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Author Topic: Attack On Tea Party
LetterRip
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fly,

the difference between claims about Himalayas and this are that the claim of the economic amount was an obviously absurd number. The economic amount is off by about two orders of magnitude. The himalayan claim was actually only a slight misinterpretation of summary about research results in 1999

quote:
The statement I gave on the basis of the results being found till then was: "All the glaciers in the middle Himalayas are retreating, and a scientific postulation was made that all the glaciers in the central and eastern Himalayas could disappear in the next 40-50 years at their present rate of decline.

Moreover, this postulation factually represented the findings based on research techniques and instruments available in 1980s and 1990s. Now, we have more sophisticated and accurate instruments and techniques, as compared to those 10 years back. So precision has increased and the new results are coming out.

I must stress that a journalistic substitution of the year 2035 was made without my knowledge and approval that was markedly contrary to my research supported finding of the likelihood of the central and eastern Himalaya glaciers disappearing in “40-50 years.

http://www.countercurrents.org/nazareth230110.htm

So - the reality is that the a disappearance between 2040-2050 was supported by research findings. That a reporter made a typo (2035 instead of 2045), and that some more recent reports mistakenly used the reporters number, and failed to take into account more recent research.

The original range probably was limited to uncertainty in estimating melt rate, not uncertainty in economic changes and human behavior (ie world economic collapse was not a part of the uncertainty).

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
The economic amount is off by about two orders of magnitude.

Everyone who has officially commented on the cost has refused to give details. By any reasonable estimate, the current trip is far more than $2 million / day you claim. You are countering one exaggeration with another exaggeration.

The Republican's who repeated an unsubstantiated source were wrong to do so, but the trip still remains an extremely costly endeavor in a time of high unemployment and large Federal deficits.

President Obama is ultimately responsible for the cost of the trip and the entire trip could have been undertaken with far less cost by reducing the size of his entourage.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
President Obama is ultimately responsible for the cost of the trip and the entire trip could have been undertaken with far less cost by reducing the size of his entourage.
So he should take the trip, but leave behind the people that he'll need to have around to do productive work while on it? On what do you base your assertion here?
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
President Obama is ultimately responsible for the cost of the trip and the entire trip could have been undertaken with far less cost by reducing the size of his entourage.
So he should take the trip, but leave behind the people that he'll need to have around to do productive work while on it? On what do you base your assertion here?
I think reducing the entourage to the 500-600 range that Clinton took on his trip to China would be reasonable. There is no evidence to indicate that Clinton's trip was unproductive.
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cherrypoptart
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Just clearing up one thing that I was wondering about, which was the coconuts. When I first read that, I remembered that people actually do die from being hit on the head by a naturally falling coconut, and then I read here on Ornery that the concern was because a bomb might be hidden in one.

Reading from this yahoo story, it appears that they are worried more about the former than the latter, which kind of makes sense. If a bomb can be hidden in a coconut up on a tree, it could also be hidden in a hollowed out part of a coconut tree, or any tree for that matter. So it seems like they are doing this coconut thing just to prevent a coconut from naturally falling onto the President’s head because of gravity. I wonder how other people make it through the day over there. Maybe they just try not to walk under coconuts. That probably saves them a lot of money. One might think that with our President’s genius level IQ (anyone know what it is by the way?), he would be smart enough to avoid death by naturally falling coconut. I guess that explains why when I recently visited the White House and the Oval Office, all of the hard desk and table corners were taped up with bubble wrap. I thought it was for his kids’ sake though…

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101105/el_yblog_upshot/citing-shady-numbers-republicans-take-aim-at-the-cost-of-obamas-trip-to-india

> That is not to say that some of the precautions for Obama's first presidential visit to India aren't possibly a tad over the top. As the BBC reports, Indian officials have been removing coconuts from any trees that Obama might walk under, to prevent anything from falling on the presidential head. And as London's Daily Telegraph notes, the country has deployed trained monkey catchers to prevent any "simian invasion" (a measure that Indian officials also took when President Bush visited in 2006).

Also it’s true that there are substantial sunk costs for the Navy, but there are also very substantial variable costs as well, and it wouldn’t be unfair to include the variable costs that are above and beyond what would have been incurred without this trip as a part of the price tag. Calculating those would be difficult, but getting an estimate and low balling it just to be on the safe side would not be impossible. That figure would definitely be a non-zero sum but I have no idea how much it would cost. A logistics expert could figure it out though with the right information.

Also from that article:

> The White House, meanwhile, issued a blanket statement that the $200 million figure "had no basis in reality" and was "wildly inflated." The press office declined to disclose the trip's actual cost, citing "security concerns."

Security reasons? Fair enough. But after this is over, the taxpayers demand a transparent accounting for all the costs. President Obama has promised us that and more, and we’ll find out soon enough if he delivers on his promises as well as he delivers a speech.

Just out of curiousity, I googled "death by coconut."

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2405/are-150-people-killed-each-year-by-falling-coconuts

Edited to add: Neither here nor there, but after more almost random internet sleuthing: Acai Berry Chic Exposed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taHkPtno-4E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTn9ztsu9Qc&feature=related

[ November 05, 2010, 03:13 PM: Message edited by: cherrypoptart ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
President Obama is ultimately responsible for the cost of the trip and the entire trip could have been undertaken with far less cost by reducing the size of his entourage.
So he should take the trip, but leave behind the people that he'll need to have around to do productive work while on it? On what do you base your assertion here?
I think reducing the entourage to the 500-600 range that Clinton took on his trip to China would be reasonable. There is no evidence to indicate that Clinton's trip was unproductive.
Given the number of rooms rented, that would seem to be about the upper limit of what Obama is actually taking, probably less, given the number of those rooms that are probably going to be designated as offices, decoys, or buffers.
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LetterRip
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JWatts,

quote:
Everyone who has officially commented on the cost has refused to give details. By any reasonable estimate, the current trip is far more than $2 million / day you claim. You are countering one exaggeration with another exaggeration.
I didn't say 2 million/day. My range was 3.4-5.6 million per day.

quote:
The Republican's who repeated an unsubstantiated source were wrong to do so, but the trip still remains an extremely costly endeavor in a time of high unemployment and large Federal deficits.
We also had high unemployment and large federal deficits 3 years ago. The goal is presumably free trade and strategic partnerships with foreign governments.

quote:
President Obama is ultimately responsible for the cost of the trip and the entire trip could have been undertaken with far less cost by reducing the size of his entourage.[...] I think reducing the entourage to the 500-600 range that Clinton took on his trip to China would be reasonable. There is no evidence to indicate that Clinton's trip was unproductive.
Please read above. First off there is no source besides the original for the 3000, that had the other insane numbers. So the 3000 is likely grossly inflated. Also the 3000 number includes staff and secret service, and business folks who are traveling in parallel. The actual staff size - you know, the stuff the American public is paying for, is the about the same as Clintons.
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TommySama
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
President Obama is ultimately responsible for the cost of the trip and the entire trip could have been undertaken with far less cost by reducing the size of his entourage.
So he should take the trip, but leave behind the people that he'll need to have around to do productive work while on it? On what do you base your assertion here?
I think reducing the entourage to the 500-600 range that Clinton took on his trip to China would be reasonable. There is no evidence to indicate that Clinton's trip was unproductive.
Clinton wasn't getting 1200 death threats a year. Plus the number of terrorist and militant groups in the Af-Pak region is significantly higher due to Bush's (now Obama's) wars. We also know that they can get into India. So of course Obama has beefed up security. If you want to play neo-empire, you're gonna have to accept the increased costs of security.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
One: It wasn't created by Conservative Media. It was a news report from India repeated. Why do reporters hate Obama?
Yes, reported by one story from India, and repeated mindlessly by just about all the Conservative Pundits across the country. You'd think, with all their skepticism of the "liberal media," they would routinely check news stories for veracity. Or at least Snopes. [Smile]

Their idiots. They'd happily buy the Brooklin Bridge if it happened to fit in with their agenda. Repeating their lies makes others look like idiots, too.

quote:
Two: Yes, a bit of reflection would have been nice. You know what other story went the rounds without a bit of fact checking? The fact that the Himilayas would be ice free in 30 years or so. That was another lie that made it around the world while the truth was slow out the gate. Do you and yours feel foolish about that lie?
First, I don't recall myself, or anyone else on this board, specifically defending the "Himilayas will be ice free in 30 years" story. When you step up and use or defend a specific story, you are partially responsible for the information in that story. (Something the Conservative Pundits just don't understand. [Mad] ) It behooves you to do at least a cursory check of the story to make sure you are not spreading lies. Or at least acknowledge that there is some doubt, and you are basing your opinion on the veracity of the story.

And please don't come back with some silly, "Well, you defended the IPCC report it was in," unless you want to be responsible for the veracity every statement made by denialists. (If that doesn't scare you, you really haven't been paying attention... [Smile] )

Second, just because Conservatives believes and spread lies doesn't mean Liberal don't do it, too. I have done it a few times myself (although fortunately I can't recall any particular instance--I'm sure others here could refresh my memory. [Smile] ) And you know how I feel when I'm been schnookered?

Foolish. Like an idiot.

I hate it.

This is one reason I almost never repeat what I hear from Olbermann. And whenever I do repeat something, I always check it first. Because I know I can't trust him. I know he often times exagerates, or looks at things from the worst possible light. He simply is not trustworthy.

Do you hate being wrong? Do you feel like an idiot when someone tells you something and you spread it around, only to find out you were wrong? Do you do what you can to make sure you aren't doing it?

I trust that you do. I trust that you value truth as much as I and everyone else on this board does. And so I trust you feel like a fool for either defending this piece of foolishness or believing it without question. Because that's what we're all about here, discussing issues with facts, not truthiness. For that, you can go anywhere on the Internet. [Frown]

Feeling like a fool is how you should feel after being fooled. [Smile]

quote:
Lighten up Francis. You are sounding like a Jackhole.
Better to sound like one than to be one. [Big Grin]
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LetterRip
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cherrypoptart,

quote:
Also it’s true that there are substantial sunk costs for the Navy, but there are also very substantial variable costs as well, and it wouldn’t be unfair to include the variable costs that are above and beyond what would have been incurred without this trip as a part of the price tag. Calculating those would be difficult, but getting an estimate and low balling it just to be on the safe side would not be impossible. That figure would definitely be a non-zero sum but I have no idea how much it would cost. A logistics expert could figure it out though with the right information.
The estimates that I and JWatts provide include the marginal cost of the military activity and security. It makes up nearly 90% of total expenditures for the trip. The GAO ran the numbers for the Clinton trip, which had similar naval support, air support etc.

[ November 05, 2010, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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cherrypoptart
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Did you include the costs of the bomb proof tunnel:

http://antzinpantz.com/kns/?p=34276

"(DNA India) — It could give a sense of superior American organisation, or be an indicator of a deep-set persecution complex. It could also be a manifestation of Uncle Sam’s penchant for a show of strength.

The matter pertains to US president Barack Obama’s planned visit to Mani Bhavan —the Gandhi museum — on November 6, soon after he reaches Mumbai. On Monday, US secret agents visited the museum to plan Obama’s security detail.

They were accompanied by officers of Mumbai Police and civic officials of the D ward (where Mani Bhavan is located). While inspecting the route and the buildings lining up the route to the museum, the Americans detected a skyscraper near Peddar road and also found the area to be highly populated. Since it is difficult to monitor such a congested area, they came up with a quick solution which left the Indians accompanying them amazed: A bomb-proof over-ground tunnel — to be installed by US military engineers in just an hour.

The tunnel would be a kilometre long and measure 12ft by 12ft — enough to let Obama’s cavalcade pass through. The tunnel would be centrally air-conditioned, fitted with close-circuit television cameras, and will be heavily guarded at every point, including, of course, its entry and exit.

Details about when exactly the tunnel would be made were not forthcoming. But officials said that the structure would be dismantled immediately after Obama leaves the area."

LetterRip, I read your posts but just for clarification, what was the final grand total you came up with for the military costs associated with this trip?

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flydye
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
Better to sound like one than to be one. [Big Grin]

I aspire no higher.
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LetterRip
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Cherry,

both JWatts and I used a doubling of military/security support costs compared to Clintons China trip.

Military/security marginal cost I estimate between

30.6 million for the ten days (my low estimate assumes a 50% increase in military and security spending compared to Clinton)

50.4 million for ten days (assumes a doubling of security and military costs compared to Clinton).

Regarding the tunnel - from what I've read elsewhere this is a standard security corridor that is pretty common for Presidential travel through a less secure area, not something new being invented for Obama. Hence why a kilometer long tunnel can be assembled in an hour in an unfamiliar area completely outfitted with cameras and air conditioning.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
I aspire no higher.
[Big Grin]
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cherrypoptart
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Cool LetterRip, thanks for the answers. I think I'll just wait and see how this goes without getting too excited about it just yet.

One thing I agree with is that India can be a great ally and we should try to shift more of our jobs to be outsourced there as opposed to China. There is virtually no chance of them using our money against us militarily like China might over Taiwan or some of the islands in dispute between them and Japan, PI, etc. And there is still the Tibet thing.

So I'd actually love it if we did more to strengthen our ties with India. It's always nice to have a friend, and I don't see why India can't be one of our best.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by TommySama:
]Clinton wasn't getting 1200 death threats a year. Plus the number of terrorist and militant groups in the Af-Pak region is significantly higher due to Bush's (now Obama's) wars. We also know that they can get into India. So of course Obama has beefed up security. If you want to play neo-empire, you're gonna have to accept the increased costs of security.

Agreed. I don't have any problem with the increased security costs. I do have a problem with the 3,000 people involved. That's 1.5-6x time larger than similar trips in the past.

Furthermore, those trips weren't during a recession. It would behoove the President to be mindful of the current state of the economy.

A similar trip with 500 people would have been just as effective (at a fraction the cost).

If it turns out that only 500-600 people are going, I don't have a problem with this. If the real figure is 3,000 then it's a reckless and needless expense.

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LetterRip
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cherry,

I agree that if we must have a trade imbalance, I too would prefer it with India instead of China. As you say, India is much more aligned with US interests, whereas China actively opposes them. Also India seems much more conducive to balanced trade than China.

Another issue is that China often requires patent transfers as part of doing business in China. In the past corporations have gotten around this by transferring their worthless patents, but China is becoming more sophisticated on this, and is starting to force transfer of valuable patents.

JWatts,

quote:
If it turns out that only 500-600 people are going, I don't have a problem with this. If the real figure is 3,000 then it's a reckless and needless expense.
I completely agree. If the US is paying for more individuals to travel to India than the Clinton administration did for China than it is as you say 'a reckless and needless expense'.

[ November 05, 2010, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
If it turns out that only 500-600 people are going, I don't have a problem with this. If the real figure is 3,000 then it's a reckless and needless expense.

Well, since they only took out about 700 rooms, you might want to hedge a bet on 3000 being inflated. Or else they're going to be really, really crowded.

I do also note that the quotes from the original article didn't refer to who would be spending that money. It may get up to $200 million/day once you count all of the money that India is spending on their end of the preparations and that the reporters, aides, etc... will be spending when they pay for personal expenses and the like. Similarly, the 3000 people accompanying the president may count the Indian officials, aides, media, etc... that will be tagging along as well.

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LetterRip
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Pyrtolin,

If it were 3000 people - all of them stayed in 300$/night night hotels, ate 150$ meals 3 times a day. That comes to 2.2 million a day. If each of them decided to do hookers and blow all day (for my amusement just checked elite class escorts in India are 2000$ a day - gotta love the internet.., and 100$ for a gram coke each hour - couldn't find indias street price for a gram - edit found it - 80$ per gram, but hey they probably got overcharged by the doorman), that still comes to less than 20 million a day. Each individual would need almost 67 thousand a day in spending to reach 200 million a day. Perhaps they buy and wreck a new porsche every other day.

[ November 05, 2010, 05:31 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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scifibum
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That kind of party would certainly attract at least 3000 attendees.
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Churchmouse
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Since you don't have a problem with this, why don't you slip a few extra bucks in your tax return next year to help out a bit,Rip?
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Wayward Son
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Church, did you miss it when LetterRip said:

quote:
If the US is paying for more individuals to travel to India than the Clinton administration did for China than it is as you say 'a reckless and needless expense'.
And did you also miss that the $200 million/day figure is completely bogus, a lie being spread by the Conservative Media to fool its listeners (or because the Conservative Media are simply fools themselves)? [Wink]
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Churchmouse
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How will we ever know? They don't release that info.
It could even be more. They're not flying in Piper Cubs and staying in pup tents.

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cb
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If austerity measures can be taken to bring the cost of this trip down, would you all agree they should be taken?? So, for example, if it was less expensive to leave the first lady and the kiddies home and kill the sight seeing tours that were not a part of the business end of this trip, shouldn't that be done?

This trip is most especially egregious because of Obama’s speech in November of 2009 where he promised "fiscal discipline and austerity measures" http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=16234 in order to avoid a double dip recession.

The message he is sending is WE must tighten our belts, but don't ask the first family to do the same.

And don’t bring up other presidents and their spending; Obama is facing peculiar circumstances that are exclusive to his presidency and his reactions cannot be measured by behavior of past POTUS in different circumstance. No other president has presided over the possibility of America losing its top drawer credit rating and possibly seeing the dollar replaced as the dominant reserve currency.

And that, my friends, is why Obama's trips hit us all like a mallet in the face. While Rome burns - Obama and family fiddle in Spain, England, Hawaii, Paris, Chicago and now India.

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Churchmouse:
How will we ever know? They don't release that info.
It could even be more. They're not flying in Piper Cubs and staying in pup tents.

You won't see a line item accounting, but if you're going to spread this wild claim you have an obligation to base it, somehow, in reality, rather than just repeating it because it makes Obama look bad and therefore must be truthy.

LR has patiently explained why the original claim is implausible. IMO, it's ridiculous. You're ignoring his analysis because "how can we know for sure"?

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Churchmouse
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I don't think we need this to make Obama look bad.
For example, last TUESDAY.

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LetterRip
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cb,

quote:
f austerity measures can be taken to bring the cost of this trip down, would you all agree they should be taken?? So, for example, if it was less expensive to leave the first lady and the kiddies home and kill the sight seeing tours that were not a part of the business end of this trip, shouldn't that be done?
Diplomacy at this level is in significant part a social call. The marginal cost of bringing family is almost nonexistant (no marginal cost of rooms or food since it is the presidential chef for their meals, and the rooms had to be all rented, marginal cost of fuel for transport is probably a 1000$ or so if you include their secret service details). The marginal benefit could be extraordinary.

Ie assume that any deal brokered could be worth 5 billion a year in additional US exports. The presence of the First Lady and children increase the odds by 1% of a deal being brokered. .01*5 billion = 50 million. Hence a marginal value of 50 million, versus a marginal cost of a few thousand dollars. The positive impact of spouses on increasing the odds of favorable diplomacy/business dealings is widely recognized.

Essentially you are advocating being penny wise and pound foolish.

[ November 05, 2010, 07:16 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip
Ie assume that any deal brokered could be worth 5 billion a year in additional US exports. The presence of the First Lady and children increase the odds by 1% of a deal being brokered. .01*5 billion = 50 million. Hence a marginal value of 50 million, versus a marginal cost of a few thousand dollars.

I thought it was "bad" to make up numbers for a partisan point.
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Animist
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I cannot begin to understand the hostility toward Obama. That is-- I do get why people hate the president. I remember how much I hated the last president. His television-image was designed to appeal to the other of the two dominant personality-types in the country, so it pissed me off. Just like the Obama TV-image seems to infuriate the right-wing personality-type.

But all that aside, the criticisms of Obama have included some of the stupidest nonsense I've ever seen. Do Americans have no memory?

Example: We have a census every ten years. We have since the country was founded. Every American born before 1999 has already lived through one census in their lifetime. It's in the Constitution. But all of a sudden the 2010 census rolls around, and the Right Wing blogosphere explodes! "What is this 'census!?!?!?' Some fiendish plot hatched by the Communist-Muslims, I say! Surely, this idea of 'counting and categorizing the population, thereby rendering it legible to the government, more amenable to legislation and open to proportional representation' comes directly from the Koran! And we all know who wrote the Koran-- Obama's grandfather, Karl Marx!"

And now, Obama is going to India. Kinda like how every president in your lifetime has gone to other countries for economic summits and the like. Because that's what it means to be a--you know--"Head of State." But--but--but it's OBAMA doing it! And so--gasp and cry, we can't have this!

Surely no president has ever gone to another country! Surely if they had done so, they would have done their best to save the taxpayers' money by telecommuting, or maybe asking the Indian president if they could crash on his couch.

And because there is no such thing as "rationality" in this country, then if some random-ass newspaper in India makes an absurd claim about the cost, then it's repeated by everybody--even members of the United States Congress!--as though it's a legitimate claim because, hey, someone somewhere said it.

And how do you know it's NOT true? I know you've provided sources. But I ALSO provided a source-- some random mother****er in India! And there are two sides to every story, so we'll probably never REALLY know the truth.

I honestly, seriously don't get it. I mean again, I get disliking the president-- or rather, the television-image/cartoon of the president that you're shown on TV. He's not designed for you to like him-- he's designed for people like me to like him. And I get honestly disagreeing with his policies. But I don't get the complete jettisoning of memory, sanity and coherence that seems to be going on in America right now.

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Funean
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Hear, hear, Animist. Lordy.
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Daruma28
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We have a census every ten years. We have since the country was founded. Every American born before 1999 has already lived through one census in their lifetime. It's in the Constitution. But all of a sudden the 2010 census rolls around, and the Right Wing blogosphere explodes!

Oh, your naivete is cute. It's not just the "right wing" although the lefty nanny-staters would love you to be distracted with the "rightvsleft" charade.

The difference between this most recent census and previous ones where the following:

Census takers used to simply show up, ask someone how many people lived in the dwelling, how many lived in adjacent dwellings that the census taker found where not home, and that was it.

A head count.

The most recent census? They've been gathering all sorts of personal information, blatantly trespassing, and working in conjunction with google to link as much personal info with GPS coordinates into a centralized database.

In other words, this latest census used the constitutional requirement for a headcount as a backdoor for gathering as much personal info as possible from the citizenry so as to escalate the scope of our Big Brother surveillance State that begun to be built after 9/11 and the PATRIOT ACTS.

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Animist
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Daruma: Can you source that?

quote:
Oh, your naivete is cute. It's not just the "right wing" although the lefty nanny-staters would love you to be distracted with the "rightvsleft" charade.
I described the census as "a way of rendering a population legible to the government," or literally to the state, the people who run the state, and therefore open to the application of state power. As an occupant of the libertarian-left, I'm generally opposed to such things.

So my point wasn't, "It's just a census. There is nothing to be alarmed about." My point was "I find it amusing/bizarre that the Right Wing is acting as though it's just discovered census-taking, presidential visits to foreign countries, and every other thing Obama does that every other president in history has done."

I don't mind attacks on the president. I do mind the complete abandonment of reason that seems to be going on among the Political Commentator class ("right" "left and otherwise) in this country.

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Daruma28
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When Congress voted on a resolution to "encourage" participation in the 2010 Census, this is Ron Paul's reason for voting No on that resolution:

quote:
Last week Congress voted to encourage participation in the 2010 census. I voted “No” on this resolution for the simple, obvious reason that the census – like so many government programs – has grown far beyond what the framers of our Constitution intended. The invasive nature of the current census raises serious questions about how and why government will use the collected information. It also demonstrates how the federal bureaucracy consistently encourages citizens to think of themselves in terms of groups, rather than as individual Americans. The not so subtle implication is that each group, whether ethnic, religious, social, or geographic, should speak up and demand its “fair share” of federal largesse.

Article I, section 2 of the Constitution calls for an enumeration of citizens every ten years, for the purpose of apportioning congressional seats among the various states. In other words, the census should be nothing more than a headcount. It was never intended to serve as a vehicle for gathering personal information on citizens.

But our voracious federal government thrives on collecting information. In fact, to prepare for the 2010 census state employees recorded GPS coordinates for every front door in the United States so they could locate individuals with greater accuracy! Once duly located, individuals are asked detailed questions concerning their name, address, race, home ownership, and whether they periodically spend time in prison or a nursing home - just to name a few examples.

From a constitutional perspective, of course, the answer to each of these questions is: "None of your business." But the bigger question is -- why government is so intent on compiling this information in the first place?

The Census Bureau claims that collected information is not shared with any federal agency; but rather is kept under lock and key for 72 years. It also claims that no information provided to census takers can be used against you by the government.

However, these promises can and have been abused in the past. Census data has been used to locate men who had not registered for the draft. Census data also was used to find Japanese-Americans for internment camps during World War II. Furthermore, the IRS has applied census information to detect alleged tax evaders. Some local governments even have used census data to check for compliance with zoning regulations.

It is not hard to imagine that information compiled by the census could be used against people in the future, despite claims to the contrary and the best intentions of those currently in charge of the Census Bureau. The government can and does change its mind about these things, and people have a right to be skeptical about government promises.

Yet there are consequences for not submitting to the census and its intrusive questions. If the form is not mailed back in time, households will experience the "pleasure" of a visit by a government worker asking the questions in person. If the government still does not get the information it wants, it can issue a fine of up to $5000.

If the federal government really wants to increase compliance with the census, it should abide by the Constitution and limit its inquiry to one simple question: How many people live here?


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Daruma28
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BTW Animist - I had the census workers show up at my door. They tried to administer a 10 minute survey with all kinds of personal info from me.

I told them "Sorry guys, I'm busy right now, and I do know that the US Constitution only requires that I give you a head count. Only 3 people live at this residence. That is all I'm going to answer."

They thanked me and left.

But I did get a good look at the questionnaire they tried to get my answers for.

I assure you, it's not some paranoid delusion to state that they were in fact trying to ask me personal questions such as my occupation, my income, my marital status, and other things the Census bureau has no business asking for.

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edgmatt
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He doesn't need a source. Did you fill out the census forms this year? Didn't you see all the questions?

My friend was hounded by the Census for weeks, they left notes saying he "could be fined" for not answering the questions. He told them that 1 person lived there. It was obvious it was male, and they already had his name. As far as he was concerned, that was already too much info. He stuck to his guns and ignored the threats.

Daruma is 100% correct that the head count was used as a back-door into private information.

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Daruma28
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Here's a good article regarding the 2010 census as well:

The Census Is Getting Personal

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Daruma28
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Please note one of Ron Paul's most important points: However, these promises can and have been abused in the past. Census data has been used to locate men who had not registered for the draft. Census data also was used to find Japanese-Americans for internment camps during World War II. Furthermore, the IRS has applied census information to detect alleged tax evaders. Some local governments even have used census data to check for compliance with zoning regulations.

This, incidentally, why I absolutely despise Obama's "healthcare initiative"

While I am, of course, opposed to any collectivist/socialist redistribution of wealth scheme, I'm far more concerned with the provisions of Obama-care which proposes compiling all of the citizenry's medical records into a centralized database, for which they CLAIM will be safe from abuse or misuse by government apparatchiks.

Yeah, right.

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LetterRip
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JWatts,

quote:
I thought it was "bad" to make up numbers for a partisan point.
I was offering up an illustrative example of how the math works out. The numbers work out the same for anything down to fairly trivial amounts of trade. Feel free to plug in your 'more realistic' numbers. My 5 billion was actually based on some papers I'd read, but don't have a handy reference to. The 1% number is arbitrary though I suspect in the right ballpark. The flight cost is based on some recent research I did on the marginal fuel cost of passengers (10 gallons of fuel per 3500 miles flight for a 200 lb passenger) so 40 gallons fuel marginal cost per passenger (7000 miles each way to Mumbai from DC). Jet A is 4.50 per gallon in bulk. So each additional passenger round trip is about 180$.
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Animist
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edgmatt:

Yes, he does need a source. Because nobody asked me my income, my education or my employment. They asked me my race, sex, marital status and whether or not I was Hispanic.

Daruma:

Thanks, that's helpful.

To be clear: It doesn't change my point. Ron Paul makes the point that the census has been problematic all along, which I would agree with, and gives reasons supporting this statement. The ultra-simplified version that was peddled at the time was that That Nasty OBAMA, the Muslim-Communist, is having a CENSUS!1!! Why? FOR COMMUNISM IS WHY!!

Do you see what I'm getting at? The attacks on the census that I saw, like most of the attacks on Obama, followed the pattern that I think most political discourse in this country (including the bull**** about the trip to India under discussion) is following. Cartoonish morality (What is this Nefarious Evildoer, OBAMA up to now!? And WHO can stop him!?!?); combined with no concept of history ("Americans were outraged today as the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES went to ANOTHER COUNTRY for the first time EVER!"); with a kind of cultural tribalism (Vote for Sarah-- She's just like your cousin! NO, vote for Obama-- He talks like an educated person and will ease your White Guilt! NO, vote for the TEA PARTY-- They'll fix the ECONOMY by ending ABORTION for EVER!) filling in for any sort of coherent analysis or strategy or solution.

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Daruma28
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Do you see what I'm getting at?

Gotcha...perfectly.

with a kind of cultural tribalism

Kind of? That's what it is precisely!

Team Elephant vs. Team Donkey!

This is precisely why I call our two-party political system a grand charade.

Theater.

The Hegelian Dialect, manifest.

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