate higher than everyone else, why are they penalized with estate taxes that apply to no one else, why is there a limit on deductible home mortgage interest that applies only to rich people, why is the exemption for the entire profit from selling your home available to everyone except rich people, why are the rich taxed on social security income while others are not, why are rich people completely locked out of almost all social spending programs like food stamps, WIC, free school lunch, section 8 housing, cold weather assistance, free health care, free public defender, etc etc.  Where is the clout?  It makes no sense to me.  What percent of rich people work on wall street?  What if we put poor people in charge of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Goldman Sachs.  What would that solve?
5755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 06, 2011, 05:50:50 PM
I understand the free speech aspect.  I don't understand why those rights trump others.  When you are done speaking, shouldn't you go home, let others speak?  In terms of free speech, it seems like they are the 1% trying to occupy disproportionately the conversation while the other 99% aren't being heard. JMHO.

5756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 06, 2011, 05:10:34 PM
Cranewings: "do you guys still think Herman Cain is serious?"

1) He was this year's keynote speaker at CPAC earlier this year, sort of a dream candidate for people on the conservative side of the spectrum.  What changed?

2) Not much overlap IMO between video game players and Republican primary voters, but I am thankful to have someone else follow the Huff Post and post their best content so that I don't have to.

3) Nothing in the settlement story says that Cain was part of the settlement nor that the date was inspiration for a tax plan, lol.  The well compensated women who once felt uncomfortable story has now been beaten to death without us knowing either what he is accused of or what actually happened.  More likely it has served like a small virus to have caused the buildup of strong antibodies around the candidate to fight off the next wave of attacks from the chorus of haters who started singing long before this non-story broke.

4) The smear against the Koch brothers lands excitement only on the anti-business, anti-capitalism side of electorate that is not going to be pro-Cain or pro-Republican in the first place.

5) "He did take a month off to tour his book when he first took the lead in the polls."  FYI, he still leads in the polls and they all have a book.  It is a form of self promotion that every professional adviser must tell all of them to do.  Traveling and speaking about a book about how you will make a great President is remarkably similar to traveling and promoting yourself as a candidate who will make a great President.  Book sales are how Bill and Hillary got rich, how Obama got rich, and Palin, Gingrich,  etc. Pawlenty tried it: book: Perry book: Bachmann:  Even Huntsman: Cain already has financial success but the ability to hop on a plane and criss-cross the country without worrying about the cost or going broke is staying power in a long race, and the ability to take a year and a half off of work to campaign is a necessity in their business.  Every book sold puts a conversation piece into the living room an American household. For a guy who started with near zero name recognition, that serves a purpose.

6) Cains sings, Clinton played saxophone, Obama played a little pick up basketball and some really lousy golf.  Doesn't seem to be the deciding issue for any of them.

7) "This whole thing seems like a joke."  It could be that your summary points of his candidacy did not cover: "this whole thing", such as any of his good qualities.

Who do YOU support?  Why?
5757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: The Cain, Gingrich Debate Lincoln-Douglas Style on: November 06, 2011, 09:34:11 AM

Under 'Video Playlist', click on "Cain, Gingrich Debate".  The thank yous end and the first question from the moderator Iowa Rep, Steve King begins around the 6:00 mark
5758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 05, 2011, 08:52:08 PM
Bigdog posted in 'Politics' 11/1: "And, yet, it is political speech and therefore due higher protection than it has been given:"

Years ago an old friend as a young attorney used to represent strip joints in town and also the strippers.  He made the argument that the exposed dancing was their speech and thus protected.  I don't remember how far he got with that.

Obviously the actual protests constitute political speech.  Holding signs, conducting rallies, inviting speakers and listeners is protected political speech at its best.  But what about sleepovers and just hanging out?  Does  protected mean they don't have to pay the permit fee that the tea partiers had to pay in one case, or that they can live there for nothing if there is no permit law?  Are laws like a public curfew or park hours  unconstitutional?  Is there a right for the others in the neighborhood or from other political groups to have a turn at some unobstructed access to these public areas too?
5759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: November 05, 2011, 01:49:18 PM
CCP post: "In 2011, 29-percent of African-Americans expressed strongly anti-Semitic views, according to the survey"

To know the significance we will need a control group.  Perhaps 29% are anti- all whites and perhaps 29% are also anti- their fellow African-Americans. 

Seriously, isn't it strange that they find a happy home in the same political party.  Around here that the Jewish community and one of America's most gay cities and a dysfunctional black community all find comfort in representation in Washington from the same Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison.  The Obamites don't support Israel or even capitalism and don't they openly support a gay agenda, and they double the black unemployment, yet these unconnected constituent groups just keep hanging in there delivering the votes.
5760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 05, 2011, 01:35:52 PM
As always, very appreciative of the informative posts from ya!  Very interesting to learn about the leading candidate.  Most unusual to have a most favored nation trade status one way but not mutual. 

As a flippant aside, must say I am jealous of the regions of Pakistan that are completely outside the power of their central government.
5761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: November 05, 2011, 01:25:42 PM
I would think that John Bolton will be available to the contenders and to the nominee as natl security adviser, or sec of state or as VP. 

It seems that most of the wisdom in foreign policy today needs to be applied behind the scenes, for example if we are aggressively strengthening our relationship with India while keeping a few billion and a pretend relationship with Pakistan, why should they know more then they need to about that.  If we are working quietly with factions inside Egypt, below the radar would probably be more effective than publicly made demands.  Somehow I doubt though that we are doing much along those lines but a lot comes down to electing the right people here and trusting them to act in our best interests.

The worst parts of Obama's foreign policy came at the beginning when he projected weakness.  America doesn't belong over here and America will soon retreat.  The drone strikes and OBL operation projected strength.  The Libya from behind and from above maneuver probably projects wisdom to some, but we will see.  The withdrawal deadlines from Iraq and Afghanistan project that this administration is shifting into campaign mode over security interests.  Are we saying there is no longer an American security interest in these locations?  If so, why did we stay 3+ years into the new administration and what changed?  Are we saying mission accomplished?  That implication seems to bring with it strings of bad luck.

People were quite war weary at the last election, also by the time the Libya operation began.  Talking tough now like we are going to open a plethora of new war theaters is not going to play well past the hawk segment of the base.  People will I think will prefer a calmness of strength, a restraint in policy that is not coming from weakness, ignorance or fear.

It is hard to believe that with a trillion or so invested and thousands of American lives lost that we aren't able or interested in negotiating permanent bases to allow some future security benefit to come from our effort. 

Was China selling or offering weapons to Kadhafy DURING our war?  If so, what are the consequences to them for that?  (nothing) That was one problem with Huntsman not getting traction with his foreign policy experience, I have yet to meet or read someone who knows if we have a foreign policy toward the world's second largest power or what it is.
5762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: November 05, 2011, 01:15:27 AM
Pakistan along with the entire middle east is a dangerous place.  I knew that years ago, but more dangerous now, especially the more that you know.  People don't know what to do about it so it is hard to judge the candidates if they did offer plans and ideas.

If Iraq goes to hell on our exit, the lesson is what?  Either that we should have kept a strong presence longer or that we should have left anarchy after deposing Saddam, as with Libya and Egypt now, let them sort it out and take actions again and again in the future.  And same for Afghanistan?

Crafty you have good ideas of how to split Pakistan differently and I have a proposal for Kashmir, but that doesn't mean anyone there would accept our ideas.

"Serious wars are made of such things."   - Yes. The main answer to all this danger we cannot control is to prepare for war, hopefully to avoid war.  Step one is end American weakness at home; most of these Republicans believe at least vaguely in a strong defense.  I would add that any of these nominees will need if elected an American military that does not rely on funding from a returned Pelosi-Reid congress.  

"I'm sure polling has the public focused on the economy and foreign policy way down the list of priorities."

When we think it is all domestic policy, it turns out to be foreign policy or war, and vice versa.  It is very possible that we don't yet know what the most important event or crisis of Obama years will be.

Foreign policy may weigh heavily in the general election debates.  Was the 3am call the one where they decided not to take the Libyan war to congress?  The Republican candidates mostly look readier than Obama did in 2007, but not ready.  We will get more serious after we find out if comparing an anonymous person's height to that of your wife is a deal breaker for Commander in Chief.

"(Newt Gingrich excepted)"  Very strong in the video! That doesn't make his other problems go away, just Murphy's law that he would be strongest on depth and delivery, Perry's economic plan best (JMO) and then the nominee will be one of the others.
5763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libya and on: November 04, 2011, 11:43:49 PM
Wolfowitz says the others are half right.  Looks to me like he is about half right.  The amazing part is that Europe showed some resolve and leadership.  A rare positive feature in the world coming out of America in decline.  If one accepts as Wolfowitz does that the action was a positive thing, then Obama deserves some credit as a flip flopper - in his view in the right direction.  Remember he was chosen as the most consistently anti-war of all the Dem candidates.  In giving out credit he neglects to mention the controversy over not taking the question to congress.  Had that whole episode belonged to a Republican President, can you imagine...  What would Senator Obama's position and words have been?

Our offer to help is likely to be of no consequence if they now pledge their allegiance to al Qaida.

Hard to say we will miss Kadafy.  It will be more a question about what to do next about Libya in the future or the Caliphate when they start exporting terror and trouble.  The dragging of Kadafy's murdered body through the street was celebrated (mission accomplished?) by the same administration that believed it to be over the line to perform water tricks on the man who beheaded Daniel Pearl, to gain information to prevent mass murder.  Hard to see coherence in our foreign policy and hard to be optimistic about what will come next.  I might have supported the action as a choice between lousy choices, but I don't think I would be gloating as if all is well now.
5764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: November 04, 2011, 10:48:28 PM
Interesting that if we produced our own energy we wouldn't have our hands tied trying to put sanctions on one of the world's worst terror supporting nations.  At least up to the final nuclear fallout we can say that our air and water was the cleanest.
5765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / OWS: 'offer them OUR solutions', (What would Reagan say?) on: November 04, 2011, 09:40:10 PM
Crafty,  Thank you.  I was not criticizing but trying to draw your view out further.  Except for walking through the scene of the alleged public masturbation problem with daughter on a college visit in Madison - we just saw bums and signs - I really haven't known anything firsthand at all about this, just stuck with my suspicions of who comes to these.

"I think it important that we continue to make clear that they share OUR sentiment and to offer them OUR solutions."

Agree and the challenge of articulating 'our view' more clearly is daunting.  These candidates, even Huntsman and Pawlenty, have had revolutionary economic plans that are being received by everyone beyond the hard core base with a collective yawn.  Perry, whose plan I have made clear that I like, was told by a mainstream interviewer that the rich with pay less in taxes (in static analysis) if the rate is lower and he said 'I don't care about that'... and went on to try to attempt a larger point that I'm sure didn't come through.  I know what he meant or should have said but it is very hard to explain with clarity in quick  bites and quick answers.  The very few with the magic of being able to do that aren't running.

Rush L. has a way with words but admitted he can't let himself be judged by the minds he changes, if any.  You work to present, express, explain to the best of your ability but you don't control the receiving end of the message.  People have to allow themselves to be persuaded.

It is quite hard if not impossible to go up to a viewpoint that hates wealth and capitalism and have the simplest point of incentive-based economics make a landing. 

Your point that the rest of the electorate is watching with interest is excellent.  Ronald Reagan wasn't given much credit for being right until well into his Presidency and many still don't get it, yet he was espousing his views with clarity at least back to 1964 to those who would listen.  Enjoy THIS:

5766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 04, 2011, 07:38:19 PM
The list from GM's link.  It would seem to me that this is the other team.  Some groups I'm not seeing represented: tea party, Club for Growth, Center for the American Experiment, Cato, Heritage, Reagan Library...

Communist Party USA
    Sources: Communist Party USA, OWS speech, The Daily Caller

American Nazi Party
    Sources: Media Matters, American Nazi Party, White Honor, Sunshine State News

Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran
    Sources: The Guardian, Tehran Times, CBS News

Barack Obama
    Sources: ABC News, CBS News, ForexTV, NBC New York

The government of North Korea
    Sources: Korean Central News Agency (North Korean state-controlled news outlet), The Marxist-Leninist, Wall Street Journal, Times of India
Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam
    Sources: video statement (starting at 8:28), Black in America, Weasel Zippers, Philadelphia Weekly

Revolutionary Communist Party
    Sources: Revolutionary Communist Party, Revolution newspaper, in-person appearance

David Duke
    Sources: Talking Points Memo, video statement,

Joe Biden
    Sources: Talking Points Memo, video statement, Mother Jones

Hugo Chavez
    Sources: Mother Jones, Reuters,

Revolutionary Guards of Iran
    Sources: Associated Press, FARS News Agency, UPI

Black Panthers (original)
    Sources: in-person appearance, Occupy Oakland, Oakland Tribune

Socialist Party USA
    Sources: Socialist Party USA, IndyMedia, The Daily Caller

US Border Guard
    Sources: White Reference,, Gateway Pundit, Just Another Day blog

Industrial Workers of the World
    Sources: IWW web site,, in-person appearances

    Sources: in-person appearance, Washington Post, CAIR, CAIR New York

Nancy Pelosi
    Sources: Talking Points Memo, video statement, ABC News, The Weekly Standard

Communist Party of China
    Sources: People’s Daily (Communist Party organ), Reuters,, The Telegraph

    Sources:, (2), (3), wikipedia

    Sources: (1), (2), (3)

International Bolshevik Tendency
    Sources:, Wire Magazine

    Sources: Adbusters, The Guardian, video statement

White Revolution

International Socialist Organization
    Sources: Socialist Worker,, in-person appearance

PressTV (Iranian government outlet)
    Sources: PressTV, wikipedia

Marxist Student Union
    Sources: Marxist Student Union, Big Government,

Freedom Road Socialist Organization
    Sources: FightBack News,

    Sources: ANSWER press release, ANSWER web site, Xinhua

Party for Socialism and Liberation
    Sources: Liberation News (1),, The Daily Free Press, Liberation News (2)
5767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - OWS on: November 04, 2011, 06:57:48 PM
GM, I have seen that 2% of OWSers consider themselves Republican.  Crafty and others consider this movement to be an opportunity for better messaging from our side.  I hope to learn how.  It seems to me that Republican candidates are shouting from the roof tops to end ALL tax code preferences to all special interests and want to make similar strides on the spending side.  I will not however share any part of the views I hear expressed that oppose expanding economic liberty and oppose the creation and accumulation of wealth.

Big tent conservative strategy: You describe your positions and policies that favor a better opportunity society for ALL Americans featuring equal protection under the law, lower tax rates, streamlined and focused regulations, and limited federal government based on constitutional principles - then ask all Americans to come join us.  Cain and Perry and others are doing that, while the other side features piecemeal politics carefully constructed with special programs and policies designed to hold in each of their  targeted constituent groups.
5768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / David Brooks (NY Times): Shale Gas Revolution on: November 04, 2011, 12:28:26 PM
I'm going Energy Politics here but equally interesting is the Media Issues aspect.  You wouldn't know from the piece that it is his own paper, the NY Times, leading the charge against Fracking, claiming without evidence that it is jeopardizing our clean water supply.   I have twice posted statements from the state regulatory agencies in all major energy producing states denying any known incidences of any drinking water contamination from fracking in their state.  There have been no firings or impeachments of officials who put out those statements.  Low cost, clean, safe, abundantly available, domestic natural gas could contribute to the solutions to whole lot of problems we face today, such as heating our homes, powering transportation, lowering the cost of doing business, reducing the trade deficit, lowering the budget deficit, raising our standard of living, even lowering the demand and cost of oil and other energy sources.  But why bother...

Op-Ed Columnist
Shale Gas Revolution
Published: November 3, 2011

The United States is a country that has received many blessings, and once upon a time you could assume that Americans would come together to take advantage of them. But you can no longer make that assumption. The country is more divided and more clogged by special interests. Now we groan to absorb even the most wondrous gifts.

A few years ago, a business genius named George P. Mitchell helped offer such a gift. As Daniel Yergin writes in “The Quest,” his gripping history of energy innovation, Mitchell fought through waves of skepticism and opposition to extract natural gas from shale. The method he and his team used to release the trapped gas, called fracking, has paid off in the most immense way. In 2000, shale gas represented just 1 percent of American natural gas supplies. Today, it is 30 percent and rising.

John Rowe, the chief executive of the utility Exelon, which derives almost all its power from nuclear plants, says that shale gas is one of the most important energy revolutions of his lifetime. It’s a cliché word, Yergin told me, but the fracking innovation is game-changing. It transforms the energy marketplace.

The U.S. now seems to possess a 100-year supply of natural gas, which is the cleanest of the fossil fuels. This cleaner, cheaper energy source is already replacing dirtier coal-fired plants. It could serve as the ideal bridge, Amy Jaffe of Rice University says, until renewable sources like wind and solar mature.

Already shale gas has produced more than half a million new jobs, not only in traditional areas like Texas but also in economically wounded places like western Pennsylvania and, soon, Ohio. If current trends continue, there are hundreds of thousands of new jobs to come.

Chemical companies rely heavily on natural gas, and the abundance of this new source has induced companies like Dow Chemical to invest in the U.S. rather than abroad. The French company Vallourec is building a $650 million plant in Youngstown, Ohio, to make steel tubes for the wells. States like Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York will reap billions in additional revenue. Consumers also benefit. Today, natural gas prices are less than half of what they were three years ago, lowering electricity prices. Meanwhile, America is less reliant on foreign suppliers.

All of this is tremendously good news, but, of course, nothing is that simple. The U.S. is polarized between “drill, baby, drill” conservatives, who seem suspicious of most regulation, and some environmentalists, who seem to regard fossil fuels as morally corrupt and imagine we can switch to wind and solar overnight.

The shale gas revolution challenges the coal industry, renders new nuclear plants uneconomic and changes the economics for the renewable energy companies, which are now much further from viability. So forces have gathered against shale gas, with predictable results.

The clashes between the industry and the environmentalists are now becoming brutal and totalistic, dehumanizing each side. Not-in-my-backyard activists are organizing to prevent exploration. Environmentalists and their publicists wax apocalyptic.

Like every energy source, fracking has its dangers. The process involves injecting large amounts of water and chemicals deep underground. If done right, this should not contaminate freshwater supplies, but rogue companies have screwed up and there have been instances of contamination.

The wells, which are sometimes beneath residential areas, are serviced by big trucks that damage the roads and alter the atmosphere in neighborhoods. A few sloppy companies could discredit the whole sector.

These problems are real, but not insurmountable. An exhaustive study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded, “With 20,000 shale wells drilled in the last 10 years, the environmental record of shale-gas development is for the most part a good one.” In other words, the inherent risks can be managed if there is a reasonable regulatory regime, and if the general public has a balanced and realistic sense of the costs and benefits.

This kind of balance is exactly what our political system doesn’t deliver. So far, the Obama administration has done a good job of trying to promote fracking while investigating the downsides. But the general public seems to be largely uninterested in the breakthrough (even though it could have a major impact on the 21st-century economy). The discussion is dominated by vested interests and the extremes. It’s becoming another weapon in the political wars, with Republicans swinging behind fracking and Democrats being pressured to come out against. Especially in the Northeast, the gas companies are demonized as Satan in corporate form.

A few weeks ago, I sat around with John Rowe, one of the most trusted people in the energy business, and listened to him talk enthusiastically about this windfall. He has no vested interest in this; indeed, his company might be hurt. But he knows how much shale gas could mean to America. It would be a crime if we squandered this blessing.
5769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rick Perry: 'When I am President...' on: November 04, 2011, 12:10:45 PM
Separate from the debating skills problem and attacking fellow Republicans over the wrong issues, I agree strongly with these points of the Perry agenda.

PERRY: When I am president …

By Gov. Rick Perry

The Washington Times

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Washington is broken and must be completely overhauled to get America working again.

The tinkering technocrats think Washington can be fixed with a pair of tweezers. I, on the other hand, think it will require a president with the courage to take a sledgehammer to the three pillars of big government: overspending, overtaxation and overregulation.

Upon taking the oath of office, I will take immediate executive action to begin dismantling the Washington establishment so we can rebuild the American economy from the foundation up.

First, I will issue an executive order prohibiting the Department of Health and Human Services from any further implementation of Obamacare until we can fully repeal this unconstitutional government mandate, which, if it stands, will diminish our health care and kill jobs.

Second, I will order federal agencies to begin opening American energy fields for exploration and development, which will kick-start economic growth, reduce our dependence on energy from hostile foreign sources and eventually create 1.2 million jobs across every sector of the economy. I also will work with Congress to ensure that new revenue generated from energy production on federal lands is used to pay down the national debt.

Third, I will impose an immediate moratorium on all pending federal regulations, during which government agencies must audit every measure passed since 2008 to determine its necessity and impact on job creation. Those measures that kill jobs will be repealed.

And fourth, I will deploy thousands of National Guard personnel to secure our southern border until we can provide the permanent increase in manpower, technology and fencing needed to protect the American homeland in the long run. If I am elected, Washington will no longer abdicate its constitutional responsibility to secure the border or force states to fend for themselves.

In addition to exercising executive authority during the first 100 days of my presidency, I also will lay out a sweeping legislative agenda that will fundamentally change the way Washington works.

My Cut, Balance and Grow plan will jolt our economy back to life by cutting taxes and spending, balancing the budget by 2020 and growing private-sector jobs.

With a 20 percent flat tax that will enable Americans to file their tax returns on a postcard, we will end the Internal Revenue Service as we know it.

My-flat tax proposal will derail the gravy train of lobbyists and lawyers feeding at the government trough by eliminating the loopholes and carve-outs that the biggest companies with the most lobbyists exploit to avoid paying any taxes whatsoever. My plan not only will level the playing field for small businesses, it will cut the corporate tax to make American employers of all sizes more competitive in the global marketplace and encourage job growth at home.

My plan also will force government to live within its means by cutting billions of dollars from discretionary spending, capping spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product and putting Congress on track to balance the budget by 2020.

Despite all the promises of reform, earmarks remain a congressional addiction. My plan will make Congress kick the habit cold turkey. Throughout my presidency, I will veto any budget that contains earmarks. The same goes for bailouts.

I am confident we can make progress on all of these reforms in the first 100 days. But ultimately, the status quo will never change until voters take back Washington.

As the federal government grows and grows, the ruling elites in Washington are insulated from the economic mess they created. Consider just two examples: While home prices have continued to slump in virtually every other region of the country over the past year, Washington bureaucrats have seen their homes increase in value, thanks in part to a surge in government spending.

And according to a Bloomberg analysis, Washington is now America’s richest metropolitan area on a per capita basis, surpassing even Silicon Valley. While millions of Americans have lost jobs since 2009, the average federal worker in our nation’s capital has seen his pay increase to more than $126,000 per year, including benefits.

This is simply obscene. As president, I will fight for an across-the-board pay freeze for Congress and all federal employees, excluding the military and public-safety workers, until the budget gets balanced.

There is a massive reality gap between the American people and the ruling elites in Washington. Our next president must have the courage to close it.

America cannot afford four more years of a president who continues on the course to economic ruin or a Republican alternative who simply tinkers with the status quo while the Washington establishment brazenly continues its spendthrift ways.

If I am elected, I will take a wrecking ball to the Washington establishment so we can get America working again.

Gov. Rick Perry is a Texas Republican and candidate for president.
5770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: November 04, 2011, 11:35:46 AM
Welcome back.  I wonder if McDonalds will be similarly prosecuted for coercing sales people into pushing soft drinks and french fries where the profit margins are 2000% higher for an empty product 2000% worse than the dollar menu double cheeseburger, and I wonder if pitchman Ronald McDonald will be similarly persecuted.   wink
5771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 03, 2011, 11:01:56 AM
(hot topic - 'while you were typing 10 new replies were posted')

A close, trusted, mostly non-political friend told me last evening that he paid 20,000 to settle a harassment case against an employee similar to what is known about Cain's case, except that genders were reversed, and that he had no belief whatsoever that the claim was true.  Total BS in his opinion, yet paid.  I share that only as one anecdotal piece of evidence that money paid does not mean the one paying believes something happened.  The business owner is confronted with a menu of costs to choose from: the cost to settle, the cost to go to trial even if you win, or the cost of losing whether your employee is really innocent or guilty.  You make a business decision and choose one of these payments.  It is a very ugly part of doing business in our litigious society. (This also belongs in one of threads to explain one big reason why no one wants to hire anyone anymore.)

My first reaction to this is something like what BD said  We want candidates vetted now so we aren't blindsided during the general election or during the Presidency.  If this guy has or had a problem, more will come out.  But if we pay a $40,000 per person (26 mil in GM's example) to say you felt uncomfortable, what have we learned, about whom?  At this point we didn't find a third victim, we found a third accuser right while the accusing was getting good.  

From the side of the accuser with the settlement, she was faced with the CHOICE of taking a large sum or pursuing a public court record to try to make sure this uncomfortable experience with this executive never happens to anyone else ever again.  She chose the money.  Now it seems she wants a do-over as it looks like there is far more money on the table now.

How much did Anita Hill make on her book and her speaking fees? Was she telling the truth?  Was the money commensurate with her wounds?  She followed him to the next job!

Regarding the third anonymous accuser, whatever happened to statute of limitations and a right to a speedy trial.  

If the the accusers' stories were true about Bill Clinton in 3 cases, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broderick, the behavior I believe involved criminal sexual conduct, not harassment.  At least 2 of those were Democrats NOT trying to derail his candidacy; the other was 'trailer trash'.  Later he lied under oath and was dis-barred.  Still he is the rock star of the party and the most loved politician of all Democrats, and still loved by feminists and the media.  There IS a double standard, but that is only useful information to a Republican candidate if you are guilty. Herman Cain for sure has a sense of humor.  If (hypothetically) as a 100% faithful and loving husband, his joking or humor had in fact included flirtation and innuendo on more then one occasion, is he still Presidential material?

What I hate most is the diversion at this critical moment away from issues.  No one seems to know what to do with this incomplete information but it has completely absorbed the news cycle.
5772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. Sen. Feinstein: "perhaps mistakes were made" on: November 02, 2011, 12:06:27 PM
Is Sen. Feinstein admitting this operation had something to do with tightening up gun laws in this country? If so, unblievable.  If not, what is she saying was the aim of the program?   It happened under her watch as a senior senator of our largest state serving in the majority in the United States Senate with plenty of oversight clout from within congress and plenty of clout inside the administration.  What does she think was the legitimate intention of the program?  Either I haven't heard anyone other than firebrand right wing pundits explain it or I am too dense to understand that they have.

In Fast and Furious - the dead Mexicans and dead border agent scandal, they all seem to admit something went wrong.  Sen. Feinstein: "perhaps mistakes were made" PERHAPS MISTAKES WERE MADE, ARE YOU F*KCING KIDDING??  But what was supposed to have gone right if perhaps mistakes were not made?  If all had happened according to plan, what was the plan?  Big guns and ammunition would travel illegally across sovereign lines without knowledge on either side, into a volatile, civil war torn country with a cross border war like situation, never be used, and then would return, be found unused and tracked back to their own agency arranged sales for enforcement??  I still don't get it!
5773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: November 02, 2011, 11:43:33 AM
Crafty:  "Quite right." [Prof. John Taylor's piece]  "Separately I would offer that GM's post of McCardle on 10/7 is worth rereading."

Very telling in the McCardle piece is the dramatic graph.  I would ask (or just point out again): where exactly on the time line were we when the two lines, the number of unemployed and the number of job openings, both turned away from each other?  What was happening in this country in this country in January 2007?  What were the headlines?  When were employers and investors seeing when they began their retreat?

The answer is that the anti-growth politicians took over Washington.  The face of it was San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi becoming the first female Speaker (and Minneapolis liberal Rep. Keith Ellison putting his hand on the Qur'an to take the oath), but others elevated to majority power included Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Rep. Barney Frank, Sen, Chris Dodd, Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, etc. etc.  (Pres. George was demoted to lame duck status on all domestic issues and invested all remaining political capital into the surge in Iraq.)

January 3, 2007 was the day that Democrats took control of both houses of Congress. Let’s take a factual look at what they inherited.
The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77
The unemployment rate was 4.6%
The GDP growth rate for the previous quarter was 3.5%
The economy had just set a record of 52 straight months of job creation
26 million Americans were on food stamps
47 banks were on the FDIC problem list
The Social Security program took in the neighborhood of 100 billion more than it paid out
The national debt was approaching 9 trillion dollars
Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee
Obama became a Senator from Illinois
Bush was on record requesting restraint on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae 17 times
5774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 02, 2011, 11:12:42 AM
Folks bringing the story forward already succeeded.  You cannot google search his experience at the restaurant association and find anything other than this story.  A couple of days ago you might have found the youtube of him eating Pres. Clinton's lunch over healthcare mandates killing private business.

Whether it is truth against Cain or falsehoods escalated, I will guess there will be more developments, even if it is just the same accusers going public and specific.  In the meanwhile we continue the campaign of get to know the candidates.  Here is a local story here of my former neighbor Cain from his days as VP of Mpls based Pillsbury as reported by Mpls StarTribune and Mpls-based Powerline.  It occurred to me earlier in this process that perhaps Cain was chosen as VP of Coca Cola, VP of Pillsbury, CEO of Godfathers, head of the National Restaurants Association and Chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank because they all liked the look of having a black man in the picture on their color glossy corporate annual reports.  In fact, he was quite accomplished before his business experience with a very impressive and technical education and quite hands-on and high achieving on the job in these very high level management positions.  I would add that these aren't the types of businesses that tolerate much in terms of loose moral behavior on company paid travel.

    Business success has never guaranteed political success. But Cain demonstrated during a tour with Pillsbury Co. in the 1980s that he is a successful, charismatic leader. With flair and hard work, he turned around Pillsbury’s struggling Philadelphia Burger King region and revived a near-dead Godfather’s Pizza.

    “My career spans 38 years and I’ve worked for 26 different managers,” said Frank Taylor, a recently retired Burger King financial executive whom Cain hired as his regional controller in 1983. “Herman was far and away the best I’ve worked for in terms of getting a team together, sharing a vision and accomplishing the goals. And nothing diverted him.”

    Cain also shared the wealth. When Burger King distributed $50,000 apiece to the regional vice presidents as reward for good performance in 1985, most of the regional bosses spent it on a trip to a posh resort for themselves and other managers and spouses. The enlisted troops got a dinner. Cain took everybody in his office, including administrative staff, on the same three-day reward cruise, Taylor recalled. …

    The Philadelphia region of Burger King ranked near the bottom among Burger King’s 12 groups. Cain brought analytical strengths and energy. He fired and hired. He praised and exhorted the survivors. He turned the region into a top performer within two years.

    “I worked with him fairly closely at Burger King,” recalled George Mileusnic, a former Pillsbury executive, now a Twin Cities consultant. “He was good strategically and good with people, including working long hours in Burger King stores to get that bottom-up experience. He had about 500 stores in that Philadelphia region and he did a great job.”

    Impressed, Jeff Campbell, the head of Pillsbury’s restaurant operations, put Cain in charge of Godfather’s Pizza, a then-struggling chain that Pillsbury acquired when it bought an Omaha restaurant consolidator that also was a big franchisee of Burger Kings.

    Godfather’s was started by an entrepreneur in the 1970s but slid after it was acquired by a big Burger King corporate franchisee and waylaid by a tired menu, demoralized employees and lousy results. Campbell gave the 40-year-old Cain a year to right Godfather’s, make a buck, or shut it down.

    At the time, Campbell told Cain that there was a very slim chance Godfather’s could be “a home run for you and the company.”

    “I said, ‘Sounds like my kind of odds,’” Cain recalled in an 1987 interview with the Star Tribune. “That’s how I got to Philadelphia.” …

    Along with his analytical skills, Cain brought an entrepreneurial fervor to the hurried turnaround at Godfather’s in 1986-87. He listened, asked questions and acted, including closing stores, shifting people and even cooking and testing new products in the company’s kitchen.

    “I’m Herman Cain and this ain’t no April Fool’s joke,” he told Godfather’s employees when he arrived on April 1, 1986. “We are not dead. Our objective is to prove to Pillsbury and everybody else that we will survive.”

    An accomplished singer and pianist, Cain occasionally led the headquarters crew in after-hours song, and performed charitable gigs in Omaha, backed by a chorus of managers. He also demanded that senior managers know every employee working for them on a first-name basis and occasionally quizzed executives on that and other personnel issues.

    “That was pretty unique,” Mileusnic said. “Those stories got around Pillsbury. Herman was very quantitative and analytical, but he demanded that everybody be engaged and every employee must be appreciated and respected.”

    By 1987, Cain and longtime executive Ronald Gartlan, now the CEO of Godfather’s, stabilized the company and produced an operating profit.
5775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics - Thomas Sowell: Mob Rule? on: November 02, 2011, 09:44:45 AM
" can become the greediest person on earth and that will not increase your pay in the slightest. It is what other people pay you that increases your income."

I could save myself a lot of time at the keyboard if I would just let Thomas Sowell express my view for me.

November 1, 2011
Democracy Versus Mob Rule
By Thomas Sowell

In various cities across the country, mobs of mostly young, mostly incoherent, often noisy and sometimes violent demonstrators are making themselves a major nuisance.

Meanwhile, many in the media are practically gushing over these "protesters," and giving them the free publicity they crave for themselves and their cause -- whatever that is, beyond venting their emotions on television.

Members of the mobs apparently believe that other people, who are working while they are out trashing the streets, should be forced to subsidize their college education -- and apparently the President of the United States thinks so too.

But if these loud mouths' inability to put together a coherent line of thought is any indication of their education, the taxpayers should demand their money back for having that money wasted on them for years in the public schools.

Sloppy words and sloppy thinking often go together, both in the mobs and in the media that are covering them. It is common, for example, to hear in the media how some "protesters" were arrested. But anyone who reads this column regularly knows that I protest against all sorts of things -- and don't get arrested.

The difference is that I don't block traffic, join mobs sleeping overnight in parks or urinate in the street. If the media cannot distinguish between protesting and disturbing the peace, then their education may also have wasted a lot of taxpayers' money.

Among the favorite sloppy words used by the shrill mobs in the streets is "Wall Street greed." But even if you think people in Wall Street, or anywhere else, are making more money than they deserve, "greed" is no explanation whatever.

"Greed" says how much you want. But you can become the greediest person on earth and that will not increase your pay in the slightest. It is what other people pay you that increases your income.

If the government has been sending too much of the taxpayers' money to people in Wall Street -- or anywhere else -- then the irresponsibility or corruption of politicians is the problem. "Occupy Wall Street" hooligans should be occupying Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

Maybe some of the bankers or financiers should have turned down the millions and billions that politicians were offering them. But sainthood is no more common in Wall Street than on Pennsylvania Avenue -- or in the media or academia, for that matter.

Actually, some banks did try to refuse the government bailout money, to avoid the interference with their business that they knew would come with it. But the feds insisted -- and federal regulators' power to create big financial problems for banks made it hard to say no. The feds made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

People who cannot distinguish between democracy and mob rule may fall for the idea that the hooligans in the street represent the 99 percent who are protesting about the "greed" of the one percent. But these hooligans are less than one percent and they are grossly violating the rights of vastly larger numbers of people who have to put up with their trashing of the streets by day and their noise that keeps working people awake at night.

As for the "top one percent" in income that attract so much attention, angst and denunciation, there is always going to be a top one percent, unless everybody has the same income. That top one percent has no more monopoly on sainthood or villainy than people in any other bracket.

Moreover, that top one percent does not consist of the "millionaires and billionaires" that Barack Obama talks about. You don't even have to make half a million dollars to be in the top one percent.

Moreover, this is not an enduring class of people. Nor are people in other income brackets. Most of the people in the top one percent at any given time are there for only one year. Anyone who sells an average home in San Francisco can get into the top one percent in income -- for that year. Other one-time spikes in income account for most of the people in that top one percent.

But such plain facts carry little weight amid the heady rhetoric and mindless emotions of the mob and the media.
5776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters on: November 02, 2011, 09:37:18 AM
Interesting story.  This line reminds me of issues here: "One banker told me the Greek super-rich have mostly left." One critical component of the 99% rule, Rob Peter to Pay Paul, is that you don't need Peter's consent, but you will need to lock the exits.
5777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stanford Econ. Prof. John Taylor: A Slow-Growth America Can't Lead the World on: November 01, 2011, 01:47:14 PM

A Slow-Growth America Can't Lead the World
After World War II, the U.S. promoted international economic growth through reliance on the market and the incentives it provides. Times have changed.


When President Obama meets with his counterparts from other G-20 countries in Cannes later this week, American economic leadership will, unfortunately, largely be absent.

At the most recent meeting a year ago in Seoul, the G-20 rejected the president's pleas for a deficit-increasing Keynesian stimulus and instead urged credible budget-deficit reduction and a return to sound fiscal policy. And on that trip he had to defend the activist monetary policy of the Federal Reserve against widespread criticism that its easy money was damaging to emerging-market countries, causing volatile capital flows and inflationary pressures.

With a weak recovery—retarded by new health-care legislation and financial regulations, an exploding debt, and threats of higher taxes—the U.S. is in no position to lead as it has in the past.

By contrast, in the years after World War II, the U.S. led the world in promoting economic growth through reliance on the market and the incentives it provides, the rule of law, limited government, and more predictable fiscal and monetary policy. It created a rules-based, open trading system by helping to found the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which slashed tariffs multilaterally. The miraculous postwar European and Japanese recoveries came from greater adherence to these principles of economic freedom and direct support from the U.S.

After getting off track with interventionist policies in the 1970s, the U.S. put its economic house in order in the 1980s, adopting pro-growth policies and creating a long boom that lasted through the 1990s. Again its economic ideas were contagious, not just in Britain under Margaret Thatcher but in the developing world. Seeing the advantages of American-style economic liberty over state intervention and control, Deng Xiaoping expanded his initial and tentative market-based reforms in China and created an economic renaissance. The U.S. helped the countries in Central and Eastern Europe implement market-based reforms, and it encouraged other countries and the international financial institutions to do the same in Africa and Latin America.

As the U.S. has moved away from the principles of economic freedom—instead promoting short-term fiscal and monetary interventionism with more federal government regulations—its leadership has declined. Some, even in the U.S., may cheer the decline, but it is not good for the world or for the U.S.

Economic policies in America affect the world in ways that are often subtle. In the case of monetary policy, for example, decisions on interest rates by foreign central banks are influenced by interest-rate decisions at the Federal Reserve because of the large size of the U.S. economy. If the Fed holds its interest rate too low for too long, then central banks in other countries will have to hold rates low too, creating inflation risks. If they resist, capital flows into their countries seeking higher yields, thereby suddenly jacking up the value of their currencies and the prices of their exports.

Due to the Fed's low rates, the European Central Bank held short-term interest rates low in the euro zone in 2003-05. Economists at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that these low rates in Europe were the cause of the housing booms in Greece, Ireland and Spain. As with all unsustainable booms, these were associated with undue risk taking, bad bank loans, busts, and huge government borrowing to bail out banks or to finance spending when revenues fell during the ensuing recession. Excessive government borrowing and problem banks are the source of the current crisis in Europe, which has in turn increased economic and financial risks for the U.S.

Some countries, including Mexico and Brazil, are complaining that the Fed is exporting inflation with its near-zero interest rate and massive purchases of long-term government debt, which is rapidly growing due to U.S. fiscal deficits. And when global inflation picks up, as it has started to do in many emerging markets, it feeds back into more inflation in the U.S. through higher prices of globally traded commodities. With unemployment already high, the result would be stagflation—slow growth, high inflation, steady unemployment—as we saw in the 1970s. For the good of the world and for its own good, America needs to show some leadership and better adhere to sound monetary and fiscal policy.

American economic leadership is also essential for defining the appropriate role of government in a global economy in which China plays an increasingly important role. Despite the enormous success of Deng Xiaoping's reforms, the Chinese economic system still fails to meet some key principles of economic freedom. While relying on markets and incentives, it has a weak rule of law and still imposes many barriers to free trade. The Chinese government favors some firms over others, crony-capitalism style, in its procurement procedures, and it requires that foreign technology firms partner with government-owned Chinese firms, thereby transferring technology to potential competitors.

The U.S. government should work to prevent interventionist trade and other policies abroad. But this is hard to do if America is moving in an interventionist direction internally. And it will have less and less influence if it continues to depart from sound fiscal policy, becoming more indebted to the negotiators on the other side of the table.

The next meeting of the G-20 leaders will be in Mexico in 2012, though the exact date is undecided. In the meantime, the 2012 election in America promises to be a referendum on the role of government in the economy. If, as a result, the U.S. starts to return to the principles of economic freedom—the best route to improving its own economy—then perhaps it will be able to reassert its economic leadership, benefit the world economy, and in turn create an even more prosperous American economy in a grand virtuous circle.

Mr. Taylor, a professor of economics at Stanford and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the author of "Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged and Worsened the Financial Crisis" (Hoover Press, 2009).
5778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: climate scientists still deceiving? on: November 01, 2011, 01:41:11 PM
 'There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’ ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’

(Where is BBG?)

The story so far: ten days ago a self-proclaimed "sceptical" climate scientist named Professor Richard Muller of Berkeley University, California, managed to grab himself some space in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) claiming that the case for global warming scepticism was over. Thanks to research from his Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures (BEST) project, Professor Muller stated confidently, we now know that the planet has warmed by almost one degree centigrade since 1950. What's more, he told the BBC's Today programme, there is no sign that this global warming has slowed down.

Cue mass jubilation from a number of media outlets which, perhaps, ought to have known better – among them, the Independent, the Guardian, The Economist and Forbes magazine. To give you an idea of their self-righteous indignation at the supposed ignorance of climate change deniers, here is the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson in full spate:

    We know that the rise in temperatures over the past five decades is abrupt and very large. We know it is consistent with models developed by other climate researchers that posit greenhouse gas emissions — the burning of fossil fuels by humans — as the cause. And now we know, thanks to Muller, that those other scientists have been both careful and honorable in their work.

    Nobody’s fudging the numbers. Nobody’s manipulating data to win research grants, as Perry claims, or making an undue fuss over a “naturally occurring” warm-up, as Bachmann alleges. Contrary to what Cain says, the science is real.

Problem is, Eugene, almost every word of those two paragraphs is plain wrong, and your smugness embarrassingly misplaced.

As you know, I had my doubts about Muller's findings from the start. I thought it was at best disingenuous of him to pose as a "sceptic" when there is little evidence of him ever having been one. As for his argument that the BEST project confounds sceptics by proving global warming exists – this was never more than a straw man.

Now, though, it seems that BEST is even worse than I thought. Here is what Muller claimed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme:

    In our data, which is only on the land we see no evidence of [global warming] having slowed down.

But this simply isn't true. Heaven forfend that a distinguished professor from Berkeley University should actually have been caught out telling a lie direct. No, clearly what has happened here is that Professor Muller has made the kind of mistake any self-respecting climate scientist could make: gone to press with some extravagant claims without having a smidgen of evidence to support them.

Here, to help the good professor out, is a chart produced by the Global Warming Policy Foundation's David Whitehouse. It was plotted from BEST's own figures.

Note how the 10 year trend from 2001 to 2010 – in flat contradiction of Muller's claims – shows no warming whatsoever.

What's odd that BEST appears to have gone to great trouble – shades of "hide the decline", anyone? – to disguise this inconvenient truth. Here is a graph released by BEST:

The GWPF's David Whitehouse is not impressed:

    Indeed Best seems to have worked hard to obscure it. They present data covering more almost 200 years is presented with a short x-axis and a stretched y-axis to accentuate the increase. The data is then smoothed using a ten year average which is ideally suited to removing the past five years of the past decade and mix the earlier standstill years with years when there was an increase. This is an ideal formula for suppressing the past decade’s data.

Muller's colleague Professor Judith Curry – who besides being a BEST co-author chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at America’s prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology – is even less impressed.

    There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’ she said. ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’

5779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 01, 2011, 11:17:48 AM
CCP, Likewise, I respect your views very much.  I read your posts very carefully for your insights especially because we don't come at these things from the exact same point of view.  I know I am hardened in some of my views but I am always open to the political side of how to draw more people into what I call a conservative course of action, smaller government, freer enterprises and restored personal liberties. 

I did acknowledge one valid point in the piece - the two systems of justice, but I don't see where the author in Rolling Stone showed that crimes were committed.  He did give one example but it was after he had lost all credibility with me, so I would have to study it further to know.  It was your idea CCP that I like very much that law enforcement personnel too old (like me) to walk the beat should be trained in white collar areas instead of just given pay and pensions for youthful retirements if that is what is happening now.  If you can learn homicide and arson detective work, I can train you on bank accounting.  No doubt that isn't workable because of public union contracts, but the idea is correct, and (credit to Crafty) resources committed to finding and prosecuting of fraud and therefore deterring it is a worthwhile public purpose.

On the question of banking, it is certainly the most egregious of the so-called public-private relationships that we tend to hate in in every other industry, auto manufacturing, health care etc.  But we wanted it that way, didn't we?  What I don't get is that if the bankers are doing exactly what they are allowed to do by government, why is the anger aimed at this pretend private sector instead of at the controlling government?  If this is a Republican problem, why was it not fixed during the 2 years that leftists had all the votes? If this is anger that goes back to the panic bailouts of fall 2008, why did it start in fall 2011?

The special treatment of the rich who make far more than their 1% of political contributions is the fault of the politicians who give special treatment and the voters who tolerate it.  Among the very worst offenders were Dodd and Frank, so we made them the authors of the latest reform.  Where was OWS while reform was being written and why the delay to come out after?  How many of these street occupiers wrote their own congressman before finding out so many shared their view.  Mark me down as skeptical.  The only group I know that recently stood up and took out their own incumbent representatives for abandoning principles is the tea party.  They did it with some success and they did it willing to lose general elections over it. 

I will listen to any serious idea to privatize banks and I will listen to any serious idea to nationalize banks - they are already under complete federal control except for the choices of coffee in the lobby. 

What I don't like economically and politically is the ad hominem attacks on the successful.  I say that from the lowest quintile of income; I pay roughly 100% of take home income in property taxes state and local before the federal government can take a swipe at it.   The 99% argument is not aimed only at rigged industries or all of them would be conservative tea party members IMO. 

I know that it is only the people with money who can invest and that employment will never come back without investment, and we need more people with money in this country to invest and grow jobs.  We need more serious startups and we need existing companies that want to be here to be economically welcome to stay here.  I know that businesses and manufacturing left this country not because of high wages, but because of high costs and there is a difference.  I know a few ways we could out from under this but I don't know how to persuade other people to get on board.  I am all ears.
The CNN story says OWS is about 'corporate greed'.  While gas prices were spiking under Bush and Katrina, a good friend said to me that the prices jumped up because of greed and something to the effect that it is because the oil companies have their buddies in the White House.  Trying so hard not to use the words 'economic illiteracy' I said back to him that the only thing that remained constant during the whole price volatility thing was corporate greed.  These companies have been maximizing profits since they first struck oil.  What changes is supply and demand.  Supply was affected then by a hurricane and supply is always affected by regulations.  Some regulations are worthy (see Crafty's post) but all of them drive up prices. 

The collapse of 2008 spilling over into 2011 was not a surge in banker or corporate greed.  That is ridiculous.  Bankers have been maximizing their profits since before the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. 

What happened in the current crash is that we created an extreme bubble in a market that affects all of us with runaway government policies and it was finally burst when the policy arrow shifted sharply to the anti-growth direction and investors saw with certainty that asset price collapses were coming.  At this time now when we so desperately need economic growth to get jobs, income and our revenues up, our policies on every level are still anti-growth. 

Meanwhile, greed has remained constant.
5780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - Rolling Stone piece on: October 31, 2011, 07:15:07 PM
CCP, If the author's conclusion were correct, they would be jumping to our side.  Not so IMO.

I found the beginning to be unpersuasive, contains falsehoods, and a view different than mine.  He makes a good point later about two justice systems.  For sure, white collar crime is harder to track and no one seems to be trying.

My own experience in the housing debacle:  a couple of houses next door to rental houses of mine sold for far more than everyone knew they were worth at the peak and later I bought both of those houses for 1/8th of those prices (pre-tornado).  One in particular was an obvious fraud.  They never fixed up the house before or after an over-priced sale and no one moved in after closing.  Total fraud in my estimation.  Nobody wanted that house that badly, it was play money to somebody.  Seemed obvious to me was that if you tracked the appraiser, the originator, the closer, the realtor and the pigeon or whatever you call they guy that takes title just to default, you would find a prosecutable pattern.  Instead no one cared and no one investigated.  This happened IMO because of government pressure on lenders to lend in the wrong areas for the wrong reasons.  To crash from there isn't that surprising.  Every home but mine on that block went into foreclosure.

On Wall Street though, people that I know at that level play VERY carefully by the rules.  The gripe is or should be with the rules, and that comes out of Washington, not Wall Street.  

Back to the Rolling Stone story, quoting: "Dude," I said. "These people aren't protesting money. They're not protesting banking. They're protesting corruption on Wall Street."

I don't think the majority of 'protesters' are that precise, especially in Occupy Madison, Occupy Richmond and Occupy Denver, etc.

[Cain said he believed that the protesters are driven by envy of the rich.]  "Cain seems like a nice enough guy, but I nearly blew my stack when I heard this. When you take into consideration all the theft and fraud and market manipulation and other evil shit Wall Street bankers have been guilty of in the last ten-fifteen years, you have to have balls like church bells to trot out a propaganda line that says the protesters are just jealous of their hard-earned money."

From what I have heard, Cain has it right - they are largely driven by envy of the rich.  Saying guilty of evil shit is cool but does not establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt.  It is sold as evil in our politics just to have success.  Unless you are a supply sider, you mostly believe they took a share of your slice.

"there have always been rich and poor people in America, so if this is about jealousy, why the protests now?" ... "Where was all that class hatred in the Reagan years, when openly dumping on the poor became fashionable?"

What an unserious observation.  The anger was there in the 1980's, and how did we dump on the poor? Pure BS.  Domestic spending roughly doubled and Dems held the House the entire decade.  

"At last count, there were 245 millionaires in congress, including 66 in the Senate."

He should have counted Billionaires.  A million in assets or net worth is not filthy rich - your kids still might qualify for free school lunch in America.  

"That's why it's so obnoxious when people say the protesters are just sore losers who are jealous of these smart guys in suits who beat them at the game of life."

The non-achievers in America aren't losing they are NOT PARTICIPATING in our economic system.  They aren't the CEO of your second place competitor or running a small family owned investment banking house.  Half the people are not contributing.  But let's say you are a skilled tradesman instead of a banker and you married to a teacher, secretary or nurse.  If you aren't rich and comfortable on that combined income, it is because of the combined tax burden, not because you were cheated by Wall Street bankers.  Do the math.  It is a ridiculous premise.

"They just want a level playing field, and they want Wall Street to give up its cheat codes"

No.  Our side wants the level playing field.  Take away the excess regulation that keeps competition away from entrenched players.  Take the preferences out of the tax code, and gut the spending down to real safety net and legitimate government functions.  Did you see Cain 9-9-9 sign or Perry 20-20 at the OWS rallies?  I haven't.

He says: [Bankers have] "things like: FREE MONEY."

Yes banks pay close to zero.  So do borrowers.  I pay 2.75%. Meanwhile banks make zero off of savings which used to be the main source of funds for lending because, as he points out, they can get money cheaper at the Fed.  Is that the bank's fault or Fed policy which we know comes out of congress - the people's representatives.  If banks are making such outrageous money right now, why are they broke?  The policy of micro-managing commercial banks comes out of federal deposit insurance.  Does he favor that or oppose it?  He doesn't say.

"Your average chimpanzee couldn't fuck up that business plan, which makes it all the more incredible that most of the too-big-to-fail banks are nonetheless still functionally insolvent, and dependent upon bailouts and phony accounting to stay above water."

Inflammatory BS statement.  The bank business plan is f*cked up, as I said because they are micro managed by government, insured by government and considered too big to fail.

"Stupidity Insurance" ... "When was the last time the government stepped into help you "avoid losses you might otherwise suffer?"

Again he fails to acknowledge that they get propped up because if they fail further we are on the hook for the losses.  That is the law of the land out of Washington, not from the management of the bank.  We stepped in as taxpayers and Bush, McCain, Paulsen, Obama, Volcker, Bernancke and ever other reputable person favored it because they believed the cost to the taxpayer and to the economy would be greater if they didn't.  The alternative system is a free market, and neither side is calling for that, nor does he.  Just bitching and moaning.

"UNGRADUATED TAXES. I've already gone off on this more than once, but it bears repeating. Bankers on Wall Street pay lower tax rates than most car mechanics."

Again, BS, right out of Buffet and Obama.  If that really were true, why all the uproar of the so-called populists against a flat tax and all the studies that that would even tax rates help the rich not the poor.  Which is it?? Capital gains that come to bank execs already were taxed (forget to mention that?) and social security insurance isn't a supposed to be tax, it is insurance against growing old beyond your money and the required contribution is capped so the benefits are capped.  I would be the first to end that system.  Use your own money; choose your own policy.

"Bank of America last year paid not a single dollar in taxes"

Oh really? Not a single dime, such a bone headed statement!  For one thing I will estimate that they pay a billion in property tax which happens to be a federal tax deduction.  By my rough estimate, they pay another $100 million just in the employer contribution of their 300,000 employees social security.  They pay the rest of the employees' employment tax that never gets to the worker.  Who does he think pays those taxes.  They pay sales tax on nearly every product they buy in 50 states unless they are reselling those products in some retail business.  So he must mean federal corporate income tax.  Okay, then say it and call for reform.  All the Republicans are calling to fix it and all the Occupiers are ignoring it, as far as I can see.  One problem with the income tax is that these banks are using up all their revenues on ... expenses, including regulation compliance and things mentioned above like employment taxes and property taxes.

In conclusion he writes: "These inequities are what drive the OWS protests. People don't want handouts. It's not a class uprising and they don't want civil war -- they want just the opposite. They want everyone to live in the same country, and live by the same rules. It's amazing that some people think that that's asking a lot."

No, if that's what they want, we already have a movement - that is what the tea party is calling for.  Public urination, public masturbation, public drug use and attracting the homeless for hire doesn't get you there IMO.

I'm not an expert on OWS.  I assumed from the beginning it was a continuation of the anarchists from Seattle along with the ACORN type liberals from our city that tried to get me to vote again and the groups in Milwaukee who gave free cigarettes to people to get on the vote bus.  My view was summed up yesterday in the Unified Theory post.  Find something wrong and then call for another big government program to solve it.  I would love to find out I am wrong.
5781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: October 31, 2011, 04:43:59 PM
"So, what do you make of the Rolling Stone piece I posted?"

CCP says it disappeared so I'll try to post the text and come back and try to answer.

Wall Street Isn't Winning – It's Cheating

POSTED: October 25, 9:26 AM ET
Comment 381
occupy wall street london sign
A protestor's sign expresses the sentiment of the Occupy Wall Street movement at a Occupy Wall Street protest in London.

I was at an event on the Upper East Side last Friday night when I got to talking with a salesman in the media business. The subject turned to Zucotti Park and Occupy Wall Street, and he was chuckling about something he'd heard on the news.

"I hear [Occupy Wall Street] has a CFO," he said. "I think that's funny."

"Okay, I'll bite," I said. "Why is that funny?"

"Well, I heard they're trying to decide what bank to put their money in," he said, munching on hors d'oeuvres. "It's just kind of ironic."

Oh, Christ, I thought. He’s saying the protesters are hypocrites because they’re using banks. I sighed.

"Listen," I said, "where else are you going to put three hundred thousand dollars? A shopping bag?"

"Well," he said, "it's just, their protests are all about... You know..."

"Dude," I said. "These people aren't protesting money. They're not protesting banking. They're protesting corruption on Wall Street."

"Whatever," he said, shrugging.

These nutty criticisms of the protests are spreading like cancer. Earlier that same day, I'd taped a TV segment on CNN with Will Cain from the National Review, and we got into an argument on the air. Cain and I agreed about a lot of the problems on Wall Street, but when it came to the protesters, we disagreed on one big thing.

Cain said he believed that the protesters are driven by envy of the rich.

"I find the one thing [the protesters] have in common revolves around the human emotions of envy and entitlement," he said. "What you have is more than what I have, and I'm not happy with my situation."

Cain seems like a nice enough guy, but I nearly blew my stack when I heard this. When you take into consideration all the theft and fraud and market manipulation and other evil shit Wall Street bankers have been guilty of in the last ten-fifteen years, you have to have balls like church bells to trot out a propaganda line that says the protesters are just jealous of their hard-earned money.

Think about it: there have always been rich and poor people in America, so if this is about jealousy, why the protests now? The idea that masses of people suddenly discovered a deep-seated animus/envy toward the rich – after keeping it strategically hidden for decades – is crazy.

Where was all that class hatred in the Reagan years, when openly dumping on the poor became fashionable? Where was it in the last two decades, when unions disappeared and CEO pay relative to median incomes started to triple and quadruple?

The answer is, it was never there. If anything, just the opposite has been true. Americans for the most part love the rich, even the obnoxious rich. And in recent years, the harder things got, the more we've obsessed over the wealth dream. As unemployment skyrocketed, people tuned in in droves to gawk at Evrémonde-heiresses like Paris Hilton, or watch bullies like Donald Trump fire people on TV.

Moreover, the worse the economy got, the more being a millionaire or a billionaire somehow became a qualification for high office, as people flocked to voting booths to support politicians with names like Bloomberg and Rockefeller and Corzine, names that to voters symbolized success and expertise at a time when few people seemed to have answers. At last count, there were 245 millionaires in congress, including 66 in the Senate.

And we hate the rich? Come on. Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer. Americans love winners.  But that's just the problem. These guys on Wall Street are not winning – they're cheating. And as much as we love the self-made success story, we hate the cheater that much more.

In this country, we cheer for people who hit their own home runs – not shortcut-chasing juicers like Bonds and McGwire, Blankfein and Dimon.

That's why it's so obnoxious when people say the protesters are just sore losers who are jealous of these smart guys in suits who beat them at the game of life. This isn't disappointment at having lost. It's anger because those other guys didn't really win. And people now want the score overturned.

All weekend I was thinking about this “jealousy” question, and I just kept coming back to all the different ways the game is rigged. People aren't jealous and they don’t want privileges. They just want a level playing field, and they want Wall Street to give up its cheat codes, things like:

FREE MONEY. Ordinary people have to borrow their money at market rates. Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon get billions of dollars for free, from the Federal Reserve. They borrow at zero and lend the same money back to the government at two or three percent, a valuable public service otherwise known as "standing in the middle and taking a gigantic cut when the government decides to lend money to itself."

Or the banks borrow billions at zero and lend mortgages to us at four percent, or credit cards at twenty or twenty-five percent. This is essentially an official government license to be rich, handed out at the expense of prudent ordinary citizens, who now no longer receive much interest on their CDs or other saved income. It is virtually impossible to not make money in banking when you have unlimited access to free money, especially when the government keeps buying its own cash back from you at market rates.

Your average chimpanzee couldn't fuck up that business plan, which makes it all the more incredible that most of the too-big-to-fail banks are nonetheless still functionally insolvent, and dependent upon bailouts and phony accounting to stay above water. Where do the protesters go to sign up for their interest-free billion-dollar loans?

CREDIT AMNESTY. If you or I miss a $7 payment on a Gap card or, heaven forbid, a mortgage payment, you can forget about the great computer in the sky ever overlooking your mistake. But serial financial fuckups like Citigroup and Bank of America overextended themselves by the hundreds of billions and pumped trillions of dollars of deadly leverage into the system -- and got rewarded with things like the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, an FDIC plan that allowed irresponsible banks to borrow against the government's credit rating.

This is equivalent to a trust fund teenager who trashes six consecutive off-campus apartments and gets rewarded by having Daddy co-sign his next lease. The banks needed programs like TLGP because without them, the market rightly would have started charging more to lend to these idiots. Apparently, though, we can’t trust the free market when it comes to Bank of America, Goldman, Sachs, Citigroup, etc.

In a larger sense, the TBTF banks all have the implicit guarantee of the federal government, so investors know it's relatively safe to lend to them -- which means it's now cheaper for them to borrow money than it is for, say, a responsible regional bank that didn't jack its debt-to-equity levels above 35-1 before the crash and didn't dabble in toxic mortgages. In other words, the TBTF banks got better credit for being less responsible. Click on to see if you got the same deal.

STUPIDITY INSURANCE. Defenders of the banks like to talk a lot about how we shouldn't feel sorry for people who've been foreclosed upon, because it's their own fault for borrowing more than they can pay back, buying more house than they can afford, etc. And critics of OWS have assailed protesters for complaining about things like foreclosure by claiming these folks want “something for nothing.”

This is ironic because, as one of the Rolling Stone editors put it last week, “something for nothing is Wall Street’s official policy." In fact, getting bailed out for bad investment decisions has been de rigeur on Wall Street not just since 2008, but for decades.

Time after time, when big banks screw up and make irresponsible bets that blow up in their faces, they've scored bailouts. It doesn't matter whether it was the Mexican currency bailout of 1994 (when the state bailed out speculators who gambled on the peso) or the IMF/World Bank bailout of Russia in 1998 (a bailout of speculators in the "emerging markets") or the Long-Term Capital Management Bailout of the same year (in which the rescue of investors in a harebrained hedge-fund trading scheme was deemed a matter of international urgency by the Federal Reserve), Wall Street has long grown accustomed to getting bailed out for its mistakes.

The 2008 crash, of course, birthed a whole generation of new bailout schemes. Banks placed billions in bets with AIG and should have lost their shirts when the firm went under -- AIG went under, after all, in large part because of all the huge mortgage bets the banks laid with the firm -- but instead got the state to pony up $180 billion or so to rescue the banks from their own bad decisions.

This sort of thing seems to happen every time the banks do something dumb with their money. Just recently, the French and Belgian authorities cooked up a massive bailout of the French bank Dexia, whose biggest trading partners included, surprise, surprise, Goldman, Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Here's how the New York Times explained the bailout:

    To limit damage from Dexia’s collapse, the bailout fashioned by the French and Belgian governments may make these banks and other creditors whole — that is, paid in full for potentially tens of billions of euros they are owed. This would enable Dexia’s creditors and trading partners to avoid losses they might otherwise suffer...

When was the last time the government stepped into help you "avoid losses you might otherwise suffer?" But that's the reality we live in. When Joe Homeowner bought too much house, essentially betting that home prices would go up, and losing his bet when they dropped, he was an irresponsible putz who shouldn’t whine about being put on the street.

But when banks bet billions on a firm like AIG that was heavily invested in mortgages, they were making the same bet that Joe Homeowner made, leaving themselves hugely exposed to a sudden drop in home prices. But instead of being asked to "suck it in and cope" when that bet failed, the banks instead went straight to Washington for a bailout -- and got it.

UNGRADUATED TAXES. I've already gone off on this more than once, but it bears repeating. Bankers on Wall Street pay lower tax rates than most car mechanics. When Warren Buffet released his tax information, we learned that with taxable income of $39 million, he paid $6.9 million in taxes last year, a tax rate of about 17.4%.

Most of Buffet’s income, it seems, was taxed as either "carried interest" (i.e. hedge-fund income) or long-term capital gains, both of which carry 15% tax rates, half of what many of the Zucotti park protesters will pay. 

As for the banks, as companies, we've all heard the stories. Goldman, Sachs in 2008 – this was the same year the bank reported $2.9 billion in profits, and paid out over $10 billion in compensation --  paid just $14 million in taxes, a 1% tax rate.

Bank of America last year paid not a single dollar in taxes -- in fact, it received a "tax credit" of $1 billion. There are a slew of troubled companies that will not be paying taxes for years, including Citigroup and CIT.

When GM bought the finance company AmeriCredit, it was able to marry its long-term losses to AmeriCredit's revenue stream, creating a tax windfall worth as much as $5 billion. So even though AmeriCredit is expected to post earnings of $8-$12 billion in the next decade or so, it likely won't pay any taxes during that time, because its revenue will be offset by GM's losses.

Thank God our government decided to pledge $50 billion of your tax dollars to a rescue of General Motors! You just paid for one of the world's biggest tax breaks.

And last but not least, there is:

GET OUT OF JAIL FREE. One thing we can still be proud of is that America hasn't yet managed to achieve the highest incarceration rate in history -- that honor still goes to the Soviets in the Stalin/Gulag era. But we do still have about 2.3 million people in jail in America.

Virtually all 2.3 million of those prisoners come from "the 99%." Here is the number of bankers who have gone to jail for crimes related to the financial crisis: 0.

Millions of people have been foreclosed upon in the last three years. In most all of those foreclosures, a regional law enforcement office -- typically a sheriff's office -- was awarded fees by the court as part of the foreclosure settlement, settlements which of course were often rubber-stamped by a judge despite mountains of perjurious robosigned evidence.

That means that every single time a bank kicked someone out of his home, a local police department got a cut. Local sheriff's offices also get cuts of almost all credit card judgments, and other bank settlements. If you're wondering how it is that so many regional police departments have the money for fancy new vehicles and SWAT teams and other accoutrements, this is one of your answers.

What this amounts to is the banks having, as allies, a massive armed police force who are always on call, ready to help them evict homeowners and safeguard the repossession of property. But just see what happens when you try to call the police to prevent an improper foreclosure. Then, suddenly, the police will not get involved. It will be a "civil matter" and they won't intervene.

The point being: if you miss a few home payments, you have a very high likelihood of colliding with a police officer in the near future. But if you defraud a pair of European banks out of a billion dollars  -- that's a billion, with a b -- you will never be arrested, never see a policeman, never see the inside of a jail cell.

Your settlement will be worked out not with armed police, but with regulators in suits who used to work for your company or one like it. And you'll have, defending you, a former head of that regulator's agency. In the end, a fine will be paid to the government, but it won't come out of your pocket personally; it will be paid by your company's shareholders. And there will be no admission of criminal wrongdoing.

The Abacus case, in which Goldman helped a hedge fund guy named John Paulson beat a pair of European banks for a billion dollars, tells you everything you need to know about the difference between our two criminal justice systems. The settlement was $550 million -- just over half of the damage.

Can anyone imagine a common thief being caught by police and sentenced to pay back half of what he took? Just one low-ranking individual in that case was charged (case pending), and no individual had to reach into his pocket to help cover the fine. The settlement Goldman paid to to the government was about 1/24th of what Goldman received from the government just in the AIG bailout. And that was the toughest "punishment" the government dished out to a bank in the wake of 2008.

The point being: we have a massive police force in America that outside of lower Manhattan prosecutes crime and imprisons citizens with record-setting, factory-level efficiency, eclipsing the incarceration rates of most of history's more notorious police states and communist countries.

But the bankers on Wall Street don't live in that heavily-policed country. There are maybe 1000 SEC agents policing that sector of the economy, plus a handful of FBI agents. There are nearly that many police officers stationed around the polite crowd at Zucotti park.

These inequities are what drive the OWS protests. People don't want handouts. It's not a class uprising and they don't want civil war -- they want just the opposite. They want everyone to live in the same country, and live by the same rules. It's amazing that some people think that that's asking a lot.

Read more:

5782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: October 31, 2011, 01:49:17 PM
Crafty:  "Again, I repeat my point that we of the American Creed are missing opportunities here to woo and win a goodly percentage of these people."

I have mixed feelings about it.  Yes, get rid of favoritism and present these benefits of conservatism with greater emphasis and fewer diversions into trivial matters while the future of the Republic really is at stake.  I have long believed that the far left and far right should be able to find many areas of agreement, especially with the so-called corporate welfare.  On local issues it is stadium subsidies that having the poorest people in the community help out multi-millionaires and multi-billionaires that just can't make a go of it on their own - because they don't have to. And it happens in so many industries and so many levels of government.  Perry was just saying no federal money preferences to energy.  OWS'ers, that is a big step, lock it in!  I'm sure Ron Paul has said that with every preference.  It was mostly people from the right that opposed TARP and the bailouts and phony stimuli.  Yes we could be out trumpeting areas of agreement, but in many ways we are, and they aren't listening.  Tea party activists in GOP primaries were the ones knocking out their own in Washington that were operating without core principles. Both the Perry and Cain plans literally remove favoritism from the tax code which is a huge first step in ending the favors for sale industry.  I have argued this before, but it is the extreme regulations that make it so that only a few elite firms can handle the compliance issues of large business transactions.  It was mostly liberal justices in Kelo v. New London that supported taking people's family homes against their will and giving them to big business.

OTOH, this is a non-specific, incoherent cause with a bunch of poorly behaved people, leftists gone mad, much like what they hoped the tea party would turn out to be on the right.  Their view of community and anti-capitalism is not what centrists are seeking nor the answer to our economic woes.  The main belief is that wealth is rigged and their main hatred IMO is aimed at the fact of achievement and success rather than at the special treatment.  Lending credibility to class warfare is not the way forward IMO.  We have too few people that are driven to achieve or that even understand our economic system.

The other strategy is to sit quietly and let these people be themselves, illustrating what it means to be anti-market and leftist.  These are almost all Democrat-run cities that are slow to decide how to deal with this human mess without inciting greater disturbances.

We may think him Marxist, but Obama is a corporatist worse than Ralph Nader predicted and worse than any Republican. Just look at where he goes for fund raisers and who he chooses to invite for special events.  Wall street's and Hollywood's biggest contributions went to Obama and not without expecting rewards.

Meanwhile the President is rich from ghost written books that play on his public celebrity and Mrs. O. gets 8 weeks a year of exotic vacations, including beaches overseas even without the husband and flying separate government jets out of Martha's Vineyard for a 4 hour difference in schedules.  She wore $600 shoes to serve at a soup line photo opp.  The kids are in the best private schools as was young Barack growing up, while the policy position remains anti-school-voucher.  Flying Air Force One to NYC for date night.  Now they want to appeal to the 99%?  This group is total elitist 1%'ers and never had to invent or build a product or risk their own capital on any of it.
5783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, There is no There There on: October 31, 2011, 12:34:57 PM
Cain:  "Never have I committed any kind of sexual harassment."... If they paid a settlement, I hope it wasn't for much, because nothing happened.

The lead author at Politico is one who went after Sarah Palin with lies.  

The author goes from not naming the women to not detailing the accusations.

Note the exculpatory interviews are dropped in at the end of a mulit-page story, after the damage is done.  People who would have known vouch strongly for his character and integrity.

Interesting that these are liberals trying to take down Cain still in the primaries.  If the facts had legs, they should want to let him run and win further and then destroy him a little later in the process.  I would guess that the facts were not leading them any further so they decided not to get beat to press on what they had.  It wasn't just he said -she said, it was that what she said didn't amount to harassment.  I agree with CCP, that certainly someone on the left will give them the money they might have to give back in order to talk about what happened.  Unless something more breaks, I would guess that was already tried and didn't amount to anything.  They say they have been working on this for several weeks.

Example of missing details:  Paula Jones was called white trash for turning Clinton and Juanita Broderick said that Bill Clinton said she oughtta put some ice on that, and Hillary sought her out later and gave her the knowing look.  Not enough to upset any left leaning women's groups. which at least earlier was in the Perry camp is running a story saying there is no there there.  The allegations if they were true do not amount to sexual harassment.  []

Cain Allegations: No There There

Posted by Curt Levey

Monday, October 31st at 9:01AM EDT

In light of last night’s Politico story about allegations against Herman Cain, it is important to clarify the legal meaning of the term “sexual harassment.” Specifically, Politico reports allegations that Herman Cain made an “an unwanted sexual advance” and engaged in “innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature.” Politico suggests that this amounts to sexual harassment, using the term at least six times.

The truth is that the reported allegations, even if true, do not constitute sexual harassment under the law unless – as the Supreme Court has stated – they are “sufficiently severe or pervasive” to “create an abusive working environment,” among other requirements. Even the guidance of the decidedly liberal U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cautions that “sexual attraction may often play a role in the day-to-day social exchange between employees” and that

    “Sexual flirtation or innuendo, even vulgar language that is trivial or merely annoying, would probably not establish a hostile environment.”

The “severe or pervasive” requirement is not a legal technicality. Trivializing the term “sexual harassment” undermines the seriousness with which cases of severe and pervasive harassment are taken. There is no suggestion in the Politico article that Cain’s alleged behavior was either severe or pervasive, so at least for now, the suggestion of sexual harassment is unsupported.

Politico places a lot of weight on the report that “there were financial settlements in two cases in which women leveled complaints [against Cain].” In fact, without knowing more about the details of the settlements, it’s impossible to draw any conclusions from them. Corporate America is very risk averse when it comes to negative publicity, and in-house settlements often occur even when the evidence of harassment falls far short of the threshold needed to be taken seriously by a court.
5784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 30, 2011, 10:59:44 PM
Herman Cain on Face the Nation:;contentBody
Cain sounds very good in the interview.

Try this link for day by day cartoon tough on Romney:

Much improved Rick Perry with MSM Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

Very sad to see story from Politico that is now the lead story on Drudge: - 4 internet pages, starts with this:

Exclusive: Two women accused Herman Cain of inappropriate behavior

(Politico has done some sourcing on this. They also quote board members who vouch strogly for his behavior.  There is probably some truth in that there were probably two or more complaints made and settled.  That doesn't mean guilt, but it does mean a serious challenge and distraction for the campaign is coming.  I'm surprised there haven't been more twists like this in the campaign.  And I hope it is all proven false. but proving a negative is usually impossible to do.)

During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.

The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.

In a series of comments over the past 10 days, Cain and his campaign repeatedly declined to respond directly about whether he ever faced allegations of sexual harassment at the restaurant association. They have also declined to address questions about specific reporting confirming that there were financial settlements in two cases in which women leveled complaints.

POLITICO has confirmed the identities of the two female restaurant association employees who complained about Cain but, for privacy concerns, is not publishing their names.

Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon told POLITICO the candidate indicated to campaign officials that he was “vaguely familiar” with the charges and that the restaurant association’s general counsel had resolved the matter.

The latest statement came from Cain himself. In a tense sidewalk encounter Sunday morning outside the Washington bureau of CBS News — where the Republican contender had just completed an interview on “Face the Nation” — Cain evaded a series of questions about sexual harassment allegations.

Cain said he has “had thousands of people working for me” at different businesses over the years and could not comment “until I see some facts or some concrete evidence.” His campaign staff was given the name of one woman who complained last week, and it was repeated to Cain on Sunday. He responded, “I am not going to comment on that.”

He was then asked, “Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?”

He breathed audibly, glared at the reporter and stayed silent for several seconds. After the question was repeated three times, he responded by asking the reporter, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”

Cain was president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association from late 1996 to mid-1999. POLITICO learned of the allegations against him, and over the course of several weeks, has put together accounts of what happened by talking to a lengthy roster of former board members, current and past staff and others familiar with the workings of the trade group at the time Cain was there.

In one case, POLITICO has seen documentation describing the allegations and showing that the restaurant association formally resolved the matter. Both women received separation packages that were in the five-figure range.

On the details of Cain’s allegedly inappropriate behavior with the two women, POLITICO has a half-dozen sources shedding light on different aspects of the complaints.

The sources — which include the recollections of close associates and other documentation — describe episodes that left the women upset and offended. These incidents include conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature, taking place at hotels during conferences, at other officially sanctioned restaurant association events and at the association’s offices. There were also descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.

Peter Kilgore, who was the association’s general counsel in the 1990s, and remains in that position today, has declined to comment to POLITICO on whether any settlements existed, saying he cannot discuss personnel matters.

But one source closely familiar with Cain’s tenure in Washington confirmed that the claims related to allegations of sexual harassment – behavior that disturbed members of the board who became aware of it, as well as the source, who otherwise liked Cain.

“I happen to know there were sealed settlements reached in the plural. I think that anybody who thinks this was a one-time, one-person transgression would be mistaken,” this source said...
5785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Aesop predicted Unified Theory of Liberal Solutions in 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf' on: October 30, 2011, 07:34:06 PM
Even the solution for government programs gone bad is yet another government program.  Over-regulate auto manufacturing to the point of bankruptcy -> nationalize it.  Fannie and Freddie and CRAprogram -> No problem: order a foreclosure moratorium and pass Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) .  Health care costs gone mad over govt mandates -> Affordable Health Care Act.  TARP-1 failed -> Tarp-2.  No new jobs with Stimulus I -> Stimulus II.  (I could go on!)

My question is this:

What if the solution to next thing to go horribly wrong in this country really is a government program?

5786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: October 30, 2011, 02:45:31 PM
I'm not a big fan of Thomas Friedman but I would go along with this suggestion for the answer to occupy wall street: "4) U.S. congressmen [and Presidents] should have to dress like Nascar drivers and wear the logos of all the banks, investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms [and unions] that they’re taking money from.
5787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Scrapping and replacing the current U.S. tax code. on: October 30, 2011, 02:33:35 PM
Welcome to objectivist1, but that video is the same one posted on the Tax Policy thread last week.  I would rather hear him tell the virtues of his plan than to tell me I have Stockholm Syndrome.  The Fair Tax is not on the ballot.  It may sell books for the author but this kind of divisive talk doesn't help bring real tax reform in  my humble opinion.  Besides that everyone else is a prisoner and a fool, he might consider that his own plan has real world flaws.

His plan has a 30% sales tax in it (they call it 23% of a number that is increased by 30%) including taxing government purchases which raises no real money and taxing new homes - grow the economy by killing off our most depressed industry?  Make those two exceptions and the rate goes far above 30%.  Even then, revenue neutral plans raise only 60% of current spending before the economic growth  kicks in.

The Pre-Bate actually does kill the simplicity and denying by name calling doesn't answer the objection.  How do we know their income without forms like we have now to calculate it? The ones needing pre-bates are the people who tend not to manage money well.  Cain addresses it far better with no prebate instead saying they can buy used.

The Fair tax requires the REPEAL of the income tax amendment which is a complete political impossibility.  Most polls say people want higher income taxes on the rich.  How many say they want zero - close to zero.  It is certainly less than the roughly 75% required to amend the constitution.  Implement it without repeal and you give liberals all the tools they need to make things far worse than before in their next retake of power.

47 states plus some localities have an income tax and the first line in it says send in your federal return with all its schedules.  States and localities would rely even more on the income tax, not less, if their current sales tax was on top of a 30% federal rate.

The Fair tax involves radical change without a plan for a smooth transition that I know of.  If you want to end all income taxation and go to all consumption-based taxes, my suggestion is: cut spending first!

Boortz' proposal died IMO because it was unworkable not because fellow conservatives have Stockholm Syndrome.  The Cain plan is on the table now and the election starts in less than 2 months.  My suggestion is for the more conservative candidates to find some kind of consensus on policies soon or get ready for another 4 years of moving toward total central control of our economy.
5788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left: Robert Reich on: October 30, 2011, 01:24:23 PM
(note to moderator, we need spelling/typo correction to the topic title)

I wonder who others think are the opinion leaders of the left.  I have identified Paul Krugman and Robert Reich but both are so easily discredited.  Today Reich writes:
"Flat tax a flat-out fraud

Robert Reich, Sunday, October 30, 2011
"The flat tax is a fraud. It raises taxes on the poor and lowers them on the rich." [Straw.  He throws all plans into one pile and then criticizes all for defects of one.  I normally stop reading and quoting at the first lie, but there is so much more.]

"The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that Cain's flat-tax plan (the only one that's been set out in any detail) would lower the after-tax incomes of poor households (incomes below $30,000) by 16 to 20 percent."  [That is, if you have no knowledge or understanding of embedded taxes.]

"Meanwhile, 95 percent of households with more than $1 million of income would get an average tax cut of $487,300." [Complete drivel.  It measures in dollars while assuming no change in economic behavior whatsoever to a drastic change in the marginal rate.  No one is that dumb. Plus he seamlessly and deceptively changed from calling a tax rate a tax back to measuring in it n dollars.  If we measure in dollars and admit lower rates bring more income, then that figure is bunk.  The rich will actually pay more dollars by any measure of previous similar rate cuts.]  "And capital gains (a major source of income for the very rich) would be tax-free." [An honest person might say: that income would only get overtaxed once under the proposed plan.]

All flat-tax proposals benefit the rich more than the poor for one simple reason: Today's tax code is still at least moderately progressive. The rich usually pay a higher percent of their incomes in income taxes than do the poor. [Is he intentionally calling President Obama and Warren Buffets bald faced liars?]

"The truth is, the current tax code treats everyone the same." [How come anything that starts 'the truth is - is a lie? Robert Reich, Have you READ the current tax code; it doesn't take 72,000 pages to treat people and different sources of income the same! Even if you settle for 3 brackets or 5. This could have gone under Tax Policy but I am really writing about leftist dishonesty and wondering if someone could point out an honest liberal for me to read.]
Question to Rbt Reich, is everything in your world really all 'us vs. them', lie at all costs to win more, or should we also be trying to grow our economy and raise revenues to pay our massive spending?

Perry's plan puts ZERO tax on a family of four up to $50,000!! while the same people mostly support spending almost 4 trillion a year.  What in God's name would you need to call it fair?

Here is a flat tax: 200 million adults spend almost 4 trillion dollars.  Send in $20,000 per adult American, or face prison for tax evasion,  or spend less and pay your share of that, and  private business matters remain private from government audit. That is a flat tax and everything else is a progressive compromise.  If everyone paid their share, that would cure our spending problem, our wall street bailout problem and most other problems in a big f'ing hurry.
5789  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 30, 2011, 12:24:39 PM
Sounds to me like a simple case of self defense at the moment he made the shot.

GM: "Ok, let's now unleash the ignorant assclowns to discuss how the poor felon shouldn't have died based on biased media reporting. Oh wait, the shooter wasn't a cop."

The local media ('ignorant assclowns') were in fact out drawing sympathy for the sister: "The investigation ensnared Evanovich's sister...She had been with Evanovich the night he died, and according to their mother, held him in her arms as he took his last breath."

Very sad story except... she happened to be there as the accomplice, wielding the knife cutting the throat of robbery victim who also ended up with 2 black eyes. 

CBS affiliate draws more sympathy to the felon family, the deceased was the victim??

"MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The mother of a robbery suspect who was shot and killed says her son was the victim.

A witness saw 23-year-old Darren Evanovich committing a robbery in south Minneapolis Thursday night. He chased Evanovich down and, after a confrontation, shot and killed him.

Evanovich’s family said the man who killed Darren was no hero.  “I was so scared,” said Mary Evanovich, the robbery suspect’s mother. “All I wanted was my baby, but I didn’t want it to be true.”

Evanovich is searching for answers as to why her son had to die.  “How can a person play judge, jury and executioner and God, who gave the person the right to be God,” Evanovich said.

Evanovich would not talk about the robbery or what role her son played in it.  “I can’t give no comments on that. I prefer not to actually talk about that part of it..."
The deceased armed robber was talking 9 days earlier to troubled youth about taking a different route.  Great role model (sarc.)
5790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 28, 2011, 01:13:37 PM
CCP,  Levin can be abrasive but he makes his points fearlessly and persuasively.  I like the Perry plan, but not the candidate at this point.  I believe Romney will be the nominee but Cain is staying in there so far. Bachmann for one should drop and join with Cain it seems to me if this is about direction of the country more than personal career.  She made a name for herself and could still get out before becoming irrelevant.  I would like to pick and choose traits from each to assemble my own candidate but it doesn't work that way.  

A good friend and non-conservative asked me in earnest this week what I thought of the Republican contest knowing I would be following it closely. After all these readings and posts I was pretty much speechless to summarize anything.  Interestingly, she thought the country wasn't ready for a Mormon. Maybe I am naive, but I already forgot about that.  People thought it risky that JFK was Catholic (as if he lived that life).  Joe Liebermann broke ground as the first Jewish candidate on a ticket; that didn't become any focus. Obama being half black was only a plus.  The issues are so big for something invisible to matter much it seems to me.  If he was alleged to have more wives, that would be another different.

Newt is the one with the too many wives problem.

I like a lot about Newt, but we can't have a candidate that pushes voters like Mrs. Crafty away for having good moral sense.  Not just Newt but his first lady was also a home wrecker, any chance that will come up on Oprah? He shouldn't have run, just my opinion.  Republicans are held to a higher standard, he knows it and didn't abide by it.  Now he won't quit because his support is swinging up.  But if he was out, where would that support go?  Perry isn't leaving either because he has money at this point.  He will quit after he fails in a key primary unless he turns things around.  If Newt, Bachmann and Perry were out, and it was down to Romney vs one top challenger Herman Cain, this contest would become very, very interesting.  With no challenge on the Dem side, swing voters would likely show up.  Some say that favors Romney, but I would not be so sure.
5791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Marc levin on the Perry Plan on: October 28, 2011, 11:35:35 AM
Conservative commentator Marc Levin assesses the Perry tax plan:
5792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Income Disparity on: October 28, 2011, 11:30:29 AM
Came across an old read (Dec 1995), too long to post, about income disparity, well researched and still applies today.  Read it and learn it if you are so inclined.  These writers went on to start Powerline blog (biased blogger alert).  Income inequality is the ladder up and gets 'better' only in times of no growth or opportunity.
5793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Rubio on: October 28, 2011, 10:58:09 AM
Continuing my Rubio reply here:

I actually believe Rubio that he won't take the VP nomination, even though they all say that.  He wants to be a successful senator and keep his promise to do that, unlike others before him.  Also it would risk his career in a couple of ways, tying his future to one of our not so perfect possible nominees while cutting his own experience short.  He doesn't need to be the VP slot to be seriously considered for the top slot in 4 or 8 years if he wants it.  He can be a strong supporter of the ticket from the outside and the top of the ticket needs to be strong enough to stand on his own.  If the nominee is an outsider, and really all of them are, then maybe need a sharp, shrewd, experienced professional insider with gravitas, at least as strong as Biden wink to balance the ticket.
5794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 28, 2011, 10:51:32 AM
Interesting that Rubio is against the pathway or whatever amnesty is now called.  I agree with his point that at the very least politically, Republicans must be pro-legal-immigration in a lawful and orderly way.  If done right this makes good economic sense too and follows in a great tradition that got most of the rest of us here.
5795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: October 28, 2011, 10:22:23 AM
Bigdog,  I'm sorry.  I updated my post. The personal reference was not helpful in making my point, especially when it is wrong.  Plenty of other people took those appointments lightly, including the majority of nations!  I hate when people ascribe to me what I didn't say.  Now it reads:

"I don't see how anyone can take lightly the fact that those horribly repressive regimes were sitting on committees judging other people's human rights violations.  We stand for nothing IMO if we stand with that!"

I took the impression as Crafty expressed it.  Actual quote:  "I don't see, then, given the institutional design of the UN (or at least my understanding of the design) allows the opportunity for the UN to act in a manner against the US and the EU."

My view is that the UN IS acting against the US by elevating Cuba, Libya and Syria, and we have guilt in it all by our full knowledge and continuing voluntary association. 
Monday, 27 January, 2003, 16:28 GMT
Should Libya chair UN Human Rights Commission?
Libya has been voted chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, despite opposition from the United States and human rights groups.

The country was nominated by African countries and elected by a clear majority, despite the US's insistence that it will not endorse Libya's chairmanship.

The Commission, the UN's main human rights watchdog, oversees complaints of abuses worldwide, but it has been widely condemned as a toothless body.

The vote has highlighted what many see as a flaw in the way the body is set up. Libya's human rights record has been heavily criticised in the past.

The appointment has been staunchly defended, however, by the son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, who said it could embarrass middle eastern governments into improving their human rights record.
The Bush administration was 'opposed' but had no veto.  That IMO answers the point of how the UN can act in a manner against the US.  They most certainly did (IMHO).

I understand how international stature helps the rulers in places like Libya and Syria, but what are WE doing there?  No one would talk to us otherwise? 

I am known for my botched analogies and here we go again... If Charles Manson or a current KKK wizard was the chairman of the membership screening committee at the west texas country club and Rick Perry strongly opposed that but kept on golfing, hunting, dining and socializing there, are we okay with that?  It's okay because everyone else in the community belongs there too or because there is no other club available?  No.  It's not okay and he would not survive a second under scrutiny.

5796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: October 27, 2011, 08:20:07 PM
Much of this already covered, but here is my two cents:

A point of Bigdog's: "Second, there are at least three nations, all with veto power, who are permanent members of the Security Council.  These three are the US, the UK, and France, the later two of which are also members of the EU. I don't see, then, given the institutional design of the UN (or at least my understanding of the design) allows the opportunity for the UN to act in a manner against the US and the EU."

Another great question gets at this further:  "OK... what constitutes the "good" of the country?"

Your point about structure and veto power is a good one. I accept that.  So why all the hysteria on the right?  It seems to me that it is not good to be just one, two or three vetoes away from giving up our sovereignty - and we don't trust any of those three to always do the right thing.   One of my own links about the UN wanting global government, global taxes and global regulations actually came from candidate Obama.  We (really only speaking for myself) don't even trust all American administrations to do what is in the U.S. interest, much less our best allies in western Europe.  As your question reveals, there isn't one mindset in the US of what is in our interest.  The short answer from this side in my view is that we most certainly don't want global governance; we don't even like that state powers went to Washington. Already mentioned are other great points, we don't want one sided condemnations of Israel.  We don't want tyrannical dictators having any voice or podium much less an equal one.  We don't want to expand the legitimacy of things that aren't.  

If so-called neutral member states are voting against us 90% of the time, and if we are doing horse trades with China and Russia to keep them from vetoing certain actions, then might there also be times when we are giving away our veto that is needed to support our interest?  We certainly do that in Washington!

All this unfortunately seems to focus on the negative aspects of the UN.  I would be interested in learning what is happening at the UN that is positive so I would understand why we risk or tolerate all the negatives.

Crafty made a point in particular that I like: "As a talk shop facilitating communication so that affairs between nations do not unnecessarily get out of hand, the UN is fine."

But if that talk is 90% anti-American in direction, why then do we sponsor and participate?  Is the other 10% that good?  If so, how?

The condemnation of Iraq seemed like one example of good.  I list those resolutions below, but what good came out of them?  They gave cover for politicians to say they were doing something when they weren't.  

I liked a proposal made by Dem Senator Zell Miller and others called an Association of Democracies.  Should there not be some requirement of consent of the governed to join with leaders of peace seeking nations?  I also liked the one-time type cooperations that Pres. Bush Sr. called the coalition of the willing.  Can't we have our allies be people who want to be our allies and vice versa.  I don't see how anyone can take lightly the fact that those horribly repressive regimes were sitting on committees judging other people's human rights violations.  We stand for nothing IMO if we stand with that!  I don't like giving legitimacy to illegitimacy, the soapbox for Hugo Chavez comes to mind but there were so many others, Kruschev pounding his shoe - did that really happen? If not he was still denying in 1960 that the Soviet Union swallowed up Eastern Europe.  And we have a peace seeking podium for that.  It doesn't make sense to me.
Iraq's unenforced resolutions in reverse order from the occupation of Kuwait 1990 through the end of 2002, resolutions are clickable at the link:

    1454 (30 December 2002): Iraq-Kuwait
        implements revisions to the Goods Review List. See also the accompanying UN press release.
    1447 (4 December 2002): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by 6 months, obliges the council to review the goods review list within one month and asks the Secretary General to produce a report on the adequacy of Iraq's distribution mechamisms within the country and oil-for-food revenues within six months. See the accompanying press release.
    1443 (25 November 2002): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by 9 days only, due to disagreements over US proposals to broaden the Goods Review List. See the accompanying UN press release. See also CASI's press release on the politicisation of the oil-for-food programme.
    1441 (8 November 2002): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Earlier drafts of this resolution are as follows: the US/UK drafts of 2 October 2002, 25 October 2002 and 5 November 2002; the Russian draft and the French draft of 23 October 2002. A collections of critical comments on the resolution can be found on the websites of the Institute for Public Accuracy and Eclipse review.
        Post-vote statements by the US, UK, France, Russia and China are available from the Global Policy Forum
    1409 (14 May 2002): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by six months, and introduces a new import procedure. Only items on the annexed Goods Review List (GRL) are to be reviewed by the Sanctions Committee. Official version of the GRL (S/2002/515) are here (on the Unmovic site) and here (on the OIP site). Although the GRL is annexed to a letter from the US ambassador dated 3 May 2002 - before the resolution was even offically passed - it was only released on 14 August 2002. An unofficial version of the "Goods Review List" is also available on the UN Office of the Iraq programme website, in doc (2.2MB) and pdf versions (4.6MB). Some background is provided in the UN Press Release and a News Centre report. See also CASI's press release in response to the resolution (15 May 2002); Statement by Save the Children UK (May 2002); Statements by CAFOD of 16 May 2002 and 27 June 2002; and the analyses of Sarah Graham-Brown, Sanctions Renewed on Iraq (14 May 2002), and Colin Rowat, Iraq Sanctions Saga Continues amid Policy Confusion (10 June 2002). See also the fact sheet from the United States mission to the UN on the "Goods Review List" (14 May 2002).
    1382 (29 November 2001): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by 180 days, commencing Phase XI on 1 December 2001. It also adopts a new "goods review list" (GRL) and procedures for its application to come into force on 30 May 2002. Note that the GRL consists not only of the items actually listed in the annex to the resolution, but also those on the "1051 lists" and those listed within a new 150-page list drawn up by the US. This latter list was an annex to a letter from the US ambassador dated 27 November 2001; a copy sent to CASI can be viewed here. All applications to import goods will have to be reviewed by Unmovic and the UN Office of the Iraq Programme to determine if the proposed imports contain items on the GRL.
    1360 (3 July 2001): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by 150 days to begin Phase X, after no agreement was reached over the new UK proposals for a modified sanctions regime. The subsequent exchange of letters between the UN and Iraq, agreeing to the continuation of the programme under the terms of this resolution, is dated 5 July 2001. The text of the Security Council debates are available for 26 June 2001 and 28 June 2001. CASI's full index of proposals and statements from May to July 2001 is available here.
    1352 (1 June 2001): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends Phase IX of the oil-for-food programme by one month only, after there is general agreement that more time is necessary to review the UK's draft resolution (and annex) to change the scope and mode of operation of the sanctions.
    1330 (4 December 2000): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by 180 days, to commence Phase IX. The resolution also allocates another $600m to oil-industry spares, requests exploration into a "cash component" (para. 15), reduces Compensation Fund deductions to 25% (para 12), requests electricity and housing "green lists" (para 10), expresses "readiness to consider" paying Iraq's UN membership dues out of oil-for-food revenue, seeks expanded versions of the existing "green lists" (para 11), and asks the Secretary-General to report on other oil export routes from Iraq. UN Press Release here.
    1302 (8 June 2000): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase VIII of "oil for food". The UN's press release is here. Paragraph 8 asks for water and sanitation "green lists". Paragraph 9 extends the oil spare parts permission of SCR 1293. Paragraph 18 calls for the establishment of a team of "independent experts to prepare by 26 November 2000 a comprehensive report and analysis of the humanitarian situation in Iraq, including the current humanitarian needs [...] and recommendations to meet those needs, within the framework of the existing resolutions". According to a UN source, the UK and US insisted upon the final clause of paragraph 18, knowing that the Iraqi government's position would prevent it from cooperating with such an analysis. As a result, there has been no cooperation and no such report has been produced. The BBC's report outlines the politics behind the comprehensive report. AP's report concentrates on the debate around bombing in the "no fly zones". On 30 October, the chair of the group of independent experts mentioned in the resolution was announced as Thorvald Stoltenberg of Norway.
    1293 (31 March 2000): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Doubles permitted oil spare part imports for Phases VI and VII. The UN's press release is here. Paragraphs 53 - 57 of the UN Secretary-General's 10 March 2000 report (S/2000/208) explains the background to this doubling. See CNN's story for mention of some of the politics of the resolution.
    1284 (17 December 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Replaces Unscom with Unmovic, demands Iraqi co-operation on prisoners of war, alters the "oil for food" programme, and discusses the possible suspension of sanctions in ambiguous terms. The statement by Sir Jeremy Greenstock in the Security Council at the introduction of the resolution is here; the full debates in the Council are here; and the UN's press release is here. The UK draft resolution preceding this is here. See also CASI's briefing or its press release.
    1281 (10 December 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase VII of "oil for food", to start on 12 December 1999. The report requested in paragraph 9 is S/2000/26. Listen to the BBC's radio story, including an explanation that the previous week-long extensions may have been too short to allow Iraq to sign oil contracts.
    1280 (3 December 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends Phase VI to 11 December 1999 due to wrangling over SCR 1284.
    1275 (19 November 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends Phase VI to 4 December 1999 due to wrangling over SCR 1284.
    1266 (4 October 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Allows an additional $3.04 billion in oil sales to offset deficits during previous Phases and (possibly) to slow the rise in oil prices.
    1242 (21 May 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase VI of "oil for food", to start on 25 May 1999.
    1210 (24 November 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase V of "oil for food", to start on 26 November 1998.
    1205 (5 November 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Echoes SCR 1194, demands that the Iraqi government "provide immediate, complete and unconditional cooperation" with inspectors and alludes to the threat to "international peace and security" posed by the non-cooperation.
    1194 (9 September 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        "Condemns the decision by Iraq ... to suspend cooperation with [Unscom] and the IAEA", demands that the decisions be reversed and cancels October 1998 scheduled sanctions review.
    1175 (19 June 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Gives Iraq permission to apply to import up to $300 million of oil industry spare parts this Phase to allow it to increase its oil production to the cap set in SCR 1153.
    1158 (25 March 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Continues Phase III but under the enhanced provisions of SCR 1153.
    1154 (2 March 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Commends the Secretary-General for securing commitments from the Iraqi government to fully comply with weapons inspections on his mission to Baghdad, and endorses the memorandum of understanding (S/1998/166) that was signed on 23 February. The mapping of the areas of the eight "presidential sites" by a UN Technical Mission is described in an annexed report to a letter from the Secretary-General of 27 February (S/1998/166/Add.1). The procedures for the inspection of "presidential sites" are laid out in an annex to the letter from the Secretary-General of 8 March 1998 (S/1998/208). This agreement put off US and British bombing threats.
    1153 (20 February 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Agrees to increase the cap on permitted Iraqi oil sales to $5.256 billion per Phase once the Secretary-General has approved an "enhanced distribution plan" for the new revenue. Recognises the importance of infrastructure and project-based purchases. Phase IV eventually begins on 30 May 1998. Resolution passed during Unscom crisis.
    1143 (4 December 1997): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase III of "oil for food", to start on 5 December 1997 and welcomes the Secretary-General's intention to submit a supplementary report on possible improvements in the "oil for food" programme.
    1137 (12 November 1997): Iraq-Kuwait
        Rejects Iraqi government's announced intention to prohibit weapons inspections unless the composition of Unscom teams is altered to limit the number of inspectors from the US, and to prohibit Unscom overflights. Imposes travel ban on officials to be lifted when full cooperation resumes. Sanctions review to be in April 1998 if cooperation has been restored.
    1134 (23 October 1997): Iraq-Kuwait
        Reaffirms Iraq's obligations to cooperate with weapons inspectors after Iraqi officials announce in September 1997 that "presidential sites" are off-limits to inspectors. Threatens travel ban on obstructive Iraqi officials not "carrying out bona fide diplomatic assignments or missions" if non-cooperation continues. Sanctions reviews again delayed.
    1129 (12 September 1997): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Alters timing of permitted Phase II oil sales in response to Iraqi government's refusal to sell oil until its Distribution Plan was approved by the UN.
    1115 (21 June 1997): Iraq-Kuwait.
        "Condemns the repeated refusal of the Iraqi authorities to allow access to sites" and "[d]emands that [they] cooperate fully" with Unscom. Suspends the sanctions and arms embargo reviews (paragraphs 21 and 28 of SCR 687) until the next Unscom report and threatens to "impose additional measures on those categories of Iraqi officials responsible for the non-compliance".
    1111 (4 June 1997): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase II of "oil for food", to start on 8 June 1997.
    1060 (12 June 1996): Iraq.
        On Iraq's refusal to allow access to sites designated by the Special Commission.
    1051 (27 March 1996): Iraq.
        Establishes mechanism for long-term monitoring of potentially "dual use" Iraqi imports and exports, as called for by SCR 715.
    986 (14 April 1995): Iraq
        New "oil for food" resolution, allowing $1 billion in oil sales every 90 days. Memorandum of understanding signed by UN and Government of Iraq on 20 May 1996; Phase I begins on 10 December 1996. The details of implementation, requested in paragraph 12, are here.
    949 (15 October 1994): Iraq-Kuwait.
        "Condemns recent military deployments by Iraq in the direction of ... Kuwait", demands an immediate withdrawal and full co-operation with Unscom. According to a spokesman for the US Central Command, the resolution was passed following a threatening buildup of Iraqi forces near the border with Kuwait, and bars Iraq from moving SAMs into the southern no-fly zone.
    899 (4 March 1994): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Allows compensation to private Iraqi citizens who lost assets to the boundary demarcation process.
    833 (27 May 1993): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        "Welcomes ... the successful conclusion of the work of the [Boundary Demarcation] Commission". The Iraqi National Assembly recognised the territorial integrity and political independence of the State of Kuwait, within the boundaries laid down by the Boundary Demarcation Commission, on 10 November 1994, and its decision was ratified in a decree signed by Saddam Hussein on the same day.
    806 (5 February 1993): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Arms UNIKOM to prevent border incursions by Iraq.
    778 (2 October 1992): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Deplores Iraq's refusal to implements SCRs 706 and 712 and recalls Iraq's liabilities. Takes steps to transfer funds (including Iraqi assets overseas) into the UN account established to pay for compensation and humanitarian expenses.
    773 (26 August 1992): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Responds to a report on progress by the UN Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission and notes that the Commission "is not reallocating territory between Kuwait and Iraq".
    715 (11 October 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        Approves the plans of Unscom and the IAEA, including for long term monitoring. Iraq agreed to the monitoring system established by this resolution on 26 November 1993.
    712 (19 September 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        Rejects the Secretary-General's suggestion that at least $2 billion in oil revenue be made available for humanitarian needs; instead allows total sale of $1.6 billion. Eventually rejected by Government of Iraq.
    707 (15 August 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        Condemns Iraq's non-compliance on weapons inspections as a "material breach" of Resolution 687, and incorporates into its standard for compliance with SCR687 that Iraq provide "full, final and complete disclosure ... of all aspects of its programmes to develop" prohibited weaponry. Also grants permission for Unscom and the IAEA to conduct flights throughout Iraq, for surveillance or logistical purposes.
    706 (15 August 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Decides to allow emergency oil sale by Iraq to fund compensation claims, weapons inspection and humanitarian needs in Iraq. The text of the debates on this resolution in the Security Council is available here.
    705 (15 August 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        "Decides that ... compensation to be paid by Iraq ... shall not exceed 30 per cent of the annual value of the exports".
    700 (17 June 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Approves the Secretary-General's guidelines on an arms and dual-use embargo on Iraq and calls upon states to act consistently with them. Paragraph 5 of this resolution makes the 661 committee responsible for the on-going monitoring regime, thus ensuring that it would retain a role in the long-term relationship between the UN and Iraq.
    699 (17 June 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        Approves the Secretary-General's plan for Unscom and the IAEA and asks for support from Member States.
    692 (20 May 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Establishes the UN Compensation Commission and asks the Secretary-General to indicate the maximum possible level of Iraq's contribution to the Compensation Fund.
    689 (9 April 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Approves the Secretary-General's report on the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM).
    688 (5 April 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        "Condemns the repression of the Iraqi civilian population" in the post-war civil war and "[d]emands that Iraq ... immediately end this repression". 688 is occasionally claimed to provide the legal basis for the American and British "no fly zones". These claims are incorrect both because 688 does not invoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter, a necessary condition for the use of force, and because it does not authorise specific measures to uphold human rights in Iraq, such as "no fly zones". The BBC has an outline of the "no fly zones" here. The UK Select Committee on Defence addresses the legal issue briefly here.
    687 (3 April 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Declares effective a formal cease-fire (upon Iraqi acceptance), establishes the UN Special Commission on weapons (Unscom), extends sanctions and, in paragraphs 21 and 22, provides ambiguous conditions for lifting or easing them. Described as a "Christmas tree", because "so much was hung on it". The fourth preambulary clause, on "the need to be assured of Iraq's peaceful intentions", has been referred to as the "Saddam Hussein clause" as it has been used to link the continuation of sanctions with the survival of the present Iraqi regime. The text of the debates on this resolution in the Security Council is available here.
    686 (2 March 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Affirms the "independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq" and sets out terms for a cease-fire. The use of force remains valid to fulfil these conditions.
    685 (31 January 1991): Iraq-Islamic Republic of Iran (PDF).
    678 (29 November 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        "Authorizes Member States ... to use all necessary means" to bring Iraq into compliance with previous Security Council resolutions if it did not do so by 15 January 1991.
    677 (28 November 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Concerned by Iraq's attempts to "alter the demographic composition of ... Kuwait and to destroy the civil records".
    676 (28 November 1990): Iraq-Islamic Republic of Iran (PDF).
    674 (29 October 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        "Reminds Iraq that ... it is liable for any loss ... as a result of the invasion ... of Kuwait".
    671 (27 September 1990): Iraq-Islamic Republic of Iran (PDF).
    670 (25 September 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Strengthens and clarifies the embargo; confirms that it applies to aircraft. France and the USA disagree on whether 670 requires 661 approval for flights without cargo. Paragraph 12 of the resolution also invokes the possibility of unspecified "measures" against states that evade the sanctions regime. This paragraph seems to have been directed against Jordan and Sudan in particular. It caused disquiet within delegations, as the United Nations Charter has traditionally been interpreted as only permitting the Security Council to impose such measures against the state responsible for a breach of or threat to the peace.
    669 (24 September 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Asks the Sanctions Committee to consider requests for economic assistance from countries harmed by the sanctions on Iraq.
    667 (16 September 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Protests "the closure of diplomatic and consular missions in Kuwait".
    666 (13 September 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        "Decides [to] ... keep the situation regarding foodstuffs ... under constant review", giving the Security Council responsibility for determining when "humanitarian circumstances" had arisen. The text of the debates on this resolution in the Security Council is available here.
    665 (25 August 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Imposes a shipping blockade by calling for the use of "such measures ... as may be necessary" to enforce the maritime embargo. In effect, this resolution reassigns some of the practical responsibility for monitoring compliance with sanctions away from the UN machinery, in the form of the 661 committee, and to the States imposing the naval blockade.
    664 (18 August 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Demands that Iraq release "third state nationals".
    662 (9 August 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Decides that Iraq's annexation of Kuwait is "null and void".
    661 (6 August 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Imposes comprehensive sanctions on Iraq and establishes a sanctions committee (the "661 committee") in paragraph 6 to monitor them. Paragraphs 3 and 4 drawn from those of SCR 253.
    660 (2 August 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Condemns the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and demands Iraq's immediate and unconditional withdrawal.
5797  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 27, 2011, 12:16:45 AM
Thanks for those good replies and ideas. 

"If someone is trying to breach your door, I'm assuming that there is a degree of delay, allowing for a response, yes?" 

In this worst case scenario, no.  It was overwhelming force, door broken through, guns drawn, guns used - they shot the dog and held the gun to the woman, total surprise, no notice.

"Is it going to be enough time to allow law enforcement to respond? Probably not."

It was worse than that.  They didn't have a phone.  There wasn't going to be a call, much less a response, until going to a neighbor after the ordeal.  Very sad.
Offenses Recorded:  Burglary of Dwelling  -  Assault degree 2  -
Public Information:  Suspects kicked in the front door of the above address.  Suspects shot at V-1 and threatened V-2 with a gun.  Suspects are unknown.  Animal control responded.
Photos were taken and the memory card along with spent shell casings were property inventorie ...

5798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: October 26, 2011, 11:48:52 PM
I have this feeling someone may come to regret encouraging GM to provide links and articles that show the UN to be a group running in a direction counter to US interests.  wink

It was not just Cuba, but Libya and Syria were on the human rights commission.  And the Obama administration was 'self-reporting' Arizona for checking IDs with cause.

What was the agenda of the UN Oil for Food scandal?

Our pathological science thread chronicles quite a duplicitous agenda coming out of the UN IPCC on manipulated climate data and studies.  It wasn't 1 or 2 scientists.  It was a movement with an agenda and money, within the UN bureaucracy.  Yes the UN would like to have more power and bigger budgets.  Yes, they want global taxes and global regulations.  I know that sounds like I have a conspiracy problem, but I would only count what they say in their own words.  I will put few links down but these are easy to find.  I would be far more interested in seeing links that indicate otherwise.
 July [2004], Inter Presse news service reported that a top U.N. official was preparing a new study that will outline numerous global tax proposals to be considered by the General Assembly at its September meeting. The proposals will likely include everything from global taxes on e-mails and Internet use to a global gas tax and levies on airline travel. If adopted, American taxpayers could wind up paying hundreds of billions of dollars each year to the United Nations.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is among those leading the charge, having stated that he "strongly supports finding new sources of funding" for the U.N. through global taxes, according to Inter Presse. In fact, Annan made very clear his support for the imposition of global taxes in a 2001 Technical Note that he authored for a U.N. conference. "The need to finance the provision of global public goods in an increasingly globalized world also adds new urgency to the need for innovative new sources of financing," Annan wrote. The Note goes on to describe and evaluate the merits of several global tax proposals.

Snopes took on the veracity of a pass around email that says a list of countries like Jordan and Saudi Arabia vote against us 70% of the time and found out the truth was they were voting against us closer to 90% of the time:

Yet we host and we pay...
5799  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 26, 2011, 05:28:28 PM
GM.  Thank you.  My understanding in our state unless laws have changed is that he would have been guilty of murder had he shot the first intruders.  In the second instance the tenants were totally overpowered.  They broke through a solid 2+ inch deadbolted door.  What then, more deadbolts, thicker chains?  Okay.  Most of the things I do to go further with extra security to windows and doors, metal caging over windows for example, are against city code because they also block easy exit in case of smoke and fire.  It was obvious from the outside the tenants had a dog and that meant nothing to them either.  They shot the dog.  I like motion lights and have posted a range of other steps I take, but intruders this determined would appear to stop at nothing.  They certainly didn't care if anyone was home.

It is our equivalent of illegal immigration, but the people who do this in our bad neighborhoods come here from some very worse areas of some much worse, midwestern cities.  Instead of putting up a fence, we pay them to come here.
5800  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 26, 2011, 04:29:20 PM
In the case of the first incident, they were unarmed crack fiends taking copper pipes, more scared than my tenant when they were caught.  Shoot 'em?  In the second case it was the perps who were armed and took full advantage of the element of surprise at 6:30pm on a week night.  Would you really be sitting there armed, loaded and waiting as they barge in?  If not, it is the perps who would have likely found and taken the weapon and ammo after they shot the dog and dragged the girlfriend around the house demanding to know where the money was.  How does that help prevent it from happening again?

I suppose you could shoot 'em before they enter but today it was me coming up to the door so I don't think I will recommend that.

Anyone else?
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