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Messages - Greg Davidson

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51
General Comments / Re: Corey Booker and Kavanaugh Hearing
« on: September 07, 2018, 07:25:02 PM »
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The Archives said Wednesday that the decision for Bush's representatives to provide documents directly to the Judiciary Committee, bypassing the agency, "is something that has never happened before."

"This effort by former President Bush does not represent the National Archives or the George W. Bush Presidential Library. The Senate Judiciary Committee is publicly releasing some of these documents on its website, which also do not represent the National Archives," the agency said in a statement.



http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/402061-national-archives-distances-itself-from-bush-team-on-kavanaugh-documents

Notably, the guy performing the screening (Bill Burck) is the lawyer for multiple Senior Trump White House officials, including Reince Preibus, Steve Bannon, and is also the lawyer for the primary White House official responsible for getting Kavanaugh confirmed (Don McGahn).
https://www.vox.com/2018/9/4/17819062/bill-burck-kavanaugh-explained

So Kavanaugh is the nominee with the most extreme position anyone has ever heard regarding Presidential immunity from criminal charges or even criminal investigations. Just this week, Kavanaugh refused to say that he found anything illegal or improper about a President offering a pardon in exchange for silence. And Burck represents multiple people from an Administration that has already had multiple criminal convictions.

Remind me again why you flipped out when a former President spoke for 20 minutes on a tarmac with the Attorney General, but somehow this is okay?

52
General Comments / Re: Corey Booker and Kavanaugh Hearing
« on: September 07, 2018, 10:26:42 AM »
The legal process is not being followed for release of Kavanaugh's records - according to the law, it is the National Archives that should go through the documents to determine what is to be released. For the Kavanaugh documents, they have a former co-worker of his in the Bush White House making those determinations. 
 

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If the author were truly sincere, he or she would not publicize what was being done.  Publishing this op-ed changes the environment such that it will be much harder to do what has been doing for so long. I believe that undermining the President is a serious action (at the same time our discussion of preventing a Trump tantrum from starting a nuclear war is predicated on exactly this kind of undermining).

However, what I find more interesting from the remarks above is how little concern is extended in regard to the actual claims of the op-ed. The op-ed asserts that the President is an amoral, ignorant, impulsive idiot who arguably should be removed from office via the 25th Amendment. The Woodward book paints the same picture (and while Woodward has flaws, he also has a methodology where every claim has at least two sources, and he has all of interviews on tape). And these assertions about President Trump's dangerous unfitness from the job are not attacks from Democrats - they are the consistent feedback from the Republicans closest to Trump (the ones who were willing to take a job with him, and that he was willing to hire).

For those who don't care very much about this, why don't you care?



 

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From what I read, the motivation may be more that the polls are looking like a Democratic takeover of the House combined with the convictions of Cohen and Manafort are indicating that there is going to start to be legal retribution. And this is right after Labor Day, when the final push to the elections is occurring. So some Republicans are preparing for the next phase, where they say that Trump was never really a Republican. and that they were always fighting against him.

If this sounds ridiculous, just look at how the Republicans acted with President George W Bush

55
General Comments / Re: Woodward book
« on: September 06, 2018, 10:11:19 AM »
We are always 18 minutes away from a nuclear strike. How certain can we be that at any minute of the day, those in charge of executing the President's orders are going to be willing to violate their entire training and essentially end their life as they know it in order to refuse the order from the President? And refuse to be fired by him and replaced, so this is an instantaneous coup. 

We are one really bad temper tantrum away from that moment at all times

56
General Comments / Did VP Pence anonymously author the resistance NYT Op-ed?
« on: September 05, 2018, 09:56:05 PM »
Here is the op-ed which appeared mid-day today. The indication that it might be by VP Pence is the word "lodestar" - almost no one uses this term, but VP Pence has done so repeatedly in the past. So it might be VP Pence, or it could be a set-up designed to implicate VP Pence. The NYT did vouch for the source, saying that they knew who it was, and that the person was a "senior official in the Trump Administration".

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President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.

That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.

Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

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The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.

The result is a two-track presidency.

Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.

On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.

This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.

We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.

There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

57
General Comments / Re: Woodward book
« on: September 05, 2018, 09:47:30 PM »
Bob Woodward has flaws, I don't particularly like his books on Presidents over the past few decades (he slants it in the direction of his sources), but he also is diligent about notes and recordings. If he writes a quote, there is a high likelihood that someone relevant actually said what Woodward quotes him as saying. 

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But my point is that you can adopt any philosophy you want, and all it's going to do is to suggest that you should do (with monetary policy, for instance). But what it's not going to do is make any striking predictions or anticipate most of the significant variables in the system. So while Keynes may suggest that an influx of capital (say, into the real estate market) via credit will have a multiplier effect and 'zoom the economy' as Reagan put it, it does not in any way suggest what exact micro-systems will form, what people will prefer to do within that system, how prudent they will be, how enforceable prudence will even be, and whether the influx itself may inevitably be responsible for or at least create the danger of a particular pathological pattern forming. It won't and can't state any of that, since its purpose such as it is is to suggest a general course. It's a decision-making system but not a diagnostic or prognostic system. So Keynesian theory will neither predict nor prevent pathological patterns that emerge from micro behaviors out of macro decisions, and is therefore not to blame for systemic failures but also not to praise either.

Your assertion is completely wrong. From the above comment, I see the assertion that there are no meaningful predictions from Keynes that could drove policy in a way that better protects the economy. If that is your claim, it is entirely false. The first meaningful prediction of Keynesian theory is that the economy is vulnerable to economy-wide collapse. That is not possible in the context of Austrian economics. Secondly, there are specific Keynesian policies to pro-actively address the risk of economic collapse such as government regulation of banks and financial institutions (including antitrust) - these are specific policies implemented in the 1930's that primarily Republicans have been fighting against, with success starting in the 1980's. In addition, once an economic collapse has started, there are very different policies that come out of a Keynesian framework relative to an Austrian economic framework. Keynes would suggest a government stimulus to stop the downward spiral of business expectations, while the Austrian economics response is austerity.  United States policy in response to the economic collapse was different in two ways from the rest of the developed economies: we had relatively higher stimulus, and we had a faster recover.  And all of this happened even though the stimulus was not enough (because initial estimates in January 2009 of the severity of the collapse in Aug-Dec 2008 were far too low, and because many state governments pursued an austerity path that counteracted some of the federal stimulus). 

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The problem with any principle or philosophy is there are always some hacks who can say they are followers but actually distort the key fundamentals. Keynesian economics is not immune - for forty years there have been those calling themselves Keynesians who fundamentally accept the market-clearing assumptions common to Austrian economics and just account for a little turbulence before the market naturally finds the optimum at some point in the long run. But not Keynes, who noted in the long run we are all dead.

There really is a difference

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cherrypoptart,

Your "credible sources" are no better than the numerous sources who claimed to see Jews drinking the blood of Christians in the Middle Ages. 

There were no thousands. Donald Trump didn't see thousands. And yet he lied repeatedly to claim that there were major groups of American Muslims celebrating a terrorist attack on the US (an attack where the only role that US Muslims played was as victims in the twin towers).

Your contrary evidence is that this one retiree reported that he heard 30 Muslims were celebrating something on a Tuesday, and with no understanding of Arabic he leaped to the conclusion that they were celebrating the terrorist attack on the US. 

Look, I don't deny the possibility that there could have been some Muslims who approved of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. With populations of millions, there are always crazy outliers. Immediately after the attacks, the powerful televangelist Jerry Falwell called 9/11 a punishment from God and laid the blame on "paganists", "abortionists", "feminists" and "gays and lesbians", claiming that they "helped this happen" and Pat Robertson (who came in 3rd place in the 1988 Republican Presidential race) concurred with the statements. There are Jews living in Israel who pray for the state of Israel to be overthrown (more of whom are probably among the ultra-orthodox who do not believe that a nation of Israel should exist prior to the coming of the messiah). There are crazy people everywhere - but there were not thousands of Muslims cheering the 9/11 attacks that Tuesday, and to tell that lie is to denigrate the entirety of the American Muslim population.

Your "As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle" repeats the common Republican assumption to normalize morally abhorrent behavior with bothsides-isms. There were not thousands of American Muslims protesting in NJ. Donald Trump lied repeatedly when he claimed that there was, and that he had seen it. And this claim of thousands cheering for 9/11 at its core is a racist lie, just like the lies about African Americans raping white women that were used justify lynching, and just like the racists lies that were used in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to incite racial hatred.

 

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To be fair here, it was more Keynesian Economics that failed to predict what happened than the "Austrian" school

This sentence should win a prize as one of the most wrong statements ever made on Ornery - I believe that it would be hard to write a sentence that was more appreciably wrong than this. Before addressing this argument, The Deamon, I am curious as to what possibly could have been your source for such a wrong-headed statement. Do you remember what you read that made this suggestion to you? And if you do remember where, when you find out from me (or check independently) and find out how wrong this is, what steps will you make in the future to shift your skepticism to the false source(s)?


The risk from a collapse exactly like the one in 2008 is at the heart of the writings of John Maynard Keynes - the notion that industry can be collectively driven by irrational speculation ("animal spirits" in Keynes colorful language), and that once there is a collapse in business prospects, that can create a spiral of collapse in which businesses foresee a still worse business prospects in the future, so they fire workers and cut investments, leading to fewer purchases on newly-fired employees and reductions in orders for capital investments, all of which cause future cut-backs across industries. 

In contrast, Austrian economics is driven by the concept of praxeology, which means that you take on faith that people and firms always optimize in the aggregate. In Austrian economics it might be possible for one or several firms to fail, but you cannot have a speculative failure across the entire financial system.

And your "without historical precedent" comment is also way off base.  Within 100 years in the United States, besides the 1999 dot-com bubble and the 1987 Savings and Loan Crisis, there is the Great Depression itself (which was particularly proximate to Keynes and his writings). And during this time there actually was decent regulation to prevent such speculative bubbles, and antitrust to keep firms smaller to prevent such dangers to the entire economy - such speculative collapses were much more common in the 50 years prior to the Great Depression.

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The ONLY thing I've ever claimed was so stable as that it would be nonsensical to have "predicted" such a non-historic change is the default rate.  That was the underlying factual basis for the entire sub-prime crisis, and honestly, its just an indisputable fact as to its stability.

Right, and that "ONLY" claim is both wrong and not germane. When you are changing policy in a dramatic way because of your economic ideology, you have a responsibility to assess the likelihood of uncertainties and risks. That is not nonsensical - it is basic competence. I hope and assume that you have never been hit by a car - but it would be nonsensical for you to assume that since you had never been hit, you never could. We have never had human-caused effects that changed the climate, are you saying that it is nonsensical to even consider such a possibility because it is "a-historical"?

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I would tend to agree with you, Greg, that he's overstating the case, however I also agree with him that this new brand of 'justice' often does sound awfully racist to me.

Yes, I absolutely agree that there are voices on the left who say things that I consider to be bigoted/racist, including Sarah Jeong. But there is no comparison between the racism of the Republican Party and its nationally elected leaders and that of the Democratic Party and its leaders when it comes to racism.

TheDeamon, your reference to the Black Panthers is interesting (even in 2008, Fox News only had "the New Black Panther Party", which was two angry black men shouting in a clip that Fox News broadcast across the nation something like 248 times running up to the election).  I disagree with your both-sides-do-it argument, the history and extent of the Black Panthers is nothing like the history and extent of the Ku Klux Klan, and the current endorsement of President Trump by extremists is unprecedented and unmatched by anything for any other President in living memory.

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You want to bring it up solely because you view it as a trump card to overrule any other possible disputes.

Wrong again - I have probably made 5000-6000 comments here and never done that. How many false things do you have to assert, Seriati, before you recognize that you sure are asserting a whole lot of false things.

Oh, and my favorite is your assertion that the Democrats are the racists. Come on, even the actual racists like the Klu Klux Klan are 100% behind President Trump. Ar you saying they don't know what they are talking about but you do?

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So in other words you haven't actually looked at what we are actually talking about - historical default rates on mortgages.

You are in error, sir, that's what you are talking about. I am talking about the creed of free market (or neoclassical or Austrian) economics that posits certain behavioral patterns about the entire economy that are frequently refuted by history. When Alan Greenspan confessed that there was a fundamental flaw in his philosophy, he was not referred to a data trend on mortgage defaults, he was referring to the behavior of the vast majority of firms in an economy. Of Greenspan is wrong (and even he admitted he was wrong), than the Republican platitudes that regulation is bad and the free market is good are dangerously simplistic and wrong.

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Claiming he saw American Muslims cheering 9/11?  That isn't hate speech.

This is either hate speech or something worse - if you look at cases such as Rwanda or Serbia under Milosevic, the words of Donald Trump are as severe as those used to incite genocide. Trump has not incited genocide, so on that scale he's not as bad as Milosevic. If this is not hate speech, exactly what would qualify as hate speech for you?

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And there is just a blizzard of things that you say Seriati and clearly believe but they are not anchored in fact.

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they believed they had a permanent majority and would never have to give up the reins again

I am a member of "they" and I never believed that, neither did most people I know who are on the left. I am sure some did, because there are millions of people on the left.

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Who is engaging in open hate speech? 

Candidate and later President Trump. Repeatedly lying that thousands of American Muslims in New Jersey were cheering on 9/11 is indefensible. Calling immigrants rapists and murderers. Inciting his crowds to consider the press as the enemy of the people. These are the acts of despots across history - inciting hatred is an evil but common tactic of authoritarian regimes.

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I've yet to see a credible argument of a moderate policy that Obama put forward that was opposed.

His very first policy was a stimulus for the economy. Republicans and Democrats had voted for a $150BM stimulus plan under President Bush just 12 months earlier https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/washington/25fiscal.html. A year later when President Obama proposed a stimulus plan under much more dire circumstances (losing 800,000 jobs per month), Republicans not only voted against it, but they asserted that stimulus plans don't create jobs. In fact, 115 of those Congressional Republicans made this very assertion in Washington, and later when the stimulus arrived they took credit in their district for the jobs that were created by the stimulus. 

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Heck, above Greg asserts that 'tens of millions of Americans' support slavery because they make arguments about the confederacy in the civil war.  That's an incredibly broad and false brush.  One can easily view that slavery was completely wrong, but that hasn't nothing to do with another issue that was connected to the civil war.  It's this bizarre tribal world we live in where a tribe has to be right about 100% of everything or about 0% and we can't have a somethings that make sense on each side.

No, it is a very nuanced world where determinations of justice require careful consideration. But that doesn't mean some things can't be true. I would agree that many people love the Confederacy not because they love (or even think of) slavery, but because they love the culture of nobility and virtue that they grew up associating with the Confederacy. But I hold them responsible for understanding that at the heart of all of their positive associations there is a horrible evil, and that the historical Confederacy was built to defend and protect slavery.

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Where its wrong is the easy acceptance of the lie that millions of people that have legitimate policy disagreements with her can be dismissed as nothing but racists.

What evidence do you have that policy is a substantially greater motivator of Trump supporters than racism? It's not a lie if it's true, and for your counter to be true you would need to prove that there is not even a few "millions" of people who are for Trump because of racism.

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DW, the "Melting Pot" is anathema for most left-wing groups. That implies integration, that means "uniqueness is lost." (It also makes "us vs them" harder to play out)

The last thing they want is for people to become "Americans" or for "Americans" to become more like another group. (Hence why "cultural appropriation" is no longer acceptable)

No, that's not true of me. And it's not true of most liberals that I know. When you think of national politicians, it is more Republicans who use phrases like "real Americans to exclude others.   


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So many Seriati posts to refute

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First of all, Greg, all these questions were answered on the prior thread.  If you've forgotten the answers I would suggest you re-read it.

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If the models were "fine", how did they result in a catastrophic failure.

They didn't, they failed to express what would happen in a non-historic event.  Much like I've never seen a "standard" climate model that throws in a random catastrophic meteor strike (and there we know they happen so it's not even non-historic), the financial models did not include a consideration of a national scale increase in default rate.  If you look at the historical record, stability is the only word to describe it, prior to the crisis.

That last sentence explains how you can believe in conservative economics - because you have no memory for history. Because before the economic collapse of 2008 there was the dot-com bubble, the Savings and Loan crisis in the 1980's, the Great Depression, and a string of many more speculative collapses running back to Dutch Tulip bulbs in the 17th century. If you don't understand or recognize that history, you can't understand Keynes or appropriately value the benefits provided by the financial regulations implemented to address these repeated "instabilities". 




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Hey, welcome back Seriati. Forgive me if I don't go through that long list of belated responses right now, but let's start with just one and see if you can muster a counter-argument with any validity:

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.  The actual reality was laid out in about a half dozen links in our discussion.  Your appeal to authority notwithstanding, nothing about that is really on point.  The models were fine, they just couldn't anticipate a non-historic event (i.e., a significant increase in the sub-prime default rate on a national rather than regional scale).

If the models were "fine", how did they result in a catastrophic failure. How would you define the word "fine" as an expression of the quality of the model, if you hold that it extends to situations where the model says that a certain adverse outcome could not occur and literally trillions of dollars are invested under that false premise?  How bad would the model have to be for it not to be "fine"?

And what exactly do you mean by a "non-historic event"? Since the event occurred, it's pretty historic. Are you saying that the model should be forgiven its flaws because the exact same failure conditions had not occurred previously?  Not only would that premise be arguable (irrational speculation in the value of assets followed by a collapse has occurred many times in history), but even if it were true that this was unprecedented, the conservative economic model never came with a warning that it provided no protection against new dangers. Instead, it was posited to apply to all economic situations, and deregulation was broadly pushed because of a universal belief in the benefit and safety of the free market.

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I completely agree: it is infinitely worse.

I believe that you undervalue the moral significance of your vote if you believe that Facebook "friendships" are vastly more important than the life and death acts that are performed by our country. If voters don't see their votes as very significant as individuals, in the aggregate then who do you believe is morally responsible for the elected government of our country?

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If we were talking about those folks who insist on flying the Confederate flag then I'd probably agree with you. However the "if you believe in slavery" meme (if I may call it that) has nothing to do with being a literal Confederate and is actually about taking sides in the cultural war. Basically the gist seems to boil down to "if you're not on our side you believe in slavery." That sort of minimalist strawman is often the tack taken by alt-liberals, with the motte-bailey built in that converts into "we mean you subconsciously abet systemic racism" when pressed.

You take a twist with this argument that I believe is invalid. I was referring to literal Confederacy apologists (which may even be a smaller group than those who show a Confederate flag), and you immediately segue over to an assertion of a totally different interpretation that is "often the tack taken by alt-liberals".  I see that argument as another attempt at false equivalence by avoidance of math. There are many tens of millions of Americans who have had views supporting the Confederacy.  How many Americans do you think fit into the category of being an "alt-liberal" who often addresses any difference in policy as advocacy for slavery? And remember, part of my argument is that conservative media intentionally promotes false narratives to exaggerate that kind of opposition, because it is the best strategy to distract from the fact that millions of citizens at the core of the Republican party will actually defend the slaveholding Confederacy.

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No one believes that the majority of extreme anti-Trump sentiment is due to the Russian military, that is a strawman.  However, there has been real and ongoing intervention in American politics by the Russian military - do you deny this? There has been a remarkable reluctance on the part of the Trump Administration to even spend appropriated funds on cyber protection.  And I have yet to see anyone actually provide a plausible explanation for Presidents obsequious Trump's behavior in Helsinki.
 

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So the vast majority of my observations of alarming sentiment (ranging from violently phrased animosity directed towards "people who believe in slavery and racism", to "if you believe/voted for X unfriend me now", to the usual alt-feminist stuff like articles about how men who try to open a door for a woman are The Problem) come from individuals that now only believe these things but trumpet them.

I can't speak to those particular individuals who made those comments, but it is at least an arguable position that many supporters of the Confederacy (particularly those who make the factually false argument that the Civil War was primarily about State's Rights and not slavery) are most accurately described as being at least apologists for slavery.

I disapprove of "violently phrased animosity", but to me the sin of of those people is of lesser moral consequence than support for those who actually commit violent acts due to easy access to guns and "stand your ground" laws that essentially say that if you are scared enough, you get to kill whoever scared you.  On the other hand, both are wrong, so you have agreement with me that doing either is inappropriate.

As for your concern with those who "unfriend" people simply because they voted for President Trump, I would not do that myself, but I also believe that Americans have every right to hold others morally responsible for the actions that they commit in a way that is proportional to the adverse action. And Trump voters committed a profound act with their vote - they knew he had bragged about committing felony sexual assault, they knew he had repeatedly made comments that even senior Republican officials described as "textbook racism", and they nevertheless invested the full power of their citizenship to help make him President. It is at least arguable that "unfriending" is an act of smaller moral consequence than of voting to make Donald Trump President.

 

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since it seems nominally to be about the same sort of thing that liberals believe it's accepted as being part of the tribe

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Trump's enemies are eager to nurture the idea that everything Trump supports (and by implication, what his supporters value) rises or falls with his presidency. They eagerly feed this notion. The big irony of course is that Trump is one of the least ideological politicians to come along in recent memory.

There is a lot of speculation in these comments.  I do know some annoying people on the left who harp discuss "privilege" and "allies" in a way that I don't agree with. I also know many more of those on the left who grapple with these ideas and accept part and disregard extremes. And the majority of people I know who vote for Democrats don't really care about those kind of ideological issues, and are more concerned about gun control, healthcare, women's access to abortion and birth control, climate change, and protecting consumers from big corporations. And polling of self-proclaimed Democrats reinforces these last set of issues as what drives the vast majority of them.

My premise is that it is not a mirror image for Republicans, and polling reinforces that. While you always get some crazy responses in polling, there has been consistent evidence in polling that relatively large fractions of voters who describe themselves as Republicans really do hold extreme opinions. Trump is an ideologue and a consistent one - and his core ideological principle that goes back decades is racism. Whether it's the Central Park 5, pr that the black President isn't legitimate,  or the imaginary Muslims cheering 9/11,  or that immigrants are murderers and rapists, or the judge who can't be fair because he is Mexican, President Trump has consistently spread xenophobia and racism. And if you look at polling results, many millions of Republicans are strongly motivated by his ideology.   

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The right tribe doesn't just disagree with, but despises certain vocal elements within the "left" tribe, which they see as ascendant, to the point where they see those voices as an existential threat to their way of life. As Fenring noted, these groups (eg: Antifa) are numerically small, but disproportionately influential. They are absolutely a major cause of the fear driving Trump's supporters into his arms, as surely as Nazi and white supremacist supporters of Trump drive people away from him, into the arms of whoever is leading the charge against him.

Can you consider the hypothesis that those on the right seek out and publicize (and even fictionalize) the most extreme or divisive voices on the left with the explicit intention of motivating their supporters? This is not only a basic form of propaganda, it has been revealed that this was one of the ways that the Russian military attacked the US by creating false extreme voices. I have been on the left for a long time, and yet the first time I ever heard of antifa was on Ornery. Exactly how "disproportionately influential" are they?

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General Comments / Check your voter registration
« on: August 24, 2018, 12:46:23 PM »
Excellent website from Headcount, which has been a nonpartisan voter registration organization for 14 years. Check your registration, and if you have been dropped from the rolls, this enables you to re-register:

https://www.headcount.org/verify-voter-registration/

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General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: August 24, 2018, 12:37:46 PM »
One more reference to Tom Schelling, for no reason whatsoever, except I read it last night in the alumni magazine:

He put in his will that his Nobel Prize medal was to be sold and the proceeds donated to the Southern Poverty law Center, which I think is pretty cool.

77
General Comments / Re: The Manafort Question
« on: August 22, 2018, 02:07:03 AM »
So now that it is established that Trump's campaign chairman and personal lawyer are both convicted felons, does that provide any additional credibility to the theory that they also committed additional felonious acts in a conspiracy with Donald Trump?  Well, Cohen already testified today that Candidate Trump conspired in the commitment of a felony, but I am referring to additional felony crimes.

78
Quote
So it is hardly "one guy on the left" spouting off with these things. It's a whole slew of them

There were 63 millions American citizens who voted for the Democratic nominee for President. How many people do you consider a "slew"? Have you seen 1,000 people make such comments, otherwise known as 0.0016% of the people who voted for Clinton? And that does not count for the proven activity of the Russian military in creating false internet personalities to promote divisive positions.

You just keep echoing your unsubstantiated assertion of false equivalence. In contrast, I can point to a very large data sample that refutes your point: during the 2016 election campaign after Trump had wrapped up the nomination, polling indicated that 59% of Trump supporters believed that President Obama was a Muslim https://www.rollcall.com/politics/poll-two-thirds-trump-supporters-think-obama-muslim - if that's even roughly 59% of the 60 million that eventually voted for him, that's 35 million people.

Not equivalent.

79
Quote
Alternatively, assertions that both sides are similarly engaging in inappropriate behavior ("Perception is now king, for both sides") might be a false premise asserted by the right because it justifies actions that are otherwise undefendable.

Uh, have you been living under a rock where you've missed the rhetoric where the United States is less than two steps away from becoming 1930's Nazi Germany headed by Donald Trump?

Obviously the right-wing of the political spectrum doesn't have a monopoly on hyperbole.

The Deamon,

(1) Your comment appears to be a non-sequitur - I asked about if there was any test you could agree to concerning the most significant actions taken over the past decade. Is there any such test? In other words, can you agree to a fair test of your assertions?

(2) You then follow up with a string of concepts (you assert that there is rhetoric about Trump and Nazi Germans so the right wing doesn't have a monopoly on hyperbole) that when analyzed mean almost nothing. What does the "monopoly" clause mean? If in a nation of hundred of millions, there is even a single stupid thing said by one side, then that somehow balances a larger number of stupid things said by the other side? I understand your inference is that many harmful, wrong, and false assertions of the right can be justified as long as there is at least a single voice on the left also saying stupid things, but how is this different from your assertion that both sides are the same? And if that is your assertion, why won't you agree to a test more stringent than that "monopoly" theshold?


80
Alternatively, assertions that both sides are similarly engaging in inappropriate behavior ("Perception is now king, for both sides") might be a false premise asserted by the right because it justifies actions that are otherwise undefendable.

As a group, we don't have concensus regarding the following three hypothesis:
  • the left has committed significantly more bad actions
  • both sides are the same
  • the right has committed significantly more bad actions

I am looking for common ground in the form of tests of logic and fact that we could agree were valid.



81
I sense from the conservative side a lot of fear and victim-hood - they believe that the Left has done bad things to them, and so all of their bad actions are merely justified retaliations.

So let me rephrase my initial question. Could we devise any test of your basic premise that could theoretically cause you to change your views if the answers came out differently than your expectations?  If we looked in the last 40 years at the 3 most aggressive actions that Democrats took against Republican power and that Republicans took against Democrat power, would you expect that the actions matched in severity and the Democrats took their extreme actions first?

82
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: August 13, 2018, 11:48:39 PM »
Some summaries of Tom Schelling's work from wikipedia

Quote
The Strategy of Conflict (1960)
The Strategy of Conflict, which Schelling published in 1960,[16] pioneered the study of bargaining and strategic behavior in what Schelling refers to as "conflict behavior." The Times Literary Supplement in 1995 listed it as one of the hundred most influential books since 1945.[17] In this book he introduced concepts like focal point and credible commitment. Chapter headings include "A Reorientation of Game Theory," "Randomization of Promises and Threats," and "Surprise Attack: A Study of Mutual Distrust."

The strategic view toward conflict that Schelling encourages in this work is equally "rational" and "successful."[16] That said, it cannot merely be based one's intelligence alone, but must also address the "advantages" associated with a course of action; though even the advantages gleaned, he says, should be firmly fixed in a value system that is both "explicit" and "consistent."[16]

Conflict too has a distinct meaning. In Schelling's approach, it is no longer enough to beat your opponent. Instead, one must seize opportunities to cooperate. And in most cases, there are many. Only on the rarest of occasions, in what is known as "pure conflict," he points out, will the interests of participants be implacably opposed.[16] He uses the example of "a war of complete extermination" to illustrate this phenomenon.[16]

Cooperation, where available, may take many forms, and thus could potentially involve everything from "deterrence, limited war, and disarmament" to "negotiation."[16] Indeed, it is through such actions that participants are left with less of a conflict and more of a “bargaining situation.”[16] The bargaining itself is best thought of in terms of the other participant's actions, as any gains one might realize are highly dependent upon the "choices or decisions" of their opponent.[16]

Communication between parties, though, is another matter entirely. Verbal or written communication is known as “explicit,” and involves such activities as "offering concessions."[16] What happens, though, when this type of communication becomes impossible or improbable? This is when something called "tacit maneuvers" become important.[16] Think of this as action-based communication. Schelling uses the example of one's occupation or evacuation of strategic territory to illustrate this latter communication method.

In an article celebrating Schelling's Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics,[18] Michael Kinsley, Washington Post op‑ed columnist and one of Schelling's former students, anecdotally summarizes Schelling's reorientation of game theory thus: "[Y]ou're standing at the edge of a cliff, chained by the ankle to someone else. You'll be released, and one of you will get a large prize, as soon as the other gives in. How do you persuade the other guy to give in, when the only method at your disposal—threatening to push him off the cliff—would doom you both? Answer: You start dancing, closer and closer to the edge. That way, you don't have to convince him that you would do something totally irrational: plunge him and yourself off the cliff. You just have to convince him that you are prepared to take a higher risk than he is of accidentally falling off the cliff. If you can do that, you win."

Arms and Influence (1966)
Schelling's theories about war were extended in Arms and Influence, published in 1966.[19] The blurb states that it "carries forward the analysis so brilliantly begun in his earlier The Strategy of Conflict (1960) and Strategy and Arms Control (with Morton Halperin, 1961), and makes a significant contribution to the growing literature on modern war and diplomacy." Chapter headings include The Diplomacy of Violence, The Diplomacy of Ultimate Survival and The Dynamics of Mutual Alarm.

Micromotives and Macrobehavior (1978)
In 1969 and 1971, Schelling published widely cited articles dealing with racial dynamics and what he termed "a general theory of tipping."[20] In these papers he showed that a preference that one's neighbors be of the same color, or even a preference for a mixture "up to some limit," could lead to total segregation, thus arguing that motives, malicious or not, were indistinguishable as to explaining the phenomenon of complete local separation of distinct groups. He used coins on graph paper to demonstrate his theory by placing pennies and dimes in different patterns on the "board" and then moving them one by one if they were in an "unhappy" situation.

Schelling's dynamics has been cited as a way of explaining variations that are found in what are regarded as meaningful differences – gender, age, race, ethnicity, language, sexual preference, and religion. Once a cycle of such change has begun, it may have a self-sustaining momentum. His 1978 book Micromotives and Macrobehavior expanded on and generalized these themes[21][22] and is often cited in the literature of agent-based computational economics.

83
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: August 12, 2018, 10:41:42 AM »
Quote
Never mind that in any other scientific field, if your model failed to accurately predict things, you'd be told to go back to the drawing board.

Is your argument that you have debunked global warming by refuting predictions of (a) global anarchy, and (b) teens living in Great Britain in the year 2018 would never see snow fall in Great Britain? Is your argument that on balance the predictions of climate science have been less accurate that most other fields of science that you do not question? https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/03/15/the-first-climate-model-turns-50-and-predicted-global-warming-almost-perfectly/.  I have worked with the actual scientists doing this research, and I hate to spoil it for you, but Al Gore is not one of them.

In 1985 I heard Tom Schelling give a talk about climate change (he was a cold warrior who later won a Nobel Prize for aspects of game theory that were used to set US-nuclear weapons doctrine in the 1950s, not your stereotypical liberal by any means). He showed data on the growth of atmospheric carbon from the prior 20 years, and extrapolated forwards to 2050. Using a game theory perspective, he talked about what the likely response of Corporations would be to a potential devaluation of trillions of dollars of their assets buried in the ground in the form of fossil fuels. His prediction was that the response to climate change would be the biggest threat to human life over the next 65 years, and yet financial incentives would drive Corporations to mount the most fierce resistance using all means within their powers to fight against protective measures.

A pretty sound prediction.

84
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: August 12, 2018, 01:41:54 AM »
The Deamon,

My point was different - there are some cranks on just about any issue that you can name. But climate change skepticism is different. For many decades, the same groups that were producing fraudulent research to argue that smoking didn't cause cancer were also fighting against evidence of climate change https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/tobacco-and-oil-industries-used-same-researchers-to-sway-public1/. And this is not a liberal-conservative difference - because almost everywhere else in the world both liberals and conservatives agree that the fundamental debate is over. Only in the United States and in particular with the Republican Party (and their corporate sponsors) is there the pretense of a debate as to whether or not there is climate change due to human causes.

And when August 11, 2028 comes around, and then August 11, 2038, and it is so completely obvious that the Republican position was as disingenuous as the decades-long argument about smoking and cancer, all those who believed in those fantastical myths should own up to your own responsibility through your votes for the harm that you have caused.


85
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: August 11, 2018, 06:24:54 PM »
My hypothesis is that almost all opposition to climate change science is based on political loyalties and not on actual judgement about the level of empirical evidence. If I am right, we would also observe that those who reject climate science are willing to trust medical science that is no more well-established, even to the degree that they will bet their lives on some procedures over others, based on less conclusive evidence than that supporting many of the findings of climate science.

86
General Comments / Re: whats up with all the rallies
« on: August 11, 2018, 12:18:20 PM »
There are other potential root causes that should be investigated. Right now, our current system has Members of Congress spending about half of all their working hours fundraising for their next election - double the number of representatives but don't change the financial dynamics and you may get the same outcome.


87
General Comments / Re: career politicians
« on: August 09, 2018, 09:17:18 PM »
Quote
I like the skill set a general has better, though you'll personally like the ex-politician more if you meet them.  If you've ever worked with any ex-military officers you probably have some sense of the skills it requires to advance.

I work all the time with ex-military (general officers, mostly air force, navy and marines). As you said, people at a senior level generally have some strong skills, but in my experience they also have the normal range of human flaws.   

The saving 10 million lives is what the Clinton Foundation actually does - the focus was to come up with ways to make HIV medication affordable for people in third world countries primarily in Africa, and it has worked in providing access for roughly 10 million people.  So, Seriati, would you see this action of Bill Clinton as being "great", or does the Clinton involvement tarnish for you the moral importance of what was accomplished?

88
General Comments / Re: career politicians
« on: August 07, 2018, 12:14:20 AM »
I am skeptical of these broad generalizations (all politicians are bad, all military officers are good, etc.). There are good and bad human beings in almost all roles. 

As with virtually everything in this world, I would like to see consistent standards applied to making value judgments. Because I see the judgment comes first ("I have bad feelings about X, so X must be bad")

What if a retired politician performed a task in retirement that saved the lives of 10 million human beings? Not hypothetically, not in an "Al Gore promotes concern about global warning that eventually will shift policy to change lives", but rather in direct and concrete way: if this former politician had not taken action after he was in office, there would be ten million more corpses from men, women, and children dying an early death. Even if the retired politician had lived an imperfect life, saving ten lives let alone 10 million is a moral good that exceeds any of the accomplishments of my life or any of yours.

And of course there is such a politician, and of course, the beneficial effect is well documented. And of course, if I were to state the case, it would be immediately discarded because this is one such case where feelings out trump values



     

 

89
General Comments / Re: whats up with all the rallies
« on: August 01, 2018, 10:08:11 PM »
CNN has a story about what's up with all the rallies

Quote
People inside the White House said the burst of tweets reflected the anger Trump has aired privately for months, including about Sessions. Trump has been more frustrated since headlines about his former attorney Michael Cohen emerged last week. Aides say they're working to schedule more political rallies, partly to boost Trump's mood and distract him from the headlines about Russia.

90
General Comments / Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« on: July 30, 2018, 11:39:51 PM »
Quote
I looked back on Obama and his experiences estimating things - like Health Savings. He claimed his plan would save $120 billion a year. Even fact check blew him up on that.

TheDrake, the Fact check article was a June 2008 prediction about Obama's campaign plan for healthcare, and merely concluded "there’s a lot of room for [Rand's] estimates, and those of the Obama campaign, to be wrong"

However, there are far superior fact checks on the accuracy of Obama claims and healthcare costs.  The Affordable Care Act that was actually put into law was not the same as the plan Obama had in his campaign, but when the compromise bill was signed the Obama Administration made a prediction about its overall costs. We at Ornery had a giant debate on what would happen with Obamacare, and then I went back and gathered data and checked everyone's predictions. Here's one particularly salient quote (from the Wall Street Journal, so no one can shout "Fake News"):

Quote
“the health-care law will now cost 29% less for the 2015-19 period than was first forecast by the CBO when the law was signed in March 2010”
 

The link to the WSJ quote is embedded in the discussion one page 46 on the Obamacare predictions thread at
http://www.ornery.org/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi/topic/6/16270/46.html

Now, we don't have evidence to support the premise that every prediction that Obama said about healthcare costs in 2008 was accurate. The 2008 claim of $2,500 in lower premiums for a typical family seems hard to justify, unless the typical family was getting a subsidy, but at the same time the compromises in the ACA (and the outright Republican sabotage trying to fight Obamacare) also never achieved the goal of 100% health insurance coverage that was associated with Obama's prediction..   
 
But in terms of the larger question about the accuracy of the predictions of Obama and the Democrats about the effect on healthcare costs, it is absolutely true that the predictions of the Democrats were more accurate than every overall prediction made by every Republican in the country and every single conservative who posted a prediction on Ornery.  If you doubt me, go read the thread.






91
General Comments / Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« on: July 30, 2018, 11:09:04 PM »
Quote
It seems like the burden of proof in this thread is to demonstrate that Trump's statements cannot be reconciled with reality.


Since Trump made the claim first, without evidence, the burden should be on him

92
General Comments / Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« on: July 30, 2018, 10:10:37 AM »
Quote
But I would say that the burden on someone who makes a claim is to provide some proof or independent backup, and here we have none.

Are you saying that the burden of proof is on President Trump, or on someone who questions President Trump?

93
General Comments / Re: Air Force One Kerfuffle
« on: July 29, 2018, 11:39:45 PM »
If the government could convert a $4B cost-plus contract into a $B fixed-price contract with identical requirements (and those requirements were going to stay firm), then that could provide a substantial financial benefit to the government and all of us taxpayers. Alternatively, if the fixed-price contract had different requirements or a high likelihood of requirements change, that could be of enormous financial benefit to Boeing. In the aerospace industry, fixed price contracts have historically had higher profit margins than cost-plus contracts, and surprisingly often have had higher growth in government costs than comparable cost plus contracts.

However, the theory that President Trump is working from inside knowledge and insight of military acquisition, let alone insight into any government program that he tweets about is remarkably barren of substantiating evidence.  I am afraid that he has already consumed his entire portion of "benefit of the doubt" for the next decade, I think perhaps the last of it was lost when he explained his understanding of health insurance over a year ago:

Quote
Trump told the Times that health insurance costs about $1 per month when you’re young. “Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan,” he said.
http://fortune.com/2017/07/20/donald-trump-health-insurance-comments/

This is the guy that you think understands the implications of the potential future evolution of requirements like cyber security on aircraft design and development?

94
Quote
Conservatives like to point to the failures whilst employing the True Scotsman against the successes. Liberals tend to do the same, just in the opposite direction, discounting Venezuela as an example of how it can go wrong.

Except we don't. Maybe socialists do that, but liberals in the modern age tend to be more pragmatic than conservatives. You will find very few liberals in real life who believe that every government program is good - even dumb liberals who hate every corporation also tend to be skeptical of government institutions as well.

For me, I don't believe in the fantasy that everyone running a corporation is good and that everyone running a union is bad, or the reverse. The same goes for Democrats and Republicans, men and women, Christians/Muslims/Jews, etc. You will have good and bad people in most groups. That's not to say that there are good terrorists and bad terrorists - people are morally responsible for their actions. But when examining groups with a generally valid purpose, it takes extraordinary evidence to substantiate the extraordinary claim that some groups are composed by people who are all good or all bad.

The primary goal of a corporation is the maximize the financial returns to the investors who have contributed the financing to the corporation (and they could and do have secondary goals of being good to their customers, their workers, and to social causes such as the environment). The primary goal of a union is to maximize the compensation paid for the labor contributions to sales of the corporations they work for (with secondary goals including aspects of employee well-being that include promoting employee safety, protection from abuses from individual managers, etc.).

There are good and bad people both on the Corporate and Union side. As a liberal, I am concerned about balance, and I believe that conservative forces have dramatically shifted the balance towards Corporations and the wealthy in my lifetime


95
Lack of access is not the same as prohibition, I agree. But you create a false dichotomy by defining the choice as either making abortion illegal or supporting "the right of doctors, and the organization they operate under, to decline to render said services".  American conservatives have fought against abortion by a barrage of moves that have ranged from
  • legal harassment (coming up with zoning regulations under the guise of women's safety that have nothing to do with safety)
  • forbidding government funding to be spent on abortions via the Hyde Amendment (even though the majority of the population are pro-choice)
  • attacking private organizations in public legislation (Planned Parenthood), including trying to preclude them from receiving government funding for non-abortion services that similar organizations receive simply because they also provider abortion services
  • forbidding doctors to mention abortion
  • mandating disturbing and humiliating procedures that are not medically necessary to dissuade or make it more difficult for women to get an abortion
  • harassing women entering medical facilities that provide abortion services and in some instances targeted assassination of abortion providers

These are some of the most significant ways that conservatives have fought against the pro-choice position - do you think that your point about forcing doctors to perform abortions is anywhere close to any of these other items in terms of impact?

96
Quote
Unions use force. They compel. Companies do not.

Force by workers and companies are both intrinsic to human behavior, wherever there is a conflict over interests. And companies generally have more power, including the power to create the impression that they are innocent and it is only those greedy workers who are engaged in struggles over income.  Read these words by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations from 1776 and tell me if you don't feel that they are just as true today:

Quote
We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is everywhere a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things, which nobody ever hears of. Masters, too, sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy, till the moment of execution, and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do, without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people. Such combinations, however, are frequently resisted by a contrary defensive combination of the workmen; who sometimes too, without any provocation of this kind, combine of their own accord to raise the price of their labour. Their usual pretences are, sometimes the high price of provisions; sometimes the great profit which their masters make by their work. But whether their combinations be offensive or defensive, they are always abundantly heard of.

One of the remarkable accomplishments of American civilization is that we recognized this conflict and put legislation in place that eliminated much of the abuses of corporate power. It is the policy of the Republican Party to gut as much of that legislation as they can, and let corporate power rule.

There are different tools in the modern arsenal than in Adam Smith's time, but the same basic conflict occurs, and right now through the power and sophistication of money to influence media, the balance tilts far too much towards corporate power

97
Quote
We already had this debate, and as i recall you didn't comprehend the true causes of the financial collapse

As I recall, Alan Greenspan and the entirety of free market economic theorists cannot explain the actual events of the economic collapse of 2008 into their models, as he confessed in Congressional testimony 10/23/2008 ("I have found a flaw [referring to his economic philosophy]... I don't know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact... I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms" https://www.c-span.org/video/?c3342718/waxman-greenspan-testimony). I missed the part where you came up with a alternative economic model that addressed Greenspan's error (and I missed your subsequent Nobel Prize as well).


As for the macho American thing bragging about how many hours you work, I can go toe-to-toe before addressing this issue - I have done 80-hour work-weeks, and I lead a group that often has some people working that long and hard (they get extra compensation for large numbers of extra hours, but I don't at my level).  So I also work 6 days a week often, but I also am a highly-compensated employee with kids out of the house and a wife who works long hours at her nonprofit religious institution.  That being said, TheDrake is right, there has been considerable backsliding in the US in the last few decades due to the precise dominance of corporate interests over unions that led to the 5-day work week as a standard. But that reinforces the point that when union power was more of a counter-point to corporate power, that drove the vast majority of American workers to a 5-day schedule. 

Your assertion that "Obama was a disaster economically" is blaming him for the economic collapse. Republicans get this amnesia about what it was like when the economy was losing 25,000 private sector jobs every day until Obama came into office. Your assertion is completely inconsistent with the facts that the US economy (with Obama's stimulus) grew faster than every other developed economy in the world. Sure, Fed policy helped a great deal, but at that point the financial system and the automotive industry were falling over a cliff. Your retelling of history is convenient, but not accurate.

 

98
I did want to get back to Seriati on unions - I agree that unions sometimes do bad things. Just like the 6 corporations that decided to make giant bets totaling most of the $54 trillion that were the primary root cause of the economic collapse in 2008.

The objective is to have balance so that the interests of both those who earn money because they own stuff and those who work for wages can be represented. Almost no one works 6-7 days a week, because the labor movement had enough power to make changes that we all enjoy to this day.  In recent US history, corporate power has disadvantaged workers both relative to past history (in some ways) as well as relative to their counterparts in developed economies that in the past generation have grown as much as the US or more (with the only caveat that under Obama, the US recovered faster than the rest of the developed world). 

99
Thanks, velcro, for the good advice

100
Seriati,

Is part of the freedom that you are always talking about the freedom to make up facts and then live in your own fantasy world? The largest focus of the Obama tax cuts were on people who actually worked for a living. The second focus was on tax cuts to businesses. The all-too-often focus of Republican tax cuts is on people whose trust funds come from their parents - and then Republicans generally try to cover their tracks by inciting some racism towards all those poor people who are getting too much from the government. That's your guys.

Then you claim that your sad right-wing fantasies have to be true, and that only a child would believe otherwise. I am not a child and I believe otherwise, QED.

And then you assert  this bogus argument
Quote
What makes my arguments remarkable is that they are based on the proven fact that free markets (with reasonable regulation) generate massive wealth for everyone involved in the economy, and that socialist and redistributive policies just generate misery, dependence and lack of opportunity.

The US enjoyed a significantly higher level of economic growth, and a much lower level of wealth inequality, in the 1950's and 1960's than the US has done under the less "socialist and distributive policies" since the 1980's.Your assertion that massive wealth is generated for everyone is false. Looking just at income since 1980:

Quote
Adjusted for inflation, the top 10 percent of earners in the United States made, on average, $144,418 in 1979 and $254,449 in 2012. That’s about 76 percent growth.

The bottom 90 percent of earners, on the other hand, made $33,526 in 1979 and $30,438 in 2012. That’s a decrease of about 9 percent.
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/jan/13/elizabeth-warren/warren-average-family-bottom-90-percent-made-more-/

Even when you make all the adjustments that politifact could find, including adding in the effect of increased government benefits, the gap is still vast:
Quote
the bottom 80 percent of earners (measured by households rather than tax units) saw income increases of about 16 percent between 1979 and 2011. The top 81-99 percent, on the other hand, saw increases of about 56 percent over the period. And the top 1 percent alone saw their household income grow 174 percent.




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