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    I did not watch Herman Cain on the various news shows, but Memeorandum is relatively quiet, so I assume there were no major gotchas.

    Definitely get the sense the Occupy protests are getting uglier, not better.  The cream is not rising to the top, it’s the people we see riot at every G20 or other international gathering who are moving up.

    The Israel prisoner swap is depressing, and will be even more so when Hamas holds its victory rally.  I’m happy for the Shalit family, but their happiness will be at the cost of the sadness of terror victim families watching the killers go free, to kill again.  There must be something else going on here, perhaps that is not public, otherwise it’s hard to understand Netanyahu agreeing to this.  Perhaps it was a strategic calculation to weaken the Palesinian Authority at a time it is seeking U.N. recognition back to the pre-1967 borders; or maybe there are events Netanyahu swill take place soon which will make the release of the prisoners seem like small change but make getting Shalit back impossible (e.g., collapse of Assad regime, war with Iran, etc.).

    AxelPlouffe is going after Romney as a flip flopper.  Hey, that’s our gig! Axelrod says voters are unsure about Romney’s “core principles“.  No problem there for Obama, we know exactly what his core principles are.

    What else?

    Updates:

    Israel Matzav, IDF soldiers told to blow themselves up or kill their comrades rather than allow another Gilad Shalit.  What trading hundreds for one results in.

    Israel Today, Israelis worried by anti-Semitic flavor of ‘Occupy Wall St.’ protests.  The same people who board ships for Gaza, call Israel an “Apartheid state,” and are part of the Boycott Divest Sanction movement.

    Washington Times, Obama: King would have backed ‘Occupy Wall Street’.  He also spent much of the speech blaming “the last 10 years” before he took office for all our problems.  Never missing an opportunity to poke others in the eyes.

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    Comments


    @ Owen J: I don’t know about your unleaded gas example, but I would think that, in most cases, the lowering of production costs for a given product would indeed lower the price of that product for the consumer. Your theory that prices won’t come down, because people get “used to” paying “x” dollars for something and therefore manufacturers will simply pocket the savings generated by reduced production costs seems to assume price-fixing as an inherent feature of markets. Perhaps manufacturers collude on keeping prices high in certain instances (unleaded gas?), but if we’re talking about bread bakeries, for example, I seriously doubt that the savings would not be passed onto consumers, all else being equal.


       
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      Owen J in reply to Conrad. | October 17, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      Conrad: Price-fixing may not be an inherent feature of markets, but maximizing profits is. Outside of Moore’s Law industries (where the savings are huge), I am not aware of industries that generally lower prices when costs decline, especially by modest amounts.

      Think of organic food — it is in many cases cheaper to produce, but it always costs more because people have been sold on the idea that it should; organic food actually carries a sort of “guilt tax.” And of course, it is not that much cheaper to produce, so the margin is small, and dropping the price by the margin the producers must feel would only dilute profits without increasing market share.

      So the question is really the price point and how much does the price point have to change to generate competive advantage. I submit that for most markets a 9% marginal cost difference will not it.

      For empirical data on this, look at discounts: a 10% discount does not increase sales in most industries or confer a competitive advantage: 15% might and 20-25% usually does.

      So I doubt very much that producers would get any advantage to reducing their prices by a less than 9% decrease in costs. And of course, there is nothing that says that the 999 plan will actually result in lower tax overall — I keep finding scenarios where they actually go up.

      I also do not like the argumnet in principle. What Cain is saying is that he wants to hit me with a new significant mandated cost but it is OK, because their will be some savings in there, Maybe there will but the savings is not mandated. He’s saying the market will react to his proposal is such a way to generate some savings but what does he know? Does he have any hard evidence?

      Of course not. He’s just hand-waving — saying “trust me.”

      The other problem is that producers are not going to adjust prices in response to a moving target and a national Sales tax could be such a target: who says it’s going to stay at 9%? Govt’s love to monkey with sales tax — look at Calif. Whenever they want more money, they raise the sales tax — a “temporary” tax — and then it stays there as the new baseline.

      Sales tax is easy to raise because it becomes buried in the cost of living — no one really knows at the end of the year what they spent on it. But income tax is right there on your tax return. Cain is being sneaky in calling this “transparent” — literally true but misleading.

      But again, the issue is: What does this tell us about Cain’s approach to governing? Based on what I’ve seen, it tells us nothing good.


     
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    Milhouse | October 17, 2011 at 9:20 am

    There is no secret about Netanyahu’s deal. This was absolutely predictable; he talks a wonderful game, but whenever push comes to shove he’s the squish to beat all squishes. Remember that he’s the one who gave away Chevron, and then reneged on his promise that if the Arabs would shoot from the hills IDF tanks would immediately take them back. Netanyahu does what is electorally advantageous for him, and in this case he caved to an intense campaign that would portray him as a heartless beast if he declined the deal. Bringing Gil’ad home gets him public approval, and damn the dozens or hundreds whose lives have been sacrificed in advance; we don’t know their names, so they and their families don’t count.


     
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    VetHusbandFather | October 17, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Anyone watch the full MLK Jr Dedication speech? Anyone else feel like Obama was talking about himself the whole time and not MLK Jr. Particularly at the part were he started ‘After winning the Nobel peace prize he was called a…”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism


     
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    damocles | October 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Cain may have a second amendment problem. On local Conservative radio this am, Mark Davis played a Cain interview,( May 2011) with Wolf Blitzer. Cain stated that the second amendment is a states issue. He started by saying that he fully supports the 2nd amendment, but then when pressed,Cain said laws on gun control are a states right issue.
    Cain needs to stop with the states rights on gun control. If he stated his position correctly, that would mean if a states could limit the possession of arms overriding the Constitution. If he did not mean this or misspoke, Cain needs to fix this statement ASAP.


     
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    damocles | October 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Just to update. In defense of Herman Cain I did some more research on Cains later campaign speeches on the second amendment and he seems to have walked back the comment he made on Blitzers show. It may have been a “gotcha” moment where he wasn’t well prepared, or simply did not explain his position fully.
    I am willing to take his position as stated in later speeches, although these speeches were not the ones that were highlighted on the Conservative radio show that brought up the Blitzer answer. The host really likes Cain,
    but was worried about the comment made on Blitzers show.


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