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To: Steve Lokness who wrote (186202)3/28/2012 11:31:21 PM
From: Bread Upon The Water
of 374861
China is a society in a profound transition. One foot in the nineteenth century and one in the 21st. Its 3000 year history with its emphasis on the subjugation of individual desires to the to those of the Emperor do not embody a tradition that conceives of individual rights like that evolved in the West.

Yet China knows that in order to compete economically it must adapt some Western business techniques and evolve a system of one party government that is yet flexible enough to allow some freedoms. Its an experiment in action. China desires to leave its current business model which is mostly export market based and develop one that is more multifaceted and has a strong internal growth model as well as exports. Stay tuned.

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To: JohnM who wrote (186208)3/28/2012 11:58:02 PM
From: koan
of 374861

I know when someone uses the word sociopathic personality disorder ones eyes tend to roll up in their heads. But they are a pretty large percentage of our population. What if I am right?

My education is primarily in experimental psychology. I took an undergraduate class from a world authority on socipathic behavior named Dr. Egger. That class is stamped into my brain. I remember him saying: "whenever I am counseling a sociopath I have to remind myself he is a sociopath".

For 45 years I have pondered two questions more than any others. What makes a liberal versus a conservative and who are the sociopaths? I have have studied both populations intently all these years.

I am about the most average guy in the world with one exception. I have always been able to read people very well. I feel I can often tell who the people are with sociopathic personalities, but I look for them. Always have.

Rhenquist I was sure of. Scalia as well. When it comes to Thomas and Alito Look into their eyes. Somethig really startling about Alito. He is easy to spot. Roberts has a manufactured smile. Try his smile in the mirror. Thomas is a full blown creep. I never thought about Kennedy being just plain dumb, but that would answer a lot of quesions.

And of course all the liberals seem stone cold normal to me-lol.

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To: JohnM who wrote (186210)3/29/2012 12:54:12 AM
From: koan
of 374861
<<Stare decisis and all the reasons we follow precedent command that the mandate passes. I’ve already gotten overly maudlin, but if the mandate is overturned, we’re ruled by men, not laws.

I agree, so we will shall see in June. Law or men?

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From: koan3/29/2012 1:12:05 AM
of 374861
This guy was known as a right winger in Alaska? Gov twice.

<<Upon becoming the federal Secretary of the Interior, Hickel proved to be a strong environmentalist, supporting liberal legislation that put liabilities on oil companies operating offshore oil rigs, as well as demanding environmental safeguards on Alaska's growing oil industry. [4]

Hickel's centrist-liberal voice inside the Nixon Administration eventually led to confrontations with the President. In 1970 following the shooting of college students at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard, Hickel wrote a letter critical of Nixon's Vietnam War policy and urging him to give more respect to the views of young people critical of the war, writing in part, "I believe this administration finds itself today embracing a philosophy which appears to lack appropriate concern for the attitude of a great mass of Americans – our young people." This dissent garnered worldwide media attention, and on November 25, 1970, Hickel was fired over the letter. Days before he lost the office, Hickel had told CBS' 60 Minutes that he would not quit under pressure, saying he would only go away "with an arrow in my heart, not a bullet in my back.>." [4] [5]

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To: KyrosL who wrote (185528)3/29/2012 1:49:57 AM
From: Sam
of 374861
Job Growth Expected From Cheap Natural Gas
By: Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
Published: Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 | 10:31 AM ET

The nation's fast-growing supply of cheap natural gas is setting off a manufacturing revival that's expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs as companies build or expand plants to take advantage of the low prices.

Royal Dutch Shell announced this month that it chose a site near Pittsburgh for a facility to convert ethane from locally produced natural gas into ethylene and polyethylene. They're used to make plastics that go into packaging, pipes and other products. The planned ethane cracker would employ a few hundred workers.

It's among nearly 30 chemical plants proposed in the U.S. in the next five years, according to the American Chemistry Council. The projects would expand U.S. petrochemical capacity by 27 percent and employ 200,000 workers at the factories and related suppliers, says Council President Cal Dooley, a major turnaround.

As U.S. natural gas prices soared in the late 1990s, chemical makers moved overseas, laying off 140,000 employees, Dooley says. But the U.S. has seen a natural gas boom in recent years, with producers using new drilling techniques to extract fuel from shale formations in Texas, Pennsylvania and other regions. U.S. natural gas prices, at slightly more than $2 per million British thermal units, are about 75 percent below Western Europe rates.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' partner Robert Mc-Cutcheon estimates inexpensive natural gas could help U.S. manufacturers save $11.6 billion a year and create more than 500,000 jobs by 2025. Among industries affected:

Chemical. Dow Chemical [DOW 34.12 -0.79 (-2.26%) ] plans to spend $4 billion to build two chemical plants near the Gulf Coast and restart another in the next five years as it adds 500 employees. "The affordability of U.S. natural gas allowed us to choose to build these assets near home," says Brian Ames, a Dow global vice president.

Canada-based Methanex [MEOH 31.80 -0.46 (-1.43%) ] plans to move a methanol operation from Chile to Geismar, La., by 2014 as it hires 130 workers. Methanol is in windshield-washer fluid, paint and plastic bottles.

Steel. Nucor [NUE 42.55 -0.55 (-1.28%) ] is building a $750 million plant that will use natural gas — instead of more traditional coking coal — and iron ore to make iron in St. James Parish, La.

Agriculture. Potash is restarting a nitrogen fertilizer plant in Geismar that will employ 46, and Rentech Nitrogen plans to expand a similar facility in East Dubuque, Ill.

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To: Sam who wrote (186225)3/29/2012 2:00:31 AM
From: Sam
of 374861
Romneycare’s 98% Success Rate Defies Gripes on Obama Law
By Drew Armstrong and Alex Wayne - Mar 26, 2012 12:00 AM ET

The success of the Massachusetts health-care system is spurring President Barack Obama to extol the virtues of a law Mitt Romney signed as a governor.

Romney, running for the Republican presidential nomination, says it shouldn’t be the model for every state.

About 98 percent of state residents are insured under the legislation Romney signed in 2006, a 10 percent rise from the previous three-year average. Government costs haven’t ballooned, officials say, and 63 percent of residents support the law. Yet Romney is promising to repeal the 2010 U.S. law Obama and his fellow Democrats fashioned on the Massachusetts program.

“It’s a crazy awkward situation,” said Stuart Altman, a professor of national health policy at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, by telephone. Romney “can’t take credit. I wish he could; it’s one of his real accomplishments.”

Barack Obama on March 22 told National Public Radio the state law’s success was a model that will make other Americans say: “Why aren’t we trying it as well?” A day later, Romney wrote a USA Today opinion piece saying the state law’s provisions shouldn’t be foisted on others.

While Romney’s primary foes attack both health plans, and the Supreme Court (1000L) begins debate today on the U.S. mandate’s legality, Massachusetts has brought the idea of health-coverage- for-all to life, the state law’s designers and operators say.

‘Guy in a Bar’ “It’s funny,” Altman said. “I was talking to a guy in a bar who said he supported the Massachusetts law, and then he was very critical of the national law. I said, ‘what’s up with that?’ He didn’t want to go there, but I think it shows the situation Mitt Romney is in.

“What you have are people who are Republicans who are accepting the party line nationally, but locally find the law has worked out just fine for them,” he said.

About 16 percent of Americans, or 50 million people, were uninsured in 2010, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, of Menlo Park, California. Under the U.S. health-care overhaul, most people would be covered under a process that begins in 2014. First, though, the need for everyone to have insurance faces a Supreme Court challenge by 26 states that say it is unconstitutional. The legal debate will begin today.

The Obama administration argues the mandate is needed because patients who aren’t insured have their care paid for indirectly by people who are, in the form of higher prices that can bleed across state boundaries. Opponents counter that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t give Congress the authority to regulate what people don’t want to buy.

‘Genius of Federalism’ Romney offers a different view. He supports “giving each of the 50 states the resources and the responsibility to craft the health-care solutions that suit their citizens best,” he wrote in his USA Today opinion piece.

The Massachusetts law “got our citizens insured without raising taxes,” the article says. “Other states will choose to go in different directions. It is the genius of federalism that it encourages experimentation, with each state pursuing what works best for them.”

The commentary doesn’t address how Romney views the state law’s individual provisions. A campaign spokesman, Ryan Williams, wouldn’t comment further, instead pointing to the former governor’s comments in a Jan. 27 primary debate.

The Massachusetts system “has a lot of flaws, a lot of things I’d do differently,” Romney said then. “It has a lot of benefits. The people of the state like it by about three to one. We consider it very different than Obama Care.”

Others disagree about the differences.

‘More Ambitious Version’ “The federal reform is simply a more ambitious version of the Massachusetts reform,” said Jon Gruber, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge who helped policy makers write both laws.

“Within three years, we should see that the federal reform has covered the uninsured and stabilized the non-group market” covering individuals who now face much higher premiums, Gruber said in a telephone interview.

A 2011 poll by the Boston Globe and the Harvard School of Public Health showed that 63 percent of Massachusetts residents supported the state law. The U.S. law has an approval rate of 41 percent, and an unfavorable view by 41 percent of those surveyed, according to a monthly tracking poll by Kaiser.

The Massachusetts law has “turned out to be a success,” said David Cutler, an economics professor at Harvard University in Cambridge who helped policy makers draw up the law, in a telephone interview “People have gotten coverage. They got coverage at the rate we thought, and at the cost we thought.”

Obama Prediction Obama, in the NPR interview, predicted the U.S. overhaul would gain public support as its benefits kick in. “When people see that in fact it works, it makes sense -- as it is, by the way, working in Massachusetts,” he said.

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, criticized Romney’s stand on the Massachusetts law, saying in a statement, “It’s amazing how far Mitt Romney has come in his beliefs.”

Mary Flynn, 60, who has gained from the Massachusetts law said of Romney, “I’m glad that he did what he did for the people of Massachusetts.” His stand now that he’s running for president, she added, is “politics. He’s going for what he thinks is going to be appropriate for him now.”

Flynn, a public relations executive in Boston, left her job in February 2011 to start her own company. She signed up for COBRA health insurance from her former employer, whom she declined to name, as she was leaving. In August, she got a “very terse letter” from the company telling her it had dropped her coverage in May, after an address error on her June invoice caused her to inadvertently miss a payment.

Inhaler Costs Flynn has asthma and uses a drug inhaler, Advair (GSK), that costs $210 a month retail through She paid $60 a month for it through her COBRA plan, before it was canceled. She then turned to the Massachusetts Health Connector, the state’s insurance exchange created in 2006 under Romney.

“I felt like they threw me a lifeline,” she said, adding that her inhaler now costs her just $3.50 a month. “It’s the best insurance I’ve ever had.”

The Massachusetts law, like the U.S. overhaul, mandates that most residents be covered by health insurance, and fines those who aren’t. It offers subsidies to low-income people to help them gain insurance and has broadened Medicaid to help out.

Massachusetts Against the Individual Mandate, which started a petition drive last year to remove the insurance requirement, gave up after deciding other priorities were more important, said Anne Fox, an organizer.

Small-Business Effect When it comes to opposition to the Massachusetts legislation, “there isn’t as much as you would expect,” said Fox, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life.

The group may try again in 2014, partly depending on the Supreme Court (1000L) ruling, she said. One concern Fox’s organization has is that the state mandate may hurt small business, keeping them from hiring workers full-time to avoid a threshold that requires they supply a health plan or be fined, she said.

Lora Pellegrini, president of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, a Boston-based nonprofit group, said supporters of the state law are concerned about the local impact should the Supreme Court eliminate the national mandate.

“We’ve always been nervous here that there could be a state court challenge,” she said in a telephone interview. “There’ve been rumblings, but nothing’s ever materialized. We’re watching what the feds do because they give people ideas locally.”

No Budget Buster One reason the law hasn’t been successfully attacked is because it hasn’t had the budget-busting effects opponents had predicted, said Glen Shor, executive director of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, in a telephone interview.

“There were concerns that there would be spiraling spending and out-of-control cost overruns,” said Shor, whose authority was set up by the law to offer state-subsidized coverage to those below a certain income level. “That has just eminently not been the case at all.”

The rate the state pays insurers to offer subsidized coverage has grown at no more than 3 percent, and more businesses are offering health coverage instead of dropping it to let workers sign up with the state, he said.

While the Massachusetts law drew bipartisan support within the state when it was passed, it’s been targeted by opponents of Romney’s quest to gain the Republican presidential nomination.

‘Romney Care’ Romney is “the same man who gave us Romney care and advocated for Obamacare,” said Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania who is also seeking the nomination at a March 18 rally in Illinois.

He called Romney “uniquely disqualified” to run against Obama and the federal health law for that reason.

There is still work to do in Massachusetts, according to people who support the law. While the price for health plans has been kept relatively steady, treatment costs are rising as the number of insured people seeking care has increased.

Per capita health-care spending in Massachusetts has been the highest in the nation since at least 1998, according to a 2011 study in the journal Medicare & Medicaid Research Review, published by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Dealing with those costs is a doable next step, according to Harvard’s Cutler. “Unlike poisonous Washington debates, at the state level you’ve got to get stuff done,” he said. “You can’t just score cheap shots all day.”

Handcuff Spending State lawmakers are considering a proposal to handcuff health spending to the state’s gross product, with the goal of having health costs grow no faster than Massachusetts business and government can support, said Pellegrini, of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans.

“It makes a lot of sense,” Pellegrini said by telephone. “Health care needs to reflect what’s going on in our economy. There’s going to be a lot of debate about what the right number is. We don’t want to cut too deep, but we want to do something that’s meaningful to get spending under control.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Armstrong in New York at;

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To: epicure who wrote (186193)3/29/2012 9:16:07 AM
From: No Mo Mo
of 374861
You didn't really read my post. What I said was that during a critical ELECTION, I don't see the point in criticizing my guy.

Oh yes, I read it. First you said criticism during the election strengthened the Republicans. Then you said any criticism had no effect and was futile. Rather than try to untangle that contradiction, I responded to the more general statement.

Of course, like most people, I'll bitch to my friends about things I don't like. But I really don't think it does much. You can believe it does, if you want to- but for the most part it's the folks who have the money who get the action.

Why waste time making assumptions about what I believe? By your own logic, any display, either against or in support is equally futile. Or do 'hoorays' somehow resonate more loudly? If you're saying any opinions by the disenfranchised posters don't matter, I wouldn't disagree. Arguing on a chat room thread with a couple dozen regular posters probably won't amount to much if anything. For all my rants about Bush/Cheney, they rammed through a heinous agenda and still managed to term out. If I thought my posts on SI could drive an odious politician from office, I'd type all day. I post here b/c, there are some very informed people discussing politics free of the extreme (typically right wing) bias on SI. At its best, this thread takes a more circumspect approach.

And we don't live in a democracy. We live in an oligarchy- of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich. All the rest of us are just along for the ride.

You got and will get no argument from me. Next time you can be the choir and I'll be the preacher.

I'd just prefer the guide on my ride to be a democrat- because they are WAY less repellent to me than republicans, but all politicians are fairly annoying, being in the pockets of the lobbyists, and all.

Here is the nut of the issue, IMO. The Democratic party of today ain't, as they say, your mother's Democratic party and to support them w/o question is, in my opinion, foolish. After a decade with two long, grueling wars and myriad incursions weakening the civil liberty protections of typical citizens, we have an administration that is continuing or strengthening many of the worst practices of the prior administration e.g. NDAA and its suspension of due process, the granting of immunity to the telecom companies that complied in illegal eavesdropping, vastly expanded drone wars with zero public accountability, the imminent granting by the FAA to allow thousands of drones into US air space, twice the number of prosecutions of whistle blowers than have happened since the Act was adopted not to mention zero prosecutions of bank officials involved in the financial crisis, etc., etc.

These aren't hysterical complaints about Obama's illegitimate birth records or association with questionable persons when he was in college. They're policies enacted by his administration. A person can say, "Yes, those are troublesome, but Republicans would have done worse." Maybe, but in all seriousness, I'd like to know if there is anything the Democrats could do to make you withdraw your support for them?

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To: No Mo Mo who wrote (186227)3/29/2012 9:35:59 AM
From: epicure
of 374861
The democrats would have to become worse than republicans- on social programs, on the environment, in terms of taxation (and by that I mean, more regressive than republicans- which I'm not sure is possible), on social issues- like gay marriage, abortion access, birth control, education, mixing religion with government.

Until that happens, I'll support the democrats wholeheartedly.

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To: epicure who wrote (186228)3/29/2012 10:03:28 AM
From: No Mo Mo
of 374861
That gets us back to the point Wharf Rat repeatedly makes. On some issues, Obama does govern more to the right than a Republican of thirty years ago (Reagan). On many issues, he makes Nixon look like a progressive. This mission creep is only inevitable if people don't question and speak out.


"Is he not a liberal?"

Yes, he is not a liberal.
Barack Obama...the evolution of a Republican



This is a US election that defies logic and brings the nation closer towards a one-party state, masquerading as a two-party state.

The Democratic incumbent has surrounded himself with conservative advisors and key figures — many from previous administrations, and an unprecedented number from the Trilateral Commission. He also appointed a former Monsanto executive as Senior Advisor to the FDA. He has extended Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, presided over a spiralling rich-poor gap and sacrificed further American jobs with recent free trade deals.Trade union rights have also eroded under his watch. He has expanded Bush defence spending, droned civilians, failed to close Guantanamo, supported the NDAA which effectively legalises martial law, allowed drilling and adopted a soft-touch position towards the banks that is to the right of European Conservative leaders. We list these because many of Obama’s detractors absurdly portray him as either a radical liberal or a socialist, while his apologists, equally absurdly, continue to view him as a well-intentioned progressive, tragically thwarted by overwhelming pressures. 2008's yes-we-can chanters, dazzled by pigment rather than policy detail, forgot to ask can what? Between 1998 and the last election, Obama amassed $37.6million from the financial services industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. While 2008 presidential candidate Obama appeared to champion universal health care, his first choice for Secretary of Health was a man who had spent years lobbying on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry against that very concept. Hey! You don't promise a successful pub, and then appoint the Salvation Army to run it. This time around, the honey-tongued President makes populist references to economic justice, while simultaneously appointing as his new Chief of Staff a former Citigroup executive concerned with hedge funds that bet on the housing market to collapse. Obama poses something of a challenge to The Political Compass, because he's a man of so few fixed principles.

As outrageous as it may appear, civil libertarians and human rights supporters would have actually fared better under a Republican administration. Had a Bush or McCain presidency continued Guantanamo and introduced the NDAA, the Democratic Party would have howled from the rooftops. Under a Democratic administration, these far-reaching developments have received scant opposition and a disgraceful absence of mainstream media coverage.

Democratic and, especially, some Republican candidates, will benefit massively from new legislation that permits them to receive unlimited and unaccountable funding. This means a significant shift of political power to the very moneyed interests that earlier elections tried to contain. Super PACs will inevitably reshape the system and undermine democracy. It would be naïve to suppose that a President Gingrich would feel no obligations towards his generous backer, Sheldon Adelson, one of the country’s most influential men. Or a President Santorum towards billionaire mutual fund tycoon, Foster Freiss. Santorum emerges as the most authoritarian candidate, not the least for his extreme stand against abortion and condom sales. In our opinion, Romney, despite his consistent contempt for the impoverished, is correctly described as the weather vane candidate. He shares another similarity with Obama. His corporate-friendly health care plan for Massachusetts was strikingly similar to the President's "compromise" package. The emergence of the Tea Party enables an increasingly extreme GOP to present itself as middle-of-the road — between an ultra right movement with "some good ideas that might go a bit too far" and, on the other side, a dangerous "socialist" president.

Since FDR, the mainstream American "Left" has been much more concerned with the social rather than the economic agenda. Identity politics; issues like peace, immigration, gay and women's rights, prayers in school have been of greater importance than matters like a minimum living wage . It's therefore understandable that many of them speak warmly about the most right wing of all the Republican contenders, Ron Paul. Paul is an extraordinary figure in this most extraordinary election. At 76, the sprightly, softly-spoken Congressman commands enormous youth enthusiasm and support across the spectrum - from Ralph Nader to the John Birch Society. Nader, who has spent decades campaigning for greater regulation of corporations, has somehow put his lot in with the most deregulatory of all the candidates. Many liberals appreciate Paul for his promise to bring the troops home, slash the defence budget and, among other things, his principled opposition to the NDAA. The harsh social Darwinism of Paul's core beliefs, however, appear to be of relatively little importance to such progressives. Similarly. his opposition to abortion and his support for creationism, which have endeared him to the Christian Coalition. Paul, the only conviction politician among them, no doubt enjoys a wider support base than the primary results suggest As the front-running three continue to bruise each other shadow boxing, he might yet emerge as the last man standing at the Convention. As president, Paul could be expected to reach widely beyond the Republicans in his appointments, further blurring party distinctions. While the liberal aspects of Paul’s social policies are anathema to neo-cons, he remains the Republicans' best hope of achieving the presidency. Under a second term of Obama, however, the GOP can remain confident that it will continue to frame the debates.

Please note that the leaders of smaller parties will be included in the forthcoming presidential campaign chart.

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To: Win Smith who wrote (186220)3/29/2012 10:13:51 AM
From: Wharf Rat
of 374861
Been promoted to King.... hanging out in NYC.

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