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Member since: Sat Jan 5, 2008, 08:45 PM
Number of posts: 50,164

Journal Archives

Slate's horse race

It was posted a few months before but allows DUers to relive the hilarious moments of the Republican debacle

as one clown after another falls of their horse.

Palin, Pawlenty, Cain, Bachman, Perry, and Huntsman all falling off the horse while Romney just can't get his horse to pull

ahead no matter how much he whips that poor horse.


BREAKING: Romney to outsource angry response to Gingrich.

Campaign insiders are telling us that Romney is going to show how he intends to use his managerial skills
as a political leader by outsourcing his 'angry at Gingrich, and golly I'm not going to take any more
of his shennanigans'
response by hiring a professional to make a cameo appearance at the debate to
handle the question about how he feels about Gingrich.

While the exact surrogate hasn't been identified it is rumored that its going to be this guy;

Nobody Loves Me: A Mitt Music Video


Islamic Contributions to Science: The Scientific Method

In the normal course of education, students in the West experience a narrative that has all but wiped out the massive contributions of Islamic scholars into the knowledge that we all rely on today.

One example of this is understanding how rational thought was resurrected in Europe after the mid ages with the help of Islamic academia.

How aggregious this whitewashing has become is in the western charachterization of the great Islamic university and library at Timbucktu as a non-existent place.

At the height of the Golden Age of Islam Timbucktu was one of the greatest learning centers of the world;



At the same time the West was in the throws of the anti-rational middle ages Islam was going through the greatest age of intellectual growth since Greece. As the Church was promoting the Spanish Inquisition and the destruction of libraries in Europe Islamic libraries were maintaining the threads from Aristotle.

It is quite possible that without the Islamic libraries that many of the early works from Greece would have been lost forever.

Here is an example of ancient texts of Timbuktu


The Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research of Ahmad Baba (IHERIAB) is founded by the government of Mali, with collaboration of Unesco. Ahmad Baba al-Massufi, Ahmed Baba Es Sudane, or Ahmed Baba, the black (1556–1627), was a medieval West African writer, political provocateur and scholar of Masjid Sankore. Through out his life, he wrote more than 40 books and is often noted as having been Timbuktu’s greatest scholar and mujaddid.

IHERIAB’s library holds some of these manuscripts in order to restore and digitize them. More than 18,000 manuscripts have been collected by IHERIAB, but an estimate said there are about 400,000-700,000 manuscripts in the region. There are many other private bibliotheques in Timbuktu where thousands of manuscripts are kept. Some manuscripts were taken and kept to Paris, London, Spain and other parts of Europe. Some manuscripts were buried underground, while others were hidden in the desert or in caves. Many are still hidden today.

It is possible that at the same time Europe was lighting its libraries on fire that the great library of Timbuktu had more than a million transcripts, which would mean that it was the largest library in human history prior to the printing press.

Unknown to Europe Islamic scholars were refining Aristotles methods of inquiry into a formal inductive scientific method.


The founder of the modern Scientific Method is

Ibn al-Haytham

Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), a pioneer of scientific method.

The first of these experimental scientific methods was developed in Iraq by the Muslim physicist and scientist, Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), who used experimentation and mathematics to obtain the results in his Book of Optics (1021).[16] In particular, he combined observations, experiments and rational arguments to support his intromission theory of vision, in which rays of light are emitted from objects rather than from the eyes. He used similar arguments to show that the ancient emission theory of vision supported by Ptolemy and Euclid (in which the eyes emit the rays of light used for seeing), and the ancient intromission theory supported by Aristotle (where objects emit physical particles to the eyes), were both wrong.[17] Ibn al-Haytham's scientific method resembled modern scientific method and consisted of the following procedures:[18]

1.Explicit statement of a problem, tied to observation and to proof by experiment
2.Testing and/or criticism of a hypothesis using experimentation
3.Interpretation of data and formulation of a conclusion using mathematics
4.The publication of the findings

Three hundered years later Robert Grosseteste would read a translations of Arabic translations of Aristotle and build on Islamic scholars development of the scientific method.

Bacon would build on that and 700 years after Ibn al-Haytham Sir Isaac Newton would use those methods to revolutionaize Western Science.

I think that it is very difficult to understand the clerical system in Iran and how Persians have been influenced by peer review as a method of leadership without understanding how they have been influenced by Ibn al-Haytham. There is no central leader in Iran but different factions that are trying to vie for influence by appealing to a peer review. It is in our interest to create seperation between the radicals and win over the moderate clerics and hasten the eventual Iran/American reapproachment.

As one that has family and friends that are Muslims I subscribe to this group so that I can learn more about Islamic contributions to history as well as to understand what progressive Muslims are thinking today.

Gallup numbers show Romney in SHARP decline. Romney intrade on SC win: massive sell off (9)

From the begining I predicted that Romney will not be the nominee, and that the Republican Party would find these clowns unworthy and start favorite sons and drafts to do it all over at the convention

Gallup's rolling national poll is showing Romney having the same kind of poll collapse that Cain, Gingrich and Perry had. Rember this is a rolling poll averaging five days so it has a momentum to it that is even more significant than a regular daily poll;

PRINCETON, NJ -- Mitt Romney is a considerably weaker front-runner among Republican registered voters nationally than he was at the beginning of the week. Romney now leads Newt Gingrich by 30% to 20%, with Rick Santorum and Ron Paul tied at 13%. At the beginning of the week, Romney had a 23-percentage-point lead over Gingrich and Santorum.

The latest results, based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted Jan. 15-19, only partially reflect the potential impact of the dramatic events that have roiled the GOP presidential race this week. These include the withdrawal of two candidates (Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry) from the race, a televised interview given by Gingrich's second wife in which she discussed her former husband's extramarital affair, the continued focus on Romney's tax returns, the announcement that Santorum rather than Romney apparently won the Iowa caucuses, and a lively debate in South Carolina Thursday night in which Gingrich lashed out at the news media, and the CNN moderator in particular.

Polls in South Carolina suggest that Gingrich has a good chance of winning that state, and if so, the race could tighten further in the coming days.

Interactive poll here: http://www.gallup.com/poll/election.aspx

Intrade has a huge Romney sell off and a big buy on Gingrich now at 65% and Romney is at 39%




Interestingly those behind the grass roots campaign for Cain have now gone 100% in for Gingrich.


With Romney melting away and fire bomber Gingrich on the upswing the smart guys in the Republican Party are going to start looking for ways to keep this going and flush all of these clowns for a Republican Governor and start a draft movement.

Links to the other 8 post in the series predicting that Romney will not be the nominee and it will be a brokered convention here


Working hard to become the most insufferable "I told you so" series in DU history and having more fun than should be legal without sex watching Romney make a total ass out of himself.

"I told you so".

Introducing the magical toasters of the Cayman Islands (8th in a series)

Watching Mitt Romney throw away a sure thing is a thing of joy.

Today the media is showing clips of Romney making a quick statement about Perry and running away from reporters.

Making a quick statement about Iowa and running into the car.

It is clear after yesterday's terrible ordeal where he mashed multiple gaffes into a single sentence (15%, hardly any speaking fees, an awkward laugh) no more off script.

Give a prepared statement and run for the car.

But how are we going to get the answers to the real questions?

For example Romney is saying that putting his money into Cayman Island Banks doesn't offer ANY tax advantage, that he pays exactly the same taxes he would here.

This raises two questions;

1) If you don't do it for the taxes then why are you putting your money in the Cayman Islands? For the magical toasters? Tell us, Mitt, tell us about the magical toasters you get in the Cayman Islands when you open an account there.

2) No magical toasters? Then why Mitt, why do you HATE American banks? Why put your money offshore?

Seventh in a series showing how Mitt Romney is throwing away a sure nomination;

First Four: http://www.democraticunderground.com/100252986

#5 Why Romney's father's campaign brainwashed him into being anal retentive


# 6 How Bain Capital is worse than Vulture Capitalism


# 7 Romney's Cayman Island Problems


Official NH results; Darcy Richardson 264 votes, 14th place


Progressive alternative Darcy Richardson who received some support at DU as an alternative to the President may have peaked to early as he was unable to stay within the top 10 spots in the NH primary.

Analysts think that his support was undermined by the more credible campaign of Vermin Supreme who pulled in 4 times Richardson's number with 833 votes.

Mr. Supreme's stump speach:

Mr. Supreme answers real questions by real experts

AP source: ABC interviewed Gingrich ex-wife, likely to air segment 2 nights before SC primary


NEW YORK — ABC News interviewed Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich’s second wife — with whom he’s said he has no relationship — and is likely to air the segment Thursday on “Nightline,” an ABC News executive told The Associated Press.

That’s two days before the South Carolina primary, where the former House speaker is trying to topple GOP front-runner Mitt Romney by casting himself as the more conservative option.

The ABC News executive did not indicate what the ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich, said in the interview. The executive spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plans for airing the interview were tentative.

The interview, should it air before Saturday’s primary, would shine a spotlight on a part of Gingrich’s past that could turn off Republican voters in a state filled with religious and cultural conservatives who may cringe at Gingrich’s two divorces and acknowledged infidelity.

The former Ms. Gingrich has famously stated that she could give an interview that would end his career.

Gamechanger? ABC News Reports on Romney's extensive holdings in Cayman Islands.

What will happen to the Republican primary campaign when Newt Gingrich gets his hands on this report just filed by ABC News?

Romney doesn't just have extraordinary wealth in which he pays low taxes but uses accounts in the Cayman Islands to further lower his tax rate. Even without the tax records there exists enough facts in the public record to raise substantial questions about Romney's financial largess and Bain Capital holding 138 'secretive' investment accounts in the Cayman Islands. How will this play in Peoria, or South Carolina?

Edited to add

Down thread thelordofhell asks if the Mormon Church will be upset that they will not get their share. It turns out that Romney used donations of stock to get a double dip benefit to further reduce his tax liability. Article below.

Romney Parks Millions in Cayman Islands

ABC Report with video (very effective)


Although it is not apparent on his financial disclosure form, Mitt Romney has millions of dollars of his personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, a notorious Caribbean tax haven.

. . .

As the race for the Republican nomination heats up, Mitt Romney is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a shroud of secrecy around the details about his vast personal wealth, including, as ABC News has discovered, his investment in funds located offshore and his ability to pay a lower tax rate.

. . .

But tax experts tell ABC News there are other reasons Romney may not want the public viewing his returns. As one of the wealthiest candidates to run for president in recent times, Romney has used a variety of techniques to help minimize the taxes on his estimated $250 million fortune. In addition to paying the lower tax rate on his investment income, Romney has as much as $8 million invested in at least 12 funds listed on a Cayman Islands registry. Another investment, which Romney reports as being worth between $5 million and $25 million, shows up on securities records as having been domiciled in the Caymans. Official documents reviewed by ABC News show that Bain Capital, the private equity partnership Romney once ran, has set up some 138 secretive offshore funds in the Caymans.

. . .

Tax experts agree that Romney remains subject to American taxes. But they say the offshore accounts have provided him -- and Bain -- with other potential financial benefits, such as higher management fees and greater foreign interest, all at the expense of the U.S. Treasury. Rebecca J. Wilkins, a tax policy expert with Citizens for Tax Justice, said the federal government loses an estimated $100 billion a year because of tax havens. Blum, the D.C. tax lawyer, said working through an offshore investment vehicle allows the investor to "avoid a whole series of small traps in the tax code that ordinary people would face if they paid tax on an onshore basis."

Wilkins agreed, saying the "primary advantage to setting those funds up in an offshore jurisdiction like the Cayman Islands or Bermuda is it helps the investors avoid tax."

Romney's campaign has responded with "everything Romney has done is legal" which sounds like a non-denial response to the facts. The experts cited explain that even though the rates on income will be the same as the US, Romney may be using other aspects of the Cayman Islands to further reduce tax liabilities, even though it may be legal.

Edited to add that Romney also used stock donations to the Mormon Church to further reduce tax liability

In Bain deals, Romney gave stock to Mormon church


(Reuters) - Using a practice that made him eligible for large tax deductions, Mitt Romney gave the Mormon church substantial stock holdings that he obtained through his private equity firm, according to documents filed with the government and to Romney associates.

The tactic used by Romney to help meet his Mormon obligation of "tithing" - in which members donate 10 percent of their income to the church - is a common way for wealthy Americans to make large donations to charities, tax specialists say.

But against the backdrop of a Republican presidential campaign in which Romney is being pressured to reveal his tax returns and further details on his vast wealth, the donations shed light on the tax strategies of Romney and others at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he co-founded in 1984.

The analysts said that if Romney and others at Bain got a stock cheap and eventually donated it to a church or charity without cashing in the stock, then they could get two tax benefits. First, they would not have to pay capital gains tax on the appreciated value of the stock, which they would have to do if they sold the stock and either pocketed or donated the proceeds. Second, they might be able to deduct all, or at least part of, the value of the donated stock from their taxable income.

Here are the facts about Bain and KB Toys, much worse than 'Vulture' Capitalism

There is good private equity and there is bad private equity firms.

My company at the time tried to find a partner in the 1990s and I was impressed by some of the people we talked with. They look at 100 companies pare it down to 10 and recommend one.

Here are the facts about KB Toys.

1. At the time it was purchased KB Toys was an industry leader, it was not in trouble.


In 1999, KBkids.com received top points from an e-commerce market research firm, the Gomez Advisors, in the categories of customer confidence, overall cost, and bargain shopping. Softletter named the site one of the 'Ten Best Online Software Stores of 1999' in its October 15th issue. Even the Wall Street Journal dubbed the site the 'best overall' online toy retailer. In a little more than four months online, KBkids.com increased its business more than 400 percent and twice ranked among the five biggest gainers on the NextCard eCommerce Movers index.

It seemed nothing could stop KB Toys from challenging its rivals in the toy industry. Operating profit for 1999 was up 51 percent from 1998. The company, seeking to capitalize on its growth, decided to hold an initial public offering in the spring of 2000, then postponed trading due to unfavorable market conditions. Notwithstanding this delay, KB was more focused than ever on fine-tuning its position in the very fashion-forward toy industry. With relatively small stores and a knack for innovation and creativity in marketing, KB was ready as ever to make quick adjustments to changing customer and merchandise trends.

2. KB Toys was a company that made money and exercised social responsibility

After a 13 year old boy in NYC was shot and killed while holding a realistic toy gun (not from KB Toys) KB Toys destroyed 300,000 toys in inventory and never again carried realistic toy guns. They also gave toys for guns.

The company also participated in New York's 'Goods for Guns' program, which offered gift certificates to people who surrendered real firearms. Although Ann Iverson left as chairman in 1994, her policy of not selling look-alike guns was continued by her successor, Alan Fine, who had been senior vice-president before becoming president and CEO.

3. Bain Capital 'purchased' KB for the respectable price of $ 305 million dollars on December 8, 2000.


4. Bain Capital only offered $ 18 million in cash, the rest was leaveraged debt put on the company.

5. "Sixteen months after the buyout, Bain Capital paid itself $85 million in dividends in early 2002."

6. "January 14, 2004, K·B Toys filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and closed 365 stores."

7. Three years later the rest of the 156 stores were closed down.

But there is a little more to the story. KB Stores had already gone through a tough restructuring in 1996. At that time a private equity bought the company, closed unprofitable stores, and increased profits.

So here is the objective reality of what Bain did.

Bain engineered a private equity purchase of a profitable company that had already gone through 'creative destruction' eliminating unprofitable legacy operations and saddled the company with hundreds of millions of dollars of debt. The company was not just profitable but an example of the kind of companies that demonstrate a wider social conscious for its customers and the larger community. Sixteen months after purchasing the company with only 6% cash of the value Bain takes out dividends at over 400% of their investment. Significantly this was done during the time of the attacks on 9/11 when the country as a whole was undergoing a hightened sense of patriotism, sacrifice and social duty. Less than 2 years after saddling KB Toys with massive debt and taking out astronomical dividends, K-B Toys faces Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closes 354 previously profitable stores.

Vultures take meat that is already dead and complete the final loop in the cycle of life.

Bain took a company that had already been restructured and was surging in profits and cash. There was never any interest by Bain to restructure KB Toys, that had already been done.

Bain purchased KB Toys simply to raid its cash, and they did so during a time when the rest of the country was undergoing a period of reviewing the founding principles of the country.

To call what Bain did to KB Toys as 'Vulture' Capitalism is an insult to Vultures.

They were pirates and this is why there is so much interest to change the subject and not let the real facts of Bain Capital come to the surface during the Republican Primary.
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