REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

A thread for Democrats Only

POSTED BY: THGRRI
UPDATED: Thursday, December 13, 2018 23:19
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Wednesday, February 28, 2018 5:03 PM

THGRRI





T

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Friday, March 2, 2018 7:13 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Taxpayers, You’ve Been Scammed
Paul Krugman, March 1, 2018
www.nytimes.com/2018/03/01/opinion/taxpayers-scammed-republicans.html

So you go out for dinner with a wealthy acquaintance. “I’ll take care of everything,” he says, and orders you a hamburger. Then he orders himself an expensive steak and a bottle of wine, which he doesn’t share. And when the waiter comes with the check, he points at you and says, “Charge it to his credit card.”

Now you understand the essence of the Trump tax cut, signed into law a little over two months ago.

The key thing you need to know is that right now the U.S. government has no business cutting taxes. We need more revenue, not less.

Why? The federal government, as an old line says, is a giant insurance company with an army. Most of its costs come from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — and all three programs are becoming more expensive as ever more baby boomers reach retirement age. This means that unless we cut back sharply on benefits that middle-class Americans count on, we will need to raise more revenue than in the past.


Yet even before the tax cut, federal tax receipts were looking weak for an economy with low unemployment and a rising stock market — for example, far lower as a percentage of G.D.P. than the tax take during the Clinton boom of the 1990s, and even a bit lower than they were at the end of the Bush-era expansion. The tax cut will push them lower still. Something will have to give.

And we already know what will give, if Republicans get their way: programs that benefit working Americans. In fact, the usual suspects like Paul Ryan were talking about the need for “entitlement reform” — meaning cuts in Medicare and Medicaid — to reduce deficits even as they were passing a huge tax cut that will make those deficits much worse.

Hence my analogy about the guy who “gives” you a hamburger, then bills it to your credit card. Ryan celebrated the tax cut with a tweet about a teacher saving $1.50 a week on her taxes; that’s like saying you should feel grateful for a “gift” that’s actually being charged to your own credit card. How’s that $75-a-year saving going to look when the teacher finds out that, partly because of that tax cut, her mother’s Medicare plan has been converted into an inadequate voucher system and Medicaid won’t pay for her father’s nursing home care?

Meanwhile, about your companion’s steak dinner: Most of the tax cut actually consisted of huge tax breaks for corporations, which is in effect a big tax cut for stockholders. And while many Americans own a bit of stock via their retirement accounts, even if you include these indirect holdings, more than 80 percent of stocks are owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of the population. So on the face of it, the wealthy are giving themselves a big gift, and sending the bill to the middle class.

Now, the tax cut’s defenders insist that it won’t really work that way, that the benefits of lower corporate taxes will trickle down to workers instead. How’s that supposed to happen?

Well, the theory is that lower corporate taxes will draw in lots of money from overseas, which corporations will invest in new plants and equipment, which will drive up the demand for labor, which will raise wages. And to be fair, there’s probably something to this theory — something, but not very much.

First of all, even if the process were to work as advertised, it would take a long time — probably decades. Even the most optimistic analyses suggest that there would be little effect on wages for the first few years, which means that for now what looks like a tax break for the wealthy is, in fact, a tax break for the wealthy.

Second, the story relies on a long chain of events with multiple weak links. For example, corporations with monopoly power won’t see lower taxes as a reason to invest more; they’ll just take the money. Meanwhile, there’s growing evidence that big employers are using their power to suppress wages; cutting their taxes won’t change that fact. So even in the long run we shouldn’t expect a lot of trickle-down.

But wait — weren’t there a lot of stories about companies using the tax cut to give their workers bonuses? Yes, there were — but only because the news media let themselves get played. Most of those bonuses would have happened anyway: In an economy with low unemployment, there are always some companies deciding to pay a bit more to attract workers. But companies had every incentive to pretend that the tax cut was responsible, if only to curry favor with the Trump administration.

And in any case the bonus hype was out of all proportion to the reality. So far, we’ve seen about $6 billion in bonuses versus more than $170 billion in stock buybacks, that is, handing money to wealthy stockholders. And money spent on buybacks is money that isn’t being invested in plants and equipment, the supposed point of the tax cut.

So the message to middle-class taxpayers is, if you think you were helped by the tax cut, think again. Donald Trump and his allies pretended to give you a gift, but they gave themselves and their wealthy patrons much bigger gifts — and they’re going to stick you with the bill. You’ve been scammed.

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Saturday, March 3, 2018 6:21 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


The financial crisis of 2008
https://bostonreview.net/politics/j-w-mason-austerity-design

Money is not just an accounting device because real productive activity is organized—and disorganized—by flows of money. The stable reproduction of an international economy requires flows of money across borders to balance. But when this has happened over any significant period, it has either been through dumb luck or else because some more or less conscious “surplus recycling mechanism” moves money from countries gaining it back to those losing. Otherwise, human labor and other real resources must be sacrificed to bring the money flows into line, or else the imbalance will eventually end with a crisis.

Since World War II, there have been two main global surplus recycling mechanisms. The first, in the twenty-five or thirty years after World War II, is the Bretton Woods system, or what Varoufakis calls the “global plan.” During this period, the United States ran trade surpluses, but recycled them—plus whatever additional dollars the world needed—through a mix of foreign aid, military spending and foreign investment. During this period, exchange rates were more or less fixed; the first resort for a country losing hard currency was expected to be not devaluation, but capital controls—restrictions on financial flows out of the country. This system worked well, says Varoufakis, as long as the United States accepted responsibility for running it, managing the U.S. economy to maintain a sufficient but not excessive outflow of dollars to the rest of the world.

By the 1970s, this responsibility came to seem like too much of a constraint on achieving domestic policy goals. After a chaotic period of experimentation, the recycling mechanism shifted toward what Varoufakis calls “the global minotaur" and what others, less creatively, sometimes call Bretton Woods II.

Under this system, the pattern of flows was reversed: the United States runs a trade deficit, financed by foreign investment from the rest of the world. Capital controls were now verboten, and exchange rates were supposed to float; countries losing foreign exchange would solve the problem by allowing their currency to depreciate until their exports were competitive enough to earn the hard currency they required.

Perversely, the new recycling mechanism, and the U.S. position within it, benefited from the now-frequent currency crises. Safe assets—meaning dollar assets—were in great demand by anyone who wanted to protect themselves against the vicissitudes of international markets. The United States could comfortably finance its trade deficits with financial inflows from the foreign central banks that desperately needed reserves in the new regime of capital-flow and exchange-rate uncertainty. The United States was, in effect, selling insurance against the instability it had itself created when it abdicated responsibility for the international order.

One way of looking at the financial crisis of 2008 is as a breakdown in the post-Bretton Woods surplus recycling mechanism. Mortgage backed securities had played a key strategic role in the system in which dollars flowed out of the United States to pay for imports, and then back in as investment in the safe financial assets the United States was uniquely able to provide. So when the U.S. mortgage market blew up, so did the international payments system.



The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Saturday, March 3, 2018 7:08 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


The Fed won’t be able to save us during the next recession

The Federal Reserve won’t have the same influence in the next recession because there isn’t enough room to drop interest rates as much as has been required in the past.

Historically, the Fed has had to drop rates by 5-6 percentage points during recessions; it cut rates by 6 points in 1990, 5.25 points in 2005, and 5.25 points — down all the way to zero — during the Great Recession of 2008.

With rates forecast (by the Fed itself) to only go as high as 3.1% by 2020, there’s not much scope to stimulate the markets by cutting them significantly if another recession was around the corner. And many economists do expect a recession soon — as early as next year or 2020.

When the next recession happens, it’s unlikely that reducing the short-term interest rate will be enough to stabilize demand, simply because rates will almost certainly not be high enough for a big enough rate reduction to give the economy the boost it will need.

https://qz.com/1216187

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Saturday, March 3, 2018 7:42 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
The Fed won’t be able to save us during the next recession

The Federal Reserve won’t have the same influence in the next recession because there isn’t enough room to drop interest rates as much as has been required in the past.

Historically, the Fed has had to drop rates by 5-6 percentage points during recessions; it cut rates by 6 points in 1990, 5.25 points in 2005, and 5.25 points — down all the way to zero — during the Great Recession of 2008.

With rates forecast (by the Fed itself) to only go as high as 3.1% by 2020, there’s not much scope to stimulate the markets by cutting them significantly if another recession was around the corner. And many economists do expect a recession soon — as early as next year or 2020.

When the next recession happens, it’s unlikely that reducing the short-term interest rate will be enough to stabilize demand, simply because rates will almost certainly not be high enough for a big enough rate reduction to give the economy the boost it will need.

https://qz.com/1216187

Sounds like you are admitting that Obamanomics screwed the economy big-time and long-term.

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Sunday, March 4, 2018 12:29 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
The Fed won’t be able to save us during the next recession

The Federal Reserve won’t have the same influence in the next recession because there isn’t enough room to drop interest rates as much as has been required in the past.



Well... yes and no. If the rates are raised in between recessions as they have in the past there will be wiggle room.

Quote:

Historically, the Fed has had to drop rates by 5-6 percentage points during recessions; it cut rates by 6 points in 1990,


FED rate in December of 1990: 7.0%
FED rate in December of 1991: 4.0%

3 percentage points.

Quote:

5.25 points in 2005,


FED rate, Feb 2, 2005: 2.5%
FED rate, Mar 22, 2005: 2.75%
FED rate, May 3, 2005: 3.0%
FED rate, Jun 30, 2005: 3.25%
FED rate, Aug 9, 2005: 3.5%
FED rate, Sep 20, 2005: 3.75%
FED rate, Nov 1, 2005: 4.0%
FED rate, Dec 13, 2005: 4.25%

?

Quote:

and 5.25 points — down all the way to zero — during the Great Recession of 2008.


FED rate, Sep 18, 2007 (Home market bubble burst): 4.75%
FED rate, Dec 16, 2008: 0.25% (Effectively zero. The lowest FED funds rate possible).

4.50% reduction in just over a year, with no more wiggle room.

Quote:

With rates forecast (by the Fed itself) to only go as high as 3.1% by 2020, there’s not much scope to stimulate the markets by cutting them significantly if another recession was around the corner. And many economists do expect a recession soon — as early as next year or 2020.


True, but the numbers of FED cuts presented in the argument above were largely inflated for the most part. 3.1% might not be enough wiggle room, depending on the scope of the situation, but at the same time it could be.

Quote:

When the next recession happens, it’s unlikely that reducing the short-term interest rate will be enough to stabilize demand, simply because rates will almost certainly not be high enough for a big enough rate reduction to give the economy the boost it will need.


As I said, there will be at least some wiggle room. In the mean time, the Government should be looking at ways to prevent a recession before it happens. I know we're constantly let down by the incompetence of our government, but I keep holding out hope that one day they might get it right.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Sunday, March 4, 2018 12:40 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


It should also be noted that in 2006, new FED chair Ben Bernanke started raising the interest rates to cool the housing market bubble which resulted almost immediately in homeowners beginning to default on their mortgages.

Though I feel empathy for all of those that lost their houses because of the housing market bubble eventually bursting, I think this was a smart move on Bernanke's part. The speculation in homes had driven up prices so artificially high that your average person couldn't even afford one without signing a ridiculous mortgage, which isn't a smart thing to do in a good economy, let alone the one we've been mired in since the mid 2000's.

FED rate as of December 13, 2005 was 4.25%

Rates were steadily raised to cool the housing market bubble all year of 2006 (Jan 31 to 4.5%, Mar 28 to 4.75%, May 10 to 5.0%, and Jun 29 to 5.25%).

By Sep 18 of 2007 they had been lowered back down to 4.75%, and that is the month the home bubble burst.

So although it could be argued that the rates were dropped 5% to "fix" that recession because they did top out at 5.25% in June of 2006, they were actually only at 4.25% in December of 2005 and were only increased to 5.25% in a failed effort to "fix" the housing market bubble before it burst.

On the flip side, it could also be argued that the actual FED reduction in rates was only 4% during this recession. (The 4.25% rate from December 13, 2005, to the 0.25% rate on December 16 of 2008).

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Sunday, March 4, 2018 7:28 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by JEWELSTAITEFAN:

Sounds like you are admitting that Obamanomics screwed the economy big-time and long-term.

I see that 6ixStringJack has almost perfect understanding. In stark contrast, JewelStaiteFan understands nothing, nothing at all.

All 3 of the following ways can be used simultaneously to end a recession, but typically the Federal government only uses a little bit of each. And that is why it is never very successful.

There are 3 ways to get the American economy out of a recession:

1) The Federal Reserve lowers the short-term interest rate 5 to 6%. By law, the President cannot do it. If the interest rate is already less than 5%, even the Federal Reserve cannot do it, no matter what the law says. But every little bit helps a little.

2) Congress increases spending by 2% more than the previous month, for month after month, until the economy is out of recession. By law, the President cannot do it. If the tax rate has already been cut, as it was in January, Congress cannot do it, either, even if it wants to. And Congress doesn’t always want to when it is in the mood for nationwide austerity.

3) The President waits for the American economy to naturally heal itself and come out of a recession. This happened many times in the 19th Century. This is much slower than #1 and #2. If you don’t believe me, please look at the following list of recessions:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_recessions_in_the_United_States

#3 will not heal the economy if the President blunders by starting a war in the Middle East (you’ve heard of the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, right?).
Or the President starts a trade war with the entire world.
Or the President’s men crash the mortgage backed securities market. This crash was not caused by the Federal Reserve, but rather by regulators working for Bush not doing their job of regulating. (See the movie The Big Short for how that happened in 2008 www.metacritic.com/movie/the-big-short ).

Obama used the #3 way as many previous Presidents have been forced to. Trump can use #3. But Trump better not make huge mistakes, as did Bush, or else the American economy will not come out of recession, if it should accidentally fall into one.

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Sunday, March 4, 2018 2:58 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Quote:

Originally posted by JEWELSTAITEFAN:
Sounds like you are admitting that Obamanomics screwed the economy big-time and long-term.

I see that 6ixStringJack has almost perfect understanding. In stark contrast, JewelStaiteFan understands nothing, nothing at all.

All 3 of the following ways can be used simultaneously to end a recession, but typically the Federal government only uses a little bit of each. And that is why it is never very successful.

There are 3 ways to get the American economy out of a recession:

1) The Federal Reserve lowers the short-term interest rate 5 to 6%. By law, the President cannot do it. If the interest rate is already less than 5%, even the Federal Reserve cannot do it, no matter what the law says. But every little bit helps a little.

2) Congress increases spending by 2% more than the previous month, for month after month, until the economy is out of recession. By law, the President cannot do it. If the tax rate has already been cut, as it was in January, Congress cannot do it, either, even if it wants to. And Congress doesn’t always want to when it is in the mood for nationwide austerity.

3) The President waits for the American economy to naturally heal itself and come out of a recession. This happened many times in the 19th Century. This is much slower than #1 and #2. If you don’t believe me, please look at the following list of recessions:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_recessions_in_the_United_States

#3 will not heal the economy if the President blunders by starting a war in the Middle East (you’ve heard of the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, right?).
Or the President starts a trade war with the entire world.

Obama used the #3 way as many previous Presidents have been forced to. Trump can use #3. But Trump better not make huge mistakes, as did Bush, or else the American economy will not come out of recession, if it should accidentally fall into one.

You mean Obama did #2. Adding a $Trillion of Deficit spending to a $3 Trillion annual Budget is more like spending 33% more each month, instead of just 2%. That's what Quantitative Easing was, the way to prolong the recession for 10 years. This Fake suppression of interest rates has left too little wiggle room to deal with the consequences of Obamanomics.

And you are claiming that the economy under Bush43 did not recover from 2001 to 2007, after Clinton left his War with Al-Queda in our lap, with the resultant Recession?
Whatever you are smoking, it must be illegal.

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Sunday, March 4, 2018 4:46 PM

THGRRI


Obama's numbers are much better than Trumps. Add to that that after a year in office, Trump is taking steps that is going to hurt not only our economy, but our allies as well.

Stay tuned...


T

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Sunday, March 4, 2018 8:41 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by THGRRI:
Obama's numbers are much better than Trumps. Add to that that after a year in office, Trump is taking steps that is going to hurt not only our economy, but our allies as well.

Stay tuned...



What numbers?

I don't buy stuff Trump says about this economy, but I'm unaware of any numbers where Obama was better.

Citation needed.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018 6:24 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Quote:

Originally posted by THGRRI:
Obama's numbers are much better than Trumps. Add to that that after a year in office, Trump is taking steps that is going to hurt not only our economy, but our allies as well.

Stay tuned...



What numbers?

I don't buy stuff Trump says about this economy, but I'm unaware of any numbers where Obama was better.

Citation needed.

It took me awhile to find numbers. The Office of Management and Budget presented the numbers in dollars.

The report was released late on a Friday, with Congress out of session. A cynical observer might conclude that the administration wanted the report to go unnoticed.

Why might that be? It shows that the GOP is wrong about regulations as a general matter and wrong about Obama’s regulations specifically. Those regulations had benefits far in excess of their costs.

OMB gathered data and analysis on “major” federal regulations (those with $100 million or more in economic impact) between 2006 and 2016, a period that includes all of Obama’s administration, stopping just short of Trump’s. The final tally, reported in 2001 dollars:

Aggregate benefits: $219 to $695 billion

Aggregate costs: $59 to $88 billion

By even the most conservative estimate, the benefits of Obama’s regulations wildly outweighed the costs.

According to OMB — and to the federal agencies upon whose data OMB mostly relied — the core of the Trumpian case against Obama regulations, arguably the organizing principle of Trump’s administration, is false.

www.eenews.net/assets/2018/02/26/document_pm_01.pdf

Quote:

The Regulatory Right-to-Know Act calls for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to submit to Congress each year “an accounting statement and associated report” including:
(A) an estimate of the total annual costs and benefits (including quantifiable and nonquantifiable effects) of Federal rules and paperwork, to the extent feasible:
(1) in the aggregate;
(2) by agency and agency program; and
(3) by major rule;
(B) an analysis of impacts of Federal regulation on State, local, and tribal government, small business, wages, and economic growth; and
(C) recommendations for reform.

The estimated annual benefits of major Federal regulations reviewed by OMB from October 1, 2006, to September 30, 2016* for which agencies estimated and monetized both benefits and costs, are in the aggregate between $219 billion and $695 billion, while the estimated annual costs are in the aggregate between $59 billion and $88 billion, reported in 2001 dollars. In 2015 dollars, aggregate annual benefits are estimated to be between $287 and $911 billion and costs between $78 and $115 billion. These ranges reflect uncertainty in the benefits and costs of each rule at the time that it was evaluated.

*We explain later in the Report that OMB chose a ten-year period for aggregation because pre-regulation estimates prepared for rules adopted more than ten years ago are of questionable relevance today.




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Wednesday, March 7, 2018 6:31 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Why the GOP hates the EPA

New fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines had (in 2001 dollars) between $6.7 billion and $9.7 billion in benefits. But they cost industry $0.8 billion to $1.1 billion.

The MATS rule, aimed at reducing toxic emissions from power plants, had between $33 billion and $90 billion in benefits (in 2007 dollars), but it cost industry $9.6 billion.

In short, air quality rules secure enormous health benefits for the American public, but they also ask a great deal of industry.

To frame the same point another way: Air quality regulations serve as a downward redistribution of wealth, out of the pockets of industrialists and into the pockets of ordinary Americans who live closest to pollution sources.

And therein lies the source of industry and GOP rage toward EPA. It’s why EPA delayed and delayed air rules under Bush. It’s why the GOP Congress worked so furiously to block air rules under Obama. And it’s why EPA is weakening or repealing air rules as fast as possible under Trump.

The GOP is opposed to downward redistribution of wealth. If one policy goal has unified the right above all else, it is upward redistribution. Its moneyed interests and policy leaders remain laser-focused on reducing taxes and regulatory burdens on the wealthy. Upward redistribution is what unites GOP health care policy, tax policy, financial sector policy, and environmental policy.

That is why Republicans hate EPA and its rules: They are a burden to industry, but worse, they are a burden that is very obviously worth it.

www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/3/6/17077330/trump-regulatory-
agenda-omb


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018 8:08 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Quote:

Originally posted by THGRRI:
Obama's numbers are much better than Trumps. Add to that that after a year in office, Trump is taking steps that is going to hurt not only our economy, but our allies as well.

Stay tuned...



What numbers?

I don't buy stuff Trump says about this economy, but I'm unaware of any numbers where Obama was better.

Citation needed.

It took me awhile to find numbers. The Office of Management and Budget presented the numbers in dollars.

The report was released late on a Friday, with Congress out of session. A cynical observer might conclude that the administration wanted the report to go unnoticed.

Why might that be? It shows that the GOP is wrong about regulations as a general matter and wrong about Obama’s regulations specifically. Those regulations had benefits far in excess of their costs.

OMB gathered data and analysis on “major” federal regulations (those with $100 million or more in economic impact) between 2006 and 2016, a period that includes all of Obama’s administration, stopping just short of Trump’s. The final tally, reported in 2001 dollars:

Aggregate benefits: $219 to $695 billion

Aggregate costs: $59 to $88 billion

By even the most conservative estimate, the benefits of Obama’s regulations wildly outweighed the costs.

According to OMB — and to the federal agencies upon whose data OMB mostly relied — the core of the Trumpian case against Obama regulations, arguably the organizing principle of Trump’s administration, is false.

www.eenews.net/assets/2018/02/26/document_pm_01.pdf

Quote:

The Regulatory Right-to-Know Act calls for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to submit to Congress each year “an accounting statement and associated report” including:
(A) an estimate of the total annual costs and benefits (including quantifiable and nonquantifiable effects) of Federal rules and paperwork, to the extent feasible:
(1) in the aggregate;
(2) by agency and agency program; and
(3) by major rule;
(B) an analysis of impacts of Federal regulation on State, local, and tribal government, small business, wages, and economic growth; and
(C) recommendations for reform.

The estimated annual benefits of major Federal regulations reviewed by OMB from October 1, 2006, to September 30, 2016* for which agencies estimated and monetized both benefits and costs, are in the aggregate between $219 billion and $695 billion, while the estimated annual costs are in the aggregate between $59 billion and $88 billion, reported in 2001 dollars. In 2015 dollars, aggregate annual benefits are estimated to be between $287 and $911 billion and costs between $78 and $115 billion. These ranges reflect uncertainty in the benefits and costs of each rule at the time that it was evaluated.

*We explain later in the Report that OMB chose a ten-year period for aggregation because pre-regulation estimates prepared for rules adopted more than ten years ago are of questionable relevance today.






They're going to have to break this down into something meaningful. As it stands from what you quoted, these are relatively meaningless numbers.

I was talking more along the lines of the economy and jobs and wages, which are no better in 2018 than they were during the whole of Obama's presidency overall. It's just a different group of people lying to us and telling us that they are is all.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018 9:12 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:

They're going to have to break this down into something meaningful. As it stands from what you quoted, these are relatively meaningless numbers.

I was talking more along the lines of the economy and jobs and wages, which are no better in 2018 than they were during the whole of Obama's presidency overall. It's just a different group of people lying to us and telling us that they are is all.

Well, you could click on the link to get all the information that Congress gets from OMB. www.eenews.net/assets/2018/02/26/document_pm_01.pdf

It is all about real benefits in dollars for real people. And the benefits only exist because of Obama's regulators enforced the regulations. Trump's regulators are NOT so good at enforcing regulations. (For just one example: www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/01/trumps-consumer-agency-announces-
plan-to-let-predatory-lenders-off-the-hook
/ ) The regulators and the regulations are something that a President has direct control over. The broader American economy is not really under the President's control, unlike regulations.

(begin-rant) You probably have been told this before, but the President does NOT have direct control over the American economy. He CANNOT create new jobs, build factories, sell houses, etc. Credit for the economy growth or shrinkage is properly given to the several million people (let's call 'em the 1%, but that's not really an accurate description cause it is based on wealth rather than intentions of that group) who pretty much own the bottom 50% of the population. It's too bad that the lower 50% sold control of their lives to the 1%, but tough luck to them. (I could tell you stories about half the people I know throwing away their money and their lives, against my advice, then they say, "But what else could I do?" My answer is a politer variation on "Why the fuck did you do that, against all my advice and your own good sense?") It's the bottom 50% who sold themselves into near slavery, without ever understanding they didn't have to. And the President has no control, other than what is in the regulations, over what the 1% does to the bottom 50%. If the regulations don't exist or the President won't enforce them, the bottom 50% needs to take direct action against their slave-masters in the 1%. I suggest you steal their money than kill 'em, but it's all up to you because Trump won't help you and the Presidency (even when a Democrat is in the White House) isn't powerful enough to fix most of the difficulties created by the 1% to profitably harass and rule over the bottom 50%.(end-of-rant)

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018 9:55 AM

JO753

rezident owtsidr


Quote:

Originally posted by second:...the bottom 50% needs to take direct action against their slave-masters in the 1%. I suggest you steal their money than kill 'em...




----------------------------
DUZ XaT SEM RiT TQ YQ? - Jubal Early

http://www.7532020.com

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018 10:35 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:

They're going to have to break this down into something meaningful. As it stands from what you quoted, these are relatively meaningless numbers.

I was talking more along the lines of the economy and jobs and wages, which are no better in 2018 than they were during the whole of Obama's presidency overall. It's just a different group of people lying to us and telling us that they are is all.

Well, you could click on the link to get all the information that Congress gets from OMB. www.eenews.net/assets/2018/02/26/document_pm_01.pdf

It is all about real benefits in dollars for real people. And the benefits only exist because of Obama's regulators enforced the regulations. Trump's regulators are NOT so good at enforcing regulations. (For just one example: www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/01/trumps-consumer-agency-announces-
plan-to-let-predatory-lenders-off-the-hook
/ ) The regulators and the regulations are something that a President has direct control over. The broader American economy is not really under the President's control, unlike regulations.

(begin-rant) You probably have been told this before, but the President does NOT have direct control over the American economy. He CANNOT create new jobs, build factories, sell houses, etc. Credit for the economy growth or shrinkage is properly given to the several million people (let's call 'em the 1%, but that's not really an accurate description cause it is based on wealth rather than intentions of that group) who pretty much own the bottom 50% of the population. It's too bad that the lower 50% sold control of their lives to the 1%, but tough luck to them. (I could tell you stories about half the people I know throwing away their money and their lives, against my advice, then they say, "But what else could I do?" My answer is a politer variation on "Why the fuck did you do that, against all my advice and your own good sense?") It's the bottom 50% who sold themselves into near slavery, without ever understanding they didn't have to. And the President has no control, other than what is in the regulations, over what the 1% does to the bottom 50%. If the regulations don't exist or the President won't enforce them, the bottom 50% needs to take direct action against their slave-masters in the 1%. I suggest you steal their money than kill 'em, but it's all up to you because Trump won't help you and the Presidency (even when a Democrat is in the White House) isn't powerful enough to fix most of the difficulties created by the 1% to profitably harass and rule over the bottom 50%.(end-of-rant)





Overall, I do have to say that I appreciate the tone of our messages to each other over the last couple of days. I think it might be because they're not interfeared with by T and G on every thread. When that happens I find that I don't have as much to argue with you about and I actually agree with more than some of it. Not all of it, but a fair enough amount.



Personally, I feel that I've done what I needed to do to unshackle myself from the chains of the 1%'ers. I'll never be rich, but I'm getting by just fine and improving my life on a daily basis now that I'm not a drunk.

I was recently passed over for that promotion I thought I might get. I didn't even get an interview. I said before I didn't think I wanted it anyway though because they wouldn't pay me enough to work full time. I was pretty pissed that I didn't get the interview, but I'm over it now. Especially when I found out who is getting it. He's been with the company for 12 years now, and I really like him. He needs that money a lot more than I do.

I'm alright with part time. Now that they've seen what I can do and they like it, they're doing the more important thing for me to keep me around, and that is scheduling me three straight days and the same days every week. I can have 4 day weekends every week now and I can have a life outside of work, even on overnight shifts.

I'm free to work on my projects and spend time with my family now whenever I want to. I basically come and go as I please. Hopefully, I can figure out how to monetize a project I've been working on for a while and have a second source of income from it.

I feel sorry for the rest of the 50%. I really can't even give them any advice to get where I'm at because most of them couldn't ever do without like I did and in many ways still do. I also benefited from some remarkable timing on certain big events that were out of my hands and could never be reliably replicated.

My brother, the stay at home dad who married a pharmacist, had to recently get a part time job making a pittance compared to what she makes. I'm not judging, since he's in the same boat as most other Americans are today. I'm just saying that her take home pay is about 8 times more than mine is per year and that's not enough for them.

Some people just really need to have a bunch of nice shit.



My mom says to me every once in a while "but wouldn't you like to have some luxuries in your life?".

I tell her I already do. I don't have to work full time for some asshole I can't stand at a job that i hate, and if things ever get bad where I work now it wouldn't be to hard to find another similar job at a similar wage.



From the excellent novel The Great Explosion by Eric Frank Russell:

Quote:

Edging ponderously around on his stool, Jeff reached to the wall, removed a small, shiny plaque from its hook and passed it across the counter.

‘You may keep it,’ he said. ‘And much good may it do you.’

Gleed examined it, turning it over and over between his fingers. It was nothing more than an oblong strip of substance resembling ivory. One side was polished and bare. The other bore three letters deeply engraved in bold style:
F.—I.W.

Glancing up at Baines, his features puzzled, he said, ‘You call this a weapon?’

‘Certainly.’

‘Then I don’t get it.’ He passed the plaque to Harrison. ‘Do you?’

‘No.’ Harrison examined it with care. ‘What does this F.—I.W. mean?’

‘Initial-slang,’ informed Baines. ‘Made correct by common usage. It has become a worldwide motto. You’ll see it all over the place if you haven’t noticed it already.’

‘I have seen it here and there but attached no importance to it and thought nothing more about it. I remember now that it was inscribed in several places including Seth’s and the fire depot.’
‘It was on the sides of that bus we couldn’t empty,’ put in Gleed. ‘It didn’t mean anything to me.’

It means plenty,’ said Jeff, ‘Freedom-I won’t!’

‘That kills me,’ Gleed responded. ‘I’m stone dead already. I’ve dropped in my tracks.’ He watched Harrison thoughtfully pocketing the plaque. ‘A piece of abracadabra. What a weapon!’

‘Ignorance is bliss,’ asserted Baines, strangely sure of himself. ‘Especially when you don’t know that what you’re playing with is the safety catch of something that goes bang.’

‘All right ’challenged Gleed, taking him up on that. ‘Tell us how it works.’

‘I won’t.’ Baines’ grin reappeared. He seemed to be highly satisfied about something.

‘That’s a fat lot of help.’ Gleed felt let down, especially over that momentary hoped-for reward. ‘You brag and boast about a one-way weapon, toss across a slip of stuff with three letters on it and then go dumb. Any folly will do for braggarts and any braggart can talk through the seat of his pants. How about backing up your talk?’

‘I won’t,’ repeated Baines, his grin broader than ever. He gave the onlooking Harrison a fat, significant wink.

It made something spark vividly within Harrison’s mind. His jaw dropped, he dragged the plaque from his pocket and stared at it as if seeing it for the first time.

‘Give it me back,’ requested Baines, watching him.

Replacing it in his pocket, Harrison said very firmly. ‘I won’t.’

Baines chuckled.’ some people catch on quicker than others.’

Resenting that, Gleed held his hand out to Harrison. ‘Let me have another look at that thing.’

‘I won’t,’ said Harrison, meeting him eye to eye.

‘Hey, don’t start being awkard with me. That’s not the way—’ Gleed’s protesting voice petered out. He stood there a moment, his optics slightly glassy, while his brain performed several loops. Then in hushed tones he said, ‘Good grief!’

‘Precisely,’ approved Baines. ‘Grief and plenty of it. You were a bit slow on the uptake.’



That pretty much sums up my life at this point. I don't have much, but I do have that. To me, that's more valuable than anything else that riches can buy.

Here's the whole story if you've never read it:

http://www.abelard.org/e-f-russell.php

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018 1:38 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


6ix, I have lost the urge to read science fiction because I got old and cranky. Now even my dreams are solidly non-fictional. Everything I do and think about is one solid fact after another stacked up to make a cathedral. Maybe it's not odd that I like the Rick and Morty cartoons. Rick is so bitter and disillusioned at the Universe and he is out there kicking the Universe in the balls, reshaping reality to something he doesn't dislike intensely. He can actually bring down Galactic Empires. Same as Rick, I don't like Galactic Empires: www.abelard.org/e-f-russell.php
Quote:

Out near the edge of the Milky Way was a matriarchy bossed by blonde Amazons, and a world of self-styled wizards, and a Pentecostal planet, and a globe where semi-sentient vegetables cultivated themselves in obedience to human masters. All these scattered across many light-years of space but readily accessible by Blieder-drive.


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018 9:10 PM

THGRRI





T

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018 9:22 PM

THGRRI





T

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018 10:22 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
6ix, I have lost the urge to read science fiction because I got old and cranky. Now even my dreams are solidly non-fictional. Everything I do and think about is one solid fact after another stacked up to make a cathedral. Maybe it's not odd that I like the Rick and Morty cartoons. Rick is so bitter and disillusioned at the Universe and he is out there kicking the Universe in the balls, reshaping reality to something he doesn't dislike intensely. He can actually bring down Galactic Empires. Same as Rick, I don't like Galactic Empires: www.abelard.org/e-f-russell.php
Quote:

Out near the edge of the Milky Way was a matriarchy bossed by blonde Amazons, and a world of self-styled wizards, and a Pentecostal planet, and a globe where semi-sentient vegetables cultivated themselves in obedience to human masters. All these scattered across many light-years of space but readily accessible by Blieder-drive.




See what you did there?

"I Won't"



I realized later that I didn't send you a link to the full book. Just my favorite part of the 3 part story "And Then There Were None".

I'd read this story right around the time I saw Firefly and actually felt that Joss must have read it and taken a lot of inspiration from it for Firefly.

I can't tell if your quote is kind of a wink letting me know that you've already read it. Could you see how easily it would be to add to that list "I spent 6 weeks on a moon where the principal form of recreation was juggling geese"?


If you haven't read it, I think you'd like it. ATTWN isn't necessarily a story about taking down a Galactic Empire, but it's a story about a People who have their shit together so well that when invaders came down to completely uproot and change their way of life it wasn't long before they were willingly brought into the fold and completely turned their own backs on the Galactic Empire they used to serve.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Thursday, March 8, 2018 2:37 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


“The new Fake News narrative is that there is CHAOS in the White House,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “Wrong! People will always come & go, and I want strong dialogue before making a final decision. I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection). There is no Chaos, only great Energy!”

That evening, Gary Cohn, his top economic adviser, announced his departure. The move came a week after communications director Hope Hicks revealed her exit and about a month after staff secretary Rob Porter stepped down amid allegations of domestic violence.

Still, Trump has stuck to his stance.

"Everybody wants to work in the White House," he said this week at a White House press conference. "They all want a piece of that Oval Office. They want a piece of the West Wing. And not only in terms of, it looks great on their resume — it's just a great place to work."

As of Wednesday, the share of Trump’s top staffers who have left or changed jobs had reached 43 percent.

www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/03/08/trumps-turnover-breaks-
white-house-records-it-probably-wont-end/?utm_term=.f59c3a4543fc


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Thursday, March 8, 2018 3:01 PM

THGRRI


The man lives in his own world second. Facts to Trump are like facts to some here. Existing only in a reality other than theirs.


T

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Thursday, March 8, 2018 5:31 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by THGRRI:
The man lives in his own world second. Facts to Trump are like facts to some here. Existing only in a reality other than theirs.

Trump thinks his wealth is earned. MIT created a model of how wealth is distributed and it suggests Trump is mistaken. The article begins like this:

The conventional answer is that we live in a meritocracy in which people are rewarded for their talent, intelligence, effort, and so on. Over time, many people think, this translates into the wealth distribution that we observe, although a healthy dose of luck can play a role.

But there is a problem with this idea: while wealth distribution follows a power law, the distribution of human skills generally follows a normal distribution that is symmetric about an average value. For example, intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, follows this pattern. Average IQ is 100, but nobody has an IQ of 1,000 or 10,000.

The same is true of effort, as measured by hours worked. Some people work more hours than average and some work less, but nobody works a billion times more hours than anybody else.

And yet when it comes to the rewards for this work, some people do have billions of times more wealth than other people. What’s more, numerous studies have shown that the wealthiest people are generally not the most talented by other measures.

How did Trump get rich? Read MIT Technology Review to find out:
www.technologyreview.com/s/610395/if-youre-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich
-turns-out-its-just-chance
/

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Thursday, March 8, 2018 5:44 PM

THGRRI


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Quote:

Originally posted by THGRRI:
The man lives in his own world second. Facts to Trump are like facts to some here. Existing only in a reality other than theirs.

Trump thinks his wealth is earned. MIT created a model of how wealth is distributed and it suggests Trump is mistaken. The article begins like this:

The conventional answer is that we live in a meritocracy in which people are rewarded for their talent, intelligence, effort, and so on. Over time, many people think, this translates into the wealth distribution that we observe, although a healthy dose of luck can play a role.

But there is a problem with this idea: while wealth distribution follows a power law, the distribution of human skills generally follows a normal distribution that is symmetric about an average value. For example, intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, follows this pattern. Average IQ is 100, but nobody has an IQ of 1,000 or 10,000.

The same is true of effort, as measured by hours worked. Some people work more hours than average and some work less, but nobody works a billion times more hours than anybody else.

And yet when it comes to the rewards for this work, some people do have billions of times more wealth than other people. What’s more, numerous studies have shown that the wealthiest people are generally not the most talented by other measures.

How did Trump get rich? Read MIT Technology Review to find out:
www.technologyreview.com/s/610395/if-youre-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich
-turns-out-its-just-chance
/



Before Regan and Kennedy tax rates were over 80% for the rich. I always thought that was unfair. Now though not so much. The rich control the wealth distribution in this country, and put most of it into their own pockets.


T

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Thursday, March 8, 2018 5:48 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by THGRRI:


Before Regan and Kennedy tax rates were over 80% for the rich. I always thought that was unfair. Now though not so much. The rich control the wealth distribution in this country, and in doing so put most of it into their own.

The largely dominant meritocratic paradigm of highly competitive Western cultures is rooted on the belief that success is due mainly, if not exclusively, to personal qualities such as talent, intelligence, skills, efforts or risk taking. Sometimes, we are willing to admit that a certain degree of luck could also play a role in achieving significant material success. But, as a matter of fact, it is rather common to underestimate the importance of external forces in individual successful stories. (That is very Trumpish)

It is very well known that intelligence or talent exhibit a Gaussian distribution among the population, whereas the distribution of wealth - considered a proxy of success - follows typically a power law (Pareto law). Such a discrepancy between a Normal distribution of inputs, with a typical scale, and the scale invariant distribution of outputs, suggests that some hidden ingredient is at work behind the scenes. In this paper, with the help of a very simple agent-based model, we suggest that such an ingredient is just randomness. (Also Trumpish)

In particular, we show that, if it is true that some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, almost never the most talented people reach the highest peaks of success, being overtaken by mediocre but sensibly luckier individuals. (Very Trump)

As to our knowledge, this counterintuitive result - although implicitly suggested between the lines in a vast literature - is quantified here for the first time. It sheds new light on the effectiveness of assessing merit on the basis of the reached level of success and underlines the risks of distributing excessive honors or resources to people who, at the end of the day, could have been simply luckier than others. With the help of this model, several policy hypotheses are also addressed and compared to show the most efficient strategies for public funding of research in order to improve meritocracy, diversity and innovation.
https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.07068

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Friday, March 9, 2018 6:07 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


180.8 million people are represented by the 49 senators who caucus with the Democrats.

141.7 million people are represented by the 51 senators who caucus with the Republicans.

www.bradford-delong.com/2018/03/note-to-self-this-is-your-reminder-178
4-million-people-are-represented-by-the-48-senators-who-caucus-with-the-democ.html#comments


He is a GOP U.S. Senator
https://xkcd.com/154/



The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Friday, March 9, 2018 6:28 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Quote:

Originally posted by THGRRI:
The man lives in his own world second. Facts to Trump are like facts to some here. Existing only in a reality other than theirs.

Trump thinks his wealth is earned. MIT created a model of how wealth is distributed and it suggests Trump is mistaken. The article begins like this:

The conventional answer is that we live in a meritocracy in which people are rewarded for their talent, intelligence, effort, and so on. Over time, many people think, this translates into the wealth distribution that we observe, although a healthy dose of luck can play a role.

But there is a problem with this idea: while wealth distribution follows a power law, the distribution of human skills generally follows a normal distribution that is symmetric about an average value. For example, intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, follows this pattern. Average IQ is 100, but nobody has an IQ of 1,000 or 10,000.

The same is true of effort, as measured by hours worked. Some people work more hours than average and some work less, but nobody works a billion times more hours than anybody else.

And yet when it comes to the rewards for this work, some people do have billions of times more wealth than other people. What’s more, numerous studies have shown that the wealthiest people are generally not the most talented by other measures.

How did Trump get rich? Read MIT Technology Review to find out:
www.technologyreview.com/s/610395/if-youre-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich
-turns-out-its-just-chance
/

wow. That series of flawed arguments is so unfounded as to be boggy. Good example of dreaming up evidence or rationalization after forming the conclusion.

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Friday, March 9, 2018 7:30 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
180.8 million people are represented by the 49 senators who caucus with the Democrats.

141.7 million people are represented by the 51 senators who caucus with the Republicans.



What's you're point?

60-70+ million of those people are too young to vote for anybody. More than half of the rest didn't even vote. A small but not trivial percentage of them don't even have a legal right to be here so their opinions don't even matter.

Those numbers are virtually meaningless.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Friday, March 9, 2018 7:40 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Quote:

Originally posted by second:
180.8 million people are represented by the 49 senators who caucus with the Democrats.

141.7 million people are represented by the 51 senators who caucus with the Republicans.



What's you're point?

60-70+ million of those people are too young to vote for anybody. More than half of the rest didn't even vote. A small but not trivial percentage of them don't even have a legal right to be here so their opinions don't even matter.

Those numbers are virtually meaningless.

6ix. What if the numbers were more obvious? 280.8 million people are represented by the 49 senators who caucus with the Democrats.

41.7 million people are represented by the 51 senators who caucus with the Republicans.

6ix. Not Obvious enough? How about these numbers?

320.8 million people are represented by the 49 senators who caucus with the Democrats.

1.7 million people are represented by the 51 senators who caucus with the Republicans.

6ix. What do the numbers have to be before it becomes obvious to you what the point is?

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Friday, March 9, 2018 7:50 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


I know what you're doing and I'm not playing along.

You're bitching about the Electoral College again without saying that you are.


I agree that the model is outdated, but I am strongly against scrapping it completely and going to a popular vote. What are our options here?


The biggest bullshit about this argument is that it is only bitched about when Republicans are controlling the show. When Democrats run things, nobody ever talks about it and it never gets changed.

Where was Obama for 8 years, especially the first 2 when he had the power of the Senate and House behind him?

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Friday, March 9, 2018 7:55 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by JEWELSTAITEFAN:

wow. That series of flawed arguments is so unfounded as to be boggy. Good example of dreaming up evidence or rationalization after forming the conclusion.

Wow yourself, JewelStaiteFan. You didn't read the paper, did you? But you couldn't stop yourself from giving an opinion, could you? Typical of Republicans to have strong opinions on subjects they are ignorant of. That is my experience of Texas Republicans. Maybe your state is different. But I doubt it is. When I read this paper, it made me think about how I got rich. Always I believed it was because I was superior. Looking at my career after reading this and I can see I was the luckiest man from Pasadena Texas. I finally realized the secret to my success was luck, not all hard work, but I am keeping the money even if I didn't work a million times harder than the average guy.

4 Conclusive remarks https://arxiv.org/pdf/1802.07068.pdf
In this paper, starting from very simple assumptions, we have presented an agent-based model which is able to quantify the role of talent and luck in the success of people’s careers. The simulations show that although talent has a Gaussian distribution among agents, the resulting distribution of success/capital after a working life of 40 years, follows a power law which respects the ”80-20” Pareto law for the distribution of wealth found in the real world. An important result of the simulations is that the most successful agents are almost never the most talented ones, but those around the average of the Gaussian talent distribution - another stylized fact often reported in the literature. The model shows the importance, very frequently underestimated, of lucky events in determining the final level of individual success. Since rewards and resources are usually given to those that have already reached a high level of success, mistakenly considered as a measure of competence/talent, this result is even a more harmful disincentive, causing a lack of opportunities for the most talented ones. Our results are a warning against the risks of what we call the "naive meritocracy" which, underestimating the role of randomness among the determinants of success, often fail to give honors and rewards to the most competent people. In this respect, several different scenarios have been investigated in order to discuss more efficient strategies able to counterbalance the unpredictable role of luck and give more opportunities and resources to the most talented ones - a purpose that we think should be the goal of a real meritocratic approach. Such strategics have also been shown to be the most beneficial for the entire society, since they tend to increase diversity in research and foster in this way also innovation.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Friday, March 9, 2018 2:30 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Quote:

Originally posted by second:
180.8 million people are represented by the 49 senators who caucus with the Democrats.

141.7 million people are represented by the 51 senators who caucus with the Republicans.


What's you're point?

60-70+ million of those people are too young to vote for anybody. More than half of the rest didn't even vote. A small but not trivial percentage of them don't even have a legal right to be here so their opinions don't even matter.

Those numbers are virtually meaningless.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

Those numbers are also bogus. Gallop Poll shows that 38% of Americans identify as Conservatives, and 24% identify as Liberals.

So 79 Million American Liberals are represented by 49 Liberal Senators.
And 127 Million American Conservatives are represented by the non-RINO Republican Senators, certainly numbering less than 40.
The remaining 126 Million Americans in the middle are represented by the Moderate and RINOs of the GOP Senators, likely 10-20 of them.

Clearly, Libtards have a stranglehold on reasonable Americans.

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Friday, March 9, 2018 2:35 PM

THGRRI


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Quote:

Originally posted by JEWELSTAITEFAN:

wow. That series of flawed arguments is so unfounded as to be boggy. Good example of dreaming up evidence or rationalization after forming the conclusion.

Wow yourself, JewelStaiteFan. You didn't read the paper, did you? But you couldn't stop yourself from giving an opinion, could you?



Exactly right again second. Jack is another one who does this, and not the only one either. To Jacks credit, he at least admits it.


T

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Friday, March 9, 2018 2:40 PM

THGRRI


Dan Aykroyd takes shot at Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios in 'Blues Brothers' themed ad for Chris Kennedy

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chicagoinc/ct-met-celeb-governor-03
11-chicago-inc-20180309-story.html



T

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Friday, March 9, 2018 2:41 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
I know what you're doing and I'm not playing along.

You're bitching about the Electoral College again without saying that you are.


I agree that the model is outdated, but I am strongly against scrapping it completely and going to a popular vote. What are our options here?

Pretty simple.
For the Electoral College option, remember that we are a Republic of States. Each State won is one Electoral Point. The 2012 Election would have been 26-24 in favor of Obama. Simple numbers, no muss, no fuss.

For Senators, return to the Constitution Origins, as has been proposed by the Convention of States platform. The US Senator from each State was Elected by the State Legislature of that State.

The United States of America never was intended to be a Federation of Democracy, and never had been, so no need to change now. Having democratically elected Representatives for The House Chamber in Congress is how the Constitution was negotiated and constructed.

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Saturday, March 10, 2018 8:04 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


On Friday, Trump pardoned a former Navy sailor who served a year in prison for taking sensitive pictures of the reactor inside a nuclear submarine. During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly invoked the sailor, Kristian Saucier, saying Saucier did “nothing” compared to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, so Clinton should also be in prison.
www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-09/trump-pardons-sailor-who-in
voked-clinton-defense-in-trial


I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to view this as a warning shot at the Justice Dept.: “You won’t prosecute my political enemies? Fine, then I’ll whimsically undo the legitimate convictions you win.”

Trump pardoned a guy convicted of mishandling classified info to also make a petulant statement about the “unfairness” of not charging Hillary Clinton. Every time you think Trump can’t do something more petty and juvenile, he does something more petty and juvenile.

It was Fox News telling Trump to give the pardon. A lawyer hired to advocate for Saucier’s pardon said that Fox News played a key role in getting the case on Trump’s radar, again. www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-pardon-kristian-saucier_us_5aa2e103
e4b07047bec662d1


The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Saturday, March 10, 2018 8:16 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
On Friday, Trump pardoned a former Navy sailor who served a year in prison for taking sensitive pictures of the reactor inside a nuclear submarine. During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly invoked the sailor, Kristian Saucier, saying Saucier did “nothing” compared to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, so Clinton should also be in prison.
www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-09/trump-pardons-sailor-who-in
voked-clinton-defense-in-trial


I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to view this as a warning shot at the Justice Dept.: “You won’t prosecute my political enemies? Fine, then I’ll whimsically undo the legitimate convictions you win.”

Trump pardoned a guy convicted of mishandling classified info to also make a petulant statement about the “unfairness” of not charging Hillary Clinton. Every time you think Trump can’t do something more petty and juvenile, he does something more petty and juvenile.

It was Fox News telling Trump to give the pardon. A lawyer hired to advocate for Saucier’s pardon said that Fox News played a key role in getting the case on Trump’s radar, again. www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-pardon-kristian-saucier_us_5aa2e103
e4b07047bec662d1


Good call. That sailor didn't even broadcast the Treason on Live TV, in Prime Time, like Hilliary did.

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Saturday, March 10, 2018 8:33 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by JEWELSTAITEFAN:

Good call. That sailor didn't even broadcast the Treason on Live TV, in Prime Time, like Hilliary did.

You didn't get the point, did you? The Attorney General won’t prosecute Trump's political enemy, Hillary, then Trump, on a whim, undid a legitimate conviction. Maybe you will get the point of this next story, where Trump should have fired these Cabinet officials, rather than give them remedial training on not being crooks:

The White House held private meetings with four Cabinet-level officials last month to scold them for embarrassing stories about questionable ethical behavior at their respective agencies, sources familiar with the sessions tell CNN.

Internal watchdogs have launched at least nine audits, reviews or investigations across several Cabinet agencies, and stories about first-class travel, expensive office furniture, and internal strife have become commonplace.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt all met with officials from the White House counsel's office and the Cabinet liaison.

The meetings, held at chief of staff John Kelly's request, were intended to provide "a clear message that optics matter," the sources said.
The White House gave the agencies a set of guidelines in a document titled "creating a culture of compliance," according to portions of the document obtained by CNN.
Among the highlighted advice:
• "You are the best guardian of your reputation. Your recordkeeping practices must be designed with a purpose to prove innocence at the complaint phase or with the press."
• "Even if legal, does not mean you should do it -- always consider optics."
• "Optics questions: Does the event or travel further the President's priorities, your department or agency's mission; or, does it appear recreational or entertainment in nature."
• "Remember, an ethics opinion matters only if the ethics officer received all of the information."

The White House declined to comment.

There is much more at www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/white-house-scolds-cabinet-officials-a
fter-ethics-reports/ar-BBK4uo0?ocid=spartandhp

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Saturday, March 10, 2018 11:33 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by THGRRI:
Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Quote:

Originally posted by JEWELSTAITEFAN:

wow. That series of flawed arguments is so unfounded as to be boggy. Good example of dreaming up evidence or rationalization after forming the conclusion.

Wow yourself, JewelStaiteFan. You didn't read the paper, did you? But you couldn't stop yourself from giving an opinion, could you?



Exactly right again second. Jack is another one who does this, and not the only one either. To Jacks credit, he at least admits it.





No shame at all in admitting that I don't read propaganda.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Saturday, March 10, 2018 11:56 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:

No shame at all in admitting that I don't read propaganda.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

Although you say you are not a Republican, all Republicans in Texas say they don't read propaganda written by Democrats. If you did read, that would have been solid proof that you are definitely not a Republican. Then your assertions that you are an "Independent" would be more believable. Essentially, 6ixStringJack, you are wearing a tee shirt that says "Independent" on the front, while the back of the shirt, the part everyone but you can see, says "Republican".

Maybe you should put your shirt on backwards? It won't look any stupider than you look now.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Saturday, March 10, 2018 12:05 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:

No shame at all in admitting that I don't read propaganda.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

Although you say you are not a Republican, all Republicans in Texas say they don't read propaganda written by Democrats. If you did read, that would have been solid proof that you are definitely not a Republican. Then your assertions that you are an "Independent" would be more believable. Essentially, 6ixStringJack, you are wearing a tee shirt that says "Independent" on the front, while the back of the shirt, the part everyone but you can see, says "Republican".

Maybe you should put your shirt on backwards? It won't look any stupider than you look now.

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly



I hardly read anything that JSF or Rappy or anybody else posts here either Second. They just don't post an article with every post like you and T do.

Usually, the only time I bother reading any links anybody posts here is to see how easily they could be debunked because there are no legitimate sources.

I just read the one that J0 put in another thread about the book that is being written. There's nothing in there explaining how they were able to get the information that they supposedly did.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Saturday, March 10, 2018 2:19 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
I hardly read anything that JSF or Rappy or anybody else posts here either Second.

So then, why should anybody reply to you?

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Saturday, March 10, 2018 2:28 PM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Quote:

Originally posted by JEWELSTAITEFAN:
Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
I hardly read anything that JSF or Rappy or anybody else posts here either Second.

So then, why should anybody reply to you?



Sorry. Allow me to clarify that statement.

I read your personal opinions on things. I don't read most of the linked articles anybody posts here.

Individuals' opinions are something I find intriguing. I find no value in non-objective stories made up by the MSM on either side other than how it effects an individual's viewpoint.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Saturday, March 10, 2018 6:46 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
No shame at all in admitting that I don't read propaganda.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

Although you say you are not a Republican, all Republicans in Texas say they don't read propaganda written by Democrats. If you did read, that would have been solid proof that you are definitely not a Republican. Then your assertions that you are an "Independent" would be more believable. Essentially, 6ixStringJack, you are wearing a tee shirt that says "Independent" on the front, while the back of the shirt, the part everyone but you can see, says "Republican".

Maybe you should put your shirt on backwards? It won't look any stupider than you look now.

I suppose your explanation why you spent so much time reading up on Gates inventing 1s and 0s, Flat Earth, algore inventing the Internet, Oswald being Lone Gunman, the falling sky, and Betsy Ross, Susan Anthony, Hamilton & Franklin being the Greatest Presidents give insight to why you're so gullible.

Is that why you refuse to attribute your posts, so 6ix will think what you plagiarized is your original words, and read the drivel you copied?

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Sunday, March 11, 2018 8:03 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


I have discovered the secret childhood trauma that creates conservatives! It involves FEAR! Wouldn't you think they'd eventually grow out of it?

At Yale, we conducted an experiment to turn conservatives into liberals. We were successful!

By John Bargh, November 22, 2017 at 5:00 AM

https://goo.gl/mmUr8W

Keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe from harm is perhaps our strongest human motivation, deeply embedded in our very DNA. It is so deep and important that it influences much of what we think and do, maybe more than we might expect. For example, over a decade now of research in political psychology consistently shows that how physically threatened or fearful a person feels is a key factor — although clearly not the only one — in whether he or she holds conservative or liberal attitudes.

Conservatives, it turns out, react more strongly to physical threat than liberals do. In fact, their greater concern with physical safety seems to be determined early in life: In one University of California study, the more fear a 4-year-old showed in a laboratory situation, the more conservative his or her political attitudes were found to be 20 years later. Brain imaging studies have even shown that the fear center of the brain, the amygdala, is actually larger in conservatives than in liberals. And many other laboratory studies have found that when adult liberals experienced physical threat, their political and social attitudes became more conservative (temporarily, of course). But no one had ever turned conservatives into liberals.

Until we did.

In a new study to appear in a forthcoming issue of the European Journal of Social Psychology, my colleagues Jaime Napier, Julie Huang and Andy Vonasch and I asked 300 U.S. residents in an online survey their opinions on several contemporary issues such as gay rights, abortion, feminism and immigration, as well as social change in general. The group was two-thirds female, about three-quarters white, with an average age of 35. Thirty-percent of the participants self-identified as Republican, and the rest as Democrat.

But before they answered the survey questions, we had them engage in an intense imagination exercise. They were asked to close their eyes and richly imagine being visited by a genie who granted them a superpower. For half of our participants, this superpower was to be able to fly, under one’s own power. For the other half, it was to be completely physically safe, invulnerable to any harm.

If they had just imagined being able to fly, their responses to the social attitude survey showed the usual clear difference between Republicans and Democrats — the former endorsed more conservative positions on social issues and were also more resistant to social change in general.

But if they had instead just imagined being completely physically safe, the Republicans became significantly more liberal — their positions on social attitudes were much more like the Democratic respondents. And on the issue of social change in general, the Republicans’ attitudes were now indistinguishable from the Democrats. Imagining being completely safe from physical harm had done what no experiment had done before — it had turned conservatives into liberals.

In both instances, we had manipulated a deeper underlying reason for political attitudes, the strength of the basic motivation of safety and survival. The boiling water of our social and political attitudes, it seems, can be turned up or down by changing how physically safe we feel.

This is why it makes sense that liberal politicians intuitively portray danger as manageable — recall FDR’s famous Great Depression era reassurance of “nothing to fear but fear itself,” echoed decades later in Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address — and why President Trump and other Republican politicians are instead likely to emphasize the dangers of terrorism and immigration, relying on fear as a motivator to gain votes.

In fact, anti-immigration attitudes are also linked directly to the underlying basic drive for physical safety. For centuries, arch-conservative leaders have often referred to scapegoated minority groups as “germs” or “bacteria” that seek to invade and destroy their country from within. President Trump is an acknowledged germaphobe, and he has a penchant for describing people — not only immigrants but political opponents and former Miss Universe contestants — as “disgusting.”

“Immigrants are like viruses” is a powerful metaphor, because in comparing immigrants entering a country to germs entering a human body, it speaks directly to our powerful innate motivation to avoid contamination and disease. Until very recently in human history, not only did we not have antibiotics, we did not even know how infections occurred or diseases transmitted, and cuts and open wounds were quite dangerous. (In the American Civil War, for example, 60 out of every 1,000 soldiers died not by bullets or bayonets, but by infections.)

Therefore, we reasoned, making people feel safer about a dangerous flu virus should serve to calm their fears about immigrants — and making them feel more threatened by the flu virus should cause them to be more against immigration than they were before. In a 2011 study, my colleagues and I showed just that. First, we reminded our nationwide sample of liberals and conservatives about the threat of the flu virus (during the H1N1 epidemic), and then measured their attitudes toward immigration. Afterward we simply asked them if they’d already gotten their flu shot or not. It turned out that those who had not gotten a flu shot (feeling threatened) expressed more negative attitudes toward immigration, while those who had received the vaccination (feeling safe) had more positive attitudes about immigration.

In another study, using hand sanitizer after being warned about the flu virus had the same effect on immigration attitudes as had being vaccinated. A simple squirt of Purell after we had raised the threat of the flu had changed their minds. It made them feel safe from the dangerous virus, and this made them feel socially safe from immigrants as well.

Our study findings may have a silver lining. Here’s how:

All of us believe that our social and political attitudes are based on good reasons and reflect our important values. But we also need to recognize how much they can be influenced subconsciously by our most basic, powerful motivations for safety and survival. Politicians on both sides of the aisle know this already and attempt to manipulate our votes and party allegiances by appealing to these potent feelings of fear and of safety.

Instead of allowing our strings to be pulled so easily by others, we can become more conscious of what drives us and work harder to base our opinions on factual knowledge about the issues, including information from outside our media echo chambers. Yes, our views can harden given the right environment, but our work shows that they are actually easier to change than we might think.

John Bargh is a professor of social psychology at Yale University and the author of “Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do”

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Sunday, March 11, 2018 8:09 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Good thing your schools and colleges are breeding a bunch of millennial pussies that are made of cotton candy and rainbows. I had to work with one of them on his first night last night. 6'2", never used a pallet jack in his life and was afraid of his own shadow. He had 100 lbs and was half my age and I run circles around him.

I'm sure he's a Democrat though.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Sunday, March 11, 2018 3:47 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by second:
I have discovered the secret childhood trauma that creates conservatives! It involves FEAR!

At Yale, we conducted an experiment to turn conservatives into liberals. We were successful!

By John Bargh, November 22, 2017 at 5:00 AM

https://goo.gl/mmUr8W

Keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe from harm is perhaps our strongest human motivation, deeply embedded in our very DNA. It is so deep and important that it influences much of what we think and do, maybe more than we might expect. For example, over a decade now of research in political psychology consistently shows that how physically threatened or fearful a person feels is a key factor — although clearly not the only one — in whether he or she holds conservative or liberal attitudes.

Conservatives, it turns out, react more strongly to physical threat than liberals do. In fact, their greater concern with physical safety seems to be determined early in life: In one University of California study, the more fear a 4-year-old showed in a laboratory situation, the more conservative his or her political attitudes were found to be 20 years later. Brain imaging studies have even shown that the fear center of the brain, the amygdala, is actually larger in conservatives than in liberals. And many other laboratory studies have found that when adult liberals experienced physical threat, their political and social attitudes became more conservative (temporarily, of course). But no one had ever turned conservatives into liberals.

Until we did.

In a new study to appear in a forthcoming issue of the European Journal of Social Psychology, my colleagues Jaime Napier, Julie Huang and Andy Vonasch and I asked 300 U.S. residents in an online survey their opinions on several contemporary issues such as gay rights, abortion, feminism and immigration, as well as social change in general. The group was two-thirds female, about three-quarters white, with an average age of 35. Thirty-percent of the participants self-identified as Republican, and the rest as Democrat.


In fact, anti-immigration attitudes are also linked directly to the underlying basic drive for physical safety. For centuries, arch-conservative leaders have often referred to scapegoated minority groups as “germs” or “bacteria” that seek to invade and destroy their country from within.

“Immigrants are like viruses” is a powerful metaphor, because in comparing immigrants entering a country to germs entering a human body, it speaks directly to our powerful innate motivation to avoid contamination and disease. Until very recently in human history, not only did we not have antibiotics, we did not even know how infections occurred or diseases transmitted, and cuts and open wounds were quite dangerous. (In the American Civil War, for example, 60 out of every 1,000 soldiers died not by bullets or bayonets, but by infections.)

Therefore, we reasoned, making people feel safer about a dangerous flu virus should serve to calm their fears about immigrants — and making them feel more threatened by the flu virus should cause them to be more against immigration than they were before. In a 2011 study, my colleagues and I showed just that. First, we reminded our nationwide sample of liberals and conservatives about the threat of the flu virus (during the H1N1 epidemic), and then measured their attitudes toward immigration. Afterward we simply asked them if they’d already gotten their flu shot or not. It turned out that those who had not gotten a flu shot (feeling threatened) expressed more negative attitudes toward immigration, while those who had received the vaccination (feeling safe) had more positive attitudes about immigration.

John Bargh is a professor of social psychology at Yale University and the author of “Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do”

Let's see. A group mindlessly believe Government would never allow them to be injected with a vaccination causing autism or other ailments, and a different group aware of Government experimentation programs and educated enough to have heard of Tuscagee Airmen.
And the collected evidence is that the mindless droids are more liberal, and the aware and educated are more Conservative. No surprise there. Nor any surprise that Libtard spin can conjure an unrelated conclusion.

And also, a refreshed reflection upon Freedom and Liberty (flying) spurs responses more on the Conservative side. Shocking, just shocking I say.

In a country where 24% of Americans self-identified as Liberal, these geniuses found a sampling of 70% Democrat.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018 4:05 PM

THGRRI


What causes autism

Opiate theory hypothesizes that autism is caused by a digestive disorder present from birth which causes gluten (present in wheat-derived foods) and casein (present in dairy products) to be converted to the opioid peptides gliadorphin (aka gluteomorphin) and casomorphin.

JSF when you only believe in conspiracies and refuse to keep up with what is going on in the real world you miss things like this. It makes you look stupid as you pass on stupid and destructive information.


T

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:54 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Americans unify against foreign threats. Can we unify without one?

www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/12/17094874/political-polarizat
ion-correctness-american-politics


In his fascinating review of The People vs. Democracy, S Hamid says the book suffers from a last-chapter problem: Its diagnosis of democracy’s ills is persuasive, but its prescription for reform — which rests on technocratic policy ideas and the development of a liberal form of national identity — is wan.

I recently read Amy Chua’s Political Tribes, and it, too, suffers from a last-chapter problem: Its diagnosis of tribal thinking in politics is important and persuasive, but its prescription for renewal — more inclusive rhetoric and more one-on-one conversations — is small and unconvincing.

I’d say the same of How Democracies Die. It, too, is a necessary exploration of fractures in American democracy, and it, too, has no real idea how to treat the ills it finds.

What all these books have in common is that at their core, they examine the collapse of a dominant and unifying American identity and try to imagine how one could be rebuilt in an era of demographic division and economic stress. If their answers aren’t necessarily persuasive, that’s because the underlying problem may not, at this moment, have an answer.

It’s a quirk of the publishing industry that authors are asked to limn a devilishly hard problem and then cleanly solve it in the last-chapter. Problems wicked enough to write books about often lack good solutions. Sometimes the best you can really do is offer a better diagnosis.

Still, I’ve been trying to ask myself what answers to America’s political divides might be persuasive. What might be powerful enough to begin to reverse partisan polarization? To ease the anxieties that erupt amid rapid demographic change? To refashion an American identity that seems sturdy enough for the 21st century?

Answers at www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/12/17094874/political-polarizat
ion-correctness-american-politics


I wonder if it’s a coincidence that American identity is embattled and American politics is tribalizing at a time when there isn’t a unifying threat abroad. What we think of today as the American identity was forged amid the two world wars and then the threat of the Soviet Union. It is not that America has escaped the tribalism endemic to all societies, but that we have often used external threats and foes to widen the definition of “us” as a way to fight a “them.”

I want to be clear about this: I’m not hoping America goes to war, or that we find a unifying identity by coming together to loathe a distant foe. Rather, I fear that we will. Or, to put it differently, I fear that in the past, that’s what we have actually done. And we underestimate the role that’s played in our national identity and political stability, and so underestimate the depth of the problems we face now.

This is, I think, a cause of the last-chapter problem in many good books. Sometimes what solves hard problems isn’t a solution at all. Sometimes it’s another hard problem.

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