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April 09, 2015

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Side-note: new replies have been posted to INPHX (re explicit and hidden subsidies and social costs); to phxSUNSfan (re the urban heat island effect, water cooling of downtown high-rise buildings, and related topics); and a discussion of natural climate change during the Middle Ages which may seem oddly familiar. Posted here:

http://www.roguecolumnist.com/rogue_columnist/2015/04/for-whom-the-bell-tolls.html

Yes, Ted Cruz looks like Joseph McCarthy, but he sounds like Mister Haney.

As of now, it is anyone's race. I agree, I don't think Clinton can win. It will depend on who turns out their base.

Rand has been slammed lately for supposed temper problems and mysogyny. Rand was explicitly interviewed about this by Megyn Kelly last night on The Kelly File. (Kelly has scored some interesting interviews, including an extended two-parter with former Weatherman Bill Ayers.)

I watched the outtakes from CBS Morning News and one other program, where Rand interacted with a female interviewer asking about his positional flip-flops (Rand has tried to project a more mainstream Republican appearance on certain issues since declaring himself as a presidential candidate).

Rand wasn't in the least mysogynistic. As for temper, there was none. He didn't raise his voice, insult the interviewer, or storm out.

He was clearly irritated by having his own inconsistencies pointed out (in admittedly loaded questions that contained both conclusions and premises) and, like most politicians, wanted to dominate the interview and to be allowed to speak at length as he saw fit without interruption.

My theory is that the mysogyny/temper theory comes primarily from Republican strategists opposed to him.

Aside from young libertarians and paleo-conservatives, Rand's non-interventionist approach to foreign policy is likely to appeal most to female Republicans, who may be less interested than their male counterparts in foreign military adventures that threaten the life and limb of their sons.

When winning primaries is important, a spoiler like Rand who splits primary voters could be problematic.

(Incidentally, I'm not being condescending about female Republicans. Rand's comparatively sane foreign policy stance appeals to me, and I don't consider myself to be the least effeminate.)

Rand has a lot of wacko positions on other issues, however; so his primary role, as I see it, will be to broaden the policy debate on the Republican side rather than as a serious candidate.

Cruz is just another heartless, silver-spoon Republican. His best talent is his lawyerly framing and manipulation of issues; but the idea that he has the financial or networking or other support to win even the Republican primary (much less the presidency) is thus far contradicted by the polling data, which shows Bush and Walker neck and neck with Cruz far behind.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/2016_republican_presidential_nomination-3823.html

Hilary Clinton is a crypto-neocon when it comes to foreign policy issues, I fear. I agree with Rogue's assessment of Obama. More on that in a separate comment, perhaps.

Criticisms of Obama's foreign policy are not only misplaced, but in the case of Dick Cheney and the other members of the Republican clown-car, nothing less than lunatic. Chaney is yet again suggesting that Obama is some sort of Manchurian Candidate out to destroy America.

Obama has been blamed for the rise of ISIS in Iraq, for removing U.S. troops.

The fact is that the status of forces agreement between the United States and Iraq, which required the complete withdrawal of all combat troops by the end of 2011, was signed by President Bush at the end of 2008 before Obama was sworn into office.

Obama had no means to force the Iraqis to renegotiate a legally binding agreement, though he tried carrot and stick pressures. The fact is that the leadership of the Iraqi parliament refused to even put the issue to a vote.

Why anyone would expect the Shia controlled government of Iraq, which was firmly in the pocket of Iran even before Iraq War hostilities had concluded, to allow U.S. troops to stay in the country, is beyond me.

Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki himself fled Saddam Hussein to live for years in exile in Iran. The Shiite militias of Badghded and the Shia southern half of the country are also firmly in bed with Iran. They militarily fought U.S. troops as occupiers at one point (q.v. Muqtada al-Sadr). They are the power behind the political factions which elected the dominant Shiite majority to Parliament.

Obama didn't lose Iraq to Iran. Bush did: first by removing Iran's main regional enemy, Baathist Iraq; second by tying down U.S. troops for many years in two wars, which greatly reduced U.S. military response flexibility in other regional theaters, including those where Iran or its proxies was active.

All of the current talk about Obama letting Iran "gain influence" in its own backyard is retarded. Iran already had the influence in Iraq. The Shia dominated Iraqi government refused to even consider to allow Sunni armies from Jordan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia in their country. They invited Iran in, and Iran is predictably running anti-ISIS operations.

Good for them. Far from being a foreign policy debacle, it's a win for the United States. Let Iran entangle itself in a years long guerrilla war with terrorist reprisals, for a change.

Obama didn't lose Syria to Iran either. Syria has been rabidly anti-U.S. since Assad Sr. took power in the 1970s. Syria is ruled by the minority Alawite religious group, which is an obscure sect of Shia Islam. The Syrian rebels are Sunni. It doesn't take a genius to see why Iran would step in to try to maintain Assad in power.

As for Yemen, the indigenous Houthi rebels are Shia too. They have local support in the parts of the country where Shia Islam dominates, and Iran's support is secondary and comparatively minor. The government they are rebelling against is Sunni supported. Does this sound familiar?

Yemen is an impoverished little country in Iran's backyard predicted to run out of fresh water in 2017. In the unlikely event that real U.S. interests are threatened (e.g., a disruption of oil shipping channels in the Bab al-Mandab strait), U.S. naval power will be decisive. This is yet another war between Sunnis and Shias and their puppetmasters (Iran and Saudi Arabia).

The issue of U.S.-Iranian nuclear negotiations requires a separate comment.

Iran and nuclear negotiations. There are so many absurd criticisms of Obama that I scarcely know where to start.

First of all, sanctions are imposed by the UN Security Council, not by the U.S. unilaterally. That means Russia and China need to sign off on them. They do not support the sanctions increase and terms suggested by U.S. conservatives. For one thing, China (and India) want Iran's oil. Unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran would work just fine if the U.S. bought its oil from Iran. It doesn't.

Bombing Iran can't stop its development of a nuclear bomb. Iran has an underground nuclear facility buried under a mountain, called Fordo, which Israel says is unbombable. They may well have other secret facilities that western intelligence has little or no information about.

The only thing that can stop Iran from developing a bomb is for U.N. inspectors to have access to Iran's nuclear facilities, including Fordo. That is the main goal and accomplishment of the negotiations, together with a requirement to get rid of, dilute, or place under supervised storage, 97 percent of its enriched uranium.

Iran actually offered both presidents Clinton and Bush to scrap their nuclear program in exchange for recognition of Iran as a sovereign state and a guarantee to stop trying to destabilize and overthrow its government. Both offers, made by a much more moderate Iranian President Khatami, were rejected, in part because of the shrill objections of Israeli lobbyists in Washington.

When playing footsy with the U.S. didn't work, the Iranians elected radicals, who took even firmer control of the security services and media. Now Khatami can't even be mentioned by the Iranian media:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/17/iranian-media-banned-from-mentioning-mohammad-khatami

As for an arms race in the Arab world, one would have expected this when Israel developed nuclear weapons back in the 1960s.

Iran has a very good reason for developing peaceful nuclear power. Unlike Saudi Arabia, which began pumping in the 1930s, it began pumping before WW I when Churchill started the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Iran imported natural gas as early as the first years of this century, to pump pressure into their depleting oil fields. They need to develop nuclear infrastructure, now.

The U.S. and other countries using nuclear power are allowed much more powerful centrifuges and much richer uranium fuels than the U.S. will be allowing Iran.

I am almost out of online time.

P.S. As far as negotiating with a country like Iran which has done bad things to American citizens, Nixon went to China. How many American servicemen did the Chinese kill in the Korean War? Do conservatives object to trade with China today?

Reagan is held to be the standard for tough leadership by conservatives. What would Reagan do?

When the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon were bombed by Iran backed Hezbollah, he withdrew all U.S. troops!

He negotiated both arms for hostages and the Iran Contra deal with Iran!

Stop drinking the Kool-ade.

As the republican primary was set to start, the head of the RNC, Rinse Prebus , was heard to yell, "Send in the clowns ! " .

Better than even odds of a Republican White House in 2016. Democrats better retake the US Senate or Kook Land Government already running Arizona, Kansas and Wisconsin will rein supreme.

There was an interesting article in the New Yorker about Rand Paul and the difficulty in transitioning between being an idealogue to being a successful high-level politician. I don't know that he can pull it off as political campaigns seem to have a way of focusing on flip-flops or changes of opinion by candidates, and he has a million of them now, and the GOP establishment has always loved to take target practice on Rand from day one. That he has made it this far is a credit to him, but I can't see them letting up on him in the biggest race of all. It's one heck of an uphill fight as his father could tell him, once you get branded as an outsider.

(Cruz was DOA in part because he is so disliked by most in his party. He has no institutional support whatsoever and is probably running just to help his visibility.)

I admired Ron Paul for his willingness to stick to his principles and stay in office and stay relevant. Regardless of what someone's views are and how good or bad I may think those views are, I think we need more politicians who are honest and open about what they believe and plan to do. It's more of a case of the voters knowing what they are going to get, versus a lot of politicians with whom you may not get what you expected or were promised.

How do “moderate” voters decide in Presidential elections?

Political pundits and analysts invariably focus on how swing voters decide in Presidential races. The foundation of their analysis is based upon the rational voter model. For example, the Democratic candidate stands for A, B and C. The Republican candidate stands for D, E and F. Given that 55% of “moderate voters” support A,B and C, the rational swing voters will carry the Democratic candidate to the White House.

Are swing voters rational actors who follow the campaign and make informed decisions based upon policies they support?

Rather than focus on the purported rationality of human behavior, let’s look at the presidential voting patterns without attempting to rationalize the results. In particular, what happens to the incumbent party after eight years or more in the White House?

George Walker Bush was elected after eight years of Reagan. Bush performed fairly well. The Iraqi invasion was handled by developing a broad coalition of countries before using joint military forces to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait without destabilizing the entire region by toppling the Saddam regime and creating a vacuum for psychotic terrorist groups and Iran to fill. He negotiated a conservative federal budget that included modest tax increases to address the relatively mild national recession that occurred during his presidency. He was rewarded with a second term defeat by a relatively unknown former anti-war activist from a small southern state.

The rational voter model will of course point out various rational reasons he lost. It could also be viewed as a voting pattern that votes against the incumbent party simply because it does.

Bill Clinton was in for two terms. During his term job growth and wealth creation from housing and equity appreciation was impressive. What happened to the incumbent party? In the 2000 presidential election, the incumbent party was rewarded with a 50/50 draw allowing the right wing US Supreme Court to intervene and elect its candidate. The voting pattern was essentially against the largely successful incumbent party in the White House. Sure, rational reasons can be articulated, but the pattern against the incumbent party in White House was again the result.

W Bush was an eight year presidential run. In 2008, a relatively unknown BLACK man defeated the incumbent party in the White House. Plenty of rational reasons why WHITE swing voters could have voted for Obama, but it is another example of the voting pattern against the incumbent party in the White House.

The electorate fatigue model for the incumbent party in the White House suggests that all the fine qualities of Clinton may not matter enough against any of the lesser Republican candidates.

Cheney in no way feels constrained by legalities, hence his criticism of Obama is perfectly logical to himself.

If Iran has any sense, they will build a bomb and deter further US and Israeli warmongering if not out right war. Worked for North Korea (and Pakistan and India and China and Russia, and Israel for that fact too).

Guess my timing is good. I just so happened to have read the entire Wikipedia entry on "Randy" Paul this morning. Just to be clear on one thing, check out this pull:

Despite his father's libertarian views and strong support for individual rights, the novelist Ayn Rand was not the inspiration for his first name. Growing up, he went by "Randy", but his wife shortened it to "Rand."

I had hoped to paste in my favorite paragraph from the Wiki here, but that's a tough errand -- there are so many beauts.

For example, the paragraph on his plagiarism woes is insightful. And there is the one about him trying hard to bend the Kentucky state law that prohibits him from simultaneously running for Senate and the Presidency. Given that "Randy" is a "term limits" dope, you'd think he'd respect that.

In the end, for top paragraph, I am left with his attempt to drown America in a bathtub:

His first legislative proposal was to cut $500 billion from federal spending in one year. This proposal included cutting the Department of Education by 83 percent and the Department of Homeland Security by 43 percent, as well as folding the Department of Energy into the Department of Defense and eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Seven independent agencies would be eliminated and food stamps would be cut by 30 percent. Under Paul's proposal, defense spending would be reduced by 6.5 percent and international aid would be eliminated.

And this for top sentence:

Paul played a leading role in blocking a treaty with Switzerland that would enable the IRS to conduct tax evasion probes, arguing that the treaty would infringe upon Americans' privacy.

All of which is to suggest that Randy Paul is an asshat who took too many hits from a bong named "Aqua Buddha" as a kid. He has as much chance of becoming president as Bucky the Katt....

Get serious Jon!


I cannot remember ever being less excited about a presidential election.

Thought I’d be sitting this one out. Argument something like “Cruz and Paul = Kooks” and
“Few people have Obama's intellect, maturity, and integrity” are so self-evident that they need no defense. I had and have no intention of getting into this.

Actual matters of policy, action, legislation, etc. can be debated.

For example from “Posted by: koreyel: …This proposal included cutting the Department of Education by 83 percent and the Department of Homeland Security by 43 percent, as well as folding the Department of Energy into the Department of Defense and eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Seven independent agencies would be eliminated…” I don’t find any of this to be “kooky” at all; particularly if the DEA is one of the agencies is in question.

Then “food stamps would be cut by 30 percent”. Don’t know if I agree or disagree, probably disagree. What I do want is an alternative to our “War on Poverty” policies; a war we’re clearly loosing.

Then “defense spending would be reduced by 6.5 percent…” I think it can be reduced by a lot more than that.

Finally: “and international aid would be eliminated”: Some good things would be thrown out with the bad; but a lot more bad than good. I think private and foundational effort could be made to address real issues.

wkg...

Whether you believe in some of Randy Paul's cuts is marginally relevant. What matters is he actually tried to pass a bill to make all that happen in "one year".

One year!

Such large scale haste would have been catastrophic to the economy of American and the world. That shows an absolutely clueless and rigorous devotion to ideology that kills any chance he has of being president.

At koreyal re ” Such large scale haste would have been catastrophic to the economy of American and the world.”

I don’t know. I do know that RAISING spending by several multiples of $500 billion had minimal effect; right in line with FDR’s spending binge. At least with FDR with got a few things of lasting value, for example the TVA and AZ water projects; a lot of nice art too.

Emil, Koreyel,wkg, Mark, etc. Great stuff.

FDR's "spending binge" had the effect of reducing unemployment from 25% to less than 15%. Unfortunately he listened to advice from his conservative Treasury chief at the height of his success, precipitating a recession in the late thirties that interrupted recovery. The real spending binge, aka preparations for and execution of WW II, involved considerably larger deficit spending sustained for a longer period of time, and that finally managed to accomplish the economic recovery that the New Deal began but was unable to complete.

By Obama's day, the federal government accounted for a much higher percentage of federal spending than in FDR's day. That's a fly in the Keynesian ointment, because when federal tax receipts dropped precipitously as a result of the Great Recession, it meant that federal deficit spending needed to make up for this lost segment of national demand for goods and services just to get back to the starting point, never mind any additional stimulus. Obama also had to deal with the unprecedented cuts in state and local spending, which also had to be offset before any additional stimulus could be brought to bear. In most recent recessions, by contrast, non-federal borrowing typically increased, helping keep local spending buoyed.

In effect, then, much of the nominal federal stimulus was eaten up just trying to restore the government (federal, state, and local) portion of national demand, without effectively offsetting the drop in private sector demand that the recession caused.

The result was a predictably weak recovery.

Two other factors also undercut the stimulus effect of federal deficit spending:

First, the boom preceding the recession was enabled by an orgy of consumer debt. Their debt was increased further in many cases by the housing crash which decreased home equity while triggering increased mortgage payment. So when many of these households received their tax cuts (which made up s large portion of stimulus spending) they didn't use it for consumption (which would have increased demand for goods and services and thus boosted economic growth) but instead paid down debt, where it sat idly in the coffers of credit card companies and banks, who weren't making loans because there was no demand for loans.

The second factor was the predilection for fiscal or financial austerity measures shown by some European nations, which slowed world economic recovery and thus retarded that of the U.S.

P. S. In case I didn't make it clear above, the conservative advice from FDR's Treasury secretary (Morgenthau) that FDR fatally listened to and which caused a recession in the late thirties was the fiscally "responsible" advice to cut spending and balance the budget once the worst was over.

Conservatives love quoting Morgenthau because his diatribes against the New Deal appear to come from an administration insider. They do, but not from a Keynesian or a FDR liberal.

The danger here is that Rand Paul and Cruz are such extremists that Scott Walker will appear normal. I have lived in Wisconsin all my life and it is heartbreaking to watch what one man (with the Koch brothers pulling the strings) could do to destroy a once progressive state. Walker is as dangerous and extreme as Paul and Cruz. Do we really want a college dropout who gutted our public schools and has just cut 300 million from the University of Wisconsin budget to get his hands on the presidency? When we protested his attacks on our educational system, he puffed out his chest and said it shows he would know how to handle ISIS.

In memory of Gov. Raul Castro, I wrote this on Facebook:

My mother, a rock-ribbed Republican, voted for Raul Castro in 1974. He was old Arizona and she had known "Judge Castro" for many years. His campaign motto was "The Yankee Castro." I remember being so proud that Arizona had elected the nation's first Hispanic governor, little knowing the reputation for hate and racism it would later acquire. I urge everyone to read Adversity is my Angel, which Castro co-wrote with my friend, historian Jack L. August Jr. RIP.

It was very well received. But I got these comments from two Republican "friends":

Liberals would love to trivialize Arizona as the land of hate and racism, but Barack Obama has done way more to divide this country than Joe Arpaio ever dreamed of doing. As our nation's first president of color, Obama has had a unique opportunity to heal and to bring us together. Instead, his relentless efforts to demonize Republicans, together with his and his wife's thinly veiled contempt for Whites and hatred of Christians has done just the opposite.

And...

don't forget his disregard of our Constitution and his total disregard for our Laws..(not holding Lerner, HOLDER, HILLARY,et all responsible for their crimes)

----

I invited them to come over to Rogue, but so far neither has. But this is the "Republican mind" circa 2015. And it is widely held in the so-called union.

OK....HERE IS MY "OPINION":

Sen. John McCain....NEVER... He is becoming a "Flip-Flop", however the ind blows to favor me, kind of guy.

ALL our supposed "Representatives" in Congress, with the exception of a select few...I.e. Sinema, Paul, Cruz to name a couple. Super seniority breeds elitism, too much power and they seem to STOP working to Represent and just work to make themselves rich. The last stats I saw, just last week, showed 50%+ in Congress to be Millionaires, while the U.S. population has just 1% millionaires.
And POWER... Sen Harry REID has, in my opinion, been one of the most crooked, unethical Senator who also totally abused his Office. Over 350 Bills from the House NEVER got past his desk! It didn't matter if it was a total GOP bill or a BiPartisan Bill. If Harry didn't like it, it did not make the floor for discussion or vote! He is being looked at for possible unethical conduct, making HIS family and friends rich(ER), possibly tied into the investigation of the NJ Senator. Too many powerful, super seniority have Ethics problems, and they get nothing, (except get richer). Rep Rangel comes to mind...the man who wrote tax laws, but got caught NOT adhering to them...getting richer. I don't think he even got his hand slapped!
And don't even get me started with Rep. "We have to pass it to see what is in it" Pelosi! Time is LONG GONE for her to be gone..
If Congress limits the President to two terms, then the same should apply to them. TWO TERMS only, and I mean, if your first term is a Representative, then you can do another term, OR, one term as a Senator, if you can get elected to that Office.
I would, however, think that after a two term, however it works, as a Rep, as a Senator, or one of each... One can run for Office again AFTER 8 years out of Office.
If elected to the House or Senate, a 1BEDROOM Apt. Would be available at Government expense. Salary would be $100,000 for a Rep and $130,000 for a Senator. House and Senate Leader would get an additional $10,000 per year.
Insurance(health) coverage would be free for Rep or Sen and their defendants, but would be the top tier of the ACA, if that is still in force.
I have other ideas, but running low on the IPad!

Yes, Mary: and Jeb Bush is such a nebbish every time he opens his mouth for longer than a sound bite or has to move off the script written by his handlers and improvise in response to questions, that even his impressive campaign machine can't prevent his poll numbers dropping.

This may not matter in a primary unless Bush and Walker debate. I'm not sure but I think the GOP has limited primary debates this time.

The best possible outcome is for Bush to win the primary, then expose himself for the political dilettante he is in the inevitable scrutiny of a general election campaign. Bush's ho-hum Republican centrism (by today's standards) will alienate portions of the Republican base, and the failure of unmotivated Republican voters on the margins could make the difference between a Democratic win or loss.

Rogue, thanks for passing on the comments of your Republican contacts; not because they're substantive but because they're so common. Views widely held by a large section of the electorate should be dealt with rather than ignored lest they continue to spread and fester.

The cause of the comments is twofold. First, from watching FOX News I know that conservatives have developed a very low tolerance for political deviation from their positions, and as a result have a tendency to exaggerate such deviations.

Bill O'Reilly, whom I have moderate fondness for as a "character" rather than a newsman or analyst, is in the habit of referring to the New York Times and other establishment bastions as "far left", as though they were equivalent to the Daily Worker.

Any pointed criticism of police, no matter how measured or balanced, becomes" cop hating".

Any admission that serious race problems continue in some subcultures of America today, becomes "devisiveness" or" race-baiting".

Diplomatic presidential speeches given mostly to Islamic audiences in countries like Turkey or Indonesia where the primarily Muslim audience wants to be reassured before reaffirming its cooperation with America, become "hatred of Christians", as do small attempts to remind domestic audiences (by reference to history) that it is important to distinguish, especially in the rhetoric of war, between religion and the abuse of religion.

Conservatives who defend the Crusades because they sought in part to open up Jerusalem after the Seljuk Turks closed it to Jews and Christians obviously aren't aware that the knights of the First Crusade massacred most of the population of Jerusalem, Christian, Jew, and Moslem alike; or that later crusaders sacked Christian Constantinople; or that England and France expelled their Jewish populations wholesale, and Spain gave Jews the choice to convert or leave the country without their property. These Jews, who had known tolerance under the Moslem rulers of Spain, went to settle in the Ottoman Empire (a Muslim caliphate) where they would be allowed to practice their religion in comparative freedom.

P.S. Muslims of the early caliphates captured Jerusalem in the 600s, and treated Christian and Jewish residents and religious pilgrims with tolerance for roughly 400 years before the Seljuk Turk dynasty took control and closed it. So it is important to remember that there are Muslims, and then there are Muslims. All of the early caliphates in control of Jerusalem were Muslim fundamentalists, but their attitudes and behaviors varied.

Also, the second factor behind the kind of simplistic and intolerant view of many conservatives today toward deviation from their preferred views, is the existence of a specialized conservative media FOX, talk-radio, and some Internet sites) that spreads and encourages these tendencies.

One additional point from the discussion of the recession. As the weak recovery progressed there was some demand for bank loans by small business; but banks were very shy about extending credit right after a financial collapse and during a weak recovery to small firms without substantial collateral or impeccable previous credit records. Again, this meant a lot of bank assets sitting around idly.

As for conservative complaints that Obama disregarded the Constitution and failed to aggressively investigate or discipline political cronies, even if this were true it has to be noted that by conservative standards most modern presidents whether Democrats or Republicans are also guilty of this.

Obamacare was sustained in legal challenges all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, not implemented at the end of revolutionary rifle muzzles.

Was LBJ unconstitutional because of his Great Society welfare programs?

It seems to me that the verdict of history shows clearer violations of the Constitution by presidents like Nixon and Reagan than Obama and LBJ.

Many of these supposed violatios of the Constitution by the Obama administration turn out upon scrutiny to be based on nothing more than factual misunderstandings or simple policy objections by conservative critics (some of them parroting what partisan media outlets told them), rather than any substantive points of constitutional law.

The Constitution gives Congress the right to declare war, not the president. Yet every president going back to the "police action" of the Korean War has arrogated this right.

I guess Tea Party and mainstream conservatives (as opposed to libertarian conservatives and paleo-conservatives) only notice (or object to) "constitutional violations" which involve policies and acts the object to on partisan political terms.

Typo correction: "...the object to..." = "...they object to..."

Emil, All good points but few in today's world know or care about history. Let alone the truth. What do you suspect is the percentage of US Citizens that have looked at Muslim and Crusade History.
Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are for sure "characters"! And their followers worship the flatulent air they espouse.

Jon, who from Arizona would you have run for McCain;s senate seat. The Kooks here hate Jon but their alternatives I think are much worse than Lets go to War, Johnny.
Hillary, is a republican in sheep's clothing and cannot win without the support of Elizabeth Warren and her progressives. That said the Republican candidates have no one of presidential timber. I contend IKE was the last real Republican President, Nixon came close but went nuts.
The vote will be close but I fear it will go to the Republican candidate due to voter turnout. If its Walker or Bush, probably better Bush.
Maybe we will discover Alien life and we can go to that Universe next door that
ee cummnins mentioned.

@Emil Re: “(FDR)….reducing unemployment from 25% to less than 15%.” (note: “normal” unemployment at the time was considered to be around 5%). Unemployment at the time of his election was right at 15%. On the eve of WWII it was 15%. So, the best that can be said is that “it could have been a lot worse”. (Note: I’m working for Wiki page for FDR). Unemployment maxed out at around 22%. One could make an argument that FDR’s election caused a rise of unemployment of 7%. (I’m not)

I am of the opinion that the thing that made the “great depression” so much worse than others was the collapse of the banking system. Even sound banks could not withstand a “run of the bank” event. Establishment of the Federal Reserve System was one of the few things to come out of the era worth keeping. Of course the Fed needs to be redirected back to doing the functions for which it was created. Like all governmental agencies it has be subjected to mission creep.

@Emil: For no reason at all, but relates to previous threads. As you noted the Fed portion of the economy is much higher that pre WWII days. One could argue weather this is good or bad – but let’s not go there. But here’s the thing; the majority of this spending is for Social and Medical programs that should be revenue neutral. Doesn’t quite work when you take the SS money and spend it for other things and replace it with an IOU for the future.

I don’t think – but I don’t know – that the medical programs have ever been anywhere near revenue neutral.

Wkg you have your facts wrong. Unemployment rate was 23.6% average (not maximum) for 1932. FDR was sworn into office in January 1933.

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0104719.html

The rate dropped below 15% prior to the recession in the late 1930s, though annual averages in the table linked to don't show this.

Anon makes some good points. But George H. W. Bush saw weak growth and unemployment higher than it had been since 1984. Don't forget the Clinton slogan "It's the economy, stupid."

Cal, I mentioned the crusades because conservative media uses Obama's reference to them in one speech as a talking point. Only last night I heard FOX News' Hannity telling viewers that the Obama reference was a smear against Christians because the crusades were in response to Islamic provocations in closing Jerusalem (which they were, in part, but that doesn't change Obama's point, invalidate it, or make it a smear.

As for Limbaugh he's an asshole not a character. Ditto Hannity. Not so much O'Reilly though I'm sure there are cringe worthy outtakes.

The borrowing of SS bucks was criminal as was the second invasion of Iraq by Bush Jr. Bush and Company not Obama should be prosecuted for that war. They murdered hundreds of Americans and thousands of Arabs. And the war goes on. Obama had consistently been a antiwar president.But his use of drones, his prosecution of people thst expose government "secrets" and his record number of deporting llegal will haunt his history.
My comment about Hillary is based on her war hawkishness, her ties to Wall Street and the Chicken Man.
And on her relationship to Bill. For example his support of
NAFTA destroyed the livelihood of thousands of Mexican
farmers. As in America subsidized Agribusiness went
into Mexico with their specialized crops and chemicals.
and ran off small farmers. People now lined up at the
border trying to get a job washing Americans dishes. I
know of small American farmers that committed suicide
when they lost their farms to Agribusiness. The huge flow
of Mexicans and South Americans would drastically slow
down if Americans quit illegally hiring them. As would the profitable Mexican drug trade would be reduced if
Americans quit using illegal drugs. God forbid we legalize
illegal drugs and let the FDA instead of DEA deal with the
issue.


@ Emil: working off this graph

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9c/US_Unemployment_1890-2009.gif

from wiki.

At election (1933) rate = 20% +/-
Onset of WWII: (1939 =/-) rate = 16% = +/1
Max rate reached = 1935 = 22% +/-

@All: apologize for getting sucked into the never-ending morass of Emil’s mental journeys. I believe the topic is that Paul and Cruz are “kooks”. A slightly off-topic discussion might be how HRC is not a “kook”.

First wkg rewrites Great Depression economic history; now he's attempting to rewrite the history of this blog's comments. The one who started the off-topic discussion was wkg, when he replied to koreyel with a provocative comment about FDR's "spending spree" which he characterized as useless except for a couple of still existing works projects. I only responded to that, so please back off the catty smears about my "mental journeys".

It also isn't my fault that you can't read a graph (your own source) or that you would use a graph whose scale is as coarse as the one in question and then pretend that your erroneous interpolations are accurate, instead of Googling a table with data by year.

Skip, not too many people on the actual left would defend Harry Reid. Throughout his career, he blocked any and all legislation to revise the 1872 Mining Law, which in 2015 still allows foreign mining conglomerates to buy public lands for $2.50 to 5.00 an acre. He was just another piglet feeding at the corporate trough for decades.

Just wanted to add that part of the H.W. Bush defeat in 1992 was due to Ross Perot (20 million votes, about 19%).

Don’t know much of anything about Paul or Cruz. At this point, just not too interested.

Did read a book “HRC” about a year ago. It is pretty much of a puff piece, but it did have some juicy details. Here are a couple that I remember:

The WJC/HRC union may be “unusual” by most standards – but it seems to suit them. But the political union is solid. They are firmly in each other’s corner. You can count on WJC doing everything he can for her.

The Clintons are very astute at hardball politics. This comes complete with an organized enemies list. You don’t want to be on this list.

HRC suffered severe health problems towards the end of her SOS term. Mostly due to the extreme amount of travel involved. This could be the reason she is delaying formal entry into the POTUS race. Could be saving her energy for the grind of the campaign.

Maybe kookiness is in the eye of the beholder – but perhaps we can at least agree on the aspects of what contributes to an idea’s “kook potential”. Here are a couple of things I would be looking for:

1. The Federal financial situation is at the top of the list. There’s a problem that clearly needs fixing. Any proposal that only worsens matters has to get a high “kookiness quotient”.
2. Our foreign military adventures have been and are counter-productive. Personally I would put all of them back to the Mexican-American War in this category. Any proposal that would increase military involvement (even arms supply) has “Kook Potential”.

I'm probably the outlier here when it comes to the 2016 election. I'm somewhat confident Mrs. Clinton will win the election without much trepidation. I would be considerably more skeptical if Senator Warren became the Democratic candidate.

Concerning Mrs. Clinton, it wouldn't be a surprise if she is able to win in North Carolina, a swing state that President Obama lost by only a few percentage points. Of course Clinton will need to secure the swings states that voted for President Obama in 2012. To throw a little more fuel on that fire, the popularity of the Clintons and her centrist views may work in her favor in states that voted Republican in 2012 by single digits: Arizona, Georgia, and Missouri. The Independent Voting bloc in Arizona, which is the largest registered voting bloc in the state, would truly be put to task. I'm sure that sounds delusional considering how kooky AZ politics are, but consider that the the presidential race is not determined by gerrymandered districts.

I am also predicting a larger turnout for 2016 given the fact that our favorite sheriff, Arpaio, will be seeking his 7th term in office. Could this be the year Hispanic voters flex more electoral muscle?

I meant to include this information in the post above.

In 2010 there were 90,000 Hispanic voters signed up for Arizona’s Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL). As of October 2014, that number now exceeds 300,000. Data shows that PEVL registration increases the likelihood of voter participation. Over the last few years Hispanics have been registering to vote at a clip that exceeds non-Hispanic registration by 30%. By all accounts Maricopa County is the epicenter of this growth.
https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/onearizona/pages/41/attachments/original/1415075112/ONE_AZ_2014_Latino_Electorate_FINAL_Charts-1.pdf?1415075112

Several people who knew w. Bush well enough dismissed him as a joke. Let's not underestimate the chances of any of these potential candidates.
One problem tha center to left types like myself have is ignorance of the right's closed system of thought. You have to go to fox, Limbaugh, red state, etc to get an inkling of what's happening.
Reference Rogue's comments 4/10 5:40. That's a sample ofwhat passes for conventional wisdom in a significant %age of voting minds, who surpass the left in zeal to boot.
Paul, Cruz, Jeb, McCain, perhaps several others the sons of influential dads. "Ego Ideal" both motivating and limiting. B. Barry Bamz barely knew his daddy.
One thing that makes me especially wary of Cruz is the possibility that he has a capital M Messianic mission in mind. The political atmosphere is so charged with peculiar emotion, it's anyone's guess who might "catch fire." This couples with the lability of the world situation and potentially explosive events. It reminds me of being in chemistry labs where there wer all kinds of explosive gases that you might only stumble upon by igniting them.
The falcon cannot hear the falconer.... the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

I was out riding my unicorn in the forest. A leprechaun jumped up on my saddle horn and whispered, "the Hispanic vote will save us all". The leprechaun fell to the ground laughing and laughing. My unicorn almost peed itself, laughing so hard.

Mythical creatures like the unicorn, the leprechaun and the Hispanic vote very much enjoy poking fun at each other.

The Hispanic vote won't save us all. This is particularly true given the geographic concentration of the Hispanic population. That being said, the Hispanic vote would definitely alter the results of state-wide and some county elections if the participation rate matched that of other groups. In terms of altering state/local politics, that would not likely happen given the way in which districts are drawn up. Current boundaries help to keep this electorate's influence diluted. On top of that, the marginalization of Hispanic voters has traditionally kept many from participating and that legacy has become a "generational curse". Changing that mindset has been one of the hardest things to overcome. Only time will tell if the recent surge in Hispanic registration translates into votes come election time.

Rogue Columnist wrote: "When Obama is out of office, he will be missed by most, not least for being No Drama Obama. . . A Republican president, Senate, and House will finish off the program of national suicide started so effectively by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney."

I'm currently reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (pub. 2008) written by Martin Sieff, who at the time of publication was the managing editor of United Press International, and who reported from the Middle East for 40 years.

The book is highly informative. The author is reflexively conservative and his editorializing and conclusions are sometimes foolish. But his facts are fascinating.

The author ridicules the "lefty" notion that the Iraq War was about oil, dismissing it in a paragraph. That said, the book gives all the ingredients for a plausible argument that it WAS about oil, better than I've ever seen anywhere else.

* Saudi Crown Prince Abdulaziz (1995-2005) "was concerned about the financial effect of plummeting oil prices on the kingdom's stability" in the late 1990s. (p. 153)

* So in 1999 Saudi Arabia concluded an oil production limiting and price control agreement with Iran. (p. 154)

* This is not the first such Saudi-Iranian oil alliance. "After the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Saudis joined forces with the Shah of Iran to quadruple global oil prices". (p.136)

* And "since 1967, Saudi Arabia has been the world's crucial "swing" producer of oil. This means that it is the one country with such enormous and easily accessible oil reserves that it can affect global oil prices more than any other nation by increasing or decreasing production and sales." (p. 136)

* After the 1999 Saudi-Iranian agreement, "over the next four years, oil prices tripled from around ten dollars a barrel to over thirty". (p. 155)

* In 2002, Saudi King Abdulaziz "changed the nation's pricing policy: the Saudis became committed to stable higher oil prices rather than stable lower ones". (p. 137) "And with China's thirst for oil growing by leaps and bounds, and Japan, South Korea, and India not far behind, the pressure to keep global prices high and output low was growing." (p. 137)

* "Suppose Saudi Arabia's wells ran dry or the kingdom was torn apart." (Or simply turns the tap down in conjunction with Iran and others.) "Who could replace it as the world's next dominant swing producer? There are only two real candidates: Iraq and Russia. Iraq has four enormous fields south of Baghdad that haven't begun to be developed yet." (p. 138) And at the time, Iraq's oil reserves were believed to be second in the world after Saudi Arabia (p.162).

*In April 2003, the year after Saudi Arabia became formally committed to stable higher oil prices, the U.S. invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein, of whom "the only thing he wasn't guilty of was the crime that precipitated the 2003 U.S. invasion that finally took him down -- funding or other involvement in the planning of the September 11 attacks". (p. 59) Of course, he also wasn't guilty, at the time, of the threat of weapons of mass destruction, the other leg of the Bush-Cheney fraudulent casus belli.

Now, obviously Iraq wasn't going to replace Saudi Arabia as the next swing producer while Saddam Hussein was in charge: especially not the sort of swing producer which would increase production enough to lower global oil prices again. Besides which, Iraq had been under sanctions for years and Iraq's restricted oil sales reduced global supply and helped increase global oil prices; and Saddam's continued belligerence and intransigence meant that sanctions would last the rest of his life, as the hoped for Baathist military coup failed to materialize.

To me, the dynamic is pretty clear:

(1) Saudi Arabia and Iran agree in 1999 to restrict production to drive up oil prices. Within four years oil prices triple.

(2) In 2002 Saudi Arabia commits itself to continuing a policy of "stable high oil prices".

(3) Increased demand from China and others dovetails with Saudi-Iranian restrictions on production to help drive up prices, and the future prognosis for global oil prices is grim from a U.S. perspective.

(4) The only replacement "swing" producers to replace Saudi Arabia are Russia and Iraq. Russia won't play ball, period, and an invasion of Russia is out of the question. Iraq won't play ball either, but only because Saddam Hussein is in power. With the right government in place and beholden to U.S. interests, the oil taps could run freely again, driving down prices.

(5) In April 2003 the U.S. invades Iraq. Bush-Cheney have drunk the Kool-Ade and expect their handpicked successor to Saddam Hussein, a wealthy Shiite Iraqi bank swindler, adventurer, con-man and exile named Ahmed Chalabi, and his largely notional Iraqi National Congress, to "rapidly become the credible, pro-American government in Iraq". (pp. 61-62)

(6) Bush-Cheney invent fraudulent reasons justifying the invasion, to whip up popular and international support for the military conquest of Iraq and its rich but underdeveloped oil fields.

(7) Stuff happens, as Cheney once said. Chalabi (whom the CIA later says may have been an Iranian agent all along (p. 62) and his paper Iraqi National Congress suffer an epic fail; Shiites aligned with Iran take control of the Iraqi government; and the U.S. gets bogged down in a long war with Sunni guerrillas "culled primarily from the Sunni minority in Iraq that had ruled the roost ever since the British crushed the 1920 Shiite revolt. They saw clearly that they had no realistic chance in a "new" Iraq where the Americans were building up the Shiites to be top dog." (p. 67)

(8) Dreams of a puppet government eager to flood the world with cheap oil fall to the wayside. Kerfuffle.

The following link illustrates how little things have changed since 2009 as far as Cheney and the Republican clown car is concerned. It's really funny, too (and brief):

http://kerfuffle.typepad.com/kerfuffle/evil-incarnate/

It's 2009 all over again, where Cheney is concerned:

"I recall not too long ago, people who said anything -- anything -- negative about President Bush (or any of his policies, pronouncements, signing statements etc.) were traitors, cowards, or terrorist-lovers. That was back when the cowboy/idiot president was more or less a puppet with Dick Cheney pulling the strings from the secret, undisclosed, secure location.

"Now that he's a "private citizen," Cheney is getting more airtime than that guy who won American Idol. And he is using that time to go offensively on the offensive to rip on President Obama for trying to undo the colossal mess that he and W pooped onto America."

And:

"Apparently, some basic fact checking is all that's needed to demonstrate (again) what lying sack of poop Dick Cheney really is.

"...the Republican's Darth Vader himself finally emerged from the ether to offer his memory-and-facts-be-damned take of the story. As is to be expected, he found several points to criticize about the current administration, while completely forgetting or ignoring that the administration in which he served as co-president did exactly the same things and then some.

"And what are Democrats doing about it? Not much, it seems. They're just letting these asshats bullshit their way through hypocritical and baseless talking points unchallenged. I have to give Republicans props for sticking to the script, and knowing they can get away with saying almost anything since Democrats do have a penchant for spinelessness, and the media can't be bothered to fact-check all that much."

http://kerfuffle.typepad.com/kerfuffle/evil-incarnate/

Meanwhile back in corrupt Arizona.
Arizona Board of Regents Chairman Mark Killian Appointed director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture
Posted: 11 Apr 2015 08:28 AM PDT

Arizona Board Of Regents Chairman Mark Killian was bent on of suing the state after the universities’ budget was cut by $99 million. Now Governor says cuts may be permanent.

Less than a week after Ducey’s visit to the regents, the governor named Killian director of the Dept of Agriculture. ABOR against Ducey’s higher education policies. Inquiring minds wants to know how/will Killian be able to lead a lawsuit now that he's on Ducey's payroll.
PHOENIX - Governor Doug Ducey today announced the appointment of Mark Killian as director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.
"I'm pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Killian to lead the Arizona Department of Agriculture," said Governor Ducey. "Mark brings decades of unique public service and private sector experience, and his extensive and successful background in farming and ranching will be hugely valuable in this role. He's a welcome addition to this department and our administration."
Mr. Killian has been a member of the Arizona Board of Regents since 2010, currently serving as chairman and previously as vice chairman and treasurer. Prior to joining ABOR, he was director of the Arizona Department of Revenue and served for 14 years in the Arizona State Legislature, including as Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader.
Mr. Killian also has decades of private sector experience. He is a licensed commercial real estate broker of more than 32 years specializing in the management of commercial real estate. He also is involved in family farming and ranching enterprises, overseeing the stewardship of 1,700 acres of farmland in Arizona, and is the current chairman of the Green Reservoir Flood Control district and the Santa Cruz River Alliance.
Mr. Killian earned his Bachelor's Degree in business administration with a specialization of real estate and urban planning from Arizona State University in 1981.

Via Arizona capital Times yellow Sheet
“How in the hell can ABOR Chairman Mark Killian lead a charge
against Ducey’s cuts to the universities when he was just named one of
his agency directors?”
- A Capitol railbird, reacting to Killian’s appointment as director of
the Dept of Agriculture.

Good catch, Cal: looks like the lawsuit wasn't anything the Board of Regents was even part of, and Killian was acting on his own. Whatever happened to those quaint times in Arizona when corruption was bi-partisan and they still tried to hide stuff, like with the Keating Five and Azscam?

An anecdote: Watching the Masters yesterday (I’m not a golfer and don’t even like watching that much – but the Masters and the US Open are must see events). CBS did a little human interest segment. This one was with Greg Norman (famous former golfer). The White House had called and asked Greg if WJC could fly in for a round of golf. Greg didn’t like WJC or his politics. He called Bush I to express his predicament. Bush I said something along the lines of “relax, enjoy a round of golf, avoid political things and most of all to respect the position – regardless of
who holds it”. Well Greg and WJC played. By the end of 18 holes they were fast friends – and are to this day (as far as I know).

I think there are a lot of take-a-ways from this story. Here are a couple:

All positions, from POTUS, to governor, to mayor , to policeman, to waitress all deserve the respect that the position holds.

You can like and respect someone without agreeing with every idea they embrace.

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