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Messages - JDN

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Politics & Religion / Re: Romney
« on: September 27, 2012, 09:29:24 AM »
Doug, Romney thought mandated health care for all residents was good/great for the people of his state.

Further, he is using his mandated medical plan, in his own words, on national TV, as his best example that he
"shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record."

Yet he opposes ObamaCare which is much like his own plan.

And you don't think that's not a Flip Flop?   :?

Politics & Religion / ObamaCare is good right?
« on: September 27, 2012, 08:44:02 AM »
Mitt Romney to NBC on Wednesday:
"I think throughout this campaign as well, we talked about my record in Massachusetts, don't forget -- I got everybody in my state insured," Romney told NBC's Ron Allen in an interview before his rally here tonight. "One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record."

Right! Good! But while today's words are welcome, they coexist uncomfortably with the healthcare platform to which Mitt Romney has committed himself."

Romney supports ObamaCare   :?

Or not?

Flip Flop....  Flip Flop.....

Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America
« on: September 27, 2012, 07:37:51 AM »
Objectivist1; Geller again huh?    :oops:

But I am curious, while the supposed "anti-Jewish ads seem rather benign (they are not anti-Jewish) albeit controversial,

"This ad shows two smiling dads – one Israeli, one “Palestinian,” with their young daughters.  The ad copy: “Be on our side.  We’re on the side of peace and Justice.  End U.S. military aid to Israel.”

It hardly is blatantly offensive like hers.

Imagine for a moment if the ad on buses running through town said,



Now I don't agree with that ad, but are you saying that the Palestinians should be able to buy ad space on buses and run this ad?

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney
« on: September 27, 2012, 07:22:59 AM »
Tax Policy Center left wing piece....   :?

As pointed out in the article...

 "But the Tax Policy Center is directed by Donald Marron, who was one of the principals on George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. Calling the Tax Policy Center biased simply isn’t credible -- a point underscored by the fact that the Romney campaign referred to the group’s work as “objective, third-party analysis” during the primary campaign."

or the comment,

"Mr. Romney's tax plan would cut income tax rates across the board by 20%, while cutting loopholes that mostly benefit those in the highest income classes."

What loopholes is he going to cut?   :?  The silence is deafening. 

It's all a mystery.   "reduce taxes" It's a soundbite; heck even I like lower taxes; who doesn't, but he is ignoring the tough part; the offsetting/cutting of "loopholes".   

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney
« on: September 26, 2012, 11:19:14 AM »
"I can describe Mitt Romney’s tax policy promises in two words: mathematically impossible.

Those aren’t my words. They’re the words of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, which has conducted the most comprehensive analysis to date of Romney’s tax plan and which bent over backward to make his promises add up. They’re perhaps the two most important words that have been written during this U.S. presidential election."

By Michael McGough
September 25, 2012, 4:13 p.m.

President Obama did an admirable job in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly in explaining why the United States does not punish those who engage in offensive speech like the infamous video defaming the prophet Muhammad. He was more expansive in defending protection for unbridled free speech than was  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, though not to the extent of explicitly challenging calls by Muslim leaders -- including the prime minster of Turkey, a NATO ally -- for  "international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred."

But a couple of things about Obama’s speech struck me as odd. One was a strange moment of self-reference: "As president of our country and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day -- and I will always defend their right to do so."

I’m sure Obama was not equating himself with Muhammad, Jesus or other venerated religious figures, but the juxtaposition was awkward and will probably inspire some comment-board complaints by Obamaphobes who believe the president seems himself in messianic terms.

In the same paragraph, Obama made a pitch for American almost-exceptionalism when it comes to laws against blasphemy. “Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense," the president said. "Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs.”

Well, not exactly. Blasphemy laws remain on the books in some states, though they are dead letters.  According to Massachusetts General Law Section 36: "Whoever willfully blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, his creation, government or final judging of the world, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behavior."

In 1977, my home state of Pennsylvania passed a law prohibiting the use in a corporate name of  "blasphemy," "profane cursing or swearing" or words that "profane the Lord's name." The law was passed after complaints by religious leaders about a gun shop called "The Damn Gun Shop." A federal judge struck down the law 33 years later in a case involving a film producer who wanted to call his company "I Choose Hell Productions."

(Pennsylvania is an old hand at blasphemy legislation. In 1989, vandals scrawled a pro-PLO slogan on a menorah erected on the steps of the Pittsburgh City-County Building. A policeman told reporters that the culprit, if caught, would be charged with the obscure offense of "desecration of a venerated object." The joke in Pittsburgh at the time was that the law was passed to protect the Steelers logo.)

The most famous court decision involving desecration of a venerated object was the Supreme Court’s 1989 ruling striking down a Texas law that made it a crime to burn the American flag as a political protest. Opposition to the ruling was fierce. Had Congress approved a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision -- and the amendment failed to achieve the required two-thirds by only one vote in the Senate in 2006 -- it’s quite possible that the necessary three-fourths of the states would have ratified it.

So perhaps Americans aren’t as robust in our support for free speech as Obama suggested. Mock our religion -- or our flag -- and we may not engage in violence, but we’re willing to throw the book at you, at least until a court makes us come to our senses.

Politics & Religion / Clinton
« on: September 26, 2012, 07:31:12 AM »
It almost makes you wish for Bill Clinton again doesn't it?

"What they're really saying is, in spite of the fact that we deny the Holocaust, that we threaten Israel, and we demonize the United States, and we do all this stuff, we want you to trust us," Clinton told CNN's Piers Morgan in an interview to air Tuesday night. "They don't have a tenable position."

Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy
« on: September 25, 2012, 11:14:48 AM »
I would add what I regard as a very important point.

The tax code is a major and perhaps the principal tool of fascism, which I am defining as the private means of production being directed by the state.  When deductions, credits, etc are granted or taken away, investment is directed to or away from favored and disfavored sectors.

By diminishing deductions, credits, etc we diminish government interference with free markets and by so doing increase economic growth and efficiency and diminish corruption of the political process by special interests.(emphasis added)


Time to go to work.

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney
« on: September 25, 2012, 10:55:58 AM »
Since Crafty wants us to be precise...   :-)

I repeat, I never said "Romney was raising taxes or the tax rate on the middle class".

I did say he will cut the tax rate for the upper class, and he, or the Republicans, are proposing cutting quite a few middle class programs.
i.e. "He is giving to the rich and taking from the middle class."

But I never said he is raising the middle class' tax rate.

No drivel, no deception, and definitely no hate.  Further, I'm pleased that my memory is still functioning perfectly.   :-)

Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential
« on: September 25, 2012, 10:42:04 AM »
No, I was arguing that the Republican candidate for US Senate in CA ""wants a level of viewership and attention that he (she) has not earned."

As for tax returns, we agree to disagree.  If you are running for President, and if you are worth a quarter of a billion dollars, and further, much of your income is generated
offshore, I think the American people would like to know more details.  It's not a "requirement", but it is a debatable point.  And I think it has hurt Romney's credibility and image
by not turning them over a long time ago. 

As for Feinstein, she doesn't need your vote, she is going to win easily.  As for Romney, even if he had my vote I doubt he will win.

Politics & Religion / It's a big fire
« on: September 25, 2012, 10:31:19 AM »
Same article......

"It would be a shame if voters fall for Mr. Obama’s misleading claim that their taxes are at a 50-year low. But who can blame the voters, or, for that matter, the fact-checkers, if even Mr. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, buys into the idea. In the same “60 Minutes” program, Mr. Romney said taxes would remain essentially unchanged if he won. “I don’t want a reduction in revenue coming into the government,” Mr. Romney said."

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney
« on: September 25, 2012, 10:26:56 AM »

"I think I've seen Obama's position misstated or simply quoted inaccurately here often enough without the poster being chastised? Is there a double standard?"

No, we don't have to misquote him to make points in opposition.  With everyone else here, inaccuracies caught are followed with corrections and apologies it seems to me.


 Romney isn't raising taxes or tax rates on the middle class; that is pure drivel and intentional deception. 
Did I say Romney was raising taxes or the tax rate on the middle class?  No, I never said that.  I said he was lowering taxes (the tax rate) for the upper class.

Typical of your posts IMO there, you throw your mud while offering NOTHING to back it up.  Where did we lie about Pres. Obama? 

Surely you jest?

Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential
« on: September 25, 2012, 10:01:07 AM »
Doug, while I happen to agree with you, you took the opposite side of the argument when we discussed Feinstein and whether she should debate her opponent.

Basically, your point now was my point then. 

Feinstein's opponent "wants a level of viewership and attention that he (she) has not earned."

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney
« on: September 25, 2012, 09:49:04 AM »
Huntsman had a real big credibility problem-- he only got the support of 1-2% of the voters. :lol:

You are right; the right wing did not accept him, but he made sense to me and he was eminently qualified.  I bet if he was running, he would be ahead in the polls.

I get that Bloomberg et al are sloppy in their terminology, but that is not reason for us here to do so.  I ask you to please keep this in mind so that we do not have to have this conversation again.

Odd, what I post you concede is good enough for Bloomberg et al but not here....., but others can post absurdity without being chastised?

I get that many folks don't trust Romney on this issue, but that is not reason or justification for you to misstate his position which is to cut rates AND deductions so that net progressivity remains unchanged i.e. total revenues generated remain the same (per static revenue assumptions)

I think I've seen Obama's position misstated or simply quoted inaccurately here often enough without the poster being chastised? Is there a double standard?

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney and Capital Gains...
« on: September 25, 2012, 09:37:46 AM »
Lest anyone try to make the tired argument endlessly repeated by the Left that a capital gains tax rate which is lower than the general income tax rate is "unfair," take note that there is sound reasoning behind this idea.  When income is taxed at the capital gains rate, that is the SECOND TIME the government has stuck its hand into that income.  The person has ALREADY PAID TAXES ON THAT INCOME AT THE REGULAR RATE BEFORE THEY MADE THE INVESTMENT.

I'm missing something. 

Let's say I buy a 100 shares of Apple at 100.  Yes, I paid tax on the money to buy the stock.

Now let's say Apple rises to 700 per share.  Have I already paid tax on the 600 gain?  No.

So why should that gain be taxed at a lower rate than a wage earner?

Why should the stock picker who makes a million dollars a year (the increased amount of his portfolio) pay a lower tax rate on the increased amount than the policeman who is merely a wage earner?

No one is asking anyone to pay tax on money that has already been taxed; but rather pay tax on money that has not been taxed before, i.e. the income. 

If I put money in a Savings Account.  My principle isn't taxed, but the interest I earned is taxed at a high rate.  What's the difference if I buy a stock or a company or a piece of real estate and it goes up in value versus my savings account?

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney
« on: September 25, 2012, 09:28:55 AM »
"75% of his giving is to his Mormon Church; our tax dollars pay for those fine young fellows in white shirts and ties proselytizing around the world."

Giving to one's church is a well recognized form of charity.  The proslytizing is but one aspect of the Church's work.   Regardless of what you may think of the LDS church and its works, the simple fact is that Romney had the generosity of donate 30% of his income.  That really is a very high percentage, considerably above BO, and leaving Biden far, far, far in the dust.   Nonetheless the media focused on the 14% he paid because his income is mostly capital gains.

"And yes, his economic plan is to lower taxes for the rich, he's quite definite about that, but rather vague about what deductions if any he will cut for his rich friends.  So his friends get richer and America pays."

JDN, you please don't continue to play Groundhog Day on tax rates.  I suspect some of the snarkiness sometimes directed your way is a result of frustration with your tendency to do this on some issues.   His plan is NOT to "lower taxes".  His plan is to "lower tax rates".   As has been repeatedly explained to you the two are not the same thing.  Romney has repeatedly said that deductions will be eliminated in a manner so that net revenues will be unchanged.  The vagueness is a political calculation that specificity would set off a special interest firestorm.  One may agree or disagree with this calculation, but please accurately describe what his stated position is.

Also, in how you frame what you say, please remember that pretty much everyone here was looking for someone/anyone instead of Romney and that we now support him strongly because Obama is the alternative.

Nothing wrong with the Mormon Church; I do however think it's relevant that he gives 75% of his charity to the Mormon Church.  Obama didn't do bad either re a percentage given.

As for terms, I understand your point about "tax rate" being more precise, however I might point out that Bloomberg and numerous other publications often interchangeably use the terms "lower tax rate" and "lower taxes".  Often you will read in respected publications that Romney is going to "lower taxes".  It's semantics; most Americans don't differentiate.  They do differentiate however because the perception is that he is only going to lower the taxes burden for the rich. 

As for deductions, what Romney is saying is that "Yes, I am a very wealthy man, yes, I intend to lower the tax rate for the rich substantially by x %, and yes, I will eliminate some deductions the rich often use, but I don't know what they are at this time.  Just trust me. wink wink"

And that's why he's having a credibility problem.....

Huntsman, on the other hand suggested drastically reducing the tax rate AND eliminating all deductions including charity.  (Huntsman was also Mormon so I assume he also gave his 10%).    That kind of plan I like and respect.

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney
« on: September 25, 2012, 08:13:38 AM »
Mitt Romney has given more money to charity over the past two years than either Barack Obama or Joe Biden have in the last DECADE.  Look at it as a percentage of their incomes and the picture is even uglier for Obama and Biden.  Nevertheless, the pathetic Left in this country continues to whine that Romney is a "spoiled rich brat" and "out-of-touch with working Americans."  And Barack Obama is IN TOUCH with them?  How has that worked out for the increasingly vast numbers of unemployed and underemployed over the course of his presidency?  Someone is out of touch, but it isn't Mitt Romney.

That's because Romney has more money!   :-)  Actually, as a percentage, Obama has given a very fair share.

In Romney's case, as pointed out above in this thread, 75% of his giving is to his Mormon Church; our tax dollars pay for those fine young fellows in white shirts and ties proselytizing around the world. 

And yes, most Americans think Romney is "out of touch" with working Americans.  And yes, his economic plan is to lower taxes for the rich, he's quite definite about that, but rather vague about what deductions if any he will cut for his rich friends.  So his friends get richer and America pays.  Most people don't "like" or trust Romney; that's his problem.

Recent trends show the economy is improving including housing.  Objectivist1, unless there is some major event, it looks like you will have Obama as your President for FOUR MORE YEARS.  Aren't you excited Ojectivist1?   :evil:

PS Doug, I have no hatred; I'm not claiming poverty and I have quite a few very wealthy friends.  It's the majority of Americans don't particularly "like" Romney.  If the economy wasn't in the doldrums, Obama would crush Romney in nearly every state.  Romney's a poor candidate, but it's too late to ask for a refund.    :-)

Politics & Religion / Romney Economics aka the Flimflan Man
« on: September 25, 2012, 07:32:36 AM »
"So when they hear a guy worth a quarter-billion dollars say he’s cutting taxes but won’t discuss loopholes, this is what I think they hear: he’s going to help himself and his friends, and we’re going to be left paying the bill. There may not be much class envy in America, but there is that much, anyway."

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney
« on: September 24, 2012, 09:03:04 AM »

Romney did not stand by that statement.  Did THAT fact slip past the author?

Actually he DID stick by his statement, although he called it "inelegant".   :?

"Last week, Romney said his comments were "off the cuff" and "not elegantly stated," but he defended the main message of his remarks."

"Inelegant".  Is there an award for understatement of the year?  :-D

As Priebus (Republican National Committee chairman on Sunday) said, ""It probably wasn't the best-said, you know, moment in
the campaign and probably not the best week in the campaign," Priebus said on ABC's "This Week."   :evil:

Politics & Religion / Non Fiction
« on: September 24, 2012, 08:42:48 AM »
"As soon as the video came to light, critics -- including many conservatives -- pointed out that the 47% is composed mostly of disabled veterans, retired people, the working poor, a few thousand millionaires with good tax lawyers and millions of former members of the middle class who have lost their jobs. Some further noted that the policy that gives them a break from paying taxes was an idea championed by many Republicans, such as President Reagan. Only about 15% of the 47% are underemployed poor families who receive food stamps and other government assistance."

These facts did not seem to faze Romney."

Politics & Religion / Re: Libya and
« on: September 23, 2012, 08:27:23 AM »
That's the problem Obectivist1; you represented it as FACT.  Pam Geller did too, although now in small print she has a disclaimer.  That's just her style.

As for "undetermined" well that is less than "unconfirmed".  I could say it's "undetermined" that you Objectivist1 are talking to Martians.  There are absolutely NO facts
to indicate that the Ambassador was raped or sodomized.  The only previous alleged source, retracted their statement, denied that statement, and said
it wasn't true.  So odds ARE better you are talking to Martians. 

You can't throw rumors aka $%^& against the wall, but call them "facts" and hope something sticks; then call it a "real fact" if surprise, it sticks, and merely ignore (I've never seen a retraction from you) the rest.  It just stays on the wall and continues to smell.  That is Pam Geller.  Hopefully, you are better than that.

In contrast Crafty. also being passionate, has posted some rumors.  He identified it as such, but "thought it was reliable".  If later shown to be in correct, rather than argue,
he simply says thank you.  Therefore the integrity of the Board remains.

This is suppose to be a resource board; a search for the truth.  Not a wacko rumor board.

So may I suggest you identify rumors as rumors and then after confirmation, facts as facts.  Or if it is your opinion, that's fine, but clearly label your opinion.  We may often
disagree in our opinion, but I hope we don't disagree very often on the facts.

Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Gay & Straight
« on: September 22, 2012, 04:28:20 PM »

This is all a figment of Objectivist1's wild imagination (he's been seeing Martian's again) fueled by the "reliable" Pam Geller et al.

As indicated in the Libya thread, nothing in the Snoopes citation even implies it happened; nor do they say that it might have, could have, or that it is "unconfirmed".  Rather any report of it happening was clearly DENIED.  But when I googled, I did find "confirmed" on a long list of weird and wacko websites; Pam Geller on top.   

AFP said that the website report falsely quoted their news agency (regarding rape and being sodomized) and has no truth whatsoever.  They removed the report and published a clear DENIAL.

Other news accounts confirm he was "not raped".

"The hospital reported that the ambassador had bleeding in his stomach because of the asphyxiation but no other injuries."

Absolutely NO respectable source oh, I forgot about Objectivist1 and Pam Geller et al   :?  think or say or even imply that the Ambassador was raped or sodomized.

So yes, it IS a fact that it did NOT happen.

Objectivist1's article therefore is simply GARBAGE with no basis of fact.  Typical... as Crafty points out, "no source or confirmation"; just rumors and falsities; that's Objectivist1....

Politics & Religion / Re: Libya and
« on: September 22, 2012, 04:18:57 PM »
Ummm , , , your snopes citation describes this as UNCONFIRMED, so certainly it is NOT a fact that it did NOT happen.

Actually I beg to differ.  I searched for the word, "unconfirmed" and couldn't find it.  Nothing in the Snoopes citation even implies it happened; nor do they say that it might have, could have, or that it is "unconfirmed".  Rather any report of it happening was clearly DENIED.  But when I googled, I did find "confirmed" on a long list of weird and wacko websites; Pam Geller on top.   :-o

It's a figment of Objectivist1's wild imagination (he's been seeing Martian's again) fueled by the "reliable" Pam Geller et al.

AFP said that the website report falsely quoted their news agency (regarding rape and being sodomized) and has no truth whatsoever.  They removed the report and published a clear DENIAL.

Other news accounts confirm he was "not raped".

"The hospital reported that the ambassador had bleeding in his stomach because of the asphyxiation but no other injuries."

Absolutely NO respectable source (oh, I forgot about Objectivist1 and Pam Geller et al) think or say or even imply that the Ambassador was raped or sodomized.

So yes, it IS a fact that it did NOT happen.

Objectivist1's article therefore is simply GARBAGE with no basis of fact.  Typical... as you point out, no source or confirmation; just rumors and falsities; that's Objectivist1....

Politics & Religion / Re: Libya and
« on: September 22, 2012, 12:26:41 PM »
The fundamental point of your post is correct Obj, but I would love to have a citation on whether our ambassador was raped in fact or whether this is unconfirmed rumor.
:? :? :?

As usual, Objectivist1 has his facts wrong; also, further, I notice as usual, Pam Geller is a perpetrator of this false information. 
Typical.....  GARBAGE.....


"He was NOT raped NOR was he sodomized."

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney
« on: September 22, 2012, 09:20:27 AM »
I meant no criticism of the Mormon Church; it is a fine organization from what little I know, although that is a slippery slope; criticizing another's religion. 

But for discussion's sake, I remember seeing Mormon Missionaries in the Japanese hinterlands proselytizing for new members.
They were efficient, marginally effective, very polite, but it was not charity work.  Yet OUR tax dollars support their proselytizing.

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney gave $4 million to charity in 2011
« on: September 22, 2012, 09:06:20 AM »

First kudo's to Romney.  And shame on Biden.  Then again, I don't know the circumstances.

That said however, Romney gave approximately 75% of the money to the Mormon Church (some of my good friends are Mormon; I have nothing against the church).

Somehow however, and I'm not sure why, I differentiate church and charity a little.  Church almost seems personal; not communal. 

I think most of us respect Bill Gates.  He has given away 48% of his wealth to various causes (see below).  But if he had given
75% of his money to his church, would we have the same opinion?  If he gave most of his millions/billions to build a new mosque, or
to promote Islam or money for proselytizing would we all say "kudo's to him"? 

I guess that is why I always like Huntsman.  Yes, he would lower the tax rate quite a bit, BUT he would also take away nearly
all deductions including charity giving.  If you want to give to your church, then give, it is admirable, but don't give to your God
because of tax reasons.

Politics & Religion / Re: Romney
« on: September 22, 2012, 08:32:46 AM »
Mitt and Ann Romney took steps to pay more in taxes than he had to last year, despite the Republican nominee's previous statements suggesting he abhors the idea of paying more taxes than required.

According to an announcement by the campaign Friday, the Romneys could have had a lower tax rate than 14.1% in 2011 if they had claimed more of their charitable deductions–an amount that equaled 30% of their income. Romney made $13.7 million mostly off of investment income last year.

However, the Romneys only claimed 16% in charitable deductions, thus keeping their income tax rate higher, in order "to conform" to Romney's previous comments about his tax rate, the statement read Friday.

Speaking with reporters in South Carolina last month, Romney said he had never paid less than 13% over the last decade. While he had released an estimate for 2011 at the time, he did not release the completed return until Friday. The document showed he in fact paid 14.1% last year.

The Republican presidential nominee has faced intense criticism from Democrats and some Republicans who have called on Romney to release more than his 2011 and 2010 returns. Releasing the documents, they argued, would answer questions about the candidate's offshore accounts and tax history.

His move to limit his charitable deduction-and keep a higher rate of taxes-last year, however, seems to butt heads with statements the former Massachusetts governor has made regarding taxes.

"I don't pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president," Romney told ABC News in July. "I'd think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires."

Earlier in the year, at a Republican primary debate in Tampa, Romney made a similar remark, criticizing the notion of paying more than owed.

"I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more," Romney said, one day before he released his 2010 return. "I don't think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes."

To be fair, Romney did pay what he "legally owed" last year; he just kept his legal requirement lower than what it could have been.

Romney's campaign responded to the discrepancy, saying the candidate wanted to be "consistent" with his August comment.

"Gov. Romney has been clear that no American need pay more than he or she owes under the law. At the same time, he was in the unique position of having made a commitment to the public that his tax rate would be above 13%. He directed his preparers to ensure that he is consistent with that statement," a campaign official said in a statement.

Politics & Religion / You gotta love it.
« on: September 21, 2012, 12:52:54 PM »
According to the Gainesville Sun, Cain said he would have a "substantial lead" over President Barack Obama if he were the Republican nominee instead of Mitt Romney.

"The reason is quite simple: I have some depth to my ideas," he said.

Poor Romney....   I couldn't have said it better myself!    :-D

Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff )
« on: September 21, 2012, 09:13:34 AM »
"Move to strike you honor as non-responsive!" 


While certainly you are entitled to your opinion JDN, right now it is not measuring up to the standards around here.  Please cease posting on OFF on this thread.

Thank you,

Vindication?    :-)    I guess it really was just a sting gone bad?
I guess I was right all along huh?    :evil:

"A reading of the Inspector General's report appears to corroborate that there was no conspiracy to walk guns, no higher-up plan to do so and that walking guns was not the goal of the investigation, but rather a response to "legal and tactical" circumstances on the ground, as the report states."

The Inspector General's doorstop of a report, at 471 pages, blames agents at ATF's Phoenix field division, prosecutors at the United States Attorney's office in Phoenix, and officials at their respective headquarters in Washington D.C. for a poorly conceived, executed and supervised investigation that failed in the primary mission of law enforcement -- to prioritize public safety. The report argues that a strategy of deferring overt enforcement -- and not immediately approaching straw buyers to seek confessions -- allowed the frenzied gun buying to continue, relatively unchecked. In December 2010, two of the guns purchased previously by a suspect in the case were found at the site of a shootout where Mexican bandits killed U.S. border patrol agent Terry. ATF whistleblowers subsequently alleged that ATF supervisors had directed them to "walk guns," or to allow the guns to flow into the hands of Mexican drug traffickers, as a tactic to build a bigger case.

Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews
« on: September 21, 2012, 08:53:24 AM »
Ahhh and I thought you had agreed, Geller was ....., but you defended Spencer (we discussed) and McCarthy (I agreed; credible). 
I guess that's my misunderstanding; still I'm a bit surprised that you find Geller "quotable" in a search for the truth. 

In the interest of fairness, I hope you don't mind if I start quoting pieces frequently (that will be easy) and equally biased (again....) albeit opposite of Ms. Geller?
I'll find someone equally outspoken/outlandish/racist; but don't worry, I'm sure their reputation will be equal to hers and in the interest in truth you will want
to hear both (biased) sides.   :-)

It is your sandbox, but I notice if you don't like a particular article and find it "specious" and/or the source of the article questionable, you are the first
to point it out.....

Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews
« on: September 21, 2012, 07:14:52 AM »
Objectivist1.  I had thought you got the message; everyone agrees Pam Geller is a wackier than a .... (I can't think of anyone wackier and more absurd than her).

Yet again, you post Geller twice in a row. Or, if not Geller, before often you post jihad something or another's website; it's all the same from you here and on the Islam site.  That's seemingly it.  Geller and Jihad.... is your sole source.  You have NO respected sources, no academic sources, no independent sources, no intelligent sources, you have no one except a wacko and her band of merry cohorts.  It would be funny except you try to act serious. As I suggested, go outside, talk to your neighborhood kid about the Martians landing; you will find far more truth.  Time for you to grow up and learn.  YOU have become a joke, although maybe I don't get the humor; is it all a joke Objectivist1?  Why do you continue to post garbage; or is that all you know?   Or are you just lazy and won't search anywhere else?  Or is the answer is that there is no one else?   :evil:

Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe
« on: September 20, 2012, 08:46:47 AM »
After looking at the meter maid's picture in the story, I hope they apply for a transfer to LA!  The parking tickets I have gotten in LA have been from meter maids weighing a LOT more than I do.  Maybe we should offer an exchange program.  It's hard to tell if the local LA ones are male or female.  Maybe the Muslims won't care either.   :-)

Politics & Religion / Re: Obama in 1998
« on: September 20, 2012, 07:38:46 AM »

By Jon Healey
September 19, 2012, 5:49 p.m.
Republicans tried this week to help their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, rebound from the drubbing he's received over his secretly recorded remarks about the 47% by unearthing a 14-year-old recording of then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama saying, "I actually believe in redistribution."

Note to America: Not only does President Obama have a secret plan to take your guns, he'll grab your piggy bank while he's at it!

The mainstream media hasn't exactly leaped on the recording, in part because we went through a very similar episode four years ago. In other words, this is a dog-bites-man story. Even if you didn't watch the Democratic National Convention, you should know by now that Obama is a fan of the federal programs that redistribute wealth to help people in need.

For the right, though, "redistribution" is a highly charged word. It plays into the "makers vs. takers" construct that has emerged as one of the defining themes of this election. As Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have noted with increasing frequency, the number of Americans receiving aid from the government is growing, while the percentage paying the government's tab is shrinking.

This theme meshes with the Romney-Ryan argument that the economy can take off again if the government pulls back and scales down, liberating "makers" to expand their businesses and put people back to work. By contrast, the GOP argues, Obama clings to a failed ideology that doling out money to people is a type of "stimulus" that will revive the moribund economy.

As Romney put it in a speech Wednesday, "I believe the way to lift people and help people have higher incomes is not to take from some and give to others but to create wealth for all."

Yet the makers vs. takers dichotomy is misleadingly simplistic. Much of America falls into both camps. Businesses get tax subsidies, loan guarantees and contracts from federal and state governments. Most workers pay into the Social Security and Medicare systems, but there's no way to predict which ones will get more out than they put in. Plenty of states -- mainly Southern and rural ones -- receive more in aid than their residents pay in taxes.

Redistributing wealth, meanwhile, has long been standard operating procedure for the federal government. The income tax has been "progressive" since its inception in 1913, which means high-income Americans pay a higher percentage of their earnings into the federal kitty than their less intrepid (or fortunate, your choice) neighbors. The same system can also be found in numerous states. Even if there was only one tax rate, though, the wealthy would still pay more into the system -- a flat rate of 5% collects 10 times as much from someone making $250,000 as someone making $25,000.

You might argue that this isn't really redistribution; it's just a way of charging the wealthy more for the government services that benefit everyone, such as national defense and food safety inspections. But a portion of the federal kitty pays for the safety net programs whose direct benefits are confined to the unemployed and the impoverished. By funding those programs, government transfers wealth from the rich to the poor.

Granted, saying "I actually believe in redistribution" conjures up the image of the government trying to produce equal outcomes -- hobbling the successful to promote the unsuccessful. There's something vaguely Marxist about that, a "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" kind of thing.

But on the recording from 1998, as well as in his controversial "spread the wealth around" remarks on the campaign trail in 2008, Obama has touted redistribution in the context of promoting opportunities, not outcomes. Here's a telling excerpt from the 1998 recording: "[T]he trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody’s got a shot."

So, how do these comments diverge from the theme of shared responsibility that Obama has been pounding away at on the campaign trail? I don't see a difference, really. He wants high-income Americans to pay more taxes so that the government can bring the deficit under control without cutting as much from either "investments" (student loans, infrastructure, research grants) or entitlements (particularly Medicare and Medicaid).

Romney, meanwhile, wants to reduce taxes across the board and make deeper cuts in just about every non-defense program. And Ryan has proposed dramatic reductions over the long term in spending on safety net programs. But even Ryan accepts that the federal government has a role to play in steering aid to the neediest Americans. His model is time-limited aid, a la the welfare reform law Congress enacted in 1996, not no aid at all. In other words, the GOP's opposition to redistribution is more about the degree than the concept.

Here's a transcript of the 1998 recording, ostensibly of comments Obama made at Loyola University in Chicago. There was no telling Wednesday what Obama said before the excerpt began or after it ended; the only thing that's clear is that he was discussing anti-poverty programs:

"Let me just close by saying, as we think about the policy research surrounding the issues I just named -- the policy research for the working poor, broadly defined -- I think that what we’re going to have to do is somehow resuscitate the notion that government action can be effective at all. There has been a systematic, I don’t think it’s too strong to call it a propaganda, campaign against the possibility of government action and its efficacy. And I think some of it has been deserved. Chicago Housing Authority has not been a model of good policymaking. And neither necessarily have been the Chicago public schools. What that means, then, is as we try to resuscitate this notion that we’re all in this thing together, leave nobody behind. We do have to be innovative in thinking how, what are the delivery systems that are actually effective and meet people where they live. And my suggestion, I guess, would be that the trick –- and this is one of the few areas where I think there are technical issues that have to be dealt with, as opposed to just political issues -- the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.",0,7599323.story

Politics & Religion / Peggy Noonan
« on: September 19, 2012, 09:07:54 AM »
Peggy Noonan takes out the dagger and cuts deep in her latest WSJ column, going where few have publicly about Mitt Romney's general election effort:

"It’s time to admit the Romney campaign is an incompetent one. It’s not big, it’s not brave, it’s not thoughtfully tackling great issues. It’s always been too small for the moment. All the activists, party supporters and big donors should be pushing for change. People want to focus on who at the top is least constructive and most responsible. Fine, but Mitt Romney is no puppet: He chooses who to listen to. An intervention is in order. “Mitt, this isn’t working.”

She also takes note of the Romney campaign strategy of fundraising quite frequently, with few public events, in the name of stockpiling cash for a final-weeks ad blitz, and calls the logic "slightly crazy:"

"... at the end will they make much difference? Obama is said to have used a lot of his money early on, to paint a portrait of Romney as Thurston Howell III, as David Brooks put it. That was a gamble on Obama’s part: spend it now, pull ahead in the battlegrounds, once we pull ahead more money will come in because money follows winners, not losers."

The entire column is not uplifting for Romney's supporters, many of whom are already feeling fairly grim after a rough few weeks, and it's not meant to be. What has been surprising for Republicans, including some of Romney's donors, has been how different the general election campaign has been from a primary campaign effort that was more able to win the day.

On the home page tonight, my colleagues Glenn Thrush and Byron Tau note that the race is not over yet, for all the hand-wringing among Republicans and ball-spiking among Democrats - the fundamentals nationally still have Obama as a weak and vulnerable incumbent.

The race is winnable, empirically. But Romney has been on defense for a solid stretch now, unable to push out his own narrative. And the problem, Noonan is arguing, is less with the team than the man running. Romney has proven impervious to calls to shift strategy in the past, and it's hard to see him doing something dramatic now, with the first debate in two weeks.

His team is hoping for a national approach that can jolt numbers in some of the swing states - like Ohio, where Romney is, according to private polling on both sides, in a hole - and a press narrative that says the race is still close (the Gallup numbers nationally provided some measure of that earlier today). They're also hoping to highlight things like 14-year-old video that suggests Obama believes what his detractors already think he believes.

It will likely take a few factors to shake things up, including a major Obama stumble. It is by no means out of the realm of possibility. But the days are going.

Politics & Religion / Re: China
« on: September 19, 2012, 08:47:00 AM »
I don't agree with everything, but the author makes some reasonable points.

West’s China hypocrisy
By Guy de Jonquières, Special to CNN
Editor's note: Guy de Jonquières is a senior fellow at the European Centre for International Political Economy. The views expressed are his own.

You do not need to be a panda-hugger or a Beijing apologist – and I am neither – to think that Western critics sometimes give China a bum rap. Not because China is innocent of the charges they make against it; but because when accusers point fingers or raise suspicions about its conduct, they tend to forget that many of the malpractices they condemn were common – indeed, even encouraged – in the West not long ago.

Take the recent two-week “disappearance” from public view of Vice Premier Xi Jinping, China’s presumed next president. Many commentators seized on Beijing’s stonewalling about his absence and its failure to respond to the ensuing frenzy of rumors that he had fallen ill as a glaring example of the unhealthy secrecy that cloaks activities at the top of the Communist party.

True, decision-making in Beijing remains frustratingly impenetrable – to the Chinese people, as well as to foreigners. However, China is not the first country to hush up sensitive or embarrassing information about one of its leaders. The U.S. did so in the case of several presidents, concealing from the public Grover Cleveland’s operation for jaw cancer, Dwight Eisenhower’s heart attack and John F. Kennedy’s excruciating back problems.
Equally, it took years for the truth to leak out about the ill-health of several British prime ministers while they were in office: Clement Attlee’s duodenal ulcers, Winston Churchill’s series of incapacitating strokes and Anthony Eden’s botched gallbladder operation at the height of the Suez crisis were all kept secret at the time. Eden actually “vanished” for three weeks to Jamaica to recuperate at the house of Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, which had no direct telephone link to London.

Another frequent target of Western wrath is China’s poor record on intellectual property rights. But in making free with other people’s inventions and ideas, China is only following a path not only long trodden, but fiercely defended, by the United States.
The U.S. recognized foreign patents only well into the 19th century, until when American IPR pirates were free to steal and copy foreign inventions and technology with impunity. Washington took even longer – until 1891 –to legally recognize and protect foreign copyright, and delayed until 1988 signing up fully to the century-old Berne international copyright convention, to which most other industrialized countries had long subscribed.
Impassioned pleas by Charles Dickens failed to persuade Congress or the Supreme Court to halt the pirating of his novels by hordes of 19th Century American copyright thieves. That does not, of course, excuse Beijing’s weak IPR enforcement. But when America’s IPR lobbyists indignantly condemn Chinese piracy today, perhaps they should pause to ask themselves why what Washington strenuously asserted was good then is bad when China does it today.
There is a sniff of double standards, too, about Western criticisms of China’s “indigenous innovation” policy, which is intended to build up the country’s industrial base in advanced technologies at the expense of foreign competitors.

The latter have cried foul at the combination of large subsidies, discriminatory procurement and standards-rigging that China has employed. Yet these are much the same methods as were widely used by governments in Britain, France, Germany and other European countries from the 1960s until the mid-1980s, in an effort to breed “national champions” in computing, chip-making, telecommunications and other high-tech industries.
Arguably, none of China’s non-military activities excites more suspicion abroad than overseas expansion by its state-owned energy companies, as they snap up oil reserves around the world. To some foreign commentators, the companies making this “land grab” look like stalking horses for a stealthy international extension of power by the Chinese state itself.
Perhaps the reason they are suspicious is that in the West, the global interests of Big Oil have long been so tightly intertwined with those of political power. Often, those interests have been identical, such as when a U.S.- and British-backed coup deposed the democratically-elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, after it nationalized the assets of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (known nowadays as BP).
Yet the evidence suggests that, in practice, the interests of China’s oil companies are aligned much less closely with those of its state. For one thing, little of the oil they raise abroad gets shipped back to China: most of it is sold or swapped on international markets. For another, Beijing has clearly been embarrassed more than once by the oil companies’ ruthless tactics abroad, such as Petrochina’s alleged human rights abuses in Darfur.
Furthermore, China has been conspicuously reluctant to involve itself in protecting the companies’ overseas operations against threats. When the Libyan uprising broke out in 2010, Beijing responded by hastily evacuating Chinese citizens working there – risking $20 billion of contracts in the process – despite popular pressure at home to adopt more muscular action in defense of its national interests.

True, China’s oil companies effectively control its energy ministry, out of which they were carved. However, they appear largely to set their own rules, separate from the country’s overall foreign policy agenda. Indeed, a report last year by the International Energy Agency, to which China does not belong, concluded that its oil companies generally operate independently of Beijing.

What most of these examples tell us is the exact opposite of what China’s critics often contend. Far from being a self-confident emerging global superpower, poised to sweep all before it, it is actually a rather large developing country that confronts the rest of the world from a position of relative weakness and often seems strangely behind the times.
Western governments may have gotten away 50 years ago with news blackouts about their leaders’ whereabouts and health. It is far harder for Beijing to do so today, when new media, instantaneous communications and a less deferential and more questioning public expose it to searching scrutiny at home and abroad. We may not know the truth about Xi’s “disappearance,” but official silence has only added to the Chinese public’s rising skepticism and mistrust of the ruling Communist Party.
China’s IPR piracy, infuriating as it is to companies operating there, is actually another sign of backwardness. Economies with strong knowledge and technology bases act to protect them: those without steal. As and when Chinese innovators start to produce real commercial breakthroughs, their incentive to embrace strong IPR rules will increase in tandem – just as it did in the United States.

As for China’s “indigenous innovation” policy, it seems destined to repeat the mistakes that made Europe’s state-backed “national champion” policies expensive failures. Europe’s experience showed that hefty subsidies, government-ordained standards and protection against global competition are not enough to leap to the forefront of commercial technologies, especially when the beneficiaries are the large and often inefficient established companies that are best placed to petition for government favors. Rather than turning China’s market into a springboard for international success, ringing it with artificial barriers could end up isolating it from advances made elsewhere.
Finally, overseas expansion by China’s oil companies does not threaten supplies to the rest of the world. It actually makes no difference, because oil is a fungible commodity and one extra barrel pumped by China means one more barrel available for everyone else. That would be true even if all the oil lifted by Chinese companies abroad were shipped home.
Concern about the companies acting as advance guards for the onward march of the Chinese state is equally misplaced. Indeed, the exact reverse is true. As China’s dependence on foreign sources of energy and raw materials grows, so will the need to protect those supplies and thus the likelihood of being drawn inexorably, just as western governments have been, into the political complexities of the countries that produce them.

That will test to the limit China’s adherence to “non-intervention” in other countries’ affairs as a central pillar of its foreign policy. Lacking the West’s diplomatic experience and intelligence networks and boasting few close international allies, it appears at present ill-equipped for the challenges ahead. If it is to meet those challenges – and a host of others – successfully, China still has a lot of catching up to do.

Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America
« on: September 18, 2012, 06:24:45 PM »
Objectvist1, what is an "unindicted co-conspirator"?

Is it sort of like "almost pregnant"?   :?

Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential
« on: September 18, 2012, 03:49:18 PM »
That IS his problem,
"and now he runs from it because the media is having a snit"

He runs a DIFFERENT direction every month because some interest group, be it right or left is having a snit.  What does he stand for?  Does HE even know anymore?  He's not a "bad person", but not being a "bad person" doesn't make you presidential material.  "Vague bromides" are not an answer.

Obama may/will win this whole thing, not because of his record or competency, but because of Romney's perceived incompetence.

This is the best the Republicans could do?   :-o

Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential
« on: September 18, 2012, 08:55:08 AM »
Romney's tax plan?  It's a give to to rich and take from the middle class plan.  So he and his friends can all own their own private aircraft AND deduct it from their taxes.

"Mitt Romney has proposed huge tax cuts that principally benefit the wealthy, while refusing to say how he would pay for them by closing unspecified loopholes (emphasis added). This lacks credibility and may become one of the rare tax-cut promises that is a political loser."

Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential
« on: September 18, 2012, 07:52:11 AM »
HOW you say it IS important; not just what you say.  That is an important reason why Reagan was so successful.

Here's Obama....

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It’s never easy for a candidate to distill wonky debates about tax policy into terms voters can easily understand. Of late, the Obama campaign has borrowed heavily from the master, using former President Clinton's line about “arithmetic” to make the case that the Romney-Ryan plan doesn’t add up.

But Monday in Columbus, President Obama took a stab at explaining it in terms Ohio State University football fans would understand.

“Imagine the sellout crowd for a Buckeyes' football game at the Horseshoe,” he began, referring to a stadium with a seating capacity in excess of 100,000.

"Under my opponent's tax plan, 106 fans at the game would get an average tax cut of $250,000, and about 100,000 fans would have to pay for it," he said. “And by the way, the ones who would get the tax break are the guys in the box seats.

The sports analogy came after a weekend in which aides say the president watched quite a bit of football, in addition to receiving briefings on the situation in the Middle East, phoning heads of missions at diplomatic posts in affected nations, and potentially some debate prep.

The president told a crowd of 4,500 at a local park that it was tax breaks targeted to the middle class that were most likely to spur the economy.

“When I cut taxes on middle-class families, why did I do that? Because when you guys have a little more money in your pocket, what happens?” he asked. Spend it, was the crowd’s response.

On the other hand, “if you give a tax break to a billionaire, you can only buy so many yachts,” he said.

Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential
« on: September 18, 2012, 07:46:02 AM »
COSTA MESA, Calif. — Mitt Romney, speaking to reporters Monday evening at a hastily called news conference meant to blunt the impact of a newly released video, said that he chose his critical words about Obama’s supporters poorly but did not back down from their substance.

It’s not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I’m speaking off the cuff in response to a question and I’m sure I can state it more clearly and in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that,” he said, before calling on the source of the video to release the full recording."

Now THAT'S an understatement!.  :-o

Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential
« on: September 17, 2012, 06:55:12 PM »
I almost feel sorry for Republicans.   :-)

The economy is in the tank, world affairs are in disarray, and we're going broke.  You would think it would be easy to beat Obama.

But along come Romney.  Obama's savior.  I mean even if what Romney says is true (others here have said the same) is this smart politics?

The man is shooting himself; Obama just needs to stay out of the way.

"“There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care of them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it,” Romney said in a videotaped speech to donors that was given to the news organization Mother Jones, which posted it online Monday.

“That's an entitlement," Romney said. "And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax.”

In the remarks, Romney said he had no hope of swaying those people to his side and would instead focus on unaligned voters.

"[M]y job is not to worry about those people,” Romney said, referring to Obama supporters. “I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

The Obama campaign immediately lashed out at Romney, saying that he had effectively written off half the population.

“It's shocking that a candidate for president of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. “It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.”,0,1578696.story

Or another story; Romney's meltdown.  Sorry, he was the wrong choice if you want to beat Obama.   :-D

"For students of journalistic feeding frenzies in presidential politics, the Romney campaign-meltdown story merits close study.
The first striking feature is that the flashpoint story that pulled together his missteps -- the bungled foreign trip, his lackluster convention, his widely denounced response to the Libya carnage, to name a few -- appeared in the new media. It was on the Politico website Sunday under the headline "Inside the Campaign: How Mitt Stumbled," rather than in mainstream newspapers or on the networks' evening news shows, the traditional pacesetters in campaign coverage."

"First there was a series of early warning signs. Since the GOP convention, Romney has been getting blasted by his ought-to-be fellow travelers, notably the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal, and freelance radio right-wingers. Where others have bludgeoned the Republican nominee, Fox News has nibbled, as if to indicate that telling the real, whole news would let too much water through the Titanic-like hole in the U.S.S. Romney."

Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America
« on: September 17, 2012, 11:23:29 AM »
By Brian McLaren

I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia, for which large sectors of evangelical Christianity in America serve as a greenhouse.

At a time when U.S. embassies are being attacked and when people are getting killed over an offensive, adolescent and puerile film targeting Islam - beyond pathetic in its tawdriness – we must begin to own up to the reality of evangelical Islamaphobia.

Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often - truth be told - contain lots of downright lies.

For example, one recent e-mail claimed “Egyptian Christians in Grave Danger as Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents."  Of course, that claim has been thoroughly debunked, but the sender’s website still (as of Friday) claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has “crucified those opposing" Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy "naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”

Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio.

Janet Parshall, for example, a popular talk show host on the Moody Radio Network, frequently hosts Walid Shoebat, a Muslim-evangelical convert whose anti-Muslim claims, along with claims about his own biography, are frequently questioned.  John Hagee, a popular televangelist, also hosts Shoebat as an expert on Islam, as does the 700 Club.

Many Christian bookstores that (used to) sell my books, still sell books such as Paul Sperry’s "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" (Thomas Nelson, 2008). In so doing, they fuel conspiracy theories such as the ones U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, promoted earlier this year.

In recent days, we’ve seen how irresponsible Muslim media outlets used the tawdry 13-minute video created by a tiny handful of fringe Christian extremists to create a disgusting caricature of all Christians - and all Americans - in Muslim minds. But too few Americans realize how frequently American Christian media personalities in the U.S. similarly prejudice their hearers’ minds with mirror-image stereotypes of Muslims.

Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed

Meanwhile, many who are pastors and leaders in evangelicalism hide their heads in the current issue of Christianity Today or World Magazine, acting as if the kinds of people who host Islamophobic sentiments swim in a tiny sidestream, not in the mainstream, of our common heritage. I wish that were true.

The events of this past week, if we let them, could mark a turning point - a hitting bottom, if you will - in the complicity of evangelicalism in Islamophobia. If enough evangelicals watch or try to watch the film trailer that has sparked such outrage in the Middle East, they may move beyond the tipping point.

I tried to watch it, but I couldn’t make it halfway to the 13-minute mark. Everything about it was tawdry, pathetic, even pornographic. All but the most fundamentalist believers from my evangelical Christian tribe who watch that video will be appalled and ashamed to be associated with it.

It is hate speech. It is no different from the anti-Semitic garbage that has been all too common in Western Christian history. It is sub-Christian - beneath the dignity of anyone with a functioning moral compass.

Islamophobic evangelical Christians - and the neo-conservative Catholics and even some Jewish folks who are their unlikely political bedfellows of late - must choose.

Will they press on in their current path, letting Islamophobia spread even further amongst them? Or will they stop, rethink and seek to a more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors? Will they realize that evangelical religious identity is under assault, not by Shariah law, not by the liberal media, not by secular humanism from the outside, but by forces within the evangelical community that infect that religious identity with hostility?

If I could get one message through to my evangelical friends, it would be this: The greatest threat to evangelicalism is evangelicals who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety. (emphasis added). 

No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate.

The broad highway of us-them thinking and the offense-outrage-revenge reaction cycle leads to self-destruction. There is a better way, the way of Christ who, when reviled, did not revile in return, who when insulted, did not insult in return, and who taught his followers to love even those who define themselves as enemies.

Yes, “they” – the tiny minority of Muslims who turn piety into violence – have big problems of their own. But the way of Christ requires all who claim to be Christians to examine our own eyes for planks before trying to perform first aid on the eyes of others. We must admit that we have our own tiny minority whose message and methods we have not firmly, unitedly and publicly repudiated and rejected.

To choose the way of Christ is not appeasement. It is not being a “sympathizer.”

The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Brian D. McLaren.

Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews
« on: September 17, 2012, 09:35:41 AM »

Hardly a hate crime.  It was simple assault; he was punched in the face.  That's it. No staples, etc.

"Our understanding is that the investigation is now nearly complete," the statement reads. "Based on interviews with more than 50 witnesses who were at the party that night, the East Lansing Police have apparently concluded that while the student was the victim of a serious physical assault, the evidence does not support his claim that the assault involved anti-Semitic hate speech or gestures, nor does it indicate that the incident was motivated by his religion.

That said, assault is a crime.  But let's not make something out of nothing.

Politics & Religion / Re: Vigil held
« on: September 17, 2012, 07:38:49 AM »
I can't find the URL, but Pravda on the Beach reports that bout 60 Muslims held a vigil yesterday for our slain embassador in Tustin, Orange County, CA.,0,7929906.story

Politics & Religion / What will Israel do?
« on: September 14, 2012, 08:14:51 AM »
By Danny Danon
September 14, 2012
JERUSALEM — As the war of words heats up regarding a possible Israeli military strike on Iran, now is the time to look at one of the key arguments used by those opposed to such an act of self-defense. Time and again we have heard the question "Why now?" asked whenever an Israeli prime minister must make a decision that placed our nation's very existence in jeopardy. Each time, our leaders knew to focus on the real question — "What is the alternative?" — and then go forward on the lonely path toward a more secure and free Israel.

There are many examples of such decision-making, but three key ones stand out.

In the spring of 1948, it was far from an obvious decision that the pre-state Jewish community would declare its independence the minute that the British Mandate rule ended. The nascent state had been, for all intents and purposes, at war since the approval of the November 1947 United Nations partition plan. As the British were preparing to leave, armed Arab militias were rising up throughout the Holy Land, and the Arab states that surrounded it had begun to amass troops and arms on the borders.

Meanwhile, the Jewish leadership in Palestine was at odds about how to act. Most analysts warned David Ben-Gurion, who would become Israel's first prime minister, that a declaration of independence would not be accepted by the international community, and the existing arms embargo and blockade on immigration would continue.

In May 1948, Ben-Gurion was finally able to persuade a majority of the People's Administration (the legislative precursor to the Knesset) to approve such a declaration. The final vote was 6 to 4, with three members missing. Almost half the members were positively considering the alternative of a U.S.-sponsored cease-fire and promises of support if they delayed the declaration. But Ben-Gurion understood that the time for a decision was upon them and that he could not worry about world opinion and warnings of doom if the Jews declared their independence.

Another example was the Six-Day War. In mid-May 1967, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser expelled the U.N. peacekeeping force in the Sinai desert, which served as a buffer between Egypt and Israel, and began amassing troops in the formerly demilitarized zone. On May 22, Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping — a vital waterway that international law had declared must remain open to all countries. As Egypt increased the number of troops in the Sinai, Israeli fears were compounded when Nasser signed military pacts with Syria and Jordan.

During this tense time, President Lyndon B. Johnson implored Prime Minister Levi Eshkol not to attack the Arab countries and promised increased aid and oil supplies to Israel if it waited for an internationally accepted solution. The Israeli newspapers were full of editorials calling on the government not to attack without prior agreements with international powers.

In fact, in a Cabinet meeting June 2, 1967 the Israeli government decided not to attack and to continue to wait for the international community to provide a solution. By June 5, however, Eshkol and his Cabinet had had enough. They realized that no outside power, no matter how friendly, could be trusted to ensure Israel's security or even its survival. The decision was taken to launch a surprise attack that would guarantee Israel's security for years to come.

A more recent example that is perhaps most analogous to today's situation was Prime Minister Menachem Begin's 1981 order to destroy the nuclear reactor in Osirak, Iraq. As the evidence mounted in the late 1970s and early 1980s about Iraq's nuclear program, the Israeli government was faced with a difficult choice. Saddam Hussein declared repeatedly that his country was working on a civilian nuclear program. All of Israel's allies urged patience and spoke of the need to negotiate with the Iraqis for a peaceful resolution.

The prime minister was not exempt from criticism at home, either. Shimon Peres, then the opposition leader and candidate for prime minister, criticized the Begin government and warned against any strike on the facility without full cooperation from the international community.

Despite the immense pressure from abroad and at home, Begin made the difficult decision to send Israeli pilots on a complicated (many thought impossible) mission to disable the Iraqi nuclear program. International reaction was swift. The U.N. General Assembly and the International Atomic Energy Agency harshly condemned Israel. Even the U.S. voted for a Security Council resolution denouncing the attack and suspended a long-planned delivery of F-16s.

The international community, including the U.S., sounded very different in 1991 when they invaded Iraq to liberate Kuwait. Many of the same countries that condemned Israel in 1981 have since sung the praises of that preemptive attack and thanked Israel for saving them from dealing with a nuclear Iraq during the Persian Gulf War.

Today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government are being told that the time for military action against the Iranian nuclear program is not yet upon us. Even as Iran continues to call for the destruction of the Jewish state while developing its nuclear program at an alarming rate, the Israeli government is urged to show restraint and to give time for negotiations and sanctions to work.

At home, we are again witness to a cacophony of experts and former officials who warn of international isolation and the destruction of our home front if we act alone. Peres, now Israel's president, has warned of dire consequences if we do not act in perfect union with other Western powers.

Once again, an Israeli prime minister is faced with a difficult choice. Once again, the international community is urging Israel to take a wait-and-see approach. In the end, this is a judgment that can be made only by Israel's democratically elected government. Whatever decision is ultimately taken, I know Netanyahu is a keen student of history who realizes that when it comes to protecting Israel's security, our very survival, there is no time like the present.

Danny Danon is deputy speaker of the Knesset and the author of "Israel: The Will to Prevail."

Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races
« on: September 12, 2012, 01:51:39 PM »

I keep reading but don't see an example of an R incumbent in Calif getting away with no debate or any recent MN contest having no debate. Unresponsive replies make our own debates less fun.

Doug, again, it's their choice.  Maybe in the instances you cited they were not favored overwhelmingly?  But I don't think any more or any less of them if they choose not to participate.  They, with the advice of their political consultants decide what to do.  It's a strategic decision.  There is no legal or moral obligation.

Further, it seems Republicans and Democrats avail themselves of the option to debate or not.

Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America
« on: September 12, 2012, 01:44:42 PM »
Actually, while I may not agree with McCarthy, I have never criticized his credentials.

As for Spencer, I think you are using the term "scholar" loosely, merely, if in fact he does (I couldn't find confirmation) speak Arabic hardly makes him a "scholar".  I know a few people who speak Arabic; I speak Japanese, but none of us are "scholars" on the subject.  He has no advance degrees in the subject nor has he published in any scholarly journals or "respected" publications.

As for Shoebat versus Obama and his "friends", well, I'm not quite sure I agree with you; Obama's "friends" CV are rather impressive versus Shoebat's only claim to fame, "former terrorist" however, in the interest of truth (and getting along)  :-) if you notice, I have never quoted or referenced one of them to make a point.

Politics & Religion / Re: Israel and Iran
« on: September 12, 2012, 08:54:18 AM »
Who Else Opposes An Iran Attack?
by Ali Gharib  | September 11, 2012 8:45 AM EDT
The bad news is that most Americans are ill-informed about the Iranian nuclear program; the good news is that they still don't want to attack Iran. Those are results of the biennial Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey of public opinion on foreign policy (PDF).

The bad news first: Who can blame them? There's a constant stream of misinformation out there, and so a stunning majority of 66 percent of Americans don't know that U.S. intelligence agencies think Iran has not made a decision to build a nuclear weapon. Here's the chart from the Chicago Council:

Screen capture of a chart from Chicago Council on Global Affairs 2012 survey report.

While nearly two-thirds of Americans see Iran as a threat (down a bit from two years ago), slightly more still want their government to talk to the Iranians. What don't Americans want? A war with Iran, especially not a unilateral one (my emphasis):

A slim majority (51%) opposes UN authorization of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear energy facilities, with a substantial minority (45%) supporting such action. A far broader majority (70%) opposes a unilateral strike by the United States if Iran continues to enrich uranium but the Security Council does not authorize a military strike.

That means even some of those Americans who think Iran is hellbent on developing weapons—or that Iran already has them—don't support an attack.

Americans aren't that keen on the idea of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear program either: 59 percent of respondents to the Chicago Council said the U.S. shouldn't commit military forces to help Israel in the event that an Israeli initiated-strike touches off a broader conflict. Nearly four-in-ten said the U.S. should jump in.

Instead of an attack, Americans support unilateral and multilateral sanctions (such as pressure from the U.N. Security Council), and direct diplomacy. Whose policy does that sound like?

Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races
« on: September 12, 2012, 08:17:02 AM »
Doug, there is NO hypocrisy.  Each politician chooses how to run their campaign.  Each politician is different.  That Feinstein sees no merit in giving attention to her unknown opponent mades good strategy.
Don't blame her. 

As for MN law, I am a bit vague, but as you phrased it, "In our state (MN), minor parties who get 15% of the vote in one election get a seat at the table in the debates of the next election."
That begs the question, IF there are no debates, well I guess you don't get a seat.  Further, as a side note, in the primary election Feinstein's opponent didn't even get 15%.  She is a no body
begging for attention; no wonder Feinstein won't give her any time.

I notice even in MN there is an argument about how many debates.

It reminds me of our Presidential debates; Gingrich (a good debater) offered to debate Obama at every bus stop, Romney, given his marginal speaking ability if I had to guess is
grateful that he only has to meet Obama 2-3 times.   :-)

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