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Rick Warren. Who cares.

I'm out of the country for 8 days, and I when I return I find that the blogosphere is still talking about Rick Warren. Why? Honestly, I'd never even heard of the guy until this election season, and it's beyond me why he's the focus of so much attention.

Barack Obama, rightly or wrongly, thought it might be a nice gesture to ask him to give a prayer at the inauguration. So what? Seriously? Does anyone honestly believe that this means Obama is turning into a pro-life, right-wing evangelical? Of course not. I guess for the Kos kiddies and their like, it's not enough for a president to share their views -- the president must also refuse to countenance the mere presence of anyone who doesn't hold their views. I swear, it's amazing how fundamentalist and reactionary some of these so-called "progressives" can be. (Besides, wasn't it supposed to be somehow wrong to talk about Obama's relationships with clergy?)

To be fair, there's foolishness on both sides, of course. I've heard reports of religious conservatives who are livid that Warren would deign to attend the inauguration. Again, I'm not sure why. It seems to me that Warren, no matter his personal beliefs, went out of his way to have good relations with both political campaigns.

And why not? Does anyone else remember the good old days, when it was perfectly acceptable for Billy Graham to be the informal White House chaplain for Nixon as well as Carter, and Reagan as well as Clinton? For decades, this widely respected religious leader was able to act as spiritual mentor to our nation's leaders, without either side going into an absolutist, ideologically judgmental snit.

Those days are gone, I guess, but I'd like to have them back. Obama seems to want them back as well, and has always said so. But as soon as he tries to actually do anything about it, the netroots become convinced he's leaving the plantation and start cracking the whip.


I'm out of the country for 8 days, and I when I return I find that the blogosphere is still talking about Rick Warren. Why?

Where did you go, Barry? Canada? Tahiti?

Nah, it must have been Oahu ;)

Slowly, amd may I add, kind of excited to see how this next President will do as promised and not do, as promised.

I am willing to wait that 'one year' before making any decision on Obama.

I think I understand now. ;)

Warren, Wright...whatever.

This relly isn't about Rick Warren.

It's about California, where the far-Left imagines that Prop-8 was destined to pass....UNTIL over 70% of the black vote (a/k/a "black Christo-fascists") shot it down.

Likewise, "gay Marriage" really ISN'T about gays having he same rights as straights, it's about a few radical gays looking to try and get a court or two to mandate Churches to Marry Gays and cease preaching that "the act of homoseuality is sinful."

Unfortunately for the radicals, the 1st Amendment guarantees Churches the right to preach that and to not Marry homosexuals, unbelievers," or anyone else not in that particular club.

As for Obama, he's been pretty moderately Centrist so far.

But there is something deliciously self-destructive about the far-Left....supporting the kooks who'd try and sue AGAINST the 1st Amendment to try and force Churches to Marry gays and to strip medical practitioners of the "conscience exception", in effect seeking to take the licenses of healthcare professionals who'd refuse to perform abortions.

Both those things would raise the ire of about 80% of the population.

There's something about such self-destuctivness, as repulsive as it looks, like a train wreck, it's almost impossibe to turn away.

It's kinda neat to see a president keeping his word.

To hell with the fringees...


Rachel, we were in Switzerland visited the in-laws.

Jane, I'm in pretty much the same boat.

"It's kinda neat to see a president keeping his word.

To hell with the fringees..." (Bob)

Actually, it's GOOD that that tradition is being upheld. No administration, at least none since the disgraceful Andrew Jackson, has ever really embraced any political or cultural extreme in this country.

The "new wrinkle" HERE, is that suddenly, the likes of Rick Warren, James Dobson and Billy Graham are no longer considered "fringees," by folks who once claimed to have "grave misgivings" about such mainstream religious leaders.

As a 31st degree Scottish Right Freemason, I KNOW the threat that can come when religious people get riled up. That is probably one of the reasons the Freemasons vigorously oppose the secular-humanist movement that seeks to excoriate religion.

I'll leave it at that, lest I say too much and offend some of my brother Masons.

I guess the bigger question is where is the middle?

I'm of the opinion that the Right has been pulling the middle in their direction since 1980 and that it is about to start swinging back towards the Left. I expect that will be a good thing initially, say the next 10 years or so. After that, we'll probably all be looking for some good old Conservative common sense. (I hope they can find some...)

But for right now the Conservative movement in this country is burned out. It has no new ideas to speak of, all it can do is oppose the ideas of the Left. It has no leaders to speak of either. If Palin is the best they can do it's time to tear it all down and start over again.

BTW Happy New Year!

No, what we’re seeing is more along the lines of what Margaret Thatcher predicted, that “fiscal realities are Conservative.”

We’ve just had an enlightening sixteen years. In the first eight years, a Democratic President (Bill Clinton) cooperated eagerly and fully with the most Supply Side (market-oriented) Congress over the last 100 years, and even though Gingrich and company had to shut down the federal government briefly to get Clinton to sign onto the first and only federal budget cuts over the last 100 years and a HUGE Cap Gains rate cut (from 30% down to 20%), Clinton jumped at the chance to overhaul a non-working and apparently unworkable welfare system...and AGAIN

A Republican would’ve been excoriated by the MSM for what Clinton was roundly praised for doing.

Over the last eight years we had a Republican President, from a very Liberal (“Rockefeller”) Republican tradition (G W Bush) after enacting ONLY TWO Supply Side policies (a 5% Cap Gains cut, that had Cap gains revenues skyrocketing after it was enacted) and an across the board income tax rate cut that also greatly increased income tax revenues, embarked on a strictly Keynesian program of government expansion (the Bush administration spent MORE on wasteful social spending, yes, adjusted for inflation, than even LBJ did and wasted billions more “fighting AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa").

Over the past two years, he’s cooperated even more fully and more eagerly with the misguided Keynesian Pelosi-Reid Congress, than did Clinton cooperate with the Gingrich Congress.

What the last sixteen years proved is exactly what Margaret Thatcher predicted – while the Clinton-Gingrich Supply Side policies worked, delivering significant budget surpluses AND some of the lowest Misery Indexes in over 40 years, the Bush-Pelosi-Reid Keynesian policies resulted in the tanking of the economy in relatively short order.

Now we’ve elected a Democrat who, in the general election, ran on TAX CUTS and in FAVOR of gun rights, and once elected, moved even FURTHER to the Right!

In his first move, he appointed a Conservative Democrat (Rahm Emanuel) one of the architects of the Blue Dog wave of 2006 and a security hawk as his Chief-of-Staff. He’s kept Robert Gates on as SoD and appointed another security hawk, Janet Napolitano - the AZ Governor who presided over an “English only” ballot initiative and has long fought for sealing the U.S./Mexican border for “security purposes” as head of Homeland Security.

The Obama administration which had promised to eliminate the tax cuts on the highest income earners has moved into place a very market-oriented economics team and has now decided to let the Bush tax cuts stay “at least through 2011.”

Almost certainly with the incoming Obama team’s blessing, the Pelosi-Reid Congress just signed onto an Auto bailout program that is predicated on “worker compensation being made equal to the nonunion workers, and work rules must be competitive with those at nonunion plants.”

As I’ve said all along, “the fact is, that there are ONLY TWO possible solutions to America’s domestic auto crisis; (1) either the UAW shops have to be coerced into working for the same $50/hour wage, health and pension package as the non-Union Toyota, Nissan, and BMW shops, OR, (2) all those non-Union shops have to be either coerced OR tariffed/taxed into paying the same amount for THEIR labor. OTHERWISE the UAW shops will NEVER be able to compete.”

The fact that the Democrats have apparently signed onto option ONE seems proof that Maggie Thatcher was right all along – that “fiscal realities are indeed Conservative.”

There are NO “new ideas” from Liberalism OR Conservatism. At least economically, Liberals tend to believe that government should manage the economy and make sure that a talented and necessary few don’t benefit too disproportionately over the many, while Conservatives tend to believe that while the market is flawed, there is NOTHING more flawed than government, so we even have to be careful of how we regulate a market economy.

When G Bush Sr flirted with Keynesian policies and enacted the ted Kennedy tax hikes, he presided over four straight years of double digit Misery Indexes...only Carter, who outdid him by an average of over 6 points per year on that Index did worse. When Clinton embraced Gingrichian Supply Side policies the economy flourished....seing significant federal budget surpluses AND the lowest Misery Indexes in over four decades.

When Bush Jr enacted TWO Supply Side tax cuts they increased revenues to such an exxtent that they hid the disasters of his other reckless spending (especially all that hideous social spending)...it wasn't until he had a full-bore Keynesian Congress in place (Pelosi-Reid) that the economy began to feel the ill-effects of misguided Keynesian policies.

Now we have an incoming administration with a pro-Supply Side, pro-Free Trade Chief-of-Staff in place, along with a very market-oriented economics team that'll almost certainly have to fight AGAINST a Liberal/Keynesian Congress if it's to avoid Jimmy Carter's fate.

With any luck, perhaps a second "Gingrich Congress" (with another Gingrich) could help the current adminsitration end up like Clinton...

Missing line....Clinton jumped at the chance to overhaul a non-working and apparently unworkable welfare system...and AGAIN with stellar results.

Now we’ve elected a Democrat who, in the general election, ran on TAX CUTS and in FAVOR of gun rights, and once elected, moved even FURTHER to the Right! (JMK)

According to the GOP Obama is the most liberal Senator is Washington. So where is the middle?

...the economy began to feel the ill-effects of misguided Keynesian policies.

I absolutely do not agree. If anything the Keynesian policies of the recent past (if you can really even consider them that) have been too weak.

What we need now is massive government investment in infrastructure. A trillion $ sounds about right; for starters.

Jobs today, money in the pockets of working people today, a renewed spirit of optimism today, and real tangible assets that will make tomorrow's economy run even better. We're still enjoying the benefits of the WPA and the Interstate construction projects.

Tax policy/tax cuts alone can not give us these things no matter how much you might wish they could.


I was in such a rush to disagree with JMK I forgot to credit his quote and sign my name...

"According to the GOP Obama is the most liberal Senator is Washington..." (Bob)

I was worried about Obama's voting record UNTIL he chose Rahm Emanuel one of the architects of the Democrats "2006 Strategy."

The Dems didn't run a SINGLE Liberal or Moderate out West or down South, they ran true Conservatives, most of whom ran to the Right of their Republican opponents, and they've lived up to their campaigns on many issues.

Thanks to those "Blue Dogs" the recent NSA Surveillance Bill was passed WITH the telecom immunity, which SHOULD HAVE come along with that cooperation as "IMPLIED IMMUNITY" in my view.

I applauded the Blue Dogs for that and still do.

Rahm Emanuel is a pro-Free Trade, pro-business, Conservative Democrat from the Clinton DLC that sought to move the Democratic Party "back toward the Center" and succeeded during Clinton's tenure.

"If anything the Keynesian policies of the recent past (if you can really even consider them that) have been too weak." (Bob)

The re-tooled (1995) CRA that forced banks and mortgage brokers (albeit very eager bankers) to make tons of subprime loans was VERY Keynesian.

The best thing that's resulted from all that has been the current credit squeeze - a return to strict mortgage parameters (most banks demand 20% or more down, have returned to traditional lending criteria, including "red-lining" - charging higher interest rates in areas with higher foreclosure rates)....that so-called "easy money" got a lot of hard working people in way over their heads.

Creating credit out of thin air has had the same consequence that creating currency out of thin air has - gross devaluation.

Bush has engaged in even more reckless inane social spending (even adjusted for inflation) than LBJ did. Couple that with his billions spent on AIDS in Africa and he's been as Keynesian a President as we've had since Reagan took office. Bush Jr has been even more Keynesian than his father who derided the Supply Side policies that bailed the economy out after his disastrous four years as "Voodoo Economics."

The only thing that masked the ill effects of all that spending was the skyrocketing tax revenues that naturally resulted from the Cap Gains tax cut (Cap Gains revenues have gone up every year since the rate cuts) and the across the board income tax rate cuts, which generated an incredible increase in income tax revenues.

Can an income tax rate hike actually raise tax revenues?

Not unless someone in the federal government finds the guts and the political will to STOP higher income earners from deferring more of their income in tax deferred vehicles (457s, IRAs, 401-Ks, etc.)....and I don't see anything like that happening any time soon.

Now, there ARE some tax hikes that do raise tax revenues - gasoline taxes, sales taxes and other "sin taxes" although those things tend to hit the lower income earners the hardest.

BUT income and Capital Gains taxes?

When those rates go up, people simply respond to incentives and cut back on investment in the first case and defer more of their incomes in tax-deferred vehicles in the second.

NYS has gotten serious about raising revenues and has upped taxes on music and video downloads, concert and movie tix and soda pop. One of the tabloids did a side-by-side analysis and found (as you'd expect) that the single Mom in the South Bronx is going to get slammed a LOT more (as a percentage of income) than the Upper West Sider profiled.

I'm NOT against higher taxes, when delivered the right way.

After all, I NEED New York State to stay solvent. As an example a good friend and co-worker of mine is now getting $10,700/month triple tax free (no fed, state or city taxes) from the pension fund run by the State of NY.

I certainly don't want to see NYS go into any kind of reorganization that might potentially end that very lucrative gravy train!

My friend won't be living in NY as he's retiring to "greener pastures"....like me, my pal is a far more a PRAGMATIST than any sort of idealist.

I think you've often mistaken my "I've got mine" attitude and my rather parochial social conventions for "Conservatism."

Not so, I assure you. I'm an ardent "IGM (I've Got Mine) pragmatist."

I am a little surprised by the outrage over Warren, but maybe that's because I think energy would be better spent elsewhere. Happy New Year to you and Sarah and the puppy.

Likewise, I don't understand the outrage over Warren. It seems pretty small considering the big problems we are facing.

The Dems didn't run a SINGLE Liberal or Moderate out West or down South, they ran true Conservatives, most of whom ran to the Right of their Republican opponents, and they've lived up to their campaigns on many issues. (JMK)

This goes to my point about questioning where the middle is. I think many Democrats are fairly conservative but the GOP has gone so far off the deep end that they have started equating anyone in Washington with a (D) after their name with being a Marxist. You know I'm not usually a big supporter of the GOP but I do think they need to be a viable counter-balance to the Dems. I look forward to a renewed and reasonably sane GOP.

From your apparent silence on the issue I take it you agree with spending on infrastructure.

Oh yeah, I'm glad Obama selected Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration, and I'm doubly glad it's pissing off the extremists on the Left.

...hehe I really have to try to remember to sign my name to these posts. Hey, is there any way to edit?

I'm afraid only I can do it. :-)

"...the GOP has gone so far off the deep end that they have started equating anyone in Washington with a (D) after their name with being a Marxist." (Bob)

That's "team sports politics," Bob.

And yes, both sides do it and people who relate to Party over ideology seem to fall for it every time.

I'm a "Zell Miller Democrat." I'm a New York Democrat with "Southern Boweavil sensibilities."

I naturally tend to distrust Republicans. The "Progressive Movement" was first embraced and run on BY a Republican (Teddy Roosevelt) and it was a Republican President (Herbert Hoover) who was the FIRST American President to embrace a "Progressive" agenda once in office.

Hoover's and Teddy R's "Progressivism" was predicated on the incredibly misanthropic (in my view) idea that "every problem has a scientific solution, best applied by an enlightened government, requiring an enlightened governing class."

As for infrastrucuture spending, I'd agree that it IS often necesssary and CAN BE very beneficial to the economy and Biden's claim that "over 85% of the jobs created by this new infrastructure spending will be private sector jobs," is GOOD NEWS to me.

I guess that's why wars CAN BE (and often are) beneficial to an economy - they stimulate the private sector through government orders/demand. Of course, that can also divert a LOT of productivity away from consumer demand and supplying consumer needs.

For the record, I'd like to see a Centrist Obama administration succeed.

What concerns me is that the current crisis, largely brought on by (1) OVER-REGULATION (a turbo-charged CRA in 1995 that mandated subprime loans and barred lenders from "only lending to the rich" a/k/a "those who could pay them back") AND (2) an SEC that remained asleep at the switch...it slept through the creation and crash of the previous bubble (the dotcom bubble) and the current SEC admitted they couldn't understand the new CMOs (Collateralized Mortgage Obligations) that were predicated on small shares of numerous mortgages bundled together in jumbles that couldn't easily be unwound...has been badly misunderstood and government's primary role in it has largely been whitewashed.

That's problematic going forward as it rationalizes exactly the policies that helped cause the crisis as the best possible solutions to it.

Carter's implosion didn't happen in a vacuum. It was preceeded by one of the MOST Keynesian Republican administrations (Nixon's) in history, complete with wage and price controls, stimulus packages, bailouts, tax hikes and reems of regulation.

Ironically enough, aside from just TWO Supply Side policies (a Cap gains rate cut and an across the board income tax rate cut that both greatly INCREASED REVENUES over the last six years) we've had one of the most Keynesian Republican administrations since Nixon and like Carter, a top-heavy Liberal Congress will be pushing the Obama administration Left, the same way the then predominantly Dem Congress pushed Carter even further Left.

That leads me to fear that the worst may be yet to come, economically, and that States like California, Illinois and New York could all wind up on the precipice of insolvency like in the 1970s, leading to massive Municipal layoffs (which probably wouldn't impact me, as they layoff the least senior staff first) and a massive pension system overhaul (which WOULD certainly and very negatively impact me).

The idea that Civil Servants should naturally want to swell their ranks is simplistic and foolish thinking.

In the Emergency and Security fields (Police, Fire, Military and Intelligence communities) the reverse is far more often true. Once safely in, most people in such fields seek to make such fields even more "elite" by streamlining them. Most would (and DO) happily embrace Mike Bloomberg's call for a "far leaner, but better trained, better equipped and better paid workforce."

I'm aware that in other arenas that is not the predominant view....but it is a sound one. Given that a strong public sector relies on a vibrant private sector to exist and thrive, forcing government to run more like a business seems in the best interests of BOTH the public and private workforces.

Heh, you will have EIGHT LONG YEARS to get used to President Obama, and I hope you all suffer.

You inflicted the worst president in history on this country for eight years, and your reckless greed and stupidity has almost destroyed us.

Bush was a CONSERVATIVE. Bush had the full support of Wall St., Corporate America, and Conservatives. The last eight years has been the conservative agenda in action -- an absolute disaster.

JMK continues to squawk, spin, and lie, but the truth is that greed is not good, obscene wealth is not good, and corporations running the country has ruined our economy even quicker than any Keynesian scheme imaginable.

Obama will return us to Clinton prosperity.

You know, I still laugh at listening to obese felon drug addict Rush Limbaugh seriously telling people to BUY GOLD when Clinton was elected, and BUY STOCKS when Bush was elected. LOL!

Take a look at gold after eight years of Bush! When a "conservative" gets in, BUY GOLD!

Poor Barely....at least you’ve had the good sense to post anonymously lately...I guess you don't want your name linked to that kind of stultifying stupidity....if only you'd thought of that tactic before claiming that "H-1B Visas exploded under G W Bush," "RICO statutes allow the government to confiscate the property of people PRIOR to conviction," etc. right?

IF Obama devotes himself to the Supply Side policies that Clinton did, we will have a return to the "Gingrich years." The Gingrich Congress was the ONLY Congress to CUT the federal budget since WW II!

During that period, they quietly laid off 37,000 federal workers without any noticeable pain - those workers all must've gotten other jobs, as the unemployment rate went down during that same period and those federal budget cuts created a unique phenomenon (budget surpluses) in the late 1990s and delivered the lowest Misery Indexes in over four decades.

But Clinton went to war with the Foley Congress during his first two years, before eagerly cooperating with the Gingrich Congress.

If Obama allows the likes of Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Henry Waxman, John Conyers and Russ Feingold to move him Left, like Tip O'Neil's did to Jimmy Carter, things will get a LOT worse.

But, Wall Street’s your bogeyman?!

Wall Street's donated 60% to 40% in FAVOR of the Democrats for a quite a while now!

There are virtually NO/ZERO (God bless'em) Free Market advocates on Wall Street.

These are the people who're winning the game and they WANT the government to regulate competition OUT of the market.

I don't blame them for that and none of us who’re not involved in that world, have the standing to either praise or blame them for that self-centered stance....we'd ALL almost certainly do the same thing, if we were in that position.

While I'll tepidly acknowledge that in the PAST Wall Street has done some questionable things - the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia was more than 80% financed by Wall Street. The same Wall Streeters also helped Hitler's regime in the 1920s BEFORE any atrocities and when the young Adolph Hitler looked a young, formerly homeless (Hitler lived in German hostels) social reformer.

Saying that, I believe it WRONG to excoriate Wall Street over such past mistakes. I'm certain they acted in what they perceived as the best interests of America. I’m convinced of that.

Wall Street and the NY Exchanges have long been peopled by “characters” - people that most Americans wouldn't understand and quite frankly, aren't fit to judge.

An uncle of mine has long had a seat on the NYMEX (NY's Mercantile Exchange) and he always says, "I agree with John D. Rockefeller - Competition is a sin." He's also said, "I don't believe in markets and I don't believe in democratic socialism, I believe in feudalism. Folks like me won't "win" until there's only a few of us in the "noble class," a sizable military, intelligence and police force (our "knights" and "vassals") and 80% of the people working to subsist or survive - our "serfs." The guy’s a kook, politically, but he’s a wizard in the realm of commodities investing.

Come to think of it, his views are EXACTLY the same as those of George Soros.

Still, it's hard for me to excoriate people like that (I excoriate Soros as a political figure ONLY...I'd excoriate my own uncle IF he forged his views into a political ethos), because they're on a very different level than us. These are the people who fund ALL the political campaigns. They're going to have an extreme and disproportionate amount of influence, so we have to HOPE they'll ultimately pursue policies that will create the most prosperity for the most people. There really is no other hope.

We have a two Party system in which BOTH major Parties rely on “big donors,” which all come from special interests. Take the energy conglomerates – when Republicans are in power they benefit from huge tax breaks AND the GOP can always be counted on to bow to the Energy Company-funded “environmental lobby” to LIMIT access to our own HUGE (4 TRILLION domestic barrels of oil?) energy reserves and when Democrats get in they benefit from government funding their forays into “alternative energy” and that same limiting of demand...it’s a win-win for business.

There is no Party representing a “People’s Movement, supporting government control of Big Energy or any Big Business,” just as there isn’t a “Free Market Party.” Both major political Parties emphasize different issues, regarding tax policies, criminal justice, etc. WITHIN the same Corporatist (“regulated market-based economy”).

you never heard of warren, even though he had a best selling book on the new york times list for weeks....?

you never heard of warren, even though he had a best selling book on the new york times list for weeks....?

I don't get out much.

Just for the record, I wasn't the January 4th Anonymous.

"Just for the record, I wasn't the January 4th Anonymous." (Bob)

That's obvious.

You tend to make sense when you post.

THAT "anonymous" was Barely Hanging.

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