Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thomas Sowell

It used to be common for people to urge us to learn "the lessons of history." But history gets much less attention these days and, if there are any lessons that we are offered, they are more likely to be the lessons from current polls or the lessons of political correctness.  Even among those who still invoke the lessons of history, some read those lessons very differently from others.
Talk show host Michael Medved, for example, apparently thinks the Republicans need a centrist presidential candidate in 2012. He said, "Most political battles are won by seizing the center." Moreover, he added: "Anyone who believes otherwise ignores the electoral experience of the last 50 years."

But just when did Ronald Reagan, with his two landslide election victories, "seize the center"? For that matter, when did Franklin D. Roosevelt, with a record four consecutive presidential election victories, "seize the center"?

There have been a long string of Republican presidential candidates who seized the center -- and lost elections. Thomas E. Dewey, for example, seized the center against Harry Truman in 1948. Even though

Truman was so unpopular at the outset that the "New Republic" magazine urged him not to run, and polls consistently had Dewey ahead, Truman clearly stood for something -- and for months he battled for what he stood for.  That turned out to be enough to beat Dewey, who simply stood in the center.

It is very doubtful that most of the people who voted for Harry Truman agreed with him on all the things he stood for. But they knew he stood for something, and they agreed with enough of it to put him back in the White House.

It is equally doubtful that most of the people who voted for Ronald Reagan in his two landslide victories agreed with all his positions. But they agreed with enough of them to put him in the White House to replace Jimmy Carter, who stood in the center, even if it was only a center of confusion.

President Gerald Ford, after narrowly beating off a rare challenge by Ronald Reagan to a sitting president of his own party, seized the center in the general election -- and lost to an initially almost totally unknown governor from Georgia.

President George H.W. Bush, after initially winning election by coming across as another Ronald Reagan, with his "Read my lips, no new taxes" speech, turned "kinder and gentler" -- to everyone except the taxpayers -- once he was in office. In other ways as well, he seized the center. And lost to another unknown governor.

More recently, we have seen two more Republican candidates who seized the center -- Senators Bob Dole in 1996 and John McCain in 2008 -- go down to defeat, McCain at the hands of a man that most people had never even heard of, just three years earlier.

Michael Medved, however, reads history differently.
To him, Barry Goldwater got clobbered in the 1964 elections because of his strong conservatism. But did his opponent, Lyndon Johnson, seize the center? Johnson was at least as far to the left as Goldwater was to the right. And Goldwater scared the daylights out of people with the way he expressed himself, especially on foreign policy, where he came across as reckless.

Senator Goldwater was not crazy enough to start a nuclear war. But the way he talked sometimes made it seem as if he were. Ronald Reagan would later be elected and re-elected taking positions essentially the same as those on which Barry Goldwater lost big time. Reagan was simply a lot better at articulating his beliefs.

Michael Medved uses the 2008 defeat of tea party candidates for the Senate, in three states where Democrats were vulnerable, as another argument against those who do not court the center. But these were candidates whose political ineptness was the problem, not conservatism.

Candidates should certainly reach out to a broad electorate. But the question is whether they reach out by promoting their own principles to others or by trying to be all things to all people.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Barney is quitting!

That means his seat is wide open....

Bye-Bye, Barney!


If you are wondering if the Dems expect to re-take the House, wonder no longer. Barney's decision tells all.

Bye-bye, Barney! Can Nancy be far behind?

All the best,


Sunday, November 27, 2011


Huntsman HAS A plan TO call for placing a hard cap on bank size, defined as the bank's total assets as a share of the U.S. economy. The biggest American banks have grown massively larger since the 1980s, and have actually increased in size since the bailouts of 2008 -- which policymakers insisted were necessary due to the sheer size of major Wall Street banks. The proposal also would impose a hard cap on bank leverage, the amount of money a bank could borrow against its pure equity. Banks will have to limit their leverage under an international reform agreement known as Basel III, but they would nevertheless be permitted to gamble higher raters of borrowed money than Lehman Brothers did shortly before the mega bank went bankrupt.
The program would also adjust calculations relating to the FDIC's program to shut down failing banks. Currently, banks pay a regular insurance premium to the FDIC, which the federal agency can use to pay off the bank's creditors if it fails. Huntsman would have banks that engage in riskier activities pay more money into the FDIC fund than more conventional lenders do. He would also adjust the FDIC's policies for shutting down failing banks when they are particularly large.
The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill grants the FDIC the ability to shut-down complex banks like Goldman Sachs or Bank of America, which engage in both securities trading and conventional lending. Prior to the legislation, the FDIC could only shut down conventional lenders that accept deposits and make loans. But economists have questioned the viability of such a program with regard to big banks that operate in multiple nationalities. Big American banks operate all over the globe, and the wind-down policies required by the United States government would not carry the force of law in Europe or South America.
Huntsman would also encourage banks to shrink by charging additional taxes on banks that get too big. But unlike progressive proposals to do the same, Huntsman would explicitly devote this bank tax revenue toward lowering the overall corporate tax rate. In effect, Huntsman would marry a major progressive bank reform wish with a conservative wish -- shrinking Wall Street's influence while cutting corporate taxes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Do Nothing, Cut Deficit $6T


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baxter..first bold. Terry...second. Eric...all things always.

As for the 7.8% across-the-board sequester in domestic programs, this may be the only way to begin cutting a government that has grown by $600 billion in three years.

Much of the world, and especially the press corps, will look at this failure and wail about the "dysfunction" in Washington. And it is pathetic that Congress couldn't agree to cut even a single dime from the projected $45 trillion in spending over 10 years. But this is the product of divided government and a clash of political visions. Unlike Bill Clinton in 1996, President Obama is unbowed by his party's defeat in 2010 and is determined to reclaim his mandate to expand government next year.

Democrats are confident they can blame Republicans for the failure and ride their president's class war campaign to victory. Republicans have to counter with a message of economic growth and sensible reforms of our government institutions so the U.S. doesn't end up like Europe.

This is for voters to decide. Let's have it out.

So where do you stand...on the THIRD paragraph?

So it's all Grover Norquist's fault. Democrats and the media are singing in unison that the reason Congress's antideficit super committee has failed is because of the conservative activist's magical antitax spell over Republicans.

Not to enhance this Beltway fable, but thank you, Mr. Norquist. By reminding Republicans of their antitax promises, he has helped to expose the real reason for the super committee's failure: the two parties disagree profoundly on a vision of government.

Democrats don't believe they need to do more than tinker around the edges of the entitlement state while raising taxes on the rich. Republicans think the growth of government is unsustainable and can't be financed no matter how much taxes are raised.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Jim, here is class warfare
Attacking unions which is the core of the middle class, is class warfare.
Politicians with quality health care unavailable to common citizens is class warfare.
Congressman Ryan's plan to cut back social security, medicare is class warfare.
Laws that enable wealthy Americans to become more wealthy while many sink into poverty is class warfare.
Signing a pledge to NEVER RAISE taxes no matter what the consequences is stupidity.

Most Americans Jim don't want to be rich, they just want a full time job with basic health care, keep a roof over their head at affordable costs, food on their table that's safe, a chance to send their kids to college.
It's difficult to fathom for the millionaire's and billionaires in Congress ( 11% of the 1%) to see the despair in middle class America. But hopefully they will see the light in the next election.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Congress approval rating is what?

The top 1% of Americans possess a greater net worth than the entire bottom 90% !!!!
But yet let's not tax these job makers, because they create wealth, on it's face that doesn't make sense. They got the Busch tax cuts in a way promising more jobs, that did not happen. As Baxter says it doesn't matter what the taxes are Jim will complain they are too high. It would be easier to explain this gulf between the haves and have nots if it was intelligence, but the reality is it is about generational wealth accumulation. It's about mergers, that do not benefit anyone but the shareholders, certainly not the customer. It's about financial instruments that produce nothing but roving casino's. It's about laws so poorly written, that financial institutions, can run around them like stone statues.
We can't solve the inequality unless we give the poor and working class kids in this country a better educational opportunity, and show them that education is the way out of poverty. That means better schools, better books, better teachers, better computers, who is going to do that?
The job creators who are in a race to the bottom on wages for American workers?
Can't this Congress at least agree on this, we need better schools, higher wages to attract teachers. That's what we would do to attract business's. The approval rating for Congress is about 9%, I would want to pass something that shows they care about working Americans

Monday, November 14, 2011

Economics and Morality

Economics is premised on the assumption that people will act solely on their best interest. Morality is premised on individuals will act on another's best interest and benefit.

Capitalism works best when there is morality and sense of fairness among all. The reluctance of the top 1% to shoulder any significant burden in this country's effort to rebuild the economy and put people back to work is sickining. It is this display of indifference by the Republican's and the tea party that has ignited the country. Hence the morality issue, It's all about me. My taxes, My Wealth, My Way, it's not my fault your not rich, it's yours.

The responsibility to help rebuild the middle class, put people to work, is not my responsibility. Social morality exists no more in this 1% of the population.

In 1982 when the nation's unemployed was 11% where were the protesters then Jim? They were not there because they understood it was a shared experience and the gap between rich and middle class was a lot less.
Christianity which is the religion of choice of the Tea party (85%) seems to go out the window along with social morality (helping others).
The Tea Party is made up of working people, who see no others except themselves in the mirror. SAD! REALLY!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Yes...Ohio rejected removing government workers from collective bargaining rights.  OK, so Ohio is broke and going to get broker.  What cha going to do now Ohio?  Let's see how this gets played by the Conservatives after the upcoming tax increases:

Oh and....

Of all the noise of this week's state election results, what mattered most for Election 2012 came out of Virginia. It was the sound of the air leaking out of the Plouffe plan.

That would be David Plouffe, President Obama's former campaign manager and current senior strategist, who is focused today on how to cobble together 270 electoral votes for re-election. That's proving tough, what with the economy hurting Mr. Obama in states like Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania that he won in 2008. The White House's response has been to pin its hopes on a more roundabout path to electoral victory, one based on the Southern and Western states Mr. Obama also claimed in 2008.

Democrats were trounced in Tuesday's state legislature election, despite the president's heavy investment of time in the state.

States like Virginia. Mr. Obama was the first Democrat to win Virginia since 1964; he beat John McCain by seven percentage points; and he did so on the strength of his appeal to Northern Virginia's many white-collar independents. Along with victories in North Carolina, Colorado and Nevada, the Obama Old Dominion win in 2008 inspired a flurry of stories about how Democrats had forever altered the political map.

So the White House is pouring resources into what Tim Kaine, the state's former Democratic governor, now pridefully refers to as Democrats' "New Dominion." The Obama campaign has held some 1,600 events in the state in the last half-year alone. Only last month Mr. Obama hopped a three-day bus trip through Virginia and North Carolina. Obama officials keep flocking to the state, and Tuesday's election was to offer the first indication of how these efforts are succeeding.  Let's just say the New Dominion is looking an awful lot like the Old Dominion. If anything, more so.

Every Republican incumbent—52 in the House, 15 in the Senate—won. The state GOP is looking at unified control over government for only the second time since the Civil War. This is after winning all three top statewide offices—including the election of Gov. Bob McDonnell—in 2009, and picking off three U.S. House Democrats in last year's midterms.

But then...The Az Republic never failing to misread the obvious.

Last week, voters nationwide said no to the right-wing efforts of some state political leaders.
Those in west Mesa's Legislative District 18 ousted one of Arizona's most powerful conservatives, partly because of his focus on illegal-immigration enforcement. Phoenix and Tucson elected Democratic mayors.  In other states, voters overturned legislation that would have restricted unions and also rejected a ballot measure to ban all abortions.

The outcomes of these elections have politicians and analysts wondering whether the nation is moving left.


I had cynically assumed that the superfriends would address America's imminent debt catastrophe with some radical reform — such as, say, slowing the increase in spending by raising the age for lowering the age of Medicare eligibility from 47 to 49 by the year 2137, after which triumph we could all go back to sleep until total societal collapse.

But I underestimated the genius of the superfriends' supercommittee. It turns out that a committee created to reduce the deficit is instead going to increase it. As the Hill reported:

"Democrats on the supercommittee have proposed that the savings from the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan be used to pay for a new stimulus package, according to a summary of the $2.3 trillion plan obtained by the Hill."

Do you follow that? Let the Congressional Budget Office explain it to you: "The budget savings from ending the wars are estimated to total around $1 trillion over a decade, according to an estimate in July from the Congressional Budget Office."

Let us note in passing that, according to the official CBO estimates, a whole decade's worth of war in both Iraq and Afghanistan adds up to little more than Obama's 2009 stimulus bill.

But, aside from that, in what sense are these "savings"? The Iraq War is ended — or, at any rate "ended" at least as far as U.S. participation in it is concerned. How then can congressional accountants claim to be able to measure "savings" in 2021 from a war that ended a decade earlier?

And why stop there? Why not estimate around $2 trillion in savings by 2031? After all, that would free up even more money for a bigger stimulus package, wouldn't it? And it wouldn't cost us anything because it would all be "savings."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fight On, State!


When this stuff happens, it scares me for the game. In the ivory towers of academia there are those who do not like football as it is and would like to see their schools go the way of the Ivy League or worse, the University of Chicago. That isn't imminent, but I hate to give such folks a piece of the sweater to pull on.

It should be pointed out that Paterno & McQueary both followed the letter of the law. Any punishment they receive (and I am glad they were fired) will be for not going above and beyond the requirements of the law. We agree that they had a moral duty to do so, but lets address laws if needed rather than further damaging a program that will be paying for this over and over - on and off the field - for years. Apart from the perpetrator, only two others have been charged by prosecutors thus far. That would be 3 bad guys, and 7 billion others on this little blue dot.

The 125 players of PSU have done nothing wrong, neither have (upcoming opponents) Nebraska, Ohio State or Wisconsin kids, nor have the schools that are competing with said four schools for the two spots in the championship game. The student athletes, student bodies and fan base of the B1G would all be punished and for what purpose? What would be solved? One pedophile and a half dozen cowards should damage the pocketbooks of eleven innocent schools, a great conference, and the joy of millions? Really?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Pendulum Swings


Sunday, November 6, 2011

'I hear your complaints,' Bloomberg said. 'Some of them are totally unfounded. It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. Now, I'm not saying I'm sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn't have gotten them without that. 'But they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will.

"'They were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody. And now we want to go vilify the banks because it's one target, it's easy to blame them and Congress certainly isn't going to blame themselves. At the same time, Congress is trying to pressure banks to loosen their lending standards to make more loans.'The subprime thing is in the process of being repeated.

Then banks had to concoct ways to make that worthless mortgage worth something to them. So they found ways to sell what was worthless to a bunch of dupes who they lied to about what they were selling; and then those dupes figured out that they were dupes, and they repackaged the whole thing to another set of dupes. And that kept happening, until finally they run out of dupes -- just like the end of a Ponzi scheme. At the end of the day, there weren't any dupes left to buy these worthless mortgages.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011