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4001  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: June 13, 2011, 11:04:52 AM
IMO this is another example of government perks that is distinctly unfair.  States giving the film industry tax breaks that no one else gets.  Yes I understand the upside down reasoning that the idea was to bring business, recognition and money into a targeted area that would benefit the entire state.  Nonetheless this is government meddling, this is unfair tax code manipulation that benefits peopel who do not need the benefit while smaller bussinesses and tax payers get stuck with the burden far more than any benefit to them.  I would like to hear Repubs address this crap.  Newt has a point when he notes "conservative social engineering".  I believe this is a perfect example of what he is saying.  Stossel could have a field day on this:

After a decade of escalation, a stupid trend may have peaked
Jun 9th 2011 | LOS ANGELES | from the print edition
Lights, cameras, subsidies, action!LOTS of states would love to be California and have their own little Hollywood. Film crews would then come to town and spend money in hair salons and hotels, and local politicians could pose with film stars. So why not call it “economic development” to justify the huge tax credits that lure film producers? As of last year, more than 40 states had such incentives, costing them a record $1.4 billion.

Even California itself plays the game, believing that it has to defend itself against the poachers. In 2003, when only a handful of states (principally Louisiana and New Mexico) offered incentives, California made two-thirds of America’s big-studio films. Now it makes far fewer than half. Film LA, an organisation that co-ordinates permits for film shoots in Los Angeles, says that without California’s own tax credit, “2010 would have been the worst year” since the mid-1990s for filming in Hollywood. As its marketing blog gibes: “It is extraordinarily unlikely that the 137 productions that filmed in Michigan since 2007 chose to shoot there for creative reasons, a favourable climate or a deep and talented film-crew base.”

All this costs money, which legislators volunteer on behalf of taxpayers. Many tax credits (a percentage of a film crew’s local expenditures) exceed the filmmaker’s total tax liability to that state. The credits have even become an industry unto themselves: brokers slice them into tranches and trade them. In Iowa filmmakers were selling their credits until that state shut its programme in 2009. Last month an Iowa judge sentenced a producer to ten years in prison for fiddling credits.

Related topics
Arts, entertainment and media
Incentives do not have to involve tax credits. Some states simplify the paperwork by just giving out cash (calling it “rebates” or “grants”). Others exempt film-makers from sales or hotel taxes or give them other perks.

All this is silly. First, as Joseph Henchman at the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan think-tank, puts it, even when a state succeeds in luring film crews, they rarely boost the economy or tax revenues enough to justify the costs of the incentives. Film companies usually import their staff (stars, stuntmen, etc) and export them again when the shoot is over. The local jobs they create (hairdressers, sound technicians, pizza deliverers) are mostly temporary.

Second, since virtually all states are at it, the programmes largely cancel out one another; no state gets a lasting advantage. The craze resembles a beggar-thy-neighbour trade war (with mutually destructive tariffs) or the federal tax code with its loopholes for every lobby and thus higher rates for all. In the language of cold-war nukes, it would be mutually assured destruction (MAD). The only winner is the film industry. In essence, a rich bloke in a Brentwood villa gets money from a poor taxpayer in West Virginia.

Fortunately, this has begun sinking in. Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, New Jersey and Washington have recently ended, suspended or shrunk their programmes. Many others, struggling with budget deficits, are considering doing the same, investing the money in something permanent or even leaving it to taxpayers. “2010 will likely stand as the peak year,” thinks Mr Henchman.
4002  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 11, 2011, 04:42:08 PM

You mean ala Charles Rangel or Bill Clinton?

There is a history of Democratic voters supporting these people.

They don't seem to care.
4003  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 11, 2011, 04:15:24 PM
I see Pelosi came out today with her opinion Weiner should resign.

FWIW whether or not it was a political desicion it really is the right thing to do.
4004  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / question Palin - heroic "accomplishment" on: June 11, 2011, 10:50:51 AM
Question Bamster and you are a nut:

" Regardless of whether you thought the Palin email trove was a waste of time like many, or were obsessively live-blogging the events like us, you can't deny that the massive scanning and crowdsourcing of document review by major news outlets was a tremendous accomplishment."

Compare the above assesment to the MSM reports about the release of Bamster's long form birth certificate (if real).   That the poor man was subjected to unbearable disrespect, and harm because a bunch of crazy right wing radical loony birds "forced" him to do this painful thing.  and of course there is always the implication this was DONE TO HIM because he is half Black.

***The Top Ten Revelations from the Sarah Palin Emails
At 8:37 a.m. Saturday morning, the New York Times tweeted "After scanning marathon, all 24,000 #palinemail documents are in our searchable, interactive viewer." Regardless of whether you thought the Palin email trove was a waste of time like many, or were obsessively live-blogging the events like us, you can't deny that the massive scanning and crowdsourcing of document review by major news outlets was a tremendous accomplishment. While revelations from the cache may continue to trickle in over the weekend, at this point the bulk of the emails have been combed through, and this is what we now know about Palin that we didn't (necessarily) know before.

Related: Harry Reid and Sarah Palin Bicker Over Cowboy Poetry

Palin "joked" with George W. Bush about becoming Vice-President.

Related: Palin Accuses Obama of 'Pussy-Footing Around' Bin Laden Photos

Only a month before Palin was picked by John McCain as a running mate, she spoke with then-president George W. Bush, where she admitted to being unable to take a Vice Presidential position seriously. "The Pres [George Bush] and I spoke about military. He also spoke about (and we joked about) VP buzz."

Related: Palin Coincidentally Finds Key Primary States on Bus Tour

In fact, a mere two days before she was picked as Vice President, Palin was willing to help change signs at an Anchorage gas station to show lower prices. But unprepared though Palin was, Politico notes that she was soon forwarding encouraging notes to her staff from fans about the vice presidency.
One supporter of Palin’s from South Dakota wrote to a publicly listed e-mail address that was then forwarded to her official e-mail in late June that Palin would make “a first-rate running mater for Senator John McCain.”

“Please encourage her to accept if asked!” the supporter wrote. “What can we do to encourage Senator McCain to put her on the ticket?”

McCain's decision process took a matter of days.

Related: Sarah Palin Is Definitely Not Done Whining About the Press

It was not until Aug. 24 that there was any serious indication Palin might be be Vice President. That was when she asked her office in Juneau to send two years of her financial disclosure forms to Anchorage for unspecified purposes. The New York Times notes that "as many asserted at the time, the vetting process of the vice-presidential candidate appears to have taken just a few scant days."

Related: Condé Nast Office Politics; Bono Pushes Spidey

In late August, when McCain's choice was announced, Palin wrote “Can you believe it!” in response to a staff member. “He told me yesterday — it moved fast! Pray! I love you.”

She was once an Obama fan.

On August 4, 2008, Palin praised a speech given by President Obama as "great" and noted he "stole" some Alaskan ideas. "He did say 'yay' to our gasline. Pretty cool. Wrong candidate," Palin wrote.

She has never had much time to read the news.

Katie Couric's infamous interview with Palin, where the then-governor struggled to explain her media diet, may not have been the "gotcha" interview Palin later asserted it to be. It seems she really didn't have time to read the news, even to correct misinformation. By her own admission, her plate was too full. In one e-mail in February 2007, Palin wrote:

"i will try to carve out time in the day to more fully scan news clippings and try to catch some of the talk shows via internet, but so far I haven’t even found an extra minute to be able to tune into the shows unless I’m . . . driving in my car... i need folks to really help ramp up accurate counter comments to the misinformation that’s being spread out there.”

Palin asked God for guidance on the budget.

"I have been praying for wisdom on this ... God will have to show me what to do on the people's budget because I don't yet know the right path ... He will show me though."

She was intimidated by Alaskan Congressman Rep. Don Young.

In September 2008, a staffer e-mailed Palin that Young was trying to reach her. She replied: "Please find out what it's about. I don't want to get chewed out by him again. I'm not up for that."

Palin has always had a troubled relationship with the press.

Palin has always both courted and complained about the press. Her love-hate relationship is nothing new. On January 28, 2007, she disputed a report from the Anchorage Daily News that she'd put a "ban" on staffers talking to reporters. "I have NEVER banned any of our team members from voicing opinions on anything, she wrote. "I've asked that you all share your opinions, speak freely to press, public, legislators, one another, etc."she wrote to a staff member, “The double standard we face in so many areas is almost comical.” But she also vented that she was being criticized for speaking out, “The double standard we face in so many areas is almost comical,” she wrote to a staff member.

Palin ghostwrote a letter to the editor of the Alaska Daily News.

An email from July 2008 suggests that Palin ghost-wrote a letter to the editor of the Alaska Daily News that was to be sent under the name of a supporter. A critic had written to the Daily News about Palin's no-show at the 2008 Miss Alaska Pageant, and Palin wanted to "someone to corrct the letter writer's goofy comments, but don't want the letter in response to ADN to come from me." She drafted a letter and had her staff member sign it under the name of "Kristan Cole."

The rumor that Trig Palin is Bristol's son has been going on for a while.

Guardian uncovers the following quote from Palin

Hate to pick this one up again, but have heard three different times today the rumor again the Bristol is pregnant or had this baby. Even at Trig's doc appt this morning his doc said that's out there (hopefully NOT in their medical community-world, but it's out there). Bristol called again this afternoon asking if there's anything we can do to stop this as she receive two girlfriend-type calls today asking if it were true.
Palin has remained firm on Troopergate from the beginning.

On July 27, 2008, Palin's supporter Debbie Joslin sent a her saying that "If you did fire WM (Walt Monegan) in part or in whole because of the brother in law, just admit it and make it right. Hire him back if that makes sense and even if it doesn’t, just say you are sorry you let personal feelings get in the way and move on. People will forgive you." But Palin reponded, “I hope you’ll trust me that I’d be the first to admit if I made a mistake two weeks ago in offering Walt a different job aside from Commissioner...No personal feelings ever influenced my recognition."

Two days later, on July 29, she wrote again, “I prefer speaking to these reporters who want comments on the issue, I invite the investigation but it's obvious we could get to the bottom of it all if leggies and reproters would just ASK me further questions instead of spending $100g on a fishing expiditoin” 

In a later email she expressed increasing frustration:

"I do applogize if I sound frustrated w this one. I guess I am. Its killing me to realise how misinformed leggies, reporters and others are on this issue. The accusations and false assumptions are mind boggling.
"He's still a trooper, and he still carries a gun, and he still tells anyone who will listen that he will 'never work for that b*itch' (me) because he has such anger and distain towards family. So consistency is needed here. No one's above the law. If the law needs to be changed to not allow access to guns for people threatening to kill someone, it must apply to everyone."****
4005  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 11, 2011, 10:16:21 AM
A crat is a crat is a crat is a crat.  Not surprising.  Weiner puts himself above all else.  The Dems put party above the country.
And the crats who vote all want the free benefits confiscated from taxpayers.  I don't know hwy people like my nephew bother to fight for our country.  Even our leaders are a bunch of selfish pigs.

Pelosi declines to call for Weiner's resignation
 ShareretweetEmailPrint– Fri Jun 10, 7:07 pm ET
WASHINGTON – Amid increasing calls for Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says the decision should be up to the congressman and his New York constituents.

The former speaker said in San Francisco that she believes the decision should be made by "the individual member" and the people in his district.

Weiner, a seven-term Democrat, has admitted sending sexually explicit photos and messages over the Internet to a half dozen women over the past three years. Pelosi has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether Weiner used any government resources.

Weiner told a newspaper Thursday he would not resign. At least nine House members and three senators said he should quit.

Two former Democratic Party chairmen also said he should resign.

[ For complete coverage of politics and policy, go to Yahoo! Politics ]

Weiner did pick up support from Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat who was censured by the House last year for ethics violations.

Rangel suggested that other members of Congress had done things more immoral than Weiner.

Rangel said Weiner "wasn't going with prostitutes. He wasn't going out with little boys."

In a recent poll of registered voters in Weiner's district, 56 percent said he should stay in office while 33 percent said he should leave.

4006  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / G Will on Hunstman on: June 10, 2011, 03:02:36 PM
Jon Huntsman's thorny path to the GOP nomination

By George Will | Donald Trump’s pathological political exhibitionism has ended, Newt Gingrich has incinerated himself with an incoherent retraction tour, Mitt Romney has reaffirmed his enthusiasm for his Massachusetts health-care law, rendering himself incapable of articulating the case against Obamacare and the entitlement state generally, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels, aware of the axiom that anyone who will do what must be done to become president should not be allowed to be president, are out.

Watching this from his new home in Washington’s tony Kalorama neighborhood and his office at 1455 Pennsylvania Ave., Jon Huntsman, 51, former Utah governor and recently resigned ambassador to China, contemplates moving his office two blocks west. The Republican contest may soon acquire a photogenic family and a distinctive foreign policy voice.

The independently wealthy Huntsmans have seven children, among them two adopted daughters from China and India, and a son at Annapolis aspiring to be a Navy SEAL. Huntsman’s economic policies are Republican orthodoxy. His national security policies may make him the neoconservatives’ nightmare but a welcome novelty for a larger constituency.

“Capital is a coward,” Huntsman says, meaning capital is rational — it flees risky environments, which Obama administration policies create. He favors tax reform to stimulate capital formation, including a corporate tax rate of 24 percent or lower. He thinks lower but more inclusive income tax rates would be good economics — and good civics, reducing the share of households (47 percent in 2009) that pay no income taxes. At first saying Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget “is worthy of consideration” and later endorsing it, he says: “If you’re frightened of Ryan’s road map, you have not looked at our accumulating debt.”


  Every weekday publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.
Speaking in Washington this month, he will explain the need to “clean up the map” of foreign policy. He is among the sizable American majority disturbed that there is no discernible winning outcome in, or exit strategy from, Afghanistan, where, he says, there is now, and will be when we leave, a civil war that need not greatly concern us.

He believes significant savings can be found in the process of making the defense budget congruent with more judicious uses of U.S. military assets. This means more reliance on special operations, fewer interventions requiring large deployments — and no absent-minded interventions like that in Libya.

How will the Republican nominating electorate, preoccupied with questions about domestic policy and the role of government, respond to a candidate stressing national security and those national security positions? Huntsman replies: “I don’t know, but we’re about to find out.”

With one of his 2012 rivals, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Huntsman co-chaired John McCain’s 2008 campaign, from which he has drawn key advisers. Like McCain, Huntsman will bypass Iowa. “I don’t like subsidies,” he says, so he opposes the Church of Ethanol, the established religion out “where the tall corn grows.” New Hampshire, however, he says, “likes margin-of-error candidates with a message.” In South Carolina, his cadre of supporters includes Mike Campbell, Huckabee’s 2008 state chairman. Huntsman hopes for a respectable showing in Michigan, and he will also focus on Florida, where his wife is from and his campaign headquarters will be, in Orlando.

If Barack Obama wins a second term, this will be the first time there have been three consecutive two-term presidencies since Jefferson, Madison and Monroe between 1801 and 1825. The Republican nominee will be chosen by a relatively small cohort consisting of those Americans most determined that this not happen. Nominating electorates make up in intensity what they lack in size. They pay close attention to presidential politics early, and participate in cold-weather events, because they have a heat fueled by ideology. Cool-hand Huntsman, with his polished persona and the complementary fluencies of a governor and a diplomat, might find those virtues are, if not defects, of secondary importance in the competition to enkindle Republicans eager to feast on rhetorical red meat.

So it is difficult to chart Huntsman’s path to the Republicans’ Tampa convention through a nominating electorate that is understandably furious about Obama’s demonstrably imprudent and constitutionally dubious domestic policies. Even if that electorate approves Huntsman’s un-Obamalike health-care reforms in Utah and forgives his flirtation with a fanciful climate-change regime among Western states, he faces the worthy but daunting challenge of bringing Tea Party Republicans — disproportionately important in the nominating process — to a boil about foreign policy.

4007  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 10, 2011, 02:49:16 PM
Remember how Clinton refused to release his urology records.  The ones that documented his crooked penis?

Maybe Bamster's is crooked too - like his politics.  Or he doesn't want anyone to know his past treatments for drugs,, or STDs???
4008  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 10, 2011, 02:45:42 PM
"As for Obama, what other President ever had to release his long form birth certificate?"

I am certainly no scholar on the downfall of "empires" but isn't this one theory as to why Rome and other empires fell?
4009  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 10, 2011, 02:42:46 PM
"As for Obama, what other President ever had to release his long form birth certificate?"

Except for McCain I am not sure the issue was ever raised or for that matter was in question before.  If it was I would think ANYONE else who had nothing to hide would have rapidly released the document.

And what do you mean ever had to release...

Like it was such a big F. deal???  What was so difficult about doing this?

What an ordeal it was.  What the fringe right loons put the Bamster thru, huh?  Worse than warter boarding.
4010  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 10, 2011, 02:25:40 PM
"On Saturday, Former President Bill Clinton will officiate the wedding of Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner"

Unbelievable.  Reports were that Weiner called BJ Clinton to apologize.

With leaders like these guys....

They will probably all be getting bjs from the bride's maids.

Of course, so what.  rolleyes That is their "personal" not "professional" behavior which is another 'distinction' the libs are all coming out with now.
4011  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left on: June 10, 2011, 12:25:33 PM
How did we get to the point where it is acceptable for politicians to lie because "they all do it" let alone reckless sexual activities, outright pulbic lying coverups, and the rest?  This country really is in big decline culturally and morally and that bodes poorly for everything else IMHO.

It seems anything is acceptable as long as the pol in office will keep the money spigget flowing doles to their constituents.  What twisted logic can be dreamed of next:

****Matthews: Weiner in Trouble Because His Behavior Offends 'Culturally Backward' Christian Conservatives
By Geoffrey Dickens | June 10, 2011 | 11:40

On Thursday's Hardball, Chris Matthews determined that Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner could be in danger of being forced out of Congress by Blue Dog Dems who face uphill battles in red states because, as he put it, "people in the rural areas of this country who are Christian conservative culturally - you can say backward if you want...don't like this kind of stuff."

During a discussion about Weiner's chances of survival, after being caught sending lewd pictures to women via Twitter, the MSNBCer claimed the liberal congressman didn't have to worry about his, according to Matthews, culturally superior constituents in New York - the "56 percent in Brooklyn and Queens" who "can live with this guy." Instead he had to be concerned with his Democratic colleagues fearful about re-election in the "conservative culturally part of the country."

The following excerpt was aired on the June 9 edition of Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: If you're a Blue Dog Democrat from a conservative culturally part of the country, where you're fighting out every election with two or three points to spare, if you're a -- if you're are [Jim] Matheson from Utah or you're from Oklahoma and you're a [Dan] Boren -- and he's leaving Congress - your life's getting difficult enough defending the East Coast and the left coast Democratic Party. They're too far left. Look at what happened in Arkansas last year. It's getting very, very hard to defend the behavior, politically, of the party. Now you throw on top of that immoral behavior, indiscrete behavior, embarrassing behavior, gross behavior like this, and you still have him in your midst. And that's my question to you. If you're Steny Hoyer, who does speak for the Blue Dogs, if you're Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker, who has to deal with them, don't you have to deal with the fact - you're losing any chance of getting back a 218 majority?

I want you to pick this up, Ben. This is, to me, the stakes here. If he stays, they never get the leadership back. They never get the Speakership back because the people in the rural areas of this country who are Christian conservative culturally - you can say backward if you want - but they don't like this kind of stuff at all. They're not part of that 56 percent in Brooklyn and Queens who say, "okay, we can live with this guy." Your thoughts, Ben? Isn't that the cutting edge of this?****

4012  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The left covering for Bamster as always on: June 10, 2011, 12:04:12 PM
"one is public information, one is not"

JDN thank you.  I knew this would be the response of the left.

One is also an active President of the United States and by golly we have every right to know what his school essays were as well as running around with his Panama hat snorting cocaine. 

The other one is a citizen who is no longer an elected official though she certainly is a political figure and may run for office at some point.

"She took three years to merely release simple public records."

Oh, well who does that remind you of?  How long did it take the Bamster to release a copy of his long form (if real) despite it being a valid constitutional issue worthy of a real reponse?

And what is he hiding about his past poltical affiliations that is such a secret?
4013  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 10, 2011, 10:01:19 AM
This of course is ok.

But demanding any writing form Obama while a student is of course labeled as idiocy.

We mocked if we demand to see the long form of his birth certificate (which some wonder is a fraud), we are ignored if we want to see his thesis etc.

4014  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / poll manipulation on: June 09, 2011, 02:20:33 PM
After the shock poll showed Romney even with the Bamster I said to myself any day we will suddenly see another poll that attempts to show the first poll was all wrong.  Without fail the MSM comes out with a response poll that has opposite results always in Bamster's favor.  Despite another dip in the economy this poll suggests Bamster is untouchable.  All I can say is thank God, again, for Fox and talk radio or we would be led to believe Bamster is perfect and adored by everyone person in the world except those on this board:

Reuters – President Barack Obama (R) and first lady Michelle Obama (L) walk out to greet German Chancellor Angela … By John Whitesides John Whitesides – Wed Jun 8, 1:58 pm ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama retains a big lead over possible Republican rivals in the 2012 election despite anxiety about the economy and the country's future, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Wednesday.

Obama's approval rating inched up 1 percentage point from May to 50 percent but the number of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track also rose as pricier gasoline, persistently high unemployment and a weak housing market chipped away at public confidence.

Obama leads all potential Republican challengers by double-digit margins, the poll showed. He is ahead of his closest Republican rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, by 13 percentage points -- 51 percent to 38 percent.

"Obama's position has gotten a little stronger over the last couple of months as the public mood has evened out, and as an incumbent he has some big advantages over his rivals," Ipsos pollster Cliff Young said.

"Until Republicans go through a primary season and select a nominee, they are going to be at a disadvantage in the head-to-head matchups in name recognition."

[ For complete coverage of politics and policy, go to Yahoo! Politics ]

Obama, who got a boost in the polls last month with the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, is amassing an election campaign warchest likely to be larger than the record $750 million he raised in 2008.

Sarah Palin and Romney lead the Republicans battling for the right to challenge Obama in the November 2012 election.

Palin, the party's vice presidential nominee in 2008, had the support of 22 percent of the Republicans surveyed. The former governor of Alaska has not said whether she will run for president next year.

Romney, who failed in a 2008 presidential bid, had 20 percent support.

Representative Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican from Texas, and former pizza executive Herman Cain were tied for third with 7 percent each.


The Republican candidates are just starting to engage in their slow-starting nomination race. Young said Palin and Romney had a clear advantage at this stage over other challengers in name recognition among voters.

Other surveys have shown Romney in a stronger position. A Washington Post-ABC News poll earlier this week gave Romney a slight lead over Obama among registered voters.

In the Reuters/Ipsos poll, the other Republican contenders fared even worse than Romney's 13-point gap in a match-up with Obama. Palin trailed Obama by 23 points and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was behind by 19 points.

The survey was taken after weak jobs and housing figures released last week showed the U.S. economy is recovering slower than expected. Unemployment rose slightly to 9.1 percent for the month.

The poll found 60 percent of respondents said the country is on the wrong track, up from 56 percent in May but still below April's high of 69 percent. In the latest survey, 35 percent said the country is going in the right direction.

Obama's approval rating has drifted in a narrow range between 49 percent and 51 percent since January, with the exception of April when the first spike in gasoline prices drove his rating lower.

With Congress battling over a Republican budget plan that includes scaling back the federal Medicare health program for the elderly, the poll found a plurality of Americans, 43 percent, oppose the Medicare cuts and 37 percent support them.

The poll, conducted Friday through Monday, surveyed 1,132 adults nationwide by telephone, including 948 registered voters. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

(Editing by John O'Callaghan)
4015  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: June 08, 2011, 08:42:20 PM
Thanks, DMG and Crafty
4016  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 07, 2011, 02:31:16 PM
Accomodation, or appeasement, whatever one wants to call it - giving in to the demand to go back to '67 borders.
I get Freidman's arguments. 
By doing what he calls accomodation he feels Israel can then say look we have given in to all requests and if Palestinians still don't accept our right to exist than the honus is on them.

"But Israel has a superb countermove: accept some variation of the 1967 borders and force Hamas either to break with its principles and lose its support to an emergent group or openly blow apart the process. In other words, the Israelis can also pursue a strategy of provocation, in this case by giving the Palestinians what they want and betting that they will reject it. Of course, the problem with this strategy is that the Palestinians might accept the deal, with Hamas secretly intending to resume the war from a better position.

Israel’s bet has three possible outcomes. One is to hold the current position and be constantly manipulated into actions that isolate Israel. The second is to accept the concept of the 1967 borders and bet on the Palestinians rejecting it as they did with Bill Clinton. The third outcome, a dangerous one, is for the Palestinians to accept the deal and then double-cross the Israelis. But then if that happens, Israel has the alternative to return to the old borders.

In the first part of this he assumes that Israel can use a "superb countermove by accepting some version of /67 borders and that this will put all of the pressure on the Arabs. 

My question is how do we know this and why is he so sure this will stop the pressure on the Jews?

"One is to hold the current position and be constantly manipulated into actions that isolate Israel."

Well if the US is going to abandom them aka Obama....

"The second is to accept the concept of the 1967 borders and bet on the Palestinians rejecting it as they did with Bill Clinton."

In that case we have already gone down that road.  What makes anyone think it will be different now?

"The third outcome, a dangerous one, is for the Palestinians to accept the deal and then double-cross the Israelis. But then if that happens, Israel has the alternative to return to the old borders."

That is if the Israelis are not wiped out first.

If I were Netenyahu I would not give in till there is another US President.  He cannot count on Bama.
If the US had a President (as well as both houses) who really would be committed to helping Israel in an existential crises, and the Israelis went back to close the '67 borders as they could reasonably do safely and with a timetable by which Arabs have to commit and recognize the right of a Jewish state then maybe this would be a way to go.

4017  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / please see my reply under consitutional matters on: June 07, 2011, 01:54:59 PM
on an opinion of the war power act's constitutionality.
4018  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / War Powers Act itself is considered unconstitutional on: June 07, 2011, 01:53:44 PM
Some, including constitutional attorney Mark Levin consider the War Powers act unconstitutional.  Listening to Mark Levin discuss this issue he points out every President has acted without the permission of Congress and for national security reasons this was the way the founders wanted it.  If congress later decided the military action was wrong they could simply "defund" it.  In his opinion Ron Paul doesn't have the faintest clue what he is talking about.  I agree:

It Growing GOP Opposition to Presidential War Powers? →Thomas Woods vs. Mark Levin On Presidential War Powers
Posted on March 27, 2011 by Chad
Mark Levin has apparently jumped into the fray over  presidential war powers.  It’s been a hot topic of debate lately, thanks to  Obama’s  involvement in Libya. As you may have guessed, Levin favors presidential power to authorize military action- without consulting congress.  To be fair, Levin is not alone in his view.   Thomas Woods takes apart Levin’s argument in a recent article. You can read the whole thing here.  It’s an excellent read.  One particular part stands out where he quotes Levin as saying:

The constitutional convention was “never going to give war-making power to Congress.”

“You think my view is odd? Well that’s funny, because every single president of the United States has embraced this view—very damn one of em’, from Reagan to Obama.”

Woods’ response is great:

Yes, it is simply unthinkable that the two political parties could both defy the Constitution in the same way for 30 whole years.  I mean, we have no precedent for such a thing elsewhere in government, where both parties have scrupulously observed constitutional limits for decades and decades.

Some of you are fans of Mark Levin I’m sure.  I have nothing against him personally, but am concerned by what he represents. He’s part of  a growing number of political pundits on both sides of the aisle who have spent time working in Washington D.C.

Mark Levin   is a lawyer who once worked in Washington in a president’s administration.   Having spent a significant portion of his career working under a very popular  president, can we really expect Levin (and the many others like him in BOTH PARTIES) to distrust presidential authority?
4019  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / GM CEO: raise gas tax by a dollar! on: June 07, 2011, 11:20:22 AM
We keep hearing people on TV advising us to buy American brands.  My view is the American taxpayer was screwed over by GM and Chrysler.  And now this.  I will never buy a GM car.  Ever.

***June 07. 2011 6:17AM
GM chief pushing for higher gas taxes
David Shepardson and Christina Rogers/ The Detroit News
Detroit — General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson wants the federal gas tax boosted as much as $1 a gallon to nudge consumers toward more fuel-efficient cars, and he's confident the government will soon shed its remaining 26 percent stake in the once-bankrupt automaker.

"I actually think the government will be out this year — within the next 12 months, hopefully within the next six months," Akerson said in a two-hour interview with The Detroit News last week.

He is grateful for the government's rescue of GM — "I have nothing but good things to say about them" — but Akerson said the time for that relationship to end is coming because it's wearing on GM.

"It's kind of like your in-laws: It was a nice long weekend. We didn't say a week," Akerson said with a laugh.

And while he is eager to say goodbye to the government as a part owner of GM, Akerson would like to see it step up to the challenge of setting a higher gas tax, as part of a comprehensive energy policy.

A government-imposed tax hike, Akerson believes, will prompt more people to buy small cars and do more good for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards.

"There ought to be a discussion on the cost versus the benefits," he said. "What we are going to do is tax production here, and that will cost us jobs."

For the years 2017-25, federal officials are considering 3 percent to 6 percent annual fuel efficiency increases, or 47 mpg to 62 mpg. That could boost the cost of vehicles by up to $3,500.

"You know what I'd rather have them do — this will make my Republican friends puke — as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas," Akerson said.

"People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans."

With gas already over $4 a gallon in parts of the country, a higher gas tax is a hard sell.

Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Global Insight, said higher gas taxes in Europe did lead consumers to buy more fuel-efficient cars.

But she acknowledged that's virtually impossible to see in the United States.

"It's career suicide for a politician to call for raising gas taxes," Lindland said.

Akerson isn't the first auto exec to float the idea of a gas tax to encourage consumers to buy fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. has previously advocated a gas tax increase.

On Monday, a Ford spokeswoman said the company "will leave the policy decision to Congress"; in 2009, GM CEO Rick Wagoner called a higher gas tax "worthy of consideration."

Stock boost sought
Akerson believes the Treasury's continued ownership stake in GM — 500 million shares — is dragging down its stock price, which has fallen 23 percent this year, and closed Monday at $28.56. That's well below the $33-per-share it fetched in November's $23 billion initial public stock offering.

"I think that it is an overhang — to have 500 million shares sitting out there — it's a problem," Akerson said, adding that unrest in the Middle East and oil prices also are depressing GM's share price. "They don't know when (the Treasury is) going to come out. Investors hate uncertainty."

David Whiston, an auto analyst at Morningstar, agrees that government ownership is impacting investors' interest in GM.

"There are a lot of money managers that are waiting for the government to exit before jumping in," Whiston said.

The Treasury, which rescued GM with a $49.5 billion bailout and once held a 61 percent majority stake, "will likely look at another (stock) sale in August, after second-quarter earnings are announced, Akerson said.

The Obama administration has made clear it is eager to exit GM — but hasn't laid out a precise timetable.

Asked if GM is considering buying back its stock, Akerson paused for eight seconds before declining to answer directly. "But we have a lot of cash," he added.

At the current stock price, U.S. taxpayers would be out more than $12 billion on GM's bailout. Still, Akerson believes that, in the end, taxpayers will see the government made the right call in saving the automaker, as well as crosstown rival Chrysler.

"We are in the midst of transforming an iconic American company so 20 and 30 years from now (taxpayers) will look at this company and they'll say, 'Absolutely it was the right thing to do,'" Akerson said. "And it shouldn't be measured on did it sell for $43 or $53 (a share) or did they lose a couple billion dollars?"

GM was saved, he said, because of the extreme generosity of Americans — a spirit that helped restore Europe and Japan after World War II and rebuild cities such as New Orleans after natural disasters.

"We're the most generous country, even in terrible times," Akerson said. "We don't walk to the disaster as a nation. … We can't wait to help."

Things are looking up for GM's image, he said. Pollster Peter Hart, conducting research for GM, found 16 percent had a positive view of GM before the bailout. But that had risen to 65 percent early this year, Akerson said.

"I couldn't believe the press we got on the IPO — it was like a $100 million gift," Akerson said.

GM's rebound, he believes, was a "proxy" for the U.S.

"OK, we took the blow as a nation, we weathered the worst, and my God, we're back," Akerson said. "It's why I came here. It was a story of underdog that tripped as we all have in our lives — it was a good feel-good story."

Call for tax hikes
In his interview with The News, Akerson also weighed in on the nation's debt ceiling, saying Congress should raise it from its current $14.3 trillion mark. The government could default on its debt on Aug. 2.

"We're too good a nation to let ourselves be a banana republic," Akerson said, warning that a default would be "unimaginable" and could hurt auto sales.

But he agrees with those who say the country has been spending money it can't afford.

"Now, we need practical decisions," Akerson said. "I think you need to cut the hell out of the budget and you've got to increase taxes … on everybody — including the middle class and the rich people."

Akerson, who describes himself as "a Colin Powell Republican — not a Sarah Palin Republican" — said President Barack Obama has "done a pretty good job on the economy," which, he said, was "a nightmare.

"I don't think he can fix it in four years and I think we just have to stay the course," he said.

Despite his Republican stripes, Akerson is frustrated with the political climate and the media.

He was invited to appear on CBS' "Face the Nation," but said: "I can't go on it. I'm toxic. I'm like a lightning rod. I couldn't have an intelligent discussion without someone saying, 'He's a welfare guy from the bailout.'"

But he noted the bipartisan spirit of GM's rescue and the rest of the U.S. auto industry.

"If we had gone down," he said, "the supply chain would have gone down. … And Ford was hanging on by its fingernails, too."

GM's failure also would have led to Detroit's collapse, Akerson said. "I have not seen a city in this bad a shape since I went to East Berlin in 1969."***

4020  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: June 07, 2011, 09:40:34 AM
"Perhaps that is why France is so helpful in Libya"

I think the reason they are so "helpful" in N. Africa is they don't want anymore Muslim refugess flooding their country.

They and Italy (and I guess all of Europe) are getting swamped with Muslims.

Their version of the Mexican, C. and S. American  invasions here.
4021  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: June 07, 2011, 09:36:06 AM
Well if we are increasing retirement to 70 which I have been saying is necessary for years (thus I agree with this) then why do we need to increase SS tax 5%?

Also don't the Dems borrow from SS for their projects?  What ever happened to "lock box"?

I would cut subsidies to farmers who don't grow food"

Problem with this is the loop holes.  Does anyone think Bruce Springsteen is really in the organic farming business yet he gets a nice tax break in NJ (though I guess this is a state not federal loophole).

Do we really need to subsidize this at all?
4022  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Germany fleeing nuclear energy on: June 06, 2011, 03:22:12 PM
Germany does about face on nuclear energy post Japan.

****German energy
Nuclear? Nein, danke
A nuclear phase-out leaves German energy policy in a muddle
Jun 2nd 2011 | BERLIN | from the print edition Economist
EVERYONE was horrified by the earthquake and tsunami that killed 24,000 Japanese and caused three nuclear meltdowns. But in Germany the feeling was laced with terror. Suspicion of nuclear power became mass revulsion. At a recent race in Berlin sponsored by Vattenfall, which generates nuclear power, many runners carried no-nuke flags.

The response of Chancellor Angela Merkel has been called the swiftest change of political course since unification. Only last year her government overturned a decade-old decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022. After Japan she suspended that policy and yanked seven of Germany’s 17 reactors off the electricity grid. On May 30th she completed her U-turn. The plan to keep nuclear plants operating for 12 more years was scrapped; the seven reactors will be shut for good. Germany will be “the first big industrial country to shift to highly efficient and renewable energy, with all the opportunities that offers,” Mrs Merkel promised. Industry is less thrilled about losing nuclear, which provides 23% of Germany’s electricity reliably and cheaply. It “fills me with worry,” said Hans-Peter Keitel, president of the Federation of German Industries.

The “energy transformation” is neither as revolutionary as Mrs Merkel suggests nor as hazardous as industry fears. Germany is returning to its policy of seven months ago. It has surplus generating capacity and low prices that are unlikely to rise much in the next few years, notes Mark Lewis of Deutsche Bank. Mrs Merkel’s shift was already under way. In 2000 30% of electricity came from nuclear. Since then, renewables like solar and wind have expanded their share from 6.6% to 16.5%.
The new plan is meant to make it easier to raise this share. But Mrs Merkel is also using Germans’ nuclear fears to smash their aversion to new infrastructure. The Bundestag is due to approve eight laws by the end of June to facilitate this. Yet the task depends also on citizens’ participation. “What is your contribution?” Mrs Merkel asks people. She hopes for political revival. Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was pushed into third place behind the Social Democrats and the Greens in Bremen in May for the first time at state level. While slowing the Greens’ rise, she also wants the CDU to seem a possible coalition partner after the federal election in 2013.

The nuclear reversal burnishes her credentials as a moderniser. Whether it will help Europe’s strongest economy is less clear. The rise in fickle solar and wind power increases the risk of instability in electricity supplies; with the closure of seven reactors, “we are really going to the limits,” says Christian Schneller of TenneT, a Dutch-German transmission company. Congestion on lines carrying power from north to south raises the risk of blackouts.

Germany promises neither to increase imports from nuclear neighbours nor to emit more greenhouse gases than planned. That will be hard. “You can’t have a liberalised energy market and close the border,” says Manuel Frondel of RWI, a research institute. Germany will emit an extra 370m tonnes of CO2 as it replaces nuclear with gas- and coal-fired plants. Europe’s emissions are capped by an emission-trading scheme, but the costs will now rise for everybody. Germany’s own goal is more ambitious: a 40% reduction from 1990 by 2020. This will not be met, says Mr Frondel.

Mr Schneller says the pace of progress on infrastructure must dictate the energy mix, not the other way around. Of the 3,500km (2,175 miles) of transmission lines that are needed to carry renewable power from (largely northern) sources to southern and western consumers, just 90km have been built. “Monster masts” provoke almost as much opposition as nuclear reactors. To shift fully to renewables, Germany needs to boost storage capacity by a factor of 500.

The government plans to speed up planning and licensing, as it did after unification. Progress is to be monitored, perhaps by a new parliamentary watchdog. The government may set up a “national energy transformation forum” to enlist citizens. If greenhouse-gas emissions rise faster than planned, says Mrs Merkel, conservation will have to improve.

Germany cannot do all this on its own, argues Ottmar Edenhofer of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Big efficiency gains will come only if Europe’s carbon cap includes housing and transport. Ramping up renewables would make more sense if Germany tapped into sunnier and windier parts of Europe, which requires a pan-European electricity grid. “Scaling up can only be done on a European level,” says Mr Edenhofer.

Germany did not become a role model by being hard-headed. Its subsidies for renewable energy are wasteful and its nuclear pull-out looks panicky. In short, the post-nuclear recoil carries risks of its own. Yet if anyone can make it all work, says Mr Lewis, the Germans can.

from the print edition | Europe ****
4023  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rumor/true? on: June 06, 2011, 03:04:03 PM
Certainly, it is just a matter of time.  The US has already decided against anything other than diplomacy.

***Researcher: Iran can produce nuke within 2 months

Airstrikes can no longer stop nuclear program, US can do nothing short of military occupation, says report

The Iranian regime is closer than ever before to creating a nuclear bomb, according to RAND Corporation researcher Gregory S. Jones.

At its current rate of uranium enrichment, Tehran could have enough for its first bomb within eight weeks, Jones said in a report published this week.***
4024  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We have heard this before/ rumors? on: June 06, 2011, 12:38:20 PM
Certainly, it is just a matter of time.  The US has already decided against anything other than diplomacy.

***Researcher: Iran can produce nuke within 2 months

Airstrikes can no longer stop nuclear program, US can do nothing short of military occupation, says report

The Iranian regime is closer than ever before to creating a nuclear bomb, according to RAND Corporation researcher Gregory S. Jones.

At its current rate of uranium enrichment, Tehran could have enough for its first bomb within eight weeks, Jones said in a report published this week.***

4025  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 06, 2011, 09:41:33 AM
"Even I hate/despise what Hitler did and stood for and I'm not a Jew.  I think liberal Jews, Jews in general believe (hopefully) in America first, then Israel. I don't think it's a Republican/Democrat issue."

Liberal Jews live like capitalists with all its luxury and advantages but speak like socialists.  I call that a fork tongue.  They are wedded to the Democrat party.
Party politics certainly is a big issue here.  That is why 75% are die hard Democrats and do all they can do to keep a President in power who clearly tilts away from the Jews and towards the Muslims.   Do you think they would have been as kind to a Republican who sat for twenty years in an anti-semite's church?

"CCP said, "First.  Why must the US throw the Jews under the bus in order to have "good relations" with Muslims?"

*I* didn't say we need to.  George Friedman was clearly implying that in *his* statements.

Bottom line.  Jews can choose the Democrat party and risk the existence of several million Jews or not.  That is the way the Democrat party is tilting at least since we have the abomination called Obama there.
4026  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 05, 2011, 02:08:54 PM
Interesting thought piece with in depth philosophying about Israel's position short and long term.

Yet he keeps pointing out how Israeli conservatives are inflexible while at the same time saying "if" they are correct that for at least many Muslims the ultimate goal is to destroy the "Jewish" state.  If this is true and certainly appears this way then any real attempts at the accomodation he is calling for is no more than a mirage.

By thinking it through as he has he inadvertantly, I think, has expressed the dilema which faces Israel and about which there is NO good answer.

So then what does Israeli leaders, or better stated what CAN Israeli leaders do?

"The United States has interests in the Middle East beyond Israel and that includes good relations with Muslim countries. And the United States sees what the administration wrongly calls the Arab Spring as an opportunity."

First.  Why must the US throw the Jews under the bus in order to have "good relations" with Muslims?

The first part of the above quoted sentences makes this essentially a prerequisite; that is that the US must take sides with the Palestinians in order for  good relations with the Arabs, Persains etc.

Second I wonder more in detail what he means by Obama *misreading* the Arab "spring" as it is so called.   How so? And how should they read it?

After reading this I cannot change my agreement with Dick Morris' conclusion that liberal Jews can either choose between the Democratic party, or risk the mass slaughter of Jews in Israel..  The liberal demo(socialist)crats including those like Soros and his funded lobbying groups are absolutely risking the existence of Israel.  The support of all liberal Jews for Obama is taking this risk.

As I have posted for years on this board.  Liberal Jews hate Republicans more than Hitler.  They will do anything to defeat the Republican party.  Even risk the existence of their fellow Jews in Israel.

I don't know how to see it any other way.

4027  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: June 04, 2011, 11:36:59 AM
Great points Crafty.

I would hope we can have a Republican candidate blow away Obama on this topic in a debate with exactly your perfect pointers.

If one really wants to win independents IMHO this is one perfect example that falls into my oft stated theme of fairness *for all*.  A system that benefits and works the same (as best as possible) for everyone no matter their economic class, their political connections, celebrity status, as well as the political correct race, religion, sexual orientation.

No special deals for insiders, Wall Streeters, hedge funds, union bosses, as well as those on the lower ends of the government dole/corruption/free loader spectrum. 

I still haven't noticed any Repubs or Tea partiers for that matter highlighting such a theme.

Recently Spitzer had someone on, I can't recall, and asked him what new can any of the Republican candidates offer to Americans except the same theme of "consitution", "smaller governemnt", etc.  He is right that this theme is getting old and already, by itself, may have run its course. 

If we haven't seen independents rushing to the right by now they are on hold because they do not really accept the Repub positions as already are out there.  We can see how they will rush back to the Bamster on a dime of good news.  The message must be modified as I have suggested.  I think Crafty's points about the auto industry are perfect in this modified theme.  I do think many independents are probably annoyed about big auto/ union bailouts.  Why them?  Why not the independent voters?

Also why do the bankers and wall street get off scot free?  What about those government mortgages?  What about those people getting special favors from the bottom up?

People do not want the Bama again.  But they have not heard from the Repubs an alternative that hits their fancy. (I am talking about the independents not tea partiers or strict Repubs).
4028  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: June 04, 2011, 10:43:54 AM
Well my biggest beef is that Obama is taking credit for *saving* the American auto industry.  He did no such thing.  The American taxpayer saved their tookesses (sp?).
4029  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: June 04, 2011, 10:39:39 AM
Pawlenty sounds good when I hear him. 

I think he will come on strong.

The liberals have been doing a great job destroying all the Repubs even before they get off the ground so to speak.

I would choose Palin before Bachman at this point.  Bachman has not impressed me but hopefully she will get better with time.

I don't know why so many are pushing NJ governor Christie to run.  I agree with Mark Levin he is a one trick pony.

All he ever talks about is the deficit and he appears to be doing a good job in a union/democrat controlled/strangled state but he avoids all other issues as far as I can tell.  Levin thinks he is a closet liberal on some of the more national issues but he may be misreading him.  I think he probably is mostly conservative but he is also a pragmatist.  A real conservative could NEVER win in NJ.  Nonetheless I don't recall ever hearing speak much about anything other than working on NJ's budget shortfalls and taking on some of the unions.
4030  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / DMG - good call! on: June 03, 2011, 02:12:24 PM
Crafty posted on Dec. 23, 2010:

Grannis and Wesbury have similar perspectives (both are supply siders btw).  David Gordon, Scott Grannis and I are part of an email group and David is a high level market player with the pay-to-enter blog to which I subscribe.  David, who has quite a number of remarkably prescient market calls into an excellent stock picking and timing record, thinks we are about to have a sharp downturn, and that there will be a big downturn sometime in 2011-- currently he suspects it will be around the middle of the year but reserves the right to evolve his views as time goes by.
4031  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Republicans numbers expanding on: June 03, 2011, 01:21:49 PM
Until Obama pardons the illegals:

***A Rasmussen poll released yesterday shows that 35.6 percent of Americans are now Republicans, compared to 34.0 percent who are Democrats. That’s a higher tally for Republicans, and the widest margin between the two parties, than at any time since the GOP took control of the House in January. A year ago, only 32.0 percent of Americans were Republicans, while 35.1 percent were Democrats. So that’s a swing of 4.7 percentage points — from a 3.1-point Democratic advantage to a 1.6-point Republican advantage — in the past year.

In March, before Paul Ryan and the House Republicans released their budget — which would reduce deficit spending by 46 percent and $1 billion a day versus President Obama’s budget — Democrats held a 1.3-point advantage over Republicans (35.3 percent Democrat to 34.0 percent Republican). That advantage has now swung the other way.

The current figure of 34.0 percent Democrats marks the 3rd-lowest tally for the party in the past seven years. When Obama was elected in November of 2008, 41.4 percent of Americans were Democrats, and only 33.8 percent were Republicans — a slightly larger margin (7.6 percent) than Obama’s margin over John McCain in the popular vote (7.3 percent). Party allegiance has since swung 9.2 points toward the GOP.***
4032  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, budget process on: June 03, 2011, 11:41:16 AM
Paul Rubio was on and saying how we need to save Medicare.  This is a good strategy turning the debate around right into the faces of the pandering party.

The seniors don't seem to get it.  The ones who voted in NY for the Democrat.  They fell hook line and sinker for the Dem charge that their medicare is in danger.   Well it is - if we do nothing to change it.

Seniors guard their medicare like a dog guards his bone.

You would think it is a GOd given gift that grows on trees.
4033  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / John Hunstman/ from the Economist on: June 02, 2011, 04:29:43 PM
Well he has some explaining to do with regards to his support of cap and trade and some other issues noted in the following article but he should not and must not be written off.  To do so we shoot ourselves in the foot.  (Republicans).

The 2012 election is for the Republicans to lose.  Obama should have NO chance unless the cans srew it up. 

***Jon Huntsman
Picture perfect
But can Utah’s impressive ex-governor catch up with the front-runner for the Republican nomination, his fellow-Mormon Mitt Romney?
May 26th 2011 | DURHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE | from the print edition
“I’M A margin-of-error guy,” Jon Huntsman cheerfully admits to an audience of a few dozen at a grand lakeside home in New Hampshire. Support for his putative presidential bid, he explains, registers in the low single digits in most polls—a level so low as to be meaningless. He and his family are “grateful that anyone would want to show up and shake our hands”.

Yet most pundits count Mr Huntsman as one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination, alongside his fellow former governors Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty. In part, that is because the field is steadily narrowing: Mitch Daniels, another governor with a strong following among fiscal conservatives, bowed out of the race this week. Apart from Mr Huntsman himself, who says he will decide definitively whether to run next month, there are now only two possible entrants of any stature still on the sidelines: Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. There is talk that Mrs Bachmann, in particular, is about to join the fray, but both she and Mrs Palin are right-wing firebrands with a limited, albeit devoted, following.

The hype about Mr Huntsman also stems from his impressive résumé, including a term-and-a-bit as governor of Utah, a stint as ambassador to China (he speaks fluent Mandarin), various high-powered jobs in Washington and several spells in the family business. For all his self-deprecation, he appears on the verge of launching a determined campaign, having recruited staff, sounded out fund-raisers and tested the waters with a five-day tour of New Hampshire, which will hold the first Republican primary early next year.

Related topics
American conservative politics
American politics
World politics
Mitt Romney
Elections and voting
On his swing through the state, after the usual tropes about being a father first and foremost, saluting the service of veterans and relishing the give-and-take with the locals, Mr Huntsman spoke chiefly about his desire to revive the economy through a new “industrial revolution”. America could bring one about, he argues, by reducing its debt, lowering and simplifying taxes, cutting regulation and increasing the exploitation of domestic sources of energy. The alternative, he says, is a decade of stagnation and decline.

But unlike Mr Pawlenty, who officially launched his campaign this week, Mr Huntsman does not cite litanies of grim statistics, let alone blame Barack Obama for them. Indeed, Mr Huntsman usually mentions Mr Obama only to explain that when the president offered him the job of ambassador to China, he accepted out of a sense of duty. Politicians from both parties only want what is best for America, he says, and the country would be a better place if everyone acknowledged as much and kept political debate more civil.

Right-wing Republicans see all this as evidence of wishy-washiness. They complain that Mr Huntsman not only worked for Mr Obama, but also called him “a remarkable leader” in a gushing letter thanking him for the job. As governor, he defended lots of causes considered heretical by many conservatives, including Mr Obama’s economic stimulus, civil unions for gay couples and a cap-and-trade scheme to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. He has also advocated allowing illegal immigrants brought to America as children to attend state universities on the same basis as native-born locals.

Yet in most respects Mr Huntsman has an unimpeachably conservative record. He presided over the biggest tax cut in Utah’s history. He instituted health-care reforms of a much less meddling sort than those embraced by Mr Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. He signed various bills designed to discourage abortion and encourage gun-ownership. He was re-elected in 2008 with 78% of the vote in one of the most fiercely Republican states in the nation, and left office with lofty approval ratings.

Whether Mr Huntsman can appeal to red-blooded Republicans in the primaries will depend in part on the quality of his campaign. Many of the staff he has lined up are veterans of the presidential bids of John McCain, who won the Republican nomination in 2008 despite his reputation as a relative liberal. Mr Huntsman seems quite relaxed on the hustings, taking up an impromptu pool game at a veterans’ club, for example (he lost), and teasing the locals about their accents. Unlike Mr Romney, he seems comfortable in a denim jacket, plaid shirt and corduroy trousers; his wife and two of his daughters accompanied him across New Hampshire in fashionable skinny jeans. His staff is happy to advertise that he dropped out of high school to play in a rock band, and is an avid motorcyclist.

But Mr Huntsman is not exactly the salt of the earth. His father made billions selling packaging to firms like McDonald’s, and worked in the Nixon administration. His stump speech can seem quite esoteric at times, with references to the inaugural speech of William Harrison, America’s ninth president, and to Japan’s “lost decade” of economic stagnation. He keeps banging on about the effects of the public debt on the exchange rate—natural enough for a former ambassador and trade negotiator, perhaps, but hardly the main concern in the eyes of most deficit hawks.

Moreover, Mr Huntsman, like Mr Romney, is a Mormon, a faith viewed with some suspicion by the evangelical Christians who make up a sizeable share of the Republican primary electorate. In fact, Mr Romney and Mr Huntsman are (distant) cousins, and have much in common. They are both sons of billionaire businessmen-turned-politicians; both have presidential looks and picture-perfect families; both are considered ideologically unreliable by many on the right.

Mr Huntsman, however, does not seem racked by doubts. Although he insists he is still “kicking the tyres” and needs to discuss it with his family, Mrs Huntsman says she does not foresee objections of the sort that caused Mr Daniels to pass. He has governed a state, he knows about foreign policy and he oozes confidence; it would be a pity if Mr Huntsman did not run.***
4034  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: June 02, 2011, 04:23:39 PM
Good post.

The distinction is succinct and clear.

Yet the present Prez is supposedly "personally" popular according to *poll*sters (many of whom are *huck*sters).  I have to wonder. huh

The cognitive dissonance of the American Public?   shocked

How anyone could like this man is beyond me.  sad
4035  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / From a corrspondant from the "keeping them honest CNN" on: May 31, 2011, 04:26:48 PM
Objective journoulism de jour: rolleyes angry

 By Walter Rodgers Walter Rodgers – Fri May 27, 10:16 am ET
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,” instructed the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “people will eventually come to believe it.”

For 2-1/2 years, the big lie repeated about President Obama has been that he’s not a real leader. Responsible critics called him diffident, spineless, and rudderless. Irresponsible critics called him a socialist, a Muslim, and not an American. Now, even after his brilliant planning and direction of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, detractors are complaining that he didn’t have the guts to release photos of Mr. bin Laden’s corpse.

Outdated notions of leadershipSome of this maligning simply reflects the same savage partisan attacks leveled against every president (except Ronald Reagan) since Watergate. Some of it reflects darker bigotry toward Mr. Obama. But it also shows our outdated and wrongheaded notions of leadership.

American culture mistakenly prizes bravado and arrogance as sure signs of leadership. Public showmanship – like donning a flight suit in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner – is easy. Quiet, cool, competence that gets results – like pulling together an international coalition to protect civilians in Libya in record time – is hard.

It’s a bias we learn as kids. Our history books lionize war heroes, yet are often silent about the diplomats who prevented conflict.

QUIZ: What's your political IQ?

AccomplishmentsLet’s recall the herculean tasks Obama has already accomplished:

He stabilized the worst economy since the Great Depression. Though unemployment remains stubborn, the stock market is basically back to where it was before the global economic meltdown. His stimulus bill kept America humming and saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, while his rescue of General Motors saved an industrial icon.

His administration kept thousands of over-extended Americans from losing their homes by laboring mightily to forestall foreclosures.

In spite of ferocious opposition, he passed long-overdue reforms of our health-care system that had eluded the reach of many past presidents.

He signed into law a bold package of regulations to boost consumer protection and restrain Wall Street’s greed.

He negotiated a historic nuclear-arms reduction treaty with Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev.

Forgetting these and other accomplishments, the public has regrettably bought into the corrosive and dishonest campaign to degrade Obama. Goebbels-style nihilism that rejects anything Obama does as odious remains a powerful narrative.

The good news is that Obama’s shrewd and calculated management of the hunt for bin Laden shows how hollow these critiques are.

For months, Obama discreetly oversaw the raid. He should be praised for concealing US intentions from the Pakistanis, who seemed willfully blind about bin Laden’s whereabouts.

Compare Obama’s stealth with his predecessor’s search for bin Laden. George W. Bush was embarrassingly gullible dealing with the Pakistanis. According to Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and senior adviser to four presidents on the Middle East, Bush 43 was too easily “dazzled” by Pakistan’s former president, Pervez Musharraf.

In 2002, Mr. Musharraf assured Washington that bin Laden was almost certainly dead. Later, Musharraf’s government hinted to the Bush administration that bin Laden was on a kidney dialysis machine, half dead in a cave in Afghanistan.

In his book “Deadly Embrace,” Mr. Riedel quotes former Afghan Foreign Minister Abdallah Abdallah saying, “Musharraf skillfully played the American administration, throwing ‘dust in Bush’s eyes.’ ”

Good tasteGood taste is another facet of leadership. Contrast the way the Bush administration orchestrated a public trial and execution of Saddam Hussein, turning it into a vulgar spectacle, with Obama’s shrewd refusal to publish photos of bin Laden’s body. His announcement of bin Laden’s death was restrained and sober, not at all celebratory – the right note to conclude a sensitive military operation. Obama’s later visit to ground zero was a fitting bookend to a sad chapter in United States history.

IN PICTURES: Obama in Britain

Obama’s hawkish critics chide him for allegedly “sitting on the sidelines” during recent uprisings in Yemen, Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and Syria. Take it from someone who has reported from across the Middle East: Sitting out potential Arab civil wars isn’t abdication of leadership; it is wisdom.

And yet, when facing near-certain humanitarian disaster, Obama wisely and rapidly put together a broad NATO coalition to deal with the Libyan revolt while keeping American involvement to a minimum – no boots on the ground and no dead Americans.

It’s true that Obama hasn’t made tackling the debt a priority. But when Republicans controlled the White House and Congress for much of the past decade, US debt exploded. On that issue, the public will have to lead.

A friend, a center-right voter, told me recently, “The reason I voted for Obama is because he has no hatred in him.” In another era of divisive bitterness, Lincoln preached, “[w]ith malice toward none, with charity toward all.” It’s worth noting how closely Obama’s philosophy of leadership approaches that.

Walter Rodgers, a former senior international correspondent for CNN, writes a biweekly column.

4036  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The new Pelosi on: May 31, 2011, 01:38:09 PM
Not speaker of house but DNC chair.  I guess saying moron things is a prerequisite for Dem party leaders:

DNC Chair: Republicans Believe Illegal Immigration 'Should be a Crime'
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
By Fred Lucas
( – Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, denounced Republicans last week for believing illegal immigration “should in fact be a crime.”

“I think the president was clearly articulating that his position--the Democratic position--is that we need comprehensive immigration reform,” said Wasserman Schultz at a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast on May 26.

“We have 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country that are part of the backbone of our economy and this is not only a reality but a necessity," she said. "And that it would be harmful--the Republican solution that I’ve seen in the last three years is that we should just pack them all up and ship them back to their own countries and that in fact it should be a crime and we should arrested them all.”

The comment has drawn attention among conservative commentators and bloggers. During the comments, the chairwoman referred to legislation in 2006 by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) that would increase border enforcement and make illegal immigration a criminal offense instead of a civil matter.

However, the Senate bill immunized illegal aliens from being prosecuted for document fraud, a felony, and did not stop the practice of allowing illegal aliens eventually granted legal residency to go back and claim credit with the Social Security Administration for work they did as an illegal. These provisions were in sections 601 and 614 of the McCain-Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform bill.

At the same Christian Science Monitor breakfast, Wasserman Schultz said, “If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars; they would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes.”

The Hill newspaper quickly reported that Wasserman Schultz owns a 2010 Infiniti FX35, a Japanese car whose parent company is Nissan. The newspaper cited Florida motor vehicle records.

Further during the breakfast, she stressed that support for Israel should not become a partisan issue, and believed that Republicans were trying to make it one. But she referenced President Barack Obama as “probably” being pro-Israel.

“One of the most tremendous sources of pride for me is that I am the first Jewish woman to represent the state of Florida in Congress. And another tremendous source of pride is that I am a pro-Israel Jewish member of Congress and I probably support a president that is pro-Israel,” Wasserman Schultz said.

“What I think is unfortunate and what I suggested along with others, including members of the Republican Jewish Coalition that are not the executive director of that organization, that we need to make sure that like AIPAC pushes for, like Jewish Federation pushes for, like ADL [Anti-Defamation League] and every major Jewish organization pushes for in this country, we need to make sure that Israel never becomes a partisan issue,” she said.

The new chairwoman has made a number of attention grabbing comments. In an April 6 interview on MSNBC, Wasserman Shultz voiced her opposition to the proposal by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to reduce the deficit by $6 trillion in 10 years.

“This plan would literally be a death trap for some seniors,” Wasserman Schultz said.

The word literally is defined as meaning actual or not figuratively speaking.

Last week she said on MSNBC, that the passage of the health care law has strengthened Medicare.

“In fact, we added 12 years of solvency to Medicare and ensure that it would be better for senior,” she said on Andrea Mitchell Reports on May 25.

That’s contrary to the assessment of the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan accounting arm of Congress that predicted the Medicare trust fund will be exhausted by 2020 at the current path, almost a decade sooner than the last year’s forecast. is not funded by the government like NPR. is not funded by the government like PBS.

4037  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Ben Rush - "father" of American psychiatry on: May 31, 2011, 01:32:08 PM
Rush, Benjamin
Rush, Benjamin 1760 (1746-1813) was a physician, teacher, and man of affairs who played a dramatic role in the early history of his country, his college, and his profession. A man of contradictions, he practiced and taught the backward medical art of bloodletting, yet was far ahead of his time in the care of the mentally ill. He was a vigorous foe of slavery and capital punishment, an advocate of better education for women and of free public schools. More than any other person he was responsible for bringing John Witherspoon to America as Princeton's sixth president.
He lost his father when he was six, and was brought up by his mother who kept a grocery shop in Philadelphia to help support and educate her seven children. When he was eight, he entered an academy conducted by his uncle, Samuel Finley (later president of Princeton) at Nottingham, Maryland, where he made such progress that on entering Princeton five years later he was admitted to the junior class; he graduated in 1760 when he was not quite fifteen.

Although of a pious nature, he did not think he would make a good minister. President Davies was inclined to think he should take up the law, but his uncle, Dr. Finley, persuaded him to study medicine with Dr. John Redmond in Philadelphia. He served an apprenticeship with Dr. Redmond for almost six years and attended the first lectures of Dr. John Morgan and Dr. William Shippen, Jr. 1754 in the newly formed medical department of the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania).

In the summer of 1766, when he was twenty, he sat up every night for several weeks with Dr. Finley, then president of the College, during his last illness, and ``finally performed the distressing office of closing his eyes.'' That fall he went to Edinburgh, Scotland, then the medical center of the world, where after two years of study, and some heroic experiments with emetics on his own person for his doctoral thesis on the digestion of food in the stomach, received his M.D. degree.

While in Scotland he rendered his alma mater an incalculable service, when in cooperation with Richard Stockton, a trustee, he persuaded John Witherspoon to come to America as Princeton's president. Stockton's authority and dignity were indispensable to the mission, but it was Rush's confident, audacious, and engaging youth that won the day. From Edinburgh, twenty-one-year-old Rush wrote forty-four-year-old Witherspoon ``your talents have been in some measure buried, but at Princeton they will be called into action, and the evening of your life will be much more effulgent than your brightest meridian days have been.'' When Witherspoon felt obliged to decline because of his wife's fear of leaving home -- the very mention of going to America made her physically ill -- Rush asked Witherspoon ``And must poor Nassau Hall be ruined?'' and ``Will you then suffer your sun to set so soon?'' A little later he urged Witherspoon to reconsider the Princeton invitation and offered to help him make another appeal to his wife. Soon, on Witherspoon's invitation, Rush spent several days with the Witherspoons at their home in Paisley. Shortly afterward a friend of Witherspoon wrote to Richard Stockton in Princeton that ``to Mr. Witherspoon's great satisfaction, his wife has at last given a calm hearing to Mr. Rush, argued the Matter with him, and received a satisfying Answer to all her objections; so that now she is willing if the Doctor is rechosen . . . to go with him without Grudge.'' Witherspoon was re-elected in due course and he and Mrs. Witherspoon came to America in August 1768.

Rush spent the following year in London, where he attended medical lectures, and in Paris. In London he was on friendly terms with Benjamin Franklin, and at Benjamin West's dined with Sir Joshua Reynolds, who in turn had him to dinner with Samuel Johnson and Oliver Goldsmith. In Paris he met Diderot, who gave him a letter of introduction to David Hume.

Soon after his return home Rush was appointed to a chair of chemistry in the College of Philadelphia's medical department, thus becoming at the age of twenty-three the first professor of chemistry in America. He built up a large private practice, at first among the poor, but he found time to further other interests. He published a pamphlet on the iniquity of the slave trade, and helped organize the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, the first antislavery society in America; he later became its president. In the growing quarrel between the colonies and the mother country, he associated with such leaders as Thomas Paine, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. It was on his urging that Thomas Paine wrote a strong tract on behalf of complete American independence to which he gave the title, suggested by Rush, Common Sense.

In the summer of 1775 while visiting President Witherspoon and Richard Stockton in Princeton, he met Stockton's sixteen-year-old daughter, Julia. The following January, a few days after his thirtieth birthday, he and Julia were married by the Reverend President Witherspoon. Less than seven months later, the bridegroom, who had been elected a delegate to the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania, joined his father-in-law and Dr. Witherspoon, both delegates from New Jersey, in signing the Declaration of Independence.

While Surgeon-General of the Middle Department of the Army during the Revolution, Rush became outraged by the conditions he found in army hospitals and, failing to get the remedial action he sought from the director general, Dr. Shippen (his former teacher), he sent a protest to General Washington, accusing Dr. Shippen of maladministration. Washington referred the protest to Congress, which ruled in favor of Shippen, and Rush resigned his commission. Rush lost confidence in Washington's ability and became associated indirectly with the Conway cabal to replace him; later he deeply regretted this action, and supported Washington politically.

Returning to Philadelphia, Rush resumed his practice, his teaching, and his humanitarian endeavors. At the medical school of the College of Philadelphia, he added courses on the theory and practice of medicine to his lectures in chemistry, and became the most admired teacher of medicine in Philadelphia, then the medical center of America. All told, he taught more than three thousand medical students, who carried his influence to every corner of the growing nation.

Rush founded the Philadelphia Dispensary for the relief of the poor, the first of its kind in the United States, and for many years gave it hours of service without pay. He also founded Dickinson College, was one of the charter trustees of Franklin College (later Franklin and Marshall), and -- being persuaded of the importance of removing ``the present disparity which subsists between the sexes in the degrees of their education and knowledge'' -- became an ardent incorporator of the Young Ladies Academy in Philadelphia.

He worked heroically during the yellow fever epidemic of 1793; although he was severely censured for his stubborn reliance on bloodletting, his account of the epidemic published the following year won him recognition by several European learned societies.

His greatest contributions to medical science were the reforms he instituted in the care of the mentally ill during his thirty years of service as a senior physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital. In the words of one of his biographers, Dr. Carl Binger, a psychiatrist, ``he took on heroic stature,'' substituting kindness and compassion for cruelty, and replacing routine reliance on archaic procedures by careful clinical observation and study. The year before he died, he published Medical Inquiries and Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind, the first textbook on psychiatry in America, which Dr. Binger called ``the crowning achievement of his professional life.''

Benjamin and Julia Rush had thirteen children; one of them, Richard Rush 1797, served as cabinet officer or ambassador under four presidents.

In 1837 some of Rush's former students founded a medical college in Chicago, which they named for him. The American Psychiatric Association, whose official seal bears Rush's portrait, placed a bronze plaque at his grave in Philadelphia in 1965, designating him the ``Father of American Psychiatry.''

From Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).
Go to Search A Princeton Companion
4038  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wasserman Schultz on: May 27, 2011, 09:00:54 AM
Born and bred on the Democrat party.  Pelosi gone.  Now another woman who plays the sex card every chance she opens her mouth.
The female version of Chuck Schumer:
4039  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: May 26, 2011, 02:17:01 PM
Crafty wrote: "... just what are the standards for determining the line between state and federal responsibility in this sort of thing?"
"I would add that charity and neighborly assistance used to be the norm."

Doug & Crafty,  great point about this.  I am not certain when it became a political necessity for the Prez to fly arond showing how he feels everyone's pain but it must have become a high art form aka Clinton.  

Now we also have the liberal media disaster squad led by Anderson Cooper flying to every disaster in seconds demanding for the Feds to role in the military rescue crews at once replete with housing, TV dinners(a comment you made some years back on the DMG board during Katrina), unemployment forms etc.  

Bigdog's point about the horror of it all is well stated.  But I kind of tend to agree with Doug that I am not convinced this need be a Federal responsibility.

Of course any President who denies Fed assistance is demogagued, unless you are the Democratic Prez who is denying poltical adversaries who the MSM dislikes (Texas).
4040  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NY race/referendum?Dem plant?/TeaParty problem4 Repubs? on: May 25, 2011, 11:21:15 AM
Tea Party lost the race for Republicans?  Interesting the spoiler in this race is Jack Davis the Tea Party candidate that got several % of the vote while Repub candidate lost ~ 48- 44.  This guy Davis was (is?) a Democrat.  On the other hand if Americans really cannot accept some adjustments to Medicare while it is going broke as we speak then this country really is screwed. 

****Ap Special Correspondent – Tue May 24, 10:56 pm ET
WASHINGTON – Little more than a month after they backed sweeping changes to Medicare, Republicans are on the political defensive, losing a House seat long in their possession and exhibiting significant internal strains for the first time since last fall's election gains.

"We've got to get beyond this," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said recently after several days of back and forth over the proposal he authored and included in the budget that cleared on a party line vote. "And we've got to get onto a serious conversation about what it takes to fix the fiscal problems in this country."

Under Ryan's proposal, Medicare would remain unchanged for those 55 or older, including the millions who now receive health care under the program. Anyone younger would be required to obtain coverage from a private insurer, with the government providing a subsidy to cover part of the cost of premiums.

In the weeks since the budget cleared, President Barack Obama led a Democratic attack and GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich sharply criticized Ryan's proposal before apologizing a day or two later.

On Tuesday night, Republicans suffered a reversal at the ballot box, losing a House seat long in their possession in upstate New York. The Democratic winner in the multi-candidate race, Kathy Hochul, attacked her Republican rival over Medicare.

Her party and its allies did the same and promised much more of the same strategy in 2012, as Republicans insisted they were not worried.

"To predict the future based on the results of this unusual race is naive and risky," Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, chairman of the House Republican campaign committee, said in a statement that made no mention of Medicare.

While defending his plan in Wisconsin and nationally, Ryan said he is open to changes, and a Senate vote tentatively set for this week on rival budgets has produced two Republican defections so far. Additionally, Republicans say they know of no plans to seek passage of legislation to implement the proposal.

With Congress just back from a week's vacation, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., indicated Monday that Republicans want to change the subject. Without mentioning Medicare, he said the House majority has been focusing recently on "how to address the deficit (by) cutting back on the expenditures."

Now, he said, the GOP will present a "growth agenda."

Several strategists in both parties said in recent interviews the Republican proposals for Medicare are viewed more favorably when they are presented as part of a larger effort to fix the economy and create jobs.

For their part, Obama and other Democrats criticize the GOP proposal in narrow terms, an attack on a program that provides health care to millions.

Obama called the approach radical — the same term Gingrich used. Republicans want "to end Medicare as we know it," the president told an audience of invited guests, Ryan and other GOP lawmakers among them.

Privately, Republicans cite polling suggesting the Democratic charges are finding a receptive audience.

In one private poll circulated among Republicans in the past few weeks, 46 percent of those surveyed said they believed the GOP blueprint would reduce benefits for those over 55, including current beneficiaries. Another 41 percent said they believed it would not.

Beyond the polling and the rhetoric, Democrats seized on the special House election in a conservative New York district between Rochester and Buffalo to test-market their attacks.

The Democratic candidate, Kathy Hochul, aired ads that said she wants to reduce government spending, but Republican rival Jane Corwin favors Medicare cuts "to pay for more tax cuts for multimillionaires." The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and an outside group, the House Majority PAC, aired ads making a similar charge.

Corwin counterattacked, accusing Hochul of wanting to cut Social Security as well as Medicare.

Fearing defeat, the National Republican Congressional Committee has spent more than $400,000 on campaign activities. It aired an ad reminiscent of commercials that aired in 2010, and linked Hochul to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

In addition, American Crossroads, a GOP-aligned group, has spent nearly $700,000, much of it attacking Jack Davis, the third candidate in the race. A one-time Democrat, he ran as a tea party advocate.

"Jack Davis' presence is the only reason this is a competitive race," Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, said before the polls closed.

He said Medicare had not had an impact except that "Jane Corwin has shown that Republicans need to fight back on Medicare and call Democrats out for their scare tactics."

Democrats disputed that.

"I'm not saying we're going to win this but the fact that this is a competitive race in one of the most Republican districts in the country shows how Medicare is shaping" the campaign, Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said before the results were known.

The issue "was a game changer," he said.

Win or lose, Democrats say they intend to take the issue into the 2012 campaign.

"This is a vote tabulation that you will see over and over again," Pelosi, D-Calif., said recently, referring to the 235-193 roll call that passed the budget. Only four Republicans opposed the measure, and no Democrats voted in its favor.

Ryan said last weekend he would "of course" be amenable to changing his proposal, and added, "This is the legislative process. But let's be clear: We are the only ones who have put out a plan to fix this problem" of soaring federal debt.

While Democrats have been relentless in attacking the proposal, Gingrich stirred controversy when he contrasted Ryan's approach to the new health care law Obama won from Congress.

"I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a good way for a free society to operate," he said.

Criticized by fellow conservatives, Gingrich called Ryan to apologize. But a week later, he said he still opposes the Wisconsin lawmaker's call for denying those under 55 access to the current Medicare system.****

4041  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Scientific American: Muller on climate change on: May 24, 2011, 03:11:40 PM
4042  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 24, 2011, 01:12:59 PM
"where do you start in negotiations with these people?"

Similar to the Roman general:

"You want peace we will give you peace."   (And I will add: we prefer this.)

"You want war we will give you war."  (And I add: we will wipe you out.)

As Morris said Obama is asking Jews to choose between:

the Democrat party or

another holocaust wherein 6.5 million Jews will be again murdered.

It really is this plain and simple.

4043  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / part 3 on: May 23, 2011, 12:12:00 PM
The Failure of the American Jewish EstablishmentJune 10, 2010Peter BeinartE-mail Single Page Print Share ← 1 2 3 
Mohammed Saber/epa/Corbis

Palestinian boys standing on the rubble of buildings demolished by the Israeli army near the Israeli settlement of Netzarim, Gaza Strip, July 2004. The settlement was the last to be emptied as part of Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan in August 2005.
America’s Jewish leaders should think hard about that rally. Unless they change course, it portends the future: an American Zionist movement that does not even feign concern for Palestinian dignity and a broader American Jewish population that does not even feign concern for Israel. My own children, given their upbringing, could as easily end up among the booers as among Luntz’s focus group. Either prospect fills me with dread.

In 2004, in an effort to prevent weapons smuggling from Egypt, Israeli tanks and bulldozers demolished hundreds of houses in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. Watching television, a veteran Israeli commentator and politician named Tommy Lapid saw an elderly Palestinian woman crouched on all fours looking for her medicines amid the ruins of her home. He said she reminded him of his grandmother.

In that moment, Lapid captured the spirit that is suffocating within organized American Jewish life. To begin with, he watched. In my experience, there is an epidemic of not watching among American Zionists today. A Red Cross study on malnutrition in the Gaza Strip, a bill in the Knesset to allow Jewish neighborhoods to bar entry to Israeli Arabs, an Israeli human rights report on settlers burning Palestinian olive groves, three more Palestinian teenagers shot—it’s unpleasant. Rationalizing and minimizing Palestinian suffering has become a kind of game. In a more recent report on how to foster Zionism among America’s young, Luntz urges American Jewish groups to use the word “Arabs, not Palestinians,” since “the term ‘Palestinians’ evokes images of refugee camps, victims and oppression,” while “‘Arab’ says wealth, oil and Islam.”

Of course, Israel—like the United States—must sometimes take morally difficult actions in its own defense. But they are morally difficult only if you allow yourself some human connection to the other side. Otherwise, security justifies everything. The heads of AIPAC and the Presidents’ Conference should ask themselves what Israel’s leaders would have to do or say to make them scream “no.” After all, Lieberman is foreign minister; Effi Eitam is touring American universities; settlements are growing at triple the rate of the Israeli population; half of Israeli Jewish high school students want Arabs barred from the Knesset. If the line has not yet been crossed, where is the line?


What infuriated critics about Lapid’s comment was that his grandmother died at Auschwitz. How dare he defile the memory of the Holocaust? Of course, the Holocaust is immeasurably worse than anything Israel has done or ever will do. But at least Lapid used Jewish suffering to connect to the suffering of others. In the world of AIPAC, the Holocaust analogies never stop, and their message is always the same: Jews are licensed by their victimhood to worry only about themselves. Many of Israel’s founders believed that with statehood, Jews would rightly be judged on the way they treated the non-Jews living under their dominion. “For the first time we shall be the majority living with a minority,” Knesset member Pinchas Lavon declared in 1948, “and we shall be called upon to provide an example and prove how Jews live with a minority.”

But the message of the American Jewish establishment and its allies in the Netanyahu government is exactly the opposite: since Jews are history’s permanent victims, always on the knife-edge of extinction, moral responsibility is a luxury Israel does not have. Its only responsibility is to survive. As former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg writes in his remarkable 2008 book, The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes, “Victimhood sets you free.”

This obsession with victimhood lies at the heart of why Zionism is dying among America’s secular Jewish young. It simply bears no relationship to their lived experience, or what they have seen of Israel’s. Yes, Israel faces threats from Hezbollah and Hamas. Yes, Israelis understandably worry about a nuclear Iran. But the dilemmas you face when you possess dozens or hundreds of nuclear weapons, and your adversary, however despicable, may acquire one, are not the dilemmas of the Warsaw Ghetto. The year 2010 is not, as Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed, 1938. The drama of Jewish victimhood—a drama that feels natural to many Jews who lived through 1938, 1948, or even 1967—strikes most of today’s young American Jews as farce.

But there is a different Zionist calling, which has never been more desperately relevant. It has its roots in Israel’s Independence Proclamation, which promised that the Jewish state “will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew prophets,” and in the December 1948 letter from Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, and others to The New York Times, protesting right-wing Zionist leader Menachem Begin’s visit to the United States after his party’s militias massacred Arab civilians in the village of Deir Yassin. It is a call to recognize that in a world in which Jewish fortunes have radically changed, the best way to memorialize the history of Jewish suffering is through the ethical use of Jewish power.

For several months now, a group of Israeli students has been traveling every Friday to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where a Palestinian family named the Ghawis lives on the street outside their home of fifty-three years, from which they were evicted to make room for Jewish settlers. Although repeatedly arrested for protesting without a permit, and called traitors and self-haters by the Israeli right, the students keep coming, their numbers now swelling into the thousands. What if American Jewish organizations brought these young people to speak at Hillel? What if this was the face of Zionism shown to America’s Jewish young? What if the students in Luntz’s focus group had been told that their generation faces a challenge as momentous as any in Jewish history: to save liberal democracy in the only Jewish state on earth?

“Too many years I lived in the warm embrace of institutionalized elusiveness and was a part of it,” writes Avraham Burg. “I was very comfortable there.” I know; I was comfortable there too. But comfortable Zionism has become a moral abdication. Let’s hope that Luntz’s students, in solidarity with their counterparts at Sheikh Jarrah, can foster an uncomfortable Zionism, a Zionism angry at what Israel risks becoming, and in love with what it still could be. Let’s hope they care enough to try.

—May 12, 2010

Peter Beinart is Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York, a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and Senior Political Writer for The Daily Beast. His new book, The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris, will be published in June.

'The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment': An Exchange June 24, 2010

← 1 2 3 Also In This Issue
4044  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / pg2 on: May 23, 2011, 12:06:17 PM
The Failure of the American Jewish EstablishmentJune 10, 2010Peter BeinartE-mail Single Page Print Share ← 1 2 3 → 
Jim Hollander/epa/Corbis

The writer David Grossman, right, protesting with Palestinians and Israelis against the eviction of Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, April 9, 2010
You might think that such trends, and the sympathy for them expressed by some in Israel’s government, would occasion substantial public concern—even outrage—among the leaders of organized American Jewry. You would be wrong. In Israel itself, voices from the left, and even center, warn in increasingly urgent tones about threats to Israeli democracy. (Former Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak have both said that Israel risks becoming an “apartheid state” if it continues to hold the West Bank. This April, when settlers forced a large Israeli bookstore to stop selling a book critical of the occupation, Shulamit Aloni, former head of the dovish Meretz Party, declared that “Israel has not been democratic for some time now.”) But in the United States, groups like AIPAC and the Presidents’ Conference patrol public discourse, scolding people who contradict their vision of Israel as a state in which all leaders cherish democracy and yearn for peace.

The result is a terrible irony. In theory, mainstream American Jewish organizations still hew to a liberal vision of Zionism. On its website, AIPAC celebrates Israel’s commitment to “free speech and minority rights.” The Conference of Presidents declares that “Israel and the United States share political, moral and intellectual values including democracy, freedom, security and peace.” These groups would never say, as do some in Netanyahu’s coalition, that Israeli Arabs don’t deserve full citizenship and West Bank Palestinians don’t deserve human rights. But in practice, by defending virtually anything any Israeli government does, they make themselves intellectual bodyguards for Israeli leaders who threaten the very liberal values they profess to admire.

After Israel’s elections last February, for instance, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice-chairman of the Presidents’ Conference, explained that Avigdor Lieberman’s agenda was “far more moderate than the media has presented it.” Insisting that Lieberman bears no general animus toward Israeli Arabs, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “He’s not saying expel them. He’s not saying punish them.” (Permanently denying citizenship to their Arab spouses or jailing them if they publicly mourn on Israeli Independence Day evidently does not qualify as punishment.) The ADL has criticized anti-Arab bigotry in the past, and the American Jewish Committee, to its credit, warned that Lieberman’s proposed loyalty oath would “chill Israel’s democratic political debate.” But the Forward summed up the overall response of America’s communal Jewish leadership in its headline “Jewish Leaders Largely Silent on Lieberman’s Role in Government.”


Not only does the organized American Jewish community mostly avoid public criticism of the Israeli government, it tries to prevent others from leveling such criticism as well. In recent years, American Jewish organizations have waged a campaign to discredit the world’s most respected international human rights groups. In 2006, Foxman called an Amnesty International report on Israeli killing of Lebanese civilians “bigoted, biased, and borderline anti-Semitic.” The Conference of Presidents has announced that “biased NGOs include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Christian Aid, [and] Save the Children.” Last summer, an AIPAC spokesman declared that Human Rights Watch “has repeatedly demonstrated its anti-Israel bias.” When the Obama administration awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, former UN high commissioner for human rights, the ADL and AIPAC both protested, citing the fact that she had presided over the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. (Early drafts of the conference report implicitly accused Israel of racism. Robinson helped expunge that defamatory charge, angering Syria and Iran.)

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are not infallible. But when groups like AIPAC and the Presidents’ Conference avoid virtually all public criticism of Israeli actions—directing their outrage solely at Israel’s neighbors—they leave themselves in a poor position to charge bias. Moreover, while American Jewish groups claim that they are simply defending Israel from its foes, they are actually taking sides in a struggle within Israel between radically different Zionist visions. At the very moment the Anti-Defamation League claimed that Robinson harbored an “animus toward Israel,” an alliance of seven Israeli human rights groups publicly congratulated her on her award. Many of those groups, like B’Tselem, which monitors Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories, and the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights, have been at least as critical of Israel’s actions in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank as have Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

All of which raises an uncomfortable question. If American Jewish groups claim that Israel’s overseas human rights critics are motivated by anti- Israeli, if not anti-Semitic, bias, what does that say about Israel’s domestic human rights critics? The implication is clear: they must be guilty of self-hatred, if not treason. American Jewish leaders don’t generally say that, of course, but their allies in the Netanyahu government do. Last summer, Israel’s vice prime minister, Moshe Ya’alon, called the anti-occupation group Peace Now a “virus.” This January, a right-wing group called Im Tirtzu accused Israeli human rights organizations of having fed information to the Goldstone Commission that investigated Israel’s Gaza war. A Knesset member from Netanyahu’s Likud promptly charged Naomi Chazan, head of the New Israel Fund, which supports some of those human rights groups, with treason, and a member of Lieberman’s party launched an investigation aimed at curbing foreign funding of Israeli NGOs.

To their credit, Foxman and other American Jewish leaders opposed the move, which might have impaired their own work. But they are reaping what they sowed. If you suggest that mainstream human rights criticism of Israel’s government is motivated by animus toward the state, or toward Jews in general, you give aid and comfort to those in Israel who make the same charges against the human rights critics in their midst.

In the American Jewish establishment today, the language of liberal Zionism—with its idioms of human rights, equal citizenship, and territorial compromise—has been drained of meaning. It remains the lingua franca in part for generational reasons, because many older American Zionists still see themselves as liberals of a sort. They vote Democratic; they are unmoved by biblical claims to the West Bank; they see average Palestinians as decent people betrayed by bad leaders; and they are secular. They don’t want Jewish organizations to criticize Israel from the left, but neither do they want them to be agents of the Israeli right.

These American Zionists are largely the product of a particular era. Many were shaped by the terrifying days leading up to the Six-Day War, when it appeared that Israel might be overrun, and by the bitter aftermath of the Yom Kippur War, when much of the world seemed to turn against the Jewish state. In that crucible, Israel became their Jewish identity, often in conjunction with the Holocaust, which the 1967 and 1973 wars helped make central to American Jewish life. These Jews embraced Zionism before the settler movement became a major force in Israeli politics, before the 1982 Lebanon war, before the first intifada. They fell in love with an Israel that was more secular, less divided, and less shaped by the culture, politics, and theology of occupation. And by downplaying the significance of Avigdor Lieberman, the settlers, and Shas, American Jewish groups allow these older Zionists to continue to identify with that more internally cohesive, more innocent Israel of their youth, an Israel that now only exists in their memories.

But these secular Zionists aren’t reproducing themselves. Their children have no memory of Arab armies massed on Israel’s border and of Israel surviving in part thanks to urgent military assistance from the United States. Instead, they have grown up viewing Israel as a regional hegemon and an occupying power. As a result, they are more conscious than their parents of the degree to which Israeli behavior violates liberal ideals, and less willing to grant Israel an exemption because its survival seems in peril. Because they have inherited their parents’ liberalism, they cannot embrace their uncritical Zionism. Because their liberalism is real, they can see that the liberalism of the American Jewish establishment is fake.

To sustain their uncritical brand of Zionism, therefore, America’s Jewish organizations will need to look elsewhere to replenish their ranks. They will need to find young American Jews who have come of age during the West Bank occupation but are not troubled by it. And those young American Jews will come disproportionately from the Orthodox world.

Because they marry earlier, intermarry less, and have more children, Orthodox Jews are growing rapidly as a share of the American Jewish population. According to a 2006 American Jewish Committee (AJC) survey, while Orthodox Jews make up only 12 percent of American Jewry over the age of sixty, they constitute 34 percent between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four. For America’s Zionist organizations, these Orthodox youngsters are a potential bonanza. In their yeshivas they learn devotion to Israel from an early age; they generally spend a year of religious study there after high school, and often know friends or relatives who have immigrated to Israel. The same AJC study found that while only 16 percent of non-Orthodox adult Jews under the age of forty feel “very close to Israel,” among the Orthodox the figure is 79 percent. As secular Jews drift away from America’s Zionist institutions, their Orthodox counterparts will likely step into the breach. The Orthodox “are still interested in parochial Jewish concerns,” explains Samuel Heilman, a sociologist at the City University of New York. “They are among the last ones who stayed in the Jewish house, so they now control the lights.”

But it is this very parochialism—a deep commitment to Jewish concerns, which often outweighs more universal ones—that gives Orthodox Jewish Zionism a distinctly illiberal cast. The 2006 AJC poll found that while 60 percent of non-Orthodox American Jews under the age of forty support a Palestinian state, that figure drops to 25 percent among the Orthodox. In 2009, when Brandeis University’s Theodore Sasson asked American Jewish focus groups about Israel, he found Orthodox participants much less supportive of dismantling settlements as part of a peace deal. Even more tellingly, Reform, Conservative, and unaffiliated Jews tended to believe that average Palestinians wanted peace, but had been ill-served by their leaders. Orthodox Jews, by contrast, were more likely to see the Palestinian people as the enemy, and to deny that ordinary Palestinians shared any common interests or values with ordinary Israelis or Jews.

Orthodox Judaism has great virtues, including a communal warmth and a commitment to Jewish learning unmatched in the American Jewish world. (I’m biased, since my family attends an Orthodox synagogue.) But if current trends continue, the growing influence of Orthodox Jews in America’s Jewish communal institutions will erode even the liberal-democratic veneer that today covers American Zionism. In 2002, America’s major Jewish organizations sponsored a large Israel solidarity rally on the Washington Mall. Up and down the east coast, yeshivas shut down for the day, swelling the estimated Orthodox share of the crowd to close to 70 percent. When the then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told the rally that “innocent Palestinians are suffering and dying as well,” he was booed.

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4045  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 23, 2011, 11:50:18 AM
 The Failure of the American Jewish EstablishmentJune 10, 2010Peter BeinartE-mail Single Page Print Share 1 2 3 → 
Benjamin Netanyahu; drawing by John Springs
In 2003, several prominent Jewish philanthropists hired Republican pollster Frank Luntz to explain why American Jewish college students were not more vigorously rebutting campus criticism of Israel. In response, he unwittingly produced the most damning indictment of the organized American Jewish community that I have ever seen.

The philanthropists wanted to know what Jewish students thought about Israel. Luntz found that they mostly didn’t. “Six times we have brought Jewish youth together as a group to talk about their Jewishness and connection to Israel,” he reported. “Six times the topic of Israel did not come up until it was prompted. Six times these Jewish youth used the word ‘they‘ rather than ‘us‘ to describe the situation.”

That Luntz encountered indifference was not surprising. In recent years, several studies have revealed, in the words of Steven Cohen of Hebrew Union College and Ari Kelman of the University of California at Davis, that “non-Orthodox younger Jews, on the whole, feel much less attached to Israel than their elders,” with many professing “a near-total absence of positive feelings.” In 2008, the student senate at Brandeis, the only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored university in America, rejected a resolution commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the Jewish state.

Luntz’s task was to figure out what had gone wrong. When he probed the students’ views of Israel, he hit up against some firm beliefs. First, “they reserve the right to question the Israeli position.” These young Jews, Luntz explained, “resist anything they see as ‘group think.’” They want an “open and frank” discussion of Israel and its flaws. Second, “young Jews desperately want peace.” When Luntz showed them a series of ads, one of the most popular was entitled “Proof that Israel Wants Peace,” and listed offers by various Israeli governments to withdraw from conquered land. Third, “some empathize with the plight of the Palestinians.” When Luntz displayed ads depicting Palestinians as violent and hateful, several focus group participants criticized them as stereotypical and unfair, citing their own Muslim friends.


Most of the students, in other words, were liberals, broadly defined. They had imbibed some of the defining values of American Jewish political culture: a belief in open debate, a skepticism about military force, a commitment to human rights. And in their innocence, they did not realize that they were supposed to shed those values when it came to Israel. The only kind of Zionism they found attractive was a Zionism that recognized Palestinians as deserving of dignity and capable of peace, and they were quite willing to condemn an Israeli government that did not share those beliefs. Luntz did not grasp the irony. The only kind of Zionism they found attractive was the kind that the American Jewish establishment has been working against for most of their lives.

Among American Jews today, there are a great many Zionists, especially in the Orthodox world, people deeply devoted to the State of Israel. And there are a great many liberals, especially in the secular Jewish world, people deeply devoted to human rights for all people, Palestinians included. But the two groups are increasingly distinct. Particularly in the younger generations, fewer and fewer American Jewish liberals are Zionists; fewer and fewer American Jewish Zionists are liberal. One reason is that the leading institutions of American Jewry have refused to foster—indeed, have actively opposed—a Zionism that challenges Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and toward its own Arab citizens. For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door, and now, to their horror, they are finding that many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead.

Morally, American Zionism is in a downward spiral. If the leaders of groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations do not change course, they will wake up one day to find a younger, Orthodox-dominated, Zionist leadership whose naked hostility to Arabs and Palestinians scares even them, and a mass of secular American Jews who range from apathetic to appalled. Saving liberal Zionism in the United States—so that American Jews can help save liberal Zionism in Israel—is the great American Jewish challenge of our age. And it starts where Luntz’s students wanted it to start: by talking frankly about Israel’s current government, by no longer averting our eyes.

Since the 1990s, journalists and scholars have been describing a bifurcation in Israeli society. In the words of Hebrew University political scientist Yaron Ezrahi, “After decades of what came to be called a national consensus, the Zionist narrative of liberation [has] dissolved into openly contesting versions.” One version, “founded on a long memory of persecution, genocide, and a bitter struggle for survival, is pessimistic, distrustful of non-Jews, and believing only in Jewish power and solidarity.” Another, “nourished by secularized versions of messianism as well as the Enlightenment idea of progress,” articulates “a deep sense of the limits of military force, and a commitment to liberal-democratic values.” Every country manifests some kind of ideological divide. But in contemporary Israel, the gulf is among the widest on earth.

As Ezrahi and others have noted, this latter, liberal-democratic Zionism has grown alongside a new individualism, particularly among secular Israelis, a greater demand for free expression, and a greater skepticism of coercive authority. You can see this spirit in “new historians” like Tom Segev who have fearlessly excavated the darker corners of the Zionist past and in jurists like former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak who have overturned Knesset laws that violate the human rights guarantees in Israel’s “Basic Laws.” You can also see it in former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s apparent willingness to relinquish much of the West Bank in 2000 and early 2001.

But in Israel today, this humane, universalistic Zionism does not wield power. To the contrary, it is gasping for air. To understand how deeply antithetical its values are to those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, it’s worth considering the case of Effi Eitam. Eitam, a charismatic ex–cabinet minister and war hero, has proposed ethnically cleansing Palestinians from the West Bank. “We’ll have to expel the overwhelming majority of West Bank Arabs from here and remove Israeli Arabs from [the] political system,” he declared in 2006. In 2008, Eitam merged his small Ahi Party into Netanyahu’s Likud. And for the 2009–2010 academic year, he is Netanyahu’s special emissary for overseas “campus engagement.” In that capacity, he visited a dozen American high schools and colleges last fall on the Israeli government’s behalf. The group that organized his tour was called “Caravan for Democracy.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman once shared Eitam’s views. In his youth, he briefly joined Meir Kahane’s now banned Kach Party, which also advocated the expulsion of Arabs from Israeli soil. Now Lieberman’s position might be called “pre-expulsion.” He wants to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Arabs who won’t swear a loyalty oath to the Jewish state. He tried to prevent two Arab parties that opposed Israel’s 2008–2009 Gaza war from running candidates for the Knesset. He said Arab Knesset members who met with representatives of Hamas should be executed. He wants to jail Arabs who publicly mourn on Israeli Independence Day, and he hopes to permanently deny citizenship to Arabs from other countries who marry Arab citizens of Israel.

You don’t have to be paranoid to see the connection between Lieberman’s current views and his former ones. The more you strip Israeli Arabs of legal protection, and the more you accuse them of treason, the more thinkable a policy of expulsion becomes. Lieberman’s American defenders often note that in theory he supports a Palestinian state. What they usually fail to mention is that for him, a two-state solution means redrawing Israel’s border so that a large chunk of Israeli Arabs find themselves exiled to another country, without their consent.

Lieberman served as chief of staff during Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister. And when it comes to the West Bank, Netanyahu’s own record is in its way even more extreme than his protégé’s. In his 1993 book, A Place among the Nations, Netanyahu not only rejects the idea of a Palestinian state, he denies that there is such a thing as a Palestinian. In fact, he repeatedly equates the Palestinian bid for statehood with Nazism. An Israel that withdraws from the West Bank, he has declared, would be a “ghetto-state” with “Auschwitz borders.” And the effort “to gouge Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] out of Israel” resembles Hitler’s bid to wrench the German-speaking “Sudeten district” from Czechoslovakia in 1938. It is unfair, Netanyahu insists, to ask Israel to concede more territory since it has already made vast, gut-wrenching concessions. What kind of concessions? It has abandoned its claim to Jordan, which by rights should be part of the Jewish state.

On the left of Netanyahu’s coalition sits Ehud Barak’s emasculated Labor Party, but whatever moderating potential it may have is counterbalanced by what is, in some ways, the most illiberal coalition partner of all, Shas, the ultra-Orthodox party representing Jews of North African and Middle Eastern descent. At one point, Shas—like some of its Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox counterparts—was open to dismantling settlements. In recent years, however, ultra-Orthodox Israelis, anxious to find housing for their large families, have increasingly moved to the West Bank, where thanks to government subsidies it is far cheaper to live. Not coincidentally, their political parties have swung hard against territorial compromise. And they have done so with a virulence that reflects ultra-Orthodox Judaism’s profound hostility to liberal values. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas’s immensely powerful spiritual leader, has called Arabs “vipers,” “snakes,” and “ants.” In 2005, after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon proposed dismantling settlements in the Gaza Strip, Yosef urged that “God strike him down.” The official Shas newspaper recently called President Obama “an Islamic extremist.”

Hebrew University Professor Ze’ev Sternhell is an expert on fascism and a winner of the prestigious Israel Prize. Commenting on Lieberman and the leaders of Shas in a recent Op-Ed in Haaretz, he wrote, “The last time politicians holding views similar to theirs were in power in post–World War II Western Europe was in Franco’s Spain.” With their blessing, “a crude and multifaceted campaign is being waged against the foundations of the democratic and liberal order.” Sternhell should know. In September 2008, he was injured when a settler set off a pipe bomb at his house.

Israeli governments come and go, but the Netanyahu coalition is the product of frightening, long-term trends in Israeli society: an ultra-Orthodox population that is increasing dramatically, a settler movement that is growing more radical and more entrenched in the Israeli bureaucracy and army, and a Russian immigrant community that is particularly prone to anti-Arab racism. In 2009, a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 53 percent of Jewish Israelis (and 77 percent of recent immigrants from the former USSR) support encouraging Arabs to leave the country. Attitudes are worst among Israel’s young. When Israeli high schools held mock elections last year, Lieberman won. This March, a poll found that 56 percent of Jewish Israeli high school students—and more than 80 percent of religious Jewish high school students—would deny Israeli Arabs the right to be elected to the Knesset. An education ministry official called the survey “a huge warning signal in light of the strengthening trends of extremist views among the youth.”

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4046  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 21, 2011, 12:05:29 PM
"They will be supporting leftism over color"

Exactly.  We must not conclude the Blacks are so overwhelmingly supporting Bama because he is black but because he is for liberalism and confiscation/redistribution of wealth. 

Evidence speaking to this is their previous support for Clinton throughout the 90's.

Further evidence is their relative silence for any Black who happens to be conservative - Colin Powell (in the past), West, Cain, Condolezza Rice, etc.  It is remarkable to see the adoration of Michelle Bama from the hoards of minorities yet we/I (at least) do not recall ever seeing one picture of them ever adulating any conservative Black with incredible achievements.

To them conservative Blacks are Uncle Toms.  IMO they shoot themselves in the head by doing this.  The progressive movement is destroying America JUST when the Blacks are finally achieving their due.  Their support of illegals because illegals and their kids tend to support Democratic party issues is definitely suicidal.  The people from overseas are not interested in American Blacks.  Indeed they just want the money and the pie and many clearly are not interested in American values at all that I can see.


It is the money (economy) stupid. 
4047  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: May 20, 2011, 04:21:44 PM
"I don't have that word jumping out at me when I see her speak"

My thought exactly.  cheesy

Perhaps there is some sort of analogy with Nancy Pelosi here?

Everytime I ever heard Nancy Pelosi speak all I could think of is how in the world could this idiot become speaker of the House of Representatives.  ONe could only conclude she has some genious talent to get things done behind the scenes that is not reflected in her public personna. huh

Perhaps Bachman is a real talent behind the scenes that we don't see.  Morris points out SHE is the one running the Tea party movement in Congress.  If she is really the genius he describes her as, we should, I think expect her to get better and better.

I hope he is right.
4048  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Morris on Bachman on: May 20, 2011, 02:45:48 PM
I listened with astonishment to hear Morris call Bachman "brilliant" on O'Reilly yesterday.  Even Bill asked, "brilliant?"
Perhaps Morris sees more than I do.  I certainly hope he is right.  Perhaps she has more potential than I have see:

OTOH is Morris just bucking for a job?
4049  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Newt Gingrich on: May 20, 2011, 10:33:30 AM
"Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it"

Good point.  There is no easy answer to this.

Some claim health care is a right.  Laws mandate Emergency departments treat people no matter what their coverage or  lack thereof or ability to pay.

So in the end we pay for those who do not buy their health care and end of with an acute illness that could cost huge amounts.  Unless they find the way to pay for it.  And we all know how that works.

The only other way is we do go after people to pay their bills and it remains their repsonsibility to get the money.  If they declare bankruptcy the rest of us are screwed.

People don't get insurance because they can't pay for it, can't get it (preexisting condition), or take a chance.

But all these groups know they can show up in an ER and they will get treated.

As a society the MSM will have us believe that "we all agree" that we must help people without insurance or not.  Indeed, they act as though we are all for covering even illegals.  I am not so sure that most people do feel this way but maybe.  Then again there are far more people of the "rich should pay crowd" than the latter.
4050  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: May 20, 2011, 09:48:15 AM
It will be interesting to see MSLSD spin the story in a way that shows Bmaster is commited to Israel.
I assume they will have Tom Freidman on giving us a  lecture.  Of course Zakaria on CNN who it was revealed gives advice to the Bamster, the one who "looks like me", stated Zakaria will of course rationalize the brilliance of his Harvard buddy's handling of all foreign policy issues.

Soros of course is probably ecstatic over this.  He clearly blames Israel for the middle east mess. 

Again I am not afraid to say he is one Jew who makes me disgusted.

Like an Italian who feels the mafia gives their people a bad name.
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