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Messages - Fenring

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Please speak up. I’m having a hard enough time & this bullying here is despicable..

I agree with you about the thread title. But some things are in fact better solved through inaction or indirect action rather than directed intervention. That being said, bullying can come in many forms, of which overt hostility is only one type.

General Comments / Re: Cutting the Judas cradle out of the LGB flag
« on: June 07, 2023, 02:33:32 PM »
However he is right that you are not deriving this premise from anything, but rather are just asserting it.
Because the nature of consciousness is not relevant to the conclusion. Consciousness is, insofar as anything is; it is an observed state that also happens to observe its state. Beyond that, its mechanisms are not particularly meaningful. Heck, it's probably inappropriate to assume that every conscious entity has the same mechanism for consciousness; as I observed during the Chinese Room discussion, the book in that thought experiment is functionally conscious.

I think it's fair to say we should entertain the notion that consciousness may be completely mechanical and emergent (and/or illusory), while also maintaining a reasonable expectation that it may be more. But I think it's fairly clear that (a) many materialists assert positively that there is no such thing other than mechanical functionality, and (b) that therefore nothing has a 'purpose' or a 'nature' other than perhaps in an evolutionary sense. But if you do want to straddle the fence and assert both materialism and a real consciousness other than a mere trick of the light, you may find that its exact mechanical nature becomes crucial to the equation. For instance what if it could be proved that our consciousness is non-local, and derives from some objective field or matrix, and it could also be proved that the Chinese room book was merely an ingenious mechanism but did not access this shared space. Rather than constantly commit yourself to redefining your own terms, I would say it would appropriate in that situation to affirm that consciousness exists, and to deny that the book has it. This is important, but it may have implications, e.g. whether the book has innate rights, etc. It may also have implications in what exactly human ethical and moral duties are, if any, and whether these can be objectively bounded in a way that goes beyond personal opinion. Change the nature of consciousness and all these parameters can change. As far as I can tell, most current materialist or atheistic philosophical positions simply skirt around the nature of consciousness (and also of time, as another example), avoiding the real core of the issues in favor of jumping to their desired conclusions.

General Comments / Re: Cutting the Judas cradle out of the LGB flag
« on: June 07, 2023, 08:40:04 AM »
Consciousness is just a derived state created at the intersection of multiple components.

I agree with you about Joshua's fallacy of composition. However he is right that you are not deriving this premise from anything, but rather are just asserting it.

General Comments / Re: The Book Banning Begins
« on: June 06, 2023, 01:33:16 AM »
Here's the principal difference:
The adults in Ender's Game justify the violence in order to save humanity from the buggers. (Ends justify means).
To protect the weak earth from the stronger buggers.

The adults in The Hunger Games justify the violence in order to maintain their control of society. (Dystopia)
To protect the strong Capitol from the weaker districts.

Ironically, in both cases they were wrong. In Ender's Game the Earth would not in fact have fallen had they done nothing, whereas in the Hunger Games their inequitable society would in fact have toppled over had they not used force and coercion to keep it together.

General Comments / Re: The Book Banning Begins
« on: June 06, 2023, 12:13:57 AM »
So you have a 17 year old boy brutally killing a 12 year old girl. Pull at the heartstrings and put whatever lofty justification or moral lesson you want behind it but that's still wrong. I know the point is that it's wrong, but it's wrong in so many more ways too, wrong at a meta level.

You don't suppose this can be understood as being about how a sick society can create conditions where we might feel not only justified but even gleeful at the opportunity to revenge a particular wrong?

General Comments / Re: The Book Banning Begins
« on: June 03, 2023, 01:04:57 PM »
Many religious parents object to any fantasy series since it does not promote their God.  Are you too young to remember the Satanic Panic of the late 80's?  I remember it clearly.

I wonder what "many" means, in proportion to even fairly religious communities. I know some pretty darn religious people who are fantasy fans. Then again they're not Jehovah's Witnesses or hardline Southern Baptists.

General Comments / Re: The Book Banning Begins
« on: June 02, 2023, 08:42:25 PM »
Well obviously the Bible. Lots of begetting and incest and stuff like that.

Joking aside, there are non-trivial reasons why for centuries it was recommended that people not read it. So your tongue in cheek joke was actually no joke in the past.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: June 01, 2023, 09:27:01 PM »
Now that there isn't a national emergency in the works, I'm happy for them to form their circular firing squad and start taking each other out.

Isn't there? If the senate bogs down the proceeding the U.S. will hit Monday and have insufficient funds to meet its obligations. Granted, the media has essentially been a useful idiot and pretended (or been stupid enough to believe) that the U.S. could actually default on debt, which is essentially impossible. But what will happen if Monday rolls around with no legislation passed is obligations will become prioritized, and someone won't be paid, most likely government workers or services. The debt obligations cannot be affected and never could, really, but I would still call it an emergency since it is still possible to damage U.S. credibility even with zero chance of a debt default.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 31, 2023, 11:06:57 PM »
Now that this is clear of the house, does anyone know offhand whether the Senate has enough unruly types to actually be able to create a problem passing it quickly?

General Comments / Re: The Trump Papers
« on: May 31, 2023, 02:26:53 PM »
Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?

Just a small historical sidebar, but as I understand it it's potentially unclear whether Henry in fact wanted Becket dead and was doing as you suggest, or whether he made the exclamation in fury and idiot courtiers, against his wishes, killed a man that must not be killed.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 30, 2023, 04:07:10 PM »
I was expecting the markets to reflect the deal with a rally but they are down.  I guess they are not convinced.

It's all how the news spins it. Right it it looks like the word on the street is dread that the GOP will torpedo the agreement and push the U.S. past the X date.

General Comments / Re: (Re)Introduction
« on: May 29, 2023, 11:16:08 PM »
If a Pope says "you must do <x> right this second or you're definitely going to Hell" ex cathedra then what?

More to the point, that's not what ex cathedra means. It's not a D&D term for casting a spell and anything he says right after is true. It means something proclaimed - very rarely I might add - that is summation of the combined beliefs that already exist in the Church, and making it officially canonical. The last instance of this was in 1950. Ex cathedra isn't the main example of what infallibility refers to. And infallibility is about doctrine. It isn't an order you issue to someone. In that sense the Pope can give people suggestions about their moral obligations, but that's it.

General Comments / Re: Cutting the Judas cradle out of the LGB flag
« on: May 29, 2023, 02:14:39 PM »
It's not chronological as experienced, except perhaps retroactively. That said, I think almost any attempt to describe the universe should start with perception, and specifically perception of the self.

Ok. But you seem to be saying that our sense of reality comes first as external data that we process, and that even the prerequisite to the sense of self is 'external' data in this same sense, since clause 2 requires reference to external data. Is this what you are saying? Am I correct in placing this squarely in the externalist camp, where reality is something we generate from the outside-in, or do you allow for the 'self' to have attributes which may contribute to what external reality can be? Example: in clause 3 you mention that causes of sensation appear to be independent of the self, which implies that all of the data comes from elsewhere. But I am asking whether your model allows for some of the data to not come from elsewhere.

General Comments / Re: Cutting the Judas cradle out of the LGB flag
« on: May 29, 2023, 01:19:27 PM »
Tom, what exactly is that schema supposed to characterize? Since it's chronological, is that meant to represent how perceiving reality would initially happen to an infant? Or is that a rolled up version explained chronologically of how adults perceive reality at all times? I assume your schema represents a percepetion-first model, which I would camp with the externalists.

General Comments / Re: (Re)Introduction
« on: May 29, 2023, 11:47:25 AM »
I know you're trolling, but I have to ask: do you genuinely not know how papal infallibility works? Popes do not claim to speak ex cathedra at all times.

I would be cautious assuming that all of this is just trolling. It may also be trolling, but genuine error may be mixed in with it, which is why I took the time to address this issue.

General Comments / Re: The Trump Papers
« on: May 28, 2023, 10:21:57 PM »
Since the board is functionally unmoderated, *censored*ing with the people here has repercussions for Ephrem only in the sense that we will increasingly ignore his posts and/or stop posting and reading the forum altogether as the signal-to-noise ratio increases. I have little doubt that Ephrem would be quite happy to drive everyone else from the site, and would not consider this a negative consequence.

I was referring to more...uh...permanent repercussions. But yes, what you can could happen too.

General Comments / Re: The Trump Papers
« on: May 28, 2023, 07:11:11 PM »
I cannot wait to get punched in the mouth for my words.

That is by far not the most serious thing you (whoever you are) should be concerned about.

"I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter"

"it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.”
I'll take my chances. If God doesn't hate the LGBTQ as I do, then I'm in deep ****. No doubt. I got it.

You should focus on the word "careless". Using language as a game to mess with others has repercussions for you.

General Comments / Re: The Trump Papers
« on: May 28, 2023, 06:45:18 PM »
I cannot wait to get punched in the mouth for my words.

That is by far not the most serious thing you (whoever you are) should be concerned about.

"I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter"

"it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.”

General Comments / Re: Cutting the Judas cradle out of the LGB flag
« on: May 27, 2023, 05:15:42 PM »
Btw, the *censored*ing problem with people trying to argue with the religious nuts about what their God wants or doesn't want, it's that GOD IS FICTIONAL.

You may find that arguing with anyone who's nuts about any topic is not going to get you very far. Blaming the topic doesn't make much sense.

General Comments / Re: (Re)Introduction
« on: May 27, 2023, 01:15:07 PM »
What could possibly give a man more power than to be infallible about faith and morals?

Why should being correct about moral issues make you powerful? It just makes you correct. If he does have worldly power it comes from administrative organization, not from his knowledge of the teachings of the Church.

If one man and only one man has the power to decide "faith and morals" then what happens to those who disagree with him?

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Ever heard that?

He doesn't have the power to decide it. It is his job to teach a series of facts, and to work along with others to glean more and more from them.

I would like to point out that you are arguing from a position of profound ignorance, which in itself is ok, except that you accompany it with arrogant certainty. Rather than being vexing, I must admit I just find it boring.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 27, 2023, 02:01:00 AM »
Obviously the GOP says "yes" to (a) and "no" to (b).
A quibble: that is not actually particularly obvious. The GOP has programs they would like to cut, yes, for reasons unrelated to debt reduction, but none of those make a meaningful difference without hacking the military budget.

I said the GOP says say to (a). What they in in fact carry out may be very different.

General Comments / Re: Riddle me this:
« on: May 27, 2023, 01:58:21 AM »
You mean it was an actual riddle? I thought it was a writing prompt...

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 27, 2023, 12:02:37 AM »
"Running tax cuts on a deficit is like a company increasing their dividend when losing money."

Except that revenues to the Treasury are continuously increasing even with the tax cuts. Some even argue that's precisely because of the tax cuts, so it's more like a company increasing their dividend when their revenues are going up.

Revenues going up in isolation isn't important. If you increase a dividend when revenue is up but net income is still negative you are still losing even more money than if you left the dividend alone. We are talking about deficits, not absolute level of revenue.

But then they spend even more than that so they go even further into debt. That makes it look like it's not a revenue problem but a spending problem and no matter how high the revenues go the spending will go way higher. The spending always outpaces revenues by leaps and bounds so the debt problem actually gets worse out of proportion to revenue increases. If we'd been raising taxes and actually getting in more revenues over the last ten years our national debt could be over 40 trillion dollars instead of only over 30 trillion. We're like the wife who gets a credit card bump. She's going to spend all of that and get a bunch more credit cards and spend all of that too. We're totally out of control and getting more money or more credit without spending discipline first would only make it worse.

What you seem to be saying isn't that credit cards are unusable, but that someone without any discipline shouldn't have one. Or maybe more importantly, if the person controlling a family's finances has no self-control or regard for the health of the family, there is a problem deeper than what sort of payment method they use. If your argument is that no matter how high the revenues are the Congress will almost spend more than that (which is bad), there is no possible remedy for that if Congress is in charge of spending. I hope you realize that. What you are really saying (inadvertently, I think) is that the U.S. is doomed because its current form of government doesn't work and has all the wrong incentives in place. If so that's a position I could have a conversation with. But I get the distinct feeling what you mean is that only Democrats in fact do this, while Republicans are disciplined and control their spending wisely. Or am I wrong in that assumption?

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 26, 2023, 11:53:33 PM »
Maybe we can shovel cash at the people who might be able to create the next Google?

Maybe we should try that. Have ChatGPT figure out what the best ideas are.

Who is this "we"? Are you advocating for a CCP type central government? As for 'the next Google', what's wrong with the current Google?

It's the sort of thing you'd expect from people who believe that strip mining the resources out of a system to wreck the system and get out with personally more money is an acceptable way to behave.
It's like you don't understand that wealthy people might have grandchildren that they care very much about.

Specifically, fathers care about their daughters. Did you know that? If so, do you understand the implications?

For a moment I thought you were going to be making a moral argument. Instead you're just citing the rationale any dictator has for doing their worst: to protect their own family, take care of their children and grandchildren. Sure, that can be someone's primary goal, at the expense of everything else. What's your point?

General Comments / Re: (Re)Introduction
« on: May 26, 2023, 11:48:09 PM »
Perhaps I mistrust or don't understand Papal Infallibility, but if I do understand it, what you say might be true, but if so, those who are infallible will do what they believe God wants them to do 100% of the time.

Two points of interest here:

1) Infallibility here doesn't mean incapable of making errors (e.g. in judgement) but means correctly knowing the teachings of the faith. Papal infallibility is strictly applicable to matters of faith and morals, and not to any other area.

2) Even in matters where the Pope's understanding of faith it correct, he is only human and is still weak like everyone else, therefore can do things contrary to God's will. The story of Genesis is about two people who knew God's law precisely, with no chance of error, and weren't even fallen, and they still acted rebelliously.

So, it doesn't matter what they agree on. Nothing is set in stone.

It does matter, but my point is that this doesn't have to prevent being in communion. There are degrees of acceptable disagreement, though, so outside of certain bounds it would prevent it.

General Comments / Re: (Re)Introduction
« on: May 26, 2023, 08:08:57 PM »
Theoretically the Office of the Papacy could be empty for a thousand years, but that certainly wouldn’t be an ideal situation. Rome needs a bishop and the Roman Catholic church needs their patriarch.
I don’t know if it’s possible for an Eastern Orthodox man to become pope. I suppose the cardinals can elect any baptized man.

It does seem to be the case that some kind of major compromise would be necessary if the Orthodox and Latin Church were ever going to fully reconcile. I don't think most of the theological differences are deal-breakers, but maybe it's a bit reductionist on my part to presume that it's really mostly about the Pope and the authority structure. Maybe some kind of hybrid system would be workable, like the Pope is considered to be like another patriarch, not superior to but equivalent to the various Orthodox patriarchs. I don't think both sides should even have to agree on everything in order to be in communion with each other.

General Comments / Re: What do the Grammy's prove?
« on: May 26, 2023, 07:44:16 PM »
What's amazing is that this is an improvement over last week.

General Comments / Re: Riddle me this:
« on: May 26, 2023, 07:42:31 PM »
The Joshua Tree is still growing money for them.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 26, 2023, 07:15:36 PM »
Running tax cuts on a deficit is like a company increasing their dividend when losing money. You're just shoveling cash at certain people at the expense of the company. It's the sort of thing you'd expect from people who believe that strip mining the resources out of a system to wreck the system and get out with personally more money is an acceptable way to behave. It's the same type of people, I expect, who think they're being clever building these expensive apocalypse shelters and planning for how to establish a mini-kingdom to escape to when everything goes down the toilet. If you haven't read accounts of people doing this, do it, it's kind of funny. The primary humorous part is the question of how to prevent the soldiers just killing you and taking over. The prevailing attitude must be "I am destined to rule and everyone will understand that." Or something like that.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 26, 2023, 04:48:09 PM »
1) Should we reduce the national debt?

This question really needs to be subdivided into two different clauses:

a) To lower government spending?
b) To increase taxes?

The issue is the ratio of spending to tax revenue. The actual debt doesn't get paid off, you just stop rolling it over. Your answer to (1) was "yes", but when subdivided you'd find divergence in how to do it. Obviously the GOP says "yes" to (a) and "no" to (b). The Democrats, perhaps, would advocate for the converse.

To me the issue is less about the amount of debt and more about the rates being paid on that debt. I'd rather owe 15 trillion at 2% than 10 trillion at 4%. The relationship between rates and proper debt level hits home in all sorts of arenas like corporate balance sheets and home prices. I'd say that the impact of the higher rate regime on the national debt hasn't been properly part of the conversation yet, but should be. If rates were still at zero then I'd argue it's actually efficient to issue government debt at very high levels; the return on it is very good and with inflated currency it pays back less than it initially receives. It's like printing money, if you'll pardon the expression. At 5%, though, not so much, and the debt service becomes arduous. So it's not as simple as a binary of what's best for government to do. The Fed's current rate policy seems to be smacking the entire U.S. debt structure (including the government's) in the face. The question isn't whether the government should be leveraged, but rather how much in proportion to the expected future rates.

I find it very hard to parse whether there should be spending caps. Inflation is highly underreported IMO and it should be automatic to expected government spending to go up every year by 5-10% simply because of inflation, even if nothing is added to the agenda. If that's not desirable then the root causes of such hidden inflation need to become a priority over and above absolute spending levels.

General Comments / Re: Cutting the Judas cradle out of the LGB flag
« on: May 26, 2023, 12:32:08 AM »
Why is your opinion more trustworthy than mine?

That is a question you should pose not to me, but to others.

General Comments / Re: Cutting the Judas cradle out of the LGB flag
« on: May 25, 2023, 10:58:14 PM »
I'm perfectly happy for someone to have whatever opinions they've come to and want to defend in open dialogue. But just as a matter of public record I want everyone here who may be uncertain on this point to know that none of the above posts (or any others that I read, which does not include the long esoteric exchanges with Pete, which I skipped) are representative of the views of Eastern Orthodox Christians. You may in fact disagree with the views of the Orthodox, but regardless, these are not them.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 25, 2023, 03:52:44 PM »
This is a pissing contest and it's one that Biden has zero chance of winning.

That's interesting. How do you know he can't just end it anytime he wants, but prefers to do it through negotiation? Aside from what others have mentioned about him being able to declare it unconstitutional, I'm still not convinced he can't just make an executive order demanding the debt be issued. I imagine actually paying bills is an executive function, not a legislative one. I don't even really see why the legislative body is involved at all in the domain of whether or not debts should be paid.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 24, 2023, 08:58:31 PM »
So that's how the national debt affects inflation. Money printing. Now maybe we didn't print all that money just because of the national debt, but it's only a matter of time before we try to monetize our way out of it. We see the damage just a taste of it causes. The Fed is right to get serious about tackling inflation.

Ok, so what you're quoting now is probably a monetarist position, which says (among other things) that control of the money supply can allow government to heat up or cool inflation as needed, and therefore monetary control should properly be seen as a mechanism through which to balance economic cycles. Now at least in your favor this time this has been a conservative position, notably in the 70's and early 80's, but seems to me to have made a resurgence lately. Ironically, though, this theory, too, places the reigns of economic stability in the hands of big government, which you'd think wouldn't be a popular notion among conservatives. If you dug into it I suspect you'd find that more left-wingers nowadays propose this theory rather than right-wingers, probably for this reason.

Let's be clear: is this your position? I would see little purpose to summoning quotes unless they express something you believe, right? If you say it is your position I can know how to proceed from there.

Now we've been talking about the issue of which is worse, a default or runaway national debt but there's another issue on the table which is also a which is worse question between balancing the budget or continuing to run massive deficits. Running the pros and cons on that one is a bit easier[!!!] and it seems like the benefits outweigh the problems. Minor short term pain for great long term gain. And no financial apocalypses necessary.

My exclamations, of course. It's a bit easier so long as balancing the budget is the a priori goal of fiscal policy. If keeping the world from being catapulted into turmoil is a goal then it's not a bit easier at all to reach this conclusion. Indeed, as I've mentioned elsewhere if the U.S. magically balanced its budget the results would be catastrophic; basically there would be a global liquidity crisis, all financial systems would melt down, and I imagine the collapse of the world economy would usher in the necessary next phase, which would be one-world government. If this is what you want then by all means, cut off the supply of the world's most necessary collateral (treasuries). I hope you realize that a vast amount of businesses worldwide do business in USD only, and the means by which their local banks can produce the currency to provide them with liquidity for their debts is USD denominated debt. Guess what happens when there's a run on collateral...

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 24, 2023, 07:07:21 PM »
That's because raising taxes doesn't necessarily mean more money coming into the government. Like Princess Leia Organa told the Grand Moff when he threatened to raise her taxes because she was the 1%: "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more my money will slip through your fingers."

Again, do you realize you're making a non-conservative argument here? You're saying that the market price of, say, food, isn't mainly driven by market forces but by government policy; and by corollary (whether you realize it or not) that therefore making adjustments to government policy can be a method of controlling food prices. But as a conservative I don't think you want to be making that argument! It goes in directions you wouldn't like :)

Raising corporate taxes just means inflation goes up as they raise their prices. ChatGPT just told me that the national debt doesn't directly drive food price inflation but I'm not sure I'm buying it. We know the trouble with out of control national debts is money printing and inflation and we know we've already seen a lot of that here. It's not a coincidence. We want to talk about the problems of default but we shouldn't ignore the cracks in the system we're seeing right now such as with food price inflation. That's hitting people right in the gut, literally, and poor people who are already having trouble eating healthfully most of all.

Ok, I'll start off here by saying that ChatGPT is not an analyst, nor does it have an opinion. It just mines what it finds online. In other words if you Google opinions on it you'll find what it finds. If you watch interviews with 'free market investors' (like hedge fund managers) you'll find that probably most of them are ardently against lots of government spending, and prefer the 'free market' to see to all things. They are almost universally against higher taxes, government programs, and social safety nets. These are a different sort than university academics who you will find are more often left-leaning and endorse MMT and other government-oriented theories of monetary policy. So depending on your search history, type of Google search, and whether you even know what you're looking for, you'll get vastly different opinions on finance and economics. A lot of the fund manager types believe that the recent inflation was directly caused by the government over-spending during the pandemic. Others will say the converse, that this spending was necessary to fill in the gaps in consumer demand during the pandemic in keeping industry going. Many on both sides opine that the supply shock caused a price correction and that the 'inflation' wasn't even inflation but just a market price change that would sort itself out. Some left-wing types outright blame corporate greed and fleecing the public for the food prices, and for my part I am 99.9% convicted that this was mainly the cause in consumer staple price increases. The energy price shock hadn't even come into play yet when food prices skyrocketed during the pandemic, and IMO it was plainly obviously that public fear and panic led to an inelastic demand; they were going to buy food, toilet paper, etc, at any price during 2020-2021, and the same went for houses for that matter (I have different theories about the housing price increases). Anyhow this is a big topic, but it is realistically not possible to try to create direct causal links between government spending and food prices; even if there was such a link you could probably never establish it with data. That said it's a highly unrealistic hypothesis. Do you seriously think supermarket CEO's sat there thinking "oh, people are going to get a few covid checks, let's jack up the prices by 30%!!" By that logic anytime the economy was doing well that would happen, and it doesn't. Anyone trying that under normal conditions would meet an enormous public outcry. Unless you want to argue that grocery is a cartel and they they could all do it in lockstep. But as a conservative you don't want to go there either! It also leads to places you don't want to go :)

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 24, 2023, 06:05:33 PM »
If a default is the only way to start getting the national debt paid off then a default is the less of two evils.

It isn't, and it isn't.

A default is orders of magnitude less damaging to the country and the world than a U.S. national debt of a hundred trillion dollars in thirty years of so.

OrderS, plural? Like, 1/100 or 1/1000 as bad? How do you even know what results a default would have, to make this kind of precise statement? It's also kind of progressive of you to say so, since you're advocating for a national level experiment that's never been tried, claiming it will make life better for everyone. That's sort of the opposite of a conservative position. It's the sort of anti-establishment "let it all fall down" argument leftist protesters used to levy during Nam.

That said, I really cannot imagine how you can hold the opinion you hold on the subject without being deeply concerned that the GOP won't even entertain raising taxes.

General Comments / Re: (Re)Introduction
« on: May 24, 2023, 02:43:09 PM »
Hello Carlotta, I don't think we knew each other from before. I joined the board maybe 10 years ago, and I think I didn't start posting right away. Congrats on the kids and on finding a church you find welcomes you. I'm Catholic myself with three kids, and we float between a few parishes depending on how things are going with the kids. The Latin mass we enjoy attending isn't that appropriate for our eldest in particular, who cannot sit still and has to be playing at all times or else he will go crazy.

@ JoshuaD, my interpretation was that Carlotta meant the Orthodox/Catholic schism, but I'll be happy to be corrected if otherwise. I've also noticed some nice ecumenical moves lately, especially between the Church and England, the Orthodox, and even among the Jewish people, although I expect the latter are not yet ready to forgive or forget. It will just take a few generations more for that.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 24, 2023, 01:31:28 PM »
The problem seems is that a good chunk of the Republican caucus is happy to cause that damage if they don't get a negotiation where democrats give them stuff they want and in exchange the economy doesn't get tanked during a Democratic presidency.

They probably do think that way. They don't understand, or care, that permanently damaging the U.S.'s credibility hurts them too.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 24, 2023, 12:46:08 PM »
Make of it what you will. Having that much money under management allows them to pull a lot of strings, whether it has anything to do with Treasury buys or not.

Ok. I'm looking at Blackrock's Q1 10-Q, and they have $5.5B in cash equivalents, and $8B in investments. So I really don't see how this small amount of cash warrants anyone's attention in regard to buying treasuries. I think the real news item is that the inverted yield curve has been anticipating rate cuts since last year, and Blackrock is betting on that happening. From your article:

"If you go through a debt ceiling crisis, it's a global crisis ... And the flight to quality ends up being in U.S. Treasuries," Rieder told Reuters in an interview. "If we default it will be a short-term default and so it makes sense to have some more interest rate exposure."

Interest rate exposure means they make gains if rates go down. Going long-bonds gives them a gain if rates go down, so in buying these bonds they're just anticipating (or hedging against) a recession and a Fed pivot. I know your point about them being able to pull strings is not directly connected to this, but I guess I'm still not sure why Blackrock and Vanguard would be the ones to be watching during this crisis. I think the pressure to avoid a U.S. default is far, far greater than anything these funds could levy. 

General Comments / Re: MAGA women and their husbands
« on: May 24, 2023, 10:58:25 AM »
I'm the one who micro-analyzed every bit of it for an inconsistency and found none.

Yeah, you're the first person to ever try to figure out what the creed means.

Although I *did* find that the filioque necessarily increases pedophilia among the priests who ever fall victim to messianic delusions, and a lot of them do.

Man, if you are really Eastern Orthodox (which denomination, if I may ask?) you are such a heretic.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 24, 2023, 10:55:25 AM »
I believe they have the power to force politicians to make a deal before default, I'm wondering if they will use it,

How would they employ such power? I've personally never heard talk that Larry Fink or Buckley have the ear of treasury, and frankly I'm not even sure how much the GOP cares about what Yellen says. Jamie Dimon seems to be the most in contact with Washington at all times, and even he seems to sit out on the topic of Washington politics. Don't forget that although these shadow banks have enormous funds under management, as companies they are tiny compared to Apple, Microsoft, Google, and even Berkshire Hathaway. And if you wanted to look at who's holding more treasuries, I expect that Berkshire's holdings dwarf anything Vanguard could afford. They have $130 billion in 'cash' right now. If these guys are buying 10-year treasuries now it seems the most likely reason is they expect rates will fall soon.

or execute "the big short" at the expense of their retirement accounts.
There are a lot of CDS's in play against the U.S. treasury right now already, but I couldn't say who holds them.

General Comments / Re: Debt Limit Standoff
« on: May 23, 2023, 11:22:06 PM »
When are Blackrock and Vanguard going to pull the strings, and in which directions? They are loading up on 10 year Treasuries.

What do you mean? Why would buying 10 year treasuries translate into a threat? Or more concretely, what's your interpretation of their increase in purchasing these bonds?

General Comments / Re: Hey, Joshua...
« on: May 22, 2023, 12:06:57 AM »
I can't you can't poke a bear in its cave if it's elsewhere while you wave the stick around.

Just for the record, my comment should read as "I GUESS you can't poke..."

General Comments / Re: Hey, Joshua...
« on: May 21, 2023, 09:32:09 PM »
I can't you can't poke a bear in its cave if it's elsewhere while you wave the stick around.

General Comments / Re: Hey, Joshua...
« on: May 20, 2023, 06:56:19 PM »
I'd nominate Fenring. He annoys the leftists sometimes, he annoys the rightists sometimes, I've not once seen him attack a person instead of their argument. Seems a good choice.

It is much appreciated that you feel this way. I would just like to note on my own part that I haven't had any issue with Joshua's moderation in recent years as there has truthfully been no real need for him to intercede in matters. I can see how it might be jarring to switch from years of neutral observation to having to deal with unruly posts all of a sudden. He definitely used to moderate actively as of the last time it was necessary.

General Comments / Re: Hey, Joshua...
« on: May 20, 2023, 06:53:03 PM »
Tom also recently claimed he wasn’t trying to drive me from the board.

I don't know about Tom, but in the past (when you weren't jostling around with sock puppets) I was mostly pleased whenever you'd come back to the board. You had a knack for posting a lot of left-field remarks that often contained deceptively astute observations. The fact that you would inevitably end up in a scuffle with someone was unfortunate, but under ideal conditions I rather liked a lot of your contributions. If you will accept a respectful criticism, the quality level of your posts since coming back this time has been...suspect. It is very hard to see it as anything other than looking to pick a fight with everyone. It's sort of like you started off at the bottom of a downward spiral that used to take some time to arrive. Take this for whatever you will.

General Comments / Re: Hey, Joshua...
« on: May 20, 2023, 01:34:35 PM »
I don't have any problem with someone starting many topics on random issues, even if many are just random streams of consciousness. It's the recent development in the last few days that has become gonzo.

General Comments / Re: The Last Battle: Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice
« on: May 20, 2023, 02:16:28 AM »
And why is that?

Maybe you should first ask, out of the available copious list, which items that may disgust him he's referring to.

General Comments / Re: Mormon theology vs Eastern Orthodox theology
« on: May 19, 2023, 05:57:36 PM »
I prefer not to talk about it.

I, too, choose to be humble about vanquishing cosmic forces.

General Comments / Re: Let's say peace breaks out
« on: May 19, 2023, 05:56:21 PM »
However, Catholics once were Eastern Orthodox.

You don't think there was a Pope prior to the schism?

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