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3651  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mitt vs Newt? on: November 22, 2011, 02:31:42 PM
I too still like Newt.  "NA" stands for Newt anonymous.  Last night saw Mitt.  While the substance of what he says is correct he just doesn't take it to the opposition like Newt.  Like he still has the need to soften his tone when speaking about Brock, with phrase like "he means well".  Get rid of that.  He doesn't mean well.  He is out to get rid of America as we know it.   And he is not honest about it.  Why keep calling him a nice guy who is just misinformed.  Brock is well aware of what he is doing and he is fully aware he is not telling us the truth.

I agree with Crafty here.  Newt don't back down.  I want to see him and Mitt "duke it out" and lets see who can make the case better for stark choice between Brock's one world government socialism and America as we know it.   

Mitt just doesn't inspire me.  Yet it ain't about me.  It is about the independents.  So who can get their attention better, Mitt or Newt?  As always they decide the election.  So I am a pragmatist in the end.   
3652  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jonathan Steele book review from economist; interesting take on: November 22, 2011, 02:21:19 PM
Afghanistan’s interminable war
Looking for the exit
A bleak but authoritative assessment of foreign intervention
Nov 19th 2011 | from the print edition

Ghosts of Afghanistan: The Haunted Battleground. By Jonathan Steele. Counterpoint; 437 pages; $26. Portobello; £25. Buy from,

ON TAKING office in 2009, President Barack Obama found a longstanding request from the army on his desk, asking for more troops for the war in Afghanistan. He soon acceded, though not in full. According to Bob Woodward’s book, “Obama’s Wars”, which came out in 2010, the late Richard Holbrooke, Mr Obama’s envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, reminded his boss that Lyndon Johnson had faced similar demands during the Vietnam war. “Ghosts”, whispered Mr Obama. They haunt him still, as he seeks to bring most American troops home before 2015, without leaving Afghanistan prey to a new extremist Taliban regime or an intensification of its three-decade-long civil war.

“Ghosts of Afghanistan” is a good title for this fine modern history by Jonathan Steele, a British journalist. This is not just because of the many people who have died in its wars, but because “the spectres of past mistakes” still complicate decision-making by the NATO-led, American-dominated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

These include both the quagmire in Vietnam and the Soviet Union’s disastrous nine-year occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, which was cheered by Western cold warriors as “the Soviet Union’s Vietnam”. An experienced writer and commentator for the Guardian, Mr Steele has visited Afghanistan in every phase of the civil war and is well placed to compare the end of the Soviet era and the present “transition”, the favoured common euphemism for foreign withdrawal.

He demolishes some Western myths about Afghanistan that betray short memories and government spin. The Soviet years, for example, tend to be portrayed as a period of bitter repression under a puppet regime, which was defeated by a popular, Islamist uprising, backed by America and Pakistan, and which crumbled as soon as the Soviet Union withdrew its occupation forces in 1989.

There is another way of looking at the same history. At no stage did the Soviet Union have as many troops in Afghanistan as America and ISAF do now. It was never defeated. It withdrew because Mikhail Gorbachev realised the Soviets could never win. The regime they left behind was quite resilient. Only as the Soviet Union began to unravel in 1991 and withdraw its aid did the regime collapse shortly after. The mujahideen boast of having brought down the Soviet Union. The reverse is just as true: it was the collapse of the Soviet Union that brought the mujahideen to power.

There are some uncanny echoes between the two interventions. The Soviets and the Americans both allocated 15 times as much to military spending in the country as to civilian spending. Soviet resentment at the ingratitude of the client regime is matched in America. This month ISAF had to sack an American general for voicing it. Neither the West nor the Soviet Union is predominantly Muslim, enabling their enemies to decry the “infidel” regimes they back. Both wars became very unpopular at home. ISAF, like the Soviet army, has established solid-looking structures in the north, which is largely inhabited by smaller ethnic groups, such as Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras. But it still faces a serious insurgency in the Pushtun-dominated south and east, fuelled from Pakistan.

With the war in stalemate now, as it was 20 years ago, Mr Steele argues for peace talks with the Taliban and the regional powers. That, of course, is how wars end. But it is hard when the enemy, known in convenient shorthand as “the Taliban”, is fragmented and ISAF is trying to kill or co-opt as many of its fighters as possible. Moreover, America has committed itself to a timetable for withdrawal—an invitation to its enemies to play a long game.

In one respect the Soviet precedent is not encouraging. That withdrawal was preceded by years of ultimately fruitless diplomacy. But the foreign presence is not the only reason Afghans fight. So the lesson some ISAF strategists draw from the Soviet experience is less to do with the necessity for peace talks than about the durability of the post-occupation Afghan government until its plug was pulled from a socket in Moscow. If the West can commit enough in military and civilian assistance, the present government should muddle through, at least in the cities.

That is not a very encouraging outcome, measured against the high hopes after the swift toppling of the Taliban in 2001. But Mr Steele gives almost the last word in his book to an even gloomier scenario, spelled out by Francesc Vendrell, a wise diplomat formerly with the UN and the EU: “Having failed dismally to make the Afghan people our allies, we will inevitably abandon them to a combination of Taliban in the south and the warlords in the north, and (having somehow redefined success) we will go home convinced that it is the Afghan people who have failed us.” Mr Steele and Mr Vendrell are not the only ones to be haunted by the ghosts of Afghanistan’s future.

from the print edition | Books and arts
3653  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: November 22, 2011, 12:35:25 PM
* I'm just tied up for the
rest of the day*

I cannot resist this one:

You mean you are on Wall Street with fellow "revolutionaries" elbow to elbow in front of Rupert Murdoch's NY office avoiding a bath?

Sound like a lot of fun.  Oh its so great to be part of history and of 'something'.  And the chicks are freebirds too  grin
3654  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: November 22, 2011, 11:44:14 AM
***Imagine if your receptionist asked a patient and his family to leave your lobby, but the patient refused, however the patient was non violent. non threatening, just annoying and uncooperative.  He and his family just sat there.  What would you say if your receptionist, without being threatened in any way, then pulled out her Pepper Spray and attacked the entire family just to clear your lobby?  Causing damage to the individuals.  Wouldn't you feel a little guilty given the circumstances?  Was Pepper Spray appropriate?  As Management, wouldn't you like to have know before your receptionist Pepper Spayed Patients without justifiable cause and if appropriate, require your approval in advance excluding the employee being physically threatened?****

Your analogy is a bit ridiculous but OK.  I'll give a go.  Suppose a group of students walk in my office and sit with arms locked accross the floor and refuse to vacate the premises.  I would then call the police and hope they would have these people removed.  Suppose they refuse to leave based on verbal commands.  Then what?  Since they are not violent I should just throw up my arms and agree it is their right to freedom of speech and let it go?

A receptionist is not the same as a police officer and might be subject to arrest in NJ for using pepper spray. 

3655  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: November 22, 2011, 09:56:46 AM
Whatever some lawyer says about this *must be done* etc doesn't mean much.  Of course this guy will say this.

But what is the law/consitution and the entire legal analysis.  Try getting an objective opinion without everyone's agenda right of left involved.
3656  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: November 22, 2011, 09:54:20 AM
JDN I hear you.

But I disagree with everything you say.

This is a set up.

"Being told to leave, and not leaving is not necessarily grounds for pepper spraying students on campus.  It was a huge mistake. Obviously."

They were warned.  I am not sympathetic.  But the University is going to be passive and not back the campus police.  So we will not likely get the whole story.  Just the liberal side of it.

3657  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "This is why I am done with working patrol. Perhaps with law enforcement altoget on: November 21, 2011, 05:50:58 PM
Police officers are damned either way.  They enforce the law with people who are not cooperating then they are accused of "brutality".  They don't do anything then they are blamed for not doing anything.

CNN was all over that picture with the Democrat anchors asking the parade of guests "isn't that police brutality?'

The MSM is out of control.  THEY are trying to set the agenda and make news of non news.   I hope most people who see this see it for what it is - a Democrat party ploy.
3658  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: November 21, 2011, 01:29:19 PM
What is the other side of the story?  Were these people blocking something?  Were they asked to not block the sidewalk?

"their right to peaceful protest".   MSM is flaming this.

police chief on leave after pepper spraying
By JASON DEAREN, Associated Press – 1 hour ago 
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The president of the University of California system said he was "appalled" at images of protesters being doused with pepper spray and plans an assessment of law enforcement procedures on all 10 campuses, as the police chief and two officers were placed on administrative leave.

"Free speech is part of the DNA of this university, and non-violent protest has long been central to our history," UC President Mark G. Yudof said in a statement Sunday in response to the spraying of students sitting passively at UC Davis. "It is a value we must protect with vigilance."

Yudof said it was not his intention to "micromanage our campus police forces," but he said all 10 chancellors would convene soon for a discussion "about how to ensure proportional law enforcement response to non-violent protest."

Protesters from Occupy Sacramento planned to travel to nearby Davis on Monday for a noon rally in solidarity with the students, the group said in a statement.

UC Davis said early Monday in a news release that it was necessary to place police Chief Annette Spicuzza on administrative leave to restore trust and calm tensions. The school refused to identify the two officers who were place on administrative leave but one was a veteran of many years on the force and the other "fairly new" to the department, Spicuzza earlier told The Associated Press. She would not elaborate further because of the pending
3659  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Late but not too late. on: November 21, 2011, 11:31:18 AM
I watched part of the interview.  Zakaria asked Barak if he thought Obama has demonstrated a strong undeniable commitment to Israel's security and has proven he is doing EVERYTHING he can.  Barak  hesitated, but then diplomatically said yes.  Zakaria could not control his obvious relief and glee that Ehud made the statement about the guy HE, Zakaria supports and advises.  His Harvard minority buddy.  For anyone to argue that Brock has demonstrated total commitment to Israel's security is ridiculous.
That said Ehud was surely trying not to offend the President by saying anything otherwise.  And Zakaria's immediate smirk at the answer surely gave it away.  There are many liberal Jews who will never stop suopporting their beloved Demcorat party.

In my opinion the time for action has already come AND GONE.

****The "time has come" to deal with Iran, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday, refusing to rule out military action to curb the Islamic republic's nuclear ambitions.

Barak, speaking on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS program, indicated that Israel's patience was wearing thin -- and provided an ominous response when asked about the growing speculation of an Israeli military strike.

"I don't think that that is a subject for public discussion," he said. "But I can tell you that the IAEA report has a sobering impact on many in the world, leaders as well as the publics, and people understand that the time has come."

The International Atomic Energy Agency published a report on November 8 saying there was "credible" information that Iran was carrying out "activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device."

On Friday the IAEA's board passed a resolution condemning Iran's nuclear activities, but stopped short of reporting Tehran to the United Nations and issuing no deadline for compliance.

"People understand now that Iran is determined to reach nuclear weapons," said Barak. There is "no other possible or conceivable explanation for what they have been actually doing. And that should be stopped."

The IAEA report -- based on "broadly, credible" intelligence, its own information and some input from Iran itself -- said that Iran had examined how to fit out a Shahab 3 missile, with a range capable of reaching Israel, with a nuclear warhead.

Tehran rejected the report "baseless," denies it is seeking nuclear weapons and maintains its nuclear activities are for civilian energy purposes.

Washington, Paris and London however jumped on the report as justification to increase pressure on Iran, already under four rounds of Security Council sanctions and additional US and European Union restrictions.****

3660  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Will doesn't like Mitt either on: November 21, 2011, 10:48:05 AM
Mitt Romney, the pretzel candidate
George F. Will, Published: October 28
The Republican presidential dynamic — various candidates rise and recede; Mitt Romney remains at about 25 percent support — is peculiar because conservatives correctly believe that it is important to defeat Barack Obama but unimportant that Romney be president. This is not cognitive dissonance.

Obama, a floundering naif who thinks ATMs aggravate unemployment, is bewildered by a national tragedy of shattered dreams, decaying workforce skills and forgone wealth creation. Romney cannot enunciate a defensible, or even decipherable, ethanol policy.
.Life poses difficult choices, but not about ethanol. Government subsidizes ethanol production, imposes tariffs to protect manufacturers of it and mandates the use of it — and it injures the nation’s and the world’s economic, environmental, and social (it raises food prices) well-being.

In May, in corn-growing Iowa, Romney said, “I support” — present tense — “the subsidy of ethanol.” And: “I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.” But in October he told Iowans he is “a business guy,” so as president he would review this bipartisan — the last Republican president was an ethanol enthusiast — folly. Romney said that he once favored (past tense) subsidies to get the ethanol industry “on its feet.” (In the 19th century, Republican “business guys” justified high tariffs for protecting “infant industries”). But Romney added, “I’ve indicated I didn’t think the subsidy had to go on forever.” Ethanol subsidies expire in December, but “I might have looked at more of a decline over time” because of “the importance of ethanol as a domestic fuel.” Besides, “ethanol is part of national security.” However, “I don’t want to say” I will propose new subsidies. Still, ethanol has “become an important source of amplifying our energy capacity.” Anyway, ethanol should “continue to have prospects of growing its share of” transportation fuels. Got it?

Every day, 10,000 baby boomers become eligible for Social Security and Medicare, from which they will receive, on average, $1 million of benefits ($550,000 from the former, $450,000 from the latter). Who expects difficult reforms from Romney, whose twists on ethanol make a policy pretzel?

A straddle is not a political philosophy; it is what you do when you do not have one. It is what Romney did when he said that using Troubled Assets Relief Program funds for the General Motors and Chrysler bailouts “was the wrong source for that funding.” Oh, so the source was the bailouts’ defect.

Last week in Ohio, Romney straddled the issue of the ballot initiative by which liberals and unions hope to repeal the law that Republican Gov. John Kasich got enacted to limit public employees’ collective bargaining rights. Kasich, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, is under siege. Romney was asked, at a Republican phone bank rallying support for Kasich’s measure, to oppose repeal of it and to endorse another measure exempting Ohioans from Obamacare’s insurance mandate (a cousin of Romneycare’s Massachusetts mandate). He refused.

His campaign called his refusal principled: “Citizens of states should be able to make decisions . . . on their own.” Got it? People cannot make “their own” decisions if Romney expresses an opinion. His flinch from leadership looks ludicrous after his endorsement three months ago of a right-to-work bill that the New Hampshire legislature was considering. So, the rule in New England expires across the Appalachian Mountains?

A day after refusing to oppose repeal of Kasich’s measure, Romney waffled about his straddle, saying he opposed repeal “110 percent.” He did not, however, endorse the anti-mandate measure, remaining semi-faithful to the trans-Appalachian codicil pertaining to principles, thereby seeming to lack the courage of his absence of convictions.

Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable; he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate. Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the Tea Party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming.

Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from “data” (although there is precious little to support Romney’s idea that in-state college tuition for children of illegal immigrants is a powerful magnet for such immigrants) and who believes elections should be about (in Dukakis’s words) “competence,” not “ideology.” But what would President Romney competently do when not pondering ethanol subsidies that he forthrightly says should stop sometime before “forever”? Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for this?

3661  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: November 21, 2011, 10:02:39 AM
The passive aggressive I am going to get in your face nature of OWS is typical of the types of people who crowd it.

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to take control over public or private areas and stop usual course of freedom for everyone else.

Does freedom of speech mean not just opening one's big mouth and saying wahtever one wants is okay if you sit in the middle of the road and block everyone else and then when the police come, just dare them to do anything which when they do use any physical means than turn around and call it police burtality, ham it up for MSNBC cameras.

Did any one see CNN calling it police brutality when an officer maced such a group of passive aggressive personality disordered types sitting in a row doing exactly this?

3662  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / In middle ease it must all turn towards Iran. on: November 21, 2011, 09:56:40 AM
Our middel east policy perhaps should focus mostly on Iran.  Perhaps we should withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and concentrate all our efforts on Iran.  Unless by staying in Afghan we are better positioned to deal with Iran.

Iran is leading the middle east towards nuclear war.   

GM posts imagine what an attack on Iran would do to the oil chain of supply to the world.

I say imagine what Iran with nucs can do to that chain anytime it will want.

We are weak against Pakistan because THEY have nucs.  Once Iran starts to get several nuclear devices even without missle delivery capability forget it.  Game over. 

Al Qaeda is a joke.  The threat certainly needs to be taken seriously but we need to change focus away from this to Iran - just my take.

3663  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: November 19, 2011, 01:59:48 PM
NJ appears to be at the top.  If it has 8 million people and Kali-FORNA 35 million than jersey's 186 nillion is per capita more than the left coast state.

Doesn't totally surprise me.

NJ is the epitome of the OWS types.  Demand free checks, soak and abuse the system, nepotism, cronism, organized crime, regulation, big government, politicians mostly all getting fabulously rich with side deals, payoffs etc.

And of course their answer is always let the rich pay their fair share!  Now there certainly are many rich who are crooks but lets go after them for being crooks and not for being rich per se.

We sure do live in a strange new world.  How could there not be a big crash coming?

Didn't one Dem recently get quoted as saying debt got us into this mess, debt will have to get us out of it.

I agree with Doug.  Only bankruptcy can get us out of this.  Yet as the articles posted and JDN points out that may not even be an option.

3664  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: November 18, 2011, 12:30:30 PM
Why oh why cannot we not have more like VDH, Rush, Levin, Klein, Grant,  who can articulate running for office.  Yes the names I mention may not be politically savvy but at least they can speak in complete sentences, string sentences together to bespeak a coherent logical thought, idea, or ideology.

We do have some coming up in the ranks who are learning but just aren't world class yet. 

Such as Rubio, hopefully Bachman, and a few others.

WE may have to stop worrying about the candidates personal baggage as well.  It is rare enough finding someone with the political skills needed to run a country.  It is quite a bit rarer to find one with those skills and who has lived their life like a saint.

There is truly only one Abe Lincoln.

The Dems have already demonstrated they made that deal with the devil a long time ago. 
3665  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / FWIW Kaliflower and bankruptcy on: November 18, 2011, 12:20:10 PM
This doesn't really answer the question to my total satisfaction.  Suppose the Kaliflower legislatures simply stop paying the pensioners.  The pensioners will sue but so what.  If the money ain't there it ain't there.  Except for the endless chirade of "borrowing Paul to pay Peter" game of bonds and more debt.  They have at this time decided to simply keep doing this forever and look the other way.  Is borrowing forever in the Kaliflower child's constitution?  Because this IS what they are doing without end.  Otherwise, they are de facto bankrupt already, no?:

****Answers to your questions about the news. Can California Declare Bankruptcy?
What about Greece?
By Christopher Beam|Posted Monday, March 8, 2010, at 5:01 PM ET

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger California passed a gas tax last week to help make up for its nearly $20 billion budget gap, the latest in a series of measures to right the state's teetering economy. The country of Greece is in even worse shape, with accumulated debt higher than 110 percent of GDP, set to reach 125 percent this year. Can a state declare bankruptcy? Can a country?

No and no. Chapter 9 of the U.S. bankruptcy code allows individuals and municipalities (cities, towns, villages, etc.) to declare bankruptcy. But that doesn't include states. (The statute defines "municipality" as a "political subdivision or public agency or instrumentality of a State"—that is, not a state itself.) For one thing, states are said to have sovereign immunity, as protected by the 11th Amendment, which means they can't be sued. In other words, they don't need any protection from angry creditors who would take them to court for failing to pay their debts. As a result, states can simply borrow money ad infinitum.

Say the state can't make its debt payments, and no one will lend it any more money. In that case, the federal government can step in and put the state into receivership. This would involve the assignment of an accountant to manage the state's debt, overseen by a judge. It would be a lot like bankruptcy, except instead of following a structured set of steps—informing creditors, appointing creditors' committees, a 120-day window to file a plan, etc.—a receiver has the authority to force creditors to renegotiate loans in a speedy fashion. However, the accountant in charge would not have the power to make decisions about the state's budget, such as which programs needed to be cut and which taxes had to be raised. (No state has ever gone into receivership.)

Greece is in a slightly different situation. There's no international bankruptcy court for countries that can't pay their debts. Instead, other EU countries that depend on Greece's solvency, such as Germany or France, would have to agree to bail it out. (When the economy of one member of the Eurozone sinks, it drags the euro down across the continent.) In return for loans, Greece would agree to implement austerity measures, such as hiking the price of gas, freezing government salaries, and raising the retirement age, to steer the country toward solvency. Whichever countries bail out Greece may not get their money back. But at the very least, Greece wouldn't pull the European economy down with it. Another option would be a bailout funded by the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, which have stepped in when the economies of Ecuador, Russia, and numerous African countries have tanked. But their leaders seem reluctant. Worst-case scenario, the EU could expel Greece—Greece's deficit is already four times higher than what the EU allows. But that could hurt the euro as well by signaling to investors that the EU is unstable and thus a risky bet.****

3666  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: November 18, 2011, 12:12:47 PM
"On the flip side, reforms like a massive change of retirement age would be barbaric if proposed by a conservative, are now courageous."

Yes. cry

3667  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / It is the numbers on: November 18, 2011, 10:34:26 AM
JDN agreed.  This is already more than the exterminated cartoon Governor you had.  But just look at those numbers.

Isn't it over for California?

The numbers are STAGGERING!"
3668  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: November 18, 2011, 10:30:16 AM
Everyone has been great at pointing out "no good options" for two decades.  We all know this.

Of course there are no "good" options.

We are talking Jews in Israel need to go to war for their survival OR simply be forced into exile.

That IS the choice they will soon have to face.

The strategy of waiting and hoping for some unforseen event that was going to change the dynamic in some unexpected happy way has NOT occured.  Time has run out.  Waiting has allowed Iran to dig in and build a major conglomerate in the region.

Indeed time has simply worked against the Israel's interest - not for it as hoped.

Again as Bolton has said if we think Iran is a problem now just wait till they get the nukes.

Iran will not neccessarily kill all the Jews (though probably desired).  They will give them an ultimatum.  Go back to Europe, America, and whereever else you came from, or can escape to, or, we will drive you all to the same place the Minoan empire went.

We should have become energy independent by now.  We could have been safe from the stranglehold Arab oil.

America has shown and lived weakness. Iran the whole time waited this out and stayed their course.

Instead we are a lousy country fighting over how early we can all retire, go on vacations earlier, see the sights, get onto diability, have the workers pay for all those who cannot work, choose not to work, etc.  The greatest generation is now a bunch of old hags crying about their medicare and ss payments.  The baby boomers are a bunch of 60s idiots talking peace and not war and giving this country away for ideals as one world government, cooperation and we are all part of the same family on one little tiny home called Earth.   The millineums are too stupid - look they voted for Brock - do I need say more about them. 

Israel has to decide to prepare for the very worst or essentially give up their country to avoid war.

Folks there is no other choice.  It is here and now.

I will vote for Romney.  His comments on this are the decisive factor for me.  I don't want to see Israel wiped out.

(Unless Newt can come up with something better)

3669  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "240 to 500" billion unfunded pensions on: November 18, 2011, 09:40:51 AM
The first unbelievable thing is no one apparantly evens knows the number.  Well lets say it is somewhere between 240 and 500 billion dollars.  The next unbelievable thing is what I read below.  Now correct me if I read this wrong.  But Jerry Brown wants to raise the retirement age from 55 to 67.  He wants to have the empolyees contribute to their plans (like the private sector).  He wants to end abuses like pretending one is disabled to squeeze/con more money out of the "system" (or from the taxpayer).

Yet even these changes will only save *11 billion* over thirty years!  Do I read this right.  A measly 11 billion saving on unfunded 240 to 500 billion?   Folks if these numbers are true the debt is so staggering I don't understand how there can possibly be any hope of preventing a crash.  What with the population getting older and living longer and soaking out more from system.  I know from what I see in my job that many of these people still go and get under the table cash paying jobs.  So they continue to get from the system and pay nothing into it.  Some for many decades.  All I can say is "Greece we are right behind you!":

*****California’s public pensions
Not so retiring
The state with the biggest pension problem is stumbling toward a solution
Nov 12th 2011 | LOS ANGELES | from the print edition

JERRY BROWN, aged 73, likes to joke that he is not only California’s governor but also its “best pension buy”. After all, he has spent much of his life in public service (including a first stint as governor from 1975 to 1983), but neither draws a public pension nor plans to, if he can get himself re-elected. Nonetheless, his commitment to fixing California’s daunting public-pension problem has been in doubt. A Democrat, he was elected one year ago in a race against a self-financed Silicon Valley billionaire, largely with the help of independent spending by public-sector unions. The question has been whether he can stare down his own allies, those unions, and pass the necessary reform.

Mr Brown has now released a plan. Initial reactions suggest that he may pass his test: the unions were outraged, many Democratic legislators (often beholden to the unions) felt awkward, and several Republican legislators were supportive. But now everything is in flux, as all parties choose their tactics for the fight.

The main changes Mr Brown proposes concern new employees of state or local governments. They would have to wait till 67 to retire, whereas many current government workers can retire at 55 or even earlier. They would also have hybrid plans, with part of the traditional defined-benefit pension replaced by a defined-contribution plan of the sort common in the private sector. Mr Brown also wants to make current as well as new employees contribute half of the cost of funding their pension (today, many pay nothing). And he wants to end sneaky ways of upping benefits (called “spiking”) and other abuses.

This is all eminently sensible. Indeed, it is remarkably similar to the demands a handful of Republican legislators were making in June, when Mr Brown was begging for their votes to reach the necessary two-thirds majority to let Californians vote in a ballot measure to extend some tax increases. (He did not get those votes, and ended up with an all-cuts budget he doesn’t like.)

Even so the proposal still falls short, says David Crane. He is a Democrat who advised Mr Brown’s Republican predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and who was a gadfly on one of the large pension-plan boards for 11 months. California’s unfunded pension liabilities are staggering, he points out; they have been estimated at between $240 billion and $500 billion. Plugging that hole will increasingly crowd out other things that Democrats care about, such as schools, parks and courts. But Mr Brown’s plan might save at best $11 billion over 30 years.

Which is why Mr Brown’s plan may not be the final one. This month, a group led by several eminent Republicans filed two versions of what may become a ballot measure in next year’s general election. With a nod to Mr Brown’s effort, one alternative is somewhat more aggressive, the other a lot more. The main difference is that current workers would start paying much more of the cost of their pensions.

This Republican plan, in whichever form, might end up helping Mr Brown: either by showing the unions how bad the alternative is, so that they support him after all; or by allowing him to tell them that he tried to be considerate, but now has to endorse the tougher Republican plan as part of a package of other ballot initiatives. In that scenario, the state just might achieve the grand bargain that seems to be eluding the rest of the country.******
3670  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / More silliness from the Economist on: November 17, 2011, 03:05:19 PM
Although nearly all public figures have been the same stupid fools.  More equivicating, denials, and delays, excuses, grandstanding, senseless boring repetitive and laughable talk of we must make sanctions stronger, get China and Russia on board, make Iran into a pariah....  Did I hear Romney is the first national level politician to come out and make it clear military action IS on the table?   Apparantly Iran has a system within a moutain (where was NORAD in Colorado?) that is beyond the reach conventional military means.  Folks Iranian leaders cannot make their intentions any clearer.  All I can say is Thank God Israel has leaders with real guts.  Far more than any American politician all of whom have been denying, ignoring, and putting off any honest assesment of what is going on.  That includes that charade of "smart power" Hillary Clinton.  BTW, one cannot help notice the greater public visibility of Chelsea.  Obvioulsy, this is for her eventual run for office.   I don't know though, she couldn't possibly be as obnoxious as her parents, or could she?

****Nuclear Iran, anxious Israel
The world needs to be much tougher on Iran, but an Israeli attack would still be a disaster
Nov 12th 2011 | from the print edition

THE debate about timelines is almost over. This week’s report on Iran’s nuclear programme by the UN’s watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is its most alarming yet. Although no “smoking gun” proves beyond doubt that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, the evidence gathered in a 12-page annex is hard to interpret in any other way.

Concerted efforts by Western intelligence agencies and the Israelis to sabotage the Iranian programme have been less effective than was previously believed. Iran has already begun moving part of its uranium-enrichment capacity to Fordow, a facility buried deep within a mountain near Qom. Intelligence sources estimate that if Iran opted to “break out” from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it could have at least one workable weapon within a year and a few more about six months after that. Iran’s leaders may not choose that path. But what happens next depends less on Iran’s technical or industrial capabilities than on politics. For the time being at least, ambiguity almost certainly serves Iran’s purposes better than a confrontation. But in Israel, talk of a pre-emptive attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities is increasing.

Publicly, Israel has stuck to its well-worn line that no option should be ruled out. But well-placed leaks suggest that the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and his defence minister, Ehud Barak, are exploring the possibility of a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Their cabinet colleagues seem less persuaded and Israel’s powerful military and intelligence establishment is against a strike. Polls show that Israelis are split on the issue. But Mr Netanyahu is determined not to go down in history as the prime minister who allowed Israel to become threatened by a hostile, regional nuclear power.

Rising fear, rising danger

The Israelis’ anxiety is understandable. They fear a theocratic regime that embraces the Shia tradition of martyrdom may not be deterred by a nuclear balance of terror. For a country as small as Israel, even a small-scale nuclear attack could be an existential threat. Two of Mr Netanyahu’s predecessors took action, against Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, to prevent just such a threat; and it worked. The opportunity to attack Iran is now, before it is too late—or so the argument goes in many Israeli households.

Yet the arguments against an attack are still overwhelming, even for Israel. A sustained bombing campaign would take weeks and set off a firestorm in the Middle East, with Iran counter-attacking Israel through its proxies. It would do nothing to help regime change in Tehran. The economic consequences could be catastrophic. And to what end? A successful campaign would still only delay Iran, not stop it. The technical difficulties for Israel’s armed forces of carrying out such a broad mission over such a long time are immense. Indeed, the suspicion is that Mr Netanyahu would be betting that what Israel started, America would feel forced to finish.

Barack Obama should make it very clear to Mr Netanyahu that he would not do that. At the same time, he should pursue two courses: pushing sanctions, on the one hand, and preparing for a nuclear-armed Iran on the other.

So far, attempts to impose punitive sanctions have fallen short. Russia and China (Iran’s biggest trading partner) have refused to support efforts at the UN Security Council to beef up the sanctions regime, for instance by limiting Iran’s imports of refined petroleum or targeting the activities of its central bank. Yet the West should not give up the effort: there is a (slim) possibility that, as the prospect of an Iranian bomb and an Israeli strike draw near, Russia and China might shift their positions.

If Iran does not halt its nuclear programme, its rulers should expect their country to be treated as an international pariah. That means not just pushing for more serious sanctions, but also stepping up the covert campaign to disrupt Iran’s nuclear facilities. It also means preparing for the day when Iran deploys nuclear weapons. To that end, America must demonstrate to its allies who feel threatened by Iran—not just Israel, but Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states too—that its commitment to extending nuclear deterrence to them is as firm as it was to Europe at the height of the cold war. America must also be willing to make available to its allies advanced ballistic missile defences.

Iran must be made to understand that owning nuclear weapons is a curse for it rather than a blessing. And Israel must be persuaded that striking Iran would be far more dangerous than living with its nuclear ambitions.****
3671  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Estimate 1 to 1.5 years on: November 17, 2011, 02:53:04 PM
till Iran has enough material for a nuclear "device".  1.5 years till it has several.  As John Bolton said, if anyone wonders how dangerous Iran is now only wonder how dangerous they will be with nuclear weapons.   I take this comment further to mock Erin Burnett's analysis the other night on the cable nanny network (CNN) about how much a war with Iran will cost per ground troop, bombs, etc. 

(With of course her conclusion that any war with Iran vis a vis Israel is nuts because the costs would be too great.)

One must ask, "how much will it cost the US after nuclear war between Israel and Iran and the total closing of the oil rich gulf becomes a distinct reality and not some cynic's fanciful nightmare?"

For Israel there is only one answer - military action.  The big and only question is will they need do it alone.  I can only pray Nato will help.  I refuse to hold my breath while doing so lest I lose it all.

****Israel squares up to Iran
That’s right, Iceman. I am dangerous
A game-changing report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog could be the prelude to a strike on Iran. Or maybe not.
Nov 12th 2011 | from the print edition
WESTERN governments have long been convinced that Iran is pursuing military objectives with its secretive nuclear programme. But until this week the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), jealous of its credibility as a non-political, science-led body, said it had no unambiguous proof of Iran’s intention to build a bomb. A report it published on November 8th still falls just short of that proof, but nonetheless marks a watershed.

The IAEA’s report says that it “has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme. After assessing carefully and critically the extensive information available to it, the agency finds the information to be, overall, credible… that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”

A 12-page annexe offers a convincing narrative of Iran’s progress towards becoming a nuclear-weapons power. It says that Iran created computer models of nuclear explosions in 2008 and 2009 and conducted experiments on nuclear triggers. It says that the simulations focused on how shock waves from conventional explosives could compress the spherical fuel at the core of a nuclear device, which starts the chain reaction that ends in an explosion. The report goes on to state that Iran went beyond such theoretical studies and built a large containment vessel at its Parchin military base, starting in 2000, to test the feasibility of such explosive compression. It calls such tests “strong indicators of possible weapon development.”

Western intelligence sources believe that Iran now has enough highly enriched uranium to build, should it choose to do so, at least one nuclear weapon within a year and that this could be rapidly followed by several more. It is less clear whether Iran is capable of putting a miniaturised warhead on one of its Shahab 3 ballistic missiles, which have a range of 1,200 miles (1,900 km), but the IAEA suggests it has conducted experiments to that end.

The report, predictably rejected by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, will give new impetus to Western diplomatic efforts to tighten the UN Security Council’s sanctions regime. However, with China and Russia already saying that they will oppose any attempt to impose more punitive sanctions on Iran, there has also been fresh talk of resorting to military action, particularly from Israel.

Over the past fortnight, a number of articles have appeared in Israeli newspapers claiming that the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the defence minister, Ehud Barak, have dusted off long-standing plans for a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Many Israeli analysts believe that the two men are capable of winning round more sceptical cabinet colleagues, and that once they have done so the leadership of the Israeli Defence Force will swallow its doubts, salute smartly and get on with an attack.

Those doubts are, however, well-grounded. Iran’s nuclear facilities are numerous and dispersed; several of them are sheltered underground and defended by modern short-range Russian missiles; there may even be some that the Israelis know nothing about. It is likely that an Israeli attack would concentrate on three fairly visible sites: the uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz (a hardened underground facility that would need to be hit several times); the heavy-water reactor at Arak; and the Russian-built light-water reactor at Bushehr.

By throwing in every military thing at its disposal, Israel might slow by a few years Iran’s progress towards acquiring the bomb. But there would be no guarantee of that, and it would be a near-certainty that Iran would react with missile attacks of its own, and by its well armed proxy forces: Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Why would Israel attack now when, for some of the reasons above, it has previously stayed its hand? There are several possible answers. The first is that Iran is rapidly moving centrifuges to its once-secret site at Fordow, buried deep inside a mountain and possibly invulnerable to attack by conventional weapons. Second, Syria’s internal chaos may take Iran’s most important regional ally out of the game. Third, the departure of American forces from Iraq removes both a focus for Iranian retaliation and a constraint on America. Fourth, if Messrs Netanyahu and Barak reckon that they need America’s military might to complete what they start, there may be no better combination to ensure that than a politically weak president whose Republican opponents have made unquestioning support for Israel a wedge issue a year before a presidential election.****
3672  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Economist hit job on Newt (after Cain Perry etc) on: November 17, 2011, 01:02:34 PM
"The trouble with Newt"   [he is a Republican wink]
After Mr Dopey and Mr (too) Friendly, Mr Grumpy gets his turn
Nov 19th 2011 | from the print edition

CAN something inevitable also be highly improbable? That is the question raised by the arrival this week of Newt Gingrich at the front of the pack in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. It was inevitable, after the successive implosions of Rick Perry and Herman Cain, that Republican voters desperate to nominate anyone but Mitt Romney would cast their eyes down the list and alight on one of the last remaining contenders.

And what, after all, is so very wrong with Mr Gingrich? Unlike Mr Cain, the man has been a serious politician—Speaker of the House, no less, and architect of the Republican resurgence of the mid-1990s. Unlike Mr Perry, Mr Gingrich does not go blank in the middle of television debates. If anything he has during the recent debates been a bit of a star, albeit a dark one, sneering contemptuously at the “absurd” gotcha questions posed by the journalists. And although nobody can accuse him of wearing his learning lightly, he does at least have a goodly amount of it, darting apparently effortlessly in discussion from the minutiae of federal social policy to the grand sweep of world history.

In this section
Crying wolf
Keystone cop-out
We will frack you
The efficiency conundrum
Sunshine or colonoscopy?
Many scrappy returns
The Becks effect
What goes around
»The trouble with Newt
ReprintsAnd yet the rise of Mr Gingrich is also improbable. It is improbable, first, in that his campaign got off to such a terrible start that his resurrection at this late stage, just in time for the Iowa caucuses in January, is a minor psephological miracle. In June he suffered what should have been a devastating blow when much of his campaign staff resigned en masse, allegedly in protest at his decision to cruise the Greek islands with his third wife, Callista, instead of raising money and pressing the flesh in Iowa and New Hampshire. He put a brave face on this setback, claiming that he knew how to campaign in a new way, by generating ideas and raising big issues in the televised debates. Unlikely as it seemed at the time, this strategy has now been vindicated: chapeau!

There is, however, another way in which Mr Gingrich’s high standing in the polls is improbable. A whole regiment of skeletons has taken up residence in his closet. Once these rattle back into view, as they surely will, many of the Newtly enamoured Republican primary voters will surely drop their search for an alternative and reconcile themselves to the inevitable nomination of the less exciting but more electable Mr Romney.

A good place to start, since it is what did for Mr Cain, is character. The likeable former pizza mogul faded in the polls when it emerged that a succession of women had accused him of sexual harassment. No charge that grave is laid against the far less likeable Mr Gingrich. The former speaker is, however, a serial adulterer, who divorced his first wife when she was recovering from cancer, when he was already bedding Marianne, the mistress who became his second wife but was ditched in her turn for Callista, his present one. At the same time as he was conducting a secret affair of his own he was pressing for the impeachment of Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Should marital cheating be a disqualification? Not in the eyes of this column. But voters in socially conservative and early-voting Iowa and South Carolina may think so. It is bad luck for Mr Gingrich that one of his former wives has been so willing to disparage his fitness for the presidency. In an Esquire profile last year, Marianne said her former husband “was impressed easily by position, status, money” and believed “that what he says in public and how he lives don’t have to be connected”.

Even after allowing for the bitterness of a woman scorned, and for the forgiving propensity of conservative Christians, this is not a testimonial that will help at the polls. He will also have to explain again the $300,000 penalty the House of Representatives made him pay in 1997 for violating tax rules, the first time it had ever disciplined a Speaker for ethical wrongdoing. A new controversy has now flared over $1.6m or so he has earned in fees from Freddie Mac, the government-supported mortgage giant which has since been blamed for pumping up the housing market and helping to cause the financial collapse of 2008. Mr Gingrich claimed in a recent debate that he had been taken on as an “historian” and had warned the organisation that the housing market was a bubble and that its business model was “insane”. But a Bloomberg story this week avers that officials who worked at Freddie Mac at the time deny having received any such advice.

Isaiah versus the management consultant

Few people question Mr Gingrich’s energy or originality. He was the dynamo behind the Republicans’ Contract with America in 1994 and remains a pyrotechnician of ideas: a “21st-century” sequel to the Contract is under construction. The worry is that he lacks the wisdom to distinguish between his occasional good idea and the dozens of duff and sometimes dangerous ones. He offers an odd mixture of pragmatism (he once favoured compulsory health insurance) and demagoguery. It is as if he cannot decide whether he is Isaiah or a management consultant.

Over the past year the demagoguery has got the upper hand. Mr Gingrich prophesies the end of “America as we know it” under a president running a “corrupt, Chicago-style political machine” from the White House. In the summer of 2010 he reacted to plans to build a mosque in lower Manhattan by saying that American Muslims should not be allowed to do so until Saudi Arabia permitted the building of churches and synagogues. He claims that Islamic sharia law is taking over the American legal system by stealth and he wants to abolish the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit because its judges are too liberal. That such a flawed and divisive politician has come to be seen as the shrewd elder statesman of the Republican presidential field is testimony only to the paucity of the alternatives. Unless they are feeling particularly suicidal, the Republicans will reject him, just as they have rejected Mr Perry and Mr Cain.

3673  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Supercommittee" result and stocks on: November 17, 2011, 12:17:47 PM
Debt committee: Market reaction a big unknown
By Jeanne Sahadi @CNNMoney November 17, 2011: 5:24 AM ET
Tax revenue continues to make a deal difficult for the congressional debt committee, co-chaired by Republican Jeb Hensarling and Democrat Patty Murray.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Given how volatile markets have become, predicting how traders will react to the congressional debt committee next week is a dicey undertaking.

Two themes emerged in conversations with stock and bond strategists. First, Wall Street never expected much from the committee, thanks to the disastrous debt ceiling debate. Second, markets don't expect lawmakers to make meaningful decisions on fiscal reform until after the 2012 election.

The committee, by law, is supposed to vote on a plan by next Wednesday.

If the panel simply approves $1.2 trillion in debt reduction -- its minimum target to stave off automatic cuts in 2013 -- the market reaction will be "a great big yawn," said Adrian Conje, chief investment officer of Balentine, an investment advisory firm.

That deal, in other words, has been factored into stock traders' considerations.

A $1.2 trillion plan is considered small relative to what's needed but it could give markets a lift if it seems to demonstrate the start of real compromise between Democrats and Republicans on revenue increases and entitlement cuts, said John Toohey, vice president of equity investments at USAA.

Debt committee: Deal or no deal, then what?
Conversely, Toohey noted, a failure by the committee to agree on a deal at all could hurt stocks.

Another potential negative for stocks: A deal that would reduce debt by $1.2 trillion but take no short-term measures to boost the economy, such as extending temporary payroll tax relief or providing another temporary extension of federal emergency jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Of course, Congress can still decide to extend those measures separately before the end of the year, but a super committee proposal had been considered a possible vehicle.

"If that all goes away, that could mean a 1.5% to 2% drag on GDP growth next year," Toohey said.

It's even less clear how bonds might respond.

Traders may be disappointed if the super committee can't come to a deal or can only come to a deal worth less than $1.2 trillion. But their disappointment is likely to be offset by concerns elsewhere in the world. The same holds should a super committee failure trigger another downgrade or negative ratings action.

0:00 / 1:35 Europe's issues make U.S. look pretty good
"Global and U.S. investors will continue to be disappointed in U.S. fiscal policy but will look at Europe and Japan and not see governments with unassailable credit ratings in the future," said Steve Van Order, fixed income strategist at Calvert Investments

There is, of course, one super committee action that would make both stock and bond markets cheer: Agreement on a true "grand bargain" -- the kind of proposal that reduces debt by at least $3 trillion to $4 trillion over the next decade but is mindful of not undermining the economic recovery in the short-term.

The Holy Grail for traders? More certainty about long-term fiscal policies and the balance lawmakers will strike between spending and revenue in the future.

"Markets want less ideology and more problem-solving," Conje said. "They want clarity. They want to know the rules of the road."

Given that the two sides have yet to produce a single plan that they can at least agree to vote on, markets may have to wait a little longer.
3674  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / OWS: demogagocrats on: November 14, 2011, 07:18:22 PM
This corruption is just so incredible.  This is only one more reason OWS should be in Washington not Wall St.
Yet because the are ALL selfish what can America do for me crats they avoid anything that would harm the Brockster.  They are demogagocrats.

In any case the corruption of both crats and cans in the Houses is just so blantant.  And anyone wonders why people are fed up with both?  I don't see how the "mature" or "grown up" Cans as Scarborough and like Cans calls themselves are not simply protecting their turf.

The real Conservatives are correct in wanting to clean house.  Unfortunately that will never happen.  I have actually gotten to like Bachmann more and more each debate since the vaccine fiasco.  Her appeal is not broad among the populace but hopefully with more experience and fine tuning she will one day catch on.  Her political future looks bright.   Just not this time around.

3675  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 09, 2011, 08:57:12 PM
What is the case for the unethical nature of the lawyers who are going after Cain using the sex harrasment angle.

Alred and Bennett don't give attorneys a  good name with political assasination on evidence that is so shoddy it would clearly go no where in a court of law. 

When does this become defamation of character?  I think it already is though for Cain to pursue this avenue probably would just prolong the political damage.   If he loses can he not sue these attorneys?   The clients have no money it sounds.
3676  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 08, 2011, 09:27:01 AM
Yes the double standard about Clinton vs Cain is obvious with regards to the MSM.

Someone points out that Jones didn't come out with her allegations for two years.  However, this lady didn't come out with it for 14.

In any case for her to pretend she is so innocent and was cruely injured for life over this is a stretch.  As Savage points out it was by her own statement a weird response on her part to state she told him she wouldn't do anything with him because she "has a boyfriend".

For her to say she is coming forward to give other women the strength to come forward is totally non believable.  Of course she wants money out of this.

Allred has been making big bucks off these cases and of course is a liberal crat who relishes in taking down Republicans as she did the same to Arni and Meg.

Neither one in my book has much credibility.

OTOH Cain has proven he is in way over his head.  I hoped he would handle this in a way he would've come out stronger but he obivously has no clue and his handlers are obviously not wrold class.

For me it is down to Mit or Newt.  Just my armchair take.

3677  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 07, 2011, 05:46:06 PM
said Cain suddenly reached out and grabbed her after drinks and dinner in Washington D.C. in the summer of 1997. She had left her association job in Chicago, Bialek said, and had traveled to Washington to meet with Cain to ask him for help finding a new job.

I dunno.  Perhaps he was a sleaze but this sounds weird to.  Travel from Chicago to DC and have dinner and drinks and go to the mans car.

Sounds somehow like a set up.

In any case I find it difficult to accept Cain based not on any of this stuff but anyone who doesn't know China has nucs running for the Presidency....

Maybe Newt can still turn it around.  Maybe he needs some ADHD meds...
3678  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: November 07, 2011, 05:04:17 PM
"If those people were told the top 1% now pay 38 times their dollar share of the public burden and 50% are paying nothing"

Occasionally I see this get asked and the response from the liberals is always silence, evade the question, or make a face of annoyance at these points.  And the person asking it always lets them off the hook.
3679  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: November 07, 2011, 09:40:19 AM
The jornolist feeding frenzy is so obvious.

When we need a good solid candidate for the Rep party we have none that are not flawed.  The jornolist will go crazy highlighting all those flaws.  Unlike their complete willfull ignoring Obama's flaws when he ran.

 But as Bob Grant point out the media bias and absolute corruption will never change.   He thinks it too late for the country as we knew it.
I do too.  I hope we are wrong.
3680  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: November 07, 2011, 09:36:29 AM
CW writes

On the Tea Party "I think they just want to watch the country burn so that Obama will get voted out"

No doubt they want Obama out but it is to save the country.   The country is burning precisely because of the spending of the Democrats and the spending of Republicans trying to out buy votes.

You may not agree with them but your post suggests you miss their points entirely.  You state you never voted for a Dem or Rep in a presidential election.  So do you vote Nader or Paul didn't he run as a libertarian?

"But he's done a lot for civil liberties"
"All they will actually end up doing is waging war on women and homosexuals."

Who is stopping anyone from being or living gay?  Waging war on women?  What?  Could you mean the millions fo single women who now want the taxpayers to pay for the care and nurturing of their children?  Or is this an abortion thng you speak of?
As for abortion that is a difficult issue.   Everyone has their own view.  I am generelly against it yet to say it is wrong in rape incest etc is too far for me.  And generally, I can't feel as emotionally agianst it as many Evangelicals who for a long time absolutely did hyjack the Rep party and make this the single paramount issue.

"As far as Obama, I don't know that he failed. The economy is stalled, but would it be worse without the stimulus?"

Yes, many make this argument.  Bush of course started the stimulus thing.  Unfortunately we are 14 + trillion in debt and if Brock has his way this can only get worse.

"I think the fact that he bows to kings is brilliant."

Do you really think they like us more because he does.  He looks like a fool and I can assure you *they* think he he is a fool.
Why should they not bow to him?

"excitement for torture"

You mean water boarding of a small handful of enemies and murderers of US citizens?  This is pure partisan stuff.

What about Brock's cover up of guns going to Mexico that leads to torture/murder there?

CW I am not sure if you are a liberal Democrat or possibly a Paul fan, or gay or single mother or what but it is great to have your divergent opinion on the board.

3681  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This could go under Afghan thread I guess but.. on: November 05, 2011, 09:31:36 AM
It just seems more "apra po" (sp?) here.  I am left wondering which is worse.  Say something disparaging about a gay, a Muslim or the Corrupt Afghan leadership.  Which is more politically incorrect?  I dunno.  Even Fareed Zakaria called the Pakistani shakedown of the US a "protection racket" this weekend.  Pakistani leaders essentially telling us give us your money or if you think our situation is bad now just wait and see how bad it will get.  As noted on the board before me where is the Republican position on this?  Yes as GM implied we need John Bolton.  The only one I can listen to who seems to make sense out of this mess.  Wolfowitz is leading us to God's knows where.  We must stop listening to him that is obvious:

****U.S. General Fired for Verbal Attack on Afghan Leader
By Justin Fishel

July 26: Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a gathering with high ranking Afghan military officials at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.

A top U.S. general in Afghanistan was fired Friday for making disparaging remarks about Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his government.

Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller, deputy commander of the NATO training mission in Afghanistan, made the remarks in an interview with Politico that was published Thursday.

Fuller told Politico that major players in the Afghan government are "isolated from reality." Fuller reacted angrily to claims from Karzai that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan if it were to go to war with the United States.

Fuller called Karzai's statements "erratic," adding, "Why don't you just poke me in the eye with a needle! You've got to be kidding me … I'm sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion and now you're telling me, 'I don't really care'?"

Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), released a statement Friday saying Fuller was to be relieved of his duties, "effective immediately."

"These unfortunate comments are neither indicative of our current solid relationship with the government of Afghanistan, its leadership, or our joint commitment to prevail here in Afghanistan", Allen said.

"The Afghan people are an honorable people, and comments such as these will not keep us from accomplishing our most critical and shared mission-bringing about a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan."

Pentagon officials who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity agree that Fuller seemed to go off the rails in the Politico interview, admitting he showed extremely poor judgment. The fish line didn't help his cause:

"You can teach a man how to fish, or you can give them a fish," Fuller said. "We're giving them fish while they're learning, and they want more fish! [They say,] 'I like swordfish, how come you're giving me cod?' Guess what? Cod's on the menu today."

Fuller is not the only loose-lipped general to sink his own ship. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, once the commander of ISAF, was fired by President Obama himself after the Rolling Stone published disparaging remarks he and his staff made about members of the administration.

Read more:****
3682  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Black anti-semitism higher than white? on: November 05, 2011, 09:15:34 AM
I take it with a grain of salt the following survery.  First of all it is only one survey so I don't know how accurate it is or if people taking it tell the truth to start with.  In any case I notice that blacks have a higher rate of anti semitism.  I wondered about this on the board here:

*****Survey Finds Anti-Semitic Attitudes Rising
Updated: Friday, 04 Nov 2011, 7:19 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 04 Nov 2011, 7:11 PM EDT

MYFOXNY.COM - Swastikas were found painted on the facades of the Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst branches of the Queens Library and on the door of Congregation Tifereth Israel on Thursday.

The Anti-Defamation League today condemned the anti-Semitic graffiti.  The ADL says there were 133 anti-Jewish incidents reported across New York City in 2010.

A nationwide ADL survey released just yesterday found that anti-Semitic attitudes have risen in America.

The ADL survey found that 15 percent of Americans - nearly 35 million adults - hold deeply anti-Semitic views. That's up three percent from 2009.

"The fact that anti-Semitic attitudes have increased significantly over the past two years is troubling and raises questions about the impact of broader trends in America - financial insecurity, social uncertainty, the decline in civility and the growth of polarization - on attitudes toward Jews," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

19-percent answered "probably true" to the statement "Jews have too much control/influence on Wall Street," an increase from 14-percent in 2009.

Several cases of anti-Semitism have been documented at various Occupy Wall Street across the country.

The survey also found that anti-Semitic views among the African-American population have remained steady, but are consistently higher than the general population.

In 2011, 29-percent of African-Americans expressed strongly anti-Semitic views, according to the survey.*****
3683  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wolfowitz should just go away on: November 04, 2011, 04:56:43 PM
As far as I am concerned Wolfowitz should just go away.

I am sick of him.

The entire article is about what the US should do for Libyia.

I don't think I would give Brock or Hill too much credit for the Nato thing.  It is really a no brainer.  Everyone knows the last thing Europe wants is MORE arab refugees coming to an already overwhelmed continent.  Sorkosy and Merkel publically said this melting pot thing does NOT work.  So oF course it made sense to tell the Europeans to do it themselves. 

One could easily argue that Kaddafi should have been killed from day one.  We helped the Libyans just enough to get the job done while 30,000 died in the process.  Good job Brock and Hill.  What do you they want a medal for their bravery?  The glee on their faces (or at least Clintons) for something that was obviously inevitable.....

I say this, well how about lets NOT throw money to Libya for their security forces, their medicine their buying back weapons, to teach them to manage their oil, to build their infrastructure.

How about this, we SELL them our expertise!  They got plenty of money.  They pay us.  Lets stop being stupid.  If Donald Trump made some sense this is why.

And another thing Wolfowitz certainly has an ax to grind in trying to prove himself right doesn't he?  Can we please stop trying to buy the love of the world.  It doesn't work.  Enough already.

I nominate Wolfowitz to go to Libya and spend the rest of his days working for a greater Libyia.

That's my feelings.  I suspect most Americans agree with me.
3684  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / emergnecy alert system - what the heck is this about? on: November 03, 2011, 07:44:39 PM
I don't undertand the need for this.  What requires such a rapid response that we need the tyrant in the Oval Office to be able to take over all media at once?  I mean we already have rapid fire media in place.   There is something very dictatorial about this:

****Anxiety over upcoming test of US emergency system
Nov 3 03:46 PM US/Eastern

 A traffic light illuminates green in front of the US Capitol building in Wa...

It's only a test, but nerves are somewhat frayed over the first nationwide exercise of the system designed to alert Americans of national emergencies.
The test occurs at 1900 GMT Wednesday, November 9, and may last over three minutes -- longer than the typical 30 seconds or one minute for most broadcast test messages.

According to a message being circulated by local school and government officials, there is "great concern in local police and emergency management circles about undue public anxiety over this test."

"The test message on TV might not indicate that it is just a test," according to one email being circulated by a Washington area school district.

"Fear is that the lack of an explanation message might create panic. Please share this information with your family and friends so they are aware of the test."

The test is being conducted jointly by the US Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission and the National Weather Service.

"We're asking everyone to join us by spreading the word to your neighbors, co-workers, friends and family... please remember: don't stress; it's only a test," FEMA said in a blog post.

The test is part of the Emergency Alert System designed to transmit, via TV and radio, emergency alerts and warnings regarding weather threats, child abductions and other types of emergencies, according to officials.

While state and local tests already take place frequently, a simultaneous, nationwide test of the national EAS "emergency action notification" code has never occurred.****

3685  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dolphin subs from Germany on: November 01, 2011, 02:58:00 PM
armed with nuclear missles:
3686  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 01, 2011, 09:47:41 AM
Doug and GM,

Thanks for your thoughts.  I agree with both of you on most issues.

Yet I still see, and perhaps Crafty would agree you both seem to argue "around" or ignore (the term Crafty used) some truly legitimate points made in the RS article. 

I am not sophisticated enough to know what the best (if any exists) solution is but clearly there are problems with both regulating and unregulating the banks and the fact that the regulators AND the politlicians and the bankers are al like a country club of people merry go rounding in a whilrpool (or better - cesspool) of gigantic money.

With due respect to both GM and Doug, I  love both of you as a frequent poster on the board your posts somehow seem to display the lack of ability for Republicans to make real inroads with independents.

Maybe it is mostly the fascist nature of the WS and the government that IS the main problem - it is very complex - probably more than my average brain can work through yet every time I try to think through this this aspect of it keeps coiming in my stepwise logic as a core problem.  I don't see how we can not have some regulation.  Lest WS will drive the economy into a ditch.  I cannot see how we can thrive with too much regulation either though.  And then the problems that always complicate the situation is that the regulators fail to do their jobs in enforcement because of many reasons, too hard, not enough manpower or enforcement legislative power, bribes, embezzelment, nepotism (the Fed people going into the private sector and vice a versa), money to politicians.  Too much regulation which is counterproductive ( I certailly live this everyday in the medical field).  I can go on.

Yet with all due respect (sincerely) I think GM and Doug somehow make the point by not responding or not seeing a legitimate beef on this.

OK I am off my soapbox - go ahead and tear me apart - if you want.
3687  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: American History on: October 31, 2011, 05:24:30 PM
Interesting.  Amazing how history is rewritten by the liberals in the media and academia.  "oh how JFK had kept his cool" during the missle crises.

I wonder if that was before or after the nights he was having sexual liasons with an East German spy.

What a joke.

Was it GM who pointed out the JFK was the blunderer who drove his PT boat right into the path of a Japanese cruiser.
3688  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: October 31, 2011, 05:06:18 PM
***"The point being: we have a massive police force in America that outside of lower Manhattan prosecutes crime and imprisons citizens with record-setting, factory-level efficiency, eclipsing the incarceration rates of most of history's more notorious police states and communist countries.

But the bankers on Wall Street don't live in that heavily-policed country. There are maybe 1000 SEC agents policing that sector of the economy, plus a handful of FBI agents. There are nearly that many police officers stationed around the polite crowd at Zucotti park."***

Well that is one reason I suggested we pay police officers more to start with and get rid of the early retirements.  If they are too old or decrepid to walk the beat then retrain them to go after the 100s of billions in white collar crime that is never touched because it is too hard or not a priority.  Just a thought.

****These inequities are what drive the OWS protests. People don't want handouts. It's not a class uprising and they don't want civil war -- they want just the opposite. They want everyone to live in the same country, and live by the same rules. It's amazing that some people think that that's asking a lot.****

On this point I cannot totally agree.  Many of the OWS protesters certainaly do want handouts.  They think they are entitled.

Furthermore before I sound like I am cozying up to them it is obvious this is coordinated by Democrats providing cover for for Obama.   If that was not the case they certainly would be protesting at his doorstep just the same as WS.

Otherwise I do agree with the RS author about the disparity of justice he notes.  Republicans might capatilize on these points if they choose.  Doug and Crafty both point out ways that they can do so and still be consistent with the principles of the right.

Yet so far they have not connected.
3689  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.*****

3690  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.
3691  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

3692  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?
3693  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.
3694  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)

3695  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
3696  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, 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****

3697  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 28, 2011, 12:09:57 PM
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. 
3698  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.

3699  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.
3700  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 26, 2011, 11:57:00 AM

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.

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