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3101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Almost a half-century later these modest steps have metastasised into a huge, fe on: October 31, 2011, 04:45:19 PM
Yet we have Brock running around the country screaming the Republicans are blocking us from investing in our futures in education.  Over a trillion in student debt.  So what is Brock saying we need forgive loans and spend more tax dollars?

From the Economist:
 
****IN LATE 1965, President Lyndon Johnson stood in the modest gymnasium of what had once been the tiny teaching college he attended in Texas and announced a programme to promote education. It was an initiative that exemplified the “Great Society” agenda of his administration: social advancement financed by a little hard cash, lots of leverage and potentially vast implicit government commitments. Those commitments are now coming due.

“Economists tell us that improvement of education has been responsible for one-fourth to one-half of the growth in our nation’s economy over the past half-century,” Johnson said. “We must be sure that there will be no gap between the number of jobs available and the ability of our people to perform those jobs.”
»Nope, just debt
 
To fill this gap Johnson pledged an amount that now seems trivial, $1.9m, sent from the federal government to states which could then leverage it ten-to-one to back student loans of up to $1,000 for 25,000 people. “This act”, he promised, “will help young people enter business, trade, and technical schools—institutions which play a vital role in providing the skills our citizens must have to compete and contribute in our society.”

Almost a half-century later these modest steps have metastasised into a huge, federally guaranteed student-loan industry. On October 25th the Obama administration added indebted students to the list of banks, car companies, homeowners, solar manufacturers and others that have benefited from a federal handout.

Johnson’s lending programme was altered almost straight away. The intention of providing students with an education through “business, trade and technical schools” was expanded to include the full, imaginative panoply of American education, regardless of economic utility. Interest rates and terms have all been adjusted numerous times.

The result is a shifting, difficult landscape only barely understood even by insiders. For students, the task is that much larger. They must choose between an array of products, including subsidised and unsubsidised “Stafford” loans (named after a Republican senator) via the William D. Ford loan programme (named for a Michigan congressman), loans directly from the government, “Plus” loans (for parents of dependent children) and “Perkins” loans (named after a congressman from Kentucky), plus an array of private options.

On top of all this, there are choices about how to consolidate, restructure and pay the debts. Many students are understandably overwhelmed. Deanne Loonin of the National Consumer Law Centre has one client with $300,000 in debt from a failed effort to become an airline pilot. That liability could have been reduced by a better understanding of products.

Two things, however, are clear. The size of student debt is vast (see chart), and lots of borrowers are struggling. More than 10m students took out loans for the latest academic year, according to a report issued on October 26th by the College Board, a consortium of academic institutions. Almost a third of students graduating from college, and 69% of the ones dropping out, hold debt tied to their education.

The total amount of debt is staggering. The New York Federal Reserve Bank puts it at $550 billion, but includes a footnote in the “technical notes” section suggesting this may be an underestimate. Sallie Mae, the school-loan equivalent of the housing industry’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reckons there are $757 billion-worth of outstanding loans. A bank heavily involved in the area says there is at least another $111 billion in purely private loans, and with new lending estimated in excess of $112 billion for this year alone, the total amount outstanding will surpass $1 trillion in the not-so-distant future.

Critics allege a viciously wasteful circle: the size of the loan pool expands to enable students to pay ever higher fees to schools whose costs expand because money is coming their way. That was just about sustainable in the good times, a lot harder when there are fewer jobs to be had.

Signs of strain are everywhere. In September the Department of Education reported that in 2009 the default rate, which is defined as non-payment for 270 days, had reached 8.8%. By some estimates delinquency rates, an earlier indicator of stress, for student loans exceed 10%, ten times that for credit cards and car loans. Ms Loonin’s average client has a low-paying job, $30,000 of debt and is in arrears.

This is despite punitive laws to enforce repayment. In response to clever students burying their obligations in court during the 1970s, anti-default provisions were imposed to make it almost impossible to shed student loans in bankruptcy. In 1991 the statute of limitations for non-repayment was eliminated.

Many troubled borrowers could avoid default if they used government options to consolidate their loans and make minimum payments, says Ms Loonin, but they are unaware of the possibility. Their primary contact with the industry after being granted a loan is through collection agents who are compensated based on how much they collect, and who therefore have little incentive to explain alternatives.

There are increasingly loud calls for reform of the system, with demands that range from a full-fledged bail-out of borrowers to a phased curtailment of government lending. For now the bail-out is the bigger priority for politicians. For many years government-backed loans were distributed through banks which earned a fee and occasionally had to assume a little bit of risk, but in 2009 the business was entirely absorbed by the federal government.

The changes announced this week are designed to ease the pressure on struggling graduates. Borrowers who qualify will get payment relief, not debt relief. Their payments will be capped at 10% of income rather than 15%, but interest will continue to be applied to their underlying debt and may expand rather than contract over time. There will also be forgiveness after 20 years, rather than 25. The administration says these changes will have no cost to taxpayers. If there is one lesson of the past 46 years, it is to be dubious of that claim.*****

3102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Economist on European financial problems on: October 31, 2011, 04:37:38 PM
Europe’s rescue plan
This week’s summit was supposed to put an end to the euro crisis. It hasn’t
Oct 29th 2011 | from the print edition
 
YOU can understand the self-congratulation. In the early hours of October 27th, after marathon talks, the leaders of the euro zone agreed on a “comprehensive package” to dispel the crisis that has been plaguing the euro zone for almost two years. They boosted a fund designed to shore up the euro zone’s troubled sovereign borrowers, drafted a plan to restore Europe’s banks, radically cut Greece’s burden of debt, and set out some ways to put the governance of the euro on a proper footing. After a summer overshadowed by the threat of financial collapse, they had shown the markets who was boss.

Yet in the light of day, the holes in the rescue plan are plain to see. The scheme is confused and unconvincing. Confused, because its financial engineering is too clever by half and vulnerable to unintended consequences. Unconvincing, because too many details are missing and the scheme at its core is not up to the job of safeguarding the euro.
 
This is the euro zone’s third comprehensive package this year. It is unlikely to be its last.

Words are cheap…

The summit’s most notable achievement was to forge an agreement to write down the Greek debt held by the private sector by 50%. This newspaper has long argued for such a move. Yet an essential counterpart to the Greek writedown is a credible firewall around heavily indebted yet solvent borrowers such as Italy. That is the only way of restoring confidence and protecting European banks’ balance-sheets, thus ensuring that they can get on with the business of lending.

Unfortunately the euro zone’s firewall is the weakest part of the deal (see article). Europe’s main rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), does not have enough money to withstand a run on Italy and Spain. Germany and the European Central Bank (ECB) have ruled out the only source of unlimited support: the central bank itself. The euro zone’s northern creditor governments have refused to put more of their own money into the pot.

Instead they have come up with two schemes to stretch the EFSF. One is to use it to insure the first losses if any new bonds are written down. In theory, this means that the rescue fund’s power could be magnified several times. But in practice, such “credit enhancement” may not yield much. Bond markets may be suspicious of guarantees made by countries that would themselves be vulnerable if their over-indebted neighbours suffered turmoil.

Under the second scheme, the EFSF would create a set of special-purpose vehicles financed by other investors, including sovereign-wealth funds. Again, there are reasons to doubt whether this will work. Each vehicle seems to be dedicated to a single country, so risk is not spread. And why should China or Brazil invest a lot in them when Germany is holding back from putting in more money?

Together, these schemes are supposed to extend the value of the EFSF to €1 trillion ($1.4 trillion) or more. Sadly, that looks more like an aspiration than a prediction. And because the EFSF bears the first losses, its capital is at greater risk of being wiped out than under a loan programme. This could taint France, which finances the rescue fund and has recently seen its AAA credit rating come under threat. Since the EFSF depends partly on France for its own credit rating, a French downgrade could undermine the rescue fund just when it is most needed.

If the foundations of the firewall are too shallow, then the bank plan plunges too deep. By the end of June 2012, banks are expected to establish a core-capital ratio of 9%. In principle, that is laudable. But if banks have months to reach their target, they can avoid raising new equity, which would dilute their shareholders' stakes, and instead move to the required ratio by shrinking their balance-sheets. That would be a terrible outcome: by depriving Europe’s economy of credit, it would worsen the downturn.

Then there is Greece. Although the size of the writedown is welcome, euro-zone leaders are desperate for it to be “voluntary”. That is because a default would trigger the bond-insurance contracts called credit-default swaps (CDSs). The fear is that a default could lead to chaos, because the CDS market is untested. That is true, but this implausibly large “voluntary” writedown will lead investors in other European sovereign bonds to doubt whether CDSs offer much protection. So while the EFSF scheme is designed to offer insurance to bondholders, the European leaders’ insistence that the Greek writedown be voluntary will make euro-zone debt harder to insure.

…but trust is nowhere to be found

Europe has got to this point because German politicians are convinced that without market pressure the euro zone’s troubled economies will slacken their efforts at reform (see article). Despite a list of promises presented to the summit by Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s prime minister (see article), Germany has good reason to worry. But it needs to concentrate on institutional ways of disciplining profligate governments, rather than starving the rescue package of funds. As it is, this deal at best fails to solve the euro crisis; at worst it may even make it worse. As the shortcomings of each component become clear, investors’ fears will surely return, bond yields will rise and banks’ funding problems will worsen.

Yet again, disaster will loom. And yet again, the ECB will end up staving it off. Fortunately, Mario Draghi, the ECB’s incoming president, made it clear this week that he realises that is his job. But therein lies the tragedy of this summit. An ECB pledge of unlimited backing for solvent governments would have had a far better chance of solving the crisis months ago, and remains the best option today.

At this summit Europe’s leaders had hoped to prove that their resolve to back the euro was greater than the markets’ capacity to bet against it. For all the backslapping and brave words, they have once again failed. There will be more crises, and further summits. By the time they settle on a solution that works, the costs will have risen still further.
3103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California the clean energy experiment on: October 31, 2011, 04:34:21 PM
God help the left coast:

***Clean energy in California
On its own sunny path
As in so much else, the Golden State’s energy plans look distinctly un-American
Oct 29th 2011 | Los Angeles | from the print edition
 
Happily soaking up solar
JERRY BROWN started talking about solar power in the 1970s, when he was California’s governor for the first time. He was lampooned for it, but the vision gradually became attractive in a state that is naturally sunny and, especially along the coastline, cares about the environment. So in 2006, under a Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, California set a goal to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. This year Mr Brown, governor once again, signed the last bits of that goal into law. And this month the state’s air-quality regulators unanimously voted to adopt its most controversial but crucial component: a cap-and-trade system.

More complex and less elegant (but politically easier) than a simple carbon tax, a cap-and-trade system limits the emissions of dirty industries and puts a price on their remaining pollution so that market forces, in theory, provide an incentive for reductions. In California’s case, starting in 2013 the government will “cap” the amount of gases (such as carbon dioxide) that industry may emit, and gradually lower that cap. It will also issue permits to companies for their carbon allowance. Firms that reduce their emissions faster than the cap decreases may sell (“trade”) their permits and make money. Firms that pollute beyond their quota must buy credits.

To Europeans, Asians and Australians, this may seem nothing much. After all, the European Union already has a similar emissions-trading market, and a carbon tax is now wending its way through the Australian legislature. Even India and China have adopted versions of carbon taxes or emissions trading. But California is in America, which has taken a sharp turn in the opposite direction. Congress debated a cap-and-trade system in 2009, but then allowed it to die. Republicans attacked it as “cap-and-tax”, and increasingly deny that climate change is a problem at all. Some even point to the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a Californian maker of solar panels which had received lots of federal money, as proof that renewable energy is a wasteful pinko pipe-dream.

But California is staying its course. Besides cap-and-trade, its climate-change law calls for lower exhaust-pipe emissions from vehicles and cleaner appliances, and requires the state’s utilities to use renewable energy for one-third of the state’s electricity by 2020. In the Californian mainstream the controversy is not whether to do this, but how.

Some firms are building vast fields of mirrors in the Mojave desert to focus the sun onto water boilers and use the steam to spin turbines. But this also requires costly power grids to carry the electricity to the distant cities. Unexpectedly, it has also drawn the ire of some environmentalists, who love renewable energy but hate the mirrors (or wind farms) that ruin landscapes. In the Mojave they fret about a species of tortoise. Elsewhere they have gone to court for the blunt-nosed leopard lizard and the giant kangaroo rat.

The progress of the other main kind of solar technology, photovoltaic (PV) solar cells, looks stronger. The price of PV panels has dropped in recent years, and there are plans to simplify the paperwork for Californians who want to put them on their own roofs, whence the electricity can be fed into the grid where it is needed. “Solar trees” are beginning to shade parking lots, their panels beautifully tilting to face the sun as it moves.

There are doubters, of course. The cost of electricity may rise, and some polluters may flee the state, taking jobs away. But California already has one in four of America’s solar-energy jobs and will add many more. Sun, wind, geothermal, nuclear: “We need it all,” says Terry Tamminen, who advised Mr Schwarzenegger. The state is setting up an “interesting experiment”, he thinks. “California goes one way, the United States another.”

from the print edition | United States

3104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: October 31, 2011, 04:29:28 PM
The Rolling Stone piece is now blacked out so I can't re-read it.
Could it be posted?
3105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: October 31, 2011, 12:42:00 PM
I recall you thought him an old crank (I think I am getting that way - or am) but the only talking head I hear discussing this is Michael Savage who seems banned from Fox.  Not so much the reaching out to OWS people but at least the right AND left fascism that polutes our nation.

Other conservatives including Levin, Rush, Hannity seem to as far as I know totally miss this point in their partisanship rants.
As for people like Huntsman, Scarborough and the other conciliatory, middle road, supposed self proclaimed adults and arch canons of being "reasonable" they not only miss the point they are actually part of the DC problem.  The "mainstream" if you will.

Perhaps?  Bob Grant would agree with our sentiments here.  He is an all time great still on 77 AM radio on Sundays noon to I think 2PM.  I don't know if you get him on the leftist coast.
3106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: October 31, 2011, 12:05:19 PM
Crafty I agree wholeheartedly with your point.

Remember when banks would give US 5% on our savings account?  Now we get nothing but fees.

I think there is an opportunity for Repubs to acknowledge the special and unfair (in my view) advantages the extreme wealthy have.  I am not sure what to do about it.  I have nothing against people getting rich and only wished I was one of them.

I do have problems with a system that gives them advantages no one else has.

The OWS is a crowd of different stripes and probably all Democrat party types.  Yet not all of their rants are meritless.
The republicans can only win so many people over with their usual arguments.

I don't how to win over any of the 47% who pay no income tax without expressing at least some concern about maintaining a fair playing field.

Yes we all want freedom but we also want some government to do its job and make the playing field fair by going after crime (not being a part of it), getting rid of special favors, tax breaks for some, revolving door fascism etc.

I just don't hear many Republicans saying any of this.  Or am I missing something?

Do you have any idea how to woo some of the OWS types?  (Other then sending in a Panama red care package wink)





3107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 31, 2011, 09:35:22 AM
Yes.  And supposedly these people took five figured money and agreed to a non disclose clause.

Don't now they have to give that money back?

OF course the DNC will gladly reimburse them for time.

And anyway what is the big deal to a Democrat?  Even what he appears to be accused of is not as serious as anything Bill Clinton did.  That was always about his "personal" life not important to his apologists.  It was only a matter between Bill and Hill. rolleyes
3108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 29, 2011, 12:22:16 PM
What can I say.  It is so frustrating to read an article from a staunch Democrat liberal like Alter lauding Brock for being so ethical and even going so far to analyze how remarkable it is that Bamster is so teflon and how foolish Republicans look trying to make mountains out of mole hills.  Obivously the reason Brock gets away with it is precisely BECAUSE of people like Alter.  OF course a guy with his politcal blinders on is not going to simply be able to look in the mirror and see why Brock is getting more flack for scandal.  This is the double standard world we live in:

****Obama Miracle is White House Free of Scandal: Jonathan Alter
By Jonathan Alter Oct 27, 2011 7:45 PM ET 

Jonathan Alter was a senior editor, media critic and columnist for Newsweek, where he worked for 28 years and covered five administrations and seven presidential campaigns.

President Barack Obama goes into the 2012 with a weak economy that may doom his reelection. But he has one asset that hasn’t received much attention: He’s honest.

The sight of Texas Governor Rick Perry tumbling out of the clown car recently as a “birther” (or at least a birther- enabler) is a sign of weakness, not just for the Perry campaign but for the whole Republican effort to tarnish the president’s character.

Although it’s possible that the Solyndra LLC story will become a classic feeding frenzy, don’t bet on it. Providing $535 million in loan guarantees to a solar-panel maker that goes bankrupt was dumb, but so far not criminal or even unethical on the part of the administration. These kinds of stories are unlikely to derail Obama in 2012. If he loses, it will be because of the economy -- period.

Even so, the president’s Teflon is intriguing. How did we end up in such a scandal-less state? After investigating the question for a recent Washington Monthly article, I’ve been developing some theories.

For starters, the tone is always set at the top. Obama puts a premium on personal integrity, and with a few exceptions (Tim Geithner’s tax problems in 2009) his administration tends to fire first and ask questions later. The best known example is Shirley Sherrod, the Agriculture Department official who was mistakenly fired by her boss over a miscommunication that led higher-ups to believe -- wrongly -- that she had made inappropriate racially tinged remarks. In several other cases, the decision to give staffers accused of wrongdoing the boot was made within hours, taking the air out of any possible uproar.

Mixed Results
But the White House’s intense focus on scandal prevention has had mixed results. The almost proctological vetting process has ended up wounding Obama as much as prospective nominees. He gets cleaner but often less imaginative officials. The kind of swashbuckling figures from the private sector who might have, say, come up with a far more ambitious job-creation plan often don’t bother to apply for government service these days.

The vigilance about wrongdoing has worked better when it comes to oversight of the $787 billion stimulus program. The money might not always have been spent on the right things. But a rigorous process supervised by Vice President Joe Biden, and made transparent with the help of recovery.gov, has prevented widespread fraud and abuse.

A Media Problem
Unfortunately, we might not know of scandals in stimulus spending or elsewhere because of changes in the news business. For today’s media, talk is cheap and reporting is expensive. That means we get more chatter and less scrounging for official wrongdoing.

In the past, many of those scandal stories originally came from congressional investigators and others with subpoena power. But with the demise of the Office of Independent Counsel, a fount of information for reporters from the Reagan to the Clinton eras, the machinery of scandal-hunting began crumbling.

It doesn’t help that so much “news” coverage -- as opposed to commentary that is explicitly opinionated -- nowadays takes place in a partisan context. Fox News has tried to flog stories on manufactured controversies like “policy czars” in the White House (which go back to the 1970s) or whether it was wrong for Elizabeth Warren to consult with state attorneys general on their lawsuits against mortgage lenders. (It wasn’t.)

Every time Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican from California who leads a House investigative committee, calls the Obama administration “corrupt” without offering any evidence, he hurts his cause. It’s much harder to make a story register as a bona fide scandal when the political motivation is so obvious.

It’s also harder to find room for such stories when so much other news is breaking. Scandals like the Monica Lewinsky affair were almost a luxury of good times, when the nation could afford to obsess about a blue dress. Not these days.

These factors are all relevant, but the ultimate explanation can be found at the top. According to a metric created by political scientist Brendan Nyhan, Obama set a record earlier this month for most days without a scandal of any president since 1977. The streak probably won’t last, especially if he gets a second term, where scandals are more common. But the impression of rectitude will be part of the voters’ assessment of him next year. He’ll need it.

(Jonathan Alter, a Bloomberg View columnist, is the author of “The Promise: President Obama, Year One.” The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this article: Jonathan Alter at alterjonathan@gmail.com.****

3109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 28, 2011, 12:09:57 PM
Doug,
If only there was a Republican candidate who was half as articulate and able to think and speak on his feet as Mark Levin (or Rush for that matter).

These two guys can articulate positions a hundred times better than any of our candidates except for probably Newt.

I wish Newt could gain more traction.

It looks like we are stuck with Romney. 
3110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: October 26, 2011, 12:19:07 PM
If anyone is stupid enough to doubt the OWS thing is nothing then a Dem party Brobrock scheme than just consider the timing of the whole thing.  The Brockster is short on poll support as we all know.  Very few polling issues does he garner much support.

One issue easy for him is the populist rant about the rich don't pay enough taxes.  Well it is certainly easy to get over 50% on board with that kind of message.  So he is campaigning around the country on our dime screaming and yelling about a jobs bill that is more like a birbe you constuency base bill pointing the blame on the fat catters and the big monied "rich".

Well low and behold all of a sudden there is this sudden "out of nowhere" groundswell from the masses that just happens and coincidentally forms on - you got it - right at the offices and homes of the big bad rich WS people.

The MSM which of course is in the tank for Brobrockster takes the bain gleefully and romotes the whole thing.  In their own blow back to the Fox network support of the Tea Pary movement which of course they tried their best to bellitle.

Republicans need to be more coordinated like the Jornolist/DNC/WH message machine.

They could spin this to their advantage as the OWS whether they realize it or not or preaching some of the same values the Tea Party is preaching.

3111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 26, 2011, 12:04:49 PM
I see on Drudge that Carville calls Cain a "salesman" and he will not be elected.  I agree it would extremely remote he could or even should be elected.  His lack of knowledge of too many important subjects does scare me about him I admit. 

That said one thing I admire about Cain is he is an HONEST salesman.  He is selling a product he believes in.

Unlike the present WH occupant who has been dishonest and deceptive about himself and HIS core beliefs all along.

I prefer an honest to a dishonest salesman anyday.
3112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 26, 2011, 11:57:00 AM
Doug,

Agreed 100%.

Romney cannot get above 25% of the Republican party to believe in him because he is playing the fork tongue thing trying to be too damn cute and coy.

I, like you do not really trust he is a real Republican.  I fear he could easily sell us all out.

His half assedness (a word?) makes me wonder if he is just playing the right as fools or he is playing this only to appeal to the independents after which if and when he gets into power he will turn right.

So the question is we do not no if he will turn right when in office or left.  I think many of us the right, after reviewing his record suspect he will turn left and f* us over.

I've learned the hard way never to trust anything anyone says about their intentions.  Though far from perfect as a way to guide ones ability to know how one will really behave is to go back and study how they lived their lives.  This is the best though surely not a perfect way to know how they will behave in the future.  Once a liar and crook always a liar and a crook.

Mitt has clearly been an establishment guy in the past.  If this was nihilistic approach to being a Republican in a socialistic like State is possible.  Same goes for Cristy in NJ.  On the other hand maybe this is the real Romney.

If we applied the principle to Brobrock - that is go by his associations, his liberal voting record, we would have know he was going to govern as the most marxist pres we ever had.  We on this board knew what was coming.  Many others were foolishly duped.  Do not go by what he says.  Go by how he lived his life. 

I don't know enough about Mitt personally to be sure what his true beliefs are.   He is certainly not as Herman Cain is - says what he believes and believes what he says.  And that is a big problem with someone who wants to be President.

 
3113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / OWS is at core a Dem party event though Smart Repubs could alter the message on: October 26, 2011, 11:44:23 AM
to their advantage if they hit the airwaves in a unified manner akin to the Jornolist.

Some like Huckabee and my sister asked why does not the OWS crowd protest at the White House where they belong.  Why protest the banks for getting Fed money?  The SHOULD be protesting the government that gave it to them and allowed them to cause the crises to begin with in regards to not enforcing the laws that already existed.  They should be picketting and smoking their dope at the White House not at WS.

Well the answer is very simple.  The OWS is not a populist or fundamental movement.  It is at its core a *Democrat party* movement.  They will not protest at the WH precisely because of the liberal minority President who occupies it.  Does anyone think for one second the dole crowd at WS would not be all over the WH lawn if Bush were still there.  That said the Republicans would be wiser to hyjack the OWS about big corporations (Like the fat repugnant Michale Moore and other hypocritical Hollywooders) as being the problem and turning the argument to go along with conservatives that it is BIG government being corrupted with big money that is a big (though far from only ) problem.  The right would do better turning the argument and shaping the argument rather than simply making fun of it.

These are not conservatives, not Republicans and probably few truly self described independents.  These people down there are almost ALL core dependency types who as Herman Cain points out would gladly love to have the big shots cut them all free checks.  They run around as though they are entitled, this would be fair, etc.:

****EXCLUSIVE: ACORN Playing Behind Scenes Role in 'Occupy' Movement
By Jana Winter

Published October 26, 2011
Oct. 17, 2011: Members of New York Communities for Change, in orange t-shirts with orange banner, attend a press conference in New York with union leaders, including United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew.
The former New York office for ACORN, the disbanded community activist group, is playing a key role in the self-proclaimed “leaderless” Occupy Wall Street movement, organizing “guerrilla” protest events and hiring door-to-door canvassers to collect money under the banner of various causes while spending it on protest-related activities, sources tell FoxNews.com.

The former director of New York ACORN, Jon Kest, and his top aides are now busy working at protest events for New York Communities for Change (NYCC). That organization was created in late 2009 when some ACORN offices disbanded and reorganized under new names after undercover video exposes prompted Congress to cut off federal funds.

NYCC’s connection to ACORN isn’t a tenuous one: It works from the former ACORN offices in Brooklyn, uses old ACORN office stationery, employs much of the old ACORN staff and, according to several sources, engages in some of the old organization’s controversial techniques to raise money, interest and awareness for the protests.

Sources said NYCC has hired about 100 former ACORN-affiliated staff members from other cities – paying some of them $100 a day - to attend and support Occupy Wall Street. Dozens of New York homeless people recruited from shelters are also being paid to support the protests, at the rate of $10 an hour, the sources said.

At least some of those hired are being used as door-to-door canvassers to collect money that’s used to support the protests.

Sources said cash donations collected by NYCC on behalf of some unions and various causes are being pooled and spent on Occupy Wall Street. The money is used to buy supplies, pay staff and cover travel expenses for the ex-ACORN members brought to New York for the protests.

In one such case, sources said, NYCC staff members collected cash donations for what they were told was a United Federation of Teachers fundraising drive, but the money was diverted to the protests.

Sources who participated in the teachers union campaign said NYCC supervisors gave them the addresses of union members and told them to go knock on their doors and ask for contributions—and did not mention that the money would go toward Occupy Wall Street expenses. One source said the campaign raked in about $5,000.

Current staff members at NYCC told FoxNews.com the union fundraising drive was called off abruptly last week, and they were told NYCC should not have been raising money for the union at all.

Sources said staff members also collected door-to-door for NYCC’s PCB campaign — which aims to test schools for deadly toxins —but then pooled that money together with cash raised for the teachers union and other campaigns to fund Occupy Wall Street.

“We go to Freeport, Central Islip, Park Slope, everywhere, and we say we’re collecting money for PCBs testing in schools. But the money isn’t going to the campaign," one source said.

"It’s going to Occupy Wall Street, and we’re not using that money to get schools tested for deadly chemicals or to make their kids safer. It’s just going to the protests, and that’s just so terrible.”

A spokesman for the United Federation of Teachers told FoxNews.com, "The UFT is not involved in any NYCC fundraising on the PCB issue.”

Multiple sources said NYCC is also using cash donations through canvassing efforts in New York’s Harlem and Washington Heights neighborhoods for union-backed campaigns to fund the Wall Street protests.

“All the money collected from canvasses is pooled together back at the office, and everything we’ve been working on for the last year is going to the protests, against big banks and to pay people’s salaries—and those people on salary are, of course, being paid to go to the protests every day,” one NYCC staff member told FoxNews.com.

Those who contribute don't know the money is going to fund the protests, the source said.

“They give contributions because we say if they do we can fix things - whatever specific problem they’re having in their area, housing, schools, whatever ... then we spend the contributions paying staff to be at the protests all day, every day. That’s where these contributions - the community’s money – is going,” the source said.

“They’re doing the same stuff now that got ACORN in trouble to begin with. And yes, we’re still ACORN, there is a still a national ACORN.”

Another source, who said she was hired from a homeless shelter, said she was first sent to the protests before being deployed to Central Islip, Long Island, to canvass for a campaign against home foreclosures.

“I went to the protests every day for two weeks and made $10 an hour. They made me carry NYCC signs and big orange banners that say NYCC in white letters. About 50 others were hired around my time to go to the protests. We went to protests in and around Zuccotti Park, then to the big Times Square protest,” she said.

“But now they have me canvassing on Long Island for money, so I get the money and then the money is being used for Occupy Wall Street—to pay for all of it, for supplies, food, transportation, salaries, for everything ... all that money is going to pay for the protests downtown and that’s just messed up. It’s just wrong.”

Neither Kest, NYCC executive director, nor his communications director returned repeated email and telephone requests for comment, nor did his communications director. A Fox News producer who visited the Brooklyn office on Tuesday was told, "The best people to speak to who are involved with Occupy Wall Street aren't available."

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Harrison Schultz, an Occupy Wall Street spokesman, said he knew nothing about NYCC’s involvement in the Occupy movement.
“Haven’t seen them, couldn’t tell you,” he said.

He said he couldn’t comment on the Occupy the Boardroom website’s relationship to the movement and to NYCC.

“It’s a horizontal organization, a leaderless organization, it’s difficult to explain it,” Schultz said, “difficult to explain it to people who haven’t worked in this, who haven’t been part of it.”

Kest publicly threw his organization’s support behind the movement in a Sept. 30 opinion piece on HuffingtonPost.com. But top ex-ACORN staff members and current NYCC officials have been planning events like the Occupy Wall Street protests since February, a source within the group told FoxNews.com.

That’s when planning began for May 12 protests against Chase bank foreclosures, which were followed by the formation of the Beyond May 12 campaign, targeting Wall Street and big banks. That campaign was rolled out by a coalition of community groups and unions and led by the revamped former ACORN group.

“What people don’t understand is that ACORN is behind this — and that this, what’s happening now, is all part of the May 12 and Beyond May 12 plans to go after the banks, Chase in particular,” a source said.

Sources said NYCC was a key player behind a series of recent Occupy Wall Street events, including the Oct. 11 Millionaires March, which brought protests and union and community groups on walking tours of Upper East Side homes of wealthy New Yorkers; and the launch of the “Occupy the Boardroom” website, registered to Kest, which encouraged protesters to contact high-profile bankers, among others.


Fox News’ Shira Bush contributed reporting.***
3114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 25, 2011, 04:27:03 PM
The problem with the debate format is we get snippets and sound bites.  I have no idea what Romney is proposing.  So I look it up and here is some.   I need to review his website and I would assume it gives more details.

Romney has 59 point economic plan.  Here is some:

****Mitt Romney in 2012?
Would you support Mitt Romney for president? Vote in poll.
www.newsmax.com


Romney follows former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman in presenting a comprehensive vision for promoting economic growth — but his plan offers few surprises beyond its trueness to GOP talking points, and may be seen as falling short of the "bold, sweeping and specific" plan he promised.

Romney's plan goes out of its way to make space for a potential general election campaign, careful to qualify any potentially damaging statements to lessen their impact. He plays to the tea party, but doesn't wholeheartedly embrace their politics.

For instance, he only wants to eliminate the capital gains tax for middle-income earners, and limits his calls for promoting domestic energy production to "everywhere it can be done safely, taking into account local concerns."

Romney will formally announce his plan today in a 12:30 PDT speech in Nevada.

Via USA Today, here are the basics to Mitt Romney's jobs plan:

Lower marginal tax rates; Elimination of interest, dividend and capital gains taxes for middle-income earners.
Lower the corporate tax rate. "I will press for a total overhaul of our overly complex and inefficient system of taxation," he writes.
Cut government regulations, including ObamaCare. Creating a net-zero cap to the cost of new regulations.
More free trade agreements — including the creation of the  "Reagan Economic Zone"
Tougher stance on China: "I will not stand by while China pursues an economic development policy that relies on the unfair treatment of U.S. companies and the theft of their intellectual property. I have no interest in starting a trade war with China, but I cannot accept our current trade surrender."
More domestic energy production "everywhere it can be done safely, taking into account local concerns"
Lessening the influence of unions — including the safeguard of the secret ballot and pushback against the NLRB.
Federal balanced budget amendment
Cutting the size of the federal workforce: "While the private sector shed 1.8 million jobs since Barack Obama took office, the federal workforce grew by 142,500, or almost 7%. A rollback is urgently required."***
3115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: October 25, 2011, 04:07:11 PM
CCP,  Your 5% number for federal tax burden...hmmm, I'm with you and maybe 2 other people but try having your congressman and senators propose those specific cuts and see how far it goes.

Don't you think it would be closer to 50% - those of us who are already footing all the bills?

No deductions - 5 earned income, dividends, gains (short and long), estate period. 

The legislators would not do it because they couldn't turn around and corrupt the system for their gain by tax manipulation.  That is what I think. The DC cans are not much better than the crats in this regard.

3116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: October 25, 2011, 03:23:15 PM
I agree with vaccinating the males too.  Makes no sense to vaccinate the females but not the males who are giving it to them.  Besides who wants venereal warts some strains of which will be prevented:

ATLANTA (AP) -- The controversial HPV shot given to girls should also be given to boys, in part to help prevent the spread of the virus through sex, a government medical panel said Tuesday.

The expensive vaccine, which protects females against cervical cancer, hasn't been popular. And doctors admit it will be a tough sell to parents of 11- and 12-year-old males, too.

For males, the vaccine is licensed to prevent genital warts and anal cancer. Experts say another key benefit of routinely vaccinating boys could be preventing the spread of the human papilloma virus to others through sex - making up somewhat for the disappointing vaccination rate in girls.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made the recommendation Tuesday. Federal health officials usually adopt what the panel says and asks doctors and patients to follow the advice.

The vaccine has been available to boys for two years but Tuesday's vote was the first to strongly recommend routine vaccination. Officials acknowledged the disappointing rate in girls encouraged them to take a new, hard look.

Just 49 percent of adolescent girls have gotten at least the first of the recommended three HPV shots, which have been recommended for girls for five years. Only a third had gotten all three doses by last year.

"Pretty terrible," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administrator who oversees the agency's immunization programs.

She attributed the low rates for girls to confusion or misunderstanding by parents that they can wait until their daughter becomes sexually active. It works best if the shots are given before a girl begins having sex.

The vaccine is approved for use in boys and girls ages 9 to 26; but it is usually given to 11- and 12-year olds when they are scheduled to get other vaccines.

The committee also recommended the vaccination for males 13 through 21 years who have not been vaccinated previously or who have not completed the three-dose series.

Tuesday's vote follows recent studies that indicate the vaccine prevents anal cancer in males. A study that focused on gay men found it to be 75 percent effective. But while anal cancer has been increasing, it's still a fairly rare cancer in males, with only about 7,000 cases in the U.S. each year that are tied to the strains of viruses targeted in the HPV vaccine. In contrast, about vaccine-preventable 15,000 cervical cancers occur annually.

Some feel it's unlikely that most families will agree to get their sons vaccinated primarily to protect girls. An estimated 50 percent to 80 percent of men and women are infected with HPV in their lifetimes, although most clear the infection without developing symptoms or illness, according to the CDC.

The threat of genital warts hasn't been persuasive yet, either: Some data suggest that less than 1.5 percent of adolescent males have gotten the vaccine.

Its use against anal cancer may not be much of a selling point, said Dr. Ranit Mishori, a family practice doctor in Washington, D.C., and an assistant professor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Some parents may say "`Why are you vaccinating my son against anal cancer? He's not gay! He's not ever going to be gay!' I can see that will come up," said Mishori, who supports the committee's recommendation.

There are two vaccines against HPV, but Tuesday's vote applies only to Merck & Co.'s Gardasil, which costs $130 a dose. The other vaccine wasn't tested for males.

---

Online:

HPV info: http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
 
 
3117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: October 25, 2011, 09:14:37 AM
All taxes at all levels are way too high.  As far as I am concerned federal tax of 5% should more than enough.

Perry's plan of 20% doesn't do it for me.

3118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 22, 2011, 09:49:26 AM
"“President Obama’s administration touted the startling figures as evidence of its progress in stopping illegal immigration, a record that could help the president win back independent voters who abandoned Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections.”

Sad to say I for one do not trust any statistics that come from our government.

Remember I noted a patient a while back who I advised might have too much wear and tear to be doing the heavy work he does so he promptly took that as a signal to go and apply for total permanent disability and to my amazement he got it in a few weeks.  The guy is in late 50s.

I have since seen him back and he looked pretty good.  He told me retirement is going well and he is exercising everyday doing long walks and machines.  This from a guy who is on Federal disability because he has too much arthritis.

That said it occured to me the gov may very well be granting disability to a wider group of people because that keeps them from being on the unemployment rolls.   Thus the unemployment figures are lower.

What does it say about our government when it is obvious we cannot trust their own statistics as not being truthful and manipulated for political gain?

I think Michelle Bachman is over her head but I am respecting her steadfastness more and more.  If only there were more, a lot more like her!

Romney seems to me just too much of the same establishment guy.  Surely that is why he still cannot pull away from the pack in the polls.

I guess the counter argument is that he might be better to attract the middle of the roaders but I agree overall with those who correctly point out compromise is what has gotten us here to start with.

 
3119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: October 22, 2011, 09:14:38 AM
Crafty you know as well as the rest of the *objective* world this is all a concoction of some vast right wing conspriracy. rolleyes
3120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politically correct way to assassinate? on: October 21, 2011, 05:42:37 PM
The whole thing is just so bizarre.   Is this the new "politically correct" way to assasinate our enemies?  Why didn't we just kill him several months ago?  So Hill could "get to know them?"

I never thought Hillary possessed a particularly funny sense of humor.  Does anyone believe that he was killed by accidental crossfire? 

***Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sits down for six consecutive television interviews in Kabul, Afghanistan October 20, 2011
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared a laugh with a television news reporter moments after hearing deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had been killed.

"We came, we saw, he died," she joked when told of news reports of Qaddafi's death by an aide in between formal interviews.

Clinton was in Tripoli earlier this week for talks with leaders of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC).

The reporter asked if Qaddafi's death had anything to do with her surprise visit to show support for the Libyan people.

"No," she replied, before rolling her eyes and saying "I'm sure it did" with a chuckle.***
3121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / This whole establishment thing is so corrupt on: October 21, 2011, 02:53:36 PM
"Like why are we funding fcking car companies?"

Yes my head is exploding with the outrage of how are money is wasted.

Well this goes to the heart of the problem.  What *are* tax payers funding and why and who is benefitting.  The whole system is in question.   The business of pork and every spending scheme has got to be more transparent and we the darn voters need to know who is voting for what legislation and why.

Like the mocking of Cain's tax plan as being "too simple".  As though a two thousand page health care bill that I can guarantee Brock had no idea what was in it is better?  The more complicated the more we can be manipulated.   

Cain has served us more than any other candidate so far.

Perry is coming out with a simple tax plan I think.  Romney is too establishment to get it or care.

3122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The First Amendment & Free Speech on: October 21, 2011, 11:34:00 AM
"Rather than the attempts to cutail speech"

I don't buy that bribing our gov officials is free speech.  Yet it is the opinion of the Supreme Court because essentially that is what is happening.  They are ruling on a narrow line of thinking which is their job.  I am not saying they are wrong, but we still have a big problem.

I think what you are saying is that we can't stop bribery of government people so the best option is just limit their function overall?

3123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / My legally and scholarly diatribe on: October 21, 2011, 09:52:35 AM
I took Doug's repsonse from the cognitive dissonance of Republicans to this thread:

"Campaign finance reform was lambasted by the..." ... [first amendment]   

Without a law degree I will do my best to interpret the situation.   Campaign finance reform was brought to the Supreme court in a case suggesting that it would obstruct the free speech right of the Constitution.  The majority opinion of the  Justices was that it would so it was struck down.

Am I correct to assume that the issue before the Court was this "Constitutional" in that it does not interfere with the people's right to free speech?  If that is the situation the issue before the Court is to address this and not really any other.

I was reading an article from someone with both a law and medical degrees.  He claims that doctors think in systems taking into account all the issues involved while lawyers think in a linear fashion addressing only the more narrow question.

That said the Court would not have considered the issue of ethics or morality involved of wealthy people having unfair access to politicians and influencing their legislative decisions with the ability to provide money and other less overt benefits to their political campaigns.  Worse is the issue of the revolving door of government appointed and hired and elected officials have going in and out of the private sector.  Worse than that is the families and friends of these people who use their family and business ties to influence these others.  (Think the Pelosi mafia like mob).

Now GM will rightly point out that less wealthy people can band together and form conglomerates that together can raise money to compete with the bigger wealthier interests.

One could argue that evens the playing field.  To some degree it does though obviously no one would say it can be leveled without the help of big donors in most cases/circumstances.

In the end I can agree up to this point about it being logically acceptable albeit far from perfect situation.

But where it crosses the line in my thinking is that the influence the wealthy are having on elected officials either directly or through intermediaries (lobbyists of ex gov officials) (elected officials most of whom are lawyers and promptly go into the DC legal community becoming instant partner because of their contacts with legislators) is that their influence is to get legislators to spend not their personal money but publically taxes (people's money if you will).

This is where the line has to be drawn.  And this is what I think people from both the left and right political spectrums can agree that this is totally corrupt and illegitimate and got to stop.  This is the "establishment" both sides are sick of> 

You know what Joe Scarborough this may be how DC works, and yes I know there have been those who have many times campaigned on changing this only to later find out they are running up against interests that are just to powerful they cannot do what they wanted.  But Joe, this is exactly why people are frustrated and disgusted and from both left and right looking for someone different - not another good ole boy like Romney who simpoly knows how the system works.  The system is broken. 

 
3124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: October 18, 2011, 04:31:29 PM
"Not being able to count on America might actually simplify their  options"

Interesting thought.  What little I hear is Israel is arming for the inevitable with submarines, anti ballistics and Netanyahu has plainly said we will do it ourselves.

"jumping through the international hoops of acceptance."

No matter what they do they have an enemy hell bent on wanting them driven out of Israel either by exodus or extermination.
The international community (pardon this stupid phrase) won't budge it seems till its too late if at all.

"Judging from his photo on wikipedia"

I appeared thin to start with but his picture recently shows someone who was kept on bare subsistance.

Truthfully, I am not very religious at all.  Yet I guess there is still something in me about this.  I have tears just seeing all this.

Yes some Jews are pushy.  Take Soros.  Yet cannot the world leave us the hell alone to live in peace.

I keep hearing Jews worrying about the Blacks and the poor etc.  Has anyone heard one prominant Black or otherwise minority or poor person speak up for a Jew?

If anyone has let me know.

 


3125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: October 18, 2011, 02:23:04 PM
GM, Netanyahu already knows this.

Eventually there will be war.  It is inevitable.  Israel is screwed and I feel the sentiment in the US is turning against the "Jews".

Here is his statement:

****October 11, 2011, 6:01 pm

Netanyahu Statement on Shalit Deal
By ROBERT MACKEY
We have concluded ardeous negotiations with #Hamas to release #Gilad #Shalit. He will be coming home in the next few days.
Tue Oct 11 18:54:24 via web
The PM of Israel
IsraeliPM

Below is the complete text of remarks made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Tuesday, at the start of an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss a prisoner exchange agreement with Hamas. The agreement would secure the release of a single captive Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, and more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Today, I bring a proposal to the government for a deal that will bring Gilad Shalit home alive and well; bring him home to his parents, Aviva and Noam; his brother, Yoel; his sister, Hadas; his grandfather Zvi; and the entire people of Israel. Two and a half years ago, when the government was formed, I took upon myself, as my first priority, to bring Gilad home to his people, to his family — to bring him home safe and sound.

At the time, Gilad was already held in captivity for two and a half years, with no visits from the Red Cross, with no visits at all, and we did not know what state he was in. The first step I took, and we approved it here in the government, was to get a video recording of Gilad, and we all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw it. We saw that he was functioning, physically, mentally and cognitively. We saw that he was functioning well. We knew that he was healthy and that he was alive. I regarded that tape as an insurance policy, because it obliged the Hamas before the international community to safeguard him, to keep him alive and maintain his health. But that was obviously only the first step.

The most important mission that we had was more challenging — to actually bring Gilad home. To that end we held long and tough negotiations through the German mediator. These negotiations were based on a framework outlined by the previous government. They were long and exhausting and despite all our efforts, a deal was not reached.

I must point out that not a day went by without us trying various ways to bring Gilad home, any way possible, and that didn’t work either. In the last few weeks, the negotiations were renewed in Cairo, this time with the Egyptian government as mediator. My instructions to the team were to adhere to the principles and framework that are important for the security of the State of Israel, which I will detail in the meeting.

There is an in-built tension between the desire to bring back an abducted soldier, or citizen, and the need to maintain the security of the citizens of Israel. This is my dual responsibility as prime minister.

The deal I am bringing to the government expresses the right balance between all of these considerations. I do not wish to hide the truth from you — it is a very difficult decision. I feel for the families of victims of terror, I appreciate their suffering and distress, I am one of them. But leadership must be examined at moments such as this, being able to make difficult, but right, decisions.

I believe that we have reached the best deal we could have at this time, when storms are sweeping the Middle East. I do not know if in the near future we would have been able to reach a better deal or any deal at all. It is very possible that this window of opportunity that opened because of the circumstances would close indefinitely and we would never have been able to bring Gilad home at all.

Therefore, for all of these reasons, I instructed the team to put their initials on the deal last Thursday, and today it was finalized and signed by both sides. I thank my military secretary, Maj. Gen. Yohanan Locker; the chief of the Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen; my personal envoy to the negotiations, David Meidan; and his predecessor, Hagai Hadas. I thank the team that has accompanied them all these years.

I thank the [Israel Defense Forces], the security forces for doing everything they could regarding Gilad Shalit. I also wish to thank the German mediator, and the chancellor, Angela Merkel, who supported his mission all along. send a special thanks to the government of Egypt and the Egyptian intelligence services for providing much assistance in mediating and helping us reaching this agreement.
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October 11, 2011, 6:01 pm
Netanyahu Statement on Shalit Deal
By ROBERT MACKEY
We have concluded ardeous negotiations with #Hamas to release #Gilad #Shalit. He will be coming home in the next few days.
Tue Oct 11 18:54:24 via web
The PM of Israel
IsraeliPM

Below is the complete text of remarks made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Tuesday, at the start of an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss a prisoner exchange agreement with Hamas. The agreement would secure the release of a single captive Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, and more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Today, I bring a proposal to the government for a deal that will bring Gilad Shalit home alive and well; bring him home to his parents, Aviva and Noam; his brother, Yoel; his sister, Hadas; his grandfather Zvi; and the entire people of Israel. Two and a half years ago, when the government was formed, I took upon myself, as my first priority, to bring Gilad home to his people, to his family — to bring him home safe and sound.

At the time, Gilad was already held in captivity for two and a half years, with no visits from the Red Cross, with no visits at all, and we did not know what state he was in. The first step I took, and we approved it here in the government, was to get a video recording of Gilad, and we all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw it. We saw that he was functioning, physically, mentally and cognitively. We saw that he was functioning well. We knew that he was healthy and that he was alive. I regarded that tape as an insurance policy, because it obliged the Hamas before the international community to safeguard him, to keep him alive and maintain his health. But that was obviously only the first step.

The most important mission that we had was more challenging — to actually bring Gilad home. To that end we held long and tough negotiations through the German mediator. These negotiations were based on a framework outlined by the previous government. They were long and exhausting and despite all our efforts, a deal was not reached.

I must point out that not a day went by without us trying various ways to bring Gilad home, any way possible, and that didn’t work either. In the last few weeks, the negotiations were renewed in Cairo, this time with the Egyptian government as mediator. My instructions to the team were to adhere to the principles and framework that are important for the security of the State of Israel, which I will detail in the meeting.

There is an in-built tension between the desire to bring back an abducted soldier, or citizen, and the need to maintain the security of the citizens of Israel. This is my dual responsibility as prime minister.

The deal I am bringing to the government expresses the right balance between all of these considerations. I do not wish to hide the truth from you — it is a very difficult decision. I feel for the families of victims of terror, I appreciate their suffering and distress, I am one of them. But leadership must be examined at moments such as this, being able to make difficult, but right, decisions.

I believe that we have reached the best deal we could have at this time, when storms are sweeping the Middle East. I do not know if in the near future we would have been able to reach a better deal or any deal at all. It is very possible that this window of opportunity that opened because of the circumstances would close indefinitely and we would never have been able to bring Gilad home at all.

Therefore, for all of these reasons, I instructed the team to put their initials on the deal last Thursday, and today it was finalized and signed by both sides. I thank my military secretary, Maj. Gen. Yohanan Locker; the chief of the Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen; my personal envoy to the negotiations, David Meidan; and his predecessor, Hagai Hadas. I thank the team that has accompanied them all these years.

I thank the [Israel Defense Forces], the security forces for doing everything they could regarding Gilad Shalit. I also wish to thank the German mediator, and the chancellor, Angela Merkel, who supported his mission all along. send a special thanks to the government of Egypt and the Egyptian intelligence services for providing much assistance in mediating and helping us reaching this agreement.

This morning I Invited Noam Shalit to my residence, and I spoke on the phone with the mother, Aviva, and the grandfather, Zvi. I told them that I am keeping my promise and I’m bringing their son and grandson home. I told them, “I’m bringing your boy back.” I am happy that I succeeded in fulfilling the Jewish decree of redeeming captives, and if all goes as planned, Gilad will be back in Israel in the next few days with his family and his people.

The nation of Israel is a unique people. We are all mutually responsible for each other, as our sages said: “He who saves one soul, it is as though he saved an entire world.” Tonight, I bring the government a proposal to save Gilad Shalit, to finally bring him home to Israel after five years.
3126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We have a "silent" war on the border on: October 18, 2011, 01:52:41 PM
Cain joked something about setting up an electified fence with a sign saying you will be killed if you touch this.

The response from the left and Scarborough was of course to mock him and use this as fodder to demonstrate that he is not Presidential material.

Yet we have a silent war going on with Mexico drug dealers and Brock is totally ineffective and actually presided over giving the murderers guns.  Yet the MSM is silent!

Instead of travelling around playing class warfare and campaigning and supporting the bums marching for more government payouts the real bum in the WH should have his butt on the border addressing this.

I don't expect the left to get it but the "establishment" Republicans?   This has all the appearances they are just protecting their power and financial interests. 

We keep hearing the "est." right saying the party is not what it used to be.  Well thank God.  I am getting more frustrated and angrier every day.
3127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: October 18, 2011, 12:45:23 PM
Sure one downside is it encourages more hostage taking.

Israel has done this many times before though I don't know if recently till now.

Netanyahu and other decision makers may be looking at a bigger picture.

3128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / JOE SCARBOROUGH: bought and paid for political establishment on: October 18, 2011, 09:46:21 AM
Scarborough who was once part of the Gingrich Republican revolution is a self serving establishment guy making lots of money now trying to seem moderate and conciliatory.  Is this guy that stupid, bought and paid for, or does he just not get it?

Republicans like him have sold us all out.  I was shocked and disgusted by his total mocking diatribe this AM on the MSNBC Democrat machine propaganda network.  Instead of appauding Cain he mocks him.  With Republicans like him we don't need enemies.  What is his salary anyway?  Is he doing that broad who sits next to him or what?  They certainly appear to have something going between them.  But I digress:

****POLITICOOpinionThe reality show facing GOP votersMain Content
Opinion Column
The reality show facing GOP voters

 Here's the hook -- no one in this actors’ studio is qualified to be president, the author says. | AP Photo Close
By JOE SCARBOROUGH | 10/17/11 4:11 PM EDT
All the world is a stage and in this year’s GOP presidential race, it is a reality show soundstage cluttered with clownish characters auditioning for the role of commander in chief.

A bemused audience of political spectators and cable chatterers has been entertained this year by a fallen speaker, a pizza mogul, a wild-eyed ideologue, a billionaire developer and a hockey mom from Alaska.

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Wolf rips Norquist for Fannie Mae tie
New oil speculation limits draw fire
VIDEO: POLITICO Playback
POLITICO 44
Two of those actors have starred in actual reality shows, but — here’s the hook — no one in this actors’ studio is qualified to be president.

This train wreck of a reality show started the season with a sputtering governor’s resignation. That was followed by a blizzard of book deals, reality shows and FOX News contracts that kept the chattering classes transfixed. Never mind the fact that few mainstream political commentators ever bothered to mention to their audience that Sarah Palin was ill-equipped to handle this show’s lead role.

Palin’s presidential screen test was rudely interrupted by “Apprentice” star Donald Trump, who commanded center stage long enough to sneak a peek at President Obama’s birth certificate, all the while renegotiating a blockbuster deal with NBC.

Being the front-runner for the GOP nomination carried certain benefits, and for The Donald that advantage came in the form of leverage over NBC Entertainment.

As Trump left the political stage, the void was quickly filled by the tea party’s best supporting actress, Michele Bachmann — whose rapid rise and fall was a political rags-to-riches and back to rags story that few Hollywood producers would find believable. That is, unless they heard that unlikely pitch after working on Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.

Perry, who seemed to call for the hanging of Ben Bernanke along with the secession of Texas, saw his lead in the GOP field dissolve faster than a tax break for “Jersey Shore” in Chris Christie’s home state.

And speaking of that low-rent reality show, the Republican party’s answer to Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino found himself booted to the side of the stage after dumping an untold fortune on bling in a blue box. Tiffany’s favorite former speaker was also caught on camera roughing up enemies by comparing them to Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler. Like Sorrentiino, Newt Gingrich has proved himself to be every bit as rhetorically reckless as when the “Jersey Shore” star threatened to kick Snookie’s boyfriend in the head.

All of this leads us to Herman Cain, a man so woefully ill-prepared for the presidency that his lone economic adviser brags about being ignorant of economic theory with as much gusto as candidate Cain mocks those who would suggest he knows little about world politics.

“When they ask me, ‘Who is President of UBEKI-beki-beki-becki-stan, stan, I am going to say ‘Do you know?’”

The fact that Citizen Cain takes great pride in his ignorance of global affairs is understandably unnerving to American voters in this unstable age. But on the small stage on which Mr. Cain now finds himself, the Godfather’s Pizza CEO fits with these vapid times as much as James Dean did with his in the 1950s classic, “Rebel Without a Cause.” Sadly, Cain and his fellow cast members are little more than rebels without a clue. That reality is a dismal curtain call for the Republican party and the country it hopes to run.

Compared with the GOP’s field of reality stars, George W. Bush looks like Brando, Paul Ryan is as attractive as Robert Redford, and Chris Christie is Brad Pitt. So much for an audition process that leaves the audience, once again, aching for more.

A guest columnist for POLITICO, Joe Scarborough hosts “Morning Joe” on MSNBC and represented Florida’s 1st Congressional District in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001.****
3129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The better poltical choice on: October 18, 2011, 09:36:42 AM
Though certainly not a good one.

"is the only way the nation of Israel can begin to contemplate such a terrible choice."

In the end this has to be a political decision.  Unfortunately Israel has no good option.  IF they refuse the deal they don't get their "child" back and internationally they look like they are hoarding Palestinian prisoners.  If they do it they may buy a tiny smidgeon of political capital from the "international community" which is basically bought and paid for by Arab oil money to always be against the Jews.  And worse the Palestinians themselves will never appreciate the lopsided deal and as a peace or goodwill gesture and instead know this is what always results when they take a hostage.  Which is of course  why they continue to take hostages.

So either way Israel is always the poltical loser.  This is just the least bad of the choices.  And they do get their "child".

Just my armchair take.

3130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: October 17, 2011, 04:31:03 PM
" by honest definition"

Like the honest stuff coming out of Europe.  Such as we have plenty of resources, lots of options, restructuring is taking place, move the bad debt into some isolated corner of the balance sheet as though it no longer exists,  the US is behind the European Union,  and on and on.

The attempts at maintaining confidence at the expense of honesty - well...

Think of the can in the road that has been trounced dozens of times and is so flat it looks like a pancake.

3131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Decline, Fall, (and Resurrection?) of America on: October 17, 2011, 04:25:58 PM
…We live in a time where international law remains underdeveloped, international governance is non-existent or weak, and international society is fundamentally anarchic. As a result the role of force in international relations has been magnified. But the age of weapons of mass destruction and newer technologies make it essential that we consider new ways of regulating the use of force in international relations.

blah blah blah

One world government with Brock as head.  Then we will have all the international laws anyone could want - and more.  Personally I don't want to give up our sovereignty to some international judicial system.
3132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 17, 2011, 11:58:20 AM
Well I guess everyone saw the Rasmussen poll with Cain 43 to Brock 41!

Cain said he thinks he could garner a third of the Black vote.  That would be giant.

He also threw back at the liberal verbal mugger Gregory that one Black he admires is Clarence Thomas.

This is what Republicans have been waiting for.  Someone Black or White who can bring Blacks back to the party of Lincoln.

This would ba seismic shift if things work out.

Ironically Brock may yet turn out to be the best blessing yet to emerge for the party - just not the Democrat party! grin
3133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans on: October 16, 2011, 08:15:30 PM
"Those Accountants and Attorneys have lobbists that fight every attempt to simplify the US tax code."

Lobbyists are another problem.  They spend big money.  And pols need big money for campaigns.  They need big money to pay for the media complex.  The need lobbyist slots to stack with their relatives and business partners so it seems.

Campaign finance reform was lambasted by the right.  Certainly McCain's point had some ethical validity.


3134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Economist on electro-magnetic weapons on: October 16, 2011, 08:06:54 PM
From the Economist - war without blood shed?

 *****Electromagnetic weapons
Frying tonight
Warfare is changing as weapons that destroy electronics, not people, are deployed on the field of battle
Oct 15th 2011 | from the print edition
 

 
BULLETS and bombs are so 20th-century. The wars of the 21st will be dominated by ray guns. That, at least, is the vision of a band of military technologists who are building weapons that work by zapping the enemy’s electronics, rather than blowing him to bits. The result could be conflict that is less bloody, yet more effective, than what is now seen as conventional battle.

Electromagnetic weapons, to give these ray guns their proper name, are inspired by the cold-war idea of using the radio-frequency energy released by an atom bomb exploded high in the atmosphere to burn out an enemy’s electrical grid, telephone network and possibly even the wiring of his motor vehicles, by inducing a sudden surge of electricity in the cables that run these things.

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»Frying tonight
 
Transporter of delight
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That idea, fortunately, was never tried in earnest (though some tests were carried out). But, by thinking smaller, military planners have developed weapons that use a similar principle, without the need for a nuclear explosion. Instead, they create their electromagnetic pulses with magnetrons, the microwave generators at the hearts of radar sets (and also of microwave ovens). The result is kit that can take down enemy missiles and aircraft, stop tanks in their tracks and bring speedboats to a halt. It can also scare away soldiers without actually killing them.

Many electromagnetic weapons do, indeed, look like radars, at least to non-expert eyes. America’s air force is developing a range of them based on a type of radar called an active electronically scanned array (AESA). When acting as a normal radar, an AESA broadcasts its microwaves over a wide area. At the touch of a button, however, all of its energy can be focused onto a single point. If that point coincides with an incoming missile or aircraft, the target’s electronics will be zapped.

Small AESAs—those light enough to fit on a plane such as a joint strike fighter (F-35)—are probably restricted to zapping air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles (the air force is understandably reticent about supplying details of their capabilities). Ground- or ship-based kit can draw more power. This will be able to attack both ballistic missiles and aircraft, whose electronics tend to be better shielded.

In the case of the F-35, then, this sort of electromagnetic artillery is mainly defensive. But another plane, the Boeing Growler, uses electromagnetics as offensive weapons. The Growler, which first saw action in Iraq in 2010 and has been extensively (though discreetly) deployed during the NATO air war against Colonel Qaddafi’s forces in Libya, is a souped-up version of the Super Hornet. It is fitted with five pods: two under each wing and one under the fuselage. Some pods contain AESAs or similar electromagnetic weapons. Others have eavesdropping equipment inside them. In combination, the pods can be used either to spy on enemy communications or to destroy them; to suppress anti-aircraft fire; to disable the electronics of ground vehicles; and to make life so hazardous for enemy aircraft that they dare not fly (and probably to shoot them down electronically, too, though no one will confirm this). The Growler is able to keep its weapons charged up and humming by lowering special turbines into the airstream that rushes past the plane when it is flying. America has ordered 114 of the planes, and has taken delivery of 53.

By land, sea and air

Nor are aircraft the only vehicles from which destructive electromagnetic pulses can be launched. BAE Systems, a British defence firm, is building a ship-mounted electromagnetic gun. The High-Powered Microwave, as it is called, is reported by Aviation Week to be powerful enough to disable all of the motors in a swarm of up to 30 speedboats. Ships fitted with such devices would never be subject to the sort of attack that damaged USS Cole in 2000, when an al-Qaeda boat loaded with explosives rammed it. A gun like this would also be useful for stopping pirate attacks against commercial shipping.

Land vehicles, too, will soon be fitted with electromagnetic cannon. In 2013 America hopes to deploy the Radio-Frequency Vehicle Stopper. This device, developed at the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate in Quantico, Virginia, is a microwave transmitter the size and shape of a small satellite dish that pivots on top of an armoured car. When aimed at another vehicle, it causes that vehicle’s engine to stall.

This gentle way of handling the enemy—stopping his speedboats, stalling his tanks—has surprising advantages. For example, it expands the range of targets that can be attacked. Some favourite tricks of modern warfare, such as building communications centres in hospitals, or protecting sites with civilian “human shields”, cease to be effective if it is simply the electronics of the equipment being attacked that are destroyed. Though disabling an aircraft’s avionics will obviously cause it to crash, in many other cases, no direct harm is done to people at all.

The logical conclusion of all this is a so-called “human-safe” missile, which carries an electromagnetic gun instead of an explosive warhead. Such a missile is being developed at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, and will soon be tested at the White Sands Missile Range.

There is, however, at least one electromagnetic weapon that is designed to attack enemy soldiers directly—though with the intention of driving them off, rather than killing them. This weapon, which is called the Active Denial System, has been developed by the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, in collaboration with Raytheon. It works by heating the moisture in a person’s skin to the point where it feels, according to Kelley Hughes, an official at the directorate who volunteered to act as a guinea pig, like opening a hot oven. People’s reaction, when hit by the beam, is usually to flee. The beam’s range is several hundred metres.

Such anti-personnel weapons are controversial. Tests on monkeys, including ones in which the animals’ eyes were held open to check that the beam does not blind, suggest it causes no permanent damage. But when a vehicle-mounted Active Denial System was sent to Afghanistan in May 2010, it was eventually shipped back home without being used. The defence department will not say exactly why. The suspicion, though, is that weapons like the Active Denial System really are reminiscent in many minds of the ray guns of science fiction, and that using them in combat would be a PR mistake. Disabling communications and destroying missiles is one thing. Using heat-rays on the enemy might look bad in the newspapers, and put civilians off their breakfast.

Cold showers are good for you

To every action there is, of course, an equal and opposite reaction, and researchers are just as busy designing ways of foiling electromagnetic weapons as they are developing them. Most such foils are types of Faraday cage—named after the 19th-century investigator who did much of the fundamental research on electromagnetism.

A Faraday cage is a shield of conductive material that stops electromagnetic radiation penetrating. Such shields need not be heavy. Nickel- and copper-coated polyester mesh is a good starting point. Metallised textiles—chemically treated for greater conductivity—are also used. But Faraday cages can be costly. EMP-tronic, a firm based in Morarp, Sweden, has developed such shielding, initially for the Gripen, a Swedish fighter jet. It will shield buildings too, though, for a suitable consideration. To cover one a mere 20 metres square with a copper-mesh Faraday cage the firm charges €300,000 ($400,000).

Shielding buildings may soon become less expensive than that. At least two groups of scientists—one at the National Research Council Canada and the other at Global Contour, a firm in Texas—are developing electrically conductive cement that will block electromagnetic pulses. Global Contour’s mixture, which includes fibres of steel and carbon, as well as a special ingredient that the firm will not disclose, would add only $20 to the $150 per cubic metre, or thereabouts, which ordinary concrete costs.

The arms race to protect small vehicles and buildings against electromagnetic warfare, then, has already begun. Protecting ships, however, requires lateral thinking. For obvious reasons, they cannot be encased in concrete. And building a conventional Faraday cage round a naval vessel would be horribly expensive.

Daniel Tam, of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, thinks he has a way to get round that. He proposes to use the electrical conductivity of the sodium and chloride ions in seawater to create a novel type of Faraday cage. A shroud of seawater around a ship, thrown up by special pumps and hoses if the vessel came under electromagnetic attack, would do the trick, he reckons.

It is an ambitious idea. Whether it works or not, it shows how much the nature of modern belligerency is changing. Bombs and bullets will always have their place, of course. But the thought that a cold shower could protect a ship from attack is almost surreal.

from the print edition | Science and technology
3135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: October 16, 2011, 08:03:04 PM
I think the 11th - tuesday.
3136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans on: October 16, 2011, 07:49:05 PM
So what would be the policy solution to this gap? "

I don't want transfer of wealth.   

Simplify the tax code.  Get rid of loopholes that only the rich even know about.  How about getting rid of off shore tax havens.  Some estimates hold over 9 trillion off shore - more than all the combined holdings of all us banks are off shore in switzerland caman islands, mauritania and others.

Otherwise I admit I am not sure.   I can think of things but I don't know which or any that would work.  Humanity is just too corrupt.
3137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2 trillion for the banks on: October 16, 2011, 07:33:52 PM
This news is a couple of days old but I didn't notice it get much press time.  I don't get this for example:

" The government will create a public-private entity that could buy $500 billion in toxic assets, and could be expanded to a trillion dollars."

I wonder if they include solyndra in this calculated brilliant use of tax dollars.  There is no end to kicking the can down the road is there?

****U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner speaks during a news conference at the Treasury Department on Tuesday.
 
By Sue Kirchhoff and Pallavi Gogoi, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled a sweeping plan Tuesday to shore up the nation's troubled financial system.
It is designed to deliver as much as $2 trillion to troubled financial markets by having the government partner with the private sector to buy troubled assets from lenders, make more bank capital injections and expand a Federal Reserve lending program.

"Right now critical parts of our financial system are damaged," Geithner said at a Treasury Department press conference, warning that the nation faces the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression. "Instead of catalyzing recovery, the financial system is working against recovery, and that's the dangerous dynamic we need to change."

The plan is just one part of overall efforts by the Obama administration, including a roughly $800 billion financial stimulus bill passed by the Senate Tuesday, to tackle the loss of millions of jobs, falling home and asset prices and a historic contraction in credit markets.

"It is essential for every American to understand that the battle for economic recovery must be fought on two fronts," Geithner said. "We have to both jump-start job creation and private investment and we must get credit flowing again to businesses and families."

Markets reacted negatively to the plan, however, with the Dow Jones industrial avereage down nearly 400 points in afternoon trading as investors and market analysts worried about the lack of specifcs in the broad proposal.

"The Financial Stability Plan outlined by Treasury Secretary Geithner this morning ... is obviously a work that is still very much a 'work in progress,'" economic consulting firm Stone and McCarthy said in a note to clients "It is quite possible that it may not be a finished product for an extended period of time."

Geithner's plan attacks the credit crisis on several fronts. First, the Treasury Department would use part of the $350 billion remaining from last year's $700 billion financial rescue fund as seed money, to induce the private sector to buy bad assets from banks. The government will create a public-private entity that could buy $500 billion in toxic assets, and could be expanded to a trillion dollars. Treasury has not yet settled on a final design for the program.

The administration will use another $80 billion in financial rescue funds to expand a recently created $200 billion Federal Reserve program. That program, designed to free up money for student loans, credit cards and auto loans, could also cover bonds backed by commercial real estate and privately issued mortgage-backed securities. The new funding is designed to leverage as much as $1 trillion in overall activity under the Fed program.

Geithner noted that 40% of the money for consumer lending has come through bundling loans into securities and reselling them in financial markets. As those so-called secondary markets have frozen, so has consumer and business lending.

Banks could receive more capital under the plan, which will be funded from the remaining $350 billion of last year's $700 billion financial rescue plan. Geithner said in order to get aid, banks would be subject to beefed up supervision or stress testing, especially big banks. Institutions that need additional capital will be able to access a new funding mechanism using money from the Treasury "as a bridge to private capital," Geithner said.

The renamed "Financial Stability Plan" rolled out by Geithner will also use at least $50 billion from last year's financial rescue law to help prevent home foreclosures. Details of that plan will be announced "in the next few weeks," Geithner said.

The plan relies on the Federal Reserve's willingness to expand current, historic programs to aid financial markets. But Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke faced some skepticism at a Tuesday afternoon hearing on Capitol Hill. Some lawmakers said they were worried that the Fed has already expanded its own balance sheet from about $800 billion to nearly $2 trillion as it created lending programs for stressed financial markets. The lawmakers also said the Fed has not released enough public information about its programs.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., accused the Fed and Treasury of using an "obscure and seldom utilized" provision of law to make unprecedented interventions into the financial markets.

"Not only has there been no disclosure or little oversight or accountability, but there's actually been an active resistance on the part of these agencies to explain their actions or disclose the terms," Bachus said. "We simply know almost nothing about these transactions. We can only guess as to their ultimate success or failure. In future years I'm sure those that write (about) these days will be intrigued and captivated by the question: How could such an unprecedented action have occurred without the consent of the governed?"

Bernanke said the vast bulk of Fed loans are safe and are generating profits. He said the central bank is reviewing its policies to ensure it is providing as much public information as possible. He also said the Fed might have to continue expanding its balance sheet in areas such as student loans, auto loans, and other areas where it could help open up markets.

"With our expansion, we're trying to create and stimulate credit markets where markets have broken down," Bernanke said, adding the Fed wants to "keep looking for opportunity" where it has the tools to get markets working again.

Geithner said he realizes the financial rescue represents a sizable commitment, but noted that many of the amounts were loans and loan guarantees, which means the government eventually will be repaid.

Still, the country should know that the program will involve costs to the government and risks, but he said the alternative of doing nothing would be far riskier.

"As costly as this effort may be, we know that the complete collapse of our financial system would be incalculable for families, for businesses, and for our nation," Geithner said.

The new administration's bailout overhaul seeks to address widespread criticism of how the Bush administration ran the $700 billion program Congress passed in October. Lawmakers in both parties say banks were getting billions of dollars in taxpayer support with few strings attached, and all the government aid was failing to accomplish its primary objective of getting banks to lend more.

Under the overhaul, the Obama administration seeks to deal with those issues by more closely monitoring banks to make sure the money they get is being used to increase lending.

President Obama, speaking at a prime-time news conference Monday night, said his overhaul of the financial rescue program would bring "transparency and oversight" to the heavily criticized program.

He said the overhaul would correct previous mistakes such as a "lack of consistency" and what he said was the failure to require banks to show "some restraint" in terms of executive compensation and spending in such areas as corporate jets.

The first $350 billion in the bailout program was committed by the Bush administration under the direction of former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. In part because of the political outrage over how the program has been run, the Obama administration decided for now against seeking any money beyond the $350 billion that is still to be spent.

Many economists believe $700 billion won't be enough to get the financial system operating normally and the administration will eventually have to ask for billions more. The administration, however, decided to try to increase the power of the program by using smaller amounts of money to harness bigger resources available at the Fed and in the private sector.

Asked about the possibility that his administration will ultimately need more money, Obama said Monday the goal now is to "get this right" because it is important to restore financial market confidence so banks will resume more normal lending.****

3138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Finally? on: October 16, 2011, 07:14:33 PM
Off the lead story on Drudge at this time:

"A top Republican in Washington dramatically altered his stance on protesters involved in Occupy Wall Street just one week after comparing the movement to “angry mobs”. Eric Cantor, the Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives, told Fox News on Sunday that Republicans agreed there was “too much” income disparity in the country. “More important than my use of the word [‘mobs’] is that there is a growing frustration out there across the country and it is warranted. Too many people are out of work,” he said."

This is a FIRST from a top Republican spokeperson.  A recognition of the wealth gap.   This in my humble opinion is a good step.  We must start hearing more recognition from the right about this.  This IS what I have been hoping more of from the right.  Simply speaking about opening up the tax spiggots and let the wealth poor in for the producers and those at the top and let it trickle down is NOT enough.  I've said repeatedly that those independents and many others do not buy this argument.  The middle class is becoming the lower class in this country.  The rich are getting richer.  The game is rigged to some extent at the top.  Like to admit it or not that is fact.  As I have said before Repubs ignore this altogether at their own peril.  Even Buchanan rightly pointed out the growing disparity in wealth and the slow crushing burden on the middle and that neither the right nor the left has offered a decent answer for this.  The right simply ignores it altogether - BIG mistake.

And again (I hope not ad nauseum) I say that as long as the right keeps ignoring this they will always be struggling to get the vote majority.  Isn't this cleary demonstrated by the fact that Brock STILL has a real chance of winning again?

Like Crafty suggested the right can steal the Democratic thunder (at least some of it) by embracing some of the Wall Street protest anger.  They may actually win over some of the independents.

So I am glad that Cantor (who I like) has changed his tune - or at least according to this article he may have.

3139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: October 16, 2011, 07:01:52 PM
I wonder if there has ever been any study of Black antisemitism.

Surely some Blacks resent and dislike Jews.  I don't know if it would be at a higher percentage overall than say other groups including whites who dislike Jews.

It seems Sharpton, Wright, Farrakan fit the mold.  I recall Jackson's "hymietown" comment.  I often wondered why liberal Jews seemed to need to make the point that Jews had much in common with Blacks because of a history of discrimination.

Such Jews misread the situation.  It is not the discrimination issue that has many Blacks resenting Jews.  It is the socioeconomic disparity.   Blacks feel patronized by the lib Jews who coddle up to them, I suspect.

I remember one of my Jewish ancestors who was by no means bigoted or prejudiced.  Yet he had no narcisstic need to prove what a good heart he had by "sticking up" for Blacks.  He would say I am not worried about the Blacks.   They are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.  Just like we do.
3140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 16, 2011, 06:48:46 PM
I too saw Gregory attempt another hit of a Republican.  My first thought is how does he get all these Repubs to even come on his show and give him airtime. 

I thought Cain tactfully threw it all back in his face.

Gregory doesn't interview Repubs.  He tries to ambush, embarass, confuse them.  The "gotcha moment" if you will.
He is obviously coached to trap them off the blocks.

Cain was very ready and very able to handle all the questions this time.

 
3141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / psychiatry eval of OBrock on: October 14, 2011, 04:38:47 PM
This psychiatrist calls W Bush "distrubed" but Obama "troubled".   The choice of words right there exposes him.  Of course this guy did his psych training at Harvard.  He states Brock is seeking a father figure calling Rev Wright and that.  Rev. Wright "disappointed him".  Does he mention that he only "disappointed" him when he had to throw him under the bus for selfish political gain.  He didn't seem disappointed for the twenty plus years he sat in his church.  And, LOL he claims Brock picked Biden because he is still seeking that father figure.

I lke this one, "Take for example Obama's earlier willingness to compromise with Republicans, upsetting his liberal base".
I don't know what planet this guy lives on but I never heard any real offers of compromise.  The Dems love to promote him as a compromiser when the rest of us know that is false.

Or this statement, "The result is that he is overly protective of his own nuclear family, desires greatly to see national unity, and yet harbors anger that he took out on bin Laden."

What does he mean "overly protective of his family"?  I don't see any difference from any other President.  "Desires to see national unity"?  What planet is this guy on?  This is the most devisive President in my lifetime.
And, "anger he took out on Bin Laden"?  What?  I think this shrink needs a shrink.  The only anger this guy takes out is on America.

I would love to see a far brighter Harvard psychiatrist tear this analysis apart:  Charles Krauthammer.  I wonder how Charles survived Harvard and is still so normal.  Well I guess a few grads are.  W graduated from Harvard Business and OReilly graduated from there. 

*******US News & World Report  Shrink: Obama Suffers 'Father Hunger'

October 14, 2011 RSS Feed Print The abandonment by his father when he was an infant and by his stepfather at age 10 has left President Obama with a "father hunger" that influences everything from why he distances himself from pushy supporters, to his strong desire to compromise and bring people together, to his aggressive campaign to kill Osama bin Laden, says a psychoanalytic book out next week. In Obama on the Couch, George Washington University professor Justin Frank also reveals that Obama has spent much of his life seeking out father figures, but most, like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Vice President Biden, have disappointed him. "Obama searched for a father, for someone to relate to who could help him—a strong man who knew what to do," Frank writes.

This is Frank's second psychoanalytical book about a president. While a sympathetic look at Obama, it follows Bush on the Couch, a sharply critical analysis that suggested then President George W. Bush was disturbed. In that book, he predicted that someone like Obama—"completely different," "someone not ... white"—would succeed Bush. What the nation ended up with, however, is "an almost tragic figure," Frank writes.

The general theme is that Obama has been affected both by being biracial and by the abandonment of his two dads during his childhood. The result is that he is overly protective of his own nuclear family, desires greatly to see national unity, and yet harbors anger that he took out on bin Laden.

Take for example Obama's earlier willingness to compromise with Republicans, upsetting his liberal base. Here Frank cites the negative influence of his parents, especially his mom, who often pressed him to do better in school. "He hates being pushed by supporters who want him to make good on his promises of universal healthcare and care for the poor, something that represents his mother and how she pushed him to study harder," Frank writes. And when he ignores his base, he is emulating his father, expressing annoyance but not worried they will desert him.

As for bin Laden, Frank writes that Obama's inner anger emerged: "He was able to pursue his action against bin Laden in part because bin Laden offered a displacement figure for Obama's rage toward his own parents."

Frank also calls Obama scared of the type of radical change he advocated in 2008. "He wants to be the father who makes change safe, the person he has waited for his entire life."

Check out: our editorial cartoons on President Obama.******
3142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: October 14, 2011, 02:30:31 PM
It certainly seems we hit a nearterm bottom which of course can change tomorrow with Soros' latest rumor.

I don't recall a weirder situation wherein some companies and investors are making money hand over fist yet nearly everyone I know personally is financially worse off.

The recent drop was I think due to the concern Europe banking would collapse.  Now the rumors are they are working on some sort of "deal" to kick the can down the road everything is back to hunky dorry?!

Perhaps BLoomberg can get Brian to go down to the Wall Street protesters and convince them all not to worry everything is really great.

What I screwed up country this is becoming.  More then once I have senior citizen patients coming in and telling me they are glad they don't have much time left.  They cannot stand what is going on.

3143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW2 vets are turning over in their graves on: October 12, 2011, 03:02:16 PM
God I only hope we run this guy out of office for good.  It just keeps getting worse:

Apologies Not Accepted
 
Posted 10/11/2011 06:29 PM ET
 
In November 2009, Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to bow to Japan's emperor. View Enlarged Image
Leadership: Leaked cables show Japan nixed a presidential apology to Hiroshima and Nagasaki for using nukes to end the overseas contingency operation known as World War II. Will the next president apologize for the current one?

The obsessive need of this president to apologize for American exceptionalism and our defense of freedom continued recently when Barack Obama's State Department (run by Hillary Clinton) contacted the family of al-Qaida propagandist and recruiter Samir Khan to "express its condolences" to his family.

Khan, a right-hand man to Anwar al-Awlaki, was killed along with Awlaki in an airstrike in Yemen on Sept. 30. We apologized for killing a terrorist before he could help kill any more of us.

It's yet another part of the world apology tour that began with Obama taking the oath of office to protect and defend the United States and its Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, something he immediately felt sorry for.

One stop on his tour was Prague in August 2009. There he spoke of "America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," ignoring that before 1945 we lived in such a world and it was neither peaceful nor secure.

Another stop on the tour was in Japan, where Obama in November 2009 bowed to the emperor, something no American president had ever done. It could have been worse if plans to visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima to apologize for winning the war with the atom bombs had come to pass.

A heretofore secret cable dated Sept. 3, 2009, was recently released by WikiLeaks. Sent to Secretary of State Clinton, it reported Japan's Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka telling U.S. Ambassador John Roos that "the idea of President Obama visiting Hiroshima to apologize for the atomic bombing during World War II is a 'nonstarter.'"

The Japanese feared the apology would be exploited by anti-nuclear groups and those opposed to the defensive alliance between Japan and the U.S.
3144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: October 10, 2011, 02:59:01 PM
"Lured by cheap drugs and free food, creepy thugs have infiltrated the crowd of protesters camped"

Well, what were drugs doing there to start with?  Who is giving the "free" food.  Nothing is free.  Who is paying for this?

As though the people who began this noble, just, righteous, cause were all just a bunch of saints and then some bad elements just happen to show up later.  Oh I get it.

As usual the taxpayers will be stuck with the bill for this mess and not to say anything about the overtime for city employees.

I assume the ones who can ring the register up top increase their pay just before they retire.
3145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: October 10, 2011, 11:18:37 AM
"And the pay is $350-$650 a week depending on the responsibility and length of time of staff."

I keep wondering every time I see these losers on TV how they can afford to sit around for weeks on end yet they claim poverty.

Lets see.  They are already getting unemployment, they are sponging off their parents, they are selling drugs, on federal disability,
stealing, or are independently wealthy, retired.

I don't know.  You tell me.

I agree with the point (of some of them) about some unfairness in our system.  The rest are just there for the "experience", its "coolness", to meet girls and guys, push for free doles.

This is the group of people who no matter what no matter when or forever will always vote Democrat.

You see them at all Democratic political rallies.  I remember going to a Bill Clinton rally in Florida.  I was probably one of a handful of Republicans.  The rest looked similar to this crowd.

It is the handout you owe me entitlement "nation".


3146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 10, 2011, 09:24:46 AM
GM your point about media hypocracy also finds fodder with the Wall street thing.  Especially trying to compare it to the Tea Party.

The left wing media keeps making this into a left version of the Tea Party.  Yeah right this is just like the tea party.   Professional hippies and union thugs demading handouts from succesful people is not the same as those paying the bills having a beef:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2047168/Occupy-Wall-Street-Its-just-politics--Sex-drugs-love-brigade-hijack-Wall-Street-protest.html

I am not sure what to make of the media silence about the drone killing and American citizen.  Personally I am all for it.  Yet the uproar over water boarding yet silence over this is prima faciae evidence of a two faced liberal democrat party media complex.
3147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 08, 2011, 01:24:40 PM
Well Fox and Hannity are asking.

The MSM won't until they have to of course.

They are not interested in morality as much as their political and financial interests obviously.

Yet the MSM pretend they are all about morality.  We have SoloDAD giving us more "Latino in America" nonsense.  Yet not a peep from the queen of feeling sorry for illegals when it comes to the Latinos budgeoned in the streets of Mexico. 

Then again if Bush were Prez she and the silver haired Rothschild would be on every day screaming ther outrage for the poor of South of the border.

Of course what gays go through here in the US is far worse then any suffering in Mexico due to the terror of these bastard drug cartels. wink



3148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / To PSA or not PSA on: October 08, 2011, 01:17:21 PM
That is the question without an answer.

Just we know, universal single payer government sponsored health care would not be recommending that we not do this test.  It would be *dictating* and refusing to pay for this. 

The talking heads on all the cable shows will have a field day with all their usual specialist guests, et. al. "debating" the cons and pros ad nauseum.

Thanks to the greats from Harvard who have seemed to have decided on the future of the world for the rest of us:

****prostate cancer test advice overturns dogma
Oct. 7, 2011, 5:36 p.m. EDTAPWASHINGTON (AP) — Men finally may be getting a clearer message about undergoing PSA screening for prostate cancer: Don't do it.

They may not listen. After all, the vast majority of men over 50 already get tested.

The idea that finding cancer early can harm instead of help is a hard one to understand. But it's at the heart of a government panel's draft recommendation that those PSA blood tests should no longer be part of routine screening for healthy men.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force examined all the evidence and found little if any reduction in deaths from routine PSA screening. But it did conclude that too many men are diagnosed with tumors that never would have killed them and suffer serious side effects from resulting treatment.

That recommendation isn't final — it's a draft open for public comment. But it goes a step further than several major cancer groups including the American Cancer Society, which urges that men be told the pros and cons and decide for themselves.

The new advice is sure to be hugely controversial. Already some doctors are rejecting it.

"We all agree that we've got to do a better job of figuring out who would benefit from PSA screening. But a blanket statement of just doing away with it altogether ... seems over-aggressive and irresponsible," said Dr. Scott Eggener, a prostate cancer specialist at the University of Chicago.

In the exam room, explaining the flaws in PSA testing has long been difficult.

"Men have been confused about this for a very long time, not just men patients but men doctors," said Dr. Yul Ejnes, a Cranston, R.I., internal medicine specialist who chairs the American College of Physicians' board of regents.

He turned down his own physician's offer of a PSA test after personally reviewing the research.

"There's this dogma ... that early detection saves lives. It's not necessarily true for all cancers," Ejnes said.

That's an emotional shift, as the American Cancer Society's Dr. Len Lichtenfeld voiced on his blog on Friday.

"We have invested over 20 years of belief that PSA testing works. ... And here we are all of these years later, and we don't know for sure," Lichtenfeld wrote. "We have been poked and probed, we have been operated on by doctors and robots, we have been radiated with fancy machines, we have spent literally billions of dollars. And what do we have? A mess of false hope?"

Too much PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, in the blood only sometimes signals prostate cancer is brewing. It also can mean a benign enlarged prostate or an infection. In fact, most men who undergo a biopsy for an abnormal PSA test don't turn out to have prostate cancer.

Screening often detects small tumors that will prove too slow-growing to be deadly — by one estimate, in 2 of every 5 men whose cancer is caught through a PSA test. But there's no way to tell in advance who needs treatment.

"If we had a test that could distinguish between a cancer that was going to be aggressive and a cancer that was not, that would be fabulous," said Dr. Virginia Moyer of the Baylor College of Medicine, who chairs the task force, an independent expert group that reviews medical evidence for the government.

About 1 in 6 U.S. men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their life. Yet the cancer society notes that in Western European countries where screening isn't common, 1 in 10 men are diagnosed and the risk of death in both places is the same. In the U.S., about 217,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and 32,000 die.

Why not screen in case there's a mortality benefit that studies have yet to tease out? The task force outlined the problem with that:

—Up to 5 in every 1,000 men die within a month of prostate cancer surgery, and between 10 and 70 more suffer serious complications.

—At least 200 to 300 of every 1,000 men treated with surgery or radiation suffer incontinence or impotence.

—Overall, Moyer said 30 percent of men who are treated for PSA-discovered prostate cancer suffer significant side effects from the resulting treatment.

Among the questions sure to be raised during the public comment period are how doctors should advise men with prostate cancer in the family or black men, who are at increased risk.

PSA testing also is used to examine men with prostate symptoms, and to check men who already have had prostate cancer. The new recommendation doesn't affect those uses.

Congress requires that Medicare cover PSA tests, at a cost of $41 million in 2009. Other insurers follow Medicare's lead, especially in light of conflicting recommendations.

Nor does the new recommendation mean that men who want a PSA test can't have one. If the rule is adopted — something the government will review once the task force hears comments and finalizes its guidance — it would just advise against doctors pushing it routinely.

"The truth is that like so many things in medicine, there's no one-size-fits-all," said Dr. Michael Barry of Massachusetts General Hospital who heads the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision-Making that backs ways to help patients make their own choices.***
 
 
3149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 08, 2011, 12:22:46 PM
"Why the lack of MSM outrage at “dead Mexicans”?"

Good question.

The stories coming out of Mexico are truly shocking.  The brutality, the cruelty is unbelievable.  And no one can stop it.
We in this country are doing the drugs that are feeding this.  Yet I hear no shame on our part, no guilt, no remorse.

Just blame the drug cartels for dealing us drugs.

The "fast and furious" guns trafficking is a big scandal with a big cover up probably all the way to Brock - However this is really only a small part of the overall problem.

The gang violence in the US is nothing like that seen south of the border in Mexico Central and South America.

I cannnot blame the Mexican government every time they point out the drugs are coming here and we pay for it.  Sure they are corrupt but so are we.

All we hear is the libs saying how we have so many people in jail for drugs when they should be getting "treatment".

What a joke.  That's not the answer either or is only a fraction of the answer.



3150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / deflect the heat from Brock on: October 07, 2011, 04:04:36 PM
The title of this should be Dems seeking revenge and to deflect attention away from Brock's corruption issues with Solar and Fast and Furious by making a mountain out of a non issue over a conservative judge:

****Democrats mobilize over Clarence Thomas ethics investigation
Clarence and Ginni Thomas (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Forty-six House Democrats have joined forces this week to ask the chamber's Judiciary Committee to investigate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for ethics violations. The Democratic lawmakers' complaint argues that reports of Thomas' actions--including those related to the high-profile political activism of his wife, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas--have raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest.

"Public records clearly demonstrate that Justice Thomas has failed to accurately disclose information concerning the income and employment status of his wife, as required by law," Democrats led by Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter (pdf) Wednesday to leaders of the Judiciary Committee. The Democrats also question whether Thomas accurately reported gifts and inappropriately solicited donations.

Blumenauer's office confirmed to The Ticket Thursday afternoon that 46 lawmakers have signed on.

Liberal watchdog group Common Cause recently reported that Thomas' wife earned around $1.6 million between 1997 and 2011--and that Justice Thomas did not report her income over the same time span. Thomas said he "inadvertently" failed to file information on wife's employment "due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions."

 A Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg told the Huffington Post this week that justices are not required to disclose the amount earned by spouses--only the source of their spouses' income.

But Democrats argue that Thomas may have been intentionally withholding the information.

"There is now more than enough evidence to merit a formal inquiry as to whether Justice Thomas willfully failed to make legally required disclosures, perhaps for as long as 13 years," Common Cause president Bob Edgar said in a statement Wednesday. "Given that we now know he correctly completed the reports in prior years, it's hardly plausible--indeed, it's close to unbelievable--that Justice Thomas did not understand the instructions."

Democrats contend that the Supreme Court's protocols for such disclosures should be more transparent. "Because the Court continues to operate without a binding code of ethics or a transparent recusal process, it is time for Congress to exercise its Constitutional role and become involved in this process," Blumenauer said in a statement.

Ginni Thomas has become embroiled in several scandals over the past year.

In Oct. 2010, Thomas made headlines for calling the office of Anita Hill-- the woman who gained national exposure 20 years ago when she testified during Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing that the nominee sexually harassed her. In last year's call, Ginni Thomas left a voicemail message seeking an apology from Hill.

Soon after, Ginni Thomas stepped down from conservative group Liberty Central, which she founded, citing "distractions" caused by her celebrity.

Her role at Liberty Central and her work with other conservative advocacy groups had raised questions about possible conflicts-of-interest for her spouse. The New York Times' Jackie Calmes last year said Thomas had "the most partisan role ever for a spouse of a justice on the nation's highest court."

Common Cause reports that most of the undisclosed funds earned by Ginni Thomas came from the conservative Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington.***


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