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Messages - Greg Davidson

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A great deal of water is wasted due to riparian laws, which regulate property rights for water use from rivers for agricultural purposes.  These 19th century laws give certain property owners water rights in future years based on how much water they consume in the current year, and so greater efficiency is actually penalized.

General Comments / Re: whats up with all the rallies
« on: July 07, 2018, 05:56:38 PM »
Obama did so at "an abnormal level" as well during his time in office. Certainly so in his second term.

Please identify the measurements that support your claim of abnormality.

Another interesting research paper from SSRN

Terrorist attacks often dominate news coverage as reporters seek to provide the public with information. Yet, not all incidents receive equal attention. Why do some terrorist attacks receive more media coverage than others? We argue that perpetrator religion is the largest predictor of news coverage, while target type, being arrested, and fatalities will also impact coverage. We examined news coverage from LexisNexis Academic and for all terrorist attacks in the United States between 2006 and 2015 (N=136). Controlling for target type, fatalities, and being arrested, attacks by Muslim perpetrators received, on average, 357% more coverage than other attacks. Our results are robust against a number of counterarguments. The disparities in news coverage of attacks based on the perpetrator’s religion may explain why members of the public tend to fear the “Muslim terrorist” while ignoring other threats. More representative coverage could help to bring public perception in line with reality.

A rigorous paper that tests multiple hypotheses against a broad database and checks against plausible counterarguments:
We identify five testable counterarguments. First, white homicide victims receive more media coverage than minority victims (Gruenewald, Chermak, & Pizarro, 2013). Drawing from the disparities in homicide coverage, the discussion on out-groups, and the societal position of the victim(s), it is also possible that attacks against an out-group receive less media coverage. Second, symbolism can be important in terrorism. Certain dates, such as Hitler’s birthday and the anniversary of 9/11, attract more violence.10 When attacks occur within close proximity to these symbolic dates, they may receive more media coverage. Third, we may expect to see less media coverage when responsibility for the attack is unknown (Weimann & Brosius 1991; Weimann & Winn 1994). Fourth, we may expect to see more coverage when the individual(s) responsible are connected with a larger group that uses terrorism. Lastly, when classifying whether or not a violent incident is terrorism there can be insufficient or contradicting information that makes it difficult to make a definitive determination. If experts question whether or not an incident should be considered terrorism, members of the media may have similar difficulties. It is possible that classification differences can explain variation in coverage, potentially resulting in ambiguous cases receiving less media attention. We tested our argument on why some attacks received more media coverage than others against these alternatives.

Health care and the Republican tax bill that gave a trillion dollars to millionaires are two issues that strongly influence Democrats and Independents. If the Democrats can stick to those messages, they will do well.

There is an additional factor above and beyond gerrymandering that helps Republicans - they have also been successful in voter suppression, making it more difficult for traditionally Democratic-leaning voters to vote.

Senate is almost impossible for the Democrats to win this year; winning 53% pf the votes cast for the House of Representatives (a 6% advantage over the Republicans) is maybe a 70% likelihood.  And I can see it being very plausible that President Trump would start a war in October to influence the election (evidently he was pushing an invasion of Venezuela last September, he doesn't see implications as much of a barrier)

So Crunch, let's play this game again - make a prediction for July 4th 2020 about economic growth or wages in California and some other Republican-dominated state such as Texas or Kansas. If you are right, California should be out-performed by one of these Republican states.

So make your prediction by how much economic growth should be higher in one of those states. And later we can come back and check.

General Comments / Re: Liberals have lost
« on: July 05, 2018, 10:25:41 AM »
It is likely that President Trump ordered a poorly thought-out mission that led to an unnecessary US casualty (and multiple civilian casualties) for little gain. I don't know that for sure; it would take a more in-depth independent investigation to verify the facts. That's the main point I was making - for US casualties in Benghazi there were 8 separate Congressional investigations, why so little scrutiny for this incident under the Trump Administration?

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the operation "a failure" because the terrorists were allegedly tipped off in advance.

U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.

General Comments / Re: Liberals have lost
« on: July 04, 2018, 11:38:38 PM »
The Stimulus Spending bill, unanimous support from Dems, no Republican support. (Many also used this as evidence that the Republicans were out to get Obama from the start)

Or they used this actual reporting which indicated that Republicans got together, led by Mitch McConnell before the inauguration, with the explicit intention to "show united and unyielding opposition to the president’s economic policies"  This is what led over 115 Republican members of Congress to claim publicly that economic stimulus bills do not create jobs, despite (a) having voted for a smaller economic stimulus package a year earlier, and (b) claiming credit for the jobs created in their district by the very stimulus bill that they had previously said would not create jobs.

ObamaCare, most of the Democratic jockeying was it either because they felt it didn't do enough, or Democrat (house members) who were (rightfully) concerned that if certain provisions were included in it, they'd be voted out in the next election.
How does this claim support the position that you were arguing?  That Democrats were less supportive of Obama because they had reasons, so that somehow doesn't refute your basic point? 

How does this compare to the lockstep voting for the largest tax system overhaul in 3 decades that was written up during lunch and passed a day later with unanimous Republican votes?

Then you fill many paragraphs with your feelings about media coverage, which is not cogent to your argument either. And by the way, your feelings are wrong - during 2009-2012 the Tea Party protests got vastly more television coverage than the contemporaneous Immigration Reform protests, even though more American citizens participated in the marches in favor of immigration reform.

And the IRS and Benghazi coverage show conservative bias, not the reverse. For all the Republican disingenuous concern about the loss of life in Benghazi, there has not been 1/1000th the scrutiny of concern for American lives lost in unexplained but highly questionable Trump Administration operations in Yemen and Nigeria.

Trump did get far fewer endorsements in newspapers than previous Republicans - but maybe this is because he was an ignorant and undisciplined candidate (now President) who makes both false and cruel statements at a level not seen in American political history. But in terms of your premise about support of his party's leadership, that's measurable, and you have not shown the measurements that support your contention.

General Comments / Re: Liberals have lost
« on: July 04, 2018, 08:29:28 PM »

Thanks for the honesty of your comments. I guess I am curious about how you know you are correct, because you made a pretty bold claim:

they still were in far more agreement, and much more cooperative with Obama than the Republicans are with Trump. That you cannot discern the similarities and differences just demonstrates there probably isn't much point in trying to point them out

My background, both probably from the community I grew up in, and certainly how I was educated, is that I would be obligated to be ready to provide substantiation to any controversial claim that I made. I was raised in a context of awareness that often we all can have mistakes of perception, and the safeguard against error is to examine controversial propositions carefully.

Incidentally, I have just today discovered a new website that is gloriously interesting - Social Science Research Network (SSRN) that has over 800,000 academic papers available on-line and ranked in terms of level-of-interest. They have very cool analyses, including Lazy, Not Biased: Susceptibility to Partisan Fake News Is Better Explained by Lack of Reasoning Than by Motivated Reasoning that uses an elegant approach to discern that regardless of party preference, those who are more analytical are more likely to identify fake news as fake (and that people are best able to discern news as fake when it supports their party preference, not the reverse as a cynic might suspect).  Here's the link, although you might need to give them your email and make a password to get an account to access

General Comments / Re: Liberals have lost
« on: July 04, 2018, 01:55:29 PM »
But they still were in far more agreement, and much more cooperative with Obama than the Republicans are with Trump. That you cannot discern the similarities and differences just demonstrates there probably isn't much point in trying to point them out to you. You seem to be either unable or unwilling to fathom that there is any degree of nuance to be found among "the right hand side"of the political spectrum as portrayed in the popular media.

As such, trying to educate with the specifics you want at this point is pointless, as we've already been trying to provide that education for some time now. Not worth the effort, as I have doubts you'd try to understand what is presented.

Your argument seems to be that you are so sure of yourself that you don't need specifics or evidence to prove it. In other words, you start with the presumption that you must be right. You further go on to presume that anyone who questions your premise must not be able to be educated, because the correctness of your premise is so self-evident that those who disagree are incapable of understanding why you are right, even without specifics.

A respectable argument would start with the premise that you believe Democratic support for Obama is greater than Republican support for Trump, and the respectable defense of that argument would be some measurable that supported your argument (such as relative difference in votes for/against each President by members of their own party).  Lacking such evidence, your argument is weak because it is unsupported, but your particular defense in response to my request for substantiation indicates an even greater weakness.

General Comments / Re: Possibility of peace with NK
« on: July 01, 2018, 08:17:12 PM »
Let's do a midterm report card on the Trump Administration's nonproliferation policy. Seeing as the Republicans led the country to a war in Iraq over the (falsified) threat of nuclear weapons, nonproliferation would seem to be a pretty important issue. Worth thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. The results so far of the Trump Administration so far look like a failing grade:

The Trump Administration has pulled the Iran Deal (which reduces constraints on Iran and gives the US nothing in return)

The US also has given North Korea the unprecedented prestige of a bilateral meeting with the US President and a US pledge to halt war games with South Korea. And in return, North Korea has yielded nothing.

PS: all of you who asserted that you knew what was in the Iran deal, why didn't you identify any of the provisions that lasted more than 10 years?

General Comments / Re: Liberals have lost
« on: July 01, 2018, 08:05:18 PM »
By what measure do you assert that Obama had "the full support of his party leadership and very tacit support from much of the MSM" while "Trump does NOT have the full support of his party's leadership".

Because Republicans in Congress have moved in lockstep to take actions (such as with the most significant legislative act of the Trump Administration, the fundamental restructure of the US tax code all done in 24 hours), whereas the Obama Administration had to work for months addressing the issues of Democratic members of Congress regarding the Affordable Care Act and many of the other legislative acts passed.

So, seriously, what evidence did you use to come up with the conclusion that Obama had more internal support than Trump?

General Comments / Re: Liberals have lost
« on: June 30, 2018, 06:48:49 PM »
The legal position of the Trump Administration is that no matter what the President has done, it is impossible for Trump to illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling because the Constitution empowers him to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”

This is not normal. This is not in alignment with American values or with basic principles of democracy. If Bill Clinton or Barack Obama had made such a claim, the Republicans on this site would have spontaneously combusted in horror.

Over the next year or two, it is highly likely that there are going to be multiple convictions and/or guilty pleas for crimes committed by members of the Trump Administration, Trump family, and the President himself.  There is no way Trump gets removed from office once illegal actions are proved, because enough Republicans will continue to support him. Instead, we'll hear from Republicans that his proven crimes are no worse than the imaginary/unproven crimes that they claim Democrats have committed.  And the right-wing media (starting with Fox News and Sinclair media) will sell those stories as if they are true. The Republicans (and those independents who are former Republicans too ashamed to call themselves that) will largely not listen to anything else.

What will ultimately turn the tide is that extreme policy actions on the right will motivate voters from the center and left, and the old white core of the Republican Party will age out of the voting population.

General Comments / Re: Liberals have lost
« on: June 30, 2018, 12:40:51 PM »
Justice Kennedy was the author of the Citizen's United decision, so it's not like all is lost with this retirement - much was already lost before.

But when the Democrats do take over, and that is the likely scenario at some point, the question is whether they use the Presidency and a majority in the Senate and increase the Supreme Court size to 11 justices (it takes two additional confirmations to offset the Gorsuch appointment).  Such an act is unprecedented, but no more so than what it took to take the seat Gorsuch now holds in the first place.

General Comments / Re: Liberals have lost
« on: June 30, 2018, 12:31:15 PM »
In terms of the power of corporations and the wealthy relative to the power of employees and those not in the 1%, conservatives have been winning in the Supreme Court for decades.

General Comments / Re: #3 rated TV show Roseanne cancelled
« on: June 13, 2018, 12:36:56 AM »
Their fans took exception to it, and the rest is, as you say, is history. They pissed on their own customer base, and they reaped the whirlwind for it.

That might be a plausible explanation if the impact had been just based on diminished sales. Instead, they were blacklisted - the large companies controlling airtime on country radio refused to play their music. And they did not piss on their fan base, Natalie Maines simply pointed out what most of the country later realized, President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq was embarrassingly wrong.

General Comments / Re: Summit
« on: June 12, 2018, 10:26:51 AM »
I can't wait to see the Republican imagination try to come up with why it is a victory giving up US-ROK military exercises in exchange for nothing verifiable. At best, Trump will violate the flimsy agreement and we will go back to conducting military experiences, leaving the summit as having accomplished nothing.

I am also certain that no Republican will touch the question of how the specifics of this "deal" compare to the Iran Deal

we now know that nobody thought Flynn was lying. Get that?

Who is this "we" you speak about?   Because this is pretty clear:

General Comments / Re: #3 rated TV show Roseanne cancelled
« on: June 07, 2018, 10:30:25 AM »
Consider the Dixie Chicks in regard to these two comments below, lead singer Natalie Maines said a week or two before the invasion of Iraq in 2003  "We don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas".  And for that they were blacklisted by broadcasting networks for the rest of the Bush term in office. For the imaginary crime of criticizing the President on foreign soil, a crime that went down the memory hole as soon as a Democrat became President.

I wish there was a list of people who got fired for thought crimes or unacceptable speech, but I don't have one.  Not sure if it began with Spacey or Damore or goes further back, and when things started heating up.  The first one I remember on the forum is the firing of Brendan Eich.  Paula Deen lost her job in 2013 I think.  That's just celebrity/CEO firings.

The "issue" here, as the more socially conservative side of the nation can fully attest to, is this scenario is NOT reciprocal. If you hold a socially conservative/more traditionalist point of view, and express it publicly, the current social milieu is such that if you're not careful, you could lose your job, and see your career be seriously damaged by it. "And deserve what you get" when it happens to you.

But if you hold a more socially "liberal" or progressive positions, without regard to how "socially acceptable" those positions/attitudes may be where you are,  and an employer attempts "to cut ties" with you because of your public positions. THAT's protected, and suddenly some sacred cow is under attack and the employer is now under threat of boycotts, multi-million dollar crowd-funded lawsuits, and so forth.


Are you capable of acknowledging the inaccuracies of your original position?

General Comments / Re: #3 rated TV show Roseanne cancelled
« on: May 30, 2018, 10:21:55 AM »
yossarian22c, yes, I remember in the original when they changed out actresses playing the role of the daughter Becky, they did so by having the family around the kitchen table talking about the one previous time to that a prime time show had swapped actors. They were all discussing whether they preferred the first "Darrin" on the show Bewitched or the second one, and everyone in the Connor family says  that they preferred the first actor until they get to the last family member, which in this shot was the new actress playing Becky. And she disagrees and says that the second Darrin was so much better. And  that's the only reference they made to the fact that suddenly the eldest daughter was being played by a different actress

General Comments / #3 rated TV show Roseanne cancelled
« on: May 30, 2018, 01:20:44 AM »
This happened today by ABC in response to a tweet she made that used racially charged language about a female African American (Valerie Jarrett) who worked in the Obama Administration. I think Roseanne Barr has every right to make any kind of comments, even racist ones. There absolutely should not be any law made that would impede her ability to make such comments.

I also think that those working on this show have the right to resign in protest, and ABC/Disney has the right to cancel the show, which they did.

I personally suspect that this will get picked up as the first sitcom on Fox News or by some other network (HBO has a much wider range of speech in its programs, and I find somethings there pretty offensive even when they are ostensibly attacks from the left on the right - for example, Bill Maher). And this cancellation will probably strongly motivate those fighting culture wars from he right to support the show, guaranteeing a very large audience which = $$$)

PS: I did find amusing the idea to recast the lead of the new Roseanne, using Wanda Sykes (an African American comic who was some kind of producer on the show and who resigned after Roseanne Barr's comments) - the joke being that they recast the daughter Becky in the middle of the first run of the series, they both pointed at the change in casting and ignored it.

And none of the credulous Trump supporters (and yes, I am referring to you, Crunch) can explain how in this diabolical plan that the FBI chose not to mention before the election any of the open-and-close criminal actions that key members of the Trump Administration have already pleaded guilty to.

General Comments / Re: What Deals Has Trump Made as President?
« on: May 25, 2018, 10:22:59 AM »
The tax cut deal was ultimately passed and now the economy is red hot.] The tax cut deal was ultimately passed and now the economy is red hot.

GDP growth was 2.6% in FY14, 2.9% in FY15, and 1.5% in FY16, and 2.3% in FY17 (as a reminder, FY17 is the government fiscal year that started in October 2016 before the election, so both Obama and Trump were President during that year).

Crunch, what is your prediction for FY18 GDP growth under the "red hot" economy - will it be as high as the 2.9% under Obama? 

Actually, I do believe that the Trump tax cut will stimulate the economy - increasing the deficit by ~$300B in a single year should increase GDP growth by about 0.3%-0.5%.  If the Republicans were willing to have done so under Obama, there would have been a similar short-term effect. So I would not be completely surprised if the economy hit the Obama peak rate of 2.9% growth + the extra 0.3%-0.5% - is that your expectation? Or do you expect 4% or 5% GDP growth?

General Comments / Re: NFL fines for disrespect
« on: May 25, 2018, 01:32:12 AM »
Here's an interesting argument - if the NFL wants to act like a private corporation instead of a quasi-public institution, then that's fine but then let's eliminate the exemption from taxes and antitrust law

General Comments / Re: NFL fines for disrespect
« on: May 24, 2018, 01:24:18 AM »
If there is a principle that players are forbidden from silent protests of policy while the national anthem is being played because anything other than standing is disrespectful, what about people in the stands? Can they go to the bathroom or buy hot dogs during the national anthem? 


General Comments / Re: Possibility of peace with NK
« on: May 24, 2018, 12:41:59 AM »
TheDrake, even your summary article was incomplete.  I'd like a critic to actually be able to argue the specifics of the provisions and their duration. If you have a depth of understanding of the specifics, not only can you recognize the number of specific bogus claims that opponents have made about the Iran Deal, but you should wind up with an understanding that it is one of the strongest nonproliferation regimes ever implemented (and far more stringent than any of the right wing critics believed was possible before the deal was struck).

And, because of the instinctive opposition to anything that Democrats do, suddenly a diplomatic accomplishment on nonproliferation that went far beyond the expectations of anyone in the Republican Party must be opposed, because it does not achieve even more. I bring up the example of Sunni support for extremism because I believe that demonstrates that those post-agreement arguments by Republicans are not based on a genuine concern about support for extremism, but rather as an excuse to oppose something that a Democrat has accomplished. 

General Comments / Re: Possibility of peace with NK
« on: May 23, 2018, 10:42:55 AM »
There was a disingenuous and incomprehensible argument on the right on the Iran Deal after it accomplished exactly what the Obama Administration said it was designed to accomplished. Because it was successful in its goals, the right wing had to argue that it was a failure because it did not accomplish things that were not its goals (or, in the case of President Trump, argue that it was a terrible deal without any deep understanding of what the actual deal was).

The incomprehensible part:

those on the right who see Iranian support for Shiite extremists as a problem so serious that getting nukes out of Iranian hands for a generation is negligible are the same people who don't seem to care that Sunni extremists (remember Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS?) get their support from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.  Are we breaking all diplomatic relationships with those Sunni states until they stop their support of Sunni extremists? Why is it valid for Iran but not for the Sunni countries?

General Comments / Re: Possibility of peace with NK
« on: May 21, 2018, 10:12:52 PM »
TheDrake, you speak in the abstract only. Do you know what is in the Iran Deal? Sounds like you also are ignorant of the specifics of what you are condemning.

My two questions: why should your voice be credible on a topic where you have ignorance of the primary topic? And don't you find it suspicious that the right wing anti-Iran Deal arguments all share the same fundamental ignorance of the actual specifics of the Iran Deal?

General Comments / Re: Possibility of peace with NK
« on: May 21, 2018, 06:14:48 PM »
Seriati, do you even know what the provisions of the Iran Deal were?  I suspect you don't know, that your opposition has been based on ignorance and other echoing of partisan media that also are based on ignorance.

Prove me wrong. Please, tell us your understanding of what Iran was required to do up front, what provisions were in place for 10, 15, 25, etc. years. If you literally don't know what you are talking about, that puts the value of your views in context.

General Comments / Re: Possibility of peace with NK
« on: May 18, 2018, 01:38:30 AM »
The US had virtually no trade with Iran, so US sanctions alone had very little impact. What worked quite well was the extended diplomatic efforts by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry to align a coalition that included Iran's major trading partners to force them to make the concessions that they did.

That is why Republicans must have irrational hate for the Iran Deal, because it is a fundamental axiom that anything done by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry must be wrong. So you find that Republican opponents don't actually know what provisions were in the Iran Deal, they have no alternative explanation of what better approach could have been taken (at the end of the Bush Administration the right wing was focused on military actions, as if the Iraq War was not bad enough, they want to try another war against a country with three times the population and terrain less well suited to military invasion), and now that they have eliminated the Iran Deal because they hate Democrats they have no real argument why elimination of the deal makes us any safer.

General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: May 16, 2018, 10:33:30 AM »
Then there's Birmingham and the snarling dog picture - highly manufactured.

I heard a podcast, I believe by Malcolm Gladwell, that talked about this Birmingham photograph, the statue made of it, and both the widow of the police officer holding the dog and the young African American youth who the dog was leaping at.  In his description, it was less staged than accidental. The kid was not actually participating in the civil rights rally, the officer was really just trying to hold the dog back, etc.

General Comments / Re: U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem
« on: May 16, 2018, 10:27:37 AM »
As an American Jew, I can speak with some insight on why American Jews strongly and consistently tend to favor Democratic candidates (and to note, that means 70/30, not 100%). There is a strong overlap between Jewish values and the values of the Democratic Party, particularly the cultural values of Judaism (as opposed to keeping Shabbat or kosher).  "The stranger" plays an important role in Torah, and in more secular Jewish thought, as in "And you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, since you were strangers in the land of Egypt".  Try learning that from an early age, and then try to feel comfortable within the Republican Party - it's not easy.

General Comments / Re: U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem
« on: May 15, 2018, 10:15:10 AM »
There is a growing split between North American Jews and Israel, particularly in the younger generations. Those who grew up in the aftermath of the Holocaust, or the 1947, 1956, 1967, and 1973 wars tend to have a profound and spiritual bond with Israel as part of their own Jewish identity. But there has been a distancing over the past generation, particularly after Prime Minister Rabin was shot in 1995 by a Jewish extremist spouting the hatred being pushed at the fringes of the ongoing electoral campaign by the Israeli right-wing (with Rabin gone, the Prime Minister who got elected was Netanyahu).


General Comments / Re: U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem
« on: May 15, 2018, 01:43:14 AM »
No Democrats were invited. The Trump Administration did invite a bigoted pastor, one who believes that Jews and Mormons will go to hell.

Ronald Lambert, one can only wonder when Americans who are not bigots will stop voting for Republicans. 

It is clear that they are not creating cultural fault lines, but instead exploiting them.  That is asymmetrical warfare in the internet age - Russia cannot come close to defeating our strengths, but they were able to achieve many of their geopolitical goals by exploiting our weaknesses.

USA Today reviewed all of the Facebook ads the Russians bought

Young Mie Kim, a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher who published some of the first scientific analysis of social media influence campaigns during the election, said the ads show that the Russians are attempting to destabilize Western Democracy by targeting extreme identity groups.

“Effective polarization can happen when you’re promoting the idea that, ‘I like my group, but I don’t like the other group’ and pushing distance between the two extreme sides,” Kim said. “And we know the Russians targeted extremes and then came back with different negative messages that might not be aimed at converting voters, but suppressing turnout and undermining the democratic process.”

Of the roughly 3,500 ads published this week, more than half — about 1,950 — made express references to race. Those accounted for 25 million ad impressions — a measure of how many times the spot was pulled from a server for transmission to a device.
At least 25% of the ads centered on issues involving crime and policing, often with a racial connotation. Separate ads, launched simultaneously, would stoke suspicion about how police treat black people in one ad, while another encouraged support for pro-police groups.
Divisive racial ad buys averaged about 44 per month from 2015 through the summer of 2016 before seeing a significant increase in the run-up to Election Day. Between September and November 2016, the number of race-related spots rose to 400. An additional 900 were posted after the November election through May 2017.
Only about 100 of the ads overtly mentioned support for Donald Trump or opposition to Hillary Clinton. A few dozen referenced questions about the U.S. election process and voting integrity, while a handful mentioned other candidates like Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush.

General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: May 12, 2018, 12:45:40 AM »
omething Robert Anton Wilson once said which stuck with me is that the way politics is designed now each party/candidate is guilty of so many actually bad things - that were required of them to get where they got - that the other side can always truthfully point at their guilt and create the partisan wedge.

What bad thing was President Obama guilty of before his election? And to calibrate your standard of justice, I'd also like to know that if you apply the same standard to yourself, you come out having been "guilty" of fewer "bad things" than Obama.   

The Iran Deal put more stringent controls on Iran's nuclear program than any other sanctions regime achieved except by military conquest. Most of those blathering about what a terrible deal it was don't even know what's in it. Please, Seriati, without looking it up, just write down everything that you believe that was in the Iran Deal.

This profound ignorance is widespread among the so-called experts on the right. I went to AIPAC  in 2016 and attended 7-8 sessions where the Iran Deal was discussed, and in every one each speaker talked about the provisions expiring in 10 years or sooner. I went to a session where AIPAC had their "expert" on the Iran Deal, and in front of an audience of 400 people I asked him to name the provisions that lasted more than ten years, and at first he didn't respond, and then when I insisted he acknowledged that there were several provisions but they were too technical for him to remember. They are not. I'll toss in one of those provisions that I am sure Seriati would not be able to call back from memory, with the Iran deal the inspectors could continuously monitor Iran's uranium mines and mills through the year 2041 (yes, that's 25 years).

I get that some people hate and fear Iran, and that Republicans like hating anything that Obama did, but in pursuit of this arrogant ignorance we have cut the 10 and 15 and 25 and 45 year limits on Iran's starting a nuclear weapons program down to nothing. 

nothing about that trend line meaningful answers the questions about the consequences of the specific policies in question

It is a very frequent meme of conservatives that when Democrats control government, economic performance suffers. And California when it has a Democratic government is perhaps the most frequently raised example of this at the state level.

Forgive the limits of this line of thought, as I am only a part-time debunker, particularly where a real comprehensive debunking requires contrasting initial predictions and multiple years of demonstrating that the arguments/predictions of one side a re validated far more strongly than the arguments/predictions of the other.  Now I am off to work

All of which can be supported better with many studies, local and otherwise, than comparing State A with State B on broad metrics and no isolation of confounding factors like being host to entrenched tech and entertainment companies as well as major ports.

1. The relative advantages of California due to tech companies and ports are accounted for in the California analysis, as California has the same assets under both Republican and Democratic governments, but in contradiction to right wing assertions, California has performed relatively better under Democratic government.

2. More targeted (and analytically rigorous) studies would be better. But overall California economic performance is still better than the disconnected and cherry-picked anecdotes that are usually used by conservatives to make their dire predictions about California under Democratic leadership.

Ah, but in the event of a tie between maintaining services and cutting them, rule in favor of better services for people rather than worse. Cutting benefits without evidence that it provides net improvement is cruel. And remember, the evidence (California) as selected not by me but by right wingers on this site, leans towards better outcomes with Democratic policies in place.

iI'm tired of people pretending short term shifts reflect materially about long term consequences

Now I did present California data based on Governor and economic growth (relative to the rest of the United States) from 2002 to 2018. If 16 years is a short shift, what is your demarcation for longer term consequences.

In fact, I do keep bringing up the same case because if the conservative hypothesis that Democratic control of government hurts economic growth is inconsistent with the data when I bring it up in 2013 and 2015 and 2017 and 2018, then each few years of additional data more strongly refutes the hypothesis. And I did not originally pick California, but I am sticking with it to avoid cherrypicking.

And remember the underlying conservative principal is that we must cut government services worse for most people because it is necessary to promote additional economic growth that overall provides a net benefit to those people. If the data does not support that hypothesis, then you are saying that your political philosophy is to deprive people of services even if it does not bring economic benefits.

Crunch, the key measures are that the California economy has grown far better under Democratic policies that don't gut social welfare programs than it has elsewhere in the country where Republicans insist they have to cut government spending to help the economy.

And so there is this cottage industry of making up doom and gloom articles about the California economy because it keeps refuting the right wing tropes. Despite all these news articles about people and companies always leaving, yet somehow the state is still the country's most populous and economically powerful, and it keeps growing. There's more state regulation under Democrats, but nevertheless the California economy continues to improve by more than other states. That's what it means when California goes from generating 12.8% of the US economy to 14.2%. That's what it means when California adds 2 million new jobs. Without cutting taxes for the rich and gutting government spending for everyone else.

California's economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom to become the world's fifth largest, according to new federal data made public Friday.

California's gross domestic product rose by $127 billion from 2016 to 2017, surpassing $2.7 trillion, the data said. Meanwhile, the U.K.'s economic output slightly shrank over that time when measured in U.S. dollars, due in part to exchange rate fluctuations.

The data demonstrate the sheer immensity of California's economy, home to nearly 40 million people, a thriving technology sector in Silicon Valley, the world's entertainment capital in Hollywood and the nation's salad bowl in the Central Valley agricultural heartland. It also reflects a substantial turnaround since the Great Recession.

All economic sectors except agriculture contributed to California's higher GDP, said Irena Asmundson, chief economist at the California Department of Finance. Financial services and real estate led the pack at $26 billion in growth, followed by the information sector, which includes many technology companies, at $20 billion. Manufacturing was up $10 billion.

And my particular favorite part, because there were numerous predictions from right wingers that when California was governed by Democrats that the economy would get much worse. Now let's just remember that a Republican Governor took over from a Democrat in 2003, and then a Democrat took over for that Republican in 2011. So wouldn't it be surprising if the economic trends were exactly the opposite of the right wing predictions?

California last had the world's fifth largest economy in 2002 but fell as low as 10th in 2012 following the Great Recession. Since then, the most populous U.S. state has added 2 million jobs and grown its GDP by $700 billion.

California's economic output is now surpassed only by the total GDP of the United States, China, Japan and Germany. The state has 12% of the U.S. population but contributed 16% of the country's job growth between 2012 and 2017. Its share of the national economy also grew to 14.2% from 12.8% over that five-year period, according to state economists.

For context, do you think that subsidies to address climate change are higher than subsidies to support energy sources that contribute to climate change? Not sure of the data myself, but I know that ther are plenty of billions on that side too.

1) Subsides for R&D.
2) Subsidies for Production/construction of production facilities(that may never produce a thing-Solyndra is just one example, there's another such "monument" in my home town from a different company)
3) Subsidies and rates paid by end-users and utilities due to "green initiatives."
4) Regulatory changes targeted at "curbing CO2 emissions" and removing older plants from service well ahead of their design-life. (Also further amplified by item #3 screwing with the load balance on the grid which made boiler plants "horribly inefficient and non-responsive" when it comes to operating in the new regulatory environment. This was perhaps the single biggest thing that "killed coal" in most of the US.)

I'm sure I could grow the list with more time. Although I might have been overly ambitious on the Trillion dollar front, but not far off the mark all the same.

This list has questionable items.  By R&D subsidies, what specifically are you talking about? The R&D subsidies built into the tax code that I am aware of are not specific to climate change. As for the Solyndra meme, that was a single specific failure that the right wing has propagandized because it is politically useful, but in dollar terms it was 1/50th the money that, for example, was wasted when the Republicans shut down the government early in the Obama era when thy were pretending that they cared about the deficit (and yet for some reason we don't hear about that waste of money).

As much as I'm a fan of astrophysics we need to be fair about how much we really "know". What we seem to be good at is developing trees of inference based on some axioms that fit the data, and we can get a good amount of details into those inferential trees. But if the axioms prove to be wrong then it's all bogus and whatever new paradigm takes over scraps the old thing. In physics we can do many tests that give a fair amount of rigor to the basic assumptions, but with astrophysics and cosmology we really are grasping at faint bits of data to make huge conclusions.

Fenring, I'd like to push back on your assertion about astrophysics.  Take a look at the Atsrophysics community's Decadal Survey back from when I was at NASA in 1991 ( - at that time big questions included did black holes actually exist? were there planets around other stars? gravity waves were hypothesized by some but not measured, etc. Not all the secrets of the universe have been revealed, but there has been real progress, and even where final answers have not been established there still have been observations that have constrained the set of viable theories.

How many hundreds of billions of dollars has the United States and Europe directly spent on AGW mitigation to date?
How much "opportunity cost" did they also end up paying due to said measures being implemented? I'm sure that number is going to enter into the Trillions soon enough.

I would be surprised by any expenditures to-date at that scale solely addressed at climate change. What are you thinking of?

I think we all realize with Astronomy that we don't have any way to directly prove or test many of the theories, and that something that "doesn't fit with our current understanding" is always cropping up and causing us to rethink what we think we know to our benefit.

Modern astronomy is built on direct tests that substantiate a vast majority of current theory. Of course, the excitement is always on the scientific frontier beyond what is readily testable, but there is an incredible amount of our knowledge of the universe that is substantiated by data that supports theory. As one example, there is an extraordinary amount of insight into the first three minutes after the creation of the universe based on theory substantiated by measurements of cosmic background radiation from the Big Bang

the point is that peer review of climate science, is peer review of a computer climate model.  There's no actual experiment, what there is, is a simulated experiment based on algorithms designed or cribbed by the climate scientist.

There's no experimentation in astronomy or evolutionary biology either. Would you accept astrologers or creationists with their non peer reviewed materials as being of similar value to that of actual scientists in those fields?

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