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Topics - Seriati

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1
General Comments / Conservative Onion equivalent
« on: August 07, 2019, 03:03:08 PM »
So I'd never heard of Babylon Bee before today, but it's pretty funny.  I particularly enjoyed this one:

https://babylonbee.com/news/democratic-socialists-forced-to-communicate-via-interpretative-dance-to-avoid-offending-any-attendees

I also think it's funny that it came to my attention because Fox did an interview with it's owner (?) where he was complaining that Snopes has repeatedly "fact checked" his satirical stories to label them as fake news rather than satire.  I understand that the Onion has occasionally had a similar problem.

2
General Comments / Perspective on Russian Influence
« on: August 06, 2019, 02:17:48 PM »
Here's straight forward read about how uninfluential Russian influence efforts really were on the 2016 election.  A lot of this stuff is actually in part 1 of the Mueller report but it's buried (I noted some of it as I read the report, but I've never seen even one media follow up on it until now).

https://www.creators.com/read/jacob-sullum/07/19/the-puny-reality-of-russian-election-meddling-if-moscow-aimed-to-sow-chaos-it-needed-a-much-bigger-budget

The DNC hack was influential.  The Russian influence campaign was not.  Period.  If any of this comes as a surprise to you after 3 years of intense media coverage, ask yourself why that would be.

3
General Comments / We stood up for the Environment and voted present
« on: March 27, 2019, 05:14:50 PM »
Lol, I get the argument that the Republican controlled Senate only called a vote on the Green New Deal as a stunt, but how can the Dems not get the optics of saying they are completely behind the GND and then voting present?

Who does that win points with?  Do they really think they won't lose points?  For those in contestable districts, present is the same as voting for it (some Dems made this obvious when they voted for it).  For those in the "safe" districts it's going to show up if they get challenged from the left.

But politics aside, how can you 100% support something and then refuse to vote for it?

4
General Comments / College Loan Debt
« on: March 21, 2019, 11:23:01 AM »
Looks as if the Trump administration is going to get serious about college loan debt.  The latest proposals seem to be a requirement that colleges provide data on default rates and debt burdens by major (which would help students realize what they are getting into) and putting some of the risk onto the institutions themselves. 

As of now, colleges get paid (and the debt can't be removed through bankruptcy) regardless of whether the education they provide leads to any better results.  It's an interesting question, whether they should share in the risk of the default (right now its completely between the student and the government, yet the college has more control over the educational quality than either of them).  Hopefully the statistics will focus any such policies on institutions where a significant portion of their degree recipients have issues, and not act as a blanket guaranty for every student regardless of their own relative efforts.

So those on the left, seems like a lot of reasonable ground here for policies that you should like.  Is that going to be the case?  Or is this another area for Resistnace?  Or is there more context?

5
General Comments / Trump the Democrat
« on: February 22, 2019, 01:23:09 PM »
A topic inspired by RightLeft22, what would it look like if Trump was a Democrat but otherwise carried the same baggage? 

To clear the ground, I've asserted before and I still believe that Trump's policies are largely centrist, moreso than either of the past 2 Presidents certainly.  His successes have largely come on the right side of center because the Democrats elected not to work with him.  They choose opposition (and the electoral gains that came with it) over cooperation and the likelihood they would have made real policy gains for the first time in decades but would have had to give credit to Trump.  As much as I'd have preferred the latter, can't blame politicians for making the choice that keeps them in power.

So if Trump were a Democrat, the first thing that would be different is that he'd never once have been described as a racist.  Even with the exact same border policies, the media would have found ample evidence in his life of the promotion of people of all races to declare anyone that asserted he was a racist to be crazy.

It's entirely possible #metoo never happens.  That's not a good thing.  But the highly charged campaigns and rampant accusations of sexual issues contributed heavily to an atmosphere that wanted to hold the powerful to account for sexual misdeeds. 

I think his trade wars would still have happened.  But with full on support from the anti-globalist parts of the Dems, as well as from their unions. 

School choice reform on the other hand would have never happened.  Trump would have appointed a consistent Union person.  Not that I think he doesn't care about school reform, just not a hill worth dying on as a Democrat.

Russia angle?  Totally swept under the rug and we never even hear about it.  The Obama DOJ/FBI never open a "counter terrorism" case, never seek a FISA warrant and never go about spying on the campaign.  Even if they suspect a Russian connection, it gets downplayed as a proactive outreach or strategic reset.  Comey is still in office and still acting corruptly and Trump gets the AG you all think he wants (ie, one that buries any and all possible cases against him).

There's no issue raised about "emoluments," and no questions about his inaugerration committee.  Heck, it becomes semi official government policy to put foreign guests into his hotels and there are media arguments made that this is completely above board and at arms length.  Republican efforts to investigate are frequently compared to "Whitewater" with the implication that they are a complete waste of time.

Garland probably gets renominated.  Souter doesn't retire but maybe, maybe Ginsburg does.  Kind of depends to me on whether Garland gets nominated or  another justice is appointed (and then on who they are).  No matter who these nominees are, they get intense but fair scrutiny and are appointed with 60-70 votes.

Infrastructure gets more of a fast track than it has so far.  The wall is already being built and there is a deal for DACA to get done but also for verifiable constraints on illegals in the country (because they needed Republican support).  There are no sanctuary cities, and everyone is still cooperating with ICE. 

The only "national injunction" or major district court decision that has come into play is the one ruling DACA unConstitutional (which is what gave Republicans leverage).  The Travel Ban went into force with only minor protests that the administration addressed, and it was lifted in a timely manner.

ObamaCare is revised, but only administratively because there is no Republican buy-in, notwithstanding the revision proposal is centrist.  Republicans continue passing "repeal" resolutions and claiming they'll repeal it as soon as they take the Presidency.

6
General Comments / Broken Clocks
« on: February 21, 2019, 02:44:39 PM »
So, I've been staying out of the Amazon-AOC debacle, largely because everything she said to explain the reasons for her position was largely nonsense (with the possible exception that having a better economy would price her constituents out of the district, which is a mixed bag at best).

But in this case she is correct about one thing.  Tax incentives to lure businesses are a bad plan, and in my view we should consider making them illegal.  Not because she was even remotely correctly about their cost, that's a flat error, there's no legitimate debate that they would have increased the tax revenue to NY after the incentives.

No, why I think her broken clock is right is because Amazon was planning a second US headquarters somewhere.  And in that place they were going to be paying taxes no matter what.  Giving these incentive deals is all about moving that headquarters from one state or locality to another.  As a country, we don't care where they sit, and as an aggregate bribing them to sit in one place versus another inside the country is nothing but a net loss overall.  When NY bribes them $3 billion to keep them from locating in DC, that's a net loss for the country as a whole (even if its a win for NY). 

When the rule becomes that every locality has to bribe companies to relocate or even to stay where they already sit then the practice becomes equivalent to a massive tax scam where local government is literally picking the winners and losers and revenues are going down every where.

It's a literal case of the "local" incentives being so large they lead to an inefficient result for the country as a whole.

7
General Comments / Some kids build clocks, others fusion reactors
« on: February 19, 2019, 04:46:24 PM »
This is literally too much for words.  https://www.foxnews.com/science/teen-builds-working-nuclear-fusion-reactor-in-memphis-home

Any idea if this is a hoax?  I'm assuming not.  Wonder if they'll put him on a watch list.

8
General Comments / Stupid Lies - Other than Trump
« on: February 12, 2019, 11:05:25 AM »
Given how many threads we've had dedicated to Trump, thought it might be interesting to catch some of the silly ones that other people tell from time to time.  We could have pulled Warren's claims in real time, but they are a bit stale now.  AOC pretty much spouts nonsense daily, but - much like I said with George Bush - being wrong is not the same thing as telling a lie.  But this one made me laugh.  Sort of in the field of "self owns."

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/kamala-harris-says-she-listened-to-snoop-dogg-tupac-while-smoking-weed-in-college-years-before-they-made-music

Not a major issue to me, just the kind of silly lie politicians routinely tell to try and build a connection with common people.  I seriously doubt they'll make a federal case out it.

9
General Comments / ObamaCare UnConstitutional
« on: December 14, 2018, 09:31:25 PM »
Lol, in a shocking end of Friday ruling (you know how I love those), a Texas DC has ruled ObamaCare UnConstitutional and held that without the individual mandate the entire act be struck down.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/obamacare-ruled-unconstitutional-by-texas-judge

10
General Comments / Abuses of Power
« on: December 07, 2018, 05:30:42 PM »
So to my colleagues who love to jump on tweets by Trump threatening to abuse his power, how do you respond to this tweet by Ocasio-Cortez, to Don Jr?

Quote
Please, keep it coming Jr - it’s definitely a “very, very large brain” idea to troll a member of a body that will have subpoena power in a month.

Is it okay for an incoming Rep to threaten to subpeona someone for exercising their free speech rights?  Lol.


11
General Comments / Media Perspective
« on: November 08, 2018, 11:47:52 AM »
So Jim Acosta has his white house hard pass taken away, and every member of the media acts like it's the end of the universe, meanwhile an anti-fa shows up in the dark outside of Tucker Carlson's home where is wife and four kids are the only ones there and tries to intimidate and threaten them, and it seems like largely silence?

Acosta has been nothing but rude in almost every interaction with the President.  Any responsible news service would have pulled him from the spot for his obvious hatred of the President.  In this case, there's plenty of video showing the interaction, including him pushing the interns' arm.  Media response?  Claim the video has been doctored - nevermind that if you look at their own versions you still see him do it.

12
General Comments / Elon Musk's Problems
« on: September 28, 2018, 01:13:41 PM »
So the news story got a bit buried yesterday (as did Rosenstein's meeting getting delayed), but the SEC filed charges against Elon Musk over his twitter claims from a while back that he had secured funding for a going private transaction with Tesla.  They are asking that he be barred from being an officer or director of any public company (e.g., Tesla) going forward.

That's an incredible ask, and it looks on the record like an easy win. 

13
So this is all over the media now.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/21/us/politics/rod-rosenstein-wear-wire-25th-amendment.html?action=click&module=Top+Stories&pgtype=Homepage#commentsContainer.  But the NYT is claiming that Rosenstein considered wiring people interviewing to replace Comey to record what the  President told them.  He also considered invoking the 25th.

Now Rosenstein has already denied the claims, which are based on "anonymous" sources, as well as, what appear to be Andrew McCabe's notes of the meetings.

What's absolutely most troubling to me, are the reader comments.  At least 50% of them flat out say that the NYT's should have buried this.  Basically saying that Rosenstein staying in place to take out Trump is more important than truth.

EDIT TO ADD:  This is absolute confirmation of what I said Day one, Rosenstein is far more conflicted in this probe than Sessions and should have been recused from the start. 

14
General Comments / Corey Booker and Kavanaugh Hearing
« on: September 06, 2018, 11:55:32 AM »
I'm not getting to watch any of the day's proceedings, but I was struck by this article.  Corey Booker has apparently decided to deliberately violate the rules of the Senate (which means he could be subject to expulsion - though I presume, he already knows that it would take a majority that can't be reached).  He's doing it to release Kavanaugh emails on racial profiling.  Here's the Fox article http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/09/06/kavanaugh-questioning-enters-final-stretch-as-dems-seem-to-lay-traps.html

Now what struck me, is he claims he can't see any national security reason for these to have been excluded.

Quote
Booker on Thursday drew attention to one 2002 email in particular from Kavanaugh that had the subject line “racial profiling.”

In the email, Kavanaugh, who was working as a lawyer in the Bush White House, said he “generally” favored race-neutral security measures, but said they need to “grapple” with the “interim question of what to do before a truly effective and comprehensive race-neutral system is developed and implemented.”

Kavanaugh wrote that the “interim question” is of “critical importance to the security of the airlines and American people in the next 6 months or so, especially given Al Qaeda’s track record of timing between terrorist incidents.”

This was a discussion in the six months after September 11th about how to maintain plane security until a race neutral system could be implemented.  How exactly does a US Senator not see a national security basis for exclusion?

If anything that email makes Kavanaugh look better.  And while I've always had a soft spot for Corey, this makes him look like a crazy person.

15
General Comments / Supreme Court's big day
« on: June 27, 2018, 02:30:23 PM »
So two hours ago, the biggest news was the Janus decision, whereby the Supreme Court overruled Aboud and 40 years of precedent to declare that public sector unions can not charge fair use fees (or any fees) to non-members without their affirmative consent.  It's been a busy week for the court.

Now of course even that decision, which is a landmark decision, is eclipsed by Justice Kennedy announcing his retirement.  Which means, most likely Trump gets another pick.

Of course, I'm going to move on a prior prediction I made, that Mueller would time his release to interfere with the midterms, and predict that he'll adjust his timing to interfere with the SC nomination.

16
General Comments / Facebook neutrality
« on: April 11, 2018, 08:29:18 PM »
So I have to ask, particularly every one that has made an assertion about how we must have net neutrality to prevent throttling of content, do you feel the same way about FB’s deliberate throttling of Conservative content?  Should FB be allowed to pick and choose content to disfavor?

17
Was watching CBS news this morning and they had a five minute bit on the dramatic and alarming increase in the colon cancer rates of young people.  This is based on some alarming study that found for adults 20 to 39 the rates have increased by 1-2%!

Five minutes went by, worried interviews with real life survivors who "didn't know it could happen," interviews with medical experts that were "alarmed" by the rate of increase, and even flashing of lists of symptoms (that other than rectal bleeding are incredibly common events). 

But you know what WAS NOT covered?  The actual incidence rate.  You have to go find those yourself, seems like a critical piece of information for this massive health problem doesn't it?

So what are the rates, best I can determine, they are roughly between 9 and 10 in 100,000 people of 20-49, which is overinclusive of the group they are discussing, and disagnosis increases with age meaning this overstates the case.  But even using those numbers it's less one in 10,000.  To get to a 2% increase meaning "another" case, it would mean a difference between 45-50 out of 500,000 and 46-51 out of 500,000.  There's about 80 million people in that age group in the US, so were talking about the "alarming" increase at worst being 160 cases a year.

This was presented to the 80 million in that age group as a panic type report.

18
General Comments / Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: March 27, 2018, 01:23:14 PM »
Anyone else finding themselves flustered by the current reality?  We literally have a porn star and a playboy centerfold, both very attractive, suing to be able to talk about having sex with Donald Trump.  In what world does that make sense?  I honestly, can't imagine that isn't flattering his ego.

Where exactly does CNN see this going?  If I understand the argument correctly, CNN seems to think that by reporting on behavior they don't think  is wrong (ie voluntary sexual encounters), that conservatives should decide en mass to vote for other people who don't think that behavior is wrong and who don't support the views of the conservatives on any issues, rather than Trump who is at least arguably achieving the goals they think are important.  I think that would fall in the category of not taking advice from people who don't have your best interests at heart.

19
General Comments / House Closes Investigation
« on: March 13, 2018, 10:04:24 AM »
So the House investigation is coming to a close, and surprise surprise it didn't find any evidence of collusion.  Will this heal the country?  Are we will to accept that there was no collusion?  Of course not.  The Dems on the committee are continuing to insist it should stay open, not because they have any evidence, or you know probable cause, but because it's a politically powerful tool and they thought they were going to get access to bank records (which if they had probable cause they would have).

The Dems in the House are already saying they'll reopen it if they retake the House - on what basis?

All we really know from Mueller - at this point - is that the Russian's primary goal was disruption and that they "backed" the most disruptive candidates, Bernie and Trump.  No real indication that they were after anything but disruption.  I'm still of the view that if Trump is "cleared" by Mueller, the Russian's will release something to try and reimplicate him,cause that would be the most disruptive. 

So at this point, I have some serious criticism for Mueller.  Either he has the goods and its unconscionable that he's letting the farce continue, or he doesn't have the goods and his continuing is the farce.  Either way, his continuing silence is harming the country. If he doesn't have the President it's time to share what he does have with Congress.

20
General Comments / State of the Union response
« on: January 31, 2018, 12:37:59 PM »
So I watched the State of the Union last night.  Thought it was a pretty good speech for Trump.  He took a lot of the high ground, managed to present himself as being reasonable and willing to compromise, and managed to create multiple opportunities for the Democrats to "sit on their hands" in response to overwhelming positive statements and popular policies. 

What really strikes me as bizarre, is the liberal media's insistence on labeling this as a divisive speech.  It represents - to me - a fundamental acknowledgement of fallacy in their their thinking and their arguments.  For the most part this - speech - was not divisive (there could be some fair dispute around immigration), and what they are reacting to is their view that Trump is inherently divisive.  But conflating the speaker with the words, as we all know, leads to a fallacy in thought where you ignore the actual substance and respond to the person.

It's moments like this that make me hopeful about the next election.  It really seems to me that Democrats are refusing to get out of their own way and are insisting on squandering what should be a lock.

21
General Comments / Weinstein mess
« on: October 11, 2017, 01:57:22 PM »
What do you guys make of this whole mess with Weinstein?  I'm kind of appalled by the number of people who've stated some version of the idea that they "heard" of it, but hadn't seen it, and they "wish" they'd done something.  The part of it that really appalls me is that I'd be willing to bet they've "heard" stuff about other people than Weinstein and they have an opportunity to do something about it now.  If they want to do something, how about bringing those rumors to the proper authorities and making a clean sweep of the casting couch culture.

22
General Comments / Lack of Free Speach in Europe
« on: September 28, 2017, 10:05:34 AM »
I'm always disturbed by the lack of belief in freedom of speech in Europe, but when it impacts social media companies it becomes an issue for us in the US as well. There is no way that abusive anti-speech laws in Europe will not end up getting applied platform wide.  With China they segregated off the Chinese network and restricted it more heavily, but with Europe it is inside the Firewall and impacts us all.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/28/technology/hate-speech-facebook-twitter-europe/index.html

I'm about to the point, where I want the US to file a WTO complaint for punitive fines on US companies in this context, or to otherwise impose punitive tariffs as a response.

23
General Comments / Playing with Stats
« on: September 27, 2017, 05:52:01 PM »
Interesting article in the WSJ on improvements in family wealth.  While they didn't make the express case that this is an Obama boom, they focused on the 2013 to 2016 period to show the changes.

Quote
The improvements in households’ wealth came as asset prices posted strong gains during the survey years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 47.3% from January 2013 to December 2016, while the S&P 500 rose 53.1%. Home prices rose 28% in the same period, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index.

I found that very interesting but it got me wondering, since there was huge post Trump being elected spike how they ran those numbers.  They don't state it, but they leave the implication it was a steady gain over the period.  Sure enough they ran the Dow Jones numbers all the way to year end to get to the 47% increase, if on the other hand, they had run them to just before Trump won the election it would have only been a 33% increase.  Almost 1/3 of the entire increase occurred in the month and a half after it became clear that Trump would be President.

By the way, if you looked at the "same" metric on the Dow Jones for the less than one year period from Trump's election to the current date, you'd have a 24% increase, or roughly speaking 2/3's of the pre-Trump 3-year curve.  Makes me wonder about the other stats.

Wait and see, the WSJ didn't attribute the gain to Obama, but it'll come up on a talking points argument from someone else in the near future.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-families-wealth-incomes-rose-fed-survey-says-1506534336

In any event, good news on the increase, too bad on the dramatic increase in the top 1% share at the same time.

EDIT:  For the record, I'm the one playing with stats here.

24
General Comments / Funny way to show support
« on: September 21, 2017, 12:02:56 PM »
This really doesn't deserve it's own thread, but I found it really amusing.  An elementary teacher in Florida asks students to use gender neutral pronouns.  Specifically Mx., they, them, their.  The school principal offered the following support (bolding mine) after some parents expressed concern:

Quote
We support her preference in how she's addressed, we certainly do," Lambert said. "I think a lot of times it might be decided that there is an agenda there, because of her preference — I can tell you her only agenda is teaching math and science at the greatest level she can.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/09/21/florida-teacher-asks-students-to-use-gender-neutral-pronouns-angering-parents.html

25
General Comments / Charlottsville
« on: August 14, 2017, 11:41:37 AM »
Anyone have a source that summarizes what happened and in what order?  All I can find is aftermath and reports about what people think or follow up on the driver of the car.  I'd like something that addresses, relative crowd sizes, different groups involved, violence that occurred, injury reports.

26
General Comments / Military Ban on Transgender
« on: July 26, 2017, 10:35:26 AM »
So the latest Trump tweets announce that the ban on active duty by transgendered individuals serving in the military will be put back in place.  This is one of those areas, where even though there are costs, I think we're wrong not to support service by all citizens.  Sexuality and gender issues should not prevent service, period.

However, I'm struck by some of the deceptive arguments that are made, take a look at this quote from a CNN article on the topic http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/26/politics/trump-military-transgender/index.html:

Quote
A 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a "minimal impact" on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few in the military's 1.3 million-member force.

The study put the number of transgender people in the military between 1,320 and 6,630. Gender-change surgery is rare in the general population, and the RAND study estimated the possibility of 30 to 140 new hormone treatments a year in the military, with 25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries among active service members. The cost could range from $2.4 million and $8.4 million, an amount that would represent an "exceedingly small proportion" of total health care expenditures, the study found.

That works out, depending on what they actually mean with those numbers from between $1266 per person in additional costs (if you divide $8.4 million by the high end estimate of 6630), to $64,615 per person if you assume it relates just to 130 gender transition surgeries.  The latter number is not small in any reasonable sense of the word, even the former number is high in the context of the expected health care needs of the typical young person.  It also doesn't seem to account for the time off necessary to recuperate, or any of the transitional disruptions that would occur.

Pretty much the study was designed to be true and deceptive.  Couldn't we just have a study that actually informed, like say the incremental cost difference?  And then made a decision that it was worth it anyway?  It's this kind of intentional manipulation, that makes smart people want to "resist" a policy even when they agree with the principals behind it.

27
General Comments / Trump v. Obama nominees
« on: July 17, 2017, 02:32:15 PM »
I found this NYT article very interesting. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/17/us/politics/trump-appointments.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0  It blames Trump for not having his positions filled rather than Congress for delaying them.  However, you guys are able to look at a chart and interpret it.  What I see, is Obama making nominations, and with a lag of couple weeks they are all appointed, that is not the Trend on Trump's appointments, where he seems to make the nominations and the approval bar drags noticeably.  The combined chart is very telling on this.   There's virtually zero gap for Obama through week 8, and the gap only stretches when he makes a large number of appointments at once. 

I think it's interesting the NYT's conclusion is that Trump's appointments (where they looked) only lagged 9 days on average behind Obama's for time to approval.  Given there are less nominees, shouldn't that be faster?  And I don't see how that trend could possibly hold given the chart with such a large number of appointments outstanding (3 times the approved amount, which is a ratio that Obama never once suffered).

28
General Comments / Democratic beliefs about Right versus Left
« on: July 06, 2017, 11:23:57 AM »
I don't get it.  When I read the NYT's message boards, or any message board where people from the left routinely congregate, I see a constantly repeated theme:  Republicans are moving more to the Right.  Yet, I see no actual evidence of this, what does it even mean? 

On virtually every social issue both parties have moved to the left.  What was once extreme and controversial is almost uniformly mainstream, and becoming more so every day.  Whether it be a social justice issue like treatment of homosexuals, where they were once openly persecuted, but now are widely accepted, and speaking against them is toxic to a politician of either party.  Or an issue like welfare, where the idea of government handouts was once generally offensive to people and now we've permanently institutionalized entitlements programs that no one will touch, politicians label it "non-discretionary" spending to pretend they can't do anything about it.  Even "flash point" issues like abortion have shifted massively with a majority of people disapproving but wanting them to remain legal, and while they still generate rhetoric they don't generate any real legal change.

So what exactly is this massive shift to the Right?  It seems to me to be mostly a product of echo chamber thinking from people who are actually more extremely left, than any reality we face, but maybe I'm missing something objective.

29
General Comments / Fed Funds Rate
« on: June 14, 2017, 04:16:28 PM »
What do you make of the Fed's trend on decisions about the Fed funds rate?

The rate was over 5% in the Bush admin, before the crisis, and dropped to effectively zero for the entire eight years of the Obama admin (one slight increase last year), and now has been increased what 3 times under Trump.  Is there a partisan motivation in the rate changes?  Or is there a lesson that can be learned by which admin's policies prompt rate changes?  Or is there something completely unrelated controlling what looks to be an incredibly politically correlated decision?

30
General Comments / First DACA Deportation or Giant Fake News Outrage?
« on: April 19, 2017, 07:08:42 PM »
So here's CNN's version of the story, which is running under the headline, "This man's deportation is testing Trump's murky stance on DACA."

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/18/politics/juan-manuel-montes-bojorquez-deportation/index.html

Meanwhile, multiple headlines are much more one-side and expressly say things like "First protected Dreamer deported under Trump," and others that flat out state that a Dreamer was deported or that Trump is violating his promise.

Now when you read the actual article, you find out that the young man was caught sneaking back into the US.  As a DACA recipient his status is voided if he leaves the country without pre-clearance, which he did not have.  What was he doing out of the country?  He claims he was deported, in the first place, but there is no record of that and it's a very self-serving statement in this context.   Of course, if that were true he could have filed his law suit from Mexico and been a national hero to the left with almost unlimited legal resources behind him. 

What really gets me though, is the liberal politicians expressing their outrage.  Absent any new facts this is an open and shut case and the headlines are all bunk.  This seems like a bad facts case to get behind.

31
General Comments / Gorsuch and the nuclear option
« on: April 03, 2017, 12:24:35 PM »
First, let me say, there is literally no legitimate reason to vote no to Judge Gorsuch.  He's clearly qualified for the position.  Whether you can legitimately filibuster a candidate whose qualified is a lot greyer, but if he gets a vote then every Senator who votes no, is effectively signing a list of Senators that refuse to do their job when it's inconvenient from a partisan standpoint.

That's why Garland never got a vote, there were too many Republicans that would have felt obligated to vote yes to put him on the Supreme Court.  It was a brilliant if highly questionable tactic to never give him a vote at all.

I can not see any reason the Republicans shouldn't finish off the filibuster for judicial nominations, and exercise the nuclear option even though I am still opposed to it ever being used in the first place.  If the Democrat's won't vote for a qualified nominee then there is no reason to keep going back to the well.  For comparison, Kagan and Sotomeyer are the two most partisan justices currently empaneled and they were confirmed (63-37) and (68-31).  They expressly made clear they would decide cases based on who the litigants were rather than the law. 

Gorsuch's "partisanship"?   He believes the law has to be respected and its up to Congress to change the law.  The horror!  Every judge should have that view.

32
General Comments / Let's talk about Corruption
« on: March 01, 2017, 11:30:07 AM »
For our friends from the left, who've made much ado about the risks that we face on the corruption side from President Trump, I'd like to get your thoughts on the following:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/03/01/gop-wants-to-eliminate-shadowy-doj-slush-fund-bankrolling-leftist-groups.html

To summarize, it's a report on a Justice Department practice where they impose, as part of the settlement of federal charges, a requirement that the settling party make donations to causes that the administration favors.  This has allowed them to deliberately avoid restrictions on the use of Federal funds imposed by Congress and allocate money that should be part of the federal budget to administration favored policies that Congress defunded.  This is reminds me of the similarly corrupt practice of inviting suits by patsy's and then entering into binding "settlements" with the patsy's that exceed the regulatory changes that could be legally imposed.

Admittedly this is a link to a Fox article, but this looks like a deliberate misuse of what should be federal funds, it's completely shadowy and looks to be complete corruptible and corrupt. There is no way on earth, any of you would sign off on this if it were Republicans who were directly the resulting cash flows, and in fact you'd be calling for their criminal prosecution, so I'm curious if you can make a defense of the practice as used by the Obama administration.

33
General Comments / Ethical question in non-enforcement of Pot Rules
« on: February 27, 2017, 12:49:23 PM »
So I was reading the CBS piece on fears that the Trump admin may step up enforcement of the Federal rules making pot illegal, and I was really struck by one particular statistic.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-administration-threat-recreational-marijuana-industry-colorado/

Quote
But a poll this month showed 71 percent do not want the government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana.

That led me to ask myself, why is that 71% would be in favor of not enforcing the law, when 71% is more than enough to change the law?  Is it just bad polling, or do we have a problem even understanding how our government and laws ought to work.  Why are we not fixing the law if its not what we want the law to be?

As an aside, on the media bias issue, this is being covered in a very pro pot manner, with the potential negative economic impact (to the illegal pot industry) emphasized above the economic harms that it creates, emphasis on the impact of bringing it out of the shadows (for safety and reduction of gate way use) but nothing on any negative impacts on motivation and health. 

34
General Comments / Taxation of Robots
« on: February 24, 2017, 10:10:51 AM »
I was reading an article the other day and came across a quote from Bill Gates advocating that robots that replace human workers should be subject to taxation.  Has anyone else seen this or something similar?  The simple logic of it makes sense, replacing a human worker lowers the tax base, taxing the replacement robot recovers some of that difference.  Effectively, its premised on the same idea as environmental regulation, forcing a producer to internalize what would otherwise be externalized costs of their decision.  In this case, forcing them to make whole the community with respect to tax revenue lost by replacing the human. 

It's not perfect of course, it's only a partial economic mitigation as there is no replacement for the income being spent in the community and the accumulating additional taxes that generates.  It would definitely slow the rate of replacement and innovation and may in fringe cases delay what would otherwise be a cost effective replacement (with both good and bad follow on effects).  Still it seemed to me to be a new potential solution the problem.  Any thoughts?

35
General Comments / Pelosi Townhall
« on: February 01, 2017, 11:22:09 AM »
What was the deal with Pelosi's townhall?  Why would CNN sponsor an hour of free air time billed to let the minority leader of the House answer questions about the Democratic plan to resist Trump?   Honestly, don't recall any such consideration ever having been granted to the Republicans at any time.   Did I just miss seeing it before, or is CNN so in the tank that no one even notices these kind of things anymore?

Watched a bit of it, and saw no insights into the resistance plan, just free air time for Pelosi to put out soft explanations and defenses of the Democratic plank.

Why no outrage over what appears to be the exact thing that Democrats have accused the Republicans of doing for 8 years - you know the "unprecedented" plans to oppose everything about Obama without any thought as to what the items were.  I guess, if your world view really accepted that Republican resistance was mindless and personal, rather than directly connected to the principals their voters care about, then its possible to may see mindless resistance as a parallel attack, but its really depressing that so many people would buy so far into a propaganda point.

36
General Comments / The Obama Lovefest
« on: January 18, 2017, 01:02:26 PM »
Has there ever been a President whose received more unwarranted love than the exiting one from the media?

On the way into office, every article was spun about the savior replacing the evil George Bush.  Notwithstanding that President Obama had no real accomplishments to his name, he was promptly awarded the "You're not George Bush Nobel Peace Prize."  We heard nothing but how great of an inspiration he was.

Now, after 8 years of a middling to poor run as a President, we're getting a wall to wall love fest, to the point that his approval ratings are actually increasing, lol.  What did he accomplish?  Greater divisions than every, decline in the strength of his own party, international weakness and failures aplenty, and what do we get, an all media sources victory tour?

I don't know if the media and the collective group has ever had a more irrational reaction to a politician in history.

37
General Comments / Most bizarre twist ever?
« on: October 28, 2016, 01:37:46 PM »
Fox is reporting that the FBI has reopened its investigation in Hillary's email server.  Have no idea what this means, or where it would go, but this has to be one of the most bizarre twists in an investigation and election.

38
General Comments / Firebombing Double Standard
« on: October 17, 2016, 10:55:11 AM »
If instead of a Republican headquarters being firebombed and hate speech spray painted on a wall referring to Republicans, a Democratic headquarters had been the victim, it seems to me we'd be getting wall to wall coverage.  Reporters would be on-sight in the damaged area and we'd see endless articles linking the "hate" of the Trump campaign to this violence.  Why so little focus (if you believe the media isn't in the tank)? 

39
General Comments / How can Pagliano not Testify?
« on: September 13, 2016, 01:49:41 PM »
Can anyone explain how Pagliano thinks he can refuse to testify after being granted immunity?  To my understanding, not cooperating after you have a deal is a violation of the deal.

40
General Comments / Rick Perry Indictment dismissed
« on: February 24, 2016, 02:22:17 PM »
So in a call back to the extensive thread on the prior boards about whether or not it was appropriate to indict Rick Perry in connection with his exercise of the veto power, I'd like to point out that both charges have been ordered dismissed before trial by the higher courts of the State of Texas.

I found this summation by the highest court in Texas of the intermediate court's view of the charges particularly interesting in light of how the debate on this board previously flowed:

Quote
Finally, the court of appeals addressed a broader concern raised by Governor Perry and the amici who support him. In their view, this is a case in which a defendant who will inevitably be vindicated has nevertheless been made to face criminal charges of dubious legal viability (and/or  politically motivated origins). In such circumstances, the eventuality of obtaining a favorable judgment at trial or on appeal will do little to rectify the harm the defendant suffers to reputation, professional standing, and the like in the meantime. They suggested in the court of appeals that inflicting such harms might, in fact, be the primary goal of those pursuing the charges. The court of appeals found itself bound by what it considered to be this Court’s holdings and said that such potential harms, “however considerable they may be,” are insufficient in themselves to provide a basis for relief through pretrial habeas corpus. The court of appeals rejected all of Governor Perry’s challenges to Count I and rejected a number of his challenges to Count II.

They pretty much acknowledged the charges were bogus, made for political gain and had no chance of being upheld, but felt they couldn't dispose of them pre-trial (the Texas SC felt otherwise and reversed that part of the appellate decision when it ordered them dismissed pre-trial).

And just to be clear about whether the use of the veto power was illegal, they had this to say:
Quote
The governor’s power to exercise a veto may not be circumscribed by the Legislature, by the courts, or by district attorneys (who are members of the judicial branch). When the only act that is being prosecuted is a veto, then the prosecution itself violates separation of powers.
Which was fascinating, given the angst that idea seemed to cause.

I was surprised that, as Rafi had predicted, they did get extensively into the question of free speech in their opinion.

41
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/20/opinion/the-supreme-court-the-nativists-and-immigrants.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

I have to say, I'm impressed.  Unsurprisingly, the NY Times editorial board ignores the actual law to come down firmly in the Obama camp on his abuse of executive authority to change our immigration laws.  What is surprising is the overwhelming negative response of the readers on its message board.  I've read many comments on the NY Times and they are often overwhelming supportive of the left, but on this thread even those on the left are expressing concern about a President overstepping his authority and re-writing the law.

Happy to hear any thoughts on the actual subject matter, ie the Supreme Court's taking on the case, or on the NY Time's arguments about it, or even on my surprise with respect to the reader opinions.

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