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51  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / New California gun laws on: January 04, 2017, 08:52:55 AM

52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Leaving for Las Vegas: California's minimum wage law leaves businesses no choice on: January 03, 2017, 08:00:42 PM

53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Josh Earnest: Why Didn't We Punish China for the Millions of Sensitive Personal on: January 03, 2017, 07:45:31 PM
January 03, 2017

Josh Earnest: Why Didn't We Punish China for the Millions of Sensitive Personal Disclosures Stolen in the OPM Hack? Because F*** You, That's Why
Here's the real reason:

It's because the OPM hack chiefly affected military personnel, who are not People Who Count.

But Russia -- or whoever -- screwed with People Who Count when they hacked the DNC and Jon Podesta.

"What we've seen is that these are two cyber incidents that are malicious in nature but materially different," Earnest said, defending the administration's decision to issue sanctions in response to the Russian hack but not the Chinese hack.
The OPM hack was one of the largest data breaches in the history of the United States. More than 20 million people were affected, with the Chinese gaining possession of names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, places of residence, and sensitive information from background investigations.

"I'm just saying that it's different than seeking to interfere in the conduct of a U.S. national election," Earnest said.

"It's different because I said so" is pretty much the most contemptuous answer you can offer. You might as well just take your dick all the way out and say, "Because some people just matter more in this world."
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption, Skullduggery, and Treason on: January 03, 2017, 04:28:59 PM
Thank God this has been reversed-- but what a profoundly STUPID first move by the Rep Congress!!! angry angry angry We are already going to have a ton of suspicion and negativity over Trump's complex business affairs!

Suspicion from whom? The same crowd utterly uninterested in the numerous Obama and Hillary related scandals? Funny how that works.
55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: This looks REALLY bad , , , on: January 03, 2017, 12:02:06 AM

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader, joined others who had worked to create the office in expressing outrage at the move and the secretive way it was orchestrated.

“Republicans claim they want to ‘drain the swamp,’ but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House G.O.P. has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement on Monday night. “Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress.”

56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Embrace the multiculturalism! on: January 02, 2017, 10:42:46 PM

Almost 1,000 cars torched around France on New Year's Eve but government insists it 'went particularly well'

A car on fire in Paris
A car on fire in Paris Credit: Getty images

    Henry Samuel, Paris

2 January 2017 • 6:36pm

Vandals in France torched 945 parked cars over New Year's Eve in an arson rampage that has become a sinister annual "tradition" and amid a row over whether the government had sought to play down the figures.

According to the French interior ministry, the total of 945, which included cars that were either "totally destroyed" or "more lightly affected", amounted to a 17 per cent rise compared to last year.

Despite this, New Year's Eve "went off without any major incident", the interior ministry insisted in a statement, adding that there were only "a few troubles with public order",

In fact, police arrested 454 people over the night, 301 of whom were taken into custody.

On Sunday, the ministry had chosen to release a much lower figure of 650 cars torched, as this only indicated the number of vehicles "set on fire" and not those engulfed in the ensuing flames.

The lower figure enabled it to claim: "Once again this year, the overall  number of vehicles burned demonstrates that, however intolerable, the phenomenon is contained". By this calculation, the rise, it said, was only 48 cars.

But the the lower figure prompted the far-Right Front National to denounce what it called the government's "extremely hazy security record".

"The new interior minister Bruno Le Roux…(initially) didn't communicate the number of vehicles burned and considers that the number of cars directly set on fire to be 'contained' while even this constitutes a signifiant rise of 8 per cent," the FN said in a statement.

Le Monde, the national daily newspaper, also accused the ministry of muddying the waters.

The government responded that the figures released were the "most pertinent and the most coherent".

"There is absolutely no attempt at hiding anything," said Pierre Henry Brandet, an interior ministry spokesman.

"You have to look at the trend over several years, and what is significant is that there has been a significant drop over five years,"he said.

Mr Brandet conceded, however, that the figure was still too high, adding: "These incidents are not tolerable and the perpetrators must be found and answer for their acts before justice."

Over New Year, a fire fighter in the eastern department of Ain was hurt while trying to extinguish one car.

In Nice, where security has been extremely tight since the deadly Bastille Day truck attack of last year, two police officers were hurt when revellers threw "projectiles" at them.

Bruno le Roux, the interior minister, said that no attack on security would not be tolerated.

"I regret that once again there were too many instances of security forces being hit with objects, or faced with attacks or insults," he said.

But he thanked the tens of thousands of police and firefighters, adding that they "allowed December 31st to go off particularly well".

With France under a state of emergency since a spate of terror attacks, some 90,000 security forces were out in its streets on New Year's Eve to police mass gatherings such on Paris' famed Champs-Elysées, where half a million revellers convened.

French domestic intelligence agents also reportedly swooped on a string of individuals ahead of festivities who they suspected might have been tempted to wreak violence.

The custom of setting vehicles alight on New Year’s Eve is said to have kicked off around Strasbourg, eastern France in the 1990s, in the the city’s deprived, high-immigrant districts.

It quickly caught on among disaffected youths in cities across the country, and is seen by some as a litmus test of general social unrest.

The most notorious spate of car burnings in recent years was seen in the 2005 riots when hundreds of vehicles were torched.

Former French president Nicholas Sarkozy briefly abandoned issuing a breakdown of New Year's Eve car burnings in 2010-11 amid fears this was sparking copycat actions, but it has since been re-instated.
57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Turkey suffers a firearm related mishap on: January 01, 2017, 08:21:32 PM

First a truck problem in Germany, now a gun problem in Turkey. Must be some sort of safety issue with the consumer products over there.
58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: of course Rep pushback on: January 01, 2017, 03:59:59 PM

The stupid party never misses a chance to fcuk things up!
59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: year in review on: January 01, 2017, 02:54:15 PM

China doesn't have a strong legal argument against complying with international law? NFW!  shocked

China has the world's oldest argument: "Come over here and make me do it, Motherf*cker".
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chinese ‘corporate hackers’ accused of attacking US law firms on: December 31, 2016, 03:34:55 PM

Chinese ‘corporate hackers’ accused of attacking US law firms
The three, including two suspects from Macau, charged with stealing information on corporate deals, allowing them to profit from share trading
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 December, 2016, 11:20am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 December, 2016, 11:40pm

The US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday charged three Chinese citizens with fraudulently trading on information they had obtained from hacking into the email networks of two New York City law firms, hauling in almost US$3 million in illicit profits.
In a complaint unsealed on Tuesday, the commission said that between April 2014 and late 2015 Iat Hong and Chin Hung from Macau, and Bo Zheng from Changsha, Hunan province, installed malware on the law firms’ networks, thereby gaining access to the email accounts of attorneys advising corporate clients on mergers and acquisitions. Armed with proprietary information on these clients, the trio traded big.
The commission said the three spent roughly US$7.5 million on shares of semiconductor company Altera before news of it being in talks to be acquired by Intel Corporation became public.
The three suspects are charged with trading on information that gained by hacking emails. Photo: Shutterstock

In addition, hours after extracting emails about a deal involving an e-commerce company, Hong and Hung purchased shares that amounted to 25 per cent of the company’s trading volume on certain days in advance of the 2015 deal’s announcement.
Hong and Zheng are also accused of trading in 2014 ahead of a merger announcement of a pharmaceutical company. They also stole schematic designs of a robot vacuum cleaner made by an American company, the commission’s complaint said.
Hong, 26, and Hung, 50, were employed at a robotics company founded by Zheng, 30, to develop robot controller chips and provide control system solutions, according to authorities.
Hackers in Greater China target online transactions, building ‘dossiers’ of information on individuals, expert says

The trio was accused of copying and transmitting dozens of gigabytes of emails to remote internet locations.
Hong was arrested in Hong Kong on Christmas Day with extradition proceedings scheduled to begin in mid-January.
Hong’s mother was also named as a relief defendant for the purpose of recovering money in her accounts from her son’s illicit trading, the commission said.
It is the first time the commission has charged anyone with hacking into a law firm’s computer network.
The Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong has assisted with the ongoing investigation.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a daily press briefing that she was aware of the reports, but did not know the details.
The commission has asked for a judgement ordering the three to pay penalties and relinquish their illegal gains, plus interest.
Two government agencies in Hong Kong attacked by hackers, US firm says

The commission is also seeking to freeze an account opened in Hong’s mother’s name.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York also announced a 13-count indictment against the three stemming from the hacking.
Each count carries a maximum sentence of five to 20 years.
“This case of cyber meets securities fraud should serve as a wake-up call for law firms around the world,” said Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement.
“You are and will be targets of cyber hacking, because you have information valuable to would-be criminals.”
Additional reporting by Bloomberg and Reuters
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Giant rooster that looks like Trump in China on: December 31, 2016, 12:28:46 PM
I am not clear this was supposed to be a parody of Trump or some liberal American is just making this up.

But it could be a good marketing move if was on purpose.
Every huffington post reader will visit this place in china so they can yuck it up sending selfies to their marxist friends.

The "Socialist with Chinese characteristics" business owner would love to have an influx of "da bizi" spend money at this mall, and buy a smaller version.
62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump has a giant... umm... chicken statue in China! on: December 31, 2016, 11:50:05 AM

63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: December 31, 2016, 11:15:48 AM
Well duh!

Just forwarding what a German friend told me by way of explanation as to what SHE thought she was doing.

What's the motivation of all the other leaders inflicting this upon the countries they are supposed to care for?
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Those "missing" 22 million Bush emails on: December 31, 2016, 10:06:23 AM
Any allegations of classified materials in those emails?

December 2009

Washington (CNN) -- Computer technicians have recovered about 22 million Bush administration e-mails that the Bush White House had said were missing, two watchdog groups that sued over the documents announced Monday.

The e-mails date from 2003 to 2005, and had been "mislabeled and effectively lost," according to the National Security Archive, a research group based at George Washington University. But Melanie Sloan, executive director of the liberal-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said it could be years before most of the e-mails are made public.

"The e-mails themselves are not what we're getting," Sloan said.

Documents related to the handling of e-mail under the Bush administration and subsequent information regarding how White House e-mails are currently archived will be released under a settlement with the Obama administration, which inherited a lawsuit the groups filed in 2007. But the National Archives must sort out which documents are covered by the Freedom of Information Act and which ones fall under the Presidential Records Act, which means they could be withheld for five to 10 years after the Bush administration left office in January, Sloan said.

"The National Archives will sort this out," she said.

The e-mail controversy dates back to the Bush administration's 2006 firing of the top federal prosecutors in nine cities. After congressional committees demanded the administration produce documents related to the firings, the White House said millions of e-mails might have been lost from its servers. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive sued over the issue in 2007, arguing the Bush administration violated federal laws that require presidential records to be preserved.

Court records have shown that the Bush administration knew about the e-mail problems as far back as 2005 and did nothing to fix them, Sloan said.

"They never made an effort to restore them," she said.

But Scott Stanzel, a former deputy press secretary in the Bush White House, said the group "has consistently tried to create a spooky conspiracy out of standard IT issues."

"We always indicated that there is an e-mail archiving system and a disaster recovery system," Stanzel said. "We also indicated that e-mails not properly archived could be found on disaster recovery tapes. There is a big, big difference between something not being properly archived and it being 'lost' or 'missing,' as CREW would say."

Monday's settlement allows for 94 days of e-mail traffic, scattered between January 2003 to April 2005, to be restored from backup tapes. Of those 94 days, 40 were picked by statistical sample; another 21 days were suggested by the White House; and the groups that filed suit picked 33 that seemed "historically significant," from the months before the invasion of Iraq to the period when the firings of U.S. attorneys were being planned.

Also requested were several days surrounding the announcement that a criminal investigation was under way into the disclosure of then-CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson's identity. That investigation led to the conviction of White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to federal agents investigating the leak.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington represented Wilson and her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, in a lawsuit over her exposure, which they argued was in retaliation for his accusation that the Bush administration over-hyped the intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq. A federal judge dismissed the case on procedural grounds in 2007, but Sloan said the missing e-mails raise the "strong possibility" that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald never received all the documents he requested during the leak investigation.

65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / No, Media, the Election Wasn’t ‘Hacked’ — Stop Saying It Was on: December 31, 2016, 09:54:45 AM

No, Media, the Election Wasn’t ‘Hacked’ — Stop Saying It Was
Home Politics
By Stephen Miller | 12:40 pm, December 30, 2016
When President Obama announced Thursday he was taking retaliatory measures against Russia for its role in cyber-attacks against Democratic Party institutions, the mainstream media pounced.

They listened to the Obama administration describe Russia’s “aggressive harassment,” “malicious cyber activity” and “data disclosure activities,” and quickly seized upon an ominous phrase: “election hacking.” Election hacking took off so fast that the narrative needed an attendant and drink cart accompanying it.

To be perfectly clear, there is zero evidence of actual election hacking, such as the hacking of voting machines, paper ballots or voter fraud on the part of Russia in an effort to install Donald Trump into the White House. There’s no evidence Russia employed a massive cloaking device from a secret submarine in Lake Erie, over the state of Wisconsin, where Hillary Clinton did not campaign once during the general election.

There’s no evidence Russia influenced Clinton campaign operatives to steer SEIU members on the ground away from Michigan. As of yet, there is no proof it was Russia who directed Lena Dunham to campaign in North Carolina, or the aged cast of the West Wing to stump in Ohio. There is no evidence that rural voters in Pennsylvania, whom Mrs. Clinton ignored in the final weeks of the campaign, are actually Russian spies. It is still not known whether Katy Perry is in fact a Russian agent.

If any actual electoral fraud was engineered by Putin and Russia, giving Hillary Clinton almost 3,000,000 more votes than Donald Trump is an amazing cover.

But again, none of this occurred on the day Americans went to the polls. The word “hacked,” or variations thereof, does not appear in the White House statement and only once, prefaced by “allegedly” in the DHS statement. There is no evidence of any illicit activities occurring on Election Day.

John Podesta was hacked. The election was not. Podesta’s emails were stolen, not via some sophisticated cyber operation, but through a common email phishing scam, the same ones your grandparents fall for when you catch them writing a big check to that wonderfully nice and thankful Nigerian prince.

There was no forced breach of information, or Russian agents hanging from ceilings at Langley, or stealing files from offices late at night . No one broke into the DNC and stole discs in a daring midnight raid. The information was given willfully and ignorantly by Podesta and his staff. They are the ones responsible.

If the illegal attainment of leaked information is considered “hacking the election,” then file the 2012 election under being hacked as well.

So the question becomes why is our national media intent on spreading misinformation about a “hacked election”? It certainly looks purposeful, if not downright dishonest.

On Yahoo News, a recent purveyor of fake news, the headline initially read: “US Sanctions Russia over vote hacking.” It has since been changed to the more accurate: “US hits Russia for election meddling.” Hopefully this becomes a trend, because plenty of outlets have been repeating the “hacked election” formulation.

"Vote hacking" is the #fakenews headline the media is pushing based on no evidence that Russia actually hacked votes
12:13 PM - 29 Dec 2016
  787 787 Retweets   721 721 likes
CNN blasted out a tweet saying “Obama issues an executive order against 6 Russian individuals and 5 Russian entities over election hacking.”

Politico’s breaking news tweet read: “White House sanctions Russia over election hacks,” as did NPR’s, stating “President Obama orders sanctions against Russian intelligence services officials in response to election hacking.” The New York Times’ headline stated: “U.S. Punishes Russia for Election Hacking, Ejecting Operatives.”

Tom Winter of NBC News tweeted out the name of an alleged suspect wanted by the FBI for his role in the “election hacking.”

NBC News: Documents & officials say Evgeniy Bogachev who is alleged to be part of election hacking has been wanted by the FBI in other cases
12:23 PM - 29 Dec 2016
  629 629 Retweets   444 444 likes
Matthew Dowd of ABC News, in a not-so-subtle jab at Donald Trump, tweeted: “What is more problematic for US national security: few thousand Mexicans coming across the border for work, or Russia hacking our election?

What is more problematic for US national security: few thousand Mexicans coming across the border for work, or Russia hacking our election?
12:42 PM - 29 Dec 2016
  193 193 Retweets   456 456 likes
It’s worth nothing, ABC News is now assisting Facebook in fact-checking newsfeeds for fake news, as is the Associated Press, which also reported on Obama’s “retaliation for election hacking.”

News organizations obsessed with a sudden new found mission of loyal fact checking and accuracy when it comes to a Donald Trump presidency apparently are letting these rules slide when it pertains to the election that put him in the White House. Whether intentional or not, the media’s misreporting appears to be influencing the public’s perception of events.

According to a study published in the Washington Post, almost one half of Hillary Clinton voters now believe that Russia hacked the election itself, specifically vote totals, despite the Obama Administration stating no such hack occurred. It’s not hard to guess why so many might have gotten that impression — they’ve been reading about a “hacked election” for weeks.

Is this a purposeful effort on behalf of mainstream outlets and the people charged with relaying information to undermine a Donald Trump presidency? Who knows? It might just be that they are using “election hacking” as shorthand for “Hey man, maybe don’t click suspicious viagra links in your gmail.”

If media outlets want to continue to sound the alarm about “fake news,” they should be more concerned with accuracy in their reporting. This looks sloppy, biased and, worst of all, malicious. On the plus side, the Obama administration should be applauded for finally coming around to the threat Russia poses even if it only took his party losing an election to do so.
66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Return Israel to it's 967 B.C. borders! on: December 30, 2016, 07:40:52 PM
67  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Iowahawk dismantles the "election hacking" narrative on: December 30, 2016, 07:36:15 PM

Paying attention, Bigdog?
68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russian Roulette on: December 30, 2016, 07:29:53 PM
69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: December 30, 2016, 07:06:10 PM
Daughter of an East German Lutheran minister who took seriously the Christian ethos of taking care of the stranger.

Bringing in strangers to rape and murder those who you are charged with leading and protecting isn't anything related to Christianity that I am aware of.
70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Way past time to get out on: December 29, 2016, 09:44:11 PM
ian bremmerVerified account
2016 UNGA Resolutions Against
Israel: 20
Syria: 1
Iran: 1
N Korea: 1
Russia: 1

Seems imbalanced.
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Some New Year’s Resolutions for Our Progressive Pals on: December 29, 2016, 09:22:15 PM

Some New Year’s Resolutions for Our Progressive Pals
Kurt  Schlichter Kurt Schlichter |Posted: Dec 29, 2016 12:01 AM  Share (903)   Tweet
Some New Year’s Resolutions for Our Progressive Pals


The year 2016 was a great one for our progressive friends – except for that whole utter repudiation unpleasantness of last November. Now, as a concerned conservative friend eager to help, let me offer you some New Year's resolutions that will keep you on the path to success. The bottom line: stay the course!

Keep Reaffirming the Racism/Sexism/Homophobia and Other Moral Failings of Everyone Who Doesn't Obey the Rigid Yet Constantly Mutating Laws of Political Correctness: It's vital that you continue, at every turn, to label normal Americans "racists," “sexists” and all the other “-ists” and “-phobes” in your Big Book O’ Liberal Slurs. Remember, concerns about crime are secret dog whistles to the tens of millions of wannabe KKK members lurking out there. Americans actually love being robbed! You know why we pretend we don't like dismembering babies and selling their parts? Because we hate strong women. You caught us! And having people smash airplanes into buildings and open fire at random citizens are just a few of our favorite things. We only blame these acts on the radical Muslims who are actually doing them because of our unreasoning hatred of Muslims. There's no fooling you! If we weren’t such Islamophobes, we’d focus on the bloody death toll from those radical Baptists. So keep it up, and never, ever, pass up an opportunity to tell normal Americans how they fail to meet your exacting standards. With enough abuse, those Trump voters you lost last time will definitely come around and start supporting Democrats again!

Slam Israel: Who needs Jewish voters in your coalition anymore? You’ve got urban hipsters and illegal aliens, frigid divorcees and welfare cheats, plus a declining number of blacks and more urban hipsters, so those embarrassing friends of the Zionist Entity are totally expendable. Let them go join the GOP, with its unflinching support for evil Israel against the uncorrupt democracies surrounding it. When your delegates booed Israel (and God) at your convention, it was a great way to start this super-helpful conversation. Keep it up. Remember, every time you stab Israel in the back, several CAIR members will escort their wives out to go vote for Democrats.

Leverage Hollywood Star Power: As you know, all normal Americans believe Hollywood stars are powerful role models who we should emulate in our personal and political lives. Want to energize new voters? Well, those tatt-ridden, gangsta rap stars supporting Hillary sure made me want to bust a move – right into the voting booth to elect some Dems! And don’t forget to have Lena Dunham go out there to lecture us about her personal insights on politics and childcare. She’s America’s preeminent feminist icon – I know that pic of her lolling on a beach dressed as a manatee made me reconsider my standards of female beauty. After that, I’ll never again deploy my male gaze!

Jesusplain More: Christians definitely appreciate it when they get instructed on the tenets of their faith by someone whose most recent religious observance was driving past a Church's Fried Chicken. We believers somehow missed how the RNC was calling Trump “Jesus,” but it didn’t get by you theologians! Good catch! Clearly, people you hold in contempt for being dedicated to Christ are going to commit blasphemy by labeling Trump “Jesus” because…reasons. Way to untangle that cunning plot to do…something. Anyway, thanks to you, I now also know that Jesus was a free n' easy hippie whose teachings just happen to correspond exactly to the tenets of the Democratic Party – except for some of that awkward stuff that requires actual belief in Jesus. Under your tutelage, I finally get that thou shall not demand that deadbeats worketh, nor shalt thy resisteth 7th Century savages. Also, apparently He demandeth that grown men dressed like women shall exposeth themselves aroundeth our young daughters. Who knew? You guys should keep this up. You're building a lasting impression among religious Americans – you know, the key segment of the American population that isn’t barren.

Remember, You Know Best for Us. You should do as much as you can to compel us to comply with your enlightened views. Force innocent bakers to bake cakes just because you can. People love that – especially when you simultaneously discover the moral necessity of allowing employees on a chorus line to opt out of entertaining those you deem unacceptable. Also, try to disarm us even as crime rates have entered a dizzying climb thanks to your cavorting with quasi-terrorist mobs and trashing the police – remember, it’s not the fear of being raped or murdered that inspired us to exercise that musty old Second Amendment, it’s racism! Oh, and perhaps concern about the future should you retake power. Just ensure that you keep reacting to any criticism with scathing personal attacks upon those who defy you. Normal Americans love that.

Heat-Up the Climate Change Frenzy: It must be frustrating when stupid #Science-hating normals refuse to accept that global warming is a crisis requiring we immediately give you liberals more power and money. This isn’t the first time these dummies have refused to listen to the settled #Science – they didn’t listen in the 70s when you demanded more money and power to stop the imminent ice age, or in the 80s when you demanded more money and power to stop the ozone hole apocalypse, or in the 90s when you demanded more money and power to stop the acid rain Armageddon. Keep it up! Who knows, maybe it will actually get hotter and you’ll have some evidence – it totally could happen this time!

Don't Hide Your Feelings On Social Media. Social media allows you the opportunity to freely express what you really think to a vast audience – use it! Once, you could only say what you really think in little groups at Manhattan cocktail parties or cafés in Los Angeles, or publish it in obscure magazines no normals ever read. Well, now you can tweet your innermost thoughts and have those views go viral! It used to be a secret that you thought we are idiots for having religious beliefs, but not anymore! Your desire to confiscate guns had to be hidden with weasel words in public, but now you are no longer restrained. In fact, you can loudly and publicly wish us harm – we love being told you can’t wait for us to die off so you can take total control of the country (except, being breeders, we have kids, but that’s another story). This open exchange of ideas is wonderful, and we urge you to continue it.

Keep Nominating Ancient Leftists Whose Massive Criminal Endeavors Appall All Decent Folk. Let me say it – Hillary Clinton was a terrific candidate for the Democrats, at least from my perspective as a Republican. Honest, warm, self-less, able to connect with regular people – these qualities are totally overrated in a nominee. Okay, she had some baggage, but the problem with Hillary wasn’t her corruption – it was that the darn FBI and those darn Russians kept telling people about her corruption. Work harder with the mainstream media to ensure that we are no longer exposed to the kind of “fake news” that reveals what your candidates are actually doing. Most journalists will be eager to help!

Be the Sorest of Sore Losers: Or should I say, sore winners, since Hillary obviously crushed Trump in the popular vote election we didn’t have. Keep being angry! Talk nonstop about how Trump is illegitimate – we’ve already totally forgotten that whole thing about how not promising to recognize the validity of the election results is un-American. And oppose everything Trump does – everything! After all, people don’t want change. The last eight years have been terrific for everyone who matters – just ask Obama!

Look, you hit a few unexpected bumps in the road in 2016 – I mean, who could have foreseen that nominating someone under FBI investigation might turn out badly? But there’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing – the problem isn’t you. It’s everyone else, especially those stupid, racist, gun nut Jesus people who aren’t bright enough to understand that you are entitled to rule over them. So don’t ever change. Stay the course. Oh gosh, please, please, please, by all means, stay the course.
72  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: December 29, 2016, 09:13:09 PM

David Burge
Russia invades Crimea: oh well
Russia shoots down airliner: mistakes happen
John Podesta falls for phishing scam: RESTART THE COLD WAR

All we have heard for 8 yrs is that what we really need are *statesmen* who can give us diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.  The Left lectured us that we just need more of this

diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.
diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.
diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.
diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy.

Now 5 minutes before he exits Obama is giving everyone the finger.

Thanks for your diplomacy BROCK!
Nobel prize winner.  If only the world was smart enough to appreciate your genius.  God , can we make it till the 20th?

From another compost this one the Huffington one:

Brock "lowers the boom":

Funny how cyber security only became a top priority once it hurt the Democrat Party.  Last I heard we still don't have our power gird protected against and EMP.  

If you ask me  OBama  looks more like a coward then a tough guy, by getting pissy as he is heading for the exits after 8 yrs of selling us out.

73  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Lurch to the left on: December 29, 2016, 09:55:21 AM

74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: December 29, 2016, 09:54:07 AM
Defund it and kick it out of the US. I bet Somalia has lots of room for the new UN complex.
75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / "American food" on: December 28, 2016, 10:30:33 PM
So I was at a Las Vegas area buffet last night. There were various sections of differing cusines. Under the American section, there was brisket, potato latkes, potato and apple kugel and other similar foods. First time I had a latke and kugel. The sign said matzo ball soup, but I didn't find it.

This seems meaningful to me.
76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Islamic State arrests reveal jihadi threat near seat of U.S. government on: December 28, 2016, 09:54:32 PM

Islamic State arrests reveal jihadi threat near seat of U.S. government
By Rowan Scarborough - The Washington Times
Monday, December 26, 2016

Law enforcement agencies have arrested nine Northern Virginia residents on charges of aiding the Islamic State since the terrorist group rose to power in Syria and Iraq in 2014 and launched social media propaganda to attract followers, a government message to police states.

The Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center issued profiles of the nine in a Dec. 21 report labeled “law enforcement sensitive.”

Such reports are designed to help state and federal agents recognize trends in the types of individuals who are influenced by the Islamic State’s message and how they communicate across terrorist networks.

A defense attorney in one of the cases accused police of anti-Muslim bias; his client later pleaded guilty.

Somalis living in Minnesota appear to receive the most press attention in the U.S. for wanting to help or join the Islamic State. The FBI arrested six residents of Somali origin in April after they made arrangements to leave Minnesota for Syria. Last December, a 20-year-old man of Somali origin was arrested on accusations of leading a group of ethnic Somalis attempting to fight for the Islamic State.

The Northern Virginia report shows that Muslims seeking to become mass killers live near the seat of American government.

Of the nine Northern Virginians who were arrested, all but one were in their teens and early 20s. They included a police officer, a Starbucks barista, Army soldiers, bankers and a cabdriver. Four of the nine graduated from Northern Virginia high schools, one with honors. Two attended Northern Virginia Community College.

In other words, all of them appeared to have opportunities via public education to become successful Americans but instead were charged with what amounted to a devotion to violent jihad.

They are suspected of conducting terrorism planning through Twitter, Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp and other platforms and apps, as well as on prepaid phones.

“Local police are in a particularly difficult situation,” said Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer and researcher on Islamism who lives in Northern Virginia. “They face a severe challenge by Islamists operating in the shadows of our open society. These mostly young male Muslims become radicalized either by Islamist imams at some of the thousands of mosques across America, at school, or over the ever-present internet sites that spew anti-West, anti-Christian hatred.”

These are the nine profiles, according to the intelligence report obtained by The Washington Times:

• Ali Shukir Amin. He pleaded guilty to providing support to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) and was sentenced to 136 months in prison. An honors student at Osbourn Park High School, Amin wrote a pro-Islamic State blog, had a Twitter account with 7,000 tweets and instructed people on how to use bitcoin to hide money transfers and on how to travel to Syria.

• Reza Niknejad. Also an Osbourn Park student who was attending Northern Virginia Community College, Niknejad, aided by Amin, traveled to Syria in 2015. He was charged in absentia.

• Heather Coffman. She pleaded guilty to making a false statement concerning involvement in international terrorism and was sentenced to 54 months in prison. She joined the Army but was discharged after four months, and later worked as a sales clerk. She operated multiple Facebook accounts to promote the Islamic State and shared terrorism contacts with possible recruits.

• Joseph Hassan Farrokh. He pleaded guilty this year to attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State and received 102 months in prison. He provided $600 to a friend to travel to Syria and attempted to be a foreign fighter.

• Mahmound Amin Mohamed Elhassan. He pleaded guilty in October to aiding Farrokh and lying about his involvement in international terrorism. He spoke openly of supporting the Islamic State and its violence. He had attended Northern Virginia Community College and worked for Starbucks.

• Mohamad Jamal Khweis. He was arrested in Turkey on charges of conspiring to help the Islamic State. His trial begins in April. He graduated from Edison High School and worked for two banks and Highgate Hotels. He traveled to Syria in 2015 to become a foreign fighter before having second thoughts and escaping.

• Mohammad Bilor Jalloh. He pleaded guilty in October to trying to help the Islamic State. He had served as a combat engineer in the Virginia National Guard and worked for consulting firms. He met with Islamic State members in Africa and tried to buy firearms to carry out a Fort Hood-style massacre.

• Haris Qatar. He also pleaded guilty to charges of helping the Islamic State. He attended Northern Virginia Community College and worked for Wells Fargo. He created 60 Twitter handles for Islamic State propaganda and stalked residences in Northern Virginia that were on the group’s “kill lists.” He was preparing to make a video encouraging people to carry out “lone wolf” attacks around Washington.

• Nicholas Young. The oldest of the nine at 36, he has been charged with helping the Islamic State but has not faced trial. He graduated from West Potomac High School and worked as a Metro police officer. He is accused of stockpiling weapons at his home. According to authorities, he traveled to Libya and gave advice to Islamic State followers on how to avoid law enforcement monitoring.

Mr. Maginnis, who stays in contact with local police in Virginia, said the wave of social media rhetoric against law enforcement has made their counterterrorism role more difficult.

“Given our open society, detached parents and politically correct schools, local police in Northern Virginia understandably hesitate to rigorously pursue young Islamist wannabes,” Mr. Maginnis said.
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / First the Stab In the Back, Now the Twist of the Knife: Obama, Kerry Set to Dec on: December 28, 2016, 09:09:45 PM

December 28, 2016
First the Stab In the Back, Now the Twist of the Knife: Obama, Kerry Set to Declare Palestinian Statehood

If the despicable action of not vetoing the blatantly anti-Israeli UN resolution was supposed to be a parting kick in the groin to the Jewish state - and it's pretty clear that the US actually crafted Resolution 2334 - Obama would have done it on January 20th, 2017 some time before noon. But there are still 23 days left for this momzer to inflict an incredible amount of damage. And it seems as if he's about to commit one of the worst acts imaginable, after eight years of heretofore unimaginable destruction and strife.

    Multiple media outlets are reporting that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is finalizing a document that the Obama administration hopes will form the basis for a UN Security Council resolution that officially recognizes a Palestinian state before the end of Barack Obama's term on January 20th. This comes on the heels of the UN Security Council's adoption of resolution 2334 on December 23rd. That resolution declared that all Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal, it stated that the Security Council recognizes the 1967 ceasefire lines as the border between Israel and "Palestine", and it officially gave East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. But it stopped short of formally recognizing a Palestinian state. Resolution 2334 speaks of a Palestinian state in the future tense, but this new resolution that John Kerry is reportedly working on would give immediate and permanent UN Security Council recognition to a Palestinian state.

For those who have not looked at a map, the distance from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is roughly 35-40 miles, give or take. Not exactly vast open country, but it's defensible. Barely. If Israel were to go back to its pre-1967 borders, as per Obama's and Kerry's plan, that distance would be cut to about 10 miles at its widest point. The Israelis refer to that as the Auschwitz borders for good reason.

But Obama doesn't just seek to destroy Israel because he's an anti-Semite (and he is). This is indicative of his hatred for the country that twice elected him president.

    When Obama chose to lead the anti-Israel lynch mob at the Security Council last week, he did more than deliver the PLO terrorist organization its greatest victory to date against Israel. He delivered a strategic victory to the anti-American forces that seek to destroy the coherence of American superpower status. That is, he carried out a strategic strike on American power.

    By leading the gang rape of Israel on Friday, Obama undermined the rationale for American power. Why should the US assert a sovereign right to stand against the radical forces that control the UN? If US agrees that Israel is committing a crime by respecting the civil and human rights of its citizens to live in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, then how can America claim that it has the right to defend its own rights and interests, when those clash with the views of the vast majority of state members of the UN?

Since its founding in 1948, the modern State of Israel has been the lone beacon of freedom and enlightenment surrounded by a vast wasteland of medieval tyranny, pig-ignorance, squalor, barbarity and a blind, centuries-old unreconstructed hatred. In spite of this, it has year after year made concession after concession in a desperate attempt to stop generational bloodshed and save the lives of not only its own children but of children whose parents use them as suicide bombers. It has only earned them enmity. And the twin ideologies of Islam and Marxism are converging with the aim of wiping Israel off the map and annihilating every Jew that Hitler couldn't gas now in sight; all thanks to Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the United States.

Having backed Israel into a corner by all but giving Iran nukes, and now opening a second front at the UN to annihilate the Jewish state politically, I suppose Bibi's only response must be as unthinkable as Obama's incitement: Annex the West Bank and to hell with the consequences.
78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 28, 2016, 10:58:32 AM
Pre-answering John Kerry's speech today, an old proverb describes the Kerry dilemma perfectly and I want to be first to put this out there.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

We will help Israel attain peace by taking away the only thing they have to offer in exchange for peace.  Makes sense if you have absolutely no awareness of history, reality or strategy.

But, community organizer!
79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Baraq says he will bark on his way out the door on: December 27, 2016, 11:28:47 PM

Better get ready for a possible grid down scenario.
80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Thomas Sowell retiring on: December 27, 2016, 11:58:45 AM

I am saddened to see this. Brilliant man.
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Pravda on the Beach (LA Times) on OTMs on: December 27, 2016, 11:55:23 AM

Not our job to take in global poverty. Fix your own damn countries.
82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israelis say Obama-Kerry drafted it on: December 26, 2016, 08:59:00 PM

Who could have possibly guessed that Rev. Wright's most well known follower would have done this?

Rachel unavailable for comment.
83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump’s Jewish grandkids light Hanukkah candles on: December 26, 2016, 09:36:02 AM,7340,L-4898781,00.html

Trump’s Jewish grandkids light Hanukkah candles
US president-elect’s daughter Ivanka shares a photo of her family celebrating the Jewish holiday in Hawaii. ‘As we light the candles, sending love from our family to yours this holiday season! Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!’ she writes.
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Far from over on: December 26, 2016, 09:30:56 AM

85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Obama's Tantrum on: December 24, 2016, 01:09:48 PM

Rachel unavailable for comment.

The most instructive thing about Obama’s Security Council abstention is he didn’t have the guts to do it earlier, when he stood to lose something by doing it. Only after he calculated there was nothing more to squeeze from that particular quarter did he run up the Jolly Roger. Had it cost him it would have meant something, even as a gesture.

But even more interesting was his willingness to damage the Democratic party who he’s leaving with political bill, not to mention the fact that the policy his abstention represents makes little sense.

Israel is likely to emerge as a linchpin in the region, after Obama’s power vacuum bomb reduces the nearby countries to waste. If Turkey and Iran fall apart, which is not inconceivable, then Obama will have antagonized the last man standing.

It was bad timing and pointless, like a punch thrown by a fighter lying on the canvas — at the referee. That would leave his legacy a consistently dysfunctional whole: conceived in delusion, executed in incompetence and spite.
86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Snopes does porn on: December 22, 2016, 10:59:31 PM

Professional journalists, you haters!! Right Bigdog?
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Baraq scraps entry-exit system for migrants from Muslim countries. on: December 22, 2016, 10:54:49 PM

Pretty clear who's side he is on, isn't it?
88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way forward for Republican party on: December 22, 2016, 09:10:52 PM
Agreed and agreed.  At the same time, I do like the way he paints Latinos:

"documents a growing segment of the U.S. population that is better educated, more employed, more entrepreneurial and more engaged than many understand"

Where I grew up, there were lots of people of hispanic ancestry. It wasn't an issue one way or the other. My town's mayor was named Silva before this was some kind of issue. The cops I knew growing up had names like Archuleta and Gallegos. I knew wanted to be like Sgt. Archuleta, and I never gave the origin of his last name a thought. It wasn't a concern I was aware of. Maybe that's something we should strive for as a nation.
89  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cheney helping Tillerson on: December 22, 2016, 08:42:26 PM

I can't wait for all the leftists' heads to start exploding over this!!   grin
90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sooner or later on: December 22, 2016, 08:25:53 PM
Ukraine power grids a sign of things to come for U.S.?

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Russian hacking to influence the election has dominated the news. But CBS News has also noticed a hacking attack that could be a future means to the U.S. Last weekend, parts of the Ukrainian capitol Kiev went dark. It appears Russia has figured out how to crash a power grid with a click.

Last December, a similar attack occurred when nearly a quarter of a million people lost power in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine when it was targeted by a suspected Russian attack. 

Vasyl Pemchuk is the electric control center manager, and said that when hackers took over their computers, all his workers could do was film it with their cell phones.

“It was illogical and chaotic,” he said. “It seemed like something in a Hollywood movie.”

Vasyl Pemchuk in the control center that was hacked
CBS News

The hackers sent emails with infected attachments to power company employees, stealing their login credentials and then taking control of the grid’s systems to cut the circuit breakers at nearly 60 substations.

The suspected motive for the attack is the war in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists are fighting against Ukrainian government forces.

But hackers could launch a similar attack in the U.S.

“We can’t just look at the Ukraine attack and go ‘oh we’re safe against that attack,’” said Rob Lee, a former cyberwarfare operations officer in the U.S. military, investigated the Ukraine attack.

Rob Lee
CBS News

“Even if we just lose a portion, right? If we have New York City or Washington D.C. go down for a day, two days, a week, what does life look like at that point?” he said.

He said that some U.S. electric utilities have weaker security than Ukraine, and the malicious software the hackers used has already been detected in the U.S.

“It’s very concerning that these same actors using similar capabilities and tradecraft are preparing and are getting access to these business networks, getting access to portions of the power grid,” he said.

In Ukraine, they restarted the power in just hours. But an attack in the U.S. could leave people without electricity for days, or even weeks, according to experts. Because, ironically, America’s advanced, automated grid would be much harder to fix.
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Bet on it, sooner or later on: December 22, 2016, 08:24:13 PM

Ukraine power grids a sign of things to come for U.S.?

Russian hacking to influence the election has dominated the news. But CBS News has also noticed a hacking attack that could be a future means to the U.S. Last weekend, parts of the Ukrainian capitol Kiev went dark. It appears Russia has figured out how to crash a power grid with a click.

Last December, a similar attack occurred when nearly a quarter of a million people lost power in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine when it was targeted by a suspected Russian attack. 

Vasyl Pemchuk is the electric control center manager, and said that when hackers took over their computers, all his workers could do was film it with their cell phones.

“It was illogical and chaotic,” he said. “It seemed like something in a Hollywood movie.”

Vasyl Pemchuk in the control center that was hacked
CBS News

The hackers sent emails with infected attachments to power company employees, stealing their login credentials and then taking control of the grid’s systems to cut the circuit breakers at nearly 60 substations.

The suspected motive for the attack is the war in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists are fighting against Ukrainian government forces.

But hackers could launch a similar attack in the U.S.

“We can’t just look at the Ukraine attack and go ‘oh we’re safe against that attack,’” said Rob Lee, a former cyberwarfare operations officer in the U.S. military, investigated the Ukraine attack.

Rob Lee
CBS News

“Even if we just lose a portion, right? If we have New York City or Washington D.C. go down for a day, two days, a week, what does life look like at that point?” he said.

He said that some U.S. electric utilities have weaker security than Ukraine, and the malicious software the hackers used has already been detected in the U.S.

“It’s very concerning that these same actors using similar capabilities and tradecraft are preparing and are getting access to these business networks, getting access to portions of the power grid,” he said.

In Ukraine, they restarted the power in just hours. But an attack in the U.S. could leave people without electricity for days, or even weeks, according to experts. Because, ironically, America’s advanced, automated grid would be much harder to fix.
92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: December 22, 2016, 08:12:04 PM
If you deal with rich people from outside the western world, it's pretty much a given they are "shady" in some way. Sometimes slight, sometimes neck deep in bad things.
93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Way forward for Republican party on: December 22, 2016, 08:08:34 PM
Enough with the tokenism. Pick the best person for the job. Just as you shouldn't discriminate against someone because of race, ethnicity, gender, you shouldn't discriminate for someone's...
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 22, 2016, 08:04:10 PM
We are hardly out of the woods yet. I am hoping the boom will be soon enough and big enough to start to mitigate the looming collapse.

Can Donald Trump Prevent the Economy from Falling Into a Black Hole?

Posted by Kevin Villani on December 13th, 2016 (All posts by Kevin Villani)

Interest rates will eventually rise without an even more devastating policy of financial repression. When they do, rising interest costs will produce a vicious cycle of ever more borrowing. We are already approaching the “event horizon” of spinning into this black hole of an inflationary spiral and economic collapse from which few countries historically have escaped. A substantially higher rate of growth is the only way to break free.

National economic growth is typically measured by the growth of GDP, and citizen well being by the growth of per-capita GDP. The long run trend of GDP growth reflects labor force participation, hours worked and productivity as well as the rate of national saving and the productivity of investments, all of which have been trending down.

The population grows at about 1% annually and actual GDP growth averaged 2% overall for 2010-2016 (using the new World Bank and IMF forecast of US GDP at 1.6% for 2016), hence per capita GDP grew at only 1%. Moreover the income from that 1% growth went primarily to the top one percent while 99% stagnated and minorities fell backwards.

Why we are approaching the Event Horizon
The Obama Administration annually predicted a more historically typical 2.6% per capita growth rate, consistent with the historical growth in non-farm labor productivity. How could their forecasts be so far off?

The Obama Administration pursued the most massive Keynesian fiscal and monetary stimulus ever undertaken. Such a policy generally at least gives the appearance of a rise in well being in the near term, as the government GDP statistic (repetitive, as the word “statistic derives from the Greek word for “state” ) reflects final expenditures, thereby imputing equal value to what governments “spend” as to the discretionary spending of private households and businesses in competitive markets. But labor productivity gains stagnated at only about 1%, most likely reflecting the cost and uncertainty of anti-business regulatory and legislative policies that dampened investment, something the Administration denied, trumping even a short term boost to GDP.

As a result the national debt approximately doubled from $10 trillion to $20 trillion, with contingent liabilities variously estimated from $100 to $200 trillion, putting the economy ever closer to the event horizon. Breaking free will require reversing the highly negative trends by reversing the policies that caused them.

Technology alone isn’t sufficient
Obama Administration apologists argued that stagnation is “the new normal” citing leading productivity experts such as Robert Gordon who dismissed the potential of new technologies. Many disagree, but Gordon’s findings imply even greater reliance on conventional reform.

Fiscal policy won’t be sufficient
Raising taxes may reduce short term deficits but slows growth. Cutting wasteful spending works better but is more difficult.

The list of needed public infrastructure investments has grown since the last one trillion dollar “stimulus” of politically allocated and mostly wasteful pork that contributed to the stagnation of the last eight years. Debt financed public infrastructure investment contributes to growth only if highly productive investments are chosen over political white elephants like California’s bullet train, always problematic.

Major cuts in defense spending are wishful thinking as most geopolitical experts view the world today as a riskier place than at any prior time of the past century, with many parallels to the inter-war period 1919-1939.

The major entitlement programs Social Security and Medicare for the elderly need reform. But for those in or near retirement the potential for savings is slight. Is Medicare really going to be withheld by death squads? Are benefits for those dependent on social security going to be cut significantly, forcing the elderly back into the labor force? Cutting Medicare or SS benefits for those with significant wealth – the equivalent of a wealth tax – won’t affect their consumption, hence offsetting the fall in government deficits with an equal and offsetting liquidation of private wealth. Prospective changes for those 55 years of age or younger should stimulate savings and defer retirement, improving finances only in the long run.

The remaining bureaucracies are in need of major pruning and in numerous cases elimination but they evaded even budget scold David Stockman’s ax during the Reagan Administration.

Americans will have to work more and consume less
That is the typical progressive economic legacy of excessive borrowing from the future.

The first Clinton Administration created the crony capitalist coalition of the political elite and the politically favored, e.g., public sector employees and retirees, subsidy recipients and low income home loan borrowers. The recent Clinton campaign promised to broaden this coalition, which would have accelerated the trip over the event horizon.

Reform that taxes consumption in favor of savings and a return to historical real interest rates could reverse the dramatic decline of the savings rate. Regulations redirecting savings to politically popular housing or environmental causes need to be curtailed in favor of market allocation to productive business investment.

Repeal and replace of Obama Care could reverse the trend to part time employment. Unwinding the approximate doubling of SS Disability payments and temporary unemployment benefits could reverse the decline in labor force participation.

Service sector labor productivity has been falling since 1987, the more politically favored the faster the decline. Legal services are at the bottom, partly reflecting political power of rent-seeking trial lawyers, followed by unionized health and then educational services. Union favoritism through, e.g., Davis Bacon wage requirements and “card check” increases rent seeking, particularly rampant in the unionized public sector.

Competition, of which free but reciprocal trade has historically been a major component, has traditionally provided the largest boost to well being by realizing the benefits of foreign productivity in a lower cost of goods while channeling American labor into employment where their relative productivity is highest. The transition is often painful, but paying people not to work long term is counterproductive. Immigration of both highly skilled and low cost labor (but not dependent family) generally contributes to per capita labor productivity in the same way as free trade.

None of this will be easy. The alternative is Greece without the Mediterranean climate or a sufficiently rich benefactor.


Kevin Villani, chief economist at Freddie Mac from 1982 to 1985, is a principal of University Financial Associates. He has held senior government positions, been affiliated with nine universities, and served as CFO and director of several companies. He recently published Occupy Pennsylvania Avenue on the political origins of the sub-prime lending bubble and aftermath.

"Real GDP growth in Q3 was revised to a 3.5% annual rate from a prior estimate of 3.2%, beating the consensus expected 3.3%."

I must admit I was wrong when I predicted the growth estimate would be revised downward after the election.  Still, this and the current quarter will conclude 8 years of lethargic, pathetic and ARTIFICIAL growth.

Nominal growth is 3% and our inflation target is 2%.  The difference is a rounding error; we aren't better off.

What would the real growth rate be without 10 trillion in new fiscal deficit stimulative spending?  What would it be without quantitative easing, asset re-purchases and 8 years of near zero interest rate policy?  Zero growth or worse, I suspect.

Easy money when it shouldn't be was a major cause of the last financial meltdown:
Have we learned anything?

What would the growth rate be if we didn't tax corporations at the highest rate in the world?  If we didn't pour two dozen new tax increases on the economy with Obamacare, or if we didn't add tens of thousands of new pages of regulations onto what used to be a relatively free economy?  If we hadn't dropped out of the top ten freest countries in the world in the Heritage Freedom Index?

Stay tuned.  Maybe we will find out.
95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pension Collapse in Big D on: December 22, 2016, 09:55:35 AM

Pension Collapse in Big D
The retirement fund for Dallas’s public-safety workers is nearly ruined.
Steven Malanga
December 13, 2016 Texas
Economy, finance, and budgets

When Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013, the city’s emergency-financial team said that high levels of retirement debt could prevent them from rescuing the Motor City’s finances. Detroit had been in economic decline for decades, and the pension problem—including billions of dollars in bonuses handed out while the city was hurtling toward insolvency—was just one part of the depressing financial picture. Dallas, by contrast, has been one of the fastest-growing American cities in recent years. Becoming a magnet for investment and opportunity, however, hasn’t protected the Texas city from experiencing its own Detroit-style financial crisis. Dallas’s retirement system for cops and firefighters combines many of the features that have nearly sunk state and local pension plans around the country. Things got so dire over the summer that retirees began pulling their money out of the system. It’s the first run on a government pension plan in recent memory.

Dallas created the police and fire plan in 1916. The system’s trustees eventually persuaded the state legislature to allow employees and pensioners to run the plan. Not surprisingly, the members have done so for their own benefit and sent the tab for unfunded promises—now estimated at perhaps $5 billion—to taxpayers. Among the features of the system is an annual, 4 percent cost-of-living adjustment that far exceeds the actual increase in inflation since 1989, when it was instituted. A Dallas employee with a $2,000 monthly pension in 1989 would receive $3,900 today if the system’s annual increases were pegged to the consumer price index. Under the generous Dallas formula, however, that same monthly pension could be worth more than $5,000. No wonder the ship is sinking.

The system also features a lavish deferment option that lets employees collect pensions even as they continue to work and earn a salary. Moreover, the retirement money gets deposited into an account that earns guaranteed interest. Governments originally began creating these so-called DROP plans as an incentive to encourage experienced employees to keep working past retirement age, which in job categories like public safety can be as young as 50. In Dallas, the pension system gives workers in the DROP plan an 8 percent interest rate on their cash, at a time when yields on ten-year U.S. Treasury notes, a standard for guaranteed returns, are stuck at less than 2 percent. According to the city, some 500 employees working past retirement age have accumulated more than $1 million in these accounts—on top of the pensions that they will receive once they officially stop working.

To make all of this seem reasonable, the state legislature placed a cap on contributions. Under the cap, cities can budget up to 28 percent of payroll to funding pensions every year. It’s a high price, but not nearly high enough to fund Dallas’s generous plan, whose officials lately predicted that investment returns would stay above 8 percent forever. Trying to hit that crazy target, the system’s trustees began investing in increasingly risky assets. At one point, a startling 50 percent of the fund’s money was invested in private equity, real estate, and other volatile assets. Since 2010 alone, the pension system has had to write off nearly $200 million in bad bets, and the system’s funding level has slipped below the mark that experts say dooms a pension plan.

Recently, fiscal experts and city officials began mentioning the possibility of bankruptcy. What officials didn’t count on, apparently, is that participants in the system, who have the right to withdraw their savings, would actually start doing so once they heard such dire warnings. Retirees have withdrawn nearly half a billion dollars since late summer, sending the system’s funding levels plummeting to a dangerous 36 percent. The system’s liquid assets—that is, money it can draw on to pay benefits—is down to just $729 million, not much more than the $600 million it needs to keep on hand to assure that it can meet its obligations. That’s forced the system to halt withdrawals. It’s officially a run.

Fixing this mess without serious reform is almost unimaginable. Even a 40-year plan to pay off the pension debt (twice as long as the Society of Actuaries recommends) would require the city to spend the equivalent of 75 percent of its payroll on pensions alone. Finding the money to do that would require Dallas to more than double property taxes. Even so, a four-decade plan would expose the city to future market crashes that could undermine any recovery. Instead, the city is looking at a host of unpopular changes to the current pension plan, including cutting back cost-of-living adjustments and asking employees to forgo some of the interest they’ve earned on their DROP accounts. State legislators, who crafted a system they didn’t have to fund, would need to approve any changes. Things could get complicated: Republicans dominate the legislature, while Democrats control the city. Still, the prospect of an insolvent Dallas should focus some minds.

Plenty of state and municipal pension systems around the country are in the same situation, but Dallas is the only one facing an immediate drain on its funds. Plans in Chicago, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Kentucky, Illinois, and Connecticut are all less than 50 percent funded. Many have features similar to the Dallas police and fire plan. More than half of large state and local pension boards, for instance, are dominated by employees and retirees, who get to make crucial decisions that taxpayers must fund. Like Dallas’s plan, many funds are veering into risky investments in a desperate attempt to improve their finances. Also like Dallas, many of these funds saw such steep declines in their assets after the 2008 financial meltdown that even the second-longest bull-market in American history hasn’t dramatically improved their prospects.

During the last year, as the nation has been consumed by a presidential election focused on issues like immigration and trade, our government-employee pension woes have continued to fester. Though it’s developed largely out of view, this crisis threatens to undermine our fiscal future. Dallas is a reminder that no magical incantations exist that can make insane pension math suddenly rational.
96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Clinton won the Presidency of California on: December 22, 2016, 09:23:34 AM

It's like a whole other country. We should make that official.
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Hate crime hoaxes on: December 22, 2016, 09:22:49 AM

Strange that as horribly racist as America is, the left is forced to fake hate crimes to prove it.
98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration on: December 21, 2016, 11:01:14 PM

Posted on December 21, 2016

If you had asked me about immigration 30 years ago, I would have shrugged and said it was a good thing for the country. My family, like most everyone I knew, came over from the old country. It was not until I reached adulthood, living in New England, that I became aware of people who traced their roots to the colonial times. Even so, I was trained in the American mythology about a nation of immigrants, so I just assumed immigration was mostly a good thing, when I bothered to think about it, which was not often.

It was only after I came to know recent migrants that I started changing my mind about the topic. The people, who had recently gone through the system, had very different ideas about it than Americans born here. More important, they had no illusions about the state of the population in the old country. Talk to recent migrants and they will be happy to tell you that most of the people they left behind should stay over there. The recent migrants left the old country for a reason.

This came to mind the other day when I sat listening to a Turk and an Indian discuss immigration. Both were Trump people exclusively on the immigration issue. Both had come to America the old fashioned way – legally. The Turk was a Coptic Christian. He left for America thirty years ago as a young man, figuring there was no future for Christians in Turkey. The Indian had come here on a student visa, got a job, fell in love with America and decided to stay. In both cases, it took ten years to gain citizenship.

One of the things you learn from immigrants, when it comes to the immigration issue, is they place a high value on citizenship. That’s because they spent a lot to get it. Acquiring citizenship was a transaction for them, not an accident of birth. The Turk in this story left his home, and all that he knew, because he correctly saw where things were heading in Turkey. He was a guy that sold all his stuff, bought as many black chips as he could afford, and pushed them into the middle of the table.

The other thing immigrants know is that America is a lonely place. Europe, for example, is full of old cities and villages where people grow up in the shadow of ancestors. There’s no fresh start in a place like that. Every man is just a dot on the timeline started by people long ago. In other parts of the world, there’s the shadow of history and the entanglements of tribe and clan. In a place like India, the obligations to family and custom are more limiting than anything government can conjure.

In America, immigrants are free to start their own timeline. The past is no longer a set of boundaries on them. Just as important, they are free of the family and tribal restrictions. The Turk in this story married a Greek woman, who was also an immigrant. The Indian went into a career that does not exist in India and even if it did, his family would not have approved. You can do those things where it is just you, striking out on your own. That’s the attraction of America. It’s a blank canvass for immigrants.

None of this means we should fling open our borders and let the world move to America. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Borders and barriers are a filtering mechanism that helps tamp down the number of bad migrants a country gets. If the Germans had been more scrupulous, for example, they would not have murderous Muslims rampaging through their streets right now. Europe is headed for a very dark time solely due to their rulers forgot that good borders make for good citizens.

America should be learning from this. We have no shortage of workers and we no longer have vast tracks of unexploited land. We could have zero immigration and no jobs would go unfilled. There’s also the cultural aspect. We have had high levels of immigration for half a century, but low levels of assimilation. Even if there is an economic argument for more migrants, and there isn’t, it is far outweighed by the cultural arguments. It will take many generations to absorb the current migrants.

Even so, low levels of legal immigration are probably a good thing. The people willing to go through all the steps it takes to migrate legally are going to be people who scrupulously observe the law. They are not coming here just to screw it all up for everyone including themselves. Recent legal immigrants tend to be hyper-patriotic for that reason. They take nothing for granted because they had to earn their citizenship. Their presence is a healthy reminder that citizenship has value.

That’s ultimately the truth about the open borders crowd. They place no value on citizenship. That’s because they put no value on people. To the open borders enthusiasts, humans are just undifferentiated raw material, inputs they can manipulate. Whether the material comes from home or abroad is irrelevant because everything normal people associate with being human is of no concern to the managerial types. They see people the way normal people look at furniture.
99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: NY Times argues for abolishing Electoral College on: December 21, 2016, 09:52:10 AM
We need to know the arguments-- e.g. the slave holder argument and how to counter it.

By overwhelming majorities, Americans would prefer to elect the president by direct popular vote, not filtered through the antiquated mechanism of the Electoral College. They understand, on a gut level, the basic fairness of awarding the nation’s highest office on the same basis as every other elected office — to the person who gets the most votes.

But for now, the presidency is still decided by 538 electors. And on Monday, despite much talk in recent weeks about urging those electors to block Donald Trump from the White House, a majority did as expected and cast their ballots for him — a result Congress will ratify next month.

And so for the second time in 16 years, the candidate who lost the popular vote has won the presidency. Unlike 2000, it wasn’t even close. Hillary Clinton beat Mr. Trump by more than 2.8 million votes, or 2.1 percent of the electorate. That’s a wider margin than 10 winning candidates enjoyed and the biggest deficit for an incoming president since the 19th century.

Yes, Mr. Trump won under the rules, but the rules should change so that a presidential election reflects the will of Americans and promotes a more participatory democracy.
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The Electoral College, which is written into the Constitution, is more than just a vestige of the founding era; it is a living symbol of America’s original sin. When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations. Counting those men and women as three-fifths of a white person, as the Constitution originally did, gave the slave states more electoral votes.

Today the college, which allocates electors based on each state’s representation in Congress, tips the scales in favor of smaller states; a Wyoming resident’s vote counts 3.6 times as much as a Californian’s. And because almost all states use a winner-take-all system, the election ends up being fought in just a dozen or so “battleground” states, leaving tens of millions of Americans on the sidelines.

There is an elegant solution: The Constitution establishes the existence of electors, but leaves it up to states to tell them how to vote. Eleven states and the District of Columbia, representing 165 electoral votes, have already passed legislation to have their electors vote for the winner of the national popular vote. The agreement, known as the National Popular Vote interstate compact, would take effect once states representing a majority of electoral votes, currently 270, signed on. This would ensure that the national popular-vote winner would become president.

Conservative opponents of a direct vote say it would give an unfair edge to large, heavily Democratic cities and states. But why should the votes of Americans in California or New York count for less than those in Idaho or Texas? A direct popular vote would treat all Americans equally, no matter where they live — including, by the way, Republicans in San Francisco and Democrats in Corpus Christi, whose votes are currently worthless. The system as it now operates does a terrible job of representing the nation’s demographic and geographic diversity. Almost 138 million Americans went to the polls this year, but Mr. Trump secured his Electoral College victory thanks to fewer than 80,000 votes across three states: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

This page opposed the Electoral College in 1936, and in more recent years as well. In 2004, President George W. Bush won the popular vote by more than three million, but he could have lost the Electoral College with a switch of fewer than 60,000 votes in Ohio.

Many Republicans have endorsed doing away with the Electoral College, including Mr. Trump himself, in 2012. Maybe that’s why he keeps claiming falsely that he won the popular vote, or why more than half of Republicans now seem to believe he did. For most reasonable people, it’s hard to understand why the loser of the popular vote should wind up running the country.
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: DOJ not investigating threats to Trump electors on: December 21, 2016, 09:41:42 AM

I think that will change in about a month.
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