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Messages - Greg Davidson

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I just don't get the logic of the stand-your-ground/Rittenhouse advocates. If you get to kill people if they scare you enough, would it be okay for someone to have killed Rittenhouse? Could someone have claimed they had a role to protect peaceful protesters, shown up at the march, and shot Rittenhouse as a threat? What is the principle that makes some of these killings okay and some of them not okay?

General Comments / Re: What are some things that Biden gets right?
« on: November 07, 2021, 05:32:04 PM »
Right, cherry, even your flawed source said "Operation Warp Speed’s central goal is to develop, produce, and distribute 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine by January," and so you probably should acknowledge that the central goal failed enormously (as well as being a shockingly ignorant goal, as focusing on vaccine production without paying similar attention to distribution is negligence).

That being said, the first vaccine authorized in the US was Pfizer, which was not funded by Operation Warp Speed.

So Warp Speed got only Moderna's fraction of the 13 million shots in arms by the Trump Administration (not the Pfizer vaccines), and the US only had 39 million doses of Moderna plus Pfizer when Trump left office.

Why did Trump only get 13 million shots in arms in 42 days while Biden got over 200 million in the next hundred days?  It's not that Biden executed the Trump playbook, as Trump was negligently ignoring the central issue of vaccinating Americans so he could incite insurrection.

General Comments / Re: What are some things that Biden gets right?
« on: November 06, 2021, 07:27:46 PM »
Why specifically should Trump get credit for the vaccination program? Don't send us a quote, state specific reasons clearly and succinctly. In the last 42 days of the Trump Administration when 30 million doses were available, only 13 million shots got in arms. In the next 100 days under Biden, over 200 million shots got into arms. Please be specific as to why you believe Trump gets a lot of credit.

General Comments / Re: What are some things that Biden gets right?
« on: November 06, 2021, 04:33:59 PM »
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted in February 2021 that it would take until 2023 to get down to 4.6% unemployment, and ten months into the Biden Administration we have already gotten there.

Sort of like how Biden promised that there'd be 100,000,000 shots-in-arms in his first hundred days and wound up delivering over 200,000,000 in that time.

Waiting to hear from cherry "if he's doing something good I'll acknowledge it" poptart

General Comments / Re: What are some things that Biden gets right?
« on: November 06, 2021, 02:58:00 PM »
A bi-partisan infrastructure bill.

More jobs created in ten months in office than Trump created in four years.

Stock market at record levels.

General Comments / Re: What are some things that Biden gets right?
« on: November 04, 2021, 10:56:02 PM »
Went from one of the world's worst responses to COVID to one of the best in terms vaccine availability (don't blame him for the Republican irrationality that's led to another hundred thousand unnecessary deaths and harm to the economy)
Child poverty cut in half.
Got out of Afghanistan (with a loss of American life approximately equal to the unnecessary death toll that occurred every 15 minutes during the last half year of Trump COVID mismanagement)
Rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement
Making progress on restoration of the Iran Deal
Stronger economic growth per month than the monthly average under Trump, even under COVID conditions

General Comments / Re: Misleading or false claims by the media
« on: September 08, 2021, 12:38:57 PM »

Can you identify a single Republican politician or pundit who had a better plan for the end-game Afghanistan? If so, can you please provide a link? 

General Comments / Re: Misleading or false claims by the media
« on: September 08, 2021, 12:36:22 PM »

If Biden thought the Afghani government was likely to fail, should he have said so in public? What would have been the consequences of him saying, "There's a good chance that the Afghani government is likely to collapse."

I actually believe that the US government under-estimated the weakness of the Ghani regime (in part because of misleading inputs from Pentagon leadership -- something that Biden was privately criticizing a decade earlier). But still, if telling the truth about the regime's weakness would increase that weakness, what would you recommend that a President of the United States should do?

General Comments / Re: Farewell to Ornery
« on: September 08, 2021, 12:27:37 PM »
Thanks, Fenrig.

I think I could "yes, and..." this - finish off Book of Shem in a way that satisfies me (for example, I've been targeting a trilogy of 80K word novels and selling the first as a standalone because that's the length expectation for a first time author, but it's really one story that I could probably tell in about 180K words). But at the same time, pick a topic that both energizes me and has a recognizable genre home.

General Comments / Re: Misleading or false claims by the media
« on: September 07, 2021, 02:45:18 PM »
Let's put Afghanistan in a different context.

No one in the world had a better plan for the evacuation than the Biden Administration (if you disagree, show us the evidence). Among national political figures, no one had better insights a decade ago that the Afghan regime was never going to be able to stand on its own than Joe Biden, who was the loudest voice in the Obama Administration for reducing our involvement then. 

And if you look at 20 years of comments from those now criticizing Joe Biden, can you name a single politician, pundit, or Ornery poster whose comments on Afghanistan have not been proven more wrong by actual events? If so, please tell us who.

General Comments / Re: Farewell to Ornery
« on: September 07, 2021, 02:33:01 PM »
I started working with the acquisitions editor who originally bought and published The Red Tent for St. Martins Press (The Red Tent being perhaps the exemplar of successful mainstream biblical fiction). Her guidance was credible but pessimistic: the genre expectations for mainstream biblical fiction are to take an obscure female character and give her life while emphasizing themes of sisterhood and women's empowerment. That's what the target audience is looking for, and thus that's what publishers are looking for.

That's a reasonable expectation, and I could even envision such a novel (I'd love to write a novel about Jocheved, the last of the long-lived people in the bible and the only woman to be described as living for centuries). Next novel I will definitely think of the target market before starting! As for what to do with Book of Shem, I'm torn: part of me wants to finish the book the way I want, even if I need to self-publish, just so it can exist in the world (just this week I started a draft in the first person, to clarify and strengthen Shem's emotional depth). 

Part of me also wants to start something fresh with sales in mind. A friend of mine, a former VP of Avionics at Space-X, is finishing his first novel and he has a killer query letter (a launch vehicle is stolen in flight...). I have a pretty deep background with the James Webb Space Telescope (I was the program manager a NASA HQ for the first Hubble replacement instruments and later the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and when I started working for TRW it was to pull together a team to win that contract - I was even the deputy program manager for the job for a few years) and it's striking me that with launch coming up in the next few months, that background would have some cachet for a science fiction novel. But the innate contrarian in me would only get excited about a plot that shows how it is to actually build something like JWST (I loved Andy Weir's latest, but all science fiction authors seem clueless about how large organizations actually work to solve difficult challenges)

General Comments / Re: Farewell to Ornery
« on: September 06, 2021, 10:42:33 PM »
My thanks to the Cards, and the rest of you here. I did listen and think about what each of you said, even those who were fervently arguing positions different from my own.

Stay well, and enjoy all the remaining days of your lives.

A year since I've checked in here; I'll give you a sample of the first two pages below. This story is now a trilogy, to keep volumes within 70K-90K words. I am sticking with virtually every line of the literal text of Genesis as anchor-points (with footnotes for every word of dialog in Genesis between the Flood and the Jacob's Ladder dream except the Lot-in-Sodom story), but inventing a story between the lines. With more religious-oriented publishers, I try to make the point that this story takes place in an era before revelation, and can be seen as a midrash (or, an origin story for religion, if you prefer). As such, Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac is central to the plot and the climax of the second novel. I hope that I've addressed the challenge of making each figure's actions feel righteous from his/her perspective, and in terms of the overall plot.

I have my ~30 query letters out to agents (that usually doesn't work), I've planned to send full manuscripts to nine publishers in March, and start Zooming writers' conferences this month to personally pitch agents

The Southwest Road from Charran to Canaan
430 Years After the Flood (A.F.)

“Why did you choose me?” Rebekah asked, clinging tightly to the saddle that swayed with her camel’s gait.

A dry, pine-scented breeze provided mild relief from the sun and stink of the camel caravan. Shem peered at the girl. Dark locks framed her deep brown eyes. Not quite fifteen years old, yet her features were mature, her chestnut complexion unblemished. After the Great Flood, she’d have already been a mother at that age. Four centuries later, the only girls getting married so young came from poor families that needed the bridal price.
I was sent to find a woman to heal a broken man. Is she the one?

“Why so somber?” she said. She matched his frown for a moment, then her smile returned. “I’m ready to marry this Isaac. But why come from so far, and then choose me? Weren’t there suitable girls for him in the Land of Canaan?”

Shem was not afraid to lie. He had come to her city in disguise. Sent by a man who also believed that disguise was real. But over the years, he had learned that unless deception was needed, it was better to tell the truth. Well, at least some of it.

“It was your kindness,” he said. “I asked for a sip of water when we reached your city’s well last night. You gave me a drink, and then, unbidden, you filled the trough to water all my camels.”
“You told my family that story last night,” said Rebekah. “But that doesn’t make sense. Three weeks travel? And the first young woman that you met?”

Shem held her gaze. Was she really sent to fix what the rest of us have broken? Or, do I mistake coincidence for an act of the God?
“When I asked to depart this morning,” Shem began, “why did you say, ‘Yes’ right away? Most young women would have been sad or sentimental, and would have wanted to linger.”

“I am sad,” said Rebekah, “but I knew I was leaving the moment you described the bridal offer. Ten days don’t make it less sad. And I love my brother, but he always thinks of advantage. After ten days, your supply of gold would have been considerably lighter. I must think of the household of Isaac and Rebekah, whatever that will be.”

Shem’s stroked with thick fingers the braided beard he had chosen for this disguise half a century ago. She’s thinking about how to make a good marriage with a man she’s never met.  Do I tell her the fate of the world is in her hands? He paused, uncertain. Should I hide that other truth?

None who come close to the God survive unscarred.

“Blessed be the Name, the One, who has brought me to you,” said Shem. “I believe in the power of your kindness, Rebekah. I promise I’ll do what I can to help you have a happy and successful marriage.”

“Thank you for that,” said the girl. She gazed at the road ahead to Canaan, then turned to him. “Now, will you finally tell me who you really are?”

By the way, I'd definitely like feedback if anyone wants to be a beta reader. 

General Comments / Re: How to save the country
« on: October 16, 2020, 12:00:08 AM »
Pete Buttigeig had a plan whereby each President would get to name two nominees per Presidential term, and a Supreme Court Justice would have a term of 18 years. Seems a bit more orderly for a 21st century country.

Arguably, if Biden were to win, you would introduce this fair scheme after corrective actions for the refusal of Republicans to consider Gorsuch (which means adding two Democratically appointed Justices to counter the Republicans lying/cheating their way to steal an appointment from Obama and the Democrats)

Biden's large lead has been remarkably stable, except for recent growth to about 10%. Looks like almost 350 electoral college votes for Biden/Harris, less than 200 for Trump/Pence. Unlike 2016, Biden's lead is above 50% nationally, and of the small number of undecided voters, most of them are likely to go for the challenger over the incumbent.

I predict there will be considerable attempts to make excuses after the loss. Like the three million imaginary illegal voters that Trump used to explain his loss of the popular vote even as he won the electoral college in 2016.

So I'd like some predictions from those of you who are going to be trying out excuses in mid-to-late November. When you make accusations about cheating, do you predict that there will be an equal amount of cheating in states with Republican Governors and Secretaries of State, or will your theory of cheating be based on only states where Democrats are in charge? Will you predict that the results will favor Biden more than the pre-election polling in states (like California) where every voter is sent a ballot?

My prediction is that the votes for Biden and Trump will be similar to the polling results, with a slight Biden tilt as the late deciders go against the incumbent.

General Comments / Re: coronavirus
« on: October 10, 2020, 10:04:39 PM »
Darn, I missed the fun here for several years. 

Would have been instructive to get some of the folk on the record back in March about the anticipated death count if we didn't start taking common sense national precautions. 

The long life thing is a challenge for a synopsis. In the ten generations between Noah and Abraham, the length of the long lives of the firstborn sons keeps declining, From 850 years for Noah, to 603 years for Shem, all the way down to less than two hundred for Abraham's father. In contrast, even before the Flood, God declares that the human lifespan shall be limited to 120 years (that's almost the only specifics that Genesis has on those individuals in the Line of Noah). So there is a mystery, and let's just say that may be tied up into the evil before the Flood...

I am struggling a bit in how to summarize Shem's response to these circumstances in just a sentence. If you had lived for almost a century in a society that honored you, and then came to understand it was based in evil, what would you do with the guilt? Your arrogance might be gone, you wouldn't trust your judgement, and so instead you'd look to follow the guidance of someone who knew better. But what if there was no one? The day they were off the Ark, God comes and blesses Noah and his four sons, but even when Shem tries to treat God's words as a guide to life, there's not much there in that blessing to shape a religion. As Shem's more cynical brother puts it forty years later, "Breed, feed (but not if it bleeds), here's a rainbow." Shem looks to Noah for guidance, but as per Genesis Noah becomes addicted to alcohol. And yet after 40 years of women having twins every year, almost all female, there are thousands of people in the world and most of them are children. So what do you do? 


I realized I already got a lot of free help from a bunch of you, but I did update my synopsis, so if anyone has any further comments, I would appreciate hearing them.

Shem was evil. All men were. That’s what his father Noah said. The survivors from the Ark may have a second chance, but after the rainbow blessing, God’s voice goes silent. Noah invents wine and falls into drunkenness, his mothers and brothers die, but Shem lives on as the new generations invent technologies, writing, cities, cults, and war. Through the centuries, Shem seeks atonement by searching for protections from the evils that might forestall annihilation, but his contemplation is interrupted by immediate needs of real people, a man captured by slavers, later a pregnant woman whose child is to be sacrificed. Shem is forced to act.

The voice of God is finally heard centuries later, sending Abram to Canaan. Shem serves Abram in disguise, hoping to learn God’s intent. But God’s words are never clear enough, and Shem must rescue Abram and his family from threats and mistakes. When obedience is not enough, Shem must make choices. But is it rebellion to challenge the will of Noah, Abraham, and even God? Or is that the lesson?

A respectful biblical fantasy in the tradition of The Red Tent, telling the story of Shem whose life spans six centuries from before the Flood until Jacob flees Canaan. A thoughtful speculation on how men and women might have struggled for meaning in a time before modern religion emerged. And a story of Shem’s relationships, with his father and mother, his Great Grandson Eber, with Sarah, Abraham, Hagar, Isaac, Rebekkah, and Jacob, as they might have experienced the remarkable events indicated by the cryptic Genesis text.

Thank you all for all of your comments.

I find really interesting (but valid) the level of concerns people have with the anticipated narrative perspective, and the potential for conflict. I didn't even think of that as an issue. I have used primarily Jewish sources, but Christian (and Muslim) scripture provide additional detail for the setting, and I have tried not to have anything offensive to any faith (although the plot has to deviate, as it is Ishmael and not Isaac who Abraham takes to Moriah to sacrifice in Islamic scripture). In the book, God exists, but generally at a distance (or later, in telling Abraham some specific things on a few specific instances), but there is no other religion except for practices that the characters invent.  I guess some may find offense by the absence of certain religious elements that they expect, and there's bound to be some people who don't like any retelling of biblical stories, but Anita Diamant with The Red Tent and OSC's Women of Genesis series seemed to dodge huge controversy. I don't think of my narrative as being more provocative, but you never know. The natural implications of repopulating a world from three brothers and their wives, particularly when the commandment of God is to be fruitful and multiply, may be shocking to some, but only in terms of "I don't want to hear about it," not in terms of what had to have happened.

And for the most part I am telling a more modern-perspective story. Unlike the conventional narrative that in the bible, life was pretty much unchanged and God was everywhere, the text suggests the exact opposite. In seven generations the world moves from three couples to seventy nations, with cities, technology, and society evolving rapidly -- but God is mostly a memory from centuries earlier. What would they have thought about, particularly someone like Shem is lives an unnatural life centuries long, seeing all the change.

Anyhow, thanks again for the comments


I've been spending my writing time on a novel rather than commenting on politics. 200,000 words (too long I know, maybe it's two novels chopped in the middle). And I have simultaneously been doing research on novel-writing (I know, maybe not the right sequence). One suggestion they had was that if you were writing a genre novel, know the expectations of readers so you could fulfill them. And if you were not writing a genre novel, you still needed to understand genre expectations to know where you would need to guide readers off of the path that they might expect.

Assume my novel is in the fantasy genre, using the background of the biblical book of Genesis from Noah through Jacob fleeing Canaan (an alternate assumption is that it was in the biblical fiction genre, but I am assuming more Ornery people are fantasy readers). I wrote up this blurb in 20 minutes, but if you saw something like this on the back of a 560 page paperback book, what would be your expectations about the novel? Are there any ways this could go that you would find particularly satisfying? Is there anything that if it were excluded you would feel cheated?

What would you do if almost everyone on earth had been killed, and your father said it was because you were evil? Humanity has a second chance, but after the rainbow blessing, God’s voice goes silent. While Shem’s family dies and his father Noah falls into drunkenness, he lives for centuries, seeking atonement by protecting future generations from the evil that caused the Flood.  As the population explodes and people invent technologies, writing, cities, cults, and war, Shem’s efforts never seem enough. Then, after three hundred and sixty-eight years, word comes from the East that God has spoken again – to a man named Abram.     

General Comments / Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« on: January 03, 2019, 11:59:43 PM »
If a Democrat President like Hillary committed America to unnecessary wars as a form of military corporate welfare, I would absolutely be strongly critical.

I also believe that is an unlikely scenario (as is the similar suggestion that a Republican would commit to unnecessary wars as a form of military corporate welfare - in either case, (1) you don't need actual wars to drive military spending, and (2) paying companies to do work is much less like "corporate welfare" than changing the tax laws to cut taxes by 33%).

General Comments / Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« on: January 03, 2019, 10:18:32 PM »
Are you angry yet?

I just plugged my data from 2017 into the 2018 version of TurboTax to see what the Republican Tax Law does to the income of those in the 1%. There's still two provisions that TurboTax says that the IRS has not finalized their determination, so this is approximate. The difference is a savings of $13,600. Note that  includes a provision aimed primarily against wealthy Blue states that limits deductions for state taxes to $10K - if I came from a lower-tax state than California, the net benefit of the tax law to someone with my income would be $22,400.

So all of you who voted for President Trump and the Republicans in 2016 - how much are you saving on your tax bill this year? Do you think that this tax cut primarily aimed at the wealthy was a good idea? Do you still?

And this is income tax savings - don't forget that by cutting Corporate tax rates by 1/3rd, everyone who owns stock got about a  9% increase in the value of their portfolio. For my retirement account, that's about another 100K.

Of course, this tax cut has ballooned the deficit by $300B+ in just the first year (and that's when the economy is doing well - it will be disastrous when the economy slows).

Okay, any of you Republican voters angry yet? Because this was by far the single greatest impact that the Republicans elected in 2016 had on the country - this is what you got for your vote. And don't blame me - I voted (and donated) to stop injustice such as this.

It's a systemic problem.  Conservatives sometimes do it, and so do Liberals.  There is plenty of blame to go around.

But do they? Can you name a Democratic President who has incited crowds to see the press as the enemy of the people? Or to urge crowds to lock up political opponents? We have Fox News promoting anti-Semitic conspiracies like George Soros running the State Department (Soros figures like Emmanuel Goldstein in Orwell's 1984, a designated hate figure on the right even though his political contributions are small relative to those of conservatives such as Sheldon Adelson or the Koch Brothers). After the bombings (are you sure they were fake?), any decent human being as President would have called those who had been targeted for assassination, and would not be campaigning the next day, and would not be attacking one of the intended victims in his speeches (as a matter of fact, any decent human being would not justify continuing to campaign by lying that the Stock Market opened the day after 9/11, as President Trump has done).

The claim of "both sides do it the same, so it doesn't matter" is false. There's no President who has acted like this in our lifetimes  in the United States.   

Grant, I was all willing to give you kudos for condemning specific inciting bigotry and hatred resulting in attempted and completed murders in your underlined text, but as I read it, you just can't do it.

Islamic terrorists sometimes commit attacks at times that are not politically convenient for their causes. But those who complain about the lack of condemnation from other Muslims do not believe that excuses their behavior. Why should America's Republicans be held to a lower standard?

Conservatives often claim that they don't hear Muslims properly condemn the ideology of hatred that inspires acts of terrorism by Islamic extremists. That includes a number of those who post here on Ornery. Well, the grotesque events of this week provide an opportunity to test the sincerity of those condemnations: 

Wednesday - A shooter attempts to get into a black church, when that fails he goes into a Kroeger's and executes two African Americans but tells a white guy "whites don't shoot whites"

Friday - The largest number of simultaneous political assassination attempts in American history, with the targets being those identified by the President, Fox News, and the right-wing media as enemies of the people

Saturday - Pittsburgh shooter, echoing the narrative from the President, Fox News, and the right-wing media about Jews bringing in "hostile invaders to dwell among us?", kills 11 Americans at a Synagogue.

Under President Trump, the US government-supported Radio Marti put out a program five months ago attacking George Soros as  “multimillionaire Jew” and “the architect of the financial collapse of 2008.”  Soros was one of the targets of Friday's assassination attempts

So, any condemnations of this ideology from Republicans?


General Comments / Re: Corey Booker and Kavanaugh Hearing
« on: September 30, 2018, 11:41:54 PM »
A good place to start would be with the witnesses Ford says will corroborate her story - they don’t. Another good place to start is noticing that details of the story change during questioning. These kinds of things are vastly more reliable in identifying liars.

Kavanaugh has made claims about the witnesses that are false. He asserted that several of them refuted her statement, whereas their comments were that they were unaware of what was going on in a room upstairs. Some of those witnesses have publicly rejected the interpretation that Kavanaugh put on their comments.

In contrast, your assertion is that there are witnesses that Ford said would corroborate her story. Who is that? She said to call Mark Judge not because he would corroborate her story, she doesn't know what he would say, but she claims he was a witness.

This is what the Republicans fought.

As for your scorekeeping, most of those articles were irrefutable refutations of Republican talking points. To count how many of them didn't speak to Ford's credibility is wrong because they were not intended for that purpose; they were intended to address the frequent, false assertions that Republicans are presenting.

General Comments / Re: Corey Booker and Kavanaugh Hearing
« on: September 30, 2018, 01:10:44 AM »
I believe that there should be some real skepticism of a single accusation of this sort; that being said, the actions since this issue emerged have shown Ford to be far more credible than Kavanaugh. Republicans accuse Democrats of politics (there's politics on both sides, of course) because their position is unsupportable on the facts.

Democrats did not use this sort of tactic against Gorsuch (who arguably was being appointed to a stolen Supreme Court seat). Ford even made her contact with her Representative before Kavanaugh was nominated with the full understanding that an equally extreme conservative Republican would be appointed instead - but it would be an extreme conservative Republican who had not committed sexual assault.  Ford took a lie detector test with an independent retired FBI investigator that validated her assertion that she is certain that he committed this crime.

Ford answered every question asked of her; look at this graphic of just how many questions Kavanaugh refused to answer while testifying (

Republicans fought an FBI investigation; when they heard of additional accusations they tried to accelerate the approval (with no explanation as to why 71 days was a magical time; this next appointee will probably be serving until the year 2053 and yet there was a rush in days

Even now, there are reports that the White House is setting limits on what the FBI can investigate. I believe that there actually should be limits - but can you identify any situation in which Republicans would have trusted the Clinton or Obama Administrations to be the ones setting limits on what the FBI could investigate? Why does the Trump Administration get special privileges?

And I think that refusing to investigate Mark Judge, who is an eye witness named by the accuser (who, I will remind you, passed a lie detector test), is undefendable.

Finally, Kavanaugh himself has ruled as a judge that employers can use lie detector tests in the hiring process (which is one of a vast range of things that cause many liberals to be concerned with him). If he truly believes that is valid for situations where employees are being hired for jobs with vastly less power than Supreme Court Justice, and jobs without a lifetime hiring guarantee, should he be willing to take a lie detector test himself?

I think he made an attempt at doing so, but was solidly rebuffed by the Democrats and the Tea Party Caucus alike, so he reverted to form and hasn't made an attempt since

This may describe your thinking but not reality. Can you name the specific "veer to the center" policy approach that Trump proposed after in office that was "solidly rebuffed" by Democrats?

General Comments / Re: Check your voter registration
« on: September 21, 2018, 10:36:34 AM »
That's one of the telling indictments of the false Republican bills about voter fraud. By far the most frequent cause of registration errors is disconnects between states when voters move from one state to another. And yet not a single one of the Republican voter suppression bills (that are advertised as if they are about voter fraud) actually address a national voter registration system that would catch these disconnects between states.

Synthetics (credit default swaps) were not 10x20 multiples of the market.  The market itself was $7 trillion and the synthetic market was $5trillion (at least if you believe Wikipedia).

The market may have been $5 trillion but the exposure was $54 trillion ( - and that was private sector firms making that decision. 
That level of exposure is validated by repeated estimates

The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has just published its latest quarterly report on bank trading in derivatives, and disclosed that the exposure of US banks to them now totals $US237 trillion.

Of that, the big four - JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America - account for US$219.7 trillion. And that's just the Americans.

General Comments / Re: Corey Booker and Kavanaugh Hearing
« on: September 16, 2018, 07:35:32 PM »
I think it's interesting though that you seem to find it terrible that President (who has the Constitutional authority to pardon) would pardon some one in their own interests, but that a prosecutor can effectively pardon someone if that person agrees to testify how they want them to do so.

You are really climbing into the fortress of criminality now...

Seriati, among the many things you are missing is that the market for mortgages was transformed into a market for mortgage derivatives and a betting market associated with those derivatives. There was far more money in those markets than just in the mortgage markets (by a factor of 10-20 more). Clever financial people in the private sector arbitraged past mortgage stability into instruments that had the appearance of stability without all of the associated costs that historically went in to that stability.

As for your right wing theory that the government has primary responsibility for this economic collapse, please explain why government and not the private sector is responsible for the $54 trillion in bad bets made by investment banks? Please explain why government and not the private sector is responsible for the private sector ratings agencies making the false determination that these mortgage derivatives were AAA and low risk. Please explain why the government and not the private sector is responsible for mortgage companies such as Countrywide making many billions of dollars of bad loans (Fannie Mae should get a minority fraction of the blame, but remember even as you call them a "governmental" entity, it is important to include the caveat that their employees were not civil servants and they were driven by their share price just like stock firms).. Oh, and please explain why government is responsible for the actions of all of those private sector individuals who signed up for mortgages they could later not pay.

General Comments / Re: I’m sorry but I don’t get it
« on: September 16, 2018, 07:20:07 PM »
But when I get asked with a straight face why Obama's lies about how great Obamacare is going to be are worse than Trump's lies that tells me that people have very subjective measures for how serious a lie is based on whether or not the person telling it is their guy.

I am about to go on hiatus soon, part of how I will free up time to try and write a novel is by giving up on-line argumentation. However, I can't pass this by without mentioning that I did a comprehensive assessment of all of our comments on Obamacare a few years ago, and through hundreds of pages it turned out that almost every prediction of the anti-Obama advocates was wrong, and almost all of the predictions that I made (which were generally consistent with the Obama positions) were right.  And that analysis was detailed and specific.

General Comments / Re: I’m sorry but I don’t get it
« on: September 15, 2018, 04:54:58 PM »
Fenring, thanks for the polite response but I disagree. People have been making excuses for liars for much further back than your grandfather, but that does not mean that the argument is valid. If we use common standards of judgement, there are significant differences in the degree to which politicians lie. And the premise that "truth is anything my guy says", and the assertion that everybody believes that premise is itself the final argument that liars use to bring everyone down to their level.  Because when they have been proved to be lying, the only mitigating step is to suddenly declare that lying is an acceptable standard.

General Comments / Re: I’m sorry but I don’t get it
« on: September 15, 2018, 10:06:56 AM »

You are flailing. Your argument seems to be:
  • I can eliminate lies by pretending that they are mere optimism
  • As a Trump supporter, of course I do that, and so do Obama supporters
  • This is inevitable

That argument is the last line of defense for liars*, when all of the rest of their arguments have already proven false.

* To be clear, this wording is intended to refer to those who defend liars - this is not specifically calling you a liar. From what I can tell about your writing, I do believe that you genuinely believe what you are saying right now as you are saying it. 

General Comments / Re: I’m sorry but I don’t get it
« on: September 15, 2018, 01:32:32 AM »

You have no logical standards behind your assertion. You say in your first paragraph that simply by appointing two Supreme Court Justices, every possible lie would be justified. You discount every single lie by the claim that all lies were trivial. On what basis do you render his lies about providing health care to all Americans at lower prices as trivial?

And crunch is in a fantasy world where Obama was a narcissist always talking about himself.


Hey, thanks for pulling this up:

This prediction was right on target - 3-4% growth based on the stimulus of a tax cut on the 1% that pushes the deficit up to almost $1T/year:
I can hope for all the positives here, including many that cherry mentioned, and 3%-4% growth sounds great. The ability to increase the deficit with higher government spending can get that much growth or more, as it did with Reagan.  But I suspect that the deficit will increase dramatically based primarily on tax cuts on the 1%... Deficit spending will go up to just shy of $1T per year (fraudulently justified because of the "Obama deficits" that Obama inherited from Bush), and with a limited fraction of that being additional government spending

Here's another one that's pretty darn prescient
I expect that there will be tangible, actual evidence of the crimes that Hillary Clinton was accused of but never proven, but that evidence will be about Donald Trump and members of his Administration.  I believe that President Trump will unintentionally reveal classified information (and significant information, not something like a Snowden news article). I believe that there will be a number of financial/graft indictments/convictions similar to under Reagan (or US Grant if you want to go that far back). And I believe that no one who expressed concern about Hillary Clinton with regard to classified information or corruption will spend 1/100th the amount of time an energy on those topics when they occur in a Trump Administration.

How can anything bad come from merely asking a hypothetical question such as "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" 

My example of Obama being autocratic would be when he said he didn't have the Constitutional authority to unilaterally declare a mass amnesty such as DACA and then, after declaring that if Congress wouldn't act that he had a phone and a pen, and he did it anyway.

Cherry, if you were doing an fair tally, you would show the number of executive actions and the number of successful court challenges by President to show a differential level of autocracy. President Trump's Muslim ban was found to be un-Constitutional in several iterations, why isn't that just as bad or worse?

I would definitely say that Obama continued or even endorsed many Federal policies that I would consider not only authoritarian but even fascistic,]I would definitely say that Obama continued or even endorsed many Federal policies that I would consider not only authoritarian but even fascistic,
Those words don't mean what you think they do, at least when used by most people in the rest of the world. How many other countries in the world right now would you consider "not only authoritarian but even fascistic" based on the policy criteria that you use to judge President Obama?

Here's what a poster developed before the Trump Administration and sold at the U.S> Holocaust Museum listed as early signs of fascism. Does this sound more like President Obama than President Trump?


1. Powerful and continuing nationalism
2. Disdain for human rights
3. Identification of enemies as a unifying cause
4. Rampant sexism
5. Controlled mass media
6. Obsession with national security
7. Religion and government intertwined
8. Corporate power protected
9. Labor power suppressed
10. Disdain for intellectual and the arts
11. Obsession with crime and punishment
12. Rampant cronyism and corruption

General Comments / Re: Hey Doc--I figured out a treatment for schizophrenia
« on: September 11, 2018, 06:35:50 PM »
If anybody else thinks that an apology from me would help mend our relationship (my relationships with every single one of my ornery friends have been very important to me, even though I was too scared to show it before), I would really love the opportunity to practice this new skill.

Hey, there's a good chance we debated something or other even though I probably don't count among the close ornery friends. I don't need an apology of any sort, I hope as well that I didn't write anything that caused you undue stress and I am sorry if I did. I will tell you that we are in the time period of the High Holidays of the Jewish calendar, where a traditional action is to offer apologies for intentional or unintentional offenses that we may have given. This is considered to provide an opportunity to us as Jews to enter the New Year (at the conclusion of Yom Kippur) with a clean slate regarding or fellow man (and woman). In this context, your comments are timely.

As for the rest, it really sucks on a deep level that you have to deal with this challenging condition, and I am glad that you are seeing some improvements.

Obama was, beyond any doubt in my mind, an Authoritarian, and as a consequence of that, espoused support for policies and systems which DO facilitate the formation of an Autocracy. Which isn't to mention Obama's imfamous "I have a pen and a phone..." and I'm not afraid to use them statement. Which was VERY autocratic in and of itself.

Please explain your mind to the rest of us. Because using a pen and a phone don't sound very authoritarian, they sound like a President who was elected by the citizens of America so that he could sign legislation, use the powers of the office that he was elected to, and speak to people. Why is that a nightmare scenario of autocracy for you?

Meanwhile, focusing on Trump's policy to "not espouse support for political systems that would actually facilitate an Autocracy", one of his two major accomplishments will be to appoint Supreme Court Justices who were chosen with the explicit objective of stripping away abortion rights. That sounds like a pretty sensitive regulation of inter-personal interactions. 

Be clear about what you want without abusing words. You don't like Obama, and you don't like his policies. So make your case about specifics.

I DO agree that Obama does strongly favor autocratic forms of governance far more than Trump does.

Seems that you define "autocratic" as a policy that you disagree with. Case in point, Obamacare - if a popularly elected President, along with a popularly elected House of Representative and Senate all go along to pass a law that you disagree with, is that what you consider autocratic?

edited to fix error about Senate votes.

First, in some other forums I have found some interesting and refreshing progress by asking positive-oriented question that still cover values, but don't necessarily align across the same old partisan boundaries. Second, I am curious if we would have agreement on this. And I am asking for practical experience, rather than theoretical doctrine. When you meet a new person, whether they are a neighbor, co-worker, or someone on the street, what considerations (if any) go through your head?

General Comments / Re: Conservative Property Destruction makes me laugh
« on: September 11, 2018, 01:04:20 AM »
If there are ~5 major brands of sneakers ad Nike takes a stand that pisses off 45% of the population and strongly pleases ~0% of the population, that would be a huge win for Nike.

Trump is less autocratic than Obama was, yet the outrage is far greater. 

Seriati, please defend this assertion. Provide a definition of what you mean by autocratic, and then show why President Obama's actions violate that definition to a greater degree than President Trump's. 

General Comments / Re: National Novel Writing Month
« on: September 09, 2018, 12:13:19 AM »
I think it will be really difficult; similarly, I have a plot but character and story will be really hard

General Comments / National Novel Writing Month
« on: September 08, 2018, 11:31:57 PM »
Also known as NaNoWriMo - it's in November, and I have signed up. I figure the time I spend here, on Facebook, and Quora can all be converted into novel writing. The rules of NaNoWriMo are that you can think about plotting and characterization, but you annot start writing the novel until right after midnight as you are entering November 1st. The goal to "win" is to get 50,000 words of a first draft out before midnight November 30th 

My favorite novel that originated in NaNoWriMo is Wool by Hugh Howey.

Cherry, please explain the logic why you consider worse lies affecting 20 times more people to be piddling when told by a Republican.

Just focusing on healthcare, Obama's claim about keeping your own doctor was true for ~98% of Americans. Trump claimed that he would provide healthcare for everyone and that there will be no cuts to medicaid.

Since having no care is worse than having care provided by a different doctor, and since the hundred million people affected by Trump's lies is a larger number then the ~5 million who had to change doctors, how do you reach your conclusion that the Trump lies are the ones that are piddling?

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