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5851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 29, 2011, 11:19:11 AM
In our famous people reading the forum series, Hugh Hewitt in the Washington Examiner finally runs with my allegation that the 2007-2008 years were under 'their' watch as well:
"The hope and change hangover the country is experiencing is 100 percent the consequence of the policies adopted in 2007 and 2008 by President Obama in concert with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid."  (Short piece, read it all.)
100% blame is an overstatement and not all the destructive policies were adopted, but the fact that they have been looming over investors for all this time has been enormously destructive. 

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

5852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: liberalism, progressivism: Ten ThingsCould have done differently on: August 29, 2011, 10:58:49 AM
There is a consensus that Obama both over-reached with leftism and is incompetent.  From a left point of view, over-reaching left is not good because it energized the opposition and potentially killed the movement.  And incompetence is never good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P.S.: I’m also not saying that Obama is necessarily headed towards a failed presidency in the larger judgment-of-history sense. Just a single-term presidency. If his health care reform sticks, he’ll go down as a success in a way Jimmy Carter won’t.  One day soon we may look back on 2011 with fond longing.  But that’s not the question Klein and Alter asked.
5853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 29, 2011, 10:31:30 AM
On 9/11 they had two hits on what they consider symbolic for the business center of the US (WTC), and they hit the Pentagon and almost / would have hit the White House.  3000 dead, that's the carnage.  300 million terrorized, that was the point.  Add in the attacks that followed in western Europe and it is more like a half billion terrorized.

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

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

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

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

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

[There are other places to cut the budget!]
5854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 28, 2011, 06:04:51 PM
So he said "almost treasonous", which means not treasonous, and he said he doesn't favor secession.  You'd think media attacks would be aimed at the misportrayers instead of the misportrayed.  Unless the deception is intentional.
5855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: August 28, 2011, 05:59:24 PM
" "So if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?" he said."

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

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

5856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: August 28, 2011, 05:46:58 PM
Crafty, I see why you put that POTH article in this category; it fits nicely with the other current MSM / left wing takes that I call 'clueless'.  For one thing they quoting Gov. Granholm with her vision of the future without pinning her for her role in the region's demise.

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

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

I offer this clue to them.  Since we don't know where, by looking in the rear view mirror, the next great things will come from or what they will look like, why don't we just make the playing field level and competitive and as unobstructing as possible and let creativity and innovation happen - in a private, freedom-based enterprise system.  Imagine THAT! 
5857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Economics: Lessons from Depression I for Depression II on: August 28, 2011, 04:31:12 PM
Trying to figure out what cured the previous great depression and how that could apply today.

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

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

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

How does that measure up in 2011-2012?  Not very well.  In the current case the rest of the world is already doing pretty well largely without using many of our products.  They are especially unlikely to purchase from us anything that we are unwilling to produce.
5858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 27, 2011, 06:31:48 PM
Looks to me like Rove cannot bring down Perry.  Rove, like Newt, was the genius for a time, but he was not the genius when he left power.  I like to read him and listen to him for his electoral insights, but he wields no direct power.  The openness of the feud and differences between the Bush and Perry camps is exactly what Perry needs for his separation from the past.  If Perry was a Bush prodigy groomed and advanced by Bush Rove Cheney, he would not even be considered.  He is a bit too rough around the edges for Peggy Noonan types and that makes him anti-establishment, which in this moment is a huge positive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looks like it IS working.
5859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 27, 2011, 12:43:21 AM
Noonan makes a good point about over the top rhetoric not being helpful but completely misses the the real significance of the point Perry made. 

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

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

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

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

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

So politically we have a guy talking about extreme measures in the pursuit of  freedom and he is running against a guy in a candid moment that was caught talking about typical white people, clinging to religion and doing some blow.  I can work with that choice and Peggy Noonan can make hers.  A wordsmith she is, but if she would look past the deck chairs she might see the iceberg approaching.
5860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive dissonance of the left: Paul Krugman falsehoods continued on: August 26, 2011, 02:01:42 PM
CCP, Step one in helping the poor should be to not let yourself be poor, and step two should be to go out personally and help someone in true need.
Krugman this week repeats the mantra that WWII was the jobs program that ended the Great Depression.  Strange then that economic growth was 17% the year BEFORE spending US government money on the war effort.

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


Other views?
5861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US-China: Why a Kindle can't be made in America on: August 26, 2011, 01:21:05 PM
This whole thing is sad because manufacturing of high technology is not about cheap, low end labor costs.  Our misguided policies over a long period have cost us far more of our manufacturing base and jobs base for more than what was needed based on just free trade and comparative advantage reasons.

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

    * The flex circuit connectors are made in China because the US supplier base migrated to Asia.
    * The electrophoretic display is made in Taiwan because the expertise developed from producting flat-panel LCDs migrated to Asia with semiconductor manufacturing.
    * The highly polished injection-molded case is made in China because the U.S. supplier base eroded as the manufacture of toys, consumer electronics and computers migrated to China.
    * The wireless card is made in South Korea because that country became a center for making mobile phone components and handsets.
    * The controller board is made in China because U.S. companies long ago transferred manufacture of printed circuit boards to Asia.
    * The Lithium polymer battery is made in China because battery development and manufacturing migrated to China along with the development and manufacture of consumer electronics and notebook computers.
5862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness: A-zinger tweat on: August 26, 2011, 12:43:16 PM
Past PGA champion, ESPN Golf analyst Paul Azinger tweets:
Facts: Potus has played more golf this month than I have: I have created more jobs this month than he has.

(Azinger recently launched a new application for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch called Golfplan:
5863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nuclear Power- inside Fukushima on: August 26, 2011, 12:22:34 PM
More questions than answers still, but some interesting pictures from inside the facility, "the first photojournalist to gain unauthorised access to the power plant" here:

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

If I am reading my Richter numbers correctly, the recent east coast earthquake (5.9) was 1/1000th the power and strength of the one to hit Fukushima.  What the Fukushima disaster has to do exactly with potential new uses for nuclear energy where I live or in Germany, hundreds or thousands of miles from similar fault lines, is something I am unable to fully understand.
5864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive dissonance of the left: Tax vs. Charity on: August 26, 2011, 12:01:56 PM
CCP, Interesting points.  I would add that line of liberal thinking is not limited to Jewish opinion leaders.  I'm out of my area to talk religion but it seems to me that the foundations of Christianity are the same.  Helping the poor is a wonderful theme - always on display in church.  We are merely arguing politically over which system helps them best.  I have not yet found in the Bible where they measure the good you do in terms of coercive measures you impose on other people's work and money, or anything that supports the erosion of responsible personal freedoms.  More specifically I believe it warns (commands) against the worship of these other Gods, like sacred govt entitlement programs.

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

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

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

The only thing they accomplished was answering their own question, what could be worse than George Bush and the reckless spending Republicans of the last decade.
5865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / cognitive dissonance of the left - Krugman blames Perry for today's Fed desicion on: August 26, 2011, 11:17:41 AM
Krugman with his Nobel peace prize doesn't need to use the logic or charts of Grannis to predict no new 'help' from the Fed.  He blames it on political intimidation from Rick Perry.
"Why don’t I expect much from Mr. Bernanke? In two words: Rick Perry.
O.K., I don’t mean that Mr. Perry, the governor of Texas, is personally standing in the way of effective monetary policy. Not yet, anyway. Instead, I’m using Mr. Perry — who has famously threatened Mr. Bernanke with dire personal consequences if he pursues expansionary monetary policy before the 2012 election — as a symbol of the political intimidation that is killing our last remaining hope for economic recovery. "
"...our last remaining hope for economic recovery" - is to destroy our currency?  This is from the lead economic opinion maker on the left?  Does the Nobel committee have no recall procedure??

If you are out of new ideas after two and half years and everything you tried failed, how about just give back the keys.
5866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Monetary Policy: Scott Grannis' QE Analysis linked on Real Clear Markets today on: August 26, 2011, 10:58:13 AM
"monetary stimulus is a very ineffective—if not useless—tool to stimulate economic growth"

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

'Our own' Scott Grannis linked through Real Clear Politics today in our series of famous people who read the forum.  wink
Loaded with charts that back up his statements.
5867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics- Comparisons with Reaganomics should end soon on: August 26, 2011, 10:45:44 AM
First this, from the previous post:
"...$20 million in federal grants...after more than a year only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But that borrowing financed a remarkable and prolonged economic expansion and a victory against the Evil Empire in the Cold War. What exactly have Mr. Obama's deficits gotten us?
5868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / congnitive dissonance of the left: Jonathon Alter - clueless on: August 26, 2011, 10:31:00 AM
Jonathon Alters writes, in essence, what more could he have done, with a school kid title of "You Think Obama’s Been a Bad President? Prove It".

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

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

5869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 25, 2011, 11:14:28 PM
The teaser with Rubio is to tempt the Obama team to call a first term Senator unqualified to be Vice President.

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

"he is a good, kindhearted man, and he once sat in on drums with ZZ Top. A guy like that can’t be all bad."
"These days, of course, I would support Charlie Sheen over Obama. Obama has done for the economy what pantyhose did for foreplay. "
"I agree with Rick that there are already too damn many laws, taxes, regulations, panels, committees, and bureaucrats. While Obama is busy putting the hyphen between “anal” and “retentive” Rick will be rolling up his sleeves and getting to work."  - Kinky Friedman
5870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, Perry v. Romney on: August 25, 2011, 10:33:32 AM
One unmentioned advantage Perry has over Romney is that he could pick a highly qualified, private sector trained northeasterner for his running mate to balance out that he has too much government executive experience and that he is 'too-Texas' for the rest of the nation, he could pick Mitt Romney.
5871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: August 24, 2011, 08:35:21 AM
I was surprised to learn from the administration that this unexpected east coast earthquake that could be quite damaging to the economy occurred on a little known fault line that crosses this country known as Bush's Fault.
5872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: August 23, 2011, 03:10:50 PM
QE3 is the answer to the question no one should be asking: How can we avoid addressing any of the real, structural, man-made problems that are causing our current economic sickness, but postpone total economic collapse for just a few more months?  Answer, print more money.

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

The one last hurdle after raising the debt ceiling to putting any reasonable limit on spending and borrowing is that in order to borrow another dollar there has to be a willing lender.  QE authorizes 'printing' dollars without limit and removing the need to find and negotiate with a willing lender and borrow in a marketplace.  QE means devaluing the investment of all previous people who bought our debt, making it even harder yet to sell in the future in a free marketplace.  QE is a form of dis-honoring the legal obligations of the United States of America.  One might even say that further quantitative expansion in light of all this is - 'almost treasonous'.
5873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive dissonance of the left - Ezra Klein, Clueless on: August 23, 2011, 02:46:56 PM
This could fall under media but the question posed is perplexing the left.  Ezra Klein, a 20-something year old 'whiz kid' is the Washington Post's answer to the demand for more leftists in main media opinion writing.  His column yesterday: "What could Obama have done?"  His answer is basically, I have no clue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the components need to be done at once.  Instead, none of the ideas are even on the table for the after Labor Day speech.
5874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cain 9-9-9 tax plan on: August 23, 2011, 11:22:19 AM
Taxing businesses at 9%, personal at 9% and consumption at 9%: Very interesting! I don't endorse his plan but I would admit that:

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

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

I would rather see them lower the income tax rates on everything, eliminate illogical loopholes and leave the sales tax base to the states who have their own financial challenges.
Pawlenty's plan of lowering capital gains rates to zero was (also) unrealistic - a critical political error that contributed to the fact that no one took his overall proposal seriously.
5875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 23, 2011, 10:45:27 AM
Who does Huntsman think is our enemy is and how does he propose to defeat them?

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

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

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

That is a coherent foreign policy that would help Republicans win the White House and make the world more secure??  If so, his articulation skills are right up there with W. Bush.
5876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 23, 2011, 12:00:17 AM
JDN, Pro-life makes him human, not necessarily Republican or conservative.  wink  I found that brief video to be full of selective outrage and deception.
5877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glen Beck in Israel live this week on GBTV on: August 22, 2011, 04:37:49 PM

Primetime broadcasts from Jerusalem start this evening, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 
5878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 22, 2011, 04:26:07 PM
CCP,  Dick Morris said about Newt today, he is the fighter who is behind on points the whole fight but capable of delivering the knockout at any time, he is such a good debater.  He is wrong on that optimism IMO.  Newt is capable of developing the knockout argument for the eventual nominee, but not capable of winning himself.  Don't we already have a knockout argument?

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

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

Maybe not Jeb or his successor Crist, but the one who grew to national prominence and future Presidency out of that time in Florida perhaps was (VP nominee?) Sen. Marco Rubio.
5879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (and South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: August 22, 2011, 04:04:45 PM
Taiwan is in a way the Israel of its region.  Our best natural ally but we aren't supposed to admit we like them or support them.  They aren't even a country on the map of the United Nations, just like Israel is missing from some maps in their region.  We wouldn't want to offend our friends the repressive communists, or Hamas, Hezbollah and the Mullahs.  Did anyone ask Huntsman is he thinks Taiwan should be limited to flying old planes as the world's largest army threatening their shores is building new aircraft carriers?  No.  Evolution policy was more pressing.
5880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Huntsman on: August 22, 2011, 03:28:24 PM
Huntsman, like Jim Webb or Evan Bayh, Kent Conrad or Byron Dorgan and others, would be a pretty good moderate or centrist alternative to consider in place of the more polarizing candidates, Obama, Perry, Bachmann, etc.  I saw him yesterday on ABC's This Week, "Jon Huntsman Comes Out Swinging Against GOP Rivals":

He makes very clear he is different from the other GOP candidates.  He has never made clear, however, why he runs as a Republican.  He gave no sign of trust whatsoever in the economic policies of any GOP rival and gives absolutely no indication that if he fails to win the nomination that he would vote for any one of the R contenders over his old boss President Obama.

Video link:

His rehearsed slap: he doesn't have time to discuss all Romney's position change because it would take all afternoon - lacked any setup.  All he could get was  a question about them agreeing on tax policy but he ran with the stale punchline anyway.  A decade and half ago Romney opposed a flat tax, in a different context, running for a different office.  What was Huntsman's position on the flat tax a decade and a half ago? Nobody knows.  Nobody cares?  They don't even ask him about China policy or what role (none) he played in formulating Pres. Obama's foreign policy.
5881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: war on savers continues on: August 22, 2011, 10:09:04 AM
Yes, but someone living very modestly later in life on the meager interest from their accumulated savings over their lifetime, as well as someone earlier in life trying to tuck away a little from each paycheck to be self-secure in the future... these are just more examples of unprotected classes called the hated-rich who need to eat their peas, while we more importantly need to monetize trillions to fund government dependency programs.

The lesson my grandfather took the time to spell out for me with written examples of the magic of compounding interest if you save and invest does not work with a savings interest rates at 0.2% and a human life expectancy of under 10,000 years.

A google search of "republican proposal to end dual mission of the fed" took me only to stories from Nov. 2010.  sad

The cause of our current stagnation and unemployment is not a shortage of money and the cure is not to print, ease or devalue our currency.
5882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Demographics - Hispanic vote on: August 22, 2011, 09:23:55 AM
Bringing CCP's Michael Barone post from yesterday over here per Crafty's request, with my comments.  

First I detest group politics,but here we go...  I think my statement that Hispanics vote Dem only 60-40 was a rough, best case approximation, from a conservative point of view.  This CCP/Dick Morris post ( says that in 2010 (a best case year) Hispanics voted Democrat by 58-37 From this post:(  Obama won Hispanics by 67% to 31% in 2008, a best case year for him.  Obama's approval rating from Hispanics is (only) 13 points higher than the public at large.

CCP makes a valid point that illegals granted citizenship and voting rights with one party favoring and the other opposing will leaning much further than that (until they start either paying taxes or looking for work).  Also these partial measures like a ban on deportations will affects families, friends and neighborhoods of existing voters.
CCP: "Doug writes Hispanics vote 40/60 Rep/Dem.  I find it hard to believe that most illegals, if had the chance to vote (some I bet do already) would vote Rep at a rate as high as 40% yet this from Barone-Rasmussen:"

 ****GOP Shouldn't Panic If Whites Become a Minority
A Commentary By Michael Barone
Monday, April 04, 2011 Email to a Friend ShareThisAdvertisement
 Are whites on the verge of becoming a minority of the American population? That's what some analysts of the 2010 Census results claim. Many go on, sometimes with relish, to say that this spells electoral doom for the Republican Party.  

I think the picture is more complicated than that. And that the demise of the Republican Party is no more foreordained than it was a century ago when Italian, Jewish and Polish immigrants were pouring into the United States in proportions much greater than the Hispanic and Asian immigration of the past two decades.  

The numbers do appear stark. The Census tells us that 16 percent of U.S. residents are Hispanic, up from 13 percent in 2000 and 9 percent in 1990, and that 5 percent are Asian, up from 4 percent in 2000. The percentage of blacks held steady at 13. Among children, the voters of tomorrow, those percentages are higher.  

But it's a mistake to see blacks, Hispanics and Asians as a single "people of color" voting bloc. The 2010 exit poll shows that the Republican percentages in the vote for the U.S. House were 60 percent among whites, 9 percent among blacks, 38 percent among Hispanics and 40 percent among Asians.  

Simple arithmetic tells you that Hispanics and Asians vote more like whites than like blacks. The picture is similar in the 2008 exit poll.  

Moreover, while blacks vote similarly in just about every state, there is wide variation among Hispanics. In 2010 governor elections, Hispanics voted 31 percent Republican in California, 38 percent Republican in Texas and 50 percent Republican in Florida (where Cubans are no longer a majority of Hispanics).  

As RealClearPolitics senior political analyst Sean Trende has written, Hispanics tend to vote 10 percent to 15 percent less Republican than whites of similar income and education levels. An increasingly Hispanic electorate puts Republicans at a disadvantage, but not an overwhelming one.  

The same is true of Asians. In 2010, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid got 79 percent from Asians in Nevada, where many are Filipinos. But the Asians in Middlesex County, N.J., most of whom are from India, seem to have voted for Republican Gov. Chris Christie in 2009.  

The 2010 Census tells something else that may prove important: There's been a slowdown of immigration since the recession began in 2007 and even some reverse migration. If you look at the Census results for Hispanic immigrant entry points -- East Los Angeles and Santa Ana, Calif., the east side of Houston, the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago -- you find that the Hispanic population has dropped sharply since 2000.  

One reason is the business cycle. The 2000 Census was taken on April 1, 2000, less than a month after the peak of the tech boom. Unemployment was low, immigration was high, and entry-point houses and apartments were crammed with large families.

The 2010 Census was taken after two years of recession, when immigration had slackened off. We simply don't know whether this was just a temporary response to the business cycle or the beginning of a permanent decline in migration.  

Past mass migrations, which most experts expected to continue indefinitely, in fact ended abruptly. Net Puerto Rican migration to New York City stopped in 1961, and the huge movement of Southern blacks to Northern cities ended in 1965. Those who extrapolate current trends far into the future end up being wrong sooner or later.

Finally there is an assumption -- which is particularly strong among those who expect a majority "people of color" electorate to put Democrats in power permanently -- that racial consciousness never changes. But sometimes it does.

American blacks do have common roots in slavery and segregation. But African immigrants don't share that heritage, and Hispanics come from many different countries and cultures (there are big regional differences just within Mexico). The Asian category includes anyone from Japan to Lebanon and in between.

Under the definitions in use in the America of a century ago, when Southern and Eastern European immigrants were not regarded as white, the United States became a majority non-white nation sometime in the 1950s. By today's definitions, we'll become majority non-white a few decades hence.  

But that may not make for the vast cultural and political change some predict. Not if we assimilate newcomers, and if our two political parties adapt, as we and they have done in the past.  

5883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: August 22, 2011, 08:41:05 AM
I had a very short conversation yesterday with an old friend who runs a very large healthcare organization, and what he said startled me.  In reply to 'how's work going' he said we're busy implementing Obamacare.  I said I thought it was getting repealed.  His politics isn't any different than mine, but they believe with certainty that some version of Obamacare is coming.
When Obamacare was passed (deemed), Republicans were open to many reforms to avoid national care: end pre-conditions, open up competition across state lines, limit liability, etc.  After passage the conversation turned to repeal AND replace, pretending the opposition R's will have their own healthcare proposal by election time.  Now the candidates all just (naively) say repeal and go on to the next topic.

All that ignores the fact the it took the perfect storm of winning 59 senate seats plus stealing the 60th, deeming passed what wasn't, budget tricks like taxing gold, lying about costs and using 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of costs to get it passed.  Now Republican candidates think they can just promise repeal and if they win election it all goes away?

The perfect storm for Republicans in 2012 does not include either taking 60 senate seats or having the Democratic party apologize and fold.  With the worst economy in memory we only have about a 50-50 chance right now of even beating Obama and the anti-incumbent mood could actually hurt Republicans in the House.  The Senate seats Dems will lose (best case) are the moderate ones, not the furthest left from blue states.  Even in the storm of 2010 people like Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid held their seats.

The Supreme Court will likely do something to the individual mandate similar to what the Appeals court just did.  Best case, Republicans may take the Presidency, House and a 53-54 vote majority, but not close to 60. This legislation already doesn't stand on its own but will be left largely in place, lacking the votes to repeal.  The deadlock will make the debt ceiling stalemate look like a walk in the park.  Any deadlock is victory for national healthcare advocates.  Getting repeal votes or even cloture votes from the remaining liberals is a hell freezing over scenario.  No Republican candidate or anyone else is talking at all about how to solve and settle this either politically or operationally.  Meanwhile we will be 3 years into its implementation.
5884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential- NY Times - Messing with Texas on: August 22, 2011, 07:34:52 AM
The real humor here (media issue) in a sober, fact filled op-ed is the last line that says 'Paul Krugman is off today'.  This columnist is saying to the liberal attack machine and to his GOP rivals, go after Perry personally to get him, don't attack Texas while it is out-performing the other states and the union.  Some of his facts seem to come from reading the forum.  wink

Messing With Texas
Published: August 21, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas hasn’t lost an election in 10 tries. Among his vanquished opponents, this streak has inspired not only the usual mix of resentment and respect, but a touch of supernatural awe. “Running against Perry,” one of them told Texas Monthly, “is like running against God.”

Perry’s 2012 rivals can’t afford to entertain such thoughts. If either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama hopes to snap the Texas governor’s winning streak, the election will need to become a referendum on Perry himself, in all his heat-packing, secession-contemplating glory. If it becomes a referendum on his home state instead, Perry’s 11th campaign will probably turn out like all the others.

Perry’s critics don’t like to admit this. After he launched his campaign with an extended brag about Texas job creation, there was a rush to cut Texas down to size — to dismiss the Lone Star economic miracle as a mirage conjured by population growth, petro-dollars and low-paying McJobs.

But the more the Internet’s hive mind worked through the data, the weaker this critique looked. Yes, Texas’s growing population has contributed to the job boom, but the boom has driven population growth as well. The influx of people has been too extraordinary to just be chalked up to, say, snowbirds seeking 105-degree retirements. More likely, thousands of Americans have responded to hard times in their home states by moving to Texas in search of work.

As the policy blogger Matthias Shapiro pointed out in an exhaustive analysis, the jobs they’re finding aren’t unusually low-paying: the state’s median hourly wage is close to the national average, and since the recession started, Texan wages have increased at the sixth-fastest pace in the country. Nor are the jobs confined to the oil and gas industries: “Take the energy sector completely out of the equation,” Shapiro noted, “and Texas is still growing faster than any other state.”

On Friday, in a Bloomberg Television interview, Education Secretary Arne Duncan tried to open up another anti-Texan front, saying he feels “very, very badly for the children” in Texas’s supposedly underfinanced public schools. But here, too, the evidence doesn’t back up Duncan’s criticism. Texas does have higher high school dropout rates than the average American state. But then again, Texas isn’t an average state: it’s an enormous melting pot that shares a porous, 1,969-mile border with Mexico. Once you control for demographics and compare like with like, the Texan educational record looks much more impressive.

When a 2009 McKinsey study contrasted Perry’s home state to the similarly sized and situated California, it found that Texas students were “one to two years of learning ahead of California students of the same age, even though Texas has less income per capita and spends less per pupil than California.”

When it comes to minority achievement, Texas looks even better: On the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress math exam, black eighth graders in Texas outscored black eighth graders in every other state.

To be sure, the Texas model doesn’t always impress. (Twenty-seven percent of Texans lack health insurance, for instance, compared with 21 percent of Californians.) But Perry can credibly claim that his state delivers on conservative governance’s two most important promises: a private sector that creates jobs at a remarkable clip, and a public sector that seems to get more for the taxpayers’ money than many more profligate state governments.

The question is whether Perry himself deserves any of the credit. Here his critics become much more persuasive. When Perry became governor, taxes were already low, regulations were light, and test scores were on their way up. He didn’t create the zoning rules that keep Texas real estate affordable, or the strict lending requirements that minimized the state’s housing bubble. Over all, the Texas model looks like something he inherited rather than a system he built.

This means that unlike many of his fellow Republican governors, from Mitch Daniels to Chris Christie to Scott Walker — or a Democratic governor like Andrew Cuomo, for that matter — Perry can’t claim to have battled entrenched interest groups, or stemmed a flood tide of red ink. Instead, many of his policy forays have been boondoggles or train wrecks, from the failed attempt to build a $175 billion Trans-Texas Corridor (the kind of project conservatives would mock mercilessly if a Democrat proposed it) to an ill-designed 2006 tax reform that’s undercut the state’s finances.

But of course none of those reforming governors are currently in the race against him. Instead Perry faces an unloved Republican front-runner, with a weakened incumbent president waiting in the wings.

Which bring us back to that 10-election winning streak. Maybe God really is on Rick Perry’s side. Or maybe Perry just knows how to pick his opponents.

Paul Krugman is off today.
5885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 22, 2011, 07:25:08 AM
At this point, I like having the large number of candidates running.  Newt is pulling a Newt, but he also is a historic figure and brings something of substance to the stage.  Bachmann and Cain both add significant substance plus take away the only criticism that we otherwise would be hearing, that it is a party only of white, middle aged males.  Pawlenty, when he was not trying to be something he isn't, brought another leadership style with experience to the equation.  Ryan is the master of just what Crafty said.  He sees the big picture and the inner details of the budget.  Because his own plan is out there he will be easier to demagogue but very convincing in his own defense.  Christy, Palin, who knows, but it does seem to all come down Perry vs. Romney and who is the frontrunner depends on where you are.

One question I have is this: Does the administration fear Perry the most?  Just judging by their actions, but we see a campaign war machine suddenly gear up and trash him like we never saw for Romney or Bachmann or any others so far.
That said, what follows is the WSJ editorial 8/19/11 answering some charges leveled against Texas under Perry:

The Texas Jobs Panic
Liberals try to discredit the Lone Star State's economic success.

Rick Perry is not the subtlest politician, but he looks like Pericles next to the liberals falling over themselves to discredit job creation in Texas. We'd have thought any new jobs would be a blessing when 25 million Americans are looking for full-time work, but apparently new jobs aren't valuable jobs if they're created in a state that rejects Obamanomics.

Let's dissect the Texas record. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported this summer that Texas created 37% of all net new American jobs since the recovery began in June 2009. Texas by far outpaced every other state, including those with large populations like New York and California and those with faster-growing economies, like North Dakota. Other states have lower unemployment rates than Texas's 8.2%, though that is below the national average and the state is also adding jobs faster than any other.

Texas is also among the three states and the District of Columbia that are home to more jobs today than when the recession began in December 2007. Without the Texas gains, according to the Dallas Fed, annual U.S. job growth would have been 0.97% instead of 1.17%. Over the past five years, Texas has added more net new jobs than all other states combined.

The critics claim demography is destiny, and of course jobs and population tend to rise and fall in tandem. The number of Texans is booming: According to the Census Bureau, the population grew 20.6% between 2000 and 2010, behind only Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Arizona. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the seasonally adjusted size of the Texas labor force has increased by 5% since December 2007, faster than any state other than North Carolina at 5.4%, though the Tar Heel State has declined 0.4% over the last year. The labor force has shrunk in 28 states since December 2007.

Some of this Texas growth is due to high birth rates, some to immigration. But it also reflects the flight of people from other states. People and capital are mobile and move where the opportunities are greatest. Texas is attractive to workers and employers alike because of its low costs of living and doing business. The government in Austin is small, taxes are low, regulation is stable, and the litigation system is more predictable after Mr. Perry's tort reforms—all of which is a magnet for private investment and hiring.

As for the critics, well, one of their explanations is that Americans are moving to Texas because of the nice weather. The temperature in Fort Worth this week reached 108 degrees.

The critics also claim that Texas's new jobs somehow don't count because the wages are supposedly low and the benefits stingy. Yet BLS pegs the median hourly wage in Texas at $15.14, 93% of the national average, and wages have increased at a good clip: in fact, the 10th fastest state in 2010 at 3.4%.

The Texas skeptics often invoke high energy prices, as if Texas were some sheikdom next to Mexico. But according to the Dallas Fed study, energy jobs accounted for only 10.6% of the new positions. The state economy today is far more broadly based than it was before the early-1980s oil-and-gas bust. For the last nine years, Texas has led the states in exports.

To put a finer point on it, the energy industry isn't expanding merely because of rising oil prices or new natural resources. Technological innovation is also driving the business, such as the horizontal drilling that has enabled shale oil and gas fracking. New ideas are how an economy expands.

Nearly 31% of the new Texas jobs are in health care, many of which are no doubt the product of federal entitlements that go to every state. But the state is also making progress filling in historical access gaps in west and south Texas and the panhandle, where Mr. Perry's 2003 malpractice caps have led to an influx of doctors, especially high-risk specialists. The Texas Public Policy Foundation estimates that the state has netted 26,000 new physicians in the wake of reform, most from out of state.

Liberals do have a point that Texas avoided the worst of the housing boom and bust, in part because of regulations imposed in the S&L backwash that limit mortgage borrowing to 80% of the appraised value of a home. But isn't this smart regulation? These same liberals promoted rules that kept down payments much lower than 20% at federal agencies, and they're now encouraging the Administration to prop up housing to prevent foreclosures and thus prevent the market from finding a bottom.

Mr. Perry's Texas record is far from perfect, as Charles Dameron recently showed on these pages with his reporting on the Governor's politicized venture-capital fund. But the larger story is that Mr. Perry inherited a well-functioning economy and has managed it well, mainly by avoiding the kind of policy disruptions that his liberal critics favor in the name of this or that social or political goal. This achievement may not earn a Nobel prize in economics, but it does help explain why Texas is outperforming the nation.
5886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics: Pawlenty v. Franken, 2014 on: August 21, 2011, 10:35:12 AM
If a Republican beats Obama in 2012, Pawlenty is young enough (50) to wait 8 years to run again.  Defeating Sen. Al Franken, the once 60th vote, in a most liberal state would move forward his prominence and experience (and readiness).  This is just me speculating.

I also predict Michele Bachmann will run for her own congressional seat in 2012.
5887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential - Romney v. Romney, WSJ on: August 20, 2011, 11:31:37 AM
Sounds to me like McCain, or just a little weaker.

WSJ 8/19/2011 Political Diary

Romney vs. Romney
Mitt Romney is campaigning against tax cuts for "the rich." But if he believes that, shouldn't he also support lower taxes on more productive segments of society?


Mitt Romney continues to be labeled a weak presidential front-runner who has failed to excite the GOP base, and his comments on tax reform this week help to explain why.

"I'm not for tax cuts for the rich. The rich can take care of themselves," he told an audience in Plymouth, N.H., on Monday. "I want to make sure that whatever we do in the tax code, we're not giving a windfall to the very wealthy."

It appears that Mr. Romney and President Obama don't just have health-care reform in common. Both are also campaigning against tax cuts for "the rich." Mr. Romney of course wouldn't want to sound like the president, which is probably why he added that raising taxes on the wealthy hurts job growth and that the government is "taking too much already." But if he believes that, shouldn't he also support lower taxes on more productive segments of society?

Mr. Romney's position on the Bush tax cuts, which reduced the top marginal rate for the wealthiest Americans to 35% from 39.6%, is likewise unclear. During his a stop in Berlin, N.H., on Tuesday, he spoke favorably of the Bush tax cuts. But as governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney refused to endorse them. As the Boston Globe reported in 2003, Mr. Romney told the state's congressional delegation that he didn't support tax cuts for the wealthy and wouldn't be a "cheerleader." By the time Mr. Romney was running for president four years later, he'd come around to supporting the tax cuts.

His stance on reforming the tax code to make it flatter and more efficient is also murky. In 1996, he took out a full-page newspaper ad slamming Steve Forbes's proposed 17% flat tax as a "tax cut for fat cats." Yet this week he said that he planned to announce a tax proposal that would bring "our tax rates down, both at the corporate level and the individual level, simplifying the tax code, perhaps with fewer brackets. The idea of one bracket alone would be even better, in some respects."

Here's hoping that Mr. Romney's newest rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, will help the Bay Stater settle on some core convictions.
5888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Did the Preesident use the bus trip to defend public unions and healthcare? No. on: August 20, 2011, 11:24:20 AM
Two observations from the recent bus trip:

Wisconsin was the battleground of all battlegrounds this year - the preview to the political fights we are going to be having all over the country.  3 years ago as the Senate's no. 1 liberal candidate Obama won Wisconsin over the Senate's most moderate Republican by 14 points.  Since then the Republicans swept the Governor's office,  the state House and the state Senate, and put a Tea Party businessman in Sen. Russ Feingold's seat.  The spending restraint crowd allegedly overstepped on the public union powers and the big recalls were called.  $30 million spent for a few August special elections and the result is roughly the same.  Madison was the scene of all the energy.  Try planning a bus trip from the Twin Cities to destinations in Illinois that doesn't go through Madison where all this was fought, where Republicans so egregiously overstepped. Copy 'St. Paul MN to Chicago IL' into google maps and see where you go (right through Madison no matter which freeway you take).  But instead they drove around Wisconsin went though Iowa, not Ames or Des Moines, and ended in Peoria IL (no events there) and flew back to Washington from there (to get Bo the dog, grant some amnesty and head out to the Cape.  My point I guess is that Mr. Tough Guy-Make my day, don't call my bluff, ready for battle President drove to great lengths to avoid all of Wisc.  Illinois is not a swing state.  Missouri is - right across the border.  Nothing there either.

If you take the detour around Wisc ( and you have this historic Healthcare President heading right through Rochester MN, a healthcare town like no other, home of the Mayo Clinic, where people come from everywhere for high quality care, from King Hussein of Jordan to President Reagan to Billy Graham, Johnny Carson, Mohammed Ali, etc. The whole town is built around the healthcare industry.  He stopped nearby at a park in Cannon Falls for a talk. What did the President's agenda say for Rochester? "No events scheduled".  Local paper reports that they didn't even slow down.

How can he stop there when he has 30 people waiting for him in Atkinson IL?

Googling the bus trip I find stops added early August in swing state Pennsylvania.  Oops, that was 2008!
5889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - charting unemployment on: August 20, 2011, 12:33:34 AM
JDN, You have a very smart wife. 

This is a chart of Calif. unemployment, please take a look:

As with other social democracies, the rate of unemployment tends to be higher than freer states, about 3 points currently above the national average, but the trend lines look remarkably familiar and predictable:

Calif. unemployment hit some of its worst levels in the time after Paul Volcker tightened money and while congress was passing, but weakening, delaying and phasing in the Reagan tax rate cuts.  Those two policy changes were supposed to be simultaneous.

Jan 1, 1983 when the Reagan tax cuts fully kicked in across the country - Calif. unemployment heads down continuously for the rest of the decade.

In 1990-1991 when Bush-I broke his read my lips pledge - unemployment headed back up.

In 1993 that recession ends but growth sputters, and unemployment barely heads down and then back up.  When the capital gains rates were slashed, the recovery picked up steam and continued robustly until 2001.  Unemployment worsened until the bush tax cut fully kicked in - 2003.  Then Calif. had the same 50 months of job growth as the rest of the nation, ending exactly with the election of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden-HRC majority congress who promised to let the tax rate cuts expire.  At that exact point, Calif unemployment heads steeply up until roughly the certainty of a Republican House taking over, and with divided government and policy direction stalled, unemployment has stayed relatively constant at these very high levels - waiting for an economic change of direction.

Can anybody else read a different explanation into these numbers and unnecessary human costs?

3 points of California unemployment is about mis-management and botched incentives inside the state and the other 9% is about incompetent, counter-productive economic management nationwide.

The only thing strange about the unemployment problem is that we know how to fix it and yet we don't do it.
5890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 19, 2011, 11:05:57 AM
Nope, not at all. Just clarifying for historians in case I face the scrutiny Glen Beck faced someday. wink Also taking the opportunity to ride all the groups for the hypocrisy that I perceive.  Who knows whom(?) one might reach.  
5891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 19, 2011, 10:49:43 AM
"Net I think it gets Baraq more votes.  I doubt the Reps will draw much attention to this-- the cases that meet the criteria are precisely those most susceptible to heart strings."

I disagree with only the middle part of this.  At least some of the R. candidates will try to run with this as a) symbolic of his soft on borders stance - mocking people who wanted moats?, and b) symbolic of his czar style of governance where big moves (like regulating carbon emissions) don't need to go through any other branch.

Presumably he did it out of the compassion in his heart - but if so why wait nearly 1000 days.  Maybe he did it to energize Bachmann as Perry is a little soft on the issue and Romney neutral(?) and stir up some divisive passions in his opponents while he is gone.

He is also flaunting the (unlimited?) powers of incumbency to any would-be challengers in his own party, as his economic approval dips to 26%.

What I don't like is that he knew and planned this big secret for the perfect everyone-is-leaving-Washington moment.  So if listen carefully to him daily to find out what he is thinking and planning for our country you will know less than the people who don't.
5892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: August 19, 2011, 10:24:18 AM
Obamas reportedly flying separate his and hers jets to Martha's Vineyard (, is air force one not safe enough for the family or too noisy for the first lady?  No intent to nitpick, but I am curious - given that the earth has a fever and we have a very short opportunity, that we may have already gone past, to curb our emissions and save this man-made planet.  They keep changing their pattern, last year  the dog "Bo" reportedly flew on the separate jet with virtually no concern for the impact of his carbon paw print. 

Secondly, will the 28 acre Obama compound on the vineyard have border security?  If so, why? (Can't we all just get along?)  Will they give amnesty to those who storm the compound and take up illegal residence?  If not, why not?  Just curious.

5893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 19, 2011, 10:05:26 AM
I better not let the strangeness of that one observation sit alone without pointing out the oddities of other groups.  U.S. Catholics had a clear choice in Bush-Kerry between pro-life and abortion-rights and split in the exact same percentages as the general electorate.  Gays in arguably 'America's gayest city' ( vote consistently for Keith Ellison, famous for choosing the religion of stoning gays to death.  (Keith Ellison grew up Catholic, now Muslim, supports 'gay rights'. huh) Black Americans with almost unanimity still support the economic system that doubled their unemployment rate.  White Americans (how come there is no white congressional caucus?) at least in one election supported the guy who found Reverend Wright to bring him closer to white hatred and blame America politics. 

I didn't mean to single out any particular group.  wink
5894  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: August 18, 2011, 11:03:49 PM
CCP,  Good news - Ron Paul won't be the nominee though he is more popular than ever.  We've been through this before, but isn't it strange that a Republican soft on support for Israel can't be nominated, but an arguably anti-Israel Democrat became President, and Jewish people in majority supported him.

I recall that Israel was at one point about the only place where George Bush had a positive approval rating.  He did everything he could do to protect Israel.  And American Jews opposed him.  sad
5895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: August 18, 2011, 10:43:15 PM
The only positive side of the continued housing debacle is that I am extremely thankful that pp gave us a headsup that it was going down for (at least) another year.  I got some mileage out of that information helping others and it turned out to be true.

It is all tied together.  The economy doesn't come back without housing and housing doesn't come back without a positive turn in the economy.
5896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: August 18, 2011, 10:12:12 PM
"Way to win over the swing voters who are concerned about illegal aliens."

"Yeah, but he locks up the Hispanic and immigrant vote.  Probably a good political move."
The Hispanic vote is something like this 60-40 Dem.  This may energize the 60 somewhat who may have relatives/friends with an issue.  The other 40 lean R for other reasons, economic, pro-life, pro-family, pro-business, who knows.

For the non-Hispanic, it probably leans the other way.  Some have had it with the illegals especially depending on where you live, some see the other side of it.  I would guess that 'typical white people' are 60-40 anti-illegal-immigration.

Where I live the border issue has more to do with those pesky Canadians infiltrating our hockey leagues.  

Things get really complicated when the law comes to mean nothing.

The anti-deportation move is Obama flexing the powers of incumbency.  If it was good policy, he would have done it 2 1/2 years ago.  Like most desperate moves by desperate people, it is most likely to backfire.
5897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 18, 2011, 06:03:26 PM
CCP, funny.  The part I though odd was to fly the most expensive plane to MN so you can go busing to IL - to be closer to the people.  And while busing you are hidden completely from public view.  Could have just flown.  $2 million for 2 buses.  Use them 2 days, then fly to the vineyard.  What happens to the taxpayer buses? Bus barn now at the White House or did they buy more property?

I support whatever part of that operation is really necessary to protect him from assassination.  Somehow that highway full of civilian vehicles doesn't seem like the best way to do that.

I recall that Clarence Thomas, with his wife, drives his own motorhome to the campgrounds and diners across the country and actually does meet the people on his time off.  I'm not visualizing an entourage with that.  He may not be leader of the free world, but he plays a role in it.

The reason given by Carney that the trip is business not campaign, as he touts the success of his own policies (?) and slams his opponents, is that the President isn't facing a primary challenge.  That is convenient.
5898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: AP = DNC alarmism mouthpiece? on: August 18, 2011, 04:34:18 PM
CO2 is the chief greenhouse gas??

"But Perry's opinion runs counter to the view held by an overwhelming majority of scientists that pollution released from the burning of fossil fuels is heating up the planet. Perry's home state of Texas releases more heat-trapping pollution carbon dioxide -- the chief greenhouse gas -- than any other state in the country, according to government data."

Carbon dioxide IS NOT the chief greenhouse gas.  Water vapor is.  By far!

Carbon dioxide is not pollution.  It is what plants breathe and animals exhale.

Carbon dioxide releases by humans in 2011 is a sign of ECONOMIC ACTIVITY.  Is that what they meant to say?
5899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glibness: Downgrade speech inspired by Belushi? on: August 18, 2011, 03:49:40 PM
5900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics: Ethanol now no. 1 use of corn on: August 18, 2011, 03:38:39 PM

For first time, more corn used for ethanol than livestock

15 August 2011 (Cedar RAPIDS, Iowa)
For the first time ever, more of the corn crop may go into gas tanks than into the stomachs of cattle and poultry destined for kitchen tables.

That fuel now tops livestock as the primary user of corn struck at least one observer as noteworthy.

“That’s a first-time-ever type of change,”  University of Missouri Extension economist Ron Plain said in a statement released by the university.

“For forever,” Plain said, “ feed was the largest single use of corn.”
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