2012 US Presidential Race Catch All

MilkmanDanimal wrote:
Bear wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

The interesting thing will be how crazy the GOP tilts. Romney is a palatable if boring GOP candidate. They all go crazy in the primary (both parties) and tilt towards the various constituencies they feel they need to impress.

Romney is a human mannequin. I'm not sure he could fog a mirror.

Maybe Bob Dole will run to spice things up a bit!

Bring on Richard Nixon's head!

Aroo!

EDIT: Dammit! Tanglehausered! By a half hour. I have to stop opening so many tabs.

Aroo! (I just think it bears repeating)

Anyway, I'd like to see Romney in the race, only to see him in debate take down the architect of Healthcare Reform, Mitt Romney. He's waffled on more positions than a Kama Sutra in a Denny's. [/golf swing] Hey-o!

If I were still living in Delaware, where my presidential vote was a throwaway thanks to the electoral college, I would write in "the head of Richard Nixon in a jar." It'd be better than anything the Republicans will nominate. Even if it's entirely inanimate. They could still use the signature machine for signing stuff.

Mixolyde wrote:

If I were still living in Delaware, where my presidential vote was a throwaway thanks to the electoral college, I would write in "the head of Richard Nixon in a jar." It'd be better than anything the Republicans will nominate. Even if it's entirely inanimate. They could still use the signature machine for signing stuff.

I have a lot more respect for Nixon now that I know he helped The Doctor get rid of the aliens. I'm 100% behind this.

Whoops. nm, I was thinking of someone else.

Is Newt Gingrich finished?

I have a theory that those who fund the GOP aren't particularly interested in mounting a credible threat to Obama. The existence of a black Democrat in the White House is the best thing that has ever happened for fund raising.

Paleocon wrote:

I have a theory that those who fund the GOP aren't particularly interested in mounting a credible threat to Obama. The existence of a black Muslim Socialist Foreigner in the White House is the best thing that has ever happened for fund raising.

Translated into Tea Party talk.

There will be no credible threat because any one worth a damn avoids running for office.

I'm very interested to hear what huntsman says now that he's in the race. When Obama posted him in China it was widely considered a shrewd move at the time in part because it made just this situation less likely.

Jolly Bill wrote:

I'm very interested to hear what huntsman says now that he's in the race. When Obama posted him in China it was widely considered a shrewd move at the time in part because it made just this situation less likely.

Huntsman is WAY too moderate to have any hope of getting the nomination regardless of how far right he tries to move.

For those of you wondering how the candidates felt about NASA and space exploration.

Prederick wrote:

For those of you wondering how the candidates felt about NASA and space exploration.

What are some of the more spacey people's take on this? I don't understand how shoveling taxpayer money into for profit ventures is one iota more responsible than the public NASA program. I must be one of those dweebs Romney is talking about when he mentioned government vs private sector.

Prederick wrote:

For those of you wondering how the candidates felt about NASA and space exploration.

This was one of the moments during the debate where I wonder just how out of touch with reality the conservatives are. Nothing that NASA has accomplished would have happened if it were left to the private sector. The private sector only gets motivated by one thing, PROFIT. If there's no profit motive there's not going to be a space programs. Businesses aren't interested in altruistic ventures, they're interested in margin.

Newt made some idiotic comment about how we built a railroad across the US without a government agency interfering. Here's a newsflash Newt, we didn't build the railroad, two railroad companies did with financing from government bonds.

What disturbs me most is the calls to eliminate Sarbanes Oxley, the EPA and pretty much any government regulation of any business practices. Are we really that stupid that we haven't learned what happens when business goes unregulated? I'm not anti-business but leaving them unregulated has the same results as leaving a kindergarten class with adult supervision.

billt721 wrote:
Jolly Bill wrote:

I'm very interested to hear what huntsman says now that he's in the race. When Obama posted him in China it was widely considered a shrewd move at the time in part because it made just this situation less likely.

Huntsman is WAY too moderate to have any hope of getting the nomination regardless of how far right he tries to move.

Perhaps. I was just addressing the point that no one THAT moderate was in the race

Prederick wrote:

For those of you wondering how the candidates felt about NASA and space exploration.

Ideological moronity. Try going out and getting financing for a trip to the moon, or to put a manned space station up in space. There is no return for investors in that to justify the risks involved. Private sector financing for satellite communications? Sure. Because those make money. But nobody gets excited about satellites.

Now if they discovered gold or exotic spices on the Moon, okay. Maybe private sector wants in.

Ask them how the private sector would have funded the Manhatten Project and where we'd be today without the bomb.

IMHO, we need more such "great works" projects. Going to the moon, Hoover Dam, the interstate highways, all things funded by the government, none of which would have been completed by private industry. Also, industry looks at what they profit off of in the next quarter, not the next quarter century.

Nevin73 wrote:

Ask them how the private sector would have funded the Manhatten Project and where we'd be today without the bomb.

IMHO, we need more such "great works" projects. Going to the moon, Hoover Dam, the interstate highways, all things funded by the government, none of which would have been completed by private industry. Also, industry looks at what they profit off of in the next quarter, not the next quarter century.

Republicans used to be for public sector "great works" projects if they enhanced the National Prestige.

Now they are just shills for private sector for profit industry. They are just going down the rabbit hole their ideology is taking them without taking a step back and thinking it all the way through.

Democrats and independents have said these things but they will not listen. They hold their ideology as a badge of honor even when reality including history hits them on the head with a mallet.

Most controversial arguments are over claims that are not testable, either in principle, since they are non-empirical, or in practice, e.g., due to complexity. Thus, most argumentation comes down to the rationalization of an ideology based on arbitrary norms that function as ultimate criteria.

This is not a worthless endeavor, since it clarifies thinking and reveals that many arguments are based on extremely shaky foundations, or are even nonsensical owing to poor formulation, whereas others are more plausible even though not certain, e.g., resting on self-evidence.

This is a quote from a professional philosopher that I follow. I find it pretty insightful regarding true-believers which include too many Republicans. Some Democrats fall into this camp but they are pretty marginalized.

I don't think any of these guys other than Ron Paul or Bachman is a true believer. If you could increase the after-tax income of the Republican party's corporate and wealthy backers by giving money to welfare mothers and promoting gay marriage, guys like Romney and Newt would be demanding a 50% increase in government handouts and would be forcing everyone to marry the same sex. It's all about money with them. The ideology is there to justify the result.

Yeah, I kinda got hung up on what they were saying about the whole 'America is a Christian nation', how all political power comes from god, and how if you approach an issue with faith you'll reach the same conclusion as you would if you just used reasoning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.

I'm just wondering what your definition of the separation of church and state is and how it will affect your decision-making?

KING: Governor Pawlenty, I want you to take that one first.

PAWLENTY: Well, the protections between the separation of church and state were designed to protect people of faith from government, not government from people of faith. This is a country that in our founding documents says we're a nation that's founded under God, and the privileges and blessings at that we have are from our creator. They're not from our member of Congress. They're not from our county commissioner.

And 39 of the 50 states have in the very early phrases of their constitutions language like Minnesota has in its preamble. It says this, "We the people of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberties," and so the Founding Fathers understood that the blessings that we have as a nation come from our creator and we should stop and say thanks and express gratitude for that. I embrace that.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

KING: Let's spend a little time talking. Let's spend a little bit of time talking about it.

Senator, let's start with you. Just what role does faith play in your political life? Are there decisions, certain issues where some might you just, let's meet with my advisers, what does my gut say, and others where you might retreat and have a moment of private prayer?

SANTORUM: I'm some who believes that you approach issues using faith and reason. And if your faith is pure and your reason is right, they'll end up in the same place.

I think the key to the success of this country, how we all live together, because we are a very diverse country -- Madison called it the perfect remedy -- which was to allow everybody, people of faith and no faith, to come in and make their claims in the public square, to be heard, have those arguments, and not to say because you're not a person of faith, you need to stay out, because you have strong faith convictions, your opinion is invalid. Just the opposite -- we get along because we know that we -- all of our ideas are allowed in and tolerated. That's what makes America work.

KING: Congressman Paul, does faith have a role in these public issues, the public square, or is it a personal issue at your home and in your church?

PAUL: I think faith has something to do with the character of the people that represent us, and law should have a moral fiber to it and our leaders should. We shouldn't expect us to try to change morality. You can't teach people how to be moral.

But the Constitution addresses this by saying -- literally, it says no theocracy. But it doesn't talk about church and state. The most important thing is the First Amendment. Congress shall write no laws -- which means Congress should never prohibit the expression of your Christian faith in a public place.

KING: OK. Great. Let's go down to Josh McElveen, and let's continue the conversation.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

MCELVEEN: Thank you.

While we're on the topic of faith and religion, the next question goes to Mr. Cain. You recently said you would not appoint a Muslim to your cabinet and you kind of back off that a little bit and said you would first want to know if they're committed to the Constitution. You expressed concern that, quote, "a lot of Muslims are not totally dedicated to this country."

Are American-Muslims as a group less committed to the Constitution than, say, Christian or Jews?

CAIN: First, the statement was would I be comfortable with a Muslim in my administration, not that I wouldn't appoint one. That's the exact transcript.

And I would not be comfortable because you have peaceful Muslims and then you have militant Muslims, those that are trying to kill us.

And so, when I said I wouldn't be comfortable, I was thinking about the ones that are trying to kill us, number one.

Secondly, yes, I do not believe in Sharia law in American courts. I believe in American laws in American courts, period. There have been instances -

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CAIN: There have been instances in New Jersey -- there was an instance in Oklahoma where Muslims did try to influence court decisions with Sharia law. I was simply saying very emphatically, American laws in American courts.

I'm an outsider of course, but they aired snippets of the debate on Belgian tv.

This wasn't a debate at all. It was a contest. Whoever bends the offered topics into a GOP talking point the farrest to the right wins!

So when they threw NASA at Gingrich, he just started banging as many Tea Party nails he could:

If you take all the money we've spent at NASA since we landed on the moon and you had applied that money for incentives to the private sector, we would today probably have a permanent station on the moon, three or four permanent stations in space, a new generation of lift vehicles. And instead what we've had is bureaucracy after bureaucracy after bureaucracy, and failure after failure.

"Government = bureaucracy, private sector is super-efficient"

And, unfortunately, NASA is standing in the way of it, when NASA ought to be getting out of the way and encouraging the private sector.

"If only the government would get out of the way of the private sector, everything would be alright."

John, you mischaracterized me, I didn't say " end the space program." We built the transcontinental railroads without a national department of railroads.

"But don't worry, we won't cut anything YOU like."

I said you could get into space faster, better, more effectively, more creatively if you decentralized it, got it out of Washington, and cut out the bureaucracy.

I'm not sure here. By decentralized, does he mean leave it to the States (yet another talking point) or privatization? He may have hit a double whammy there!

SANTORUM wrote:

And if your faith is pure and your reason is right, they'll end up in the same place.

I'm sure there have never been countries basing their policies on religious texts/faith that have been wrong....

CAIN wrote:

Secondly, yes, I do not believe in Sharia law in American courts. I believe in American laws in American courts, period.

That's right, only Christian Law should be in American courts. Afterall, Jesus said it best:

[quote=Jesus of Nazareth, Mississippi]
Don't trust the non-believers. They are trying to destroy my country! America rules with the one true ring of power!

Nevin73 wrote:

Ask them how the private sector would have funded the Manhatten Project and where we'd be today without the bomb.

IMHO, we need more such "great works" projects. Going to the moon, Hoover Dam, the interstate highways, all things funded by the government, none of which would have been completed by private industry. Also, industry looks at what they profit off of in the next quarter, not the next quarter century.

I was thinking about this in terms of private vs. public funding earlier today and a thought hit me like a sledgehammer.

Some of the wealthiest men in this country own professional football teams. When they need a new stadium do they pay to have one built? Nope, they go to the taxpayers with their hands out. They hold fans and cities hostage and almost force them to underwrite the costs. Even when there are HUGE opportunities for growth and revenue they still don't want to use their own money.

I wonder if any of the Presidential candidates would tell an NFL owner to pay for their own damn stadium...

Private sector my ass!

CAIN: There have been instances in New Jersey -- there was an instance in Oklahoma where Muslims did try to influence court decisions with Sharia law. I was simply saying very emphatically, American laws in American courts.

I wish someone asked him if Hasidic Jews influencing court decision with Beth Din law is OK.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

I wish someone asked him if Hasidic Jews influencing court decision with Beth Din law is OK.

/sarcasm Of course he didn't ask that because Hasidic Jews aren't trying to kill us. He only worries about Muslims who are trying to kill us. He's perfectly cool with all those religious people who aren't trying to kill us. /end sarcasm

I decided to look into the numbers behind Gingrich's statement.

Since 1973, the year after the last Apollo mission, NASA has received about $600 billion of funding (in 2007 dollars). Assuming that all that money was handed over to private enterprise--no Skylab, no Space Shuttle, no ISS, no missions to Mars, no Hubble, no exploration missions period--Gingrich claims that we'd have a permanent station on the moon, three or four permanent stations in space, and a new generation of lift vehicles.

Moon base: GAO estimates put it at $104 billion to get to the moon again and another $126 billion to build a permanent base. There are other wildly optimistic estimates out there that claim it could be done for as little as $35 billion (for a 4-person base), but they do things like laughably budget $2 billion for launch costs which *might* get you 60,000 kg in lunar orbit (*if* we had a viable TLI launch vehicle). For comparisons sake, the lunar lander weighed 15,000 kg.

Just getting enough material to the moon to build a functioning base would cost tens of billions of dollars, let alone the costs of developing everything from the habitats and power plants to the mining or manufacturing equipment you'd need to make the base a profitable venture. Don't forget the pesky problems of resupply with food and water (unless you put the base on the poles, in which case you'd have water, but you'd also have massive power issues since you couldn't rely on solar).

Space station: The American slice of the ISS is about $100 billion. That's $100 billion for about 800 cubic meters of usable space in orbit. The three primary ways you can make money from a space station would be to charge people for conducting R&D in space/micro-gravity; manufacturing something in micro-gravity; or building an energy collector in space and beaming it down to Earth. Manufacturing in space has the slight problem that it costs $20,000 to get a single kilogram into LEO (much more if you're sending it to GSO or a Lagrange point), so you'd actually need a functioning lunar base to strip and process the regolith for raw materials instead of boosting them into orbit or only focus on making insanely expensive things from insanely light raw materials. Building energy collectors in space would have a similar problem: getting the raw materials to the station. Again, the cheapest way would be to have a moon base first.

Lift vehicles: Overlooking the obvious things like we had a functioning TLI launch vehicle in 1973 with the Saturn V and that we'd be well on our way to another generation today if we hadn't cancelled the Ares V and that we'd have another generation or two of LEO launch vehicles had the Space Shuttle not turned into the worst design-by-committee program around, the development costs of these things aren't insane. The Ariane V cost about $8 billion in 1980s dollars and even the Ares I/Ares V/Constellation program was projected to only cost around $50 billion. The only market problem is that without a massive demand to boost things into orbit, the government developed launch vehicles are more than enough to cover the current need of just launching satellites.

So the back of the envelope math says that the items Gingrich talked about would cost maybe $550 billion to $650+ billion, or pretty much everything we've spent on NASA since 1973. I doubt private enterprise could shave much off those costs considering that the precious little experience we have getting people into space, keeping them alive, and building things there all comes from taxpayer-funded efforts. I somehow doubt he could find a for-profit company out there who'd have invested tens of billions of dollars over a decade or so to build the first space station when there was absolutely no demand for one.

Seth wrote:
Prederick wrote:

For those of you wondering how the candidates felt about NASA and space exploration.

What are some of the more spacey people's take on this? I don't understand how shoveling taxpayer money into for profit ventures is one iota more responsible than the public NASA program. I must be one of those dweebs Romney is talking about when he mentioned government vs private sector.

It has done wonders for the airlines and cable providers. Our travel industry and information network is the envy of the world.

I firmly believe in private innovation. But it must stand alone. Subsidies just muddy the water.

KingGorilla wrote:

Our ... information network is the envy of the world.

Point ceded on airlines, but... I'm not sure I agree with the above. Not with South korea getting 100MBit standard across their whole country. I realize they're not our size, but I think the privatization of our information network has led to us drastically losing our competitive edge in this market.

Seth and King Gorilla - your posts remind me of this post by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism from yesterday about South Korean Economist named Ha-Joon Chang.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/...

This is an instructive interview with Ha-Joon Chang, author of the new book “23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism.” He debunks some widely accepted beliefs, such at the existence of “free markets” or the necessity of “free trade” for the development of capitalism.

Enjoy!

http://www.amazon.com/Things-They-Do... - Here is the book.

and here is part of a review.

The following summarizes some of Chang's points:

1)"There is no such thing as a free market" - we already have hygiene standards in restaurants, ban child labor, pollution, narcotics, bribery, and dangerous workplaces, require licenses for professions such as doctors, lawyers, and brokers, and limit immigration. In 2008, the U.S. used at least $700 billion of taxpayers' money to buy up toxic assets, justified by President Bush on the grounds that it was a necessary state intervention consistent with free-market capitalism. Chang's conclusion - free-marketers contending that a certain regulation should not be introduced because it would restrict market freedom are simply expressing political opinions, not economic facts or laws.

2)"Companies should not be run in the interest of their owners." Shareholders are the most mobile of corporate stakeholders, often holding ownership for but a fraction of a second (high-frequency trading represents 70% of today's trading). Shareholders prefer corporate strategies that maximize short-term profits and dividends, usually at the cost of long-term investments. (This often also includes added leverage and risk, and reliance on socializing risk via 'too big to fail' status, and relying on 'the Greenspan put.') Chang adds that corporate limited liability, while a boon to capital accumulation and technological progress, when combined with professional managers instead of entrepreneurs owning a large chunk (eg. Ford, Edison, Carnegie) and public shares with smaller voting rights (typically limited to 10%), allows professional managers to maximize their own prestige via sales growth and prestige projects instead of maximizing profits. Another negative long-term outcome driven by shareholders is increased share buybacks (less than 5% of profits until the early 1980s, 90% in 2007, and 280% in 2008) - one economist estimates that had GM not spent $20.4 billion on buybacks between 1986 and 2002 it could have prevented its 2009 bankruptcy. Short-term stockholder perspectives have also brought large-scale layoffs from off-shoring. Governments of other countries encourage longer-term thinking by holding large shares in key enterprises (China Mobile, Renault, Volkswagen), providing greater worker representation (Germany's supervisory boards), and cross-shareholding among friendly companies (Japan's Toyota and its suppliers).

7)"Free-market policies rarely make poor countries rich." With a few exceptions, all of today's rich countries, including Britain and the U.S., reached that status through protectionism, subsidies, and other policies that they and their IMF, WTO, and World Bank now advise developing nations not to adopt. Free-market economists usually respond that the U.S. succeeded despite, not because of, protectionism. The problem with that explanation is the number of other nations paralleling the early growth strategy of the U.S. and Britain (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan), and the fact that apparent exceptions (Hong Kong, Switzerland, The Netherlands) did so by ignoring foreign patents (a free-market 'no-no'). Chang believes the 'official historians' of capitalism have been very successful re-writing its history, akin to someone trying to 'kick away the ladder' with which they had climbed to the top. He also points out that developing nations that stick to their Ricardian 'comparative advantage,' per the conservatives prescription, condemn themselves to their economic status quo.

Interestingly, NASA is very much like DARPA. They come up with a thesis, and pay defense contractors to do the real engineering and development.

Most of today's whiz-bang gadgets have their roots in either NASA or Defense projects. We didn't get GPS because a private company thought it would be a great idea to implement. We didn't get the Internet because a company thought that the sharing of information would transform the world. Both of those examples came from defense projects which were funded by government dollars. These candidates are either pandering or tremendously ignorant.