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5751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Abortion - Partial Birth, After Birth, What is Birth? on: August 03, 2010, 06:15:25 PM
If anyone admitted being offended by abortion, by partial birth abortion, or by the thought of a Doctor chasing a botched abortion newborn around the hospital room to fulfill her 'choice' , then maybe they could use this footage of Barbara Boxer equivocating on the senate floor some years ago against her now.  George Will mentioned this video after being accused of taking her statement below out of context.  What she did say is that a baby is born when the mom takes it home from the hospital.  Pressed harder she said, it's born when the mom holds it in her arms. She clearly didn't like being asked if it had constitutional rights when all but a foot or a toe is delivered. 

Remember that our sinking Commander in Chief is just to the left of Barbara Boxer on this issue.

Will wrote: "when asked during a Senate debate whether the baby has a right to life if it slips entirely out of the birth canal before being killed, she replied that the baby acquires that right when it leaves the hospital: “When you bring your baby home.” Fiorina believes that science—the astonishing clarity of sonograms showing the moving fingers and beating hearts of fetuses; neonatal medicine improving the viability of very premature infants; the increasing abilities of medicine to treat ailing fetuses in utero—is changing Americans’ sensibilities and enlarging the portion of the public that describes itself as pro-life."

Maybe we will see just how pro-life the elusive Republican Hispanic vote is in this contest when forced to choose between basic values and massive government.
5752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: New Heath Care System Chart on: August 03, 2010, 12:22:03 PM
Somehow last week I put this under Health Thread instead of Politics of Health Care.  This is no joke; this is actual charting of the new system as researched and published at the Joint Economic Committee.  Please click on the link and enlarge the pdf to see the details:
5753  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Music: Jerry Garcia on: August 03, 2010, 12:14:48 PM
A nice post on powerline over the weekend about one of my guitar heroes.  Unlike CCP's experience, Garcia always gave credit to his lyricist and to the original writers of the songs he performed even though he normally changed the songs musically to his liking.  The song below is from BB King. 

Today is the anniversary of Jerry Garcia's birth and an appropriate occasion to remember his contribution to American popular music. Garcia made his mark as a musician and songwriter with the Grateful Dead, but at heart he remained an unreconstructed devotee of folk, bluegrass and country music. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of folk music in particular. Garcia's devotion to traditional American music was the source of the Dead's commercial breakthrough with the beautiful Workingman's Dead and American Beauty albums in 1970 .

Garcia's inventive work with the Dead on electric guitar is well known; less so is his work on acoustic guitar with mandolin virtuoso David Grisman. Garcia had a long friendship with Grisman dating back to 1964 based on their mutual love of bluegrass music. Garcia recruited Grisman to make a key instrumental contribution to American Beauty. In the mid-1970's Garcia joined forces with Grisman in the bluegrass ensemble Old and In the Way.

Garcia played distinctive Scruggs-style banjo while Grisman, Peter Rowan (guitar), John Kahn (bass) and Vassar Clements (fiddle) filled out the group.

Garcia and Grisman continued recording together mostly for fun over the years. In the atmospheric video below they play an acoustic version of B.B. King's "The Thrill is Gone." In his biography of Garcia, Blair Jackson quotes the director of the video (the son of one of the Dead's drummers) regarding Garcia: "We cut his hair, put him in a suit and tie, and had him there for twelve hours." The director quotes Garcia saying, "I'd never do this for the Grateful Dead, never in a million years."

Garcia died of a massive heart attack at age 53 in 1995 while in treatment for a nasty heroin habit. Jackson suggests that Garcia was persuaded to enter treatment because of the toll his habit was taking on his health and his playing. The devastation wrought by drugs on so many talented musicians of the 1960's is a story that remains to be told.
5754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / ObamPelosiCare makes more sense when you see this simple flow chart on: July 29, 2010, 03:14:13 PM
5755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues: Prop 187 on: July 29, 2010, 02:58:34 PM
Curious Crafty if you could expand on your observations from Prop. 187.  There are/were a minority of Republicans in the state but a majority of Californians supported it, so how was it so completely spun against R's?  Did it go too far or are you saying it shouldn't have been pushed at all??

I still thing the best course besides securing the border is to scale back welfare and transfer payments of all types to all people, so that illegals or Hispanics are not singled out and illegals aren't lured in for the wrong reasons.

Every amnesty card should include an enforced promissory note for one share of our total debt paid over let's say 30 years with interest.
5756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: July 29, 2010, 02:45:25 PM
"What freedom don't you have now that you had pre-PATRIOT act?"

I would second that question.  I'm angry about freedoms we have lost, but the Patriot Act isn't of that at least on my list.  If Khalid from Pashtun tries to reach Ahkbar in the London subway with some last minute details and because some sand got in his phone keyboard he dials your number instead, 10 minutes before detonation, and then his phone is recovered with your number in it, you might expect to have a little scrutiny coming from a curious government. I would hope. 

The Healthcare Act OTOH is going to take away all kinds of liberties, choices and privacies that we once enjoyed.
5757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: July 29, 2010, 02:29:46 PM
CCP,  The female equivalent might be shopping, not gazing at men.  I think the brains are wired differently.  Who thinks up these studies anyway, charts the minutes that they stare, proves they lived longer and then bills back the government for research?  Pretty good work if you can arrange it.
5758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / stocks and savings on: July 28, 2010, 02:58:07 PM
The 10 myths are excellent.  I have become pro-mutual funds, but buying 2 or 3 similar ones is not diversification.  A couple of thoughts on the topics:

We live in a debt society now.  Your total savings for rainy day 'is now called 'available credit'.  Tucking money away is when you buy down your debt, high interest first.  Making a bold move toward security is to max up those equity credit lines while you can.  I can't imagine tucking money away intentionally in a bank at 1% when you expect inflation to be 3% going possibly to the mid-teens. 

My grandpa said about business, don't take on partners.  The stock is a share of ownership but you share that ownership with fickle people that lean with the wind regarding their ownership and with people who buy and sell in the millisecond with realtime computer programs - not exactly teammates.  I used to chase after the individual stocks.  Now I would say invest in your own business if you can, where you have some control over it, or pick out a fund from a place like T Rowe Price ( where you can get any fraction of it in or out any day without a direct fee and yet can participate in the market with at least some level of professional management.  (MHO)
5759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: July 28, 2010, 02:16:41 PM
A true story can come from anywhere, but it seems when they brag about superior healthcare in other countries, they refer to coverage more than outcomes.
5760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: July 28, 2010, 02:11:40 PM
CCP, I don't know anything about her either but I also suspect she will be known (and attacked) soon.  I know that on Obama's statements he is more false than true on every point.  This will spill over to media issues quickly because so far nine out of nine hits searching 'Google News' with her name point to blog or opinion sites, not network, wire or newspaper coverage. 
5761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WhisleBlower Files FEC Complaint: ACORN-Obama Campaign Illegal Coordination on: July 28, 2010, 10:46:59 AM
Candidate Obama lied in a Presidential debate about his (illegal) relationship with ACORN.

Anita Monchief released ACORN's version of the Obama Donor list that is more complete than anything the FEC or public had:   Obama has denied this is the list.  She has put it out now for the public to judge.

The purpose of Obama giving the secret list to ACORN was for them to work the list again and get around the laws regarding maxed-out presidential donors for additional contributions. 

She went to the New York Times MONTHS before the election with the list.  They wouldn't report anything they found to be "game changing" so close to the election.  Now she is filling a formal FEC complaint:

"As a confidential source for the New York Times, I turned this document over to reporter Stephanie Strom months before the 2008 presidential elections and though the list includes information more complete than what the Obama campaign turned over to the Federal Election Commission, the NYT decided to bury the story."

"Strom and I used pseudonymous e-mail addresses while communicating and in 2008, Strom wrote:"

    “I’m calling a halt to my efforts. I just had two unpleasant calls with the Obama campaign, wherein the spokesman was screaming and yelling and cursing me, calling me a rightwing nut and a conspiracy theorist and everything else…”

After this weeks revelations about the efforts of the liberal media to cover-up or spike stories damaging to Obama, Strom’s next words are even more telling:

    “What’s happened is that the campaign has answered some of my questions on the record — but when I sought on-the-record answers to my questions about the meeting and about the list, the campaign insisted on speaking only on background. When I asked why, I got the barrage I described earlier. Clearly, I’ve hit a nerve with what you’ve told me. The campaign knows that having the allegations of meeting attributed to ‘former employees’ — and there are more than one of you talking — and having an anonymous denial of the meeting makes it harder for me to get it into the paper.”

In 2008 the liberal media provided the cover needed for Obama to get elected, but two years later, questions remain about his relationship with ACORN and it has been clear that Obama has lied repeatedly to the American people. Its time to get Obama and ACORN on the record about what really happened with the donor lists in 2007 and 2008.

The release of the Obama donor list to the public will be followed by a formal complaint to the FEC, which both Obama and ACORN will have to respond to – on-the-record.

In 2009, the Democrat controlled Judiciary Committee heard testimony from attorney Heather Heidelbaugh, who read my 2008 testimony against ACORN into Congressional record. Evidence, and sworn testimony were among the facts ignored by the members of the committee:

    “Based on the testimony, Project Vote, ACORN and other ACORN affiliated entities illegally coordinated activities with the Obama presidential campaign, converting the expenditures by Project Vote, ACORN and ACORN affiliated entities to illegal, excessive corporate contributions to the Obama presidential campaign, in violation of federal law.”

Video from the final 2008 debate, ACORN answer at the 2 minute mark, but watch it all for context and see: Lie, lie, lie.
5762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: July 28, 2010, 09:52:01 AM
"The lobbies are financing elections and reelections, that has corrupted the process."

The lobbyists and campaign contributions make perfect sense when they are used to defend the business or industry against legislation that would harm them.  But you would think that any proposed legislation designed with preferential treatment for an individual business or industry would be instantly rejected as opposing our founding principles.  Not so. 

5763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Dick Armey on: July 27, 2010, 06:03:47 PM
I heard this on the radio without knowing the discussion:

"After they take your income, they will come for your things."

Property tax is one example where you are taxed for mere ownership, even though the ownership is lawful and made with after-tax dollars.  My property taxes are greater than my income.

The other of course is the estate tax where is taxed for the mere accumulation of AFTER TAX DOLLARS!

Both are going up.  They raise for the rich first, and then on you.   Fight them at every step.  Don't agree to any new taxes or any increases IMO.  It is much like parenting of 2-3 year olds.  How else will they ever learn to behave within limits?
5764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / ACTION item: Retire Harry Reid, Support competitive Senate and House candidates on: July 27, 2010, 02:19:50 PM
Rarick and Crafty's posts on Sharron Angle are right on the money.  She would be a breath of fresh air in the senate.  She could send Harry Reid packing and take away any charge that a new Republican congress would be a return to politics of the past.  Republican leadership of the past will have a very hard time controlling people like Sharron Angle or Rand Paul.

Harry Reid symbolizes all that is wrong - for Nevada and for the U.S.  Very seldom is there much we can do to change the course of history, but everyone should stop right now and look at where they can best make a difference within their own means.  Pick out some meaningful house races and a few senate races if you can and send in something.  My theory is that if your contribution is small it still improves their momentum in terms of money and contributor count and smaller amounts help the PR campaign by lowering the average contribution.  Or send large amounts or make your own sign - whatever it is you can do.  I mostly sat and watched as Al franken stole our state and nationalized healthcare.  Do whatever it is that will leave you in November and the next 2 years with no regrets.  Do it EARLY in the election cycle where it can do the most good.  Harry Reid is well funded, but really better suited for retirement.

Take back this country!

Donate to Sharron Angle, $61 for her 61st birthday or ??

Rand Paul:

Other competitive races can be identified here as races that lean or are toss-ups -
5765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: A few cracks in Obama's Hispanic support on: July 27, 2010, 01:21:40 PM
First, Freki - the Thomas Sowell clip was excellent.  You can put him in with Madison and Jefferson for timeless wisdom in my view.
Posted previously, Dems generally win Hispanic vote by about 60-40.  For Obama that was 67% to 31%.  Getting back to 60-40 would be something and anything approaching 50-50 would be political landscape changing.  With immigration fights heating up, things could also turn the other way unless Republicans are able to SOON make a strong, winning argument  about economic growth and opportunity issues.  (Abortion opposition and family issues comprise another area of potential Hispanic-GOP agreement. According to Zogby, Hispanics support a pro-life position by a 78-21 percent margin.)  Business as usual for the GOP  brings a fall in Hispanic Dem support, not a rise in GOP support.  Note that the President of mixed color with his own personal appeal is not on the ballot, so this year the choice will fall back to issues and the quality local candidates.

Poll: A few cracks in Obama's Hispanic support

By LIZ SIDOTI (AP) – 9 hours ago

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's once solid support among Hispanics is showing a few cracks, a troubling sign for Democrats desperate to get this critical constituency excited about helping the party hold onto Congress this fall.

Hispanics still overwhelmingly favor the Democratic Party over the GOP, and a majority still think Obama is doing a good job, according to an Associated Press-Univision poll of more than 1,500 Hispanics.

But the survey, also sponsored by The Nielsen Company and Stanford University, shows Obama gets only lukewarm ratings on issues important to Hispanics — and that could bode poorly for the president and his party.

For a group that supported Obama so heavily in 2008 and in his first year in office, only 43 percent of Hispanics surveyed said Obama is adequately addressing their needs, with the economy a major concern. Another 32 percent were on the fence, while 21 percent said he'd done a poor job.

That's somewhat understandable, given that far more Hispanics have faced job losses and financial stress than the U.S. population in general.

An unfulfilled promise to overhaul the nation's patchwork immigration system, which Hispanics overwhelmingly want to see fixed, also may be to blame. That's despite the fact that Obama is challenging an Arizona law that requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers have a reasonable suspicion he or she is in the country illegally.

Still, 57 percent of Hispanics approve of the president's overall job performance compared with 44 percent among the general population in the latest AP national polling.

"It's been tough, but I think he's been doing a fair job," says Tony Marte, 33, a physical education teacher in Miami who is a Nicaraguan native. He voted for Obama in 2008 and, so far, likes how Obama has handled the economy.

But Marte's not satisfied with Obama's work on immigration reform. "Nothing has been done," he says, adding that between now and 2012, Obama should "be looking out for the groups that put him up there. The Latinos. The minorities." He says he'll probably back Obama again but "we'll see."

The political power of Hispanics now and in the future cannot be overstated. They are the nation's fastest-growing minority group and the government projects they will account for 30 percent of the population by 2050, doubling in size from today.

Democrats long have had an advantage among Hispanics and maintained it even as George W. Bush chipped away at that support. Obama erased the GOP inroads during his 2008 campaign, winning 67 percent of their vote to 31 percent for Republican nominee John McCain. And Hispanics consistently gave Obama exceptionally strong marks in his first year as president.

With the first midterm congressional elections of Obama's presidency in three months, the poll shows a whopping 50 percent of Hispanics citizens call themselves Democrats, while just 15 percent say they are Republicans.

Among Hispanics, 42 percent rate the economy and the recession as the country's biggest problem; unemployment and a lack of jobs come in at 23 percent.

Ascencion Menjivar, a Honduran native who is a cook in Washington, isn't sold on the administration's approach to creating jobs and is waiting for a solution to get the economy back on track. "I think it'll be a long process," says Menjivar, 30. Still, he says Obama — "a genius" — eventually will make it happen.

Patricia Hernandez Blanco of Miami, 38, is less confident that recovery is under way. "I'm not sure it's improving," she says. Even so, this Cuban who voted for McCain says she would now cast a ballot for Obama.

Re-electing Obama would be "really stupid," counters Carlos Toledo of Puerto Rico, an independent voter, clothing store manager and self-defense instructor in Washington. Toledo, 35, disagrees with Obama's economic policies and says he worries about joblessness as budgets are cut and money is spent on wars despite the country's debt.

Behind economic woes, immigration comes in second in importance.

Since the controversy over the Arizona law erupted in April, Hispanics who mostly speak English at home gave Obama higher marks on his handling of their top issues than did Hispanics who primarily speak Spanish and who tend to be more recent immigrants or non-citizens.

Analysts say it's possible that the more English-dominant Hispanics rallied around the president following the enactment of the Arizona law and his challenge to it; some 40 percent of them approved of his performance on their key issues before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law in April, but the figure rose to 52 percent in the weeks after.

The poll also showed that two years after witnessing Hillary Rodham Clinton's White House bid, Hispanics are twice as likely to expect to see a woman than a fellow Hispanic become president.

Some 59 percent said it is likely that a woman will be elected president sometime in the next two decades, while just 29 percent thought it likely that a Hispanic will be elected president over that period. And, 34 percent of non-citizen Hispanics thought the country is likely to have a Hispanic president, compared with 27 percent of citizens.

A significant percentage of Latinos — 41 percent — said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who is Hispanic.

The AP-Univision Poll was conducted from March 11 to June 3 by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Using a sample of Hispanic households provided by The Nielsen Company, 1,521 Hispanics were interviewed in English and Spanish, mostly by mail but also by telephone and the Internet. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Stanford University's participation in the study was made possible by a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
5766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward? Hit piece on Gingrich on: July 27, 2010, 12:39:05 PM
I like Newt and I will vote for him if he is the nominee.  I don't endorse these criticisms.  If any or all are partly true that still doesn't tell a fraction of the amazing story of what Newt accomplished.  This criticism comes from the right but these things always get lapped up by leftists  Supporters of Newt should aware and ready to answer the critics' charges against him - that's all I'm saying by posting (linking).
On Gingrich: A legacy of surrender
By HOWARD RICH | 7/26/10
(Howard Rich is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.)
5767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Border Violatons - How they are handled in countries around the world on: July 27, 2010, 12:25:12 PM
Reader beware, unsourced, but I can verify part of it knowing the family of one of the hikers held in Iran.

Border Violatons - How they are handled in countries around the world

If you cross the North Korean border illegally you get 12 years hard labor.

If you cross the Iranian border illegally you are detained indefinitely.

If you cross the Afghan border illegally, you get shot.

If you cross the Saudi Arabian border illegally you will be jailed.

If you cross the Chinese border illegally you may never be heard from again.

If you cross the Venezuelan border illegally you will be branded a spy and your fate will be sealed.

If you cross the Mexican borders illegally you will jailed for two years.

If you cross the Cuban border illegally you will be thrown into political prison to rot.
If you cross the United States border illegally you get:
1 - A job
2 - A driver's license
3 - A Social Security card
4 - Welfare
5 - Food stamps
6 - Credit cards
7 - Subsidized rent or a loan to buy a house
8 - Free education
9 - Free health care
10 - A lobbyist in Washington
11 - Billions of dollars in public documents printed in your language
12 - The right to carry the flag of your country - the one you walked out on - while you call America racist and protest that you don't get enough respect.
5768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Corporate profits decoupled from jobs, Robert Reich on: July 27, 2010, 12:22:01 PM
Time permitting I will try to post and answer the thought leaders of left-economics like Krugman, Reich and Obama.  Reich hits his facts mostly right on this one.  These companies scaled back unprofitable operations, improved productivity and made money.  Problem is that he mentions ONLY big businesses that are CLOSELY TIED to big government: GM, Ford, GE.  These companies IMO have more in common with big government than they do with free enterprise.  He fails to mention the reasons WHY they move operations off-shore: tax rates, regulations, energy availability, labor rules etc. etc. All the things he favors.

In this story, we see the 'success' of the chosen companies with their teams of lawyers and lobbyists that have successfully gamed the system to make money while employing fewer and fewer in the US.  That is an accomplishment for them - at our expense with wind turbine tax credits for GE, hybrid tax credits for auto makers, artificial barriers to entry keeping competition down, etc.  The story of the American economy today is everything that is not in this story.  What are the rest of us supposed to do, the ones who did not have lobbyists cutting special deals, the ones who play by the rules and end up just having to pay for all the burdens we put on investors, employers, risk-takers and heaven forbid anyone who ends up eeking out a profit.

As an alternative, how about we all compete EVENLY on a level playing field, in a system designed to compete successfully in the 2010's globally competitive markets.
The Great Decoupling Of Corporate Profits From Jobs
Robert Reich |  Jul. 27, 2010
5769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Liberal Environmentalist says Manmade GW case is Tenuous, no evidence on: July 27, 2010, 11:58:43 AM
Very persuasive IMO.
5770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues: Obama ordered Holder to sue Arizona? on: July 26, 2010, 02:03:01 PM
Obama ordered Holder to sue Arizona?  Rich Lowry questioning Rep. Steve King R-IA

LOWRY: Now, this judge, Susan, is a Democratic appointee. And she sounds very skeptical I think very understandably. This lawsuit just on common sense grounds makes no sense. Basically you have the federal government saying we don't want a state to tell us about people who are here illegally, violating federal law. That makes no sense.

KING: It is what it sounds like, Rich. And we know that the law was written in order to mirror federal law and not to go expand beyond the limits of federal law. When the federal government takes a position it's a matter of principle. I'd be curious what principle that might be.

I'm convinced and I think that Eric Holder essentially admitted that President Obama ordered him to sue Arizona. And I asked him before the Judiciary Committee when he was under oath point to a constitutional violation, a statutory violation or a federal case law that Arizona law would have violated. He could not answer any of those questions. That was about five minutes before Ted Poe asked him, have you read the bill?

It was politically motivated. He admitted essentially that the president ordered him to sue Arizona.

What was principle? They couldn't articulate that principle, now they're trying.

LOWRY: You know, that's an excellent point. And there's a real radicalism to this lawsuit because what the administration is basically saying, the law is written by Congress, by you guys, doesn't matter. What's there on paper doesn't matter.

What basically does matter is what the administration decides to enforce by picking and choosing. So I see this suit as an assault on your institution as much as it's an assault against Arizona.

KING: Which it is. And it's a new legal principle as far as I'm concerned. They write in this — in the DOJ's lawsuit that Congress has entrusted and in fact implies that Congress has directed the executive branch to establish this careful balance between the Department of Justice, Homeland Security and the State Department.

Now this careful balance was nothing in our legislation. We expect all laws to be enforced. And they're making this careful balance argument. And then they argue that if a state interferes with that delicate balance or that careful balance, then it throws it out of balance, therefore it should be preempted.

And there's another argument that I don't know if it's made in anybody's brief at this point. But if they will argue the Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution grants the federal government exclusive authority to establish immigration law because it says that Congress shall have the power to establish an uniformed naturalization policy.

In the same sentence it says Congress shall have the authority to establish a uniformed bankruptcy policy across the country. So if this would be — if they invalidate Arizona's law on that argument it will then, I think, put the bankruptcy laws in jeopardy in all of our states as well.,2933,597704,00.html
5771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China's Political Awakening? on: July 26, 2010, 01:37:01 PM
Very interesting coverage and realistic analysis, IMO.

China’s Political Awakening?
July 14, 2010

The current labour unrest isn’t as apolitical as it looks. But don’t expect an early change in China’s autocratic leadership.

By Minxin Pei

The ongoing labour unrest in China is seen by many as a labour market response to uncompetitive wages offered by foreign companies. And, to a large extent, this is true. Changing demographics are reducing the supply of ultra-cheap young labourers from the countryside to coastal export-processing zones, giving labour more bargaining power.

But explaining China’s newly assertive workers purely on economic grounds misses the larger—and more interesting—political context. For labour activism is only one of the many signs of a broader political re-awakening in Chinese civil society.

For years, Western observers have been disheartened by the lack of political change in China. Modernization theory predicts that rapid economic progress should help liberalize the political system, but this hasn’t occurred in China since 1989. Until now.

In addition to migrant workers who have risked their jobs and personal safety in joining the strikes, China has seen other forms of civic activism and political assertiveness at the grassroots level.

What’s interesting about this new political reawakening is that on the surface it doesn’t look all that political. Instead of calling for democracy and freedom, participants in these activities focus on issues directly related to their economic interests, property rights and social justice. Examples include fighting off local governments’ attempts to build polluting factories, seize farmers’ land without compensation and evict urban residents from their homes. Criticism of government policy and performance in delivering public services and protecting social justice are routine in Chinese publications and on-line venues. And, of course, the ostensibly apolitical nature of such civic activism makes it much harder for the Communist Party to suppress it with brutal force.

Several forces have contributed to the reawakening. Clearly, the information revolution—a direct result of economic modernization—has helped change values and reduced the costs of organizing collective action. It has also magnified the political impact of such moves (even inspiring copycat action), while the rapidity with which the latest labour unrest has spread would have been inconceivable without the assistance of the Internet and cell phones.

Rising physical mobility of the population is another factor—as ordinary Chinese citizens have more opportunities to compare how conditions differ among China’s diverse localities, they acquire a greater awareness of the political and social injustice of their own surroundings and become less tolerant of such injustices.

In an important sense, the Communist Party’s own populist rhetoric has fuelled the expectations of Chinese society and, ironically, de-legitimized many of Beijing’s post-1989 policies that contributed to China’s rapid economic growth, such as courting foreign businesses, reducing social spending to boost investment and forcing tens of millions of ordinary Chinese to make enormous personal sacrifices (accepting low wages and losing their land and apartments for the sake of rapid economic growth). Now the Chinese government faces a dilemma: it has raised the people’s expectations, but meeting those expectations would be economically costly (more redistribution and social welfare) and politically risky (greater popular political participation).

The delayed political awakening of China’s civil society will have profound consequences. Economically, it will make it much harder for the government to continue to pursue its post-Tiananmen strategy of promoting economic growth at all cost. Politically, it may lead to greater disunity within the elites since some of them may be tempted to exploit rising populism for personal political advantage.

For a one-party regime for which elite unity is critical, any deep schisms within its top leadership could trigger a chain of de-stabilizing events. In addition, if the Chinese authorities fail to end the current labour unrest in foreign-invested firms, disgruntlement will likely spread to workers in other sectors (most likely in construction and mining, where working conditions are dangerous and pay extremely low).

Still, while the political awakening comes as a pleasant confirmation of the theory that economic progress will bring about political change, it can’t be assumed this emerging phenomenon will fundamentally change China’s autocratic political order. As a result of the post-Tiananmen repression, China’s civil society lacks independent centres of public morality, organizational networks and effective leadership. Most activities that challenge government authority are uncoordinated, disorganized and short-lived.

But if the Party thinks that it can continue to rule China in the same old way, it would be mistaken. If anything, the on-going labour unrest and the seismic shift in values in Chinese society show that the Party is governing a different country, where the old rules no longer apply.

Minxin Pei is an Adjunct Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College
5772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: Journalists Protecting Obama on: July 26, 2010, 01:13:59 PM

5773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness and Lockerbie on: July 26, 2010, 12:35:28 PM
It turns out the administration was not as surprised as they said, as the British leak documents. Previously posted by CCP on WTF, my question: Why are we not dispatching our Minister of Health Czar and advisers to Libya to find out how this terminal patient was cured?  No one is even curious.

Revealed: US double-talk on Lockerbie, The Sunday Times of London, Monday July 26, 2010

The Obama administration told Scottish officials last August that, although it opposed any release of the Lockerbie bomber, it would rather see him released in Scotland than transferred to a Libyan prison, according to a secret memo obtained by The Sunday Times in London.

The publication of the memo's contents comes just days after President Obama, at a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, said "all of us ... were surprised, disappointed and angry" by the Scottish government's decision to free Abdel Baset al-Megrahi last year.
5774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Christina Romer... and Geithner on: July 26, 2010, 12:13:26 PM
"Isn't C. Romer that chunky bureaucratic drone female who is BO's chief economist?"
I recall that Clinton's chief adviser on incremental Marxism, Laura Tyson, was quite a bit cuter. 

"Fascinating that she would think this AND publish it!"
Could be that a sham-husband / co-author would not withhold the work, just speculating.  All researching economists know that excessive taxation chokes off incentives and economic activity; they only argue about the magnitude. Robert Mundell used to use the word "asphyxiating" when he designed the Reagan program.  Some economists sell their souls and go to work for the 'progressive' politicians while most of the others stay mostly silent about it while they write abstractions with complexity in obscurity for public grants, a little like the climategate system.

The question remains: why does this not either cause her to leave the administration or persuade them to change course?  I recall that Paul Volcker was quietly pushed aside for his own independent thinking.  His willingness to stand by the candidate during the meltdown was of enormous political value.  His real opinions were not.

Jumping to Geithner who was on all the shows Sunday.  We are going to extend the tax cuts for the 95% for reasons that apply better to the 5% who actually might spur investment and hire.  First the percentages are a G*d D*amned Lie by deception.  We are not taxing people; we are taxing income - and those are not the percentages.  By their own hysterical disparity percentages, the punishing tax increases will apply to the 40% of the income that would otherwise be most available for job creation.  The purpose of the punishing tax hikes on the rich is "to prove to the world" we are serious about dealing with our debt, by implementing tax policies that are known to be"highly contractionary"!

I would rather see us prove to the world that we are serious about creating optimal conditions for robust private growth and prosperity, but that is NOT their objective.
5775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2010 Elections: Rand Paul in Kentucky on: July 25, 2010, 02:58:36 PM
I had my first chance to see Rand Paul, I watched on CSPAN a debate sponsored by Kentucky Farm Bureau.  The presumption was Paul would do terribly because he opposes farm subsidies.  I think the opposite occurred.  Every question looked like a softball favoring the pro-freedom, pro-business candidate.  Estate tax.  EPA defining any water collection as a federal wetland.  Carbon tax.  Deficits and debt.  National Healthcare.

I come from a blue state.  Interesting to watch red state Democrats run away from their national leaders.  Finally the issues really came down to which side are you going to support for leadership?

Paul looked very good.  The Democrat was conservative, sharp and articulate.  Too bad their is no place in Washington for a level-headed conservative Democrat to organize.

5776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Obama Chief Adviser says the Tax Hikes will be Highly Contractionary on: July 25, 2010, 02:37:52 PM
(Sounds like cognitive dissonance to me but I will put this under tax policy)
Bill Krystol mentioned this on Fox News Sunday today.

“Our results indicate that tax changes have very large effects on output. Our baseline specification implies that an exogenous tax increase of one percent of GDP lowers real GDP by almost three percent.  Our many robustness checks for the most part point to a slightly smaller decline, but one that is still typically over 2.5 percent.  In addition, we find that the output effects of tax changes are much more closely tied to the actual changes in taxes than to news about future changes, and that investment falls sharply in response to exogenous tax increases.”

Chistina D. Romer and David H. Romer, ‘The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks’, American Economic Review, June 2010

Romer’s Research: Expiration of Bush Tax Cuts Will Be Highly Contractionary

By Randall Holcombe on Jul 15, 2010 in Budget and Tax Policy, Economics, Politics, Science, Taxation

Christina Romer, Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, has published an article (co-authored with David Romer) in the June 2010 issue of the American Economic Review titled “The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks.”  Unlike her statements in her role as an Obama adviser, this article is serious academic research, published in what is generally recognized as the world’s leading academic economics journal.

In the article, the Romers divide legislated tax changes into those undertaken in response to economic conditions and those that are “exogenous,” by which they mean changes made for other reasons.  The expiration of the Bush tax cuts clearly falls into the “exogenous” category, because it is the result of legislation passed years ago, before anybody could have anticipated the economic conditions under which they would expire.

What the Romers found is that exogenous tax increases, such as will occur with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, “… are highly contractionary.  The effects are strongly significant, highly robust, and much larger than those obtained using broader measures of tax changes.”

Here is a strong argument, based on solid academic research, for extending the Bush tax cuts, and not letting them expire, made by one of President Obama’s top economic advisers.  It will be interesting to see to what extent the insights of Christina Romer, economics professor, have an impact on what that same Christina Romer, adviser to the president, has to say in public about the impending tax rate increases.

Romer, the economics professor, says raising rates now will be “highly contractionary.”  Will Romer, the president’s adviser, speak up and tell the public that letting the Bush tax cuts expire will hamper the recovery?  Or will she toe the party line and not tell Americans the public policy implications of  her own academic research?

Another interesting sidelight here is that the opening footnote in the article says it was written with financial support from the National Science Foundation.  Here is a big opportunity for NSF-funded research to have a direct policy impact, because (1) the research has direct policy relevance to current economic conditions, and (2) because it was undertaken by somebody who actually has policy influence.

We shall see if that opportunity for an impact actually results in any policy impact.  My guess is, it won’t, and that any policy statements Romer makes on the subject will be based more on politics than on her knowledge of economics.
5777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Glibness: This crowd can't shoot straight on: July 25, 2010, 02:12:53 PM
"This post would be better in the Immigration thread."

Okay, I moved the immigration case news portion over to that thread.  My main point, poorly expressed, was how it relates to the other areas of governance - this crowd can't shoot straight.  The example was immigration but the observation was intended to build on the questions posed by CCP regarding personality disorder, arrogance or competence. 

They have no experience starting a business, running a business, selling a business, expanding a business, hiring a private sector employee, or meeting a private sector payroll.

They have no experience governing, balancing a budget, pulling two sides together to get something done or accomplishing something real even in the public sector.

They have no military experience and barely know anyone who served.  They don't even admit knowing why we are in Iraq or Afghanistan even thought they are now presiding over it and haven't brought anyone home. 

They have never run a border patrol, designed a security system, or built a fence.

They have no training or expertise in economics.  The President, to anyone's knowledge, has never read a book about our economic system that didn't oppose it.

The only area of expertise they have, presumably, is law.  Obama is credentialed from one of the finest law schools in the land.  He was the law review editor.  He was a lecturer at another top institution.  Wouldn't we expect at least competence in this one area??

Eric Holder, same thing.  Background is law, law, law and usually on the wrong side of it, see Heller.  His law degree is from Columbia University, among the very best.  No experience I know of with FBI, ATF, DEA, or prisons, etc. yet he now oversees all of these.

Would not the Attorney General need to check with his boss, the Commander in Chief, before he sues one of the several states - over a federal function that the feds voted not-present on?  And wouldn't they at least want to be perfectly correct on the law before taking such a risky and divisive action?

No.  The pattern emerging from the incidents with cop Crowley of beer summit fame and the USDA official with the racial chip on her shoulder to the haphazard stimulus spending in the trillions is to shoot first, ask questions later.

Hope this makes it more clear I was intending a hit piece on an inept administration, justified and specific, not a single issue follow up.   smiley
5778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / USA v. Arizona, Judge questions Obama reasoning on: July 25, 2010, 12:39:38 PM

Hearing on Arizona immigration law begins

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 23, 2010; A01

PHOENIX -- A federal judge pushed back Thursday against a contention by the Obama Justice Department that a tough new Arizona immigration law set to take effect next week would cause "irreparable harm" and intrude into federal immigration enforcement.

"Why can't Arizona be as inhospitable as they wish to people who have entered or remained in the United States?" U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton asked in a pointed exchange with Deputy Solicitor General Edwin S. Kneedler. Her comment came during a rare federal court hearing in the Justice Department's lawsuit against Arizona and Gov. Jan Brewer (R).

Bolton, a Democratic appointee, also questioned a core part of the Justice Department's argument that she should declare the law unconstitutional: that it is "preempted" by federal law because immigration enforcement is an exclusive federal prerogative.

"How is there a preemption issue?" the judge asked. "I understand there may be other issues, but you're arguing preemption. Where is the preemption if everybody who is arrested for some crime has their immigration status checked?"
5779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Lousy at Lawyering - USA vs. Arizona on: July 24, 2010, 03:47:11 PM
They even make lousy lawyers.  (opposing views welcome!)

Good lawyers know the best course in most cases is not all-out war; there is finesse involved. Clients have weaknesses, vulnerabilities and public relations interests as well, not just the need to win.  All this crowd could come up with was sue-the-bastards, stop consent of the governed, even if it is a popular policy, addressing real harm, in a swing state.  

The least they could do before choosing the most adversarial course was ask themselves,  are we sure we will win, before suing your own family, screw the consequences.

Besides bad PR and unnecessary conflict, the plan is logically brain-dead.  How is Arizona "interfering"?  Where is the over-reach?  What damage is Arizona doing to the Republic if they hand over people guilty of federal crime to the Federal government?  It makes no sense.

Any sober look at this shows case is exactly upside down and backwards; the truth is exactly the opposite of what they allege.  Arizona is not interfering with the Feds doing their job.  The Feds were not doing their job, intentionally, and Arizona was being harmed, along with the other states. Arizona should be suing the Feds, for malfeasance, neglect and damages.
5780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Econ - Milton Freidman on productivity, capital investment and jobs on: July 23, 2010, 11:45:02 AM
(Should be under Founding Fathers)
Milton Freidman as re-told by Scott Grannis as he views at the great pyramids:

A politician and a union boss are walking by a construction site. They see two giant machines excavating the ground in preparation for the foundation of a large building. Each machine is operated by a single person. The union boss laments that if it weren't for the machines, there could be hundreds of workers digging the foundation with shovels, creating so many more jobs and (presumably) so much more prosperity. The politician sneers, and says, "just think how many thousands of people could be employed here if it weren't for shovels, and they had to dig the foundation with their hands!"
5781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Fed, Monetary Policy, & the US Dollar: Bernancke on: July 23, 2010, 11:39:51 AM
Asleep at the wheel.  If Bernancke's job on monetary policy was at all was to advise on fiscal policy, this advice should have been giver more than a year ago.  Most of the damage of the higher rates coming has already been done IMO.  Yet a little like Bush, he wants the so-called tax cuts for the wrong reasons, it seems to me. 
Bernanke Says Extending Some of Bush's Tax Cuts Would Maintain Stimulus
By Scott Lanman and Ryan J. Donmoyer - Jul 23, 2010
Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, listens to opening statements during his semiannual monetary policy report to the House Financial Services Committee in Washington. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said extending at least some of the tax cuts set to expire this year would help strengthen a U.S. economy still in need of stimulus and urged offsetting the move with increased revenue or lower spending.

“In the short term I would believe that we ought to maintain a reasonable degree of fiscal support, stimulus for the economy,” Bernanke said yesterday under questioning from the House Financial Services Committee’s senior Republican. “There are many ways to do that. This is one way.”

While Democrats want to keep the 2001 and 2003 tax reductions passed during former President George W. Bush’s administration for families earning as much as $250,000, Republicans aim to continue the cuts for high-income people as well. Bernanke didn’t endorse either party’s position or recommend a time period for an extension.

“In the longer term, I think we need to be taking steps to reassure the American people and the markets that our fiscal situation is going to be well controlled,” Bernanke said under questioning from Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama, the committee’s senior Republican. “That means that if you extend the tax cuts, you need to find other ways to offset them.”
5782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: July 22, 2010, 10:46:23 AM
Crafty: "What makes sense to me is to tax external diseconomies [pollution emissions for example] instead of good things like profit, savings, inheritance, captial gains, etc."

I like the way you are thinking, but...

Taking the Mekong River example, we don't want a filthy waterway with cash distributed downstream for their troubles, we want a cleaner river.  If the pollution tax is the disincentive to pollute and the incentive to clean it up, then it is a declining/unreliable source of revenue.  A tax could though be a part of the regulatory scheme to fix it.

BBG wrote: "producing the infrastructure that allows regulators to operate efficiently in third world countries is a pretty daunting task."

Very true.  So we take the question in armchair fashion, if they could get their act together, what should they do?
Nature has it's own impurities, and its own filtering and cleansing mechanisms.  The fish excrete in the water, for example.  But discharging human waste untreated from millions that even don't live on the water just as a way to move it out of your neighborhood is wrong, once you know it is harming others. 

Nothing is fixed overnight.  I would think you need to set something like a straight line regulation path over a reasonable period of time, require that emissions drop consistently until they reach some reasonable level over 5, 10 or 20 years, whatever is economically possible.  I don't think any amount of money makes it okay to dump lead, mercury or the untreated waste of tens of millions into a natural resource.  I would rather require them to invest the money in treatment facilities than hand it to the cleptocrats for redistribution.

The tax policy we can discuss elsewhere, but income and consumption transactions are where the money is to tax.  The key is a) minimize the impact with rates low enough to not stop the productive activity (you keep most of what you earn), and b) apply the same tax rate to every dollar earned, for every person, every product, every industry, etc.  - all the same - for consent of the governed, equal protection and so that every voter faces the same impact of their choice.  Only then we can rationally decide how big we want government to be.
5783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Kagan on: July 20, 2010, 03:43:33 PM
"BO voted for a remarkably extreme partial birth abortion law.  Anyone have details at hand?"
Just to the left of NARAL and Barbara Boxer, he voted against protecting the surviving babies of botched abortions.  His reasons to oppose do not match the facts told by the people on his committee in IL.

The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) both in the Illinois and Federal legislatures was meant to make illegal death by neglect of born but unwanted infants.  Or as Obama called it: Restrictive Choice legislation.

At the end of the hearing (IL Senate Health and Human Services Committee, 2003, Barack Obama, Chairman), according to the official records of the Illinois State senate, Obama thanked Stanek (video of RN Stanek below) for being “very clear and forthright,” but said his concern was that Stanek had suggested “doctors really don’t care about children who are being born with a reasonable prospect of life because they are so locked into their pro-abortion views that they would watch an infant that is viable die.” He told her, “That may be your assessment, and I don’t see any evidence of that. What we are doing here is to create one more burden on a woman and I can’t support that.”

Video of the testifying nurse:

One mainstream reference from when Hillary was the frontrunner:
 SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Jan. 17, 2007
Obama Record May Be Gold Mine For Critics
(AP)  Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama may have a lot of explaining to do.
He voted against requiring medical care for aborted fetuses who survive.

Barbara Boxer voted for it when it passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate 98-0 and unanimously in the US House.  She said:  "(H)is amendment [Rick Santorum introducing BAIPA] certainly does not attack Roe in any way," said Boxer. "His amendment makes it very clear that nothing in this amendment gives any rights that are not yet afforded to a fetus. Therefore, I, as being a pro-choice senator on this side, representing my colleagues here, have no problem whatsoever with this amendment." - Barbara Boxer on the floor of the senate, 2001.
5784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: July 20, 2010, 10:53:44 AM
JDN, I took your statement away the legal context intentionally because our personal views on the issue are interesting but not relevant to the legal and procedural questions of that thread.  No intent to attack just trying to entice others to acknowledge some living value in the little one, to the point as you suggest that the unborn/almost born/partially born preemie is really one and the same today in science and medical terms as a born preemie.  It HAS to be removed from the mother, one way or another.  It doesn't HAVE to be killed.  That is a choice.

We make the line call there like we do with a sports replay of the ball or puck crossing the goal line.  Sometimes that call can cost you the game.  If we kill it before it gets completely out and the cord is still intact, it is a beautiful free expression of a constitutional right - like to speak, meet, publish or be free from oppressive search and seizure.  If we kill it a millisecond after it crosses that line it is murder in the first degree of the most innocent life among us, punishable by death in some jurisdictions.  Yet the two acts are one and the same functionally and morally I would argue and ask others to recognize.

Like I said It has to be removed from the mother, one way or another.  I'm no expert either but cesarean seems to be what the same group would recommend with acceptable risk ("cesarean birth involves risks. These problems occur in a small number of women and usually are easily treated") for circumstances where vaginal delivery poses unusual risk.  Perhaps by killing it, deflating the head, crushing the shoulders if necessary and pulling it through carefully would be even lower impact, physically, on the "mother", but that assumes a fully developed preemie like yourself has not living value and I don't buy that.  You may be grateful for your rescue now but at that crucial moment you had no say.
You can look through Rachel posts but I doubt with her comparisons of fetus to sperm and embryo that she has written in support of partial birth killing and she made it extremely clear that she had no plans to jump back into the conversation.
Looking through ACOG pamphlet on Cesarean, I see the same mis-speak as Justice Breyer and Rachel have made:

"Fetal Monitoring: A procedure in which instruments are used to check the heartbeat of the fetus and contractions of the mother's uterus during labor."

This should be corrected.  A woman in labor without prior children is not a mother.  She would be the mother of what?
JDN rescued as a preemie and my daughter who didn't show up for her abortion appointment - turning sweet sixteen tomorrow - are both examples of what we already know through the magic of time travel, the fetus (Latin for little one) is the same person that we know later but at a less developed, rapidly developing stage.  Killing it unnecessarily when you know that is not a morally neutral act.
5785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Environmental issues: Mekong River pollution on: July 20, 2010, 09:10:00 AM
"OK my free marketeer brethren, how do we analyze this?"

From my point of view, reasonable regulations on real emissions of real pollutants that do real harm to others based on real science is no violation on freedom.  To the contrary, my liberty to dump for example that removes your liberty downstream to live, drink or eat safely is a violation of freedom and free markets.

From the point of view of Pathological Science, what I think we oppose is false science aimed at curtailing activities that cause no measurable harm.  That would apparently not be the case here assuming measurable science backs up the claims in the documentary.
5786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Kagan - Clinonesque lawyering for a lifetime appointment on: July 20, 2010, 08:40:56 AM
"if it would save my wife's life, I would definitely consider it"

Keyword is 'if'. I just posted a statement from an 8 year Surgeon General who like the organization in question wrote in definitive terms there is no instance known in all medicine or science where that is true.

'Suggested Wording': You wrote earlier about spin.  I say the two sentences have completely different meanings.  You have your right to your opinion, and me to mine, but if you can't see the difference in meaning between the two sentences, then you are another person I would not vote to confirm to the court.

That is not to "vilify" you.  That is to write my honest and heartfelt opinion in the forum.  I would still like to play squash with you, but I would not want someone with that view of twisted meanings to write what will become court precedent and the law of the land on any issue.

Kagan knew the difference in meaning between the two sentences; she wrote that the original one was a "disaster" for her cause and inserted a Clintonesque statement from the groups principles in it's place, that that decisions about medical treatment must be made by the doctor, in consultation with the patient, based on the woman’s particular circumstances.  But it was the original conclusion that answered definitively the question before the court, there never has been an instance...

Her client was not Billl Clinton the person with ties and debts to pro-abortion interest groups or a person accused of rape deserving his rights - in this case.  Her boss is the office of the Presidency, the interests of justice, and her paycheck was drawn on the U.S. Treasury. She was not to my knowledge ever hired or paid by the medical group in question.  The judge in this case deserves to know where the line between expert testimony ends and where the lawyering and spinning begins.  In this case that was manipulated and withheld.

Her suggestion was two-fold.  An attempt to withhold from the court the conclusion that NEVER has this procedure been necessary, a lie by omission and a disservice to justice. In fact, they left that in but not as the conclusion.  Second, to add in a false MAY BE NECESSARY insinuation to create confusion and obstruct clear thinking from those who will rely on it as an expert finding.  See citations below.

I don't know what it would take to offend you with a false 'may have' statement.  I may have caused your wife's illness. I may have fathered your children while you were away at work.  But I didn't. 

You are correct that the responsibility for the changes intended to mislead the court lies with the group who agreed to them with falsely claimed authorship, and shame on them, but as an officer of the court she was more than aware of that and now is caught steering away from truth and justice, and the court relied on it. 

Ginsburg wrote later: "a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases": Huh  No it wasn't!!! That was Kagan's false inference. 
[Justice  Ginsburg’s dissent in Gonzales v. Carhart cited ACOG more than half a dozen times. The first citation, in the introduction to her opinion, decried the majority for disregarding ACOG’s opinion: “Today’s decision is alarming. It refuses to take Casey and Stenberg seriously. It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).” ]

I might agree that the lie by omission from the real conclusion, buried instead elsewhere in the report, and the lie by irresponsible false inference, even taken together, are too vague and Clintonesque to prosecute for suborning perjury, but that doesn't mean I would want her confirmed to a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.
5787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Partial Birth Abortion on: July 20, 2010, 07:21:41 AM
From the Kagan thread, JDN wrote: "I personally am against partial birth abortion"

Sounds like something you have given good thought to.  I ask you, if you don't mind, to expand on that.  What is the procedure and why are you against it?
5788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Koop opposes Kagan: unethical and disgraceful on: July 19, 2010, 03:49:07 PM
I assume this former surgeon general's motives will be impugned as mine were on this blatant manipulation of science and justice.

Excerpts from USA Today Letter:

"Ms. Kagan's political language, a direct result of the amendment she [wrote for] ACOG's
Policy Statement, made its way into American jurisprudence and misled federal courts
for the next decade."

"Ms. Kagan's amendment to the ACOG Policy Statement--that partial-birth abortion "may
be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life
or preserve the health of a woman"--had no basis in published medical studies or data.
No published medical data supported her amendment in 1997, and none supports it

"I urge the Senate to reject the politization of medical science and vote no
on the Kagan nomination."

C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc.D.
Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, 1981-89
5789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Environmental issues: 'Oil' spill is 40% natural gas on: July 19, 2010, 02:28:10 PM
Oil and water easily separate.  Oil breaks down quickly in saltwater.  But it was the high methane levels that caused the explosion.  40% of this leak may be methane.  The methane is not rising to the surface.  Causes oxygen depletion zones, kills ocean life  Could also I would suppose cause another explosion either in the cap or the relief wells.  I don't think we have heard the last of this.  What was the 'risk assessment' of the new, rushed drillings and what is the next backup plan?

If a blowout protector is going to fail, use two of them.  If one relief well might fail, drill two.  Government solves problems the way a hammer sees every problem as a nail, it seems to me.
5790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 19, 2010, 01:56:49 PM
"He certainly pursues an active social life."  - True but the golf thing seems the opposite.  He doesn't entertain equals or dignitaries; it is all about him.  Nice golf courses are usually lined with private homes.  Imagine the planning of the secret service during the week, 41 times, even if he only golfs on the weekend.  The video was obviously unknowingly shot from the deck of someone's home along a course.  The scope of an assassin's rifle would easily find the same range.  Are the homes all searched and are the guests of all the homes screened and monitored along all 18 holes, every round, as they would be for a campaign event or Presidential address?
5791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: July 19, 2010, 01:44:32 PM
"On the whole I hold Dowd in utter contempt, but it seems to me that here she makes many telling points."

Crafty,  I see you did not necessarily endorse all of her points.

Dowd mixes in a point about letting women be priests, and Rachel here has poked fun on the board at 'the men at the Vatican' regarding women's so called 'reproductive rights',  but Dowd omits the key point that approximately 100% of the offending male priests are gay.  How can there can be serious analysis of what happened without addressing the elephant in the room,  gay men were the pedophiles perpetrating these crimes against children.

I would take more than one lesson here from the Boy Scouts who fought hard to keep out homosexual leaders.  Don't put gay men in a position of power over young boys, sorry - it doesn't work, and it is the right of these groups to chose their leaders.  It is the duty of the jurisdictions to prosecute the crimes, not to re-order the private group.  If the whole order of the Catholic Church was a scam to promote this crime, then they should and would be shut down, but it isn't.

The size and scope of this is unbelievable.  Those who committed the crimes should be hanged IMO, if that was the statutory punishment.  For those who KNEW and merely re-assigned the perps to continue their ways - same. 

Still that does not give outsiders standing to re-order principles within the church like gender inequity or sameness.  If it was, we could go further and requirer Bibles to be printed with the gender order in the Commandments reversed or random: Honor your mother and your father, your father and your mother, in some cases your mother and your mother, as we do not distinguish between the genders.  It doesn't work that way.  I would shy away from calling for change in religions other than stopping the abuse and punishing the guilty.

In the same vein as NCAA penalties on USC long after both the coach and player are gone, the costs of these lawsuits will be paid by the unknowing parishioners, not the perpetrators who abused the children and the broke the trust.
5792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer and Eric Holder on: July 19, 2010, 12:37:42 PM
Apparently host and show prep staff take same week off for vacations over at CBS Face the Nation or just no concern over Obama DOJ's unequal enforcement of our basic laws.

Bizarre also how Schieffer in his business confuses the terms 'news' and 'coverage'.  "There hasn't been a lot of news about it ..."?? A senior Justice whistle blower resigned over it -  I think he meant not much mainstream coverage. Looking for this video, even though it is CNN, the first page of google results were all from blog coverage.  Media has changed and the story is out.
5793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics: Fed paints weaker picture of growth and employment on: July 19, 2010, 12:11:52 PM
We were warned earlier in the year by economic optimists even with supply side credentials not to count politically on the economy staying weak through the mid-terms.  Even if the real multiplier for the false stimulus is 0.5 or 0.8 instead of 1.5 as advertised, there still should be some temporary boost in the economy from the massive infusion.

But there are other factors: These hit and miss, piecemeal, drive-by 'stimulus' programs - cash for clunkers, homeowner credit, a bridge here and a building there - don't build any confidence as we know they are short-lived.  Meanwhile a host of other issues put a cloud over the future on risk-taking, hiring and expansion: the coming tax hikes, the coming cap-trade penalties, the coming healthcare trainwreck, the debt crisis, the unfunded entitlement crisis, etc. etc.  These new, lowered forecasts leave plenty of room to underperform as well as we continue to NOT address any of the challenges we face.

Fed paints weaker picture of growth and employment

WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve officials have a slightly dimmer view of the economy than they did in April, reflecting worries about how the European debt crisis could affect U.S. growth and job prospects.

Fed officials said Wednesday in an updated economic forecast that they think the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, will grow between 3 percent and 3.5 percent this year. That's a downward revision from a growth range in their April forecast of 3.2 percent to 3.7 percent.

The Fed's latest forecast sees the unemployment rate, now at 9.5 percent, possibly staying at that figure or in the best case falling to 9.2 percent. In the April forecast, the Fed had a slightly lower bottom number of 9.1 percent.

The Fed said in the minutes of its June 22-23 meeting that its lower economic projections reflected "economic developments abroad" — a reference to the debt crisis that began in Greece and threatened to spread to other European countries.

While reducing the forecast for growth and employment, the Fed also saw less of a threat from inflation.

The Fed predicted that a key inflation gauge that's tied to consumer spending would show prices rising 1 percent to 1.1 percent this year. That's down from an April forecast that consumer prices would increase by 1.2 percent to 1.5 percent.

The absence of inflationary pressures gives the Fed leeway to keep interest rates low to try to bolster growth as the economy recovers from the deepest recession since the 1930s.

The new forecast was compiled at the last meeting of the Fed's interest rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee on June 22-23. At that meeting, the FOMC, which is composed of Fed board members and the 12 Fed regional bank presidents, kept a key rate at a record low of 0 to 0.25 percent, where it's been since December 2008.

The Fed's new forecast made only minor changes to its outlook for growth, unemployment and inflation. But those changes underscored a view that economic prospects were slightly weaker.

The factors the Fed cited were household and business uncertainty, weak real estate markets, a tough job market, waning fiscal stimulus and still-tight lending by banks.

The Fed in April had said only a minority of Fed officials thought it would take more than five or six years to reach the Fed's goals for maximum employment with low inflation. But in the new minutes, the Fed changed that to say that "most" expected it to take "no more than five or six years."

Beyond this year, the Fed forecast growth in 2011 to be in a range between 3.5 percent to 4.2 percent. The upper limit of that range was reduced from 4.5 percent in the April forecast.

The expectation for the unemployment rate next year was also nudged higher to a range of 8.3 percent to 8.7 percent. That was up from a range of 8.1 percent to 8.5 percent in April.
5794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Massachusetts Health-Care 'Train Wreck' on: July 19, 2010, 11:51:48 AM
Posted in healthcare but also intended to reinforce points made in the way forward questioning the suitability of Romney to lead conservatives.


President Obama said earlier this year that the health-care bill that Congress passed three months ago is "essentially identical" to the Massachusetts universal coverage plan that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law in 2006. No one but Mr. Romney disagrees.

As events are now unfolding, the Massachusetts plan couldn't be a more damning indictment of ObamaCare. The state's universal health-care prototype is growing more dysfunctional by the day, which is the inevitable result of a health system dominated by politics.

In the first good news in months, a state appeals board has reversed some of the price controls on the insurance industry that Gov. Deval Patrick imposed earlier this year. Late last month, the panel ruled that the action had no legal basis and ignored "economic realties."

Senior Editorial Page Writer Joe Rago on why Obama is using a recess appointment to install the new head of Medicare and Medicaid.

In April, Mr. Patrick's insurance commissioner had rejected 235 of 274 premium increases state insurers had submitted for approval for individuals and small businesses. The carriers said these increases were necessary to cover their expected claims over the coming year, as underlying state health costs continue to rise at 8% annually. By inventing an arbitrary rate cap, the administration was in effect ordering the carriers to sell their products at a loss.

Mr. Patrick has promised to appeal the panel's decision and find some other reason to cap rates. Yet a raft of internal documents recently leaked to the press shows this squeeze play was opposed even within his own administration.

In an April message to his staff, Robert Dynan, a career insurance commissioner responsible for ensuring the solvency of state carriers, wrote that his superiors "implemented artificial price caps on HMO rates. The rates, by design, have no actuarial support. This action was taken against my objections and without including me in the conversation."

Mr. Dynan added that "The current course . . . has the potential for catastrophic consequences including irreversible damage to our non-profit health care system" and that "there most likely will be a train wreck (or perhaps several train wrecks)."

Sure enough, the five major state insurers have so far collectively lost $116 million due to the rate cap. Three of them are now under administrative oversight because of concerns about their financial viability. Perhaps Mr. Patrick felt he could be so reckless because health-care demagoguery is the strategy for his fall re-election bid against a former insurance CEO.

The deeper problem is that price controls seem to be the only way the political class can salvage a program that was supposed to reduce spending and manifestly has not. Massachusetts now has the highest average premiums in the nation.

In a new paper, Stanford economists John Cogan and Dan Kessler and Glenn Hubbard of Columbia find that the Massachusetts plan increased private employer-sponsored premiums by about 6%. Another study released last week by the state found that the number of people gaming the "individual mandate"—buying insurance only when they are about to incur major medical costs, then dumping coverage—has quadrupled since 2006. State regulators estimate that this amounts to a de facto 1% tax on insurance premiums for everyone else in the individual market and recommend a limited enrollment period to discourage such abuses. (This will be illegal under ObamaCare.)

Liberals write off such consequences as unimportant under the revisionist history that the plan was never meant to reduce costs but only to cover the uninsured. Yet Mr. Romney wrote in these pages shortly after his plan became law that every resident "will soon have affordable health insurance and the costs of health care will be reduced."

One junior senator from Illinois agreed. In a February 2006 interview on NBC, Mr. Obama praised the "bold initiative" in Massachusetts, arguing that it would "reduce costs and expand coverage." A Romney spokesman said at the time that "It's gratifying that national figures from both sides of the aisle recognize the potential of this plan to transform our health-care system."

An entitlement sold as a way to reduce costs was bound to fundamentally change the system. The larger question—for Massachusetts, and now for the nation—is whether that was really the plan all along.

"If you're going to do health-care cost containment, it has to be stealth," said Jon Kingsdale, speaking at a conference sponsored by the New Republic magazine last October. "It has to be unsuspected by any of the key players to actually have an effect." Mr. Kingsdale is the former director of the Massachusetts "connector," the beta version of ObamaCare's insurance "exchanges," and is now widely expected to serve as an ObamaCare regulator.

He went on to explain that universal coverage was "fundamentally a political strategy question"—a way of finding a "significant systematic way of pushing back on the health-care system and saying, 'No, you have to do with less.' And that's the challenge, how to do it. It's like we're waiting for a chain reaction but there's no catalyst, there's nothing to start it."

In other words, health reform was a classic bait and switch: Sell a virtually unrepealable entitlement on utterly unrealistic premises and then the political class will eventually be forced to control spending. The likes of Mr. Kingsdale would say cost control is only a matter of technocratic judgement, but the raw dirigisme of Mr. Patrick's price controls is a better indicator of what happens when health care is in the custody of elected officials rather than a market.

Naturally, Mr. Patrick wants to export the rate review beyond the insurers to hospitals, physician groups and specialty providers—presumably to set medical prices as well as insurance prices. Last month, his administration also announced it would use the existing state "determination of need" process to restrict the diffusion of expensive medical technologies like MRI machines and linear accelerator radiation therapy.

Meanwhile, Richard Moore, a state senator from Uxbridge and an architect of the 2006 plan, has introduced a new bill that will make physician participation in government health programs a condition of medical licensure. This would essentially convert all Massachusetts doctors into public employees.

All of this is merely a prelude to far more aggressive restructuring of the state's health-care markets—and a preview of what awaits the rest of the country.
5795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward for the American Creed - Paul Ryan on: July 19, 2010, 11:42:17 AM
Sorry I didn't catch that Paul Ryan had already ruled out in Feb a run for President in 2012, convincingly:
"There’s no way I am running for president in 2012," the Wisconsin Republican told the New York Times Magazine in a Q&A feature. "My head is not that big, and my kids are too small."

Too bad.  He is one who already proved he could win a debate with the President - on health care.  Did not rule out VP.  In the meantime he would provide an excellent contrast to Obama as U.S. Speaker of the House for Obama's last 2, lame duck years.

5796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the Glibness: Obama's Golf Game on: July 19, 2010, 12:53:25 AM
I believe strongly in the right of the Commander in Chief to have a little R&R, but something in this story is weird. There were a couple of posts in the last month speculating about what is wrong with this guy.  In this case, there is nothing wrong with being lousy at golf, what is weird is 41 rounds so far!  During your Presidency.  On Father's day with the wife and kids at home.  While the gulf blackens, etc. In light of all they know and all they do just for appearances sake, out he goes for another round. Each is typically a 5-hour outing.  And never a score reported, which is very strange since he is obsessed with playing the full 18, every time, not just hitting balls or sneaking out over a lunch hour for 4 or 5 holes.  Games like golf can reveal character such as by whether you count all of your mistakes and penalties and report an accurate score - or take Billigans as they were called under the last Democratic President.  Here are the leaders of the free world on the White House putting green:

Here is a video of his swing, called Potus Shankapotomus, with some unflattering amateur commentary:

Unfair comparison (Tiger Woods' swing), but the link below shows what a good swing looks like .  The arms and the club rotate through the ball together on a smooth plane while the head stays still.

Obama Has Shot 41 Rounds of Golf as President

by Keith Koffler on July 16, 2010, 3:30 pm

President Barack Obama has played a remarkable 41 rounds of golf since becoming president, easily outpacing his predecessor and possibly damaging his ability to portray himself in 2012 as a populist advocate of average folks.

With the excursions lasting on average at least five hours, the president has devoted a total of more than 200 hours to golf, not counting time spent on the White House putting green. That’s the equivalent of twenty five eight-hour work days, or five work weeks spent smacking golf balls.

The former community organizer’s 41 trips around the links – a standard of recreational activity well beyond the budgets of most Americans – compares to only 24 total outings for former President George W. Bush, according to statistics compiled by White House chronicler Mark Knoller of CBS News. Bush, whose golf outings were used to help deride him as a callow, lazy, rich boy, played his 24th and last round on Oct. 13, 2003, saying he was ending the practice out of respect for the families of Americans killed in Iraq.

Since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 rig workers and started the Gulf oil spill, Obama has teed up seven times, according to White House Dossier’s count. This includes back to back sessions April 23 and 24 while on vacation at the Grove Park Resort & Spa in Asheville, NC, just days after the crisis began.

Obama’s focus on golf borders on obsession. Startled reporters follow him out to the course in the motorcade in the broiling Washington heat and then wait in the air conditioning while he puts in 18 holes. Rarely does he play any less.

On June 19, he dragged the 67 year old Vice President Biden onto the course for a sweltering 18 holes, calling into question whether he was trying to commit murder-by-golf in order to free the 2012 VP slot up for Hillary.

From a period stretching from April 3 to May 22 of this year, the president went golfing eight of nine weekends. WOULD YOUR WIFE LET YOU DO THAT?? WOULD YOU LET YOUR HUSBAND? Michelle, what gives?

He went out only once in June when, with the Gulf of Mexico slowly becoming the new U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve and accusations of presidential inattention at their height, White House image counselors appeared to think the golf needed scaling back. But he’s back with a vengeance, having made his way out on the course both weekends so far this month.

Since he’s officially on vacation this weekend in Bar Harbor Maine, there appears to be little holding him back from heading out to the greens at least once.

Obama golf While on the course, Obama for the most part likes to keep it nice and light, often playing with a youngish crowd. No deep discussions of policy on the links.

One of his companions on nearly every outing is Marvin Nicholson, the affable, White House trip director. Nicholson, a former  “body man” to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), is the perfect guy for getting away from it all, having worked as a golf caddy, a bartender, and in a windsurfing shop – where he met Kerry.

Also generally on hand is David Katz, a former Obama campaign photographer.

Emphatically not invited for the most part are members of Congress or senior White House aides.

The White House is of course sensitive to the awkward look of the whole thing. A search of of the word “golf” on the White House page or the photo sharing site Flickr brings back only nine official White House photo results, three of which are neither of Obama nor golf. A search for “basketball,” the everyman’s game, brings back 39 photos.
5797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way Forward for the American Creed on: July 16, 2010, 12:19:00 PM
Crafty wrote: "The Pawlenty piece is pretty good.   The one time I caught him for a substantial piece of air time he struck me as , , , OK, lacking in fire-in-the-belly as so many Republicans are.  Still, the construction of this piece suggests that he is getting "the storyline" for his campaign in order."

That is about right and P.C. thanks for the nice words about him.  I know Pawlenty a little.  He does not have knock you off your chair charisma or seem Presidential, but none of them do.  He is positioning himself fairly well and getting good experience with the national shows for when the bigger names falter.  I post not to endorse but just so we start to get familiar with the people who will likely run.  A bit moderate for my taste but about as conservative as we can get and not be painted as a scary extremist.  I would just say don't underestimate him.  I think he would do pretty well in a long general election as a contrast to Obama, but maybe not at setting the base on fire early and maybe not the ability to separate himself from the packin a crowded primary.

Crafty is right on with Romney IMO.  He can draw a distinction between failed healthcare in Massachusetts and Obamacare - that it is what his liberal state wanted to do, but to an energized base it is still what we don't want, government run healthcare.  He presents himself very well but became a little too skilled at explaining his changes in views that kept coinciding with changes in his target market.

I like Newt. Newt doesn't have anyone but himself to blame.   Fred hardly stole the air in the room.  I don't care for Huckabee - I think he is the one that fractured or won the conservative vote, yet like P.C. I don't see him as conservative or electable.  I don't know when the time is right but Newt needs to step in early this election cycle and stop being coy about it if he wants to be President.  That was one thing Obama did right.  He made it clear early that he was running.

Palin is one who may benefit by waiting.  She is getting stronger and doing good work for the cause IMO.

Michele Bachmann has the most conservative district in MN and will win again but she won't ever be President.  Congress needs strong leaders with principles too.  She was a tax attorney.  A good firebrand partisan full of positive energy for the base, but not much reach across appeal. Very intelligent but a little gaffe prone.  This is a good video of her questioning Geithner and Bernancke:
5798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Way Forward: MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty on: July 15, 2010, 11:37:06 PM
CCP: I was trying to figure out the E.  Jeb's real name is John Ellis Bush.  Yes, he would be a serious contender or frontrunner if not for the family name affiliation.  Seems like a showstopper yet we keep seeing those patterns.  Maybe he will run against Michelle O or Chelsea Clinton in 2016.  Seriously he would have been a better pick in any of the last several cycles.

MN Gov. Pawlenty has a piece published by Politico this week.  He seems to be picking up on the Paul Ryan themes and some of Gov. Christie's toughness on spending. 

Time for Obama to make sacrifices

By GOV. TIM PAWLENTY | 7/14/10

Later this week, the White House budget office is due to produce its midyear report on the nation’s fiscal health.

If history is any guide, the administration will try to paint a rosy picture, but the truth is already obvious: Washington under President Barack Obama is not just broken — it’s broke.

When Obama entered office, he inherited a budget deficit that reflected the toxic combination of recession, bailouts and runaway entitlement programs. But rather than getting the government’s finances under control, Obama and his allies in Congress poured gasoline on the fire with trillion-dollar boondoggles.

To put the recent spending binge in context, consider this: At the end of 2008, just before Obama took office, the federal debt was about 40 percent of our nation’s total economy. Now, according to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, the debt will explode to 62 percent of our economy by the end of this year.

If we consider off-budget liabilities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, underfunded entitlement promises and the budget effects embedded in the Democrats’ new health care bill, the fiscal picture gets even worse.

In a bizarre development, the Democratic-controlled House won’t even pass a budget for the first time in decades. Any family or business knows you can’t live within your means without a budget. Congressional Democrats have now announced they won’t even try.

As the governor of a state that, like most others, has been facing recession-driven budget shortfalls recently, I understand the challenges in front of the president. What I don’t understand is his refusal to do anything about it.

During my two terms in Minnesota, we balanced every biennial budget without raising taxes. We set priorities and cut spending. As the economy continues to struggle, more challenges lie ahead for both federal and state governments.

We should remember President Ronald Reagan’s advice that solutions may not be easy, but they are often simple. Obama and Congress should:

1. Set clear priorities but cut almost everything else. Not everything government does is equally important. When faced with a budget shortfall in Minnesota, we considered the importance of programs. We decided to protect funding for the most important ones: the National Guard, veterans’ support programs, public safety and K-12 schools.

Nearly everything else has been cut. Last year, we cut overall spending in real terms for the first time in the state’s 150-year history.

2. Reform out-of-control entitlements. By far, the biggest long-term driver of the federal debt is entitlement spending, including Social Security and Medicare. These programs are going to have to be changed. And despite Beltway rhetoric, it can be done.

For example, in Minnesota, our bus drivers in the Twin Cities had benefits that were completely unsustainable. The premise of our reform was simple:

The status quo must change. We kept our commitment to current employees but changed the rules for new hires.

Reforming that entitlement program and others wasn’t easy. The reforms for our bus drivers led to one of the longest transit strikes in recent history. But we did it. So must Washington.

3. Sacrifice. Americans have sacrificed enough; it’s time for government to sacrifice for a change. When Washington Democrats talk about balancing the budget, they speak gravely about painful choices and sacrifice — but what they mean is tax increases. In other words, we sacrifice so they can spend.

Before we ask taxpayers to make “painful choices,” we need to ask the politicians and bureaucrats to make a few first. In Minnesota, we rejected tax increases every year I was governor, and even cut taxes overall, to make our state more competitive. Washington can — and should — do the same.

The White House’s midyear review will very likely try to present the case for tax hikes as inevitable. But they are not.

Washington politicians may say you can’t solve the problem by simply cutting spending, protecting crucial priorities and balancing the budget without raising taxes.

But in Minnesota, we’ve proven: Yes, you can.

Tim Pawlenty is the Republican governor of Minnesota.

(Gov. Pawlenty won reelection in 2006 when almost no Republicans were winning - in a state where Dems now have a 65% majority in the state house and a 68% majority in the state senate.)
5799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: July 15, 2010, 04:53:37 PM
“All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian”  - Pat Paulsen for President, 1968
5800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re. Obamanomics and my Seven Steamy Nights on: July 15, 2010, 04:51:00 PM
"President Obama’s chief economist announced that the plan had “created or saved” between 2.5 million and 3.6 million jobs … the U.S. economy has lost a net 2.35 million jobs."

"I started with an assumption of spending -7 nights with the supermodels. And since I actually spent zero nights with them, that means a net of +7"
Excellent!  It's unbelievable what they keep trying to pull over us with a straight face.  I wonder what the conversation is before the spokesman goes to the podium:  Are we really going to keep running with this worthless drivel?

Red is gray and
Yellow white
But we decide
Which is right
Which is an Illusion
  - From the Moody Blues
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