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5851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care - the constitutional question on: April 23, 2012, 12:36:49 PM
The commerce clause gave power for our government to be the referee, not the participant or architect of private sector commerce and innovation.  And it does not negate the other clauses or even the unenumerated rights.

Promote general welfare did not mean government do everything or make all private decisions.

"I share Doug's concerns about the implications for liberty and privacy."

Lots of government programs step on liberty and privacy.  I'm just saying that this is a huge, additional theft of liberty and privacy.  That, and the fact that 26 states oppose it and the Court chose to hear the case puts a very heavy burden on the proponents of the law to show where the federal government in this case derived its authority to do that.  The arguments made before the Court were made public, were quoted and linked in this thread, and I couldn't find in any of that a coherent case for that even a politically liberal leaning Justice could honestly cling to.

Unanswered: In a structure of enumerated powers, why (other than that you don't have the votes) wouldn't you pass a new amendment to authorize a new federal government power.

I would love to hear bigdog (and anyone else) summarize this historic, constitutional case as he would decide it - before the ruling comes out.  What are the strongest arguments in the favor of the losing side of this case and what are the paramount arguments that trump those arguments and make it necessary to upheld or strike down this law?

In a short time we will know what 9 justices think.  I predict struck down 6-3.
5852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left- LA Times lost on economic recovery on: April 23, 2012, 09:38:03 AM
"Why not raise taxes on capital gains but lower them on income?"

Yes, except that the proven way of raising taxes collected from capital gains is to LOWER the rate.

15% tax is low enough.  Make it permanent so that investors could try to build and create wealth and know with certainty what the tax rate on that effort, if successful, will be.,0,441132.story

Besides lost revenues, there is no recovery that comes out of punishing investment in America.  Other than that it all makes sense.
5853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics - Learn 10 basic points of Supply Side, money and wealth on: April 23, 2012, 09:27:52 AM
"economists go to great lengths to obscure simple truths..."  Instead, read this!

April 23, 2012
Supply-Side Critics Offer Only Trickle-Down Inflation
By Bill Frezza     Excerpt only - Read it all at the link!

" are 10 common sense propositions I challenge political economists to refute. (forum contributors too!)

1) Money is not wealth, but merely a claim on wealth. Printing more money does not create more wealth.

2) Counterfeiting money steals wealth from others. The theft is no less when a government does it.

3) Moving money from one pocket to another does not create wealth. This is true even when small amounts of money are quietly siphoned from the pockets of the many and loudly deposited into the pockets of the few.

4) Before wealth can be consumed, invested, or redistributed, it has to be created. Consuming existing wealth does not create more of it, nor does borrowing against future wealth.

5) Wealth is created when consumption is deferred in favor of profitable production. Profits generally require selling something for more than it costs to make.

6) Profits are rarely a sure thing. Every decision to forgo consumption and invest in production seeking future returns is a gamble.

7) Private investors investing their own money generally seek to maximize after-tax profits balanced against a chosen degree of acceptable risk. Investment decisions are sensitive to policies that affect this equation.

8 ) Private investors that consistently make bad decisions, thereby squandering their wealth, eventually lose the ability to make more investments.

9) Politicians often "invest" other people's money seeking to maximize the number of votes they can garner. Whether or not these "investments" generate a future return, or are just thinly veiled redistributions, is secondary because a politician's time horizon extends only until the next election.

10) Politicians acting as public investors who consistently make bad decisions can remain in office and continue making more "investments" as long as they convince enough voters to shift the blame for their failures onto others.
5854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney campaign - 23 million on: April 23, 2012, 09:18:05 AM
"Here's a number you're going to hear a lot on this campaign: 23 million," Eric Fehrnstrom, senior adviser to Mitt Romney, said on "Face the Nation," referring to 12.7 million unemployed, 7.7 million underemployed and more than 3 million Americans who are discouraged from finding work or have dropped out of the job search, according to the latest numbers by the Department of Labor.

President Obama did not create this recession, but his policies are not working for these people..."
5855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Romney on: April 23, 2012, 12:48:55 AM
"I wouldn't expect Romney to do ANYTHING on gun control...Mormons are the original Disaster Preparedness people ... Mormon families in the west (UT, ID, NV, AZ, WY, CO) have at least 3 or 4 firearms in the house. Plenty of word from members of the church has already been whispered his way to STFU on gun control, and the answer back has been 'Wilco'. I'm not talking about Church leadership, I'm talking about rank and file members picking up a pen and writing to him. I did."

Very good point.  Nevada in particular is a swing state, also Colorado and Arizona.  He will have to make assurances to voters.

Governor Romney is smart enough (IMO) to know there is a difference between governing Massachusetts and governing America - on a host of issues.  He knows he won't be getting 270 electoral votes from the Northeast.  He needs at least 5 of those 6 states listed in order to win.  Colorado is tough - because they let Californians in.
5856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re:Politics of Health Care- it's different than Medicare and social security on: April 23, 2012, 12:20:15 AM
Social security is a tax and spend program.  Medicare is a tax and spend program.  The individual mandate is not.

The GM piece covered it,  There is no explicit authority and there is no precedent.

The income tax had the same problem - then they passed an amendment.

People like Alan Blinder (or JDN) can write or talk for hours about how great the benefits will be - everyone covered - like everyone having a home because the law requires you to buy one.  If you like that, fine, but you need a super majority to write the authorization for that new power, not an act of congress.

Under Obamacare, you lose liberty and you lose privacy.  Liberty is mentioned in at least one founding document - and so is life - which includes life's big decisions, does it not?  Privacy is a Supreme Court recognized right.  Without it, Roe v Wade falls.  You have to buy the policy under Obamacare and therefore you lose privacy - you have to give them all the personal information they require including the most personal things possible, allow them to store it, read it, use it and act on it.  What if you don't want to give them your ss number, your birthdate, whether you smoke or not, drink, have sex, have guns in the house, eat right, exercise, or a lot of other things.  What if you don't want to buy exactly what is in the plan or don't want to pay for provisions that violate your beliefs or don't fit your needs.  What about the freedom to figure this all out for yourself and not subscribe to a one size fits all out of Washington.  What about the right to freely consent to your contracts.  Anything short of that isn't a valid contract anyway.  You lose the right to make all of your own choices including those that could save your life - a quality recognized in at least one founding document.  Even the right to make a wrong choice, isn't that a liberty?

If you agree to the loss of these recognized freedoms and established rights in the creation of a new federal govt power that isn't authorized anywhere in Articles One or Two or in any amendment to the constitution or in any court precedent or anywhere else - isn't that the opposite of upholding the constitution?

Is it too much to ask to have an amendment passed for every new power over us that we grant to the federal government?
5857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: April 22, 2012, 02:56:43 PM
"why don't the Republicans propose just that?"

They did that at the time.  Pre-existing conditions, cross state lines, malpractice reform, all of the 'popular' pieces of Obamacare were on the table.  Democrats should have done a head fake with this monstrosity and locked in all of what at least the most moderate of Republicans were ready to agree to.  It was Democrats who did not want that deal.  They were willing to write a cornhusker kickback, exempt the Bank of North Dakota from student loan legislation, and build a hospital in Connecticut in order to buy the last Democrat vote and not need a single Republican.

"The concept is like car insurance...except with health insurance, you need a rule that says you can't opt out.  But you only have to buy the minimum.  Still, it's a start."

Constitutional distinction: a) car ins. is a state law, b) you can opt out - bicycle, bus, let someone else drive, stay home when your finances are down, etc. and c) You used to be able to post some OTHER form of financial responsibility up to the minimum and not HAVE to contract with a psuedo-private insurance company.

"you only have to buy the minimum."

Article Two, or where did that authority come from?

"As for for the European crisis, what does that have to do...with health care?"


"How does (see list below) pay for a Universal Health Care Plan?
Norway New Zealand Japan Germany Belgium United Kingdom Sweden Canada Netherlands Austria Finland Slovenia Denmark Luxembourg France Australia Ireland Italy Portugal Cyprus Greece Spain SouKorea Iceland Hong Kong Singapore Switzerland Israel"

The question in a constitutional case is - how did they authorize it?

If you are willing to skip that question then the answer is obvious, move.

GM: "Is it right and fair to confiscate money from the young to partially subsidize the care for the older population?"

Justice Alito had that point quantified and no one corrected him.  The ones hit most by the mandate will be mandated topay 6 times what their current burden is on the others.  Had that been based on actual costs, the underlying argument they made might have had truth to it.

5858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: April 22, 2012, 10:40:57 AM
The elephant in the room is that they could have written and passed a bill to cover catastrophic injuries and unexpected illnesses in a constitutionally authorized way instead of cradle to grave governing and they would not now be faced with starting completely over - with a new group in power.
5859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes - the voting conundrum on: April 22, 2012, 10:37:26 AM
In these parts we think of Al Franken as the 60th vote in the Senate that brought us Obamacare.

In Montana, the libertarian candidate in 2006 won 10,000 votes while the red state seat went to the Dems by 3500 votes.

To those voters: How are your new liberties working out for you?
5860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama taking credit for OBL kill is like Nixon taking credit for moon landing on: April 22, 2012, 10:04:49 AM
John Bolton: Obama taking credit for killing bin-Laden is like Nixon taking credit for landing on the moon
Posted by The Right Scoop The Right Scoop on April 20th, 2012 in Politics | 58 Comments

Bolton weighs in on Obama taking credit for Bush’s successes with regard to the killing of bin-Laden, saying that the only thing Obama really did was get out of the way. The intelligence that led us to bin-Laden came from the very thing Obama railed against and thus banned when becoming president, enhanced interrogations. So for him to take credit for killing bin-Laden, Bolton says, is like Nixon taking credit for America landing on the moon.

The entire interview is great as Bolton also weighs in on much more of Obama’s foreign policy, Iran, N.Korea, Russia, intelligence, START, defense budgets, international law, sovereignty, problems growing around the world.
5861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Krauthammer: Buffet tax is doubling the capital gains tax, will shrink revenues on: April 22, 2012, 09:51:10 AM
Video at the link.  They show the debate clip from 2008 with Obama confronted with the historical facts that lowering capital gains rates increased revenues every time and raising them lowered revenues.  The President doesn't care about the revenues. It's about 'fairness'.  Watch the clip.

"This is a preposterous statement [a quote of Obama shown defending the Buffet tax] and he know it is. Also on growth, it is equally deceptive. What the tax is, it's a doubling of the capital gains tax. It's disguised, but that's the reason why the Buffett rates are lower, it's the capital gains rate and it's lower than the rate for normal income. So he double its. The reason that's not a good idea is because when you double the rate, you actually decrease the amount that the treasury receives. And you decrease the growth because you are shrinking the pool of capital that is out there that people can invest and hire other people. The reason that we had an economic boom after the Kennedy tax cuts and the Reagan cuts, 20 years later, it's precisely that they cut rates and particularly that they cut capital gains rates," Krauthammer said.
5862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: April 22, 2012, 09:41:32 AM
"Speaking of idle capacity, IIRC I have been reading of capacity utilization being rather high, with univested profits sitting on the sidelines."

Yes.  I was referring more generally to the quantity of money and workers on the sidelines, not the utilization of factories already built.

Productivity of employed workers I think is at record highs.  Improving with each new layoff.

I read in some commentary yesterday we need to be starting 1 million new businesses per year and the current number is 400,000.  A couple years back I posted analysis that we need to be starting a certain number(150?)  of companies every year that will grow to a billion dollars, bringing with them the employment that entails and the wealth it creates.  Instead we demagogue wealth and business, hire new IRS agents to address 'healthcare' and tell our young to go into social work.
5863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Tokyo Electric and the Fukushima station blackout, 40 years in coming on: April 21, 2012, 11:28:46 PM
Long story, well researched, published in Fortune yesterday.  Short excerpts:

"how could the accident at Fukushima Daiichi have happened—and how, in particular, could it have happened in Japan, a country once known, not so long ago, for its sheer management and engineering competence?"
"When the licenses for the Fukushima Daiichi generating stations were granted in 1966 and 1972, they called for the plant to be able to withstand a wave cresting at 3.1 meters in height—a figure based on the size of a tsunami in Chile in 1960."
"There was no precedent for the magnitude of the quake and tsunami that wreaked havoc at Fukushima Daiichi. But the disaster wasn't unimaginable."
"As recently as 2008, according to the Japanese government's interim report into the accident released at the end of last year, TEPCO reevaluated the tsunami risks at the plant. New simulations the company ran showed waves could reach as high as 15 meters—chillingly, almost the exact height of the biggest wave that smashed into the coastline on the afternoon of March 11. (a 46 ft. wall of water at hundreds of miles per hour?)

TEPCO didn't believe the simulation was reliable."
"...they did have redundant power sources in place—the on site diesel generators that also eventually failed after the tsunami struck. (Despite sitting within a few hundred yards of the Pacific ocean, the generators were not designed to withstand flooding.)"
"we spent ten times more money for PR campaigns than we did for real safety measures. It's a terrible thing."
"The fact is, we still don't know what's going on inside the reactors."
5864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: April 21, 2012, 09:02:09 PM
"... in 2010, months into our recovery, growth was about 3 percent, followed by 1.7 percent growth in 2011. The rate for 2012 could be about 2 percent—below the 3.4 percent throughout the postwar period."

It should be 4.5% or greater with this much idle capacity.  Growth below 'break-even growth' is not growth in my book.

"private sector hiring through June 2011 was 10 times slower following the passage of President Obama's healthcare bill compared to the prior 16 months."

Unemployment is twice what it should be.  You don't ever get it back at this growth rate.  The federal budget - same thing.  We do not have the internal strength to handle the next external shock.  Another term of this and we might jeopardize our economy for more than a century.

We don't need an election win.  We need a win with a real mandate for change.

The world does not have a contingency plan for American collapse.
5865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, State of the race might change... on: April 21, 2012, 08:43:08 PM
Excerpt from Paul Mirengoff, a founder of Powerline back from a one year absence:

"Oddly, it may be Obama, the incumbent, whose image changes significantly. Polls show that his personal popularity is what’s keeping him afloat. Voters don’t very much like his policies and his results, but they continue to like him.

The reasons are pretty straightforward. First, he made a great first impression, and such impressions tend to last. Second, people want to like their president. Third, people want to like the first black president.

As his presidency has faltered, though, Obama has become increasingly irritable and negative. It’s unlikely that many voters have noticed because few follow the day-to-day utterances of the president.

But the electorate pays attention during the final months of the campaign, and especially during the presidential debates. If they see the whiney, defensive, and nasty side of Obama, he will pay a price.

In theory, Obama should be able to avoid this pitfall. His surrogates can do the attack dog thing, while he takes the high road. As for the debates, history shows that the sitting president is allowed one bad debate, especially if it’s the first one. So Obama just needs to keep his inner nasty partisan in check for a few hours.

But Obama’s arrogance works against him here. This is the man who famously proclaimed himself a better speechwriter than his speechwriters, a better political director than his political director, etc.

Presumably, he also considers himself a better attack dog than his attack dogs. If Obama continues to sense that his presidency may be slipping away, he is unlikely to leave to others the dirty work he feels is needed to preserve it.

The adverse consequences of such self-indulgence may well be more than marginal."
5866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education - home school on: April 21, 2012, 07:38:40 PM
Funny line at the end:  "And that’s why homeschooled kids are so annoying.  Because no one tells them that the way God made them isn’t cool enough."

Looking forward to any first hand home school stories or info.  My nephew did it for a year at age 12 and got caught up in academics.  He needs the socialization.  The Boy Scouts for one thing has been very good for that.  They do a lot of great activities and the dads are very involved keeping the atmosphere fun and positive.

Home school is of course not really home school.  It is a parent directed education (like public schools are supposed to be).  Those kids often get out and about way more than school kids and have academic and social networks.  They are eligible here for school sports and other activities as well which can help them stay connecting if they later come back in.

Thye teacher union comment is funny.  Around here each home school choice cuts about 10k/yr out of their funding.  Every bit of competition with the public school is a force for good for all of the kids.
5867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care - Alan Blinder piece on: April 21, 2012, 07:20:48 PM
"Though we Americans spend a much larger share of our GDP than any other nation on health care, we are not healthier."

Do you mean healthier than every other nation?

My answer to that point is - unquantifiable.

a) Remove all American treatments, equipment, medicines and innovations from their systems and let's do a comparison. Canadians are getting better rates on American meds than Americans do, for example.  But what do they need those for if their system is superior, lol.

b) Compare SURVIVAL RATES for the afflictions most likely to hit you such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer.  America beats European in these measures.

c) Remove genetic and cultural factors if you are comparing health care delivery systems.  The USA is a melting pot.  To compare healthcare systems with a homogenous society like Japan or Norway compare healthcare outcomes of Japanese Americans with the Japanese, Norwegian Americans with the Norwegians, and compare Mexican Americans with Mexicans and African Americans with Africans.

d) The measure the statists always follow with is the percent or number of uninsured which is a healthcare finance outcome, not a healthcare outcome.

"It would be a shame—and I mean that literally—if Republicans repealed the law or if the Supreme Court voided it."

No matter if it violates the constitution?  People like that shouldn't be allowed to vote in a constitutional republic, MHO.

"The U.S. health-care payment system has a few oddities we'd be better off without. For one, the tax code incents employers to pay part of workers' wages in the form of health insurance, which is why insurance became tied to employment in the first place."

Repairable without Obamacare.

"For another, we have somehow decided that the state should provide anyone age 65 or older with health insurance, while everyone younger should fend for themselves."

No one is denied healthcare.  The argument is over payment systems.

"Now the big question: Does anyone think it is sensible to have nine lawyers decide what sort of health-care payment system the nation should have?"

It wouldn't be before the US Supreme Court if Congress hadn't passed and the President hadn't signed a bill that ELECTED officials in 26 states found to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL. That would be a large number of states opposing even if we did have government by majority rule - AND WE DON'T.

"Why does the law require people to purchase health insurance?"

Do you mean why would they do that when they have no power like that authorized to them in the constitution?

" question that the federal government can regulate interstate commerce."

And no question Americans have a COMPETING right of privacy in their affairs. Or is there?

"So what happens if the justices void the mandate but leave the insurance reforms in place?"

Why would they.  There is an unseverability clause in the final version. (?)  If not, as Justice Scalia suggested, they won't be inclined to go back through 2700 pages not even read by the people who passed it and re-write it.  That is the legislative branch's job.  Looking forward to an improved legislative branch next year.

"I [Alan Blinder] claim no special expertise in constitutional law"

Finally got something right!

"In cases in which there are clear Democratic and Republican positions on an issue—which certainly includes this case—the Court will vote 5-to-4 Republican."

Does that reflect badly on the 5 or on the 4?

"This is another real shame. If we are going to have political decision-making, at least elected politicians should do the deciding."

With no constitutional restraints?  He isn't the first or highest up to regret living in a country where we place constitutional limits on governmental powers.  
5868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 21, 2012, 06:33:04 PM
"leave last word to Doug"   - Thanks for the offer Crafty but it has all been said.
5869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 21, 2012, 01:45:02 PM
"Pre-tax income is a ..."

It is an amount of money that is not yours.  Not yours to hold, to spend, to invest, and not to falsely inflate and compare with a real number - like it grew over the next several decades when it can't because they that isn't the amount George Romney started with.  It didn't and you know that.  Drivel on.

"rather than the fictitious 78% Doug quoted, if you do the math "The figures indicate he paid $1,099,555.18 in taxes on an 1968 income of $2,972,923.58 in 1968."  I think that's about a 37% tax rate."

No I said 78% was the top combined rate federal plus Michigan in that year and YOU said he earned in a single year.  Why lie?  Now you say he paid 37% which means it was largely LONG TERM CAPITAL GAINS which are NOT made in a single year.  (Was 37% the combined tax rate or federal only?  Source?)  If he did NOT earn it in a single year and you say REPEATEDLY AD NAUSEUM that he did, which is it?  And why lie?  Why post on things you don't know or care about?  Why make attacks against the person "silver spoon".    What you said he made in a single year was earned over a period of 1954-1968 which is 15 years, at great risk and with great faith is his own accomplishments to leave it invested in the company all that time.  That said, who the f*ck cares.  That was GEORGE Romney taking EARNED gains after Mitt left the home.  George is dead FYI, not running for President in 2012 (Do you understand that?) and his estate has been properly executed.  Mitt born with a silver spoon?  He was born in 1947 before ANY of this and George started with nothing.  George was NOT head of AMC when Mitt was born.  They had good money later.  Very good money.  They had ENOUGH money.  No one said he grew up poor or undernourished.  They did not live like they had obscene wealth which is no crime either; it just wasn't the case.  (Wikipedia: "The Big Three, when used in relation to the automotive industry, most generally refers to the three major American automotive companies: Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler." Show me Rambler in there, lol.)

"And what Doug seems to interchange rather conveniently is that in today's dollars George Romney made $20,000,000 in 1968."

After 3 times told that was false, post it again.  I recognize the pattern.  What a blockhead. 

"So yes, in today's dollars (that's when Obama got his inheritance) Romney made 40 times Obama's inheritance in one year is accurate."

Just can't get off of a G*d D*mned lie.  An inheritance in that amount isn't taxed and the 20 million is.  The comparison is false.  A lie.  Plus you are comparing what one of the candidates actually received versus a what dead former Governor NEVER received by a factor of 10, AFTER his children were grown.  Please give some indication you are smarter than that.  ANYTHING!

"That man [GEORGE ROMNEY] was very RICH."    - SO WHAT!  He is also very DEAD.  And running for NOTHNG.

"Sorry Doug,..."    For what?  Wasting my time.  Pissing me off.  Bringing down the discussion.  Lies.  What are you sorry for when you just keep doing it.

We are stuck on stupid discussing his father's salary and tax rate as if we were uncovering unbelievable wrongdoing of his son when in fact everything went very well and nothing wrong is even alleged.  Everyone should have a career like George Romney.  But still, who cares.

Digging out info for this worthless argument keeps exposing more success and virtue in the Romney family.  George Romney was a moderate Republican and quite an honorable.  Barack Senior was a polygamist (irony) who left his kid unsupported on an island.  One built up an American auto company.  The other advised a poor country on how to stay poor.  The abandoned kid writes a book for his own profit (makes $20 million in one year, tomorrow's dollars) to honor an absent parent.  The one who inherited from his Dad gave the money to something his Dad would have liked.  How far do you want to go with this?  When you finish your hate speech you ought to go back and admit GEORGE ROMNEY is the type of Republican that YOU might have supported.
5870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 20, 2012, 06:30:46 PM
 "The most important factor is that Mitt grew up in a loving and intact family while Buraq..."

GM, that point is huge.  That was a missing ingredient for Bill Clinton.  For all his brilliance he acted out his deviance to embarrass the nation.  Fatherless Democrats deserve a fair shot at everything including President and pursuit of happiness, but only in progressive-America is growing up in a functional home considered a BIG negative.
Gotta love JDN, trying his hardest.  I point out that was pre-tax income during high tax rate days is NOT what the family gets, and so he repeats it - and again.  Let's try again.  3 million doesn't grow or inflate to 20 million today if government took 78% the combined top tax rate then before he got it.  But in 1968 George Romney was governor of Michigan on a public servant salary.  What JDN passes as a single year income is the exercising of options, investments that he made, earned and saved over a period of time, at risk, that happen to pay off due to leaving the company and shareholders (and workers) in a nice situation.  Greedy capitalist.
Romneys Reported $3-Million Income From 1955 to 1966

Gov. George Romney of Michigan and his wife Lenore had a total income from-1955 to 1966 of nearly $3-million. Of this amount they gave $561,000 to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and another $115,000 to charity, it was disclosed yesterday.

($3 million over 12 years, pre-tax? and a large chunk went to charity.  Greedy capitalist with silver spoon babies.)

My suggestion: Substitute the word accomplished or successful for wealthy and then see if he was around too much of it.  George Romney did not work his full career as an auto executive.  He was also a Governor and HUD Secretary.  

The only trapping of wealth on Mitt the detractors could come up with on the Romney family was that they paid his airplane ticket to come home from Stanford.  Wow...  He also worked as a night security guard there so he could fly back more than they knew.  Devious!

So he had less money than John Kerry.  Less than the Kennedys.  Higher grades than Gore or Kerry.  But JDN rips Romney for his grades ("he was nobody in high school") - while his opponent won't show his.  The drivel continues while the 'growth' plan is 'ask' the 'rich' to pay their 'fair share'.  Strange priorities.  
NY Times continued: "whenever [George Romney] felt his salary and bonus was excessively high for a year, he gave the excess back to the company... he developed a good relationship with United Automobile Workers leader Walter Reuther... AMC workers also benefited from a then-novel profit-sharing plan. Romney was one of only a few Michigan corporate chiefs to support passage and implementation of the state Fair Employment Practices Act."
Greedy capitalist.
JDN wrote further: "She "willed him [Obama] somewhere between a quarter and a half a million"?  Wow!  Romney's Dad made 40 times that in one year alone!!!  

Actually it was 6 times that and it was exercising options earned over a 10 year period, not indicative at all of his salary.  "Wow"  A quarter to a half million quoted were dollars Obama got to keep.  Compare that to a non-existent $20 million figure of falsely inflating a one-time gain of his Dad's, that did NOT come to his Dad or Mitt, except for a part a quarter century later that Mitt received and gave away in his father's name.  Mitt was 21 and gone in the year JDN says the Romneys made the windfall.  Undisguised dishonesty.  Makes Obama is a pretty good fit, lol.  Looking forward to more distortions and worthless discussions on non-issues from now until the election.

Meanwhile half of black teenage males unemployed under Obama:

No problem.  Let's come down harder on employers.
5871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 20, 2012, 01:37:47 PM
I love the silver cocaine spoon analogy.  Reminds me of Ted Kennedy never being able to get away from tragic water analogies.  Every cliche he used seemed to fall into it:  drowning in debt, swimming upstream, head under underwater, water under the bridge, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, asleep at the wheel... it just never ended.  Now the blew-some-coke guy tries a worn out spoon cliche on his opponent to kick off the general election.  Is that all ya got?  That line was Hilarious when Texas Gov Ann Richards used on Geo. W Bush - to an audience of partisan Democrats, not from a 'unifying' President crossing the country on Air Force One on official government business. Interestingly, Bush won and Richards lost; I wonder if Obama's teleprompter-writers knew that!  Watch for more Freudian screwups; this campaign has its wheels falling off.
Thank's for the clarification on George Romney's wealth, '3 million is like 20 million now' and I agree with your conclusion: "That said; so what".  For further clarification, big personal wealth now is measured in billions with a B, a starting factor 50 fold greater than 20 million.  And why would you quote Pre-TAX income from those days?  You show more what he did for his country more than for his family.  You have friends, neighbors, acquaintances richer now than George Romney was then, right?  Not exactly unimaginable wealth.  Again, "so what".

Funny that you then skipped in your wealth clarification the part about the family of 7 traveling in the station wagon, or the couple's first apartment rent of 75/month - that would be nearly $350 today?! But still in the basement, lol.

Understanding wealth and how it is created comes better from Romney's environment than from demagoguing with radical professors and then organizing for welfare rights.  JMHO.
Mitt Romney: "Well, he (George Romney) didn’t have as much as I think some people anticipated. And I did...inherit some funds from my dad. But I turned and gave that away to charity. In this case I gave it to a school which Brigham Young University established in his honor. ... And that’s where his inheritance ended up."

(Once again, the money by that time belonged to Mitt, but was given by Mitt in the name of his Dad.  Selfless like the guy who says his "whole life is a testament [Biblical term] to American exceptionalism.)

Politifact verification:

"There's no evidence we saw that Romney's parents helped buy him a business career."

"According to a short history of the George W. Romney Institute of Public Management at BYU, the family provided an endowment in 1998, within a few years of George Romney's death."
5872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: April 20, 2012, 12:19:14 PM
"Those aren't my socks".  wink  They found that substance in Randy Moss' car when he couldn't break free from single coverage, a cop on the hood, and he said, I can't think of who's been driving this lately.
"Photographs help Americans see the wars"

GM is right about lack of restraint but that is a given.

Making the adjustment to waging war in an age of instant cameras and photo transmission everywhere was a failure of a few troops in a couple crucial situations with tremendous cost.  The giddiness you may feel after a necessary kill needs to be internal - even thousands miles away from the LA Times or al Jazeera headquarters.

There once was an NFL coach (Bud Grant) who told his players that when you get to the end zone, act like that is where the play was designed to go.  Eleven years into the war, how are we not training soldiers what to do in the event of a kill - and enforcing the policy.

We also failed to make the adjustment in Washington to waging war in the age of daily tracking polls.  Always hard to sell the public on the necessary war you command when you personally oppose it.

Cutting off ears, instantly transmitted photos and daily tracking polls do not mix or add up to a successfully sustained war effort against a fully committed enemy - who has our own media on their side.
5873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 20, 2012, 11:24:53 AM
Bigdog, That is a great story and quite an example that the guy does have a core and a heart.

In the Romney dog story, he built the dog it's own windshield!  In this part of the country what we might call 'garage logic' not 'silver spoo'n thinking.  Dogs love sitting in the front of a boat or the back of a pickup.  A family of 7 plus a dog traveling in a station wagon or that he and Ann lived in a 75/mo. apartment when first married.  On the upbringing part, his dad was an executive not owner of a big company and that company made Ramblers not Mustangs or Corvettes.  George Romney was a well liked Governor but a failed Presidential candidate, more like Lamar Alexander or Paul Tsongas than growing up a Kennedy.  

People criticize the type of company that Romney ran but besides exercising many positive qualities there such as competence, being organized, setting priorities, making hard choices, managing staff, he had the rare personal ability to leave that work while on top.  He was good at it but that dog eat dog world (pardon the expression) wasn't all that he is.

In 2008 so many of the choices including the final 2 or 3 came out of the senate, without executive experience.  That is a big distinction.  The senate has its own aura, great deliberations, strategy and oratory, but it alone is not the experience of running an executive branch somewhere.

Obama's executive experience was that he ran an amazing campaign in 2008, but it was centered around running away from hard choices of governance with the blank canvas speeches. That, along with the main theme of blame Bush and the Republicans worked for the election but it did not establish a roadmap for successful governing.  He had no experience or ability to adapt and change course as a successful business executive is trained to do.

Back to Romney, he won't be bragging about his Mormonism but that he served in his religion and rose to such a high level is another demonstration of character.  That was not something he had to do - he could have written books about himself, played golf, visited beaches around the world...

Re. GM's post `Obama Isn’t Working': Remember that McCain's refusal to take off the gloves was a key point in not getting this inexperienced opponent with his misguided direction fully vetted.  Crafty had complained or pointed out that Romney was outspending these primary opponents ruthlessly and I saved a Romney piece that came to my mailbox days before our caucus viciously taking a former Speaker down to size, who in his time changed Washington and made a huge difference.  Sorry to say but that willingness and ability to go critical and negative now becomes quite a strength in the general election where Barack Obama with his record is far more vulnerable than was Newt.

Romney isn't cool or hip to the (unemployed) younger generation, but if he is still projecting competence and readiness on Nov.6 he will be the next President.
5874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care: Barney Frank - Obama made a mistake on: April 19, 2012, 01:55:57 PM
My first post ever (half) agreeing with Barney Frank:

Barney Frank: Obama Made 'Mistake' With Health Care Push

By Jonathan Miller
Updated: April 16, 2012 | 6:35 p.m.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said he advised President Obama against taking up health care reform following a special election in 2010 that changed Democrats' fortunes in the Senate, saying that he should have instead turned his focus to financial reform.  (No, that was a disaster too!)

Frank referenced former President Bill Clinton and his failed health care plan from the 1990s. “Obama made the same mistake Clinton made,” Frank said in a wide-ranging interview with New York magazine. “When you try to extend health care to people who don’t have it, people who have it and are on the whole satisfied with it get nervous.”

The outgoing representative from Massachusetts added that after Republican Scott Brown won former Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s seat, breaking Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority, Obama should have backed down: “I think we paid a terrible price for health care. I would not have pushed it as hard. As a matter of fact, after Scott Brown won, I suggested going back. I would have started with financial reform but certainly not health care," Frank said.

He said that if the president had followed his advice, “you could have gotten some pieces of it.”
Frank is right on this last part.  In the heat of the debate, Obama could have gotten the 'popular' parts of Obamacare passed with bipartisan support - if that was what he wanted and he could have avoided the fiascos of the Cornhusker kickback, deemed passed, broken promises about open debate and time to read the bills and all the rest.  He chose not to and paid a heavy price in 2010 and likely became a one-termer. 

Jumping the gun here on the upcoming Supreme Court decision, he also could have avoided the fiasco of having his signature achievement ruled to be unconstitutional.  His second term election theme then could be to do more instead of creating the need to go back and undo what he got wrong.
5875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Vindication of Wisconsin Gov. Walker - Property taxes down on: April 19, 2012, 01:42:25 PM
Calif could learn something from the other 49.  It used to be the other way around.

"the typical homeowner's bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker's collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts"

A Wisconsin Vindication        Excerpt, more at the link...

Property tax bills fall as Scott Walker's reforms start to kick in.

The public employee unions and other liberals are confident that Wisconsin voters will turn out Governor Scott Walker in a recall election later this year, but not so fast. That may turn out to be as wrong as some of their other predictions as Badger State taxpayers start to see tangible benefits from Mr. Walker's reforms—such as the first decline in statewide property taxes in a dozen years.

On Monday Mr. Walker's office released new data that show the property tax bill for the median home fell by 0.4% in 2011, as reported by Wisconsin's municipalities. Property taxes, which are the state's largest revenue source and mainly fund K-12 schools, have risen every year since 1998—by 43% overall. The state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner's bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker's collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts.
The real gains will grow as local school districts continue repairing and rationalizing their budgets using the tools Mr. Walker gave them. Those include the ability to renegotiate perk-filled teacher contracts and requiring government workers to contribute more than 0% to their pensions. A year ago amid their sit-ins and other protests, the unions said such policies would lead to the decline and fall of civilization, but the only things that are falling are tax collections.

The political lesson is that attempts to modernize government are always controversial, but support usually builds over time as the public comes to appreciate the benefits of structural change that tames the drivers of a status quo that includes ever-higher spending and taxes. The Wisconsin recall donnybrook in June will test whether voters value their own bottom lines more than the political power of unions.
5876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / programs & spending: Government funded research on: April 19, 2012, 01:03:37 PM
I'm no fan of government funded research but doesn't it make sense that the product of that research belongs to the taxpayer and the public?

When research is funded by the taxpayer or by charities, the results should be available to all without charge

"...a year of the Journal of Mathematical Sciences will set you back $20,100. In 2011 Elsevier, the biggest academic-journal publisher, made a profit of ($1.2 billion)...  Such margins (37%) are possible because the journals’ content is largely provided free by researchers, and the academics who peer-review their papers are usually unpaid volunteers. The journals are then sold to the very universities that provide the free content and labour. For publicly funded research, the result is that the academics and taxpayers who were responsible for its creation have to pay to read it. This is not merely absurd and unjust; it also hampers education and research."
5877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: April 19, 2012, 12:37:43 AM
"three times this week, Buraq's team has tried to lob attacks at Mittens and each time they've spiked it back in Obozo's face, the dog being the latest and best of the three. I think Mitt is serious about winning. And if he keeps it up, he will."

People can say what they will about Romney for President but I wouldn't vote for Obama for dogcatcher.
5878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: The owner of the dog is upset on: April 18, 2012, 11:59:22 PM
5879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fisker - Another government green co. down the drain on: April 18, 2012, 04:32:43 PM
$200 million from the taxpayer to build cars.  No cars.  No jobs here or even where they manufacture - in Finland!  Taxpayer is blamed for not putting up more money.  The only innovation that came out of it was to shift the entire innovation sector over to lobbying government for their dollars - while we mock and despise venture capitalists.  Go figure.

Gov’t-Subsidized Company Goes Through Another Round of Layoffs: Plant Is ‘Absolutely Empty’

Govt Subsidized Company Goes Through Another Round of Layoffs: Plant Is Absolutely EmptyAn electric car manufacturer that was awarded more than half a billion dollars in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy has gone through a second round of layoffs.
Analysts blame the lousy state of Fisker’s finances on the fact that the DOE has denied the company the second round of its loan.
Fisker Automotive is given $193 million of a $529 million DOE loan to produce two lines of plug-in hybrid cars and, presumably, create jobs.
    The company is unable to find a contract manufacturer in the United States, so it outsources manufacturing jobs to Finland (the company vehemently denies charges that it has used any part of the federal loan to fund manufacturing operations in Finland).
    The automaker falls behind its production schedule and experiences “delays” in its sales (i.e. poor sales), depleting its capital.
    But to qualify for the rest of the $529 million loan guarantee, the company has to maintain a certain amount of capital.
    Therefore, in order to meet this DOE benchmark, Fisker Automotive decides it will save money by laying off an “undisclosed number” of employees.

Or as Axelrod will call it, another example of failure in the private sector.
5880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Like father, like Son - Economic Glibness - Dreams from my father on: April 18, 2012, 04:06:06 PM
"After leaving Hawaii he (Mr Obama Snr,) took a PhD in economics at Harvard and later became a senior economist with the Kenyan government."

Kenya per capita income nearly 50 years later: US$ 2.00/day, $60/mo.  - Living the Dream!

I wonder what they teach for economics over at those Ivy League Schools... Fairness?

5881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: April 18, 2012, 03:48:00 PM
Obama would never put a dog on top of a car. It dries out the meat.
5882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: April 18, 2012, 01:38:03 PM
A longer version of repetition, still with falsehoods, still refuting nothing I wrote.  I asked you to go back and read what she wrote in its entirety and you refuse.  Then tell me I'm wrong about what she wrote.  Great discussion (sarc.).
5883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Glibster sticks it to the UK - and Argentina - over the Falklands on: April 18, 2012, 01:24:22 PM
Barack Obama addressed the Summit of the Americas in Colombia and spoke about the conflict between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the Falklands. Obama seemed to tilt toward Argentina by calling the islands the “Malvinas” rather than the Falklands, which Argentina insists is their proper name.

Only Obama didn’t say Malvinas, he said Maldives–an entirely different group of islands located thousands of miles from the Falklands in the Indian Ocean:

So with one word, Obama both offended the British and made himself a laughingstock with the Latin Americans.

 - John Hinderacker, Powerline
5884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Economist: Over-regulated America on: April 18, 2012, 12:53:25 PM
In the category of famous people reading the forum I offer you The Economist cover story Feb 18 2012 that I spotted yesterday:

Over-regulated America

The home of laissez-faire is being suffocated by excessive and badly written regulation

AMERICANS love to laugh at ridiculous regulations. A Florida law requires vending-machine labels to urge the public to file a report if the label is not there. The Federal Railroad Administration insists that all trains must be painted with an “F” at the front, so you can tell which end is which. Bureaucratic busybodies in Bethesda, Maryland, have shut down children’s lemonade stands because the enterprising young moppets did not have trading licences. The list goes hilariously on.

But red tape in America is no laughing matter. The problem is not the rules that are self-evidently absurd. It is the ones that sound reasonable on their own but impose a huge burden collectively. America is meant to be the home of laissez-faire. Unlike Europeans, whose lives have long been circumscribed by meddling governments and diktats from Brussels, Americans are supposed to be free to choose, for better or for worse. Yet for some time America has been straying from this ideal.

Consider the Dodd-Frank law of 2010. Its aim was noble: to prevent another financial crisis. Its strategy was sensible, too: improve transparency, stop banks from taking excessive risks, prevent abusive financial practices and end “too big to fail” by authorising regulators to seize any big, tottering financial firm and wind it down. This newspaper supported these goals at the time, and we still do. But Dodd-Frank is far too complex, and becoming more so. At 848 pages, it is 23 times longer than Glass-Steagall, the reform that followed the Wall Street crash of 1929. Worse, every other page demands that regulators fill in further detail. Some of these clarifications are hundreds of pages long. Just one bit, the “Volcker rule”, which aims to curb risky proprietary trading by banks, includes 383 questions that break down into 1,420 subquestions.

Hardly anyone has actually read Dodd-Frank, besides the Chinese government and our correspondent in New York (see article). Those who have struggle to make sense of it, not least because so much detail has yet to be filled in: of the 400 rules it mandates, only 93 have been finalised. So financial firms in America must prepare to comply with a law that is partly unintelligible and partly unknowable.

Flaming water-skis

Dodd-Frank is part of a wider trend. Governments of both parties keep adding stacks of rules, few of which are ever rescinded. Republicans write rules to thwart terrorists, which make flying in America an ordeal and prompt legions of brainy migrants to move to Canada instead. Democrats write rules to expand the welfare state. Barack Obama’s health-care reform of 2010 had many virtues, especially its attempt to make health insurance universal. But it does little to reduce the system’s staggering and increasing complexity. Every hour spent treating a patient in America creates at least 30 minutes of paperwork, and often a whole hour. Next year the number of federally mandated categories of illness and injury for which hospitals may claim reimbursement will rise from 18,000 to 140,000. There are nine codes relating to injuries caused by parrots, and three relating to burns from flaming water-skis.

Two forces make American laws too complex. One is hubris. Many lawmakers seem to believe that they can lay down rules to govern every eventuality. Examples range from the merely annoying (eg, a proposed code for nurseries in Colorado that specifies how many crayons each box must contain) to the delusional (eg, the conceit of Dodd-Frank that you can anticipate and ban every nasty trick financiers will dream up in the future). Far from preventing abuses, complexity creates loopholes that the shrewd can abuse with impunity.

The other force that makes American laws complex is lobbying. The government’s drive to micromanage so many activities creates a huge incentive for interest groups to push for special favours. When a bill is hundreds of pages long, it is not hard for congressmen to slip in clauses that benefit their chums and campaign donors. The health-care bill included tons of favours for the pushy. Congress’s last, failed attempt to regulate greenhouse gases was even worse.

Complexity costs money. Sarbanes-Oxley, a law aimed at preventing Enron-style frauds, has made it so difficult to list shares on an American stockmarket that firms increasingly look elsewhere or stay private. America’s share of initial public offerings fell from 67% in 2002 (when Sarbox passed) to 16% last year, despite some benign tweaks to the law. A study for the Small Business Administration, a government body, found that regulations in general add $10,585 in costs per employee. It’s a wonder the jobless rate isn’t even higher than it is.

A plea for simplicity

Democrats pay lip service to the need to slim the rulebook—Mr Obama’s regulations tsar is supposed to ensure that new rules are cost-effective. But the administration has a bias towards overstating benefits and underestimating costs (see article). Republicans bluster that they will repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank and abolish whole government agencies, but give only a sketchy idea of what should replace them.

America needs a smarter approach to regulation. First, all important rules should be subjected to cost-benefit analysis by an independent watchdog. The results should be made public before the rule is enacted. All big regulations should also come with sunset clauses, so that they expire after, say, ten years unless Congress explicitly re-authorises them.

More important, rules need to be much simpler. When regulators try to write an all-purpose instruction manual, the truly important dos and don’ts are lost in an ocean of verbiage. Far better to lay down broad goals and prescribe only what is strictly necessary to achieve them. Legislators should pass simple rules, and leave regulators to enforce them.

Would this hand too much power to unelected bureaucrats? Not if they are made more accountable. Unreasonable judgments should be subject to swift appeal. Regulators who make bad decisions should be easily sackable. None of this will resolve the inevitable difficulties of regulating a complex modern society. But it would mitigate a real danger: that regulation may crush the life out of America’s economy.
5885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: April 18, 2012, 12:26:47 PM
"Doug, you are missing the logic"

No JDN you are twisting a technicality ("not full personhood" under "Jewish Law") into a genocidally wrong conclusion.  That you can say what is alive and human is not human life does not contain logic, it contains self deception assuming you even believe what you post.  You refuse to acknowledge what was already posted by people you defer to and you misquoted what you linked.  Trivializing 163 million dead does not put you in logical or moral equivalence with Rachel who I linked and quoted in effect called abortion evil (why would it be evil if you are not killing human life) and it is in direct contradiction to your own citation - why would it "frustrate the propagation of more people" (that is a tortured way of saying kill) if it does not end a human life.  Your feigned logic is more akin to the writings and teachings of different time that would argue the justification of killing negro slaves, Jews or infidels where others have denied recognition for what is obviously human life.  Jewish Law does NOT argue that there is nothing of value in the womb and no loss in killing it as you do.  That is simply untrue.  

We do not live in a theocracy (and you and I are not Jewish) so why would Jewish Law be controlling if you could get it right?  The waste of time theme continues.

If you insist on refuting what Rachel posted, you might answer the question begging nine times in her post on the subject:  The "mother" in the abortions is the mother of a WHAT??  If not a human life, is there a raccoon in there? A reptile? A rodent?  What is it?  It has has distinct DNA, fingerprints, and a beating heart and you say it is "property" -  like a book? In a moral and a civilized society?  With 21st century scientific evidence with ultrasound photography available?  Even after we know it could live and grow outside the womb?  A slave was property too, in the eye of those who justified that, not a human life.  Killing a Jew was moral(?) in Nazi society because ..... why? No life of value was lost?  FYI, they were wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go ahead and continue to "not discuss" this.  So far, I agree with you that you haven't.
5886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Dick Morris - indications of a Republican landslide on: April 18, 2012, 11:17:25 AM
Dick Morris posts some indicators that this is not going to be the electoral tie of 2000 that the currently vacillating polls might indicate.

"Six of eight presidents seeking reelection (since 1964) performed worse than the final Gallup poll predicted, while one finished the same (Reagan in 1984) and one gained votes (Bush in 2004). "

..."of the total of 
19 points that shifted between the final poll and the election results, 17 points or 89 percent went to the challenger.

The implications of these findings are that the current polls, while seemingly close, portend a strong Republican victory. The average of the past eight presidential horse race polls shows Obama with a 47-44 lead over Romney. But among likely voters, in the Rasmussen survey (all others were of either registered voters or adults), the president was running behind Romney by 48-44.

But given the historical fact that the final results are almost always worse for the president and almost never better, we really need to focus on the Obama vote share rather than his lead or lack of one against Romney. If Obama is, indeed, getting 44 percent of the vote, he is likely facing, at least, an 11-point loss. If he is getting 47 percent of the vote, he is looking, at least, at a 6-point defeat. (Given the fact that six of the eight incumbent presidents not only lost the undecided, but finished lower than the pre-election survey predicted, it would be more likely that Obama’s margin of defeat would be greater than even these numbers suggest.)

There are other indications of a Republican landslide in the offing. Party identification has moved a net of eight points toward the GOP since the last election. In Senate races, there are currently eight Democratic-held seats where Republicans are now leading either the Democratic incumbent or the Democratic candidate for the open seat."
5887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion - Jewish Law says thou shalt not kill on: April 18, 2012, 09:54:54 AM
"I did not nor do I intend to discuss abortion."

Good! But what thread do you think you are in??  Drifting from "human being" to "full personhood", do we argue over humans interpreting God's law or go to the source? 

From JDN's link: "Jewish law suggests that abortion is wrong..." - but in the author's opinion, for different reasons, lol.

I don't know how this became about Jewish Law, but I quote and link what I know below.  This is more about liberals denying science and denegrading human life.  And it's about a logic string implied below that because they are going to do it anyway, let's make it legal. It's alive and human, not full personhood, but it is a human life.  What are you to link to make that obvious reality go away?

The point in an abortion thread of discussing whether or not it is a human life is to discover what we think about KILLING it.  Right?  Go to your source and a) it is evil and b) it is against Jewish law.

Rachel said she wasn't going to discuss it further and so for the third time I suggest you could go back and read the ENTIRETY of what she wrote on the subject if she is your guide on this matter.  

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to connect the facts established in science that a developing fetus is alive and human with the following "Jewish Law":

You shall not murder or You shall not kill, KJV Thou shalt not kill (LXX οὐ φονεύσεις, translating Hebrew לֹא תִּרְצָח lo tirṣaḥ), is a moral imperative included as one of the Ten Commandments in the Torah,[1]

Exodus 20:13
Deuteronomy 5:17.

As GM points out, the life of the mother fits the distinction between kill and murder.  Killing in self defense has never been considered a violation of the commandment.  For the record, Rachel confirmed exactly what GM wrote here: "As a general rule, abortion in Judaism is permitted only if there is a direct threat to the life of the mother..."

In that post alone there are NINE references to the "mother".  May I please ask again, the mother of WHAT?? ?? ??  (Obviously she is mother to a new, innocent, developing human life and it is evil and forbidden in religious law to kill it except to save your own life.)

98% of abortions are for convenience reasons.  I fail to see how a commandment-following Jewish woman takes the innocent life of her own unborn baby for reasons other than saving her own life. 

"Thou shalt not..." does not give a lot of wiggle room for justifications like that I need the money to continue my health club membership or prefer not finish my degree by extension.  God's answer to that is Thou Shalt Not.

Rachel wanted out of this conversation so I did not want to selectively bring her words forward, but if you reference her posts but refuse to go back and read them I will post this:  

"I just see legal abortion as a much less evil than illegal abortion"

I may disagree with that but is that not still saying abortion is evil?

A women's rights issue? Hardly:
The War Against Girls
Since the late 1970s, 163 million female babies have been aborted by parents seeking sons

What rights did those dead girls acquire?
5888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: April 17, 2012, 07:55:46 PM
"If I recollect the position of Rachel..."

Unless the posts were removed you do not have to recollect.  That was not all she said before withdrawing from the conversation.
5889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Abortion on: April 17, 2012, 09:28:52 AM
"Apparently hiding in plain site in the Roe v. Wade decision is language addressing the matter of defining the beginning of life.  In the passage he quotes, it seems to read rather clearly that the Congress could pass a law defining the beginning of life and were it to do so SCOTUS would defer to it."

VERY interesting.  If one were to look back through the discussions here, Congress could take positions laid out by Rachel and from the science of beating hearts, fingerprints etc and define as human life the point where a fetus is more like born baby than like a sperm cell or an embryo.  That still would allow women control over morning after type treatments of what is inside her own body.  If you let it develop into a distinct recognizable human, civilized society is going to protect it.

Unlike other ways of addressing this, you would lose the distinction of keeping track of whether the origin came from rape or incest.

Obviously Roe v. Wade can be addressed also by amendment.  What is lacking as with other contentious issues is the supermajority that would require.  That is why I have tried to address it in this thread to challenge people to think of this in terms of right and wrong more so than in law.  You need to change the thinking toward life before you can prohibit or criminalize what others find analogous to wart or cyst removal.  As Pres. Reagan said (paraphrasing), a fetus is a) alive, b) of the human species, and c) of distinct genetic composition from anyone else including the father and the mother. 

Even pro-abortion activists and justices refer accidentally to the woman carrying the fetus as the mother.  The mother of what?
5890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Men & Women on: April 17, 2012, 09:09:35 AM
"I think the intention of those who take the position is usually to disparage women who choose to put as much time and effort as they can into raising their children.  Time is finite, and if you are, for example, working as an attorney, your children are going to get A LOT LESS of your time and effort."

One point to that would be that it is a private, family decision, outrageous to be disparaged publicly for it implying she is unworthy of having an opinion to express on civic matters. 

The attack on stay at home moms I believe is borne out of the guilt the others often feel for subcontracting and outsourcing the experience of raising of your children.

Among my own experiences with the soccer moms and girl scout moms I found that the stay at home ones tended to be equally educated and informed and usually more so than the career moms.  In Ann Romney's case she has a Harvard degree at least by extension.  In most neighborhoods that is impressive alone besides serving on all the boards posted previously.  In fact and in law these women and a couple of stay at home dads are in equal partnership with the careers and accomplishments of the spouse.  These successful men (or women) did not marry the maid or the babysitter; they mostly married their equal.  If Ann Romney's economic thoughts were naive or stupid wouldn't you think you could attack them on the merit instead of on the person.

FYI to anyone who hasn't tried it, taking off 2 or 3 decades to raise children may be the most rewarding experience possible, but when you are done companies don't just put you back to either the level where you would risen or even to where you left off.  That is the difficult transition the women's activists, if they cared, should be addressing.  MHO.
5891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Wash Post - Landscape bright for Romney on: April 16, 2012, 05:42:24 PM
It is about a tie at right now but this piece paints an optimistic picture for Romney. Romney needs to win Florida, Ohio and Virginia but if he can win those three, a good number of other tossups might also fall his way.

Romney’s bright electoral landscape
By Jennifer Rubin

The electoral map reveals how perilous is President Obama’s grip on the White House. Let’s start, as RealClearPolitics does, with a base of 170 electoral votes for Mitt Romney. It’s hard to imagine that Obama could win any of even the less-red states that comprise that batch (e.g. Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, Montana). To get 100 more and seize the presidency, Romney only needs some states that routinely went Republican before the 2008 race (Nevada, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia) and needs to hold on to a few that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) managed to win (Arizona, Missouri). This gets Romney to 273.

In other words, Romney doesn’t need to win (but he might) in New Hampshire or New Mexico. He would love to, but isn’t required to, break through in states like Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin or Michigan. (The first and last would seem the most likely.)

It may come as a shock to liberals when you break it down by the only measure that matters (electoral votes), but Romney can do worse that George W. Bush did in 2004 (when he won Iowa and New Mexico) and still win the White House.

This doesn’t mean Romney will have an easy time of it, but it does suggest that Romney doesn’t need to twist and turn on policy, or throw the longball for VP to win the race. If he runs better than McCain and worse than Bush, then he’s very likely to win.

Of the states critical to Romney, it is not hard to see how important Ohio, Florida and Virginia are to his prospects. These states have a cumulative total of 60 electoral votes. Romney won all three in the primaries, and each has large urban and/or suburban areas of the type Romney has won all across the country. All three states have GOP governors. In 2010, Ohio and Florida each elected a conservative senator in part due to a backlash against Obama.

All of this leads us to a couple conclusions. First, a popular VP pick from one of them would be a smart thing indeed. Jeb Bush, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Virginia’s Gov. Bob McDonnell would qualify and please the base without turning off swing voters.

Second, if you think of some of the issues that matter in these states (trade, Cuba policy, jobs) Romney is well positioned. Virginia (in part from government-related hiring in Northern Virginia) is the only one of the three with unemployment below 7 percent. Florida’s is over 9 percent. Romney need not rethink or restyle his agenda, nor (as liberals keep arguing) move “to the center.” He simply has to communicate over and over again why his middle-of-the-road Republican policies and his background in the private sector would be better for those states and the country.

Republicans should be relieved, but not cocky, about the electoral landscape. The states most at risk will very likely be close. But Democrats’ confidence at this point seems unwarranted. It is very easy to spot Romney’s path to 270 electoral votes.
5892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: April 16, 2012, 02:35:54 PM
"As for coercing people to make investments, actually I think my idea is the opposite.  I would substantially lower taxes (eliminate deductions) so there is a greater incentive to make a profit and invest."

Agree. That comment was aimed at the current Dem scheme, you current proposal is closer to the various Republican plans - if you really would lower the rates.

Deductions are regressive because they apply most to the people who make and pay in the most.  Hard to find income tax breaks for the half of the country that doesn't pay in (though we do that too).  It is social engineering but at least in this one case we are incentivising something that perhaps improves neighborhoods and stability. 

PP's take on the mtg deduction in housing IIRC was that ending it would collapse the housing market and the construction sector and all of the banks.  A very high risk or high cost and it just doesn't gain you much.  Again, Romney's plan is more realistic.  Bring the rates down but limit the deductions for people at the high end.

If the argument of Buffet and Obama was true (the rich pay the lowest rate), this would be the perfect time to implement a true, one rate flat tax on all income and sort out the progressivity and redistribution over on the spending side.  This whole idea that we should rob Peter to pay Paul because it is polling well with Paul is antithetical to our founding and former values.
5893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: April 16, 2012, 01:48:44 PM
"In less than nine months, Bush-era tax rates are scheduled to expire, hiking rates for the middle class as well as top income earners."

The message to investors that higher rates are coming does as much damage as the higher rates and the uncertainty makes it even worse.  If we avert this disaster at the last minute it means we caused all of the economic damage but (again) collected no new revenues at the higher rates.  We couldn't be more stupid (MHO).

All economists agree you don't raise taxes in a recession because of the damage that it will cause and you can't raise taxes in this vulnerable super slow growth economy on the brink of disaster because of the damage it will cause.  Instead we keep promising to raise taxes at some other time when things are going much better only to again screw up what was once almost working.  

The Bush tax cuts were made temporary with the belief that if they were successful in growing the economy they would later be made permanent.  But after 52 consecutive months of job growth people instead took that growth for granted, without its foundation, and elected a promise to end those policies and those results.   We had moved on to higher needs like ending unequal outcomes, changing the content of the troposphere and living a  free birth control dream of unlimited sex without consequences, then whine about the stall that we caused.

Even if pro-growth Republicans were to win it all, the supreme court case, the House, the Senate narrowly and the Presidency, they still lack the votes to implement major reform.   In the meantime investors and employers face uncertainty worse than you find in most third world countries: a new "top rate of 25 percent"... "or as high as 40 percent or more" and these rates don't count the other layers of taxation while states and local governmentss face bankruptcy.

Uncertainty causes inaction which means factories not built and investment capital free to leave the country or rot on the sidelines.  According to one of Scott Grannis' charts we lost 12% of our economy perhaps permanently off of our long term growth curve in the current crisis.  Now we might try to grow a smaller economy with a lower participation rate at a slower growth rate, pulling a larger anchor.  And we made emergency spending increases permanent.  That formula doesn't pay the bills, meaning more debt, more devaluation and more pressure for additional 'revenue enhancers'.

Quite ironic is the inverse correlation that the need for public spending in a sick economy actually goes up while the means to pay is going down.  The spenders instead should love having the pro-growth side build up available revenues.  

From the article: "Despite the gamesmanship, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) hopes upcoming meetings with Republican members on taxes can pave the way for the first broad overhaul of the tax code since 1986.  “Our goal is to not only block massive, job-killing tax increases,” said Sage Eastman, a spokesman for Camp, “but also to enact comprehensive tax reform.”  Camp and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) are among those laying the ground work for tax reform, an effort that many expect to bleed into the next Congress."

The timing of these reforms really needs to be now, not to wait for the next divided government.   The message from the people though is split and polarized making bold action impossible.  Further stagnation is a best case scenario IMHO.

Instead of arguing either side of the budget fight, Pres. Obama is taking the fight to another level of job killing and 'fairness'.  Too bad people in his own party don't tell him to straighten up and get this done.
5894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: April 16, 2012, 11:00:05 AM
"most industrialized nations don't have a mortgage deduction, yet real estate seems to do just fine."

Agree but it is putting toothpaste back in a tube. I never made an investment based on a tax benefit because I wouldn't trust that it would still be there later.  But millions of people did.

"As for charity, giving is great; I think it's wonderful, but don't give because it's deductible."

No, but you can't pay for cradle to grave government covering all expenses for all people in need including yourself and all medical and scientific research and everything else and then expect that people will have money left over after taxes to help others.  This was a choice made to shift that all to government, even the funding of 'charities' comes from government (ex: ACORN).  If we want some of these functions to be done privately we can't also force people to pay for it all publicly. That is cognitive dissonance or just bad math.  Another path would be to set public safety nets very low and unattractive keeping the public financial burden low and trust your fellow citizens to prosper and contribute voluntarily to help those who can't, as you say, without a deduction.  You will notice that one side of the aisle is quite intentionally mis-using words like 'give-back', pay their fair share and 'contribute' when the programs are mandated and the payments are coerced.

What they forget  is that they cannot coerce you to make the investments or earn the income in the first place.  When the incentive become too negative, the levels of activity fall off steeply, witness 2008 coming into the first scheduled end to the 'Bush' marginal tax rate cuts.  The investor based financial disaster very quickly became jobs lost in the millions and revenues lost in the trillions.

5895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Path. Science - Severe global warming 55 million years ago on: April 16, 2012, 12:30:48 AM
(Caused by an early versions of the Ford F150 and Chevy Suburban.)

Severe global warming 55million years ago 'triggered by changes in Earth's orbit'

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 06:14 EST, 5 April 2012 | UPDATED: 12:57 EST, 5 April 2012

Changes in the Earth’s orbit 55million years ago caused the planet to warm up by 5C, according to new research.

A study by climate scientist Rob DeConto of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and colleagues at the University of Sheffield found that orbital changes triggered the melting of vast areas of permafrost at the poles, which released greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Did warming primarily cause the release of CO2 or is that backward?  - Doug
5896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: Glaciers are growing in the Karakoram range, home to K2 on: April 16, 2012, 12:21:24 AM
Glaciers are growing in the Karakoram range, home to K2 (Increased ice was caused by warming)

Scientists discover glaciers in Asian mountain range are actually getting BIGGER

By Ian Garland    UK Daily Mail

PUBLISHED: 15:13 EST, 15 April 2012 | UPDATED: 15:20 EST, 15 April 2012

Photos taken by a French satellite show glaciers in a mountain range west of the Himalayas have grown during the last decade.

The growing glaciers were found in the Karakoram range, which spans the borders between Pakistan, India and China and is home to the world's second highest peak, K2.  - More at the link...

5897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: April 15, 2012, 09:20:54 PM
"I didn't know about Geithner and Turbo Tax.  You mean I too might have an excuse if I did something wrong? "

No, other than for Geithner that defense has been rejected for ordinary taxpayers.  - Today's WSJ:
"Mr. Geithner's episode notwithstanding, there's a growing issue here. Taxpayers who utilize a professional tax adviser such as a CPA or attorney can often avoid IRS penalties by alleging reliance on the tax adviser. (You're always responsible for the underlying tax itself and any interest on the amount.) But for someone who uses commercial software to prepare returns, no such defenses are generally available: The software isn't considered to be a "professional tax adviser." That's unfortunate, because growing numbers of Americans may end up with Mr. Geithner's the-software-did-it problem."

"Doug you once asked me for my tax plan.  I suggest a 2-3 tier system with almost no deductions"

We aren't very far apart on the structure, but the rates are crucial.  I would keep the mortgage and charitable deductions until marginal rates are lowered enough that ending those won't kill off housing and charities.  I would personally be fine without those two but the economy won't - at this point.  Phase out would be fine but you would have to simultaneously phaseout the artificial costs that government is adding to housing and remove  the duplication of government charging for what ought to be done by private charities. 

I would word it differently, not end deductions but end the social engineering in the tax code (other than those two).  No spending whatsoever in the tax code, state or federal.  Spending for great causes like helping the poor goes over on the spending side of the ledger.  The Romney plan will limit deductions like home mortgages of the upper incomes instead of raising their marginal rates to punitive levels. What you might call deductions I might call business expenses that MUST be deducted from revenues to calculate income.  I can't pay the Feds what I already gave to the state and the Feds or vice versa.  I already have a greater than 100% tax rate and pretty soon they won't even be able to take my first born as she prepares to venture from the nest.

The tax code needs to be efficient.  Collect the money to run the essentials of the public sector but do the least possible harm disrupting the engine that drives it.
"nor do I think capital gains or any other income should be treated any different than simple wage income."

Should an inflationary gain which is not a gain at all be taxed as ordinary income? 

Capital gains should be taxed to maximize economic activity and revenues to the Treasury.  (Same for corporate tax rates.) When you change the goal from raising money to fairness you raise less money.  With deficits still over a trillion and accumulated debt approaching 16 trillion, why can we afford deliberate inefficiency?

We could tax investment gains at 40% federal plus 12% state plus 15.3% FiCA plus any other surcharges that we want but no one is going to make new investments or sell off any old ones, there won't be jobs and revenues would most certainly decline.  It would end both the private and public sectors as we know them.  It doesn't work and we are lucky the Dem supermajorities of 2009-2010 did not try it.  What they propose to a Republican House in an election year that most certainly won't pass and that they did not pass themselves when they had complete control is demagogic rhetoric.  Best not to take it all too literally.

The first step in any tax burden sanity plan is to spend less.
5898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: April 15, 2012, 07:04:50 PM
A Turbotax error became the Geithner defense for why he failed to pay 4 major years of taxes.  For me it is the bringing together of all the records and numbers for input that is the hard task, not the filling in out the forms or even paying the tax.

The largest tax for me (other than property taxes which are more than 100% of take home income) is the cost of not doing certain transactions at all because of the tax consequence.

Make it simple, yes, but also make the rates low.
5899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: David Brooks / Tyler Cowen, Two Economies on: April 15, 2012, 06:50:20 PM
Bigdog, Thanks for that post.  I am not much of a Brooks fan but his reporting here is very good. 

At the high end of the economy, if you invent, innovate or simply out-hustle the competition today you now have a much larger global market in which to sell your product or service than you had a generation ago.  The income that come come from even a very low margin successful global business is nearly limitless.  That is a good thing and should not be used as a distraction for what the rest of us may need to do to survive and prosper.  There is NOT a fixed size pie that we are splitting up.  Wealth creation is just that, new wealth, and it improves potential of everyone around them for new income.  An app developer may be able to sell a million off of one home-run.  That it doesn't seem fair to someone else is not a productive thought. Still, a plumber can only replace only one tub faucet at a time though the products, methods and tools he uses may have improved.  A professor of constitutional law still needs an hour (plus prep time) to deliver a first class lecture.  Not every profession benefits from the change of scale though we all can benefit from living in a healthier economy.

One fear is that a few big businesses will take over everything, but everyone who has worked for one of the giants knows that they turn down and pass up plenty of opportunities everyday leaving behind a plethora of new opportunities for new entrepreneurs in their wake.

The question no one but me it seems is asking is why is life getting so expensive?  Everything it seems now costs way more than it should.  It take so much money to just get by. 

Something like 40 cents of every dollar of resources goes to public sector overhead.  I don't know what that burden ought to be but for my money I would say quite a bit lower.  Worse I think is the regulatory burden mostly hidden from view but perhaps one of every family's biggest expenses.  Again, I can't say what that burden ought to be, we certainly need one, but it needs to be a whole lot lower.

The 3rd economy unmentioned is the large number of people who live outside of our productive economy, not in the economy one or economy two.  In many areas, that is the majority.

Back to the first tier, it is quite a tragedy for the rest of the globe that America at the moment with its public sector brakes on is failing to lead in a forward direction.
5900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Afghanistan-Pakistan: Michael Boskin, How about a free trade agreement? on: April 15, 2012, 05:54:51 PM
A Passage to Indian-Pakistan Peace
A free trade agreement would give each country a stake in the other's success.


With their sizable nuclear arsenals and tensions over territory, water and terrorism, India and Pakistan pose staggering risks to South Asia. But they also offer outsize economic potential for their citizens, the region and the world. Leaders in both nations seeking peace, stability and a prosperous future should seize on free trade as the best way to further these goals. The time has come for an India-Pakistan free trade agreement.

Free trade would substantially increase trade and investment flows, incomes and employment, and it would give the citizens of both countries a far greater stake in the other's success. Economists of varying backgrounds agree that free trade is a positive-sum economic activity for all involved. In the seven years following Nafta, trade among the United States, Canada and Mexico tripled and real wages rose in each country.

More at the link...
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