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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / SNL Skit on: Today at 05:12:44 PM


http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUqFzWxSCi39LnW1JKFR3efg&v=JUDSeb2zHQ0
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / News flash from Norway! Men and women are different! on: Today at 04:59:31 PM
http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/a_funny_thing_happened_on_the_way_to_gender_equality_in_norway
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Canada: RCMP chastized for Islamist Engagement on: Today at 12:21:05 PM
Canadian Watchdog Report Chastises RCMP for Islamist Engagement
by John Rossomando
IPT News
November 24, 2014
http://www.investigativeproject.org/4663/canadian-watchdog-report-chastises-rcmp-for

 
 A new report by Canada's Point de Bascule takes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to task for participating in a panel discussion Wednesday sponsored by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at the University of Windsor. RCMP Superintendent Doug Best, who heads the Canadian law-enforcement agency's national security operations in Ontario, will appear alongside two Canadian Islamists.

"The upcoming event in Windsor is the latest example of an increasing and dangerous collaboration between Canada's security agencies and Islamists linked to the Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure," the Point de Bascule report says.

The program, "Violent Radicalization and It Impact on Muslims," also features two speakers with a history of supporting radical Islamists. One of those speakers is Muhammed Robert Heft who recently met with Taliban officials in Qatar in hopes of getting the Taliban to stand against the Islamic State. The other radical Islamist is law professor Faisal Kutty has been a spokesman for two charities accused of al-Qaida ties.

The host organization, MSA, was founded in 1963 by Muslim Brotherhood members at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. It served as the organizational base from which the Islamist movement in North America sprang. A 2007 New York Police Department report found that extremists use MSAs as "forums for the development and recruitment of like-minded individuals."

Numerous individuals with MSA ties have been convicted or charged with terrorism-related offenses.

"However, if we look carefully at the organizations that they support and the goal that they pursue, they are indistinguishable from those defended by violent Islamists," said Marc Lebuis, director of Point de Bascule. "In fact, Islamists waging violent jihad and those waging what they call themselves the "jihad of the tongue" are executing a good cop/bad cop routine in front of our very eyes."

The "jihad of the tongue" involves calling non-believers to Islam, and it can accompany a military or political struggle. Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi contends that this sort of jihad can be waged by "calling others to Islam, highlighting the merits of Islam and preaching in the language of the target audience."
Qaradawi also notes that this "collective jihad of da'awah (Islamic preaching)" precedes military jihad.

The Hamas Charter similarly endorses the jihad of the tongue as a prong of its offensive against Israel and the Jews, Lebuis said.

"Jihad is not confined to the carrying of arms and the confrontation of the enemy. The effective word, the good article, the useful book, support and solidarity - together with the presence of sincere purpose for the hoisting of Allah's banner higher and higher - all these are elements of the Jihad for Allah's sake," Hamas says in Article 30 of its 1988 charter.

Point de Bascule, a non-profit watchdog group that monitors the activities and operations of radical Islamic groups in Canada, warns that if those waging the "jihad of the tongue" on Canada's security infrastructure succeed, it will make the "task of neutralizing violent jihadists almost impossible."

The fruits of this engagement include a 2009 RCMP document "Words Make Worlds" that discourages police officers from using Islamic concepts to describe the Islamist threat. Michel Coulombe, director of Canada's Security Intelligence Service, testified in February that his agency prefers to refer to jihadism as "terrorism inspired by Al-Qaida ideology" rather than invoking Islamic terminology.

It's not a notion that will be challenged by the others on Wednesday's Windsor panel.

Muhammed Robert Heft is a Toronto-based convert imam who has advised the RCMP, Canadian parliamentarians along with U.S. and Australian government agencies counter-terrorism issues. Heft helped create a "Specialized De-Radicalization Intervention Program" modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous to work with radicalized Muslim youth. He also founded P4E Support Group, which states on its website that it exists to "assist Muslims converts."

Heft portrays himself as a moderate; however, his Facebook page raises questions about that. Earlier this month, Heft travelled to Doha, Qatar to meet with Taliban representatives at their "embassy" there.

"Please pray for the success of my mission. I am meeting with the head of the Taliban Embassy in Doha, Qatar and we are working on a treaty that would state clearly that the Taliban (Mujahideen) don't condone vigilante violence, Criminal acts or Terrorism in Non Muslim Countries. They have agreed to take it to Mullah Omar," Heft wrote Oct. 24. "This will hopefully put some doubt as to the legitimacy of ISIS and there(sic) Fatwas about killing indiscriminately."

He said that he had been in communication with the Taliban for the previous six months leading up to his announcement.

Such sentiments ignore the Taliban's history of indiscriminate killing of innocents and its support for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida both before and since 9/11. Al-Qaida Emir Ayman Al-Zawahiri pledges his loyalty to Mullah Omar.

Canada's government added the Taliban to its list of terrorist organizations in 2013, noting that the terrorist group mostly relies on suicide bombings and improvised-explosive devices to kill indiscriminately.

Heft's Facebook page links to the website of Zakir Naik, a Muslim televangelist banned from entering Canada in 2010.

Naik described Jews as "our staunchest enemy" and endorsed Osama Bin Laden, saying:" If [Osama bin Laden] is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him … If he is terrorizing a terrorist, if he is terrorizing America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I am with him."

Faisal Kutty, the third panelist at the MSA event, is a Valparaiso University law professor in Indiana..

Kutty served on the board of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Canada office and worked as a spokesman for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a radical Saudi funded organization and the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) – both organizations linked to al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden.

Kutty told journalists that BIF "provides succor for the needy, not help for terrorists" and denied that Benevolence International Foundation had ties to Al-Qaida in October 2001, according to the Point de Bascule report.

The United Nations added BIF to its list of Taliban and al-Qaida supporting entities in November 2002, noting its active support for Bin Laden's activities in Bosnia, Pakistan, China, Chechnya and Russia. Three months later, BIF director Enaam Arnaout entered a plea agreement for diverting charitable donations to jihadists.

Kutty publicly defended WAMY in October 2001, telling a Canadian newspaper it was a "very respected organization" and that people "would be shocked" to hear allegations linking it with al-Qaida. But a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audit released in 2011 found that WAMY had served as "primary [source] of Al-Qaida financial and fundraising activity" in 1993 and that it "served a critical role in the Arab-Afghan terrorist infrastructure."

Furthermore, in 2003, David Kane, a special agent with U.S. Customs Service, signed an affidavit in which he revealed numerous radical, racist and terrorist activities supported by WAMY, including active support for Hamas' terrorist wing. Kane also cited the fact that WAMY published many books for Muslim youth promoting hatred of Christians and Jews. Kane quoted from one book as follows:

"[T]he seed of the Gulf-war was planted by a Jew; the Jews are enemies of the faithful, God and the angels; The Jews are humanity's enemies; they foment immorality in this world; The Jews are deceitful, they say something but mean the exact opposite; Who was behind the biological crisis which became like brain washing? A Jew; Who was behind the disintegration of family life and values? A Jew; The one that stirred-up hate and turned the individuals against their Muslim governments in the Arab peninsula - a Jew; Who promoted Atheism and made the countries thrive on Muslims' blood? The Jews; Every tragedy that inflicts the Muslims is caused by the Jews."

More recently, Kutty downplayed the role Islam plays in motivating jihadists. In a Nov. 22 column in the Windsor Star, he blamed "mental illness" for jihadist terrorist acts, including that of Parliament Hill shooter Michel Zehaf-Bibeau.

"In fact, a few 'radicals' that I have counselled were diagnosed schizophrenics," Kutty wrote.

The report shows that , the RCMP fallen into the same trap as some U.S. law enforcement agencies in that have established close relations with radical Islamist groups who pretend to be moderate. The danger is that the RCMP legitimizes militant groups and radicals who should be shunned rather than dignified as respected moderate allies of the Canadian government in its war against war against Islamic terrorism.

By embracing Islamic extremists who masquerade as moderates, the RCMP effectively has ostracized genuine Islamic moderates in Canada who deserve recognition for their courage in speaking out against the terrorists.

Read the full Point de Bascule report here.
Related Topics: John Rossomando

4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Samuel Adams: universally corrupt manners on: Today at 12:03:59 PM
"[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt." --Samuel Adams, essay in The Public Advertiser, 1749
5  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action on: Today at 12:00:58 PM
Apparently there were 1-2 shots inside the patrol car, which is where MB's hand was shot and blood splatter shows that he moved away and then turned and came back towards the officer for more than 20 feet.
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury: You guys are so wrong on: Today at 11:58:26 AM
Real GDP was Revised to a 3.9% Annual Growth Rate in Q3 To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 11/25/2014

Real GDP was revised to a 3.9% annual growth rate in Q3 from a prior estimate of 3.5%. The consensus had expected a revision to 3.3%.

Inventories, personal consumption, and business equipment investment were revised up, offsetting a downward revision in net exports.

The largest positive contributions to the real GDP growth rate in Q3 were personal consumption, net exports, and government purchases. The only component that was a drag on growth was inventories.

The GDP price index was revised higher to a 1.4% annual growth rate from a prior estimate of 1.3%. Nominal GDP growth – real GDP plus inflation – was revised up to a 5.3% annual rate from a prior estimate of 4.9%.

Implications: The bull market will continue to run. Forget the surprise upward revision to real GDP for a second. The best news in today’s report was that corporate profits grew at an 8.6% annual rate in Q3 and are at a new all-time record high. Ultimately, high profits are why equities are undervalued and today’s data supports further equity gains in the year ahead. The government’s measure of profits fell steeply in Q1, but the sharp rebound in the past couple of quarters suggests the drop was weather-related, just like the temporary drop in real GDP. The economy grew at a 3.9% annual rate in Q3, which is an improvement from the 3.5% rate reported a month ago. In the past year – which includes the weather-related problems in Q1 as well as the rebound – real GDP is up 2.4%. Real GDP is up at a 2.3% annual rate in the past two years, the same exact pace since the recovery started in mid-2009. However, we expect the pace of real GDP growth to pick up for the next couple of years. Nominal GDP (real growth plus inflation) was revised up to a 5.3% annual rate in Q3 from a prior estimate of 4.9%. Nominal GDP is up 4% from a year ago and up at a 3.9% annual rate in the past two years. These figures show the Fed’s target of essentially zero for short-term interest rates is too low and monetary policy is too loose. On the housing front, the national Case-Shiller index, which measures prices across the country, increased 0.7% in September and is up 4.8% from a year ago. The largest gains in the past year have been in Miami, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. The FHFA index, which focuses on homes financed with conforming mortgages, was unchanged in September but up 4.3% versus a year ago. In the year that ended in September 2013, the Case-Shiller was up 10.6% while the FHFA was up 8.3%. In other words, price gains have continued in the past year but at a slower pace. For the year ahead, prices will keep working their way higher but at an even slower pace, more like 3 – 4%. In other news this morning, the Richmond Fed index, a measure of mid-Atlantic manufacturing sentiment, fell to +4 in November from +20 in October. So factory activity is still expanding, just not as quickly.
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Deferred Illegals" to get free health care in CA on: Today at 11:48:50 AM

http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/amnestied-illegal-aliens-in-california-to-get-free-healthcare/
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers: on: November 24, 2014, 05:07:00 PM
"[T]o preserve the republican form and principles of our Constitution and cleave to the salutary distribution of powers which that [the Constitution] has established ... are the two sheet anchors of our Union. If driven from either, we shall be in danger of foundering." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Judge William Johnson, 1823
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: STrategic Reversal: US, Iran, and the Middle East on: November 24, 2014, 05:00:19 PM

Strategic Reversal: The United States, Iran, and the Middle East
Analysis
November 24, 2014 | 1114 Print Text Size
Strategic Reversal: The United States, Iran, and the Middle East

Analysis

Editor's Note: With negotiators reportedly extending the Iranian nuclear talks by seven months — with a basic agreement anticipated by March 1, 2015, and a final, comprehensive pact by July — the talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany will remain a geopolitical focal point in 2015. Stratfor founder and Chairman George Friedman predicted this outcome in Chapter 7 of his 2011 book, The Next Decade. To give our subscribers a more comprehensive look at the geopolitical realities that produced the current state of affairs and that will continue to steer the detente process, Stratfor republishes this chapter in its entirety.

Beyond the special case of Israel, the area between the eastern Mediterranean and the Hindu Kush remains the current focus of U.S. policy. As we've noted, the United States has three principal interests there: to maintain a regional balance of power; to make certain that the flow of oil is not interrupted; and to defeat the Islamist groups centered there that threaten the United States. Any step the United States takes to address any one of these objectives must take into account the other two, which significantly increases the degree of difficulty for achieving even one.

Adding to this challenge is that of maintaining the balance of power in three regions of the area: the Arabs and the Israelis, the Indians and the Pakistanis, and the Iraqis and the Iranians. Each of these balances is in disarray, but the most crucial one, that between the Iranians and the Iraqis, collapsed completely with the disintegration of the Iraqi state and military after the U.S. invasion of 2003. The distortion of the India-Pakistan balance is not far behind, as the war in Afghanistan continues to destabilize Pakistan.

As we saw in the last chapter, the weakness of the Arab side has created a situation in which the Israelis no longer have to concern themselves with their opponents' reactions. In the decades ahead, the Israelis will try to take advantage of this to create new realities on the ground, while the United States, in keeping with its search for strategic balance, will try to limit Israeli moves.

The Indo-Pakistani balance is being destabilized in Afghanistan, a complex war zone where American troops are pursuing two competing goals, at least as stated officially. The first is to prevent al Qaeda from using Afghanistan as a base of operations; the second is to create a stable democratic government. But denying terrorists a haven in Afghanistan achieves little, because groups following al Qaeda's principles (al Qaeda prime, the group built around Osama bin Laden, is no longer fully functioning) can grow anywhere, from Yemen to Cleveland. This is an especially significant factor when the attempt to disrupt al Qaeda requires destabilizing the country, training the incipient Afghanistan army, managing the police force of Afghan recruits, and intruding into Afghan politics. There is no way to effectively stabilize a country in which you have to play such an intrusive role.

Unscrambling this complexity begins with recognizing that the United States has no vital interest in the kind of government Afghanistan develops, and that once again the president cannot allow counter-terrorism to be a primary force in shaping national strategy.

But the more fundamental recognition necessary for ensuring balance over the next ten years is that Afghanistan and Pakistan are in fact one entity, both sharing various ethnic groups and tribes, with the political border between them meaning very little. The combined population of these two countries is over 200 million people, and the United States, with only about 100,000 troops in the region, is never going to be able to impose its will directly and establish order to its liking.

Moreover, the primary strategic issue is not actually Afghanistan but Pakistan, and the truly significant balance of power in the region is actually that between Pakistan and India. Ever since independence, these two countries partitioned from the same portion of the British Empire have maintained uneasy and sometimes violent relations. Both are nuclear powers, and they are obsessed with each other. While India is the stronger, Pakistan has the more defensible terrain, although its heartland is more exposed to India. Still, the two have been kept in static opposition — which is just where the United States wants them.

Obviously, the challenges inherent in maintaining this complex balance over the next ten years are enormous. To the extent that Pakistan disintegrates under U.S. pressure to help fight al Qaeda and to cooperate with U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the standoff with India will fail, leaving India the preeminent power in the region. The war in Afghanistan must inevitably spread to Pakistan, triggering internal struggles that can potentially weaken the Pakistani state. This is not certain, but it is too possible to dismiss. With no significant enemies other than the Chinese, who are sequestered on the other side of the Himalayas, India would be free to use its resources to try to dominate the Indian Ocean basin, and it would very likely increase its navy to do so. A triumphant India would obliterate the balance the United States so greatly desires, and thus the issue of India is actually far more salient than the issues of terrorism or nation-building in Afghanistan.

That is why over the next ten years the primary American strategy in this region must be to help create a strong and viable Pakistan. The most significant step in that direction would be to relieve pressure on Pakistan by ending the war in Afghanistan. The specific ideology of the Pakistani government doesn't really matter, and the United States can't impose its views on Pakistan anyway.

Strengthening Pakistan will not only help restore the balance with India, it will restore Pakistan as a foil for Afghanistan as well. In both these Muslim countries there are many diverging groups and interests, and the United States cannot manage their internal arrangements. It can, however, follow the same strategy that was selected after the fall of the Soviet Union: it can allow the natural balance that existed prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan to return, to the extent possible. The United States can then spend its resources helping to build a strong Pakistani army to hold the situation together.

Jihadist forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan will probably reemerge, but they are just as likely to do so with the United States bogged down in Afghanistan as with the U.S. gone. The war simply has no impact on this dynamic. There is a slight chance that a Pakistani military, with the incentive of U.S. support, might be somewhat more successful in suppressing the terrorists, but this is uncertain and ultimately unimportant. Once again, the key objective going forward is maintaining the Indo-Pakistani balance of power.

As in the case of stepping back from Israel, the president will not be able to express his strategy for dealing with Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India openly. Certainly there will be no way for the United States to appear triumphant, and the Afghan war will be resolved much as Vietnam was, through a negotiated peace agreement that allows the insurgent forces — in this case the Taliban — to take control. A stronger Pakistani army will have no interest in crushing the Taliban but will settle for controlling it. The Pakistani state will survive, which will balance India, thus allowing the United States to focus on other balance points within the region.
The Region's Heartland: Iran and Iraq

The balance of power between Iran and Iraq remained intact until 2003, when the United States invasion destroyed both Iraq's government and army. Since then the primary force that has kept the Iranians in check has been the United States. But the United States has announced that it intends to withdraw its forces from Iraq, which, given the state of the Iraqi government and military, will leave Iran the dominant power in the Persian Gulf. This poses a fundamental challenge both for American strategy and the extremely complex region. Consider the alliances that might occur absent the United States.

Iraq's population is about 30 million. Saudi Arabia's population is about 27 million. The entire Arabian Peninsula's population is about 70 million, but that is divided among multiple nations, particularly between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The latter has about one third of this population, and is far away from the vulnerable Saudi Arabian oil fields. In contrast, Iran alone has a population of 70 million. Turkey has a population of about 70 million. In the broadest sense, these figures and how these populations combine into potential alliances will define the geopolitical reality of the Persian Gulf region going forward. Saudi Arabia's population — and wealth — combined with Iraq's population can counterbalance either Iran or Turkey, but not both. During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, it was Saudi Arabia's support for Iraq that led to whatever success that country enjoyed.

While Turkey is a rising power with a large population, it is still a limited power, unable to project its influence as far as the Persian Gulf. It can press Iraq and Iran in the north, diverting their attention from the gulf, but it can't directly intervene to protect the Arabian oil fields. Moreover, the stability of Iraq, such as it is, is very much in Iran's hands. Iran might not be able to impose a pro-Iranian regime in Baghdad, but it has the power to destabilize Baghdad at will.

With Iraq essentially neutralized, its 30 million people fighting each other rather than counterbalancing anyone, Iran is for the first time in centuries free from significant external threat from its neighbors. The Iranian-Turkish border is extremely mountainous, making offensive military operations there difficult. To the north, Iran is buffered from Russian power by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, and in the northeast by Turkmenistan. To the east lie Afghanistan and Pakistan, both in chaos. If the United States withdraws from Iraq, Iran will be free from an immediate threat from that enormous power as well. Thus Iran is, at least for the time being, in an extraordinary position, secure from overland incursions and free to explore to the southwest.

With Iraq in shambles, the nations of the Arabian Peninsula could not resist Iran even if they acted in concert. Bear in mind that nuclear weapons are not relevant to this reality. Iran would still be the dominant Persian Gulf power even if its nuclear weapons were destroyed. Indeed, a strike solely on Iran's nuclear facilities could prove highly counterproductive, causing Iran to respond in unpleasant ways. While Iran cannot impose its own government on Iraq, it could, if provoked, block any other government from emerging by creating chaos there, even while U.S. forces are still on the ground, trapped in a new round of internal warfare but with a smaller number of troops available.

Iran's ultimate response to a strike on its nuclear facilities would be to try to block the Strait of Hormuz, where about 45 percent of the world's exported seaborne oil flows through a narrow channel. Iran has anti-ship missiles and, more important, mines. If Iran mined the strait and the United States could not clear that waterway to a reasonable degree of confidence, the supply line could be closed. This would cause oil prices to spike dramatically and would certainly abort the global economic recovery.

Any isolated attack on Iran's nuclear facilities — the kind of attack that Israel might undertake by itself — would be self-defeating, making Iran more dangerous than ever. The only way to neutralize those facilities without incurring collateral damage is to attack Iran's naval capability as well, and to use air power to diminish Iran's conventional capability. Such an attack would take months (if it were to target Iran's army), and its effectiveness, like that of all air warfare, is uncertain.

For the United States to achieve its strategic goals in the region, it must find a way to counterbalance Iran without maintaining its current deployment (already reduced to 50,000 troops) in Iraq and without actually increasing the military power devoted to the region. A major air campaign against Iran is not a desirable prospect; nor can the United States count on the reemergence of Iraqi power as a counterweight, because Iran would never allow it. The United States has to withdraw from Iraq in order to manage its other strategic interests. But coupled with this withdrawal, it must think radical thoughts.

In the next decade, the most desirable option with Iran is going to be delivered through a move that now seems inconceivable. It is the option chosen by Roosevelt and Nixon when they faced seemingly impossible strategic situations: the creation of alliances with countries that had previously been regarded as strategic and moral threats. Roosevelt allied the United States with Stalinist Russia, and Nixon aligned with Maoist China, each to block a third power that was seen as more dangerous. In both cases, there was intense ideological rivalry between the new ally and the United States, one that many regarded as extreme and utterly inflexible. Nevertheless, when the United States faced unacceptable alternatives, strategic interest overcame moral revulsion on both sides. The alternative for Roosevelt was a German victory in World War II. For Nixon, it was the Soviets using American weakness caused by the Vietnam War to change the global balance of power.

Conditions on the ground put the United States in a similar position today vis-a-vis Iran. These countries despise each other. Neither can easily destroy the other, and, truth be told, they have some interests in common. In simple terms, the American president, in order to achieve his strategic goals, must seek accommodation with Iran.

The seemingly impossible strategic situation driving the United States to this gesture is, as we've discussed, the need to maintain the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, and to achieve this at a time when the country must reduce the forces devoted to this part of the world.

The principal reason that Iran might accede to a deal is that it sees the United States as dangerous and unpredictable. Indeed, in less than ten years, Iran has found itself with American troops on both its eastern and western borders. Iran's primary strategic interest is regime survival. It must avoid a crushing U.S. intervention while guaranteeing that Iraq never again becomes a threat. Meanwhile, Iran must increase its authority within the Muslim world against the Sunni Muslims who rival and sometimes threaten it.

In trying to imagine a U.S.-Iranian detente, consider the overlaps in these countries' goals. The United States is in a war against some — but not all — Sunnis, and these Sunnis are also the enemies of Shiite Iran. Iran does not want U.S. troops along its eastern and western borders. (In point of fact, the United States does not want to be there either.) Just as the United States wants to see oil continue to flow freely through Hormuz, Iran wants to profit from that flow, not interrupt it. Finally, the Iranians understand that the United States alone poses the greatest threat to their security: solve the American problem and regime survival is assured. The United States understands, or should, that resurrecting the Iraqi counterweight to Iran is simply not an option in the short term. Unless the United States wants to make a huge, long-term commitment of ground forces in Iraq, which it clearly does not, the obvious solution to its problem in the region is to make an accommodation with Iran.

The major threat that might arise from this strategy of accommodation would be that Iran oversteps its bounds and attempts to occupy the oil-producing countries in the Persian Gulf directly. Given the logistical limitations of the Iranian army, this would be difficult. Also given that it would bring a rapid American intervention, such aggressive action on the part of the Iranians would be pointless and self-defeating. Iran is already the dominant power in the region, and the United States has no need to block indirect Iranian influence over its neighbors. Aspects of Iran's influence would range from financial participation in regional projects to significant influence over OPEC quotas to a degree of influence in the internal policies of the Arabian countries. Merely by showing a modicum of restraint, Iranians could gain unquestioned preeminence, and economic advantage, while seeing their oil find its way to the market. They could also see substantial investment begin to flow into their economy once more.

Even with an understanding with the United States, Iranian domination of the region would have limits. Iran would enjoy a sphere of influence dependent on its alignment with the United States on other issues, which means not crossing any line that would trigger direct U.S. intervention. Over time, the growth of Iranian power within the limits of such clear understandings would benefit both the United States and Iran. Like the arrangements with Stalin and Mao, this U.S.-Iranian alliance would be distasteful yet necessary, but also temporary.

The great losers in this alliance, of course, would be the Sunnis in the Arabian Peninsula, including the House of Saud. Without Iraq, they are incapable of defending themselves, and as long as the oil flows and no single power directly controls the entire region, the United States has no long-term interest in their economic and political well-being. Thus a U.S.-Iranian entente would also redefine the historic relationship of the United States with the Saudis. The Saudis will have to look at the United States as a guarantor of its interests while trying to reach some political accommodation with Iran. The geopolitical dynamic of the Persian Gulf would be transformed for everyone.

The Israelis too would be threatened, although not as much as the Saudis and other principalities on the Persian Gulf. Over the years, Iran's anti-Israeli rhetoric has been extreme, but its actions have been cautious. Iran has played a waiting game, using rhetoric to cover inaction. In the end, the Israelis would be trapped by the American decision. Israel lacks the conventional capability for the kind of extensive air campaign needed to destroy the Iranian nuclear program. Certainly it lacks the military might to shape the geopolitical alignments of the Persian Gulf region. Moreover, an Iran presented with its dream of a secure western border and domination of the Persian Gulf could become quite conciliatory. Compared to such opportunities, Israel for them is a minor, distant, and symbolic issue.

Until now, the Israelis still had the potential option of striking Iran unilaterally, in hopes of generating an Iranian response in the Strait of Hormuz, thereby drawing the United States into the conflict. Should the Americans and Iranians move toward an understanding, Israel would no longer have such sway over U.S. policy. An Israeli strike might trigger an entirely unwelcome American response rather than the chain reaction that Israel once could have hoped for.

The greatest shock of a U.S.-Iranian entente would be political, on both sides. During World War II, the U.S.-Soviet agreement shocked Americans deeply (Soviets less so, because they had already absorbed Stalin's prewar nonaggression pact with Hitler). The Nixon-Mao entente, seen as utterly unthinkable at the time, shocked all sides. Once it happened, however, it turned out to be utterly thinkable, even manageable.

When Roosevelt made his arrangement with Stalin, he was politically vulnerable to his right wing, the more extreme elements of which already regarded him as a socialist favorably inclined to the Soviets. Nixon, as a right-wing opponent of communism, had an easier time. Obama will be in Roosevelt's position, without the overwhelming threat of a comparatively much greater evil — that is, Nazi Germany.

Obama's political standing would be enhanced by an air strike more than by a cynical deal. An accommodation with Iran will be particularly difficult for him because it will be seen as an example of weakness rather than of ruthlessness and cunning. Iranian president Ahmadinejad will have a much easier time selling such an arrangement to his people. But set against the options — a nuclear Iran, extended air strikes with all attendant consequences, the long-term, multidivisional, highly undesirable presence of American forces in Iraq — this alliance seems perfectly reasonable.

Nixon and China showed that major diplomatic shifts can take place quite suddenly. There is often a long period of back-channel negotiations, followed by a breakthrough driven either by changing circumstances or by skillful negotiations.

The current president will need considerable political craft to position the alliance as an aid to the war on al Qaeda, making it clear that Shiite-dominated Iran is as hostile to the Sunnis as it is to Americans. He will be opposed by two powerful lobbies in this, the Saudis and the Israelis. Israel will be outraged by the maneuver, but the Saudis will be terrified, which is one of the maneuver's great advantages, increasing American traction over its policies. The Israelis can in many ways be handled more easily, simply because the Israeli military and intelligence services have long seen the Iranians as occasional allies against Arab threats, even as the Iranians were supporting Hezbollah against Israel. They have had a complex relationship over the last thirty years. The Saudis will condemn this move, but the pressure it places on the Arab world would be attractive to Israel. Even so, the American Jewish community is not as sophisticated or cynical as Israel in these matters, and its members will be vocal. Even more difficult to manage will be the Saudi lobby, backed as it is by American companies that do business in the kingdom.

There will be several advantages to the United States. First, without fundamentally threatening Israeli interests, the move will demonstrate that the United States is not controlled by Israel. Second, it will put a generally unpopular country, Saudi Arabia — a state that has been accustomed to having its way in Washington — on notice that the United States has other options. For their part, the Saudis have nowhere to go, and they will cling to whatever guarantees the United States provides them in the face of an American-Iranian entente.

Recalling thirty years of hostilities with Iran, the American public will be outraged. The president will have to frame his maneuver by offering rhetoric about protecting the homeland against the greater threat. He will of course use China as an example of successful reconciliation with the irreconcilable.

The president will have to deal with the swirling public battles of foreign lobbies and make the case for the entente. But he will ultimately have to maintain his moral bearings, remembering that in the end, Iran is not America's friend any more than Stalin and Mao were.

If ever there was a need for secret understandings secretly arrived at, this is it, and much of this arrangement will remain unspoken. Neither country will want to incur the internal political damage from excessive public meetings and handshakes. But in the end, the United States needs to exit from the trap it is in, and Iran has to avoid a real confrontation with the United States.

Iran is an inherently defensive country. It is not strong enough to be either the foundation of American policy in the region or the real long-term issue. Its population is concentrated in the mountains that ring its borders, while much of the center of the country is minimally or completely uninhabitable. Iran can project power under certain special conditions, such as those that obtain at the moment, but in the long run it is either a victim of outside powers or isolated.

An alliance with the United States will temporarily give Iran the upper hand in relations with the Arabs, but within a matter of years the United States will have to reassert a balance of power. Pakistan is unable to extend its influence westward. Israel is much too small and distant to counterbalance Iran. The Arabian Peninsula is too fragmented, and the duplicity of the United States in encouraging it to increase its arms is too obvious to be an alternative counterweight. A more realistic alternative is to encourage Russia to extend its influence to the Iranian border. This might happen anyway, but as we will see, that would produce major problems elsewhere.

The only country capable of being a counterbalance to Iran and a potential long-term power in the region is Turkey, and it will achieve that status within the next ten years regardless of what the United States does. Turkey has the seventeenth largest economy in the world and the largest in the Middle East. It has the strongest army in the region and, aside from the Russians and possibly the British, probably the strongest army in Europe. Like most countries in the Muslim world, it is currently divided between secularists and Islamists within its own borders. But their struggle is far more restrained than what is going on in other parts of the Muslim world.

Iranian domination of the Arabian Peninsula is not in Turkey's interest because Turkey has its own appetite for the region's oil, reducing its dependency on Russian oil. Also, Turkey does not want Iran to become more powerful than itself. And while Iran has a small Kurdish population, southeastern Turkey is home to an extremely large number of Kurds, a fact that Iran can exploit. Regional and global powers have been using support for the Kurds to put pressure on or destabilize Iraq, Turkey, and Iran. It is an old game and a constant vulnerability.

In the course of the next decade the Iranians will have to divert major resources in order to deal with Turkey. Meanwhile, the Arab world will be looking for a champion against Shiite Iran, and despite the bitter history of Turkish power in the Arab world during the Ottoman Empire, Sunni Turkey is the best bet.

In the next ten years, the United States must make certain that Turkey does not become hostile to American interests and that Iran and Turkey do not form an alliance for the domination and division of the Arab world. The more Turkey and Iran fear the United States, the greater the likelihood that this will happen. The Iranians will be assuaged in the short run by their entente with the Americans, but they will be fully aware that this is an alliance of convenience, not a long-term friendship. It is the Turks who are open to a longer-term alignment with the United States, and Turkey can be valuable to the United States in other places, particularly in the Balkans and the Caucasus, where it serves as a block to Russian aspirations.

As long as the United States maintains the basic terms of its agreement with Iran, Iran will represent a threat to Turkey. Whatever the inclinations of the Turks, they will have to protect themselves, and to do that, they must work to undermine Iranian power in the Arabian Peninsula and the Arab countries to the north of the peninsula — Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. They will engage in this not only to limit Iran but also to improve their access to the oil to their south, both because they will need that oil and because they will want to profit from it.

As Turkey and Iran compete in the next decade, Israel and Pakistan will be concerned with local balances of power. In the long run, Turkey cannot be contained by Iran. Turkey is by far the more dynamic country economically, and therefore it can support a more sophisticated military. More important, whereas Iran has geographically limited regional options, Turkey reaches into the Caucasus, the Balkans, Central Asia, and ultimately the Mediterranean and North Africa, which provides opportunities and allies denied the Iranians. Iran has never been a significant naval power since antiquity, and because of the location of its ports, it can never really be one in the future. Turkey, in contrast, has frequently been the dominant power in the Mediterranean and will be so again. Over the next decade we will see the beginning of Turkey's rise to dominance in the region. It is interesting to note that while we can't think of the century without Turkey playing an extremely important role, this decade will be one of preparation. Turkey will have to come to terms with its domestic conflicts and grow its economy. The cautious foreign policy Turkey has followed recently will continue. It is not going to plunge into conflicts and therefore will influence but not define the region. The United States must take a long-term view of Turkey and avoid pressure that could undermine its development.

As a solution to the complex problems of the Middle East, the American president must choose a temporary understanding with Iran that gives Iran what it wants, that gives the United States room to withdraw, and that is also a foundation for the relationship of mutual hostility to the Sunni fundamentalists. In other words, the president must put the Arabian Peninsula inside the Iranians' sphere of influence while limiting their direct controls, and while putting the Saudis, among others, at an enormous disadvantage.

This strategy would confront the reality of Iranian power and try to shape it. Whether it is shaped or not, the longer-term solution to the balance of power in the region will be the rise of Turkey. A powerful Turkey would counterbalance Iran and Israel, while stabilizing the Arabian Peninsula. In due course the Turks will begin to react by challenging the Iranians, and thus the central balance of power will be resurrected, stabilizing the region. This will create a new regional balance of power. But that is not for this decade.

I am arguing that this is a preferred policy option given the circumstances. But I am also arguing that this is the most logical outcome. The alternatives are unacceptable to both sides; there is too much risk. And when the alternatives are undesirable, what remains — however preposterous it appears — is the most likely outcome.

To see how that would affect wider circles of power and their balance, we turn to the next concern, the balance between Europe and Russia.

Excerpt from the book, The Next Decade, by George Friedman, published by Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

Read more: Strategic Reversal: The United States, Iran, and the Middle East | Stratfor
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10  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico's normalista protests threaten to spread on: November 24, 2014, 04:43:35 PM
Summary

Violent protests calling for the return of 43 students missing from Iguala, in Guerrero state, and criticizing the government's perceived insensitivity and mismanagement of the case will continue in Guerrero and in other parts of Mexico. Though the demonstrations do not pose an immediate threat to the central government, they could undermine local governments and the federal government's authority at the local level.

The federal government's reach is particularly weak in Mexico's southwest. There are large geographic areas in several states in the region where communities enjoy partial autonomy, making it easier for citizens to challenge federal authority altogether. The unrest in Guerrero is fostered by feeble state and municipal institutions, which, in a cyclical process, become impaired even further with each additional bout of disorder. Mexico City fears it could lose all authority in the region except for military and federal police operations. While this fear is valid, it is unlikely that such a high degree of unrest would spread to the capital unless organizers achieve a massive increase in coordination and in civil participation.
Analysis

On Nov. 10, demonstrators in Acapulco overpowered federal riot police and overran the airport, blocking all of its entrances. On Nov. 12, students from Mexico's traditionally left-wing rural teaching colleges — known as normalistas — blocked the entrance to the international airport in Morelia, forcing those already inside to use the building's back door. Soon after, students in Mexico City announced that they would hold even more protests Nov. 20 to support the missing normalistas.

Large demonstrations linked to the missing normalistas have taken place all over the country, but the most violent protests have been focused in the southwestern states, including Michoacan, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas. Unrest in the southwestern region has shown little sign of abating, posing a considerable threat to state and municipal governments in the area. Protesters have repeatedly torched government buildings throughout the southwest region to demonstrate against what they see as an ineffective and corrupt government. They say Mexico's judicial system and its security forces, especially at the local level, have struggled to implement democratic reforms after being shaped by 70 years of semi-authoritarian rule.
Protests Could Spread

For now, coordination between organizers in southwestern states and those in Mexico City and in other parts of the country has been limited, but that could change. Demonstrators from the southwest — affiliated with the normalistas and teachers' unions — have organized three groups of protesters to tour the country and converge on Mexico City for Nov. 20 protests. If the normalista and teachers' groups are able to cooperate with the Mexico City organizers and significantly escalate the demonstrations, the Mexican government will find it difficult to manage prolonged unrest in multiple areas using non-violent means. However, the different tactics and approaches employed by the organizers may make such cooperation difficult.
Mexico's Normalista Protest Threaten to Spread
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Protests in Mexico City have differed in character and intensity from those in the southwest. The demonstrations in Mexico City have been organized and carried out primarily by student groups from various universities in the city. Though these protests have attracted by far the most participants of any normalista-linked demonstrations outside of Guerrero, they have mostly been peaceful, with the exception of a few incidents. In contrast to the demonstrations in the southwest, it is clear that most of the protesters in Mexico City do not condone violence or vandalism and that a radical minority is responsible for the violence that has occurred in the city. In fact, on Nov. 8, demonstrators stopped masked individuals attempting to vandalize the exterior of the attorney general's headquarters in Mexico City.

The Mexican government is intentionally being light-handed in its dealings with protesters, and authorities released all but one of the activists arrested for vandalizing the attorney general's offices. With the arrival of protesters from the southwest in Mexico City, however, officials will be on high alert for violent tactics mirroring those used in the southwest.

Mexico City is well equipped to deal with large demonstrations, which are a regular occurrence in the city, and the government is well aware that violently repressing them will only exacerbate tensions and add impetus to the protests. Thus, Mexico City is working to avoid confrontation at all costs. The violent repression of the infamous Tlatelolco protests in 1968 is still fresh in the minds of Mexicans, especially those in the capital city, and the irony that the missing normalistas were raising funds to attend a demonstration commemorating the anniversary of the massacre is not lost on the public.
Is Guerrero the Next Michoacan?

Despite President Enrique Pena Nieto's efforts to surmount the country's security problems through economic reforms and increased coordination of security forces, the federal government is struggling to maintain its authority. Mexico is seeing rising unrest among an increasingly disillusioned population, especially in southwestern states. The emergence of autodefensas, or civilian militias, in Michoacan is the most extreme recent example of such a challenge to the federal government. Although the Mexican government has contained that movement — partly by incorporating the groups into the state apparatus — the resulting tenuous security environment requires continued intervention by the federal government and adds to the general unrest in the region.

The primary participants in the Guerrero demonstrations have been Guerrero state normalistas and members of a local teachers' union. The two groups likely have organizational ties and have been aligned in their protests against a 2013 federal education reform, making them natural partners in the current round of protests. The groups have proven themselves capable of coordinating large demonstrations and clearly intend to draw further attention to their cause by creating as much disruption to state governance and daily life as possible. So far, their only demands are the return of the missing normalistas and justice for the students and their families. However, the organizers could angle for negotiations with state and federal leaders in the future to increase their influence in regional politics.
Mexico's Geographic Challenge

Overt challenges to government authority in the southwestern states will give rise to a number of economic and security issues, and Mexico City will attempt to defuse the situation by arresting cartel leaders and local politicians in Iguala. The mayor and his wife are charged with masterminding the disappearances. Both are currently in federal custody, but the city's police chief, also allegedly involved, is still on the run. The federal government has been unusually open about the existence of collusion between local officials and criminal elements in this case, and it must make a convincing effort to rid the state of corrupt politicians and establish alternative rule to prevent the rise of armed civilian groups. To this end, the government will expand military and federal police operations in the southwest, but this expansion of security operations can only be maintained for a limited time before Mexico City must resort to alternative tactics.

Although protests are likely to continue in the coming weeks, the demonstrations are unlikely to pose an existential threat to Mexico City's government. However, the pressure on the central government could mount significantly if protesters in Mexico City and the southwest are able to coordinate their organizing efforts and garner increased public participation.

Throughout the country, the federal government must balance its security measures to create the impression that it is in control, but without cracking down on citizens in a way that would invite accusations of authoritarianism. If the security response in Guerrero is too weak, armed citizen groups could emerge to fill the void. However, if the response is too strong, it will add to discontent and encourage additional protests. There will be more high-profile arrests in connection to the students' disappearances, and reforms to local governments and security forces will also be made. The key factor to watch will be any coordination between organizing groups during the Nov. 20 protests. Such cooperation could signal a significant shift in tactics and incite a different response from the government.

Read more: Mexico's Normalista Protests Threaten to Spread | Stratfor
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11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / George Friedman: Obama and the nature of failed presidencies on: November 24, 2014, 04:40:30 PM

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On Obama and the Nature of Failed Presidencies
Geopolitical Weekly
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 03:01 Print Text Size
Stratfor

By George Friedman

We do not normally comment on domestic political affairs unless they affect international affairs. However, it is necessary to consider American political affairs because they are likely to have a particular effect on international relations. We have now entered the final phase of Barack Obama's presidency, and like those of several other presidents since World War II, it is ending in what we call a state of failure. This is not a judgment on his presidency so much as on the political configuration within it and surrounding it.

The midterm elections are over, and Congress and the president are in gridlock. This in itself is not significant; presidents as popular as Dwight Eisenhower found themselves in this condition. The problem occurs when there is not only an institutional split but also a shift in underlying public opinion against the president. There are many more sophisticated analyses of public opinion on politics, but I have found it useful to use this predictive model.
Analyzing a President's Strength

I assume that underneath all of the churning, about 40 percent of the electorate is committed to each party. Twenty percent is uncommitted, with half of those being indifferent to the outcome of politics and the other half being genuinely interested and undecided. In most normal conditions, the real battle between the parties — and by presidents — is to hold their own bases and take as much of the center as possible.

So long as a president is fighting for the center, his ability to govern remains intact. Thus, it is normal for a president to have a popularity rating that is less than 60 percent but more than 40 percent. When a president's popularity rating falls substantially below 40 percent and remains there for an extended period of time, the dynamics of politics shift. The president is no longer battling for the center but is fighting to hold on to his own supporters — and he is failing to do so.

When the president's support has fragmented to the point that he is fighting to recover his base, I considered that a failed presidency — particularly when Congress is in the hands of the opposition. His energy cannot be directed toward new initiatives. It is directed toward recovering his base. And presidents who have fallen into this condition near the end of their presidencies have not been likely to recover and regain the center.

Historically, when the president's popularity rating has dipped to about 37 percent, his position has been unrecoverable. This is what happened to George W. Bush in 2006. It happened to Richard Nixon in 1974 when the Watergate crisis resulted in his resignation, and to Lyndon Johnson in 1967 during the Vietnam War. It also happened to Harry Truman in 1951, primarily because of the Korean War, and to Herbert Hoover before World War II because of the Great Depression.

However, this is not the final historical note on a presidency. Truman, enormously unpopular and unable to run for another term, is now widely regarded as one of the finest presidents the United States has had. Nixon, on the other hand, has never recovered. This is not therefore a judgment on Obama's place in history, but simply on his current political condition. Nor does it take failure to lose the presidency; Jimmy Carter was defeated even though his popularity remained well in the 40s.
Obama's Presidency

Of the five failed presidencies I've cited, one failed over scandal, one over the economy and three over wars — Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. Obama's case is less clear than any. The 40 percent who gravitated to the opposition opposed him for a host of reasons. He lost the center for complex reasons as well. However, looking at the timing of his decline, the only intruding event that might have had that impact was the rise of the Islamic State and a sense, even in his own party, that he did not have an effective response to it. Historically, extended wars that the president did not appear to have a strategy for fighting have been devastating to the presidency. Woodrow Wilson's war (World War I) was short and successful. Franklin Roosevelt's war (World War II) was longer, and although it began in failure it became clear that a successful end was conceivable. The Korean, Vietnam and two Iraq wars suffered not from the length, but from the sense that the presidency did not have a war-ending strategy. Obama appears to me to have fallen into the political abyss because after six years he owned the war and appeared to have no grip on it.

Failure extends to domestic policy as well. The Republican-controlled legislature can pass whatever legislation it likes, but the president retains veto power, and two-thirds of both houses must vote to override. The problem is that given the president's lack of popularity — and the fact that the presidency, all of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate will be up for re-election in two years — the president's allies in Congress are not as willing to be held responsible for upholding his vetoes. Just as few Democrats wanted Obama campaigning for them, so too do few want to join the president in vetoing majority legislation. What broke Truman, Johnson and Nixon was the moment it became clear that their party's leaders in Congress wanted them gone.
Acting Within Constraints

This does not mean that the president can't act. It simply means that it is enormously more difficult to act than before. Gerald Ford, replacing Nixon but weakened by the pardoning of his predecessor, could not stop Congress from cutting off aid to South Vietnam during the final Communist assault. George W. Bush was able to launch the surge, but the surge was limited in size, not only because of strategic conditions but also because he had lost the ability to force Congress to fund alternative expansions of the war. In each of the failed presidencies, the president retained the ability to act but was constrained by the twin threats of an opposition-controlled Congress and his own party's unwillingness to align with him.

At the same time, certain foreign diplomatic initiatives can continue. Nixon initiated negotiations between Egypt and Israel that culminated, under Carter's administration, in the Camp David Accords. Truman tried to open negotiations with China, and the initiative's failure had little to do with opposition to a negotiated settlement in Korea.

The president has few domestic options. Whatever Obama does with his power domestically, Congress can vote to cut funding, and if the act is vetoed, the president puts Congressional Democrats in mortal danger. The place where he can act — and this is likely the place Obama is least comfortable acting — is in foreign policy. There, the limited deployment of troops and diplomatic initiatives are possible.

Obama's general strategy is to withdraw from existing conflicts in the Middle East and contain and limit Russian actions in Ukraine. The president has the ability to bring military and other pressure to bear. But the United States' opponent is aware that the sitting president is no longer in control of Washington, that he has a specific date of termination and that the more unpopular things he does, the more likely his successor is to repudiate them. Therefore, in the China-North Korea model, the assumption is that that continuing the conflict and negotiating with the successor president is rational. In the same sense, Iran chose to wait for the election of Ronald Reagan rather than deal with Jimmy Carter (who was not a failed president).

This model depends on the opponent's having the resources and the political will to continue the conflict in order to bargain with the president's successor, and assumes that the successor will be more malleable. This is frequently the result, since the successor can make concessions more readily than his predecessor. In fact, he can make those concessions and gain points by blaming the need to concede on his predecessor. Ironically, Obama used this strategy after replacing George W. Bush. The failed president frequently tries to entice negotiation by increasing the military pressure on the enemy. Truman, Johnson and George W. Bush all took this path while seeking to end their wars. In no case did it work, but they had little to lose politically by trying.

Therefore, if we follow historical patterns, Obama will now proceed slowly and ineffectively to increase military operations in Syria and Iraq, while raising non-military pressure on Russia, or potentially initiating some low-level military activities in Ukraine. The actions will be designed to achieve a rapid negotiating process that will not happen. The presidency will shift to the other party, as it did with Truman, Johnson and George W. Bush. Thus, if patterns hold true, the Republicans will retake the presidency. This is not a pattern unknown to Congress, which means that the Democrats in the legislature will focus on running their own campaigns as far away from Obama and the next Democratic presidential candidate as possible.

The period of a failed presidency is therefore not a quiet time. The president is actively trying to save his legacy in the face of enormous domestic weakness. Other countries, particularly adversaries, see little reason to make concessions to failed presidents, preferring to deal with the next president instead. These adversaries then use military and political oppositions abroad to help shape the next U.S. presidential campaign in directions that are in their interests.

It is against this backdrop that all domestic activities take place. The president retains the veto, and if the president is careful he will be able to sustain it. Obama will engage in limited domestic politics, under heavy pressure from Congressional Democrats, confining himself to one or two things. His major activity will be coping with Syria, Iraq and Russia, both because of crises and the desire for a legacy. The last two years of a failed presidency are mostly about foreign policy and are not very pleasant to watch.

Read more: On Obama and the Nature of Failed Presidencies | Stratfor
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12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Baraq is damaging Hillary's chances on: November 24, 2014, 04:23:01 PM

WSJ
Obama Is Damaging Hillary’s Chances
Mrs. Clinton’s popularity has plunged, and she is increasingly trapped by her former boss’s record.
By Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell
Nov. 23, 2014 5:00 p.m. ET


President Obama ’s high-risk immigration gamble may have severe consequences for Washington, the country and the Democratic Party, most of all Hillary Clinton .

Mrs. Clinton’s putative bid for the Democratic presidential nomination is already running into trouble. The national exit poll from the recently completed midterm elections showed her with less than a majority of voters (43%) saying she would make a good president. When pitted against an unnamed Republican candidate, Mrs. Clinton lost 40% to 34%.

Those grim numbers followed on a September WSJ/NBC poll showing a plunge in Mrs. Clinton’s favorability rating, to 43%, from 59% in 2009.

And that was before President Obama launched a defiant post-midterm campaign discarding political compromise and unilaterally doubling down on his unpopular policies. As a candidate, Mrs. Clinton would likely inherit a damaged party—and as a former member of his administration, she would struggle with the consequences of Mr. Obama’s go-it-alone governance.

The latest indication of the president’s politically damaging approach was his move on Thursday to unilaterally grant amnesty to an estimated five million illegal immigrants. A Rasmussen poll released Nov. 18 found that 53% of likely voters opposed the amnesty without congressional approval, while 34% approved. Moreover, 62% of those polled said that the president lacks the legal authority to take the action without congressional approval, and 55% said Congress should challenge the executive order in court.

That’s a problem for Democrats, who will be asked to defend the president, as they have had to do with other Obama policies, like the Affordable Care Act, that lack the support of most Americans.

Another source of trouble for Democrats: The proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which is enormously popular—59% of Americans are in favor, 31% against, according to a Pew poll this month. With the project so heavily favored, the president could score an easy win by backing the pipeline, but instead he has aligned himself with the elitist, environmentalist left led by billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer.

Mr. Obama’s willingness to disregard the public’s wishes will hurt Mrs. Clinton in particular. The president’s former secretary of state is already struggling to forge an independent identity without disowning the president. It will be almost impossible for Mrs. Clinton to directly oppose him over the next two years, though she will certainly continue to try to distance herself from Mr. Obama, as she did during her summer book tour. But if the president continues to lose the support of Democrats and moderates—as Mrs. Clinton has—she might have no alternative but to shelve her presidential ambitions.

If she does run, Mrs. Clinton could face a challenge from liberal populist Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Mrs. Clinton has struggled to adopt a populist mantle. The challenge was nowhere more in evidence than when she appeared in Massachusetts with Ms. Warren in October, awkwardly urging the crowd: “Don’t let anybody tell you that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” She later explained that the line hadn’t come out right.

Mrs. Clinton will have to work harder than that to dispel the impression among liberal Democrats that she is, as the line goes, the “candidate from Goldman Sachs , ” having numerous ties to the institution. The threat to a Clinton campaign from a Democratic rival running to her left, as Mr. Obama did in 2008, increased last week when populist former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb announced he is setting up an exploratory committee for a 2016 presidential bid.

Mrs. Clinton will also have to contend with her role as the architect of “HillaryCare” in the 1990s, a clear forerunner to the Affordable Care Act, which was not popular with Americans when it was passed and now has the approval of only 37%, according to a recent Gallup poll.

It appears that Mrs. Clinton is trying to have it both ways on immigration by supporting President Obama but saying that the only lasting solution is congressional action. And on Keystone, she has been missing in action.

And if that weren’t enough, foreign policy—which should be a selling point for the former secretary of state—will be a minefield. The president seemingly has no coherent strategy to deal with Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria, no coherent strategy for dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin ’s bellicosity in Eastern Europe, and no coherent strategy for dealing with the Iranian nuclear program. Regardless of whatever news emerges from the Nov. 24 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran, this story will drag on for ages, as the mullahs would prefer.

All of these foreign-policy dead zones have roots in Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, when she logged hundreds of thousands of miles without alighting on any significant successes. The Republican takeover of the Senate may bring fresh attention to her role in the deadly debacle in Benghazi, Libya, with victims that included U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

With President Obama now courting a constitutional crisis over his unilateral action on immigration reform, the Democratic Party is losing popularity by the day. The pressure is on Mrs. Clinton to separate herself from the partisan polarization and dysfunction in Washington while not alienating the liberal Democrats who dominate turnout in presidential primaries. She needs to distance herself from Mr. Obama without alienating his strongest supporters, but she also needs to develop a clear reason and logic for why she should be elected president—a logic that six years after she first declared her candidacy remains more elusive than ever.

Barack Obama could end up beating Hillary Clinton yet again.

Mr. Schoen, who served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton, is the author, with Melik Kaylan, of “The Russia-China Axis: The New Cold War and America’s Crisis of Leadership” (Encounter Books, 2014). Mr. Caddell served as a pollster for President Jimmy Carter .
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: November 24, 2014, 04:18:48 PM
The Cognitive Dissonace thread now has 200,000 reads!  Well done gentlemen!

PS:  Political Rants is closing in on 300,000  cool
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Proposed Solution on: November 24, 2014, 04:09:31 PM
second post

http://www.dailynews.com/20100522/doug-mcintyre-ten-steps-to-solve-the-immigration-problem
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Strassel: The Next Prez and the Obama Way on: November 24, 2014, 04:03:08 PM
The Next Prez and the Obama Way
Prosecutorial discretion? OK, how about not enforcing the 73,954 pages of tax code?
By Kimberley A. Strassel
Nov. 20, 2014 7:00 p.m. ET
Getty Images
Date: Jan. 21, 2017
To: POTUS
From: Your loyal and determined GOP advisers
Re: Your First 100 Days.

Hey Boss!

Congrats again (and fab party last night). Eight long years, and a Republican is finally back behind the Resolute desk. Pity about the Senate; Harry Reid is already vowing to shut the place down again. We put your chances of getting your agenda through that chamber in the range of slim to snowball.

But we’ve been thinking. Yes, the Constitution matters—Article I, Article II, blah, blah—though let’s be honest: What really counts in this town is precedent. And the ace news is that your predecessor blew up about 230 years of it. We’ve attached an 87-page list (check your spam box) of President Obama ’s unilateral actions: altering the ObamaCare statute; refusing to enforce federal drug laws; granting waivers to education reforms; using Justice Department suits to impose new industry rules; drafting agency regulations to go around Congress. Don’t forget 2014, when he rewrote federal immigration law. Like, all of it. By himself.

And here’s where it gets sweet. We’ve been analyzing the Obama team’s justifications. Some are p-r-e-t-t-y creative, but they boil down to this: Whenever a law is “unworkable,” or inadequately “funded”—and Congress won’t do anything—the president gets to act! How is that for new precedent? Think about it. This city has yet to produce a single statute or reg that is “workable” or that has, according to Democrats, enough money. Not a one. Remember that old Imagine Dragons tune, “I’m On Top of the World”? That’s you, boss. That’s you.

So here’s our plan for getting your entire agenda done—all of it!—by May:

Prosecutorial discretion: Love this. Your top item? Cutting taxes. We have two words and one number for you: Tax Code, 73,954 pages. Is there a more unworkable law? ROFL! We’ve got an executive order ready instructing IRS agents not to enforce the code on any person or company who refuses to pay more than our new rates. Goodbye Alternative Minimum Tax, death tax, capital gains, restrictions on nonprofits. Hello, flat tax on a postcard.

Speaking of taxes, do remember to thank Chief Justice John Roberts for declaring the ObamaCare individual mandate a tax. Not enforcing that one, either! That’s O-Care repealed. Check. You ran on reducing the regulatory burden. We’re sending a list of rules under major laws that you can instruct agencies and the Justice Department to no longer uphold. You know, the damaging stuff buried in the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Labor Relations Act, Dodd-Frank, McCain-Feingold. All unworkable!

We’re also readying a memo for the Justice Department, listing areas in which it should forgo suits for federal violations: Title IX, voting rights, affirmative action, wages and overtime. It’s not like anyone can “make” us do anything. Ask all those marijuana smokers in Alaska.

Waivers: You ran on fixing the debt, by fixing entitlements. Done. You know all those states getting waivers to experiment with Medicaid or welfare? Smart, but small. We’re thinking that with an elastic enough reading of laws, we can waive our way out of an entitlement system altogether. Medicaid vouchers? Child’s play. Did you know the Social Security Act allows sweeping waivers to its programs in the case of a national emergency? We so feel a national emergency coming on. A big one. Long—four years, maybe eight. Don’t laugh. Mr. Obama made anything conceivable.

Agencies: Justice now has time on its hands, so we’re setting up a task force to bring criminal charges against slippery characters (folks who, bonus, Americans love to hate): trial firms, union shops. Obama showed with his banking and BP BP.LN -0.22% suits that if we go big and ugly, we won’t even have to test legal theories; the targets will roll, and agree to new restrictions. That’s tort and labor reform done. And we’re already directing your agencies to start authorizing moves that Congress won’t: drilling off the East Coast and in ANWR; health insurance across state lines; school vouchers. Sky’s the limit! What the last guy showed is that the federal architecture is now so complex that you can always find a loophole. Look at his climate program. (BTW, we are shutting that down. Today.)

Is any of this constitutional? Meh. (Shred this memo.) We suppose you could ask legal advice, but Obama was certainly never that dumb. Here was his epiphany: Nobody can really stop a president. Congress can only complain. The judiciary moves too slowly to make a difference (look at Obama’s illegal recess appointments). Turns out the only thing that ever really restrained the chief executive was that oath he took. Our side has always taken that seriously. Hmmm.

We know you ran on restoring the Constitution, and the other side is counting on your base holding you to that. What they don’t understand is plenty of our people would be equally happy to see you stick it to them. We could do the right thing; arguably should.

Then again, who will they be to complain if we don’t?

Respectfully, Your Team.

Write to kim@wsj.com.
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newet: Baraq's Gruber Speech on: November 24, 2014, 03:56:03 PM
The President's Gruber Speech
Originally published at CNN.com.

President Barack Obama's speech Thursday night was technically a fine speech. It sounded good. It was rhetorically impressive. Its problem – or perhaps to the President its virtue – is that very little of it was true.

President Obama described what sounded like a reasonable plan to prioritize the deportation of felons, criminals, and gang members over the deportation of other people in the United States illegally. "We'll prioritize," he said, "just like law enforcement does every day." The whole proposal was entirely within his authority, he argued, because it amounted to a kind of prosecutorial discretion: "All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you."

But the policy the White House actually announced, as opposed to the policy the President described in his speech, was not merely a directive to emphasize enforcement against those who have committed crimes, or even a simple pause on deportations for millions of people here illegally. The policy the White House actually announced, in a memo from its Office of Legislative Affairs hours before the President's speech, was a 17 point plan including several new programs without Congressional approval, budget appropriation or spending authorization, and many of which the President either didn't mention or which bore only a faint resemblance to what he described in his speech.
The President, according to the White House, has directed the Department of Homeland Security to "create" a "new deferred action program" which will give millions of people here illegally "work authorizations" for at least three years. It establishes extensive new criteria by which people can register to be exempt from deportation. DHS will have to employ thousands of bureaucrats to process those who "come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born before the date of this announcement." Applicants supposedly will also have to prove they’ve been in the U.S. for at least five years and will have to pay taxes.
Well, a brand new program that hands out three-year work authorizations and processes more paperwork than many state DMVs is not merely saying, as the President put it in his speech, that "we're not going to deport you," and it is certainly not simple "prioritization" or "prosecutorial discretion," as many administration officials have been calling it before and after the announcement.

It is new law, created by the executive without Constitutional authority.

The President said in his speech that the new program will allow people here illegally to "come out of the shadows and get right with the law." Meanwhile administration officials explained on the record that he wasn't really legalizing anyone, since he couldn't technically do that.

The President also said in his speech that his actions would offer relief only to people who met certain criteria he described, including being in the country for at least five years and having child dependents in the U.S. But the actual policy memo makes clear that "DHS will direct all of its enforcement resources at pursuing" people who are "national security threats, serious criminals, and recent border crossers."

In other words, there will be one group, estimated at 4 million or so, who are eligible for the new work authorization program. But at the same time, there will be no resources directed at enforcing immigration law against the other 7 million people here illegally as long as they do not fall into a few narrow categories, according to the President's Office of Legislative Affairs. And indeed, a "senior administration official" told Roll Call that the administration "will order immigration agents to prioritize deportations of criminals and recent arrivals — and let people who are not on that priority list go free." This is not at all the program the president described in his speech.

President Obama said his plan would "stem the flow of illegal crossings" in the future. Yet every time the government has pledged to stop deporting certain classes of people in the past, there has been a huge surge in the number of illegal border crossings, including most recently the humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied minors on our southern border, which President Obama created with DACA, his last unauthorized executive action on immigration.

The President assured us his actions "are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every single Democratic president for the past half century." Except the primary examples his administration cites are cases of presidents implementing Congressionally-approved amnesties, narrowly expanding them to include cases Congress didn't anticipate, with no objection from Congress. The President has no such Congressional sanction, and his actions are an order of magnitude larger.
This was a Gruber speech. It was designed to sound acceptable to the American people, even if it was largely a lie.

For those not familiar with Jonathan Gruber, he is the now infamous co-architect of Obamacare who was recently revealed on video bragging about the administration's deceitful approach to passing that law. Gruber described how Obamacare was written "in a tortured way to make sure" the CBO did not "score the mandate as taxes," even though the administration knew it was a tax. He described how the administration won support for the tax on "Cadillac" health plans "by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people, when we know it’s a tax on people who hold these insurance plans"--a deception he thought to be a "very clever...exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter." Gruber described how the President "is not a stupid man" and understood Americans cared about cost control over coverage--so even though the bill was "90 percent health insurance coverage and 10 percent about cost control, all you ever hear people talk about is cost control."
With Obamacare, Gruber concluded, “the lack of transparency" was "a huge political advantage” and “the stupidity of the American voter" was "really, really critical for the thing to pass."

Listening to a speech in which the President lied about what he was proposing and lied about his authority to implement it, it was hard not to think of the Gruber model – which is really the Obama model, after all. He said what he needed to say to do what he wants to do.

Immigrants will "get right with the law," but not be "legalized," just as Obamacare's taxes weren't taxes, until they were taxes before the Supreme Court, but after which they weren't taxes again. Only immigrants who meet certain specific criteria will be eligible for relief, except for the millions of other people he doesn't mention for whom he will also stop enforcing the law.

In the past few years, President Obama has described 22 times on video how he doesn't have the legal and Constitutional authority to take many of the actions he announced Thursday night.

"With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed," he said in 2011. "…[W]e’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws...There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President."

President Obama made a good case back then. It's a shame he apparently thinks, like Gruber, that Americans are all so stupid we won't figure out he's not telling us the truth today.

Your Friend,
Newt
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: November 24, 2014, 03:53:49 PM
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11/22/leading-republican-wants-senate-to-join-house-probe-benghazi-attack/
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: November 21, 2014, 11:04:48 AM
If I am not mistaken, the permits are going to be paid for by the fees charged the illegals.

IMO this self-funding thing (also see Elizabeth Warren's work on self funding the Consumer Agency) is a deeply unC'l evasion of Congress's power of the purse.
19  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fire Hydrant: Howls from Crafty Dog, Rules of the Road, etc on: November 21, 2014, 11:02:20 AM
Off to Carbondale IL for Rob & Karen Gallegly!
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cochrane: What the Inequality Warriors really want on: November 20, 2014, 01:59:55 PM

http://online.wsj.com/articles/john-h-cochrane-what-the-inequality-warriors-really-want-1416442460
What the Inequality Warriors Really Want
By
John H. Cochrane
Updated Nov. 20, 2014 8:42 a.m. ET
 
 
Progressives decry inequality as the world’s most pressing economic problem. In its name, they urge much greater income and wealth taxation, especially of the reviled top 1% of earners, along with more government spending and controls—higher minimum wages, “living” wages, comparable worth directives, CEO pay caps, etc.

Inequality may be a symptom of economic problems. But why is inequality itself an economic problem? If some get rich and others get richer, who cares? If we all become poor equally, is that not a problem? Why not fix policies and problems that make it harder to earn more?

Yes, the reported taxable income and wealth earned by the top 1% may have grown faster than for the rest. This could be good inequality—entrepreneurs start companies, develop new products and services, and get rich from a tiny fraction of the social benefit. Or it could be bad inequality—crony capitalists who get rich by exploiting favors from government. Most U.S. billionaires are entrepreneurs from modest backgrounds, operating in competitive new industries, suggesting the former.

But there are many other kinds and sources of inequality. The returns to skill have increased. People who can use or program computers, do math or run organizations have enjoyed relative wage increases. But why don’t others observe these returns, get skills and compete away the skill premium? A big reason: awful public schools dominated by teachers unions, which leave kids unprepared even to enter college. Limits on high-skill immigration also raise the skill premium.

Americans stuck in a cycle of terrible early-child experiences, substance abuse, broken families, unemployment and criminality represent a different source of inequality. Their problems have proven immune to floods of government money. And government programs and drug laws are arguably part of the problem.

These problems, and many like them, have nothing to do with a rise in top 1% incomes and wealth.

Recognizing, I think, this logic, inequality warriors go on to argue that inequality is a problem because it causes other social or economic ills. A recent Standard & Poor’s report sums up some of these assertions: “As income inequality increased before the [2008 financial] crisis, less affluent households took on more and more debt to keep up—or, in this case, catch up—with the Joneses. ” In a 2011 Vanity Fair article, Columbia University economist Joe Stiglitz wrote that inequality causes a “lifestyle effect . . . people outside the top 1 percent increasingly live beyond their means.’’ He called it “trickle-down behaviorism.”

I see. A fry cook in Fresno hears that more hedge-fund managers are flying in private jets. So he buys a pickup he can’t afford. They are saying that we must tax away wealth to encourage thrift in the lower classes.

Here’s another claim: Inequality is a problem because rich people save too much. So, by transferring money from rich to poor, we can increase overall consumption and escape “secular stagnation.”

I see. Now we need to forcibly transfer wealth to solve our deep problem of national thriftiness.

You can see in these examples that the arguments are made up to justify a pre-existing answer. If these were really the problems to be solved, each has much more natural solutions.

Is eliminating the rich, to eliminate envy of their lifestyle, really the best way to stimulate savings? Might not, say, fixing the large taxation of savings in means-tested social programs make some sense? If lifestyle envy really is the mechanism, would it not be more effective to ban “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”?

If we redistribute because lack of Keynesian “spending” causes “secular stagnation”—a big if—then we should transfer money from all the thrifty, even poor, to all the big spenders, especially the McMansion owners with new Teslas and maxed-out credit cards. Is that an offensive policy? Yes. Well, maybe this wasn’t about “spending” after all.
There is a lot of fashionable talk about “redistribution” that’s not really the agenda. Even sky-high income and wealth taxes would not raise much revenue for very long, and any revenue is likely to fund government programs, not checks to the needy. Most inequality warriors, including President Obama, forthrightly advocate taxation to level incomes in the name of “fairness,” even if those taxes raise little or no revenue.

When you get past this kind of balderdash, most inequality warriors get down to the real problem they see: money and politics. They think money is corrupting politics, and they want to take away the money to purify the politics. As Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez wrote for his 2013 Arrow lecture at Stanford University: “top income shares matter” because the “surge in top incomes gives top earners more ability to influence [the] political process.”

A critique of rent-seeking and political cronyism is well taken, and echoes from the left to libertarians. But if abuse of government power is the problem, increasing government power is a most unlikely solution.

If we increase the top federal income-tax rate to 90%, will that not just dramatically increase the demand for lawyers, lobbyists, loopholes, connections, favors and special deals? Inequality warriors think not. Mr. Stiglitz, for example, writes that “wealth is a main determinant of power.” If the state grabs the wealth, even if fairly earned, then the state can benevolently exercise its power on behalf of the common person.

No. Cronyism results when power determines wealth. Government power inevitably invites the trade of regulatory favors for political support. We limit rent-seeking by limiting the government’s ability to hand out goodies.

So when all is said and done, the inequality warriors want the government to confiscate wealth and control incomes so that wealthy individuals cannot influence politics in directions they don’t like. Koch brothers, no. Public-employee unions, yes. This goal, at least, makes perfect logical sense. And it is truly scary.

Prosperity should be our goal. And the secrets of prosperity are simple and old-fashioned: property rights, rule of law, economic and political freedom. A limited government providing competent institutions. Confiscatory taxation and extensive government control of incomes are not on the list.

Mr. Cochrane is a professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Robert Kaplan: The Realist Creed on: November 20, 2014, 01:51:46 PM

The Realist Creed
By Robert Kaplan

All people in foreign policy circles consider themselves realists, since all people consider themselves realistic about every issue they ever talk about. At the same time, very few consider themselves realists, since realism signifies, in too many minds, cynicism and failure to intervene abroad when human rights are being violated on a mass scale. Though everyone and no one is a realist, it is also true that realism never goes away -- at least not since Thucydides wrote The Peloponnesian War in the fifth century B.C., in which he defined human nature as driven by fear (phobos), self-interest (kerdos) and honor (doxa). And realism, as defined by perhaps the pre-eminent thinker in the field in the last century, the late Hans Morgenthau of the University of Chicago, is about working with the basest forces of human nature, not against them.

Why is realism timeless and yet reviled at the same time? Because realism tells the bitterest truths that not everyone wants to hear. For in foreign policy circles, as in other fields of human endeavor, people often prefer to deceive themselves. Let me define what realism means to me.

First of all, realism is a sensibility, a set of values, not a specific guide as to what to do in each and every crisis. Realism is a way of thinking, not a set of instructions as to what to think. It doesn't prevent you from making mistakes. This makes realism more an art than a science. That's why some of the best practitioners of realism in recent memory -- former U.S. National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III -- never distinguished themselves as writers or philosophers. They were just practical men who had a knack for what made sense in foreign policy and what did not. And even they made mistakes. You can be an intellectual who has read all the books on realism and be an utter disaster in government, just as you could be a lawyer who has never read one book on realism and be a good secretary of state. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was unique because he was both: an intellectual realist and a successful statesman. But successful statesmen, intellectual or not, must inculcate a set of beliefs that can be defined by what may be called the Realist Creed:

Order Comes Before Freedom. That's right. Americans may think freedom is the most important political value, but realists know that without order there can be no freedom for anyone. For if anarchy reigns and no one is in charge, freedom is worthless since life is cheap. Americans sometimes forget this basic rule of nature since they have taken order for granted -- because they always had it, a gift of the English political and philosophical tradition. But many places do not have it. That is why when dictators are overthrown, realists get nervous: They know that because stable democracy is not assured as a replacement, they rightly ask, Who will rule? Even tyranny is better than anarchy. To wit, Iraq under Saddam Hussein was more humane than Iraq under no one -- that is, in a state of sectarian war.

Work With the Material at Hand. In other words, you can't just go around the world toppling regimes you don't like because they do not adhere to the same human rights standards as you do, or because their leaders are corrupt or unenlightened, or because they are not democrats. You must work with what there is in every country. Yes, there might be foreign leaders so averse to your country's interests that it will necessitate war or sanctions on your part; but such instances will be relatively rare. When it comes to foreign rulers, realists revel in bad choices; idealists often mistakenly assume that there should be good ones.

Think Tragically in Order to Avoid Tragedy. Pessimism has more value than misplaced optimism. Because so many regimes around the world are difficult or are in difficult straits, realists know that they must always be thinking about what could go wrong. Foreign policy is like life: The things you worry about happening often turn out all right, precisely because you worried about them and took protective measures accordingly; it is the things you don't worry about and that happen unexpectedly that cause disaster. Realists are good worriers.

Every Problem Does Not Have a Solution. It is a particular conceit that every problem is solvable. It isn't. Mayhem and human rights violations abound, even as the United States cannot intervene everywhere or take foreign policy positions that will necessarily help. That's why realists are comfortable doing little or nothing in certain instances, even as they feel just as bad as idealists about heartrending situations.

Interests Come Before Values. A nation such as the United States has interests in secure sea lines of communication, access to energy, a soft dominance in the Western Hemisphere and a favorable balance of power in the Eastern Hemisphere. These are amoral concerns that, while not necessarily in conflict with liberal values, operate in a different category from them. If Arab dictatorships will better secure safe sea lanes in and out of energy-producing areas than would chaotic democracies, realists will opt for dictatorship, knowing that it is a tragic yet necessary decision.

American Power Is Limited. The United States cannot intervene everywhere or even in most places. Precisely because America is a global power, it must try to avoid getting bogged down in any one particular place. The United States can defend treaty and de facto allies with its naval, air and cyber power. It can infiltrate communications networks the world over. It can, in short, do a lot of things. But it cannot set to rights complex Islamic societies in deep turmoil. So another thing realists are good at -- and comfortable with -- is disappointing people. In fact, one might say that foreign policy at its best is often about disappointing people, not always creating opportunities so much as keeping even worse things from happening.

Passion and Good Policy Often Don't Go Together. Foreign policy requires practitioners among whom the blood runs cold. While loud voices abound about doing something, the person in charge must quietly ask himself or herself, If I do this, what will happen two steps down the road, three steps down the road, and so forth? For passion can easily flip: Those screaming the loudest for intervention today can be the same ones calling your intervention flawed or insufficient after you have embarked on the fateful enterprise.
Reading this list, you might think that realism is immoral. That would be wrong. Rather, realism is imbued with a hard morality of best possible outcomes under the circumstances rather than a soft morality of good intentions. For there is a big difference between being moral and moralistic: The former celebrates difficult choices and the consequences that follow, while the latter abjures them. Realism is a hard road. The policymaker who lives by its dictums will often be rebuked while in office and fondly recalled as a statesman in the years and decades following. Look at George H.W. Bush. But foreign policy realists who have served in high office, I suspect, are more comfortable with the kind of loneliness that comes with rebuke than some of their idealist counterparts. Loneliness is normal for the best policymakers; it is the craving for the adoring crowd that is dangerous.

Robert D. Kaplan is Chief Geopolitical Analyst at Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence firm, and author of Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific.
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: November 20, 2014, 01:39:53 PM
Here's my suggestion for the Reps:

The underlying hold up is that the border is not protected , , , so PROTECT THE BORDER.

Pass a bill that genuinely closes the border.  Make Obama face signing or vetoing it.

This seems to me a good tip of the spear for everything else.
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We continue to be wrong about inflation on: November 20, 2014, 01:37:10 PM
Data Watch
________________________________________
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was Unchanged in October To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury - Chief Economist
Bob Stein, CFA - Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 11/20/2014

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was unchanged in October versus the consensus expected decline of 0.1%. The CPI is up 1.7% versus a year ago.
“Cash” inflation (which excludes the government’s estimate of what homeowners would charge themselves for rent) declined 0.1% in October, but is up 1.3% in the past year.
Energy prices declined 1.9% in October, while food prices increased 0.1%. The “core” CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.2% versus consensus expectations of 0.1%. Core prices are up 1.8% versus a year ago.

Real average hourly earnings – the cash earnings of all workers, adjusted for inflation – rose 0.1% in October, and are up 0.4% in the past year. Real weekly earnings are up 0.9% in the past year.

Implications: Next time you see an energy engineer, remember to give them a hug. They deserve it. Energy prices fell for a fourth straight month in October and continue to mute rising prices elsewhere for consumers. Consumer prices are up a modest 1.7% in the past year and the key reasons is America’s booming energy production and, as a result, lower world oil prices. The gasoline index is down 5% in the past year and now stands at the lowest level since February 2011. Given the continued drop in oil prices in the first half of November, look for another tame reading on overall price gains in next month’s report. However, there are sectors where inflation is moving higher. Food and beverage prices are up at a 3.1% annual rate in the past six months and up 2.9% in the past year. So if you only use the supermarket to gauge inflation, we understand thinking the headline reports are too low and that “true” inflation is higher. In addition, housing costs are going up. Owners’ equivalent rent, which makes up about ¼ of the overall CPI, rose 0.2% in October, is up 2.7% in the past year, and will be a key source of any acceleration in inflation in the year ahead. One of the best pieces of news in today’s report was that “real” (inflation-adjusted) average hourly earnings rose 0.1% in October. These earnings are up 0.4% from a year ago and workers are also adding to their purchasing power because of more jobs and more hours worked. Plugging today’s CPI data into our models suggests the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, the PCE deflator, was probably unchanged in October. If so, it would be up 1.4% from a year ago, still below the Fed’s target of 2%. We expect this measure to eventually hit and cross the 2% target, but given the bonanza from fracking and horizontal drilling, not until next year. In other news this morning, new claims for unemployment insurance declined 2,000 last week to 291,000. Continuing claims fell 73,000 to 2.33 million, a new low for the recovery. Plugging these figures into our employment models suggests nonfarm payrolls are growing 200,000 in November, with private payrolls up 191,000.
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: November 20, 2014, 01:18:26 AM
second post-- good content here to shoot down the latest bullexcrement progressive meme about Reagan and Bush:

Sorry, liberals: Reagan and Bush 41 did not defy Congress with executive amnesty
Published by: Dan Calabrese
 
Nice try.

Every time President Obama does something, or is about to do something, that has conservatives up in arms - especially if the protest is based on abuse of his constitutional authority - you can count on the left doing one thing: Finding a supposed example of a past Republican president or presidents doing the exact same thing.

Oh, I guess it was OK when a Republican did it!

They've been all over that argument the last couple of days with Obama's soon-to-be-announced executive order granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, claiming that both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did the exact same thing. This argument is just clever enough that people who don't really understand the issue or don't really know the history might buy it.

But when you really look into it, as Hans von Spakovsky did today for the Daily Signal, you'll find that the liberals' claim here is a complete load of crap:

In 1986, Congress passed the Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA), which provided a general amnesty to almost three million illegal immigrants.  According to the Associated Press, Reagan acted unilaterally when his Immigration and Naturalization Service commissioner “announced that minor children of parents granted amnesty by [IRCA] would get protection from deportation.”  In fact, in 1987 former Attorney General Ed Meese issued a memorandum allowing the INS to defer deportation where “compelling or humanitarian factors existed” for children of illegal immigrants who had been granted amnesty and, in essence, given green cards and put on a path towards being “naturalized” as citizens.  In announcing this policy, Reagan was not defying Congress, but rather carrying out the general intent of Congress which had just passed a blanket amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.

As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website itself explains, the children of individuals who become citizens through naturalization have a relatively easy process for also becoming naturalized citizens to avoid breaking up families. And as Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies points out, the INS was, as a practical matter, going to “look the other way under certain circumstances with regard to minor children both of whose parents received amnesty.”   This was well within the authority delegated to the executive branch and a “legitimate exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”

The Bush administration relaxed these technical requirements under a “Family Fairness” policy to defer deportation of the spouses and children of illegal immigrants who were allowed to stay in this country and seek naturalization through the IRCA amnesty. Shortly thereafter, Bush worked with Congress to pass the Immigration Act of 1990, which made these protections permanent.  Significantly, the Bush policy and the 1990 Act affected only a small number of immigrants–about 180,000 people –in comparison to Obama’s past (his 2012 implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program) and anticipated unilateral actions that will affect millions of immigrants.

Some supporters of Obama’s unilateral actions on immigration have also pointed to other actions by past presidents that allowed immigrants such as Afghans and Nicaraguans to stay in the U.S. But those limited actions were based on very special circumstances such as the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, the Communist-driven civil war in Nicaragua or the Chinese massacre of students in Tiananmen Square that led Bush to granted deferred departure to threatened Chinese nationals.

What Obama is getting ready to do has nothing at all in common with what Reagan or Bush did. Both of these past Republican presidents made fairly run-of-the-mill administrative decisions on the implementation of bills Congress had passed, and that they had signed. That is entirely uncontroversial, and would be so if Obama did it too.
What Obama is proposing to do here is to act action on his own specifically because Congress has not given him authorization to act. That is about as unconstitutional as a thing can be, and it bears no similarity to the examples liberals are trying to put forward as its equivalent.

Nice job on von Spakovsky's part doing the work to expose the fraud that is this argument.

Of course, the most galling thing about all this is that, if Obama really wants immigration reform, he could wait until the new Congress is sworn in and then work with them on it. But he doesn't want that because the new Republican Congress is not going to pass a bill that's designed solely to serve the electoral objectives of Democrats. So suddenly, after getting nothing out of Congress on this score for six years, he suddenly has to act now because it's a huge emergency.

No wonder the left has to go to such ridiculous lengths to construct a rationalization. When you actually take an honest look at what he's about to do, you realize it's completely indefensible.
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What's wrong with the Senate "bipartisan" bill on: November 20, 2014, 12:40:22 AM
http://goodlatte.house.gov/pages/Top-10-Concerns-With-The-Senate-Immigration-Bill
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Some points herein I had not seen before on: November 19, 2014, 02:17:08 PM
Immigration Executive Order -- All Smoke and Mirrors
The Demos' REAL "Immigration Reform" Strategy
By Mark Alexander • November 19, 2014     
"The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." --George Washington (1783)
 

So, the Imperial President claims that, because Republicans are not passing the immigration "reform" legislation that best suits the Democratic Party's political agenda, he is going to bypass Congress and issue an executive order (EO).

Don't believe it.

Oh, Barack Obama is going to center stage Thursday night to set up his EO play, and sign that diktat Friday in Las Vegas -- a fitting venue for a gutless gamble by a "big hat, no cattle" dude rancher. But what is the Demos' real strategy?

In leftist parlance, "immigration reform" means providing a jackpot to illegal aliens -- giving them official status so they can work and receive all associated taxpayer-subsidized services like housing, schooling and medical care. Once integrated, the second step is to provide a fast-track to citizenship. In other words, for Democrats, immigration reform means, first and foremost, seeding a large constituency.

But is Obama really attempting to give millions of illegal immigrants worker status?

In 2008, then President-elect Obama declared, "I can guarantee that we will have, in the first year, an immigration bill that I strongly support." In 2009 and 2010, Obama had the benefit of Democrat Party control of both the House and Senate, however, his congressional Demos never passed an amnesty bill and thus he did not sign one.

Why?

Because he and his fellow Democrats were just pandering to Latinos; they had no intention of passing legislation to provide worker permits for five to 10 million illegal immigrants.

Why?

Because another larger and more critical Democrat voter constituency is composed of low-income Americans, whom the Left baits with class warfare rhetoric centered on issues like "living wages" and increasing the minimum wage.

As my daughter, a university student working toward a business degree, framed this issue, "Labor inflation results in wage deflation." In other words, the Democrats really don't want to dump millions of immigrant laborers, who are willing to take low wages, onto their dependable American low-income constituency, because that will, in effect, drive wages even lower.

This is a fundamental supply-and-demand equation.

Just before Democrats were shellacked during the midterm "Republican wave," Obama borrowed a line from The Gipper for a national campaign interview: "Ronald Reagan used to ask the question, 'Are you better off than you were four years ago?' In this case, are you better off than you were in six? And the answer is, the country is definitely better off than we were when I came into office." But according to BO, the problem is the American people "don't feel it," and he insisted, "The reason they don't feel it is because incomes and wages are not going up."

Of course, the reason for wage stagnation is that Obama's economic "recovery" policies have been a colossal failure. On top of that, the influx of cheap illegal immigrant labor effectively caps any increase in wages for unskilled workers.

Democrats argue raising the minimum wage will protect their low-wage constituents, but that is a fabrication. As the Congressional Budget Office made clear, artificially increasing wages will decrease employment.
 

The issue of immigrant labor undermining the ability of low-income earners to achieve a "living wage" is nothing new. A primary reason Abraham Lincoln did not emancipate slaves at the onset of the War Between the States is that the influx of black labor into northern markets competing for jobs held by white laborers would have undermined Lincoln's political support from the latter.

The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass was so angry with Lincoln for delaying the liberation of some slaves that he scarcely contacted him before 1863, noting that Lincoln was loyal only "to the welfare of the white race." Apparently, more than a few Latino politicos are equally disenchanted with Obama's failure to provide immigrant work permits.

So what of Obama's EO?

The Demo strategy is to craft that EO in such a way that Republicans can successfully chip away at it, primarily by defunding and de-authorizing key components of its implementation, as well as by issuing legal challenges. Thus, Democrats will receive credit from both their legal and illegal Latino constituencies for, ostensibly, attempting to provide them with nine million Permanent Residency or Employment Authorization cards. Then they can blame those "obstructionist" Republicans for blocking them.
This week, Senate Democrats, in a letter to Obama supporting his EO plan, made clear their intent to share in the political fruits of this charade.

Obama, as we've often noted, is a master of the BIG Lie, and, just like the litany of lies that he and his party used to deceive Americans into supporting ObamaCare, they are
also deceiving millions of Americans into believing Democrats support both "living wages" and "immigration reform."

Apparently, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) got it right when he interrupted Obama's 2009 introduction of ObamaCare to a joint session of Congress and the nation. "You lie! You lie!" Wilson memorably yelled.

Indeed, "lack of transparency" and "the stupidity of the American voter," in the words of ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber, are also applicable to Obama's low-wage and Latino constituencies in regard to amnesty by EO. Of course, there is plenty of evidence that Obama constituents are too ignorant to know they're being duped -- after all, they elected him. Twice.

 

Not only do Democrats assume their constituents are too stupid to understand Obama's amnesty EO subterfuge, but Obama is willing to, once again, turn constitutional Rule of Law on end to accomplish this deceit.

Last week, Obama declared his intent to issue the immigration EO: "I indicated to Speaker Boehner several months ago that if in fact Congress failed to act I would use all the lawful authority that I possess to try to make the system work better."

Of course, "lawful authority" is whatever Obama defines it to be at a given time. He was against unlawful executive orders before he was for them.

On March 31, 2008, candidate Obama said, "I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that's what I intend to reverse when I'm president of the United States of America."

But having failed to pass immigration reform in his first two years in office when he owned the House and Senate, and then having lost control of the House in the 2010 midterm election, Obama repeatedly pleaded in Latino forums that he had no power to implement the changes he'd promised. Rebuffing calls that he legislate by executive order, Obama insisted, "I am not a dictator. I'm the president. ... If in fact I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress then I would do so. ... I'm not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed."

Obama may not have implemented his immigration policies by EO, but he certainly suspended enforcement of immigration laws with an executive order.
But by 2014, with his singular centerpiece legislation -- ObamaCare -- falling apart, and Democrats putting as much distance between him and them as possible, Obama believed the only way his party could stave off a resounding defeat in the midterm election was if he delivered Latino votes.

He began the year promising, "Where Congress isn't acting, I'll act on my own. ... I've got a pen ... and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward." In other words, when Republicans don't give Obama what he wants on immigration, he will pull an executive order end run.
 

Obama has broadly demonstrated his willingness to end-run our Constitution via EO, most notably his so-called "climate change" policies and his repeated rewrites of ObamaCare.

Asked about his revised position to implement amnesty by executive order, Obama regurgitated this spin: "Well, actually, my position hasn't changed. When I was talking to the advocates, their interest was in me, through executive action, duplicating the legislation that was stalled in Congress. ... There are certain limits to what falls within the realm of prosecutorial discretion in terms of how we apply existing immigration laws."

Of course, that is just more constitutional obfuscation.

Despite his faux devotion to our Constitution, Obama has wantonly violated his oath to "to Support and Defend" it.

Though Obama claims to be a "professor of constitutional law," a genuine constitutional scholar, George Washington University's Jonathan Turley, a self-acknowledged liberal Obama supporter, has issued severe criticism of Obama's "über presidency," his abuse of executive orders and regulations to bypass Congress.

According to Turley, "When the president went to Congress and said he would go it alone, it obviously raises a concern. There's no license for going it alone in our system, and what he's done, is very problematic. He's told agencies not to enforce some laws [and] has effectively rewritten laws through active interpretation that I find very problematic."
He continued: "What's emerging is an imperial presidency, an über presidency. ... When a president can govern alone, he can become a government unto himself, which is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in the establishment of our tripartite system of government. ... Obama has repeatedly violated this [separation of powers] doctrine in the circumvention of Congress in areas ranging from health care to immigration law to environmental law. ... What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest challenges to our constitutional system in the history of this country. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. ... We are now at the constitutional tipping point for our system. ... No one in our system can 'go it alone' -- not Congress, not the courts, and not the president."

When asked by Fox News host Megyn Kelly how he would respond "to those who say many presidents have issued executive orders on immigration," Turley responded, "This would be unprecedented, and I think it would be an unprecedented threat to the balance of powers. ... I hope he does not get away with it."

Over on Obama's MSNBC network, even leftist commentator Lawrence O'Donnell finds the prospect of Obama's executive amnesty diktat daunting. He asked Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) about Obama's authority to issue an EO giving work permits to millions of illegal immigrants: "No one at the White House has been able to give me the legal justification for the following component of the president's plan. ... Has the White House told you -- what is the legal justification for the president to create a new category of beneficiaries for work documents? How can that be done without legislation?"

Of course, Welch could not answer O'Donnell, because there is no such authority.
 

Before the midterm election, Obama declared, "Make no mistake, [my] policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them." Make no mistake: The American people resoundingly rejected his policies on November 4.

That notwithstanding, Obama has dismissed the election results. Perhaps he believes his immigration EO artifice will deliver enough Latino voters to Democrat candidates in 2016 to hold the presidency and regain the Senate, and somehow that will restore his "Dear Leader" status. After all, more than a million illegal immigrants were unlawfully registered to vote in the midterm election, particularly in states where Democrats have thwarted efforts to require voter IDs.

The bottom line for Republicans is that they need to drive home four points.

First, the "immigration reform" pledges by Obama and his Democrats are disingenuous because they would undermine the Left's entire "living wage" platform. But Democrats believe their low-income and Latino constituencies are too stupid to understand this ruse. Remember: "Labor inflation results in wage deflation."

Second, as Dr. Turley noted, Obama is willing to trash the Constitution in order to advance his ruinous policies. Republicans need to use his abject abuse of power and the threat it poses to Liberty as a constitutional teachable moment.

Third, any debate about immigration is useless unless it begins with a commitment to securing our borders first. As Ronald Reagan declared, "A nation without borders is not a nation." Likewise, it must address the issue of so-called "birthright citizenship," which is a gross misinterpretation of our Constitution's 14th Amendment.

And last, Republicans need to embrace the fact that Liberty is colorblind. It's not a "white thing." Essential Liberty is timeless. And because it transcends all racial, ethnic, gender and class distinctions, it will appeal to all freedom-loving people when properly presented.

Time to see what the incoming House and Senate Republican majorities are made of!

Pro Deo et Constitutione -- Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: November 19, 2014, 12:51:30 PM
Do crises drive prices up in the current context?  The middle east is in an accelerating burn, and oil prices are falling , , ,

Off the top of my head this looks more like a play to play for time if/when there is a run on the ruble.

28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / October Housing Starts on: November 19, 2014, 12:49:36 PM


Housing Starts Declined 2.8% in October To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 11/19/2014

Housing starts declined 2.8% in October to a 1.009 million annual rate, coming in below the consensus expected 1.025 million annual rate. Starts are up 7.8% versus a year ago.

The decline in starts in October was all due to a sharp 15.4% drop in multi-family units; single family starts rose 4.2%. In the past year, single-family starts are up 15.4% while multi-family starts are down 6.0%.

Starts in October declined in the Midwest, Northeast and West, but were up in the South.

New building permits rose 4.8% in October to a 1.080 million annual rate, coming in above the consensus expected 1.040 million. Compared to a year ago, permits for single-units are up 2.4% while permits for multi-family homes are down 0.5%.

Implications: Home building has been very volatile over the past few months but the underlying trend remains upward and we expect that to continue. The best news from today’s report was that building permits rose 4.8% in October, as single-family and multi-family permits rose 1.4% and 10% respectively. Permits now stand at the highest level since June 2008, signaling future gains in home building in the months to come. October’s drop of 2.8% for home building was all due to multi-family units, which were down 15.4% in October and have caused large swings in overall housing starts over the past few months. Single-family starts have been steadily rising over the past three months. So, the multi-family volatility over the past few months has masked slow underlying improvement in the housing sector. To smooth out the volatility we look at the 12-month moving average. This is now at the highest level since September 2008. The total number of homes under construction, (started, but not yet finished) increased 1.4% in October and are up 20.1% versus a year ago. No wonder residential construction jobs are up 131,000 in the past year. Although multi-family construction has slowed over the past few months, it has still taken the clear lead in the housing recovery. Single-family starts have been in a tight range for the past two years, while the trend in multi-family units has been up steeply. In the past year, 36% of all housing starts have been for multi-unit buildings, the most since the mid-1980s, when the last wave of Baby Boomers was leaving college. From a direct GDP perspective, the construction of multi-family homes adds less, per unit, to the economy than single-family homes. However, home building is still a positive for real GDP growth and we expect that trend to continue. Based on population growth and “scrappage,” housing starts will rise to about 1.5 million units per year over the next couple of years.
29  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude on: November 19, 2014, 12:36:05 PM
The thought of losing a child sends tremors through the heart of any parent.  I admire VDH's work greatly; may he find God's grace in this hour of tragedy.
30  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: November 19, 2014, 12:34:18 PM
God retains his sense of humor it would seem  cheesy cheesy
31  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBs mentioned in article on Afrcian MA on: November 19, 2014, 12:32:58 PM
http://fightland.vice.com/blog/the-styles-of-african-martial-arts
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Jerusalem's war of neighbors on: November 19, 2014, 12:26:15 PM
It's POTH, so caveat lector.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/19/world/middleeast/in-jerusalem-war-of-neighbors-the-differences-are-not-negotiable.html?emc=edit_th_20141119&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193&_r=0
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: November 19, 2014, 12:24:25 PM
http://www.dickmorris.com/2015-debates-threaten-hillarys-candidacy-dick-morris-tv-lunch-alert/?utm_source=dmreports&utm_medium=dmreports&utm_campaign=dmreports
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: November 19, 2014, 11:36:38 AM
Bland, competent, white male with spectacular record will NOT be enough.
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: November 19, 2014, 11:35:01 AM
Interesting , , ,
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: November 19, 2014, 11:30:36 AM
Sen. Joe Mancin of WV may be tempted to flip to the Reps.
37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: November 19, 2014, 11:23:28 AM
Whoever it is must have what it takes to beat the Hillary, her machine, the Pravdas, and women voters who will vote for her because she is a woman.

Bland, competent, white male with good record will NOT be enough.
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama was against illegal immigration before he was for it on: November 19, 2014, 11:20:53 AM
http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/16/shock-flashback-obama-says-illegal-immigration-hurts-blue-collar-americans-strains-welfare-video/?advD=1248%2C657950#!
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gruber who? on: November 19, 2014, 11:14:45 AM
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama attacked Hillary Clinton's health care plan because "it forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can't afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don't." Gee, that sounds familiar. Oh, that's right -- it's a critical part of ObamaCare now. What changed Obama's mind? Jonathan "Stupid American Voters" Gruber, of course. After adding Gruber to his transition team and meeting with him about health policy, Obama came out in favor of the mandate in July 2009. And, according to a 2012 New York Times report, "It is [Gruber's] research that convinced the Obama administration that health care reform could not work without requiring everyone to buy insurance." It's no wonder Obama has tried to distance himself from Gruber, saying, "I just heard about this" kerfuffle, and, "The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run." Sure thing.
40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: November 19, 2014, 11:06:42 AM
"[T]he people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion." --Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 25, 1787

=================
An Obama supporter with integrity:

Barack Obama claims to be a "professor of constitutional law," but a genuine constitutional scholar, George Washington University's Jonathan Turley, a self-acknowledged liberal Obama supporter, has offered severe criticism of Obama's "über presidency," his abuse of executive orders and regulations to bypass Congress.

When asked by Fox News host Megyn Kelly how he would respond "to those who say many presidents have issued executive orders on immigration," Turley responded, "This would be unprecedented, and I think it would be an unprecedented threat to the balance of powers."

In July, Turley gave congressional testimony concerning Obama's abuse of executive orders: "When the president went to Congress and said he would go it alone, it obviously raises a concern. There's no license for going it alone in our system, and what he's done is very problematic. He's told agencies not to enforce some laws [and] has effectively rewritten laws through active interpretation that I find very problematic."

He continued: "Our system is changing in a dangerous and destabilizing way. What's emerging is an imperial presidency, an über presidency. ... The president's pledge to effectively govern alone is alarming but what is most alarming is his ability to fulfill that pledge. When a president can govern alone, he can become a government unto himself, which is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in the establishment of our tripartite system of government. ... Obama has repeatedly violated this [separation of powers] doctrine in the circumvention of Congress in areas ranging from health care to immigration law to environmental law. ... What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest challenges to our constitutional system in the history of this country. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. There could be no greater danger for individual liberty. I think the framers would be horrified. ... We are now at the constitutional tipping point for our system. ... No one in our system can 'go it alone' -- not Congress, not the courts, and not the president."

Turley reiterated this week: "[Obama has] become a government of one. ... It's becoming a particularly dangerous moment if the president is going to go forward, particularly after this election, to defy the will of Congress yet again. ... What the president is suggesting is tearing at the very fabric of the Constitution. We have a separation of powers ... to protect Liberty, to keep any branch from assuming so much authority that they become a threat to Liberty. ... The Democrats are creating something very, very dangerous. They're creating a president who can go it alone -- the very danger that are framers sought to avoid in our Constitution. ... I hope he does not get away with it."
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Professor Turley on: November 19, 2014, 11:06:12 AM
"[T]he people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion." --Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 25, 1787

=================
An Obama supporter with integrity:

Barack Obama claims to be a "professor of constitutional law," but a genuine constitutional scholar, George Washington University's Jonathan Turley, a self-acknowledged liberal Obama supporter, has offered severe criticism of Obama's "über presidency," his abuse of executive orders and regulations to bypass Congress.

When asked by Fox News host Megyn Kelly how he would respond "to those who say many presidents have issued executive orders on immigration," Turley responded, "This would be unprecedented, and I think it would be an unprecedented threat to the balance of powers."

In July, Turley gave congressional testimony concerning Obama's abuse of executive orders: "When the president went to Congress and said he would go it alone, it obviously raises a concern. There's no license for going it alone in our system, and what he's done is very problematic. He's told agencies not to enforce some laws [and] has effectively rewritten laws through active interpretation that I find very problematic."

He continued: "Our system is changing in a dangerous and destabilizing way. What's emerging is an imperial presidency, an über presidency. ... The president's pledge to effectively govern alone is alarming but what is most alarming is his ability to fulfill that pledge. When a president can govern alone, he can become a government unto himself, which is precisely the danger that the Framers sought to avoid in the establishment of our tripartite system of government. ... Obama has repeatedly violated this [separation of powers] doctrine in the circumvention of Congress in areas ranging from health care to immigration law to environmental law. ... What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest challenges to our constitutional system in the history of this country. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. There could be no greater danger for individual liberty. I think the framers would be horrified. ... We are now at the constitutional tipping point for our system. ... No one in our system can 'go it alone' -- not Congress, not the courts, and not the president."

Turley reiterated this week: "[Obama has] become a government of one. ... It's becoming a particularly dangerous moment if the president is going to go forward, particularly after this election, to defy the will of Congress yet again. ... What the president is suggesting is tearing at the very fabric of the Constitution. We have a separation of powers ... to protect Liberty, to keep any branch from assuming so much authority that they become a threat to Liberty. ... The Democrats are creating something very, very dangerous. They're creating a president who can go it alone -- the very danger that are framers sought to avoid in our Constitution. ... I hope he does not get away with it."
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: November 19, 2014, 10:55:14 AM
No doubt the Pravdas are going to give full-throated coverage to the fact that Gruber has made something like $5 MILLION from various govt. contracts, including $400,000 from HHS and that Team Obama trumpeted him as a disinterested expert who confirmed its numbers and that they, the Pravdas, spread it forward , , ,

43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Amending the 14th's definition of "Citizen"? on: November 19, 2014, 10:52:10 AM


I forget on which thread, but we discussed this matter a few years ago:

http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/11/17/ingraham-urges-gop-to-enforce-immigration-laws/201587 
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: November 17, 2014, 04:53:38 PM
second post

Why Dems Lack Working Class Appeal: It's Immigration, Stupid
By DICK MORRIS
Published on DickMorris.com on November 17, 2014
After their massive defeats in the midterm elections, many Democrats are calling for the party to move away from its emphasis on social issues and embrace a call for higher wages and an end to stagnant working class incomes.  But they miss the point.  Both in fact and in perception, their pro-immigration stance puts them on the wrong side of the issue.

AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka called on Hillary to "run on a raising-wages agenda and not cater to Wall Street but to everyday people."

The New York Times notes that as Democrats sift through the returns, they see that "lower-income voters either supported Republicans or did not vote." The paper said that "liberals argue that without a more robust message about economic fairness, the party will continue to suffer among working-class voters, particularly in the South and Midwest."

But both Trumka and the Times miss the key point: You can't be for raising downscale wages and opening the doors of our nation to millions of low income immigrants at the same time.  They are mutually contradictory both economically and politically.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, an ultra-leftist, came closer to the mark when he said that "Too many Democrats are too close to Wall Street" and that "too many Democrats support trade agreements that outsource jobs, and too many Democrats are too willing to cut Social Security -- and that's why we lose elections."

But Brown's argument collapses when he leaves immigration off his list. 

Under Obama, three out of every four newly created jobs went to people not born in the United States according to the Census Bureau.  The resultant downward pressure on wages makes income inequality worse.  Proposals to raise the minimum wage are largely beside the point -- only ten percent of those at this wage level are in poverty, the rest are second and third incomes in their families.

To raise the wages of the heads of households, the left cannot continue to force them to compete with newly arrived immigrants who are willing to work for next to nothing.

The liberal agenda of tougher regulation of banks, student loan forgiveness, and even revisions in trade policy simply won't address the problem sufficiently. 

In one stroke of the pen, President Obama will justify working class angst about the Administration's economic policy when he ends deportations of illegal immigrants.

Message to Obama and the left: Immigration is the economic issue of our time.
45  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / WSJ: Mexico's Rule of Law Crisis on: November 17, 2014, 03:36:59 PM
by
Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Nov. 16, 2014 6:18 p.m. ET
95 COMMENTS

What do the September disappearance of 43 university students from the custody of local police in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, and new allegations of federal corruption in the awarding of public infrastructure contracts have in common? Answer: They both show that Mexico still has a huge problem enforcing the rule of law.

The two developments have sparked a political crisis that could sink Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) President Enrique Peña Nieto ’s ambitious reform agenda if he doesn’t take quick and decisive action to restore confidence.

Until now the president has been able to ignore Mexico’s legendary lawlessness. He has been riding an international wave of excitement around the opening of the energy sector, with few questions asked. But unless he wants to make common cause with the hard left—which thinks it has him on the ropes because of the missing students—he needs to admit his mistakes, purge his cabinet and make the rule of law job No. 1.

According to a 17-page report issued Wednesday by the Mexican Embassy in Washington, the missing students were political activists. They had entered the town of Iguala in Guerrero to “forcefully borrow two private buses” for a journey to Mexico City for demonstrations.

The embassy says police opened fire on the students and that in the melee that ensued six civilians died. The students arrested were handed to a local crime cartel. Gang members allegedly confessed to killing the young men and burning their bodies. The governor of Guerrero has resigned. The mayor of Iguala, his wife, 36 municipal police officers and more than 35 other individuals are under arrest.

The governor and the mayor are both from the left-wing Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). But teachers unions and the hard-left former mayor of Mexico City, Andrés Manuel López Obrador are now trying to destabilize the Peña Nieto government by linking it to the disappearance of the students. Last week the militants seized town halls, attacked government buildings, blocked roads and burned cars in at least three states.

The good news is that few issues have united Mexican civil society like the disappearance of the students and the violent response of the extreme left. There is little sympathy for Mr. López Obrador. The public’s top priority is the rule of law.

To re-establish the rule of law at a time when criminals have so much power is a tall order. U.S. drug policy and the American appetite for narcotics have conspired to overwhelm law enforcement in many places in Mexico. Mr. Peña Nieto can make a start if he demonstrates that the state can handle this investigation with transparency. But he will have to go much further.

To show that Mexico is committed to ending impunity and to improving public security, the president should use his influence to push for the full implementation of the new criminal code mandating that all federal and state judicial systems move, by 2016, to the oral accusatorial system, away from Mexico’s traditional written, inquisitional system.

Monterrey lawyer Ernesto Canales founded the civic group Renace (Spanish for “rebirth”) in 1994 to work for this reform in his home state of Nuevo León. In an interview in New York in the spring he told me that the change will “mean an increase in substance over formality in public trials and an increase in transparency. It will also raise the odds that judges actually know what’s going on in their courtrooms.”

Sounds important. Yet congressional approval of the federal regulations necessary to complete the reform is moving at a glacial pace, and the judiciary is in no hurry to comply. Many of the 32 states have yet to make the transition.

Everyone knows why: The oral system will challenge the traditional use of the criminal-justice system as a profit center for the state. In that tradition the accused can either pay or do time. Culpability is beside the point, and there is no need for competitive police salaries, forensics or transparent protocols to ensure accountability and communication among municipal, state and federal authorities.

This works well for the establishment, and Mr. Peña Nieto has not wanted to spend the political capital to change things. Becoming the champion of a reform that originated with civil society is now his best option to restore his credibility.

The president also has to deal with the drip, drip of allegations that his government is in the habit of trading contracts for kickbacks. Investors might forgive real or perceived transgressions if he fires his discredited ministers and agrees to a new bidding process for infrastructure contracts that puts his team at arm’s length. The center-right National Action Party (PAN), which wants to see the successful opening of the energy market, may be willing to help if it can be assured that the PRI will keep its hand out of the cookie jar.

That’s a lot to ask of the PRI, but Mr. Peña Nieto’s promise to transform Mexico depends on it.

Write to O’Grady@wsj.com
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The Missing Immigration Memo on: November 17, 2014, 03:25:55 PM
But, unless I am mistaken, that is not what he is doing here , , ,

=========================

The Missing Immigration Memo
Has Obama asked the Office of Legal Counsel for its legal opinion?
Attorney General Eric Holder European Pressphoto Agency
Nov. 16, 2014 6:31 p.m. ET


If the White House press corps wants to keep government honest, here’s a question to ask as President Obama prepares to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants by executive order: Has he sought, and does he have, any written legal justification from the Attorney General and the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) for his actions?

This would be standard operating procedure in any normal Presidency. Attorney General Eric Holder is the executive branch’s chief legal officer, and Administrations of both parties typically ask OLC for advice on the parameters of presidential legal authority.

The Obama Administration has asked OLC for its legal opinions on such controversial national security questions as drone strikes and targeting U.S. citizens abroad. It was right do so even though the Constitution gives Presidents enormous authority on war powers and foreign policy.

But a Justice-OLC opinion is all the more necessary on domestic issues because the President’s authority is far more limited. He is obliged to execute the laws that Congress writes. A President should always seek legal justification for controversial actions to ensure that he is on solid constitutional ground as well as to inspire public confidence in government.

Yet as far as we have seen, Mr. Obama sought no such legal justification in 2012 when he legalized hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. The only document we’ve found in justification is a letter from the Secretary of Homeland Security at the time, Janet Napolitano, to law enforcement agencies citing “the exercise of our prosecutorial discretion.” Judging by recent White House leaks, that same flimsy argument will be the basis for legalizing millions more adults.

It’s possible Messrs. Obama and Holder haven’t sought an immigration opinion because they suspect there’s little chance that even a pliant Office of Legal Counsel could find a legal justification. Prosecutorial discretion is a vital legal concept, but it is supposed to be exercised in individual cases, not to justify a refusal to follow the law against entire classes of people.

White House leakers are also whispering as a legal excuse that Congress has provided money to deport only 400,000 illegal migrants a year. But a President cannot use lack of funds to justify a wholesale refusal to enforce a statute. There is never enough money to enforce every federal law at any given time, and lack of funds could by used in the future by any President to refuse to enforce any statute. Imagine a Republican President who decided not to enforce the Clean Air Act.

We support more liberal immigration but not Mr. Obama’s means of doing it on his own whim because he’s tired of working with Congress. His first obligation is to follow the law, which begins by asking the opinion of the government’s own lawyers.
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Apps vs. the Web on: November 17, 2014, 03:13:09 PM
The Web Is Dying; Apps Are Killing It
Tech’s Open Range Is Losing Out to Walled Gardens
By Christopher Mims
Updated Nov. 17, 2014 2:53 p.m. ET


The Web—that thin veneer of human-readable design on top of the machine babble that constitutes the Internet—is dying. And the way it’s dying has farther-reaching implications than almost anything else in technology today.

Think about your mobile phone. All those little chiclets on your screen are apps, not websites, and they work in ways that are fundamentally different from the way the Web does.

Mountains of data tell us that, in aggregate, we are spending time in apps that we once spent surfing the Web. We’re in love with apps, and they’ve taken over. On phones, 86% of our time is spent in apps, and just 14% is spent on the Web, according to mobile-analytics company Flurry.

This might seem like a trivial change. In the old days, we printed out directions from the website MapQuest that were often wrong or confusing. Today we call up Waze on our phones and are routed around traffic in real time. For those who remember the old way, this is a miracle.

Everything about apps feels like a win for users—they are faster and easier to use than what came before. But underneath all that convenience is something sinister: the end of the very openness that allowed Internet companies to grow into some of the most powerful or important companies of the 21st century.


Take that most essential of activities for e-commerce: accepting credit cards. When Amazon.com made its debut on the Web, it had to pay a few percentage points in transaction fees. But Apple takes 30% of every transaction conducted within an app sold through its app store, and “very few businesses in the world can withstand that haircut,” says Chris Dixon, a venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz.

App stores, which are shackled to particular operating systems and devices, are walled gardens where Apple, Google , Microsoft and Amazon get to set the rules. For a while, that meant Apple banned Bitcoin, an alternative currency that many technologists believe is the most revolutionary development on the Internet since the hyperlink. Apple regularly bans apps that offend its politics, taste, or compete with its own software and services.

But the problem with apps runs much deeper than the ways they can be controlled by centralized gatekeepers. The Web was invented by academics whose goal was sharing information. Tim Berners-Lee was just trying to make it easy for scientists to publish data they were putting together during construction of CERN, the world’s biggest particle accelerator.

No one involved knew they were giving birth to the biggest creator and destroyer of wealth anyone had ever seen. So, unlike with app stores, there was no drive to control the early Web. Standards bodies arose—like the United Nations, but for programming languages. Companies that would have liked to wipe each other off the map were forced, by the very nature of the Web, to come together and agree on revisions to the common language for Web pages.

The result: Anyone could put up a Web page or launch a new service, and anyone could access it. Google was born in a garage. Facebook was born in Mark Zuckerberg ’s dorm room.

But app stores don’t work like that. The lists of most-downloaded apps now drive consumer adoption of those apps. Search on app stores is broken.
On phones, 86% of our time is spent in apps, and just 14% is spent on the Web, according to mobile-analytics company Flurry. ENLARGE
On phones, 86% of our time is spent in apps, and just 14% is spent on the Web, according to mobile-analytics company Flurry. Bloomberg News

The Web is built of links, but apps don’t have a functional equivalent. Facebook and Google are trying to fix this by creating a standard called “deep linking,” but there are fundamental technical barriers to making apps behave like websites.

The Web was intended to expose information. It was so devoted to sharing above all else that it didn’t include any way to pay for things—something some of its early architects regret to this day, since it forced the Web to survive on advertising.

The Web wasn’t perfect, but it created a commons where people could exchange information and goods. It forced companies to build technology that was explicitly designed to be compatible with competitors’ technology. Microsoft’s Web browser had to faithfully render Apple’s website. If it didn’t, consumers would use another one, such as Firefox or Google’s Chrome, which has since taken over.

Today, as apps take over, the Web’s architects are abandoning it. Google’s newest experiment in email nirvana, called Inbox, is available for both Android and Apple’s iOS, but on the Web it doesn’t work in any browser except Chrome. The process of creating new Web standards has slowed to a crawl. Meanwhile, companies with app stores are devoted to making those stores better than—and entirely incompatible with—app stores built by competitors.

“In a lot of tech processes, as things decline a little bit, the way the world reacts is that it tends to accelerate that decline,” says Mr. Dixon. “If you go to any Internet startup or large company, they have large teams focused on creating very high quality native apps, and they tend to de-prioritize the mobile Web by comparison.”

Many industry watchers think this is just fine. Ben Thompson, an independent tech and mobile analyst, told me he sees the dominance of apps as the “natural state” for software.

Ruefully, I have to agree. The history of computing is companies trying to use their market power to shut out rivals, even when it’s bad for innovation and the consumer.

That doesn’t mean the Web will disappear. Facebook and Google still rely on it to furnish a stream of content that can be accessed from within their apps. But even the Web of documents and news items could go away. Facebook has announced plans to host publishers’ work within Facebook itself, leaving the Web nothing but a curiosity, a relic haunted by hobbyists.

I think the Web was a historical accident, an anomalous instance of a powerful new technology going almost directly from a publicly funded research lab to the public. It caught existing juggernauts like Microsoft flat-footed, and it led to the kind of disruption today’s most powerful tech companies would prefer to avoid.

It isn’t that today’s kings of the app world want to quash innovation, per se. It is that in the transition to a world in which services are delivered through apps, rather than the Web, we are graduating to a system that makes innovation, serendipity and experimentation that much harder for those who build things that rely on the Internet. And today, that is pretty much everyone.

—Follow Christopher Mims on Twitter @Mims; write to him at christopher.mims@wsj.com.
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: November 17, 2014, 02:31:31 PM
Thank you GM.

So, this is what I have mentally so far:

"DACA was designed to exercise prosecutorial discretion for law-abiding immigrants who came to this country as children, and it "did not provide an across-the-board change in legal status. , , , You may request DACA if you:   

"1.Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
"2.Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday , , ,"


"UCLA Law Professor Motomura: DACA Was "Clearly Within [The President's] Discretionary Power." As The Washington Post's Wonkblog reported, professor Hiroshi Motomura was the principal author of the 2012 memo that outlined the legal rationale for temporary administrative relief like DACA. According to Wonkblog, Motomura explained that the president could build upon the program as is being reported, which is essentially "a list to prioritize who should be deported first.  Nevertheless, conservatives have falsely characterized as "amnesty" this deferred action and similar relief, which seeks to continue to prioritize the deportation of those "who had committed felonies or were seen as safety or security risks":"

Question that occurs to me:

Is Team Obama arguing the the 4.5 million in question meet the criteria of DACA? and thus get work papers while their status is pending?

Please help me read this closely.

49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Then Sen. Kerry said Gruber was Obamacare guide and source of numbers on: November 17, 2014, 02:21:09 PM


http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/11/17/guess-how-john-kerry-described-jonathan-gruber-in-2009/

Even has him saying that Gruber did the numbers when the CBO would not!

50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interesting essay on German anti-semitism on: November 17, 2014, 11:21:01 AM


http://tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/186725/german-anti-semitism-biller?utm_source=tabletmagazinelist&utm_campaign=01e84f57c5-Sunday_November_16_201411_14_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c308bf8edb-01e84f57c5-207194629
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