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This is going to my hard core Republican friends. Why are you still supporting Romney?

1) You know he is not going to win.
2) You know as the election heats up, his Bain Capital experience will make Republicans untouchable for decades.
3) You can’t pin down where Romney stands on anything.
4) He tied his dog to a car.
5) He stands with black people and says “Who let the dogs out, woof, woof.”

Most of you are telling me, “I certainly can’t vote for Obama. I guess I’m not voting for President this time.”

Let’s say, just for argument sakes there was a presidential candidate out there who says to have good government you need: …………………

1. Become reality driven. Don’t kid yourself or others.
Find out what’s what and base your decisions and actions
on that.

2. Always be honest and tell the truth. It’s extremely
difficult to do any damage to anybody when you are
willing to tell the truth–regardless of the
consequences.

3. Always do what’s right and fair. Remember, the more
you actually accomplish, the louder your critics become.
You’ve got to learn to ignore your critics. You’ve got to
continue to do what you think is right. You’ve got to
maintain your integrity.

4. Determine your goal, develop a plan to reach that
goal, and then act. Don’t procrastinate.

5. Make sure everybody who ought to know what you’re
doing knows what you’re doing. Communicate.

6. Don’t hesitate to deliver bad news. There is always
time to salvage things. There is always time to fix
things. Henry Kissinger said that anything that can be
revealed eventually should be revealed immediately.

7. Last, be willing to do whatever it takes to get your
job done. If you’ve got a job that you don’t love enough
to do what it takes to get your job done, then quit and
get one that you do love, and then make a difference.

Honesty. Integrity. Principal.

Sounds good so far. Let us say just for argument, he had chief executive experience. Let us say just or argument that he once ran a state, one of the fifty in this union. Let us say while governor, this is what he did…..

During his tenure, New Mexico experienced the longest period without a tax-increase in the state’s entire history.

1) He cut the rate of government growth in half,

2) Left the New Mexico state government with a budget surplus and 1000 fewer employees (without firing anyone),

3) Privatized half of the prisons in the state,

4) Brought a state-wide school voucher system to New Mexico.

5) Vetoed 750 bills (more than all the vetoes of the other 49 Governors in the country at that time, combined) with only 2 overrides, earning him the nickname Gary “Veto” Johnson.

6) In 1999, Johnson became the highest-ranking elected official in the United States to advocate the legalization of drugs.

7) Shifted Medicaid to managed care.

ISN’T THAT WHAT YOU WANT? ISN’T THAT WHAT WE NEED?

Can you not think of a better way to show your lack of enthusiasm over a wealthy capitalist buying his way to the top of your ticket, by voting for someone who has character, who does what you’ve always wanted, a doer, not a talker?

And to think…. you were simply just going to throw your vote away.

His name is Gary Johnson. He is the new party’s candidate for President.

Remember Republicans. It is your values that are important. If your party has given up and moved on from your values, don’t think you have to be loyal to the word…. “Republican”… What you have to be loyal too, is yourself. Always. Never lie to yourself.

You don’t need to waste your vote on Romney. You probably need to find more about this guy, Gary Johnson, and then throw your support behind him.

Don’t worry it is not one of the two parties on whose ticket he is running. Remember, at one point in time, the Republican Party was a once a third party too. One that went mainstream because of its core values, its principles resonated with everyday American People.

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Duffy is God’s answer to a prayer.. I miss the old days of blogging when we were debating principals instead of people… Duffy has stuck to the old line of debating principals with facts, and that is what makes him special in the eyes of bloggers everywhere…

Since the passing of Steve Newton, he has been the only one to challenge me in any argument, and usually some pretty good stuff comes out of both sides during the exchange… I have respected that.. Cause once again, opinions mean dick. Facts are what we steer by.. It is my hope that in responding to his challenge that an answer may make itself apparent.. Who knows? It may not come from me… But if I’m the catalyst for bringing it out in the open, then… none of this was in vain..

Why I like to debate Duffy is simple.. Neither side, he or I, is concretely set in their opinions… We accept it when the other side makes sense… I usually go into such debates having no idea where they’ll end up… I hope the rest of you enjoy the ride as welI….

That said..

Duffy leads: Wall Street’s problems were caused by Fannie and Freddie loaning money to people they knew couldn’t pay and moreover, forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay. That was not deregulation but misregulation

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate.

First off, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was developed for, and locked in on, urban developmental areas and had no part of the subprime boom, which primarily occurred out in western desert regions where owning 4 to 5 investment homes was normal… Those homes were overwhelmingly funded by loan originators NOT SUBJECT to the act… We all know the crises was not because people couldn’t afford a payment on their house. It came about, because with no occupants, people could not afford the payments of 4 to 5 houses….. Instead of one loan per borrower turning up in default; four to five were.
Investment Homes lead forclosures not inner city Residences

Second off, The housing bubble reached its point of maximum inflation in 2005.
The Housing Bubble Starts to Dive in 2005
Courtesy of NYT

Third off, During those exact same years, Fannie and Freddie were sidelined by Congressional pressure, and saw a sharp drop in their share of loans secured by the Feds… Follow the dotted line on the very bottom of the graph…
Freddie and Fannie on the lowest line
Courtesy of NYT

Fourth off; During those exact same years, private secures, like Delaware’s own AIG, grabbed the lions share of the market.
Private, not Public Insurers Caused the Crash
Courtesy of NYT

Remember these graphs for later on when I discuss the results of deregulation, versus regulation… But like it or not, these graphs conclusively show that private insurers, who thanks to Marie Evans, we now know were deregulated by Phil Gramm in the 2000 Omnibus Bill, were the primary cause of the worlds financial collapse.. Probably put best by these words of AIG’s spokesperson, who when asked why they didn’t have sufficient funds to cover losses, said point blank, “We were deregulated. We were no laws requiring us to keep any funds, ..so we spent it…”

Duffy leads: The loosely regulated hedge funds escaped this mess largely unscathed. Why? They can’t count on a bailout like the big banks. The Too Big To Fail banks were counting on a bailout (not unlike the S&L bailouts which started on the Republican’s watch) and they got them.

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. I agree that the hedge funds did survive better than the banks. Not because of bailouts, but because they sold short during the crises and made billions while firms closed and people got thrown out of work. There is nothing wrong with that; I did the same. In fact close readers may remember my warnings that the crises was impending almost a year earlier. Very close readers may remember my telling them exactly when to sell, and at what point the stock market would rebound… I must say: I called it rather well. 🙂

“Hedge funds were not in my understanding, at fault in the credit crisis,” said David Ruder, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “At the most what they did was to sell securities when some of their investments were declining and they needed to have liquid funds. They were not the architects of these problems.”

De regulated hedge funds are not the issue… De-regulated, excessively leveraged, mortgage securities, are a different story however… They, not the banks that held them, are the cause of the crises…Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

Where you err is when you state that banks too big to fail, assumed they would be bailed out… By implication, you say imply they failed from squandering money, and wanted the bailouts.. But your tax dollars didn’t flow directly to the bottom line.

The roughly $200 billion the Treasury Department has handed out to battered banks was swapped for a special class of stock that pays a 5 percent dividend (rising to 9 percent after five years.) As of April 15, the Treasury had collected about $2.5 billion in dividend payments on its investment.

So in that sense, the bailout money represents an expense for banks. That’s one reason a number of banks have said they want to give the money back as soon as possible.

You say big banks were counting on a bailout, and they got them? That didn’t happen to these banks. New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida each lost a bank just last Friday. That brings to 8, the number of banks failed in June. Unfortunately if a bank is failing, it can’t bet on itself to fail, as can a hedge fund.

Duffy leads: Banks have successfully lobbied to get their losses absorbed by taxpayers and gains are kept private. How nice for them. They felt comfortable making insane gambles because they knew they’d be bailed out. Most of them were right. Also remember that it was Bill Clinton who tore down the wall between retail and investment banking. The idea was to give banks more stability as they typically perform as exact opposites in bull and bear markets. (FWIW, I think that was a good idea and I can tell you first hand that two of the Fortune 100 banks I worked for were carried by retail banking in bear years. They may not have had bonuses those years but they didn’t have layoffs either)

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. The idea is that the banks made bad decisions knowing taxpayers would bail them out is the issue that is inaccurate. For the record, I have no qualms that it was the Clinton legacy who tore down the wall between banks and investment banking. Like you, I feel it was a good idea to do so… Again the problem was not primarily with banks making loans to people who could not pay.. Although, it was as late as October 2009, when I was made aware of one private Bank in Denver still exaggerating income to make loans look good enough on paper to get approval of securitization. What caused the collapse was the leveraging of those loans as securities, so that as the housing market became overextended, and the ARM jumped past the low cost opening years, the damage was 100 times worse because of leveraging. What made the collapse criminal, was that the insurance most financial institutions had bought from AIG, to cover such an improbable event, had already spent by that companies executives, out on bonuses to themselves. What made it doubly criminal, was that when they received government dollars through a taxpayer bailout, those same executives assumed it was to first go towards paying their bonuses again. However, very recent events may give some cover to the argument that some collusion was implicit in the bailing out of Goldman Sacs and AIG… Basically, once bailed out, AIG paid Goldman Sacs for shares twice as much as they were worth. The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.

This is a guessing game. It’s supposed to be fun. You do the guessing. I’ll reveal the answer at some point in the future. Bottom line, I am interested in how this plays out. (To keep answers out of moderation, no links please.) You may use the categories above for some helpful hints, but knowing me, don’t expect to find the answer that easily.) 🙂

1) Foreign policy/defense: I want American imperialism rolled back and American interventionism halted, as the same time we begin to pull free from the military/industrial complex by slashing the budgets for defense and homeland security to reasonable levels.

2) Civil libertarian issues: I want to see gay marriage legalized; drugs decriminalized; Real ID abolished; the Patriot Act gutted; and immigrants viewed as human beings. I want intrusive government the hell out of my life.

3) Fiscal sanity: I want a government that stops growing and taking an ever-expanding bite out of my paycheck; I want to see wasteful programs cut, and to have Congress faced with the same sort of imperative the Delaware General Assembly had to face this year: balancing the budget.

Congess finds out the dangers faced by our solders

We have heard so often that the surge is working. Perhaps it is working far too well. Four arch-Conservative Congressional delegates flying out of Baghdad, came under fire just as their C130 lifted off from the Baghdad airport. Judging from the depth of the Pentagon’s reaction, it was a close call.

The C-130 cargo aircraft conducted evasive maneuvers after a nighttime takeoff from Baghdad, said Ken Lundberg, spokesman for Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who was on the plane.

In addition to Martinez, the plane was carrying fellow Republican Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Alabama Rep. Robert “Bud” Cramer, a Democrat.

With the exception of Cramer the Blue Dog Democrat, all of the three republicans would be considered extremely conservative. Shelby, was the individual responsible for announcing that we had intercepted Osama bin Laden’s phone messages. Inhofe accused the Weather Channel of creating global warming. Martinez was in charge of Bush 2000’s Florida campaign, and we all know what happened there. In 2006, he helped craft the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 that would be referred to by much of his own party, as “amnesty”.

All three of these are extremely conservative; all three are potentially embarrassing to the future Republican party; all three have uttered controversial statements like this one…. by Inhofe:

“I am outraged by the ‘outrage’ over the revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib”, suggesting that liberals being outraged over Rumsfeld’s abusive tactics, were more of a outrage to American values, than the actual torture practiced on Iraqis by American servicemen.

Each of these Republicans has become and will be a future embarrassment to their party in the upcoming elections. Each of these statements will be pounded over the airwaves with undulating precision.

But if you look beyond the glossed over press reports there seems to be something deeper going on behind this incident. Perhaps it was more than just a close call?

For one, why would the C 130 fired upon as it left Baghdad, just happen to carry three of the most conservative members of Congress? Of course one option, and the first considered, is that it occurred randomly. However two other possibilities that could occur, are 1) either the Iraqi insurgents have remarkable intelligence capabilities, capable of communicating the precise moment the plane lets go its brakes to a position miles away, or……2) it was an inside job.

Was it random? At roughly 150 of these planes flying in and out of Baghdad on a daily basis, the odds at firing on this one randomly selected over the last five years, would be: 1 chance out of 273,750. That would be a 2737.5% chance of not happening. But anything is possible, right?

So let’s examine the logistics behind the alternatives. To fire upon this one plane, the enemy would need to know which plane out of the twenty five lined up on the tarmac awaiting takeoff, contained the conservative legislators. That means the insurgents would have had access to Baghdad military airport, in the heart of the super safe Green Zone.

If the enemy was this intelligent, they should know that killing four congressional legislators would not end the war. It would escalate it further. (To end the war they would need to kill liberals.) They would also know that creating martyrs out of the four most conservative Congressional members, would embolden a 9/11 response across this country. It would rally international support behind the US, now waning worldwide, and create an international environment more hostile to Al Qaeda. The insurgents would be foolish to fire upon that plane.

So who stands to gain if these men were shot down? Obviously those republicans waiting in the wings in their safe red districts, would benefit. So would the RNC. There would be NO chance of a blue taking any of these seats. Obviously the Republican party would be better off by not having their own comment blaming “the Weather Channel for creating global warming”, receiving international airplay. (They are so losing this next election; I hope that Mondale lives long enough to see his dubious record broken.) Obviously the next big republican scandal that will come out of Florida (Martinez), would be nice to nip in the bud. Furthermore anyone having a vendetta against that one single person responsible for leaking that nugget that we were listening to Osama’s phone calls just after 9/11, causing his GPS location to be lost to us forever, would rub their hands with revenge.

These shots fired, based on a cross reference of the press reports description and the Pentagon’s map of Baghdad, originated from an area safe from insurgents, and entrusted to private corporate mercenary services. The location of these shots makes it even more unlikely that an insurgent pulled the trigger. The odds that an operative of Al Qaeda, infiltrated a private security service such as Blackwater, was in real time informed as to when this very plane was taking off, and knew exactly when to pull the trigger seconds before he even saw or heard the plane, all without any experience of ever having done so before at this location…….. are impossible to calculate…………….

If this was an inside job, perhaps instead of an assassination, it was a mere attempt at a scare. They missed on purpose. For by instilling fear in some of the most conservative members of the Congress, one could continue to count firmly on their future loyalty and support.  No doubt as they spoke before their respective branches of Congress, they could then be counted on to convey to others, that the threat was real.

For if on their return, had these four wavered and decided that all future expenditures were nothing but a massive waste of money, that the surge was not working, and that it was time to make a change in Iraq policy, then dreams of all neocons everywhere, would be nothing more than a wisp of gunsmoke……………

But such talk is just “hullabaloo” , really……… it was nothing more than a random event, a one in a 273,750 chance.
defensive actions by a C130 over Baghdad

The economy is a behemoth. How and in which way will you define such a broad term as the economy?
What tools will you use to determine if it is moving up or down. Stock markets are often used as a peg . But if only the wealthy participate, it is a poor device for measuring the well being of those who’s budgets are too stretched to participate. Poverty levels are also an indicator that measures how our lower class is doing, but does nothing for measuring the amounts needed to invest in growing businesses.

Whatever measure we choose, needs to be standardized, allowing both the growth of capital and the well being of Americans. An example of policy gone wrong is this. If you cut taxes and that cut leads to increased medical costs, energy costs, and raises the cost of insurance, so that citizens are paying out of pocket much more than they were before, that policy is not as helpful as it may seem at first glance.

There needs to be a way of measuring the well being of Americans. Setting a standard as having a place to live, two cars, taxes, insurance, enough to cover both energy costs and communication costs, would be a good indicator for someone in my age bracket. To someone older, adding medical costs might be considered. The income left following the deduction of these expenses, would measure the well being of America. A certain number of people would have incomes above this line, and others would find themselves below this line. This measure would go up and down as the economy rose and fell, and this measure would be an appropriate indicator. If energy prices spike, elected officials need to react. But if energy goes up, and say insurance rates go down, it would not have to move so readily.

Effective politics would achieve growth along this line. As more citizens increased their disposable incomes after necessary expenses were met, that would be a positive indicator reflecting a growing economy.

It would drive home the argument that all of us are threads in a tapestry. Each of has a responsibility to ourselves and immediate family, but our actions also have repercussions far removed from us locally due to the increasing complexity of today’s world.

This opens the door to a new way of looking at old problems. If paying more insurance, is offset by a matching reduction in taxes, then no one is worse off. And if paying more in taxes result in paying even less in energy costs , no one is worse off.

Fortunately due to the massive scale of the United States, the economies of scale have merit here. Just as Wal*Mart buys items at a lower cost than those mom and pop stores it puts out of business, the government can use economies of scale to do the same. It is far less costly to pay one contractor to build ten miles of road, than pay ten contractors to build one mile each. Thus if used properly, taxes can be a good thing. Like a growing government contract, they can pool resources and bring prices down by sheer numbers.

Especially in the medical field is this appropriate. If one pays less in taxes, and thus pays far more for prescriptions, he may be happy for a moment until he considers the reverse option, of investing in his taxes to drive down prescriptions and make them far less expensive. Whether this is a success or failure, is decided by whether that citizen’s finances are better off.

The cumulative effort of all individuals, determines whether this nation should keep or scrap a policy.. Ideology of grand sweeping ideas, of say “Big government versus. Small government:” should have little to do with policy. Does it work or not work; that is the question for which a majority of Americans need the answers.

Across this generation saving levels have dropped. Americans seem to be more secure in their future and would rather spend on “now” than save for tomorrow where truthfully, that money will probably go to someone else: a hospital, nursing home, etc, etc…..The brilliance of the Clinton economy was that costs were held low for what ever reason across the board, thereby freeing up excess money for more goods and services.

Pulled this comment out from a response to Mike’s Merit Bound Alley, regarding the War on Drugs. I’ve noticed this topic, particularly Mandatory Drug Sentencing , has been getting attention lately. Below is the comment. My apologies to those who have seen it before.

I have been working on this problem for a while.

The solution came to me in a Wal*mart. To keep myself from falling asleep while shopping with my wife, i challenged myself to think through our drug policy and find a workable solution.

For some reason I decided to look around and create a thought model that said, what if everything here was a recreational drug, how would that work……….

Simply put. ( the real argument is much fuller) Q & A style.

Q: Drugs are addictive. Addicts MUST have it
A: So is food. We don’t kill for it.

Q: Would you kill for food if someone was preventing you from getting it?
A: Hell yes.

Q: Drugs are bad. They distort reality.
A: So does mixing alcohol and television. But we survive.

Q: What is the fastest way to stop smuggling.
A: Take away the profit from it.

Q: How can one do that?
A. Put the government in control of selling drugs below cost.

Q: How would that help?
A: Which would you prefer, driving down to Market and 25th and buying from some hooded undesirable, or standing forever at a Wal*mart checkout line?

Q. That’s crazy. You would sell crack, coke, heroin, weed in a store?
A. Not only that, we would sell it for CHEAP

Q Then everyone would be an addict.
A. Does everyone sniff glue? It’s cheap. Does everyone inhale hairspray? it’s cheap. Does everyone smoke banana peels? They are not expensive. Price or accessibility are not the reasons fewer people use drugs.

Q. What about those who become addicted…….
A. That will be part of the social cost, funded by taxes. They want treated, we treat them.

Q Drugs will weaken our society.
A And alcohol won’t.? Man has survived on alcohol since the original drink. Society still functions. Many today survive on illegal substances. Their lives, jobs, reputations are not in jeopardy.

Q if drugs are free, why would someone work………Just lay around and have someone bring you food, clean you up, sort of like Tennyson’s “Lotus Eaters.”
A. Currently the one’s who lay around and get high, are the ones without jobs or responsibilities. Those with responsibilities still use drugs, but impose their own restraints. “No, I got to work tomorrow.”

Q: What makes you so sure that society will not collapse if the government sponsors drugs real cheaply.

A. Suppose I overdo it and one day get fired. I’m a loser. But everyone else who sees me get fired, tells themselves they need to keep their habits under control. Society will survive because someone will always be there to replace a loser

Q. Drugs are bad for health.
A And tobacco isn’t. This is America.

Q You must use drugs to want to legalize them so much?
A. No, they scare me. My gut emotional response is to keep doing what we have been doing. Keep them out. This is a thought process designed at solving a problem using a series of models and predicting the outcomes.

Q So you are ignorant of the effect that drugs have on people since you abstain from them?
A. I am the last real person in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” Everyone else uses drugs in society but me, and I have to accept it and fit in to survive. (Excuse me, I have to go check out that discordant shrieking noise outside……….)

Q How will this plan stop violence, smuggling, murders, police corruption currently associated with drugs?
A. Imagine you own a cartel and have 3 Billion dollars tied up in drugs. The next day and forever more you can’t sell it for a penny……How do you pay off the cops, how do you pay your thugs, how do you pay your runners, how do you pay your assassins? More likely they will turn and come after you.when they realize you cannot pay them.

Q: How much would this cost.
A Much less than we are spending now.on prevention.

Q What bothers you most about this idea.
A It is too conservative for it uses the market place to solve a social problem. And that scares the hell out of me…………………

Early this morning snow fell on Delaware. It was nothing like the blizzards of the Midwest or the lake snows blanketing the state of New York. In fact, it was not much of anything really.

That is perhaps why of all the things going on in the world today, I decided to ignore them for a moment and revel in this immediate event that happened here tonight.

Snow has been rare this winter. I can think of no school closings so far. First time ever, my children tell me. And this snow, had it been on a steep slope, would have been awesome for waxed skis.

But what I like best, is that this event sort of sneaked up on us. Oh usually, the salt is thickly spread long before the first tiny flake falls, leaving a safe, if not ugly black ribbon cutting across the fresh white packaging.

But this time, Deldot was sleeping, and fortunately for me, they had not destroyed the silence of tredded rubber slicing through pristine powder. No groan of the window-washer pump, no clatter of squeaky wipers to spoil the silence; no sizzle of filthy water flung up against my fenders; just the whisper of the flakes blowing off the roof, leaving a different kind of vapor trail in my wake.

There is nothing like the quietness of falling snow. Distant sounds, if heard at all, have a strange tone when snow is falling. It is like hearing for the first time, a distant echo from our brief beginning.

After a long time, finally now, I could be at ease. There was quiet. There was a peace that has escaped me since childhood. For everyone else was asleep. It was exhilarating to drive down America’s aorta, with no tracks in front of me, following my same nightly routine, but with none of the same consequences.

I know most of you will wake, perhaps shocked, and contend with Deldot’s rapid response team. You will curse and swear and hopefully avoid any financial detriment caused by those flakes of white.

As for me, I hope to catalogue, bury, and hold on to the memories of this night forever. And at some later date, recover them and rejoice that one still has the ability to remember how a child feels, especially when those tiny white flakes start to fall.

But being grown up, like Ulysses I am tied fast to my responsibilities and routines, and though I cry out to the snow siren that sings it’s songs of my youth, my ship moves on, and only faint memories of what transpired tonight, will linger on.