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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: November 25, 2013, 05:12:58 AM

I think I just saw flying pigs!  cheesy
202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / first term on: November 25, 2013, 05:09:38 AM

Despite all the lamentations about Barack Obama having second-term blues and bad luck, and the talk about how a painful second term is not atypical, it’s what happened during the first term that matters most. With the exception of possible exogenous events, a president’s first term defines his second one. The enormous difficulties that Obama is having with his signature issue, the health care law, are the shining example of how that can work. Almost everything that has gone wrong with the program was set in motion in the early years of his presidency.

The first term is when the president makes fateful decisions about what kind of people he wants in his White House, how he wants them organized, the nature and role of his cabinet members (are they essentially staff, as most tend to be in the Obama administration?), which initiatives he selects as his most important, whether he builds a strong cadre of outside allies, how he deals with the Congress and how hard he is willing to fight for what he wants.

Not unlike some other presidents, Obama essentially surrounded himself in the White House with his campaign staff, or others he knew well, rather than finding people experienced in governing. Newly elected presidents pay a heavy price if they are themselves inexperienced in governing and select top staff who lack a broad sense of what it means to run a federal government.

The shock of adjusting to the presidency—the myriad amounts of information and decisions to be made thrown at them—hits most newcomers. Where to begin? Which decisions to tell your staff are presidential-level ones and which ones are they to work out on their own? How much authority to give to the cabinet—a set of relationships that is almost always fraught. Only if a newly elected president has served as vice president or in a tiny number of other high offices can he have been given a prior sense of the vast chasm between running for president and being president. There is a lot of talk these days that former governors are the only ones who are truly prepared to occupy the oval office. But that’s hogwash. To my knowledge none have a Pentagon to run, or a raft of foreign policy decisions coming at them every day, or fifty sub-states and a potentially obdurate Congress to deal with. There is no training for the presidency.

Barack Obama had an unfathomable inability, beginning in his early years in office, to grasp the difference between campaigning and governing—and for that he’s been paying a fearful price in his second term. Campaigning and governing call for different kinds of rhetoric. For some reason, Obama never got control of the health care argument. He cited its attractive provisions many times, but he just didn’t get through.

As for his promise that if people liked their health insurance policy they could keep it, former aides say that they were uneasily aware that it was misleading, or oversimplified. But they figured that it represented a small slice of the probably large group who would eagerly sign up for the new plan. They also figured that if the federal website was working the way it should, most people would be aware they had access to better options. They didn’t come clean that some people were going to lose out under the new plan. The president, now on the defensive, and almost groveling, remained unable to get across the enormous benefits of providing some 30 million uninsured people with coverage.

Fateful decisions made in the first term reflected Obama’s lack of understanding of what it meant to govern. Early on, I received a startling insight into how the Obama White House approached working with Congress. I asked a senior presidential aide why the White House hadn’t sent up its own health care legislation, so that there would be something coherent to start with and more leverage. His reply: “Because any time we lost a provision that would be seen as a loss.” This was a most unusual way to deal with Congress—tying one’s own hands at the outset.

As the health care legislation moved through Congress, Obama and his top aides became swallowed up in the details. Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s first chief of staff, had much to recommend him: he’d served in the Clinton White House and been a member of Congress. But he was an inside man, buried in the maw of the legislation—and apparently unable to see the big picture. Moreover, it’s virtually impossible for Congress to write a coherent complex piece of legislation. In this case, particularly large interests are at play: the insurance companies (who would still play the major role as insurers), manufacturers of medical equipment, hospitals, drug companies, religious organizations—and without its own bill the administration had limited leverage over numerous strong-minded legislators. Five hundred and thirty five people are unlikely to produce a fine Swiss watch.

But Obama and his staff’s failures at governing led to the disastrous roll-out of the exchanges. Simply put: they went about it all wrong. Such a major part of the president’s signature initiative should never have been assigned to the multilayered bureaucracy, however honorable and well-intended its people are. Obama needed to put in charge a single strong figure who could go straight to him and was known to have his backing—and, obviously, knew enough about the complexities of such a large high tech program. The president needed to be kept very informed as to where matters stood. (The White House put about after the calamity became clear to the public that the president had occasionally asked how things were going; this wasn’t reassuring.) Short of appointing a strong outside person, the president could have relied on a figure such as Joe Califano, Lyndon Johnson’s chief domestic policy adviser, to be on top of the implementation and raise hell if the people charged with building the exchanges weren’t doing the job.

It remains unclear to this day who in the Obama White House was responsible for seeing to it that the program was on schedule and working as it should—or if anyone was. There’s no sign that the president’s serial chiefs of staff—after Emanuel, who left in October, 2010, and then Bill Daley, Jack Lew, and now Dennis McDonough—were engaged in any meaningful way.

Another misfire was the brobdingnagian nature of the Obama plan, like that of the Clintons’ plan before it: wonks were in charge and there seems to have been little checking to see if real people could handle it. While the Affordable Care Act was moving through Congress, White House aides explained that it would all be very simple: the consumer would go online and pick out a health plan from among choices—just as, they said, people do with Expedia. Quite apart from the federal web site’s own flaws, the Obama plan suffered from an overestimation of computer literacy among the public at large.

Finally, the president’s offhanded way of dealing with Congress in the first term has weakened his hand with members of his own party in the second term, at precisely the point when he needs them most. The very self-contained Obama, less needy than many of his predecessors, and his impatience with some of the folderol of politics—albeit it’s his chosen line of work—left him with few senators or House members, or even outside groups, who would go to the barricades for him when he needed them in the second term. One can understand and even sympathize with Obama’s view of listening to tedious people who lecture him on how things should be done (they might actually know more than he, but he doesn’t care to be told), but it’s been very costly for him.

The health care law is a delicate instrument, built on sets of assumptions which may not pan out, or which could be undermined if out of panic the president or Congress fiddles with the law. The anecdotes about people losing their policies have frequently been over-simplified, but make for more dramatic news stories than the advances already achieved under the law; there’s been little attention to the already slowing rate of growth in the cost of health care—one of the law’s major goals.

Obama’s governing style in his first term lit the fuse for his second term. Politically-driven decisions on the health care law along with a failure to understand some of the rudiments of governing have resulted in his current difficulties. It’s far from over of course, but should his proudest achievement fail to work—its outcome not at all certain at this point—the rest of what he does in his second term may not matter much.
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: November 23, 2013, 04:04:34 PM
A) You are quite welcome. You made a good point, and I saw an article that supported it.

B) Yep. 2 things: 1, I've been arguing for a while here and elsewhere that if/when the Dems used the Nuke option they would eventually rue the day. I still feel this way. We'll see in a year or so if the GOP reverts to the old filibuster rule. It will be their option, I think... and I doubt they do.
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: November 23, 2013, 12:18:14 PM
Another strand here is that the DC circuit court overseas most regulatory matters.  Currently it is 4-4 with three vacant seats.  With Baraq getting to appoint 3 judges that becomes a 7-4 virtual sure thing for expansion of bureaucratic liberal fascism.

Of course I get that we should not play situational ethics, I but note the situational ethics of the Dems in this play.

On your first point:

On your second, let's recall that the GOP wanted the rules change in '05. Both parties are guilty of "situational ethics."
205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: November 23, 2013, 07:30:49 AM
As the officer in question was doing the work of the DEA, it seems to me that the original 9th circuit panel got it right. That said, I am going to ask a friend who has a practice in this (approximate) area who I hope to have a discussion with.

GM, do you have any thoughts on this?
206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sebelius is the Big Loser in Today's Filibuster Game-Changer on: November 23, 2013, 02:22:40 AM

From the article:

Problems exist in HHS. No one denies it. However, for many appointees in the Department, the Senate rules served as a life preserver in a torrent of poor implementation, managerial failures, and bad PR. So long as the president faced the prospect of long-term vacancies among appointees overseeing ACA, the HHS leadership would be spared.

Today, that all changed. Moving forward, President Obama needs the support of only 51 Senate Democrats to replace top-level political appointees throughout the executive branch. This offers the president substantial breathing room. Nominees no longer need the support of every Democrat and a scarcely identifiable five Republicans. Instead, nominees can draw the ire of as many as four Democrats and still be confirmed
207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Chess ammo on: November 22, 2013, 07:30:59 AM   cool cool
208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / egad on: November 22, 2013, 07:09:10 AM
Man... you guys are going to "love" this:

From the article:

But personal jurisdiction is exactly what the Supreme Court will consider on Monday, when it hears oral arguments in Walden v. Fiore. At issue in the case is whether Fiore and Gipson can sue a Georgia police officer working as a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent in federal district court in Nevada for seizing their funds without probable cause and holding the money for more than six months before it was returned to them.
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A New Model for Defense Intelligence on: November 22, 2013, 04:57:47 AM
210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Myth of Easy War on: November 22, 2013, 04:09:19 AM

From the article:

In the acolytes' telling, overcoming anti-access can only be accomplished by the technical services -- that, is the Air Force and the Navy -- fighting through sophisticated defenses, which requires massive investments. They then assume away any chance of ground operations. Precision strikes and distant blockades will spare us the mess of combat. The conclusion is to slash the Army, freeing up money for Big Navy and Air Force. Risk is minimal since the Army is easily expandable.

The story is tight and marketable and has just one shortfall: It does not work. Shock and Awe substitutes problems that can be solved by a target list for the thorny questions that U.S. global security interests naturally pose. It appeals to our natural desire for a quick-fix solution that keeps us arm's length from strategic entanglement. It makes us feel good, even if it is totally inadequate and unaffordable in the long run.
211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / the (near) death of the filibuster on: November 21, 2013, 01:12:36 PM
212  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / bus driver is 'selfless heroine' on: November 21, 2013, 09:44:03 AM
213  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dog Howie: Rest in Peace----RIP on: November 21, 2013, 09:40:00 AM
I was thinking of Howie this morning. As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to thank him for being part of my journey. I hope you are resting well, warrior.
214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Ginsburg interview on: November 18, 2013, 07:20:38 PM

From last year.
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Thomas interviews on: November 18, 2013, 07:20:00 PM

From last week.
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Three’s a crowd on: November 18, 2013, 06:51:41 AM

From the article:

... the Clintons have their own agenda and it is not identical to Obama’s.
217  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: November 18, 2013, 05:06:35 AM
May I ask how old this article is? I find it surprising in light of,0,686331.story. That said, there may be follow up issues in Illinois I am not aware of.
218  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Sour Stench of Promoter Greed on: November 17, 2013, 07:20:16 PM

From the article:

At the end of his title fight with Johny Hendricks, Georges St-Pierre was not right in the head. Already looking like he'd repeatedly run his face into a wall, St-Pierre showed an even scarier sign of the damage he had sustained. In his corner, preparing to step back into the fray against the hardest puncher in his division, GSP asked a telling question:

"What round is it?"
219  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Rest in Peace RIP R.I.P. on: November 16, 2013, 02:28:38 PM
My condolences, Guro.
220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / on Krauthammer on: November 16, 2013, 08:33:51 AM
As I've said before, I sincerely enjoy reading Krauthammer.
221  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Bartitsu on: November 15, 2013, 06:42:27 AM

222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Goldsmith on nat'l. security law and press on: November 15, 2013, 06:19:39 AM
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / partisan divide in the Senate on: November 14, 2013, 05:47:04 PM
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / partisan divide in the Senate on: November 14, 2013, 02:02:49 PM
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / from an email... on: November 14, 2013, 01:37:23 PM
Affordable Boat Act

The U.S. government has just passed a new law called: "The affordable boat
act" declaring that every citizen MUST purchase a new boat, by April 2014.
These "affordable" boats will cost an average of $54,000-$155,000 each.
This does not include taxes, trailers, towing fees, licensing and registration
fees, fuel, docking and storage fees, maintenance or repair costs.

This law has been passed, because until now, typically only wealthy and
financially responsible people have been able to purchase boats. This new
laws ensures that every American can now have a "affordable" boat of their
own, because everyone is "entitled" to a new boat. If you purchase your
boat before the end of the year, you will receive 4 "free" life jackets; not
including monthly usage fees.

In order to make sure everyone purchases an affordable boat, the costs of
owning a boat will increase on average of 250-400% per year. This way,
wealthy people will pay more for something that other people do not want or
can not afford to maintain. But to be fair, people who can not afford to maintain
their boat will be regularly fined and children (under the age of 26) can
use their parents boats to party on until they turn 27; then must purchase
their own boat.

If you already have a boat, you can keep yours (just kidding; no you
can not). If you do not want or do not need a boat, you are required to buy one
anyhow. If you refuse to buy one or can not afford one, you will be regularly fined
$800 until you purchase one or face imprisonment.

Failure to use the boat will also result in fines. People living in the
desert; ghettos; inner cities or areas with no access to lakes are not
exempt. Age, motion sickness, experience, knowledge nor lack of desire are
acceptable excuses for not using your boat.

A government review board (that does not know the difference between the
port, starboard or stern of a boat) will decide everything, including; when,
where, how often and for what purposes you can use your boat along with
how many people can ride your boat and determine if one is too old or healthy
enough to be able to use their boat. They will also decide if your boat
has out lived its usefulness or if you must purchase specific accessories, (like
a $500 compass) or a newer and more expensive boat.

Those that can afford yachts will be required to do is only fair.
The government will also decide the name for each boat. Failure to comply with
these rules will result in fines and possible imprisonment.

Government officials are exempt from this new law. If they want a boat,
they and their families can obtain boats free, at the expense of tax payers.
Unions, bankers and mega companies with large political affiliations ($$$)
are also exempt.

If the government can force you to buy health care, they can force you to buy a boat....or ANYTHING else.. is that stupid...
226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jeh Johnson hearing on: November 14, 2013, 10:32:38 AM
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Origination Clause to Obamacare on: November 13, 2013, 06:48:22 AM
I think it was Doug. It appears to be in a different circuit (DC this time; 2nd (I think) in the first case).

I thought someone (BD?) posted to the effect that this cause of action had been accounted for, but from the looks of this , , , maybe not:
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cyber-Pearl Harbor is a myth on: November 11, 2013, 04:53:22 PM

From the article:

Of course, cyberattacks can still be used for specific and limited goals. For example, the so-called Stuxnet/Olympic Games attack on the Iranian nuclear program was apparently mounted jointly by the United States and Israel. However, here too, military force is important. Gartzke argues that one of the reasons that the U.S. and Israel could carry out this attack is because they are militarily powerful in conventional terms, making it unattractive for Iran (or other adversaries) to attack them back directly.

More generally, Gartkze’s arguments imply that cyberwar isn’t a weapon of the weak. Instead, it’s a weapon of the strong — it will be most attractive to those who already have powerful conventional militaries
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why so many Americans believe Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories on: November 11, 2013, 04:48:52 PM

From the article:

Conspiracy theories are conquering the country, leading us into a dark age of cynicism.  Americans are bombarded by a growing barrage of outlandish tales, aided and abetted by a polarizing media, and amplified by the echo chamber of the Internet.  While all sides indulge in conspiracy theories, Republicans and conservatives are particularly prone to them.  Such inflamed rhetoric divides nations and destroys deliberative democracy.
230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: November 07, 2013, 04:20:41 PM
"I'm not advocating limits, just exercising my own free speech to call them out on their chicanery.  ('the use of trickery to achieve a political, financial, or legal purpose')  smiley"

I just laughed out loud. Literally. Well played, Doug.
231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: November 07, 2013, 11:23:20 AM
One of my favorite parts of this forum is finding common ground, even among much disagreement.

In this case, ccp, you and I have two:

"BTW BigDog, I was never against campaign finance reform.  It does bother me how wealthy people, corporations, wealthy lobbyists can outright control or influence elections." You and I are of like minds on this subject.

"...Doug who is one of my favorite posters over the years." And here too.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, ccp.
232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / War Powers (drones) on: November 07, 2013, 09:53:32 AM
This might go here:

I'm not sure there is a "perfect" thread for this.
233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: November 07, 2013, 09:49:43 AM
"...the Democrat operatives didn't favor the Libertarian."

In a three horse race, the Dems most certainly did favor the Libertarian... over Cuccinelli. So they gave him money to speak their mind. I'll ask you the same question I pose to ccp: Why do you want limited campaign funding now?

Can't a Democrat give as much money to any candidate of his/her choice, in an effort to maximize freedom?

"Proponents like me of unlimited money in politics generally..."

Are you suggesting to me that the majority of those who want to give unlimited monies to candidates want all the information to be made public? Do you have evidence for this position? Do the Koch brothers? Warren Buffet? The people who are actually giving this money?

I didn't see "subterfuge" in your first post, but thanks for adding the definition.

And, for the record, Doug: I sincerely hope by now you know that I do not believe that you have a "small mind." I greatly enjoy and appreciate our exchanges.
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: November 07, 2013, 09:37:52 AM
"Why would do you think someone would run say as a Libertarian when he clearly is not, rather than say an "independent"?"

Because the Libertarian Party can get on a ballot much easier than an independent.

Did the Libertarian Party disavow Sarvis?

"Why would someone who was a major supporter of Obama fund this guy to the tune of 70% of his campaign funds through bundled donations?"

Because he was freely speaking his mind? Why do you want limited campaign funding now? Maybe if McCain-Feingold had not been overturned....
235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Lawfare and targeted killing on: November 07, 2013, 09:27:21 AM
236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: November 07, 2013, 07:48:48 AM
"Yes it was crooked that Dems funded him [the faux-Libertarian]...". I don't follow you here Doug. It is simply free speech. How is that crooked?

My thinking is that a straight line in politics would be to advance and support issues, positions and candidates that you honestly favor, and a crooked path would be to use lies, deceit and subterfuge.  This strategy clearly falling  within the latter.

Your thinking is now that money equals speech?

Goodness, no. But yours is, and I still don't see why spending money in the manner above is seen as crooked. Perhaps I am unclear what a "straight line in politics" means. It seems to me that Dems clearly favored the libertarian.
237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: November 06, 2013, 04:46:27 PM
"Yes it was crooked that Dems funded him...". I don't follow you here Doug. It is simply free speech. How is that crooked?
238  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / UC officer has affair with drug dealer on: November 06, 2013, 01:31:15 PM
239  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / kids in the cage... on: November 06, 2013, 01:28:58 PM
240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / LAX Shooting Suspect Indentified on: November 01, 2013, 05:00:18 PM
I apologize for the source, having recently learned that quoting the Huffington Post is always a mistake.

From the article:

Law-enforcement officials tell NBC News that that Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, entered the airport around 9:20 a.m., Pacific Time, and opened fire inside Terminal 3. The Associated Press also reported that authorities named Ciancia as the suspect.
241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / JJ on "drone courts" on: November 01, 2013, 05:31:16 AM
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The FOX News vast right wing conspiracy on: October 31, 2013, 03:28:13 PM

From the article:

As the election drew near, Republicans in districts with Fox News became more likely to vote with their party, and Republicans in districts without Fox News less likely to vote with their party.  Democrats, however, behaved the opposite.  Democrats in districts with Fox News became less likely to vote with other Democrats.
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The judiciary and free speech on: October 31, 2013, 12:48:06 PM
George Will:
244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: October 31, 2013, 06:25:23 AM
"The other point I question is racist 'realignment'." But not realignment?

"Is Powell not the poster person for Republican in name only charge?" Then there sure are a great number "poster" people. And so what: that wasn't the point of the article GM posted.

What is a "total" realignment?

And, originally all I said was that there was a party realignment after a claim that "nothing had changed" in electoral politics. GM, in his typical fashion, took that much farther and made claims of racism for an entire political party. I didn't see you comment on that claim, Doug.

"Some of us were Republican before and after that, and at least claim to not be racist." But this isn't the case with Democrats? Again, if the claim that an entire party is racist is wrong, why didn't you take GM to task for painting the entire Democratic party in an ugly light. Why only step in now?

When there is a claim that insults the intelligence of a great number of (insert race here) people, then the claim is racist.

Nothing excuses sexism, but illustrating a point of sexism doesn't sweep something else under the rug.

245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: October 30, 2013, 09:02:22 PM
And then you post articles which ignore that:

A) the first black Supreme Court nominee was a Democrat
B) and was nominated by a Democrat
C) and that the presidential candidate that phoned Coretta Scott King to support her jailed husband was a Democrat
D) that the first black Secretary of State left the Republican party, after his aide pointed out that the GOP is "full of racists":
E) that suggesting that the vast majority of blacks could be so easily "fooled" Democratic party is demeaning to people's intelligence, and is itself racist
F) suggests no actual knowledge about other components of history and politics, such as the incentive to stay with party, even after a realignment, due to seniority norms and benefits in Congress
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: October 30, 2013, 08:52:39 PM
No. Republicans have always been anti-slavery from the start and helped shape America for the better. The civil rights legislation the republicans pushed through despite the efforts of dems made this a better nation.

So, you posted an article as evidence that noted that there was a realignment, but don't believe it yourself?

You are genuinely amazing, GM.

I guess your academic indoctrination is disrupting your ability to read. You can't seem to grasp that the geneational cohort and demographics shift occurred and not the leftist lie that the racist democrats became republicans.

Man, you are so fing right. Except for the part where the article you submit as evidence fing says that there was a fing realignment.

"Under FDR, the Democrats successfully assembled a daunting, cross-regional coalition of presidential voters. To compete, the GOP had to develop a broader national outreach of its own, which meant adding a Southern strategy to its arsenal. In 1952, Dwight Eisenhower took his campaign as national hero southward. He, like Nixon in 1960, polled badly among Deep South whites. But Ike won four states in the Peripheral South. This marked their lasting realignment in presidential voting."
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / powerful pictures on: October 30, 2013, 02:07:10 PM
Not a thought piece so much as thoughtful:
248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US commandos were poised for raid to capture Benghazi suspect on: October 29, 2013, 06:56:28 PM

From the article:

When U.S. commandos grabbed a former al Qaeda operative in Tripoli this month, American forces were just hours away from potentially launching a more dangerous covert raid to capture a militia figure facing charges in the deadly Benghazi terror attack, U.S. officials tell CNN.

U.S. special operations forces were ready, if ordered, to enter Benghazi and capture Ahmed Abu Khattalah, a leading figure in the Ansar Al-Sharia militia. But the mission never materialized.

The United States believes Ansar Al-Sharia was behind the September 2012 armed assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans

249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Committee Open Hearing Potential FISA Changes HPSCI Chairman Mike Rogers Opening on: October 29, 2013, 01:38:11 PM
The Committee will come to order.

I’d like to welcome our first panel today:  Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander, and Deputy Director of the NSA Chris Inglis.

Following the first panel, we will move immediately into the second panel of non-government experts who are all very knowledgeable on FISA and privacy issues.
Today’s hearing will provide an open forum to discuss potential amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and possible changes to the way FISA applications are handled by the Department of Justice and the NSA.  I hope that all of our witnesses will give clear answers about how proposals under consideration in Congress would affect the NSA’s ability to stop terrorist attacks before they occur.  

As a starting point, we first need to consider why America collects foreign intelligence.  The United States began collecting foreign intelligence even before we were a nation, when George Washington sent Nathan Hale covertly into New York to try to understand what British plans were during the Revolutionary War.  

In 1929, the Secretary of State shut down the State Department's cryptanalytic office saying, "Gentlemen don't read each other's mail."   The world was a dangerous place back then, with growing and aggressive military threats from Japan and Germany, both bent on world domination.  Those threats eventually dragged us into a world war that killed millions.   We didn’t have the luxury of turning off intelligence capabilities as threats were growing back then, and we can’t afford to do so today.

Today, we gather foreign intelligence to help understand the plans and intentions of our adversaries, such as North Korea and Iran.  We collect foreign intelligence to learn about terrorist plots before they happen, as well as to learn about rogue nations developing the most dangerous weapons.

Every nation collects foreign intelligence.  That is not unique to the United States.  What is unique to the United States is our level of oversight, our commitment to privacy protections, and our checks and balances on intelligence collection.  China does not ask a FISA court for a warrant to listen to a phone call on their state-owned and censored network.  The Russian Duma does not conduct oversight on the FSB.  But America has those checks; America has those balances.  That is why we should be proud of the manner in which America collects intelligence.

The world is more connected today than ever before. This allows terrorists and spies to hide in civilian populations all over the world.  They use the Internet and telephone networks of our enemies and our allies.  They are just as likely to be found in terrorist safe havens as in allied nations overseas.

We cannot protect only our homeland.  Americans live all over the world and our businesses set up shop all over the world.  We have embassies in more than 150 countries; we have military bases in dozens of countries to protect our interests and allies; we bring stability to chaotic areas; and we help secure the global economy.  That is why collecting foreign intelligence is so important.

In July during floor debate, I committed to working with other Members to bring increased transparency and additional privacy protections to NSA’s counterterrorism programs.  

Our challenge is to build confidence and transparency while keeping our intelligence services agile and effective against our adversaries.  

One change we are considering would require the Attorney General or his designee to make the reasonable, articulable suspicion (or “RAS”) determination that a particular phone number is related to a terrorist and may be used to search the bulk telephone records data.  This process would move the RAS determination outside of the NSA, and is similar to the way an FBI investigator works with an Assistant United States Attorney when trying to find the person responsible for a crime.

We are also looking at providing more transparency into FISA Court orders whenever possible.  Reforms to the statute could include requiring more court orders to be declassified or publicly released in redacted form.

Additional transparency into the process may also be helpful.  For example, we could put into statute the process and standards for how information incidentally collected about U.S. persons who are not the targets of our programs is handled and require more public reporting on the number of times that happens.  

The recent debate over NSA programs often misses the fact that the 215 and 702 collection programs are conducted wholly within the bounds of the law and are approved by the FISA Court.  More transparency can help share that outstanding track record with the American people.

Some proposals pending before Congress, however, would effectively gut the operational usefulness of programs that are necessary to protect America’s national security.
For example, ending bulk collection under the business records provision would take away a vital tool for the FBI to find connections between terrorists operating in the United States.  We can’t ask the FBI to find terrorists plotting an attack and then not provide them with the information they need.  If we didn’t have the bulk phone records collection back in 2009, we may not have known there was a plot to attack the New York Subway system until bombs went off on the subway platforms.  
In the words of the 9/11 Commission Report, before 2001, narrow-minded legal interpretations “blocked the arteries of information sharing” between the intelligence community and law enforcement.    We cannot go back to a pre-9/11 mindset and risk failing to “connect the dots” again.  

I look forward to having a frank discussion about your perspectives on potential changes to FISA and how those changes could impact our ability to disrupt terrorist plots before they happen.  

Before turning the floor over to our witnesses, I recognize the Ranking Member for any opening comments he would like to make.
250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survivalist, Prepper/prepping issues on: October 29, 2013, 01:37:00 PM
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