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151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy - Manchin's vote on: October 13, 2017, 01:55:57 PM
It would be a breakthrough to get all republicans and a few democrats make this bipartisan.  Win Manchin and Heitkamp and NOT lose Collins , Murkowski, etc. 

If not and they don't care about reforming this country, let there be consequences.
152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Tax rates and tax revenues on: October 12, 2017, 07:22:14 PM
Scott Grannis:  The media is full of stories claiming that lower tax rates will cause a huge and damaging increase in the federal deficit and will fail to stimulate the economy. Here are some charts which show that those claims are not backed by historical experience. On the contrary: worrying about tax cuts is not necessarily sensible at all.

The point I have tried to make on these pages is that even if there was no increase in revenues from a tax rate cut, it is phenomenally healthy for the economy to be able to take in the same amount at lower rates.  When you do that, you have done less harm in terms of forcing people to make economic decisions that move them away from earning and reporting income.  

If the rate drops 25% and the revenue stays the same, then pre-tax income has gone up by a theoretical 25% and take home by even more!  And beyond that, revenues do go up - historically.  Look at the Reagan years, the W Bush cuts, the Clinton capital gains rate cuts, the Kennedy cuts and the Coolidge for examples.  

How do critics answer that?  By conflating time periods, distracting with inequality data and by measuring tax % of GDP instead of dollars top the Treasury.

I'm happy to keep bringing this forward:

The tax rate cuts of the 1920s were followed by a 61% increase revenues over 7 years.
The Kennedy tax rate cuts brought a 62% increase in revenues over 7 years.
The Reagan tax rate cuts yielded a 54% increase over 6 years (100% over 10 years).
Under Bill Clinton, Real wages grew 8 times faster after tax rate cuts later in his Presidency than earlier after he raised taxes on the wealthy.
153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues, STEM degrees on: October 12, 2017, 03:38:49 PM

The difference is staggering and all the numbers are surprisingly low.  In a country of 325 million we only have 500,000/yr. college degrees in all STEM subjects?  It makes me proud of my daughter but not of my country on that point.  That points to a larger problem than (legal) immigration.
154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Puerto Rico on: October 12, 2017, 03:31:50 PM
I would add that per capita income in P.R. is one third of that in the rest of the US.  They would be our poorest state by far, meaning that a lot of our one size fits all laws like minimum wage don't fit them very well.

Whether they split or join, we should be bringing ideas to Puerto Rico that will raise up their prosperity - just as we should here.
155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 12, 2017, 12:25:52 PM
From Cog Diss Republicans thread:
CCP:  Doug
...But I don't understand what you mean here:

"And why is the Trump side opposed to bring the best and the brightest in, especially when they hold the screening controls?"

Are you saying Trump is restricting the best and brightest?  I don't see that. Look at our academic institutions.  They are *loaded* with foreign born.   And now the children of foreign born.

Did you see the Asian American lawsuit against Harvard?  They are claiming they are being discriminated against because they are Asian .  If true half the staff of Harvard should be Chinese.    So Trump may not be the ones restricting them. 

What great scientist can you name that has not been able to work in the US? 

Thanks ccp, good points.  I can answer you more generally.  With illegal immigration and Democrat-led immigration we had some problems (understatement).  Again, see Ann Coulter's Adios America, well researched data.  The problems had to do with abandonment of what got us originally to the point of American greatness. 

1.  E Pluribus Unum: out of many, one.  Not to pick on any one Hispanic but as a group we have a lot of people  not becoming 'one' with the already here Americans.  The illegal flood wrongfully puts a cloud over the legal ones.  They aren't all going back so we need settlement of this issue, a stop to the flood and a pause or tightening of the legal inflow from where too many have come too fast to assimilate.

In this town, ditto that for Somalians who have other problems.  They aren't assimilating and a certain percentage of them are hostile to everything we stand for like peace and prosperity. 

If the problem today were Scandinavians, Scots or conservative political board writers, then pause or stop that too.

2.  Overstayed visas.  Non enforcement of our laws brought us 9/11.  The wall and southern border is only one aspect of the law breaking.

3.  National security and sovereignty: We can't have war gangs deciding who comes in.

4.  The phenomenon of "free shit".  Muslims don't go to Sweden for the weather or sunshine; they go for the world's most generous government benefits.  Same partly goes for us.  Liberals compare current inflow with previous ones, but people in the past did not come for that reason.  They came to pursue the American Dream in the Shiny City on the Hill.  Immigrants suffered, sacrificed, perservered and bettered themselves and the country.  Contrast that with now.

5.  Lastly or firstly, WE should decide who comes in, not be victims of it.

Regardless of where Trump is on this, in general, we will need laborers.  The US, like Europe, have demographic challenges.  But as mentioned, we have 100 million adults already here and not working at a point we are defining as full employment.  In fact, the size of our workforce is a fluid number that depends on incentives and disincentives to work - and has plenty of room to move.  So maybe the need for laborer is later.  Right now we need to entice some labor out of existing population.  But if we aren't willing to do that, we need laborers now.

I know that when we read the MIT class list or faculty list we don't see the most common names we have here:  Johnson, Anderson, Nelson, Olson, Peterson, Smith, Larson, Miller.  But I don't know by seeing their names how many are foreign students, how many are citizens, how many are allowed to stay and how many are forced to leave upon graduating - as G M referenced. 

What I know or believe is more general, that whether we are or not right now, it is in our best interest to retain and recruit the best and the brightest, the most ambitious and especially to attract and retain entrepreneurs, the dearth of the last ten years.  MHO. 

cf: Einstein was a nice catch for the US, won WWII.
Also András Gróf: 
How many people are employed by the industry Intel (first microchip) pioneered and who is the next one to do that?
40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by either immigrants or the children of immigrants

Others are certain to not do anything like that and some predictably pose a net loss loss to our country.  The point is that: we choose who gets in, based on our best interests.
156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China will 'compel' Saudi Arabia to trade oil in yuan on: October 12, 2017, 11:36:42 AM
Or else?!  They will buy their oil from the US?  Venezuela (Venezuelan Bolívar)?  Japan, lol.
Maybe Russia, which of these countries needs a flood of Yuan for their consumer purchases?  Angola?

If they partner up with Iran, how 'bout we do the same with Taiwan?

Does anyone remember when over-reliance on unreliable oil sources was a finance and national security nightmare - for the importer?
China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest net importer of petroleum in 2013. Within the next few decades, it is expected to buy roughly 70 percent of its oil from foreign sources, much of which will come from countries known for instability. Sudan alone provides 7 percent of China’s oil imports, and over one-third of Chinese oil imports come from Sub-Saharan Africa. Some of China’s largest oil suppliers are Angola, Sudan, Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea, which are all known for political instability.

“Iran could also be a big supplier to Beijing in the months and years to come, as well as a partner that Tehran could call on to supply important loans, technology, and resources to develop Iran’s oil and natural resource sectors,” Kazianis concluded.

China is already heavily investing in Iranian oil, according to The New York Times and has been Iran’s largest trading partner for six years in a row. The two largest suppliers of Chinese oil, Russia and Saudi Arabia, are politically stable but are involved in Middle Eastern conflicts. China prefers to avoid being drawn into such confrontations, especially given recent tensions with its own Muslim minorities.


Let's see what Scott G says.  It seems to me that:  a) none of these countries were using the US$ by choice.  They used it because it was in their best interest to do so.  If so, then switching makes them worse off.  b) Currency is a medium of exchange, doesn't change underlying fundamentals.
157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Environmental Question, How can gasoline emissions cause drought? on: October 12, 2017, 11:11:12 AM
Combustion formula of gasoline:

Natural Gas:

We worried about peak oil.  We worry about CO2.  Why aren't we worried about Oxygen depletion and H2O production, both happening at a faster rate than CO2 emission.

H2O is a far more effective greenhouse gas than CO2.  When the CO2 scare winds down and the Napa fires burn down, I predict we will worry next about too much water vapor in the atmosphere.

Trivia question:  What is mother nature's most efficient way of combating global warming, the very fastest method known of removing the largest quantities of the 'worst' greenhouse gas  from the atmosphere? 
Answer:  Hurricane

158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science, global warming: evaporation of the Great Lakes, Got water? on: October 12, 2017, 10:41:45 AM
Hat tip Powerline, John Hinderaker

Congressional Record June 25, 2013

What we are seeing in global warming is the evaporation of our Great Lakes. It is a scary thing to think about what this will ultimately do to us.  Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL

Climate change is lowering Great Lakes water levels.
National Resources Defense Council, August 7, 2013

Climate Change Drive(s) Low Water Levels on the Great Lakes
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Water Currents, National geographic, November 20, 2012

Scientists at the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded that climate change is playing a role in determining Great Lakes water levels.  - National Public Radio News

And now this:

Lake Superior is near record high and threatening shoreline
Star Tribune  OCTOBER 11, 2017

Lakes Michigan and Huron... the water is higher than normal there, too.

“Rainwater doesn’t have anywhere to go,” he added. “Everything’s saturated.”

Weather is cyclical.  Who knew?

I know there is drought and fires in Calif.  Droughts are local/regional, and cyclical; we are swimming in water here.

For translation, one inch of Lake Superior water equals 551 BILLION gallons of water.  That number increases as the shorelines overflow.

159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Professional Journalists! Iowahawk on: October 12, 2017, 08:09:44 AM
Journalism is about covering important stories.
With a pillow, until they stop moving.

   - David Burge, Iowahawk via PJ Instapundit Glenn Reynolds

How NBC ‘Killed’ Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein Exposé
160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nudge Economics? Don't Nudge Me There! James Taranto, WSJ on: October 11, 2017, 01:54:27 PM
From Crafty's post on the cyber war thread:
Cass Sunstein, (Marc:  shocked shocked shocked) who co-wrote a book titled “Nudge” with Thaler, which helped to popularize his ideas on behavioral economics, ...

Nudge economics is to blame for Obamacare's tax on the poor, the mandate penalty:

Speaking of the memory hole and posted previously, a few years ago I sent a column idea on that book and topic to (friend of the forum?) James Taranto, then online editor of the WSJ opinion page.  He hit it out of the park and put yours truly in the credits.  )

Don't Nudge Me There
If government may dictate soda size, why not sexual behavior?
March 25, 2013
If you want to get published on the op-ed page of a major newspaper, a good way to go about it is to make a reasonable, or at least reasonable-sounding, case for an unpopular and outlandish position. It's important that the issue be trivial, so that readers will get riled up but no one will really feel offended or threatened.

Philosopher Sarah Conly, author of a new book called "Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism," has discovered the formula. In a New York Times op-ed titled "Three Cheers for the Nanny State," she defends Mayor Michael Bloomberg's almost universally ridiculed (and judicially enjoined) ban on large sodas and other sugary beverages.

Conly's argument doesn't seem unreasonable, though it is incoherent in places. In a parenthetical aside, for example, she mocks opponents for objecting over such a trivial matter: "Large cups of soda as symbols of human dignity? Really?" (Note to the editors: That "Really?" is lazy writing. Why not let a rhetorical question stand on its own? See what we mean?) But of course she wants us to take her defense of this silly policy as a serious philosophical argument.

Then there's this priceless passage: "Do we care so much about our health that we want to be forced to go to aerobics every day and give up all meat, sugar and salt? No. But in this case, it's some extra soda. Banning a law on the grounds that it might lead to worse laws would mean we could have no laws whatsoever."

Oddly, Conly bases her reductio ad absurdum on false empirical premises. The benefits and risks of exercise, and of particular forms of exercise, vary from individual to individual. And giving up all meat and salt, unlike sugar, is likely to harm your health.

The best part is that conclusion. Essentially she's saying that if you accept one slippery-slope argument, you have to accept all slippery-slope arguments. Therefore, slippery-slope arguments are unsound.

But wait, that's a slippery-slope argument! You've heard of the liar's paradox? Its simplest form is the statement "This statement is false." Conly's greatest contribution to philosophy may be the slippery-slope argument against slippery-slope arguments. Call it the slipper's paradox.

We're less impressed with Conly's argument in favor of the soda ban and measures like it. She rebuts John Stuart Mill, the 19th-century liberal philosopher who established the "harm principle"--the idea that coercion is generally justified only to prevent individuals from harming others. Mill also allowed that there were unusual cases in which government would be justified in restricting an individual's behavior for his own good--"when we are acting out of ignorance and doing something we'll pretty definitely regret." Since it's common knowledge that large quantities of refined sugar are bad for you, that wouldn't justify the soda ban.

Conly thinks Mill didn't go far enough in justifying coercion. Science has shown "that we often don't think very clearly when it comes to choosing the best means to attain our ends," she writes. "We make errors. . . . We are all prone to identifiable and predictable miscalculations." Thus we should surrender a measure of autonomy and yield to rules promulgated by experts, who presumably know what's good for us: "Giving up a little liberty is something we agree to when we agree to live in a democratic society that is governed by laws."

Again she brings up the slippery slope: "What people fear is that this is just the beginning: today it's soda, tomorrow it's the guy standing behind you making you eat your broccoli, floss your teeth, and watch 'PBS NewsHour' every day."

Crazy, right? Maybe not. Conly's op-ed never mentions smoking, but in a sympathetic review in the New York Review of Books, Cass Sunstein reports that in "Against Autonomy" she argues "that because the health risks of smoking are so serious, the government should ban it." (Sunstein, a legal scholar and former Obama administration official, is coauthor of the 2008 book "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness," which makes an argument similar to Conly's.)

What's interesting about the smoking-ban proposal is that while it is culturally radical, it is not philosophically radical. Is there any doubt that if cigarettes were a new invention, lawmakers would quickly ban them? Libertarians would object, on the same ground that they argue for the legalization of other drugs. But their point of view would command little public support, at least unless and until illicit cigarette smoking became as widespread as illicit marijuana use is today.

That is to say that a moderate form of Conly's philosophy has long prevailed, even in as freedom-loving a country as America. While we may bridle at being told we can't do something we are used to doing or didn't realize we weren't supposed to do, generally we don't do so as a matter of principle. (Libertarians, you're off the hook on that observation.) Generally speaking, Americans accept a wide variety of regulations on their personal behavior that are designed to be in their own good.

So what does Conly have to say that is original? Well, her book is called "Against Autonomy" and subtitled "Justifying Coercive Paternalism." That makes it sound as if she is advocating aggressive and thoroughgoing government intrusion into individual decision-making. Her positions on the soda ban and tobacco prohibition seem to bolster that. But those take her only slightly beyond the views that today prevail among the left-liberal elite.

Similarly, according to Sunstein, she endorses Bloomberg's ban on trans fats as well as "regulations designed to reduce portion sizes"--presumably of solid food as well as dissolved sugar. But in areas in which her philosophy would seem to conflict with prevailing left-liberal views, she's less adventurous than Bloomberg:

She is far more ambivalent about Mayor Bloomberg's effort to convince the US Department of Agriculture to authorize a ban on the use of food stamps to buy soda. She is not convinced that the health benefits would be significant, and she emphasizes that people really do enjoy drinking soda.
You'd think the logic of "coercive paternalism"--of government-imposed restrictions designed to promote individual welfare--would apply more strongly when individuals are dependent on government for financial support of their welfare. To put it another way, someone who is financially autonomous has a stronger argument that he ought to be personally autonomous. We're not sure what Conly thinks of that argument--the $95 cover price (0% off at Amazon) has nudged us away from acquiring her book--but we suspect she adheres less strongly to "coercive paternalism" than to the orthodoxies of contemporary left-liberalism.

An even better example is this observation from Sunstein's review: "Because hers is a paternalism of means rather than ends, she would not authorize government to stamp out sin (as, for example, by forbidding certain forms of sexual behavior)."

What a staggering cop-out. The past 50 years or so have seen a massive deregulation of personal behavior in the sexual sphere, a revolution of law, technology, custom and economics, all in the name of personal autonomy. Never mind "sin"--this has had bad consequences for public health (AIDS and other new sexually transmitted diseases), for children (far more of whom are born out of wedlock and reared without fathers), and even for the future of the welfare state (since declining fertility makes old-age entitlements unsustainable).

It may be that the sexual revolution is irreversible and the concomitant problems are intractable. If Conly lacks the imagination to come up with policy solutions, so do we. But if she dismisses this enormous question as a matter of "sin" and focuses instead on trivia like soda-size regulations, why should we take her philosophy seriously?

 James Taranto
161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: October 11, 2017, 01:12:23 PM
Very funny! 

Times change rapidly.  This was just 9 years ago, the two Republicans at the top of the ticket opposed gay marriage, the two top Democrats including the left-most member of the Senate promised they also oppose gay marriage, same as the Republicans.  The NPR moderator says "wonderful" to we all oppose gay marriage, "let's move on".  Gays hear that and vote Democrat because they know Republicans are telling the truth and Democrats are just saying that to get elected. 

In a sense, nothing has changed.
162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: October 11, 2017, 12:05:01 PM
Doug really good analysis.

I am curious to see what the income brackets are going to look like.

I don't know why people in the bottom rung wind up paying 12 % rather then 10% .  Or why other likely will see no cuts.  Or if the state income tax deduction  is dropped how anyone in the middle will wind up with anything more then where they started

I also don't know why 47 % pay nothing.  Yet I am sure the MSM is happy to poll them on questions like :

should OTHERS pay more?

or why do have a right to participate in polls about taxes when you pay nothing.  I digress...   but if I see one more poll taken by popsugar or newsweek ....

also gotta love Dems when they  say this tax "cut" will balloon the deficit.  Suddenly the deficit is a major concern for them.

"I don't know why people in the bottom rung wind up paying 12 % rather then 10%"

Doubling the standard deduction takes care of this mathematically if not politically. 

"I also don't know why 47 % pay nothing."

That will take a real leader to call out the country on this. People like Trump and Romney are too personally vulnerable on the 'issue' of the 'rich' to take it on.  Like Bush, Dole Bush, McCain and Romney, Trump cannot articulate why marginal rates need to be lower.  Even Reagan could not articulate why everyone who is capable needs to have skin in the game.

Rush L used to say they had identified a group of Americans who are not paying their fair share... it's the poor!
That does not sell either, nor Romney conflating the 47% who do not pay in with the 47% who will never vote for him.  Different but overlapping groups.

This current lousy package has some good points that are still not fully developed.  If the top rate on S-corp pass through income is 25%, in a sense that becomes the new top rate.  Many loophole protectors will be thrown in to prevent that kind of 'abuse', high earners taking the 25% rate. 

There is no political will for it but a constitutional amendment should be passed that prevents spending above 20% of GDP without supermajority, emergency approval to exceed it and limit all federal marginal tax rates to 25%.  If you want more spending on yourself, then vote yourself more taxes, not impose them on others.  If you want more dollars to the Treasury, grow the economy, not penalize the participants.

A 25% rate still means a 35% rate in places like CA, NY, MN, NJ?  Tax rates higher than that enlarge the importance of income and tax avoidance.

Also missing in the plan is indexing capital gains to inflation.  Labor is nothing without capital and locking assets in place defines the opposite of a healthy, dynamic economy.

To think we can achieve optimum growth without reforming our monstrous tax code is to deny math, science and history.
163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans, Both sides openly splitting the party on: October 11, 2017, 11:14:15 AM
WSJ editorial page calls the wall builders "restrictionists":
"Immigration Bait and Switch
Trump bows to the restrictionists and may scupper a deal.
White House demands include 70 immigration “priorities” that amount to everything that the restrictionist right has ever sought. They include appropriating funds to complete a wall along the southern border and slashing legal immigration by half.

I am a big fan of the WSJ opinion page - since the late 70s. (That doesn't mean I agree with them on everything.) In the age of Trump and to his supporters, they are the enemy, called "establishment" and worse.  Ask Bannon, Buchanan and Sparta about that.  A critical distinction in immigration is the difference between legal and illegal.

Ann Coulter in 'Adios America' went after legal and illegal immigration and Trump launched his campaign based on her findings.  But that has nothing to do with software engineers and needed entrepreneurs, etc.  Trump, you are President now, draw a distinction.

Why is the wsj editorial board opposing a "wall" (didn't we have an election on that?) and why is the Trump side opposing the good side of legal immigration? 

Back to the article:  "The real labor problem is a shortage, as the jobless rate has hit 4.2% nationwide. America’s tight visa caps are sending high-tech jobs to Canada and agricultural production to Mexico."

Why are they using  a failed measure of the left, jobless rate 4.2%, when 100 million adults don't work?  And why is the Trump side opposed to bring the best and the brightest in, especially when they hold the screening controls?

And why the name calling?  "Restrictionists".  Answer in kind?  The vitriol on the other side is worse.  Ask Sparta
what they think of Rubio.

WSJ continued:  "Many Republicans also oppose the wall as a needless waste of money that won’t stop criminals and drug traffickers. The costs would vastly outweigh any benefits, especially since border apprehensions have been falling during the Trump Administration and are down 24% from last year. The number of unaccompanied children who are apprehended has dropped by more than half since last October.

If Mr. Trump feels he needs a symbolic wall victory, he’d be smarter to settle for a virtual wall with drones, aerostat blimps and towers with infrared sensors to fill gaps in fencing where the border patrol has difficulty accessing. Newer technology has facial recognition features that can capture biometric data. A virtual wall could be installed within months, not years, and it can be continually improved.

The fall in border crossing is not reason to change the policy and this is not an either/or decision.  (Again), we had an election on this and elections (should have) consequences.  We need some kind of a wall and we need all of these technologies.  The days of organized crime and Mexican gangs 'controlling' need to be over, and if you want Trump voters to move past single issue politics, build the damn wall.

Name calling and parotting the left does not pass for persuasion.

Immigration and free trade are big splitting points on the right.  How does this get resolved?  Divide and lose?  Why not find reasonable solutions and pass them.
164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump Administration, VDH with a balanced recap of the DT Presidency so far on: October 11, 2017, 10:33:22 AM
The message vs. messenger.
Victor Davis Hanson, always worth a read.

VDH: "...did any recent past Republican nominee—forget Trump’s motivations or questions about his relative sincerity—even run on the premise that working Americans were ignored and losers in the redirects of globalization, open borders, and outsourcing and offshoring? Or that consequently they deserved empathy and a second-chance at the American dream? Was there a chance that Trump saw not just a political opening but an injustice perpetrated against political outcasts deserving of concern in a way that other more politically qualified and supposedly empathetic candidates of 2016 did not?"
[Doug] I supported Rubio and others supported Cruz.  There is  a very good chance neither would have broken the 'blue wall'  as Trump did, or run the table on the swing states to win.  The obstacles to restoring this country right now are a few easily identifiable individuals in the Senate.  Trump, with all his warts, is not the problem (at this point).

165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Biden/Obama 2008: We do not support gay marriage, "no difference" with the right on: October 11, 2017, 10:12:40 AM
I was looking for something else and found this tidbit:

[Gwen] IFILL: Let's try to avoid nuance, Senator. Do you support gay marriage?

BIDEN: No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that [gay marriage]. That is basically the decision to be able to be able to be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination what you call it.

The bottom line though is, and I'm glad to hear the governor, I take her at her word, obviously, that she think there should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever, between a committed gay couple and a committed heterosexual couple. If that's the case, we really don't have a difference.

IFILL: Is that what you [Sarah Palin] said?

PALIN: Your question to him was whether he supported gay marriage and my answer is the same as his and it is that I do not.

IFILL: Wonderful. You agree. On that note, let's move to foreign policy.
In the calendar of so-called human rights, that's not very long ago!

Can anyone remember when gay marriage finally passed.  That's right, it didn't.  It was decided by one Justice (Anthony Kennedy) in a 5-4 divided Supreme Court.  Biden, chair of the senate judiciary committee, opposed Bork for his "originalism".  Leftists take a long and deceptive path to advance their agenda.

Oddly 'Republican' Donald Trump is the first President to run and win the Presidency while supporting gay marriage.
166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Humor on: October 11, 2017, 09:34:08 AM
Don't call them "illegal firearms".  Call them "undocumented weapons" and give them sanctuary.

Excellent!  )
167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: GPF: North Korea-- where China can beat US on: October 10, 2017, 11:42:47 AM
A few points in response:

1.  'US would lose in NK'.  We don't know that.  This isn't 1950 and how is Vietnam analogous if we didn't invade the North.  We don't have to 'win' and rule them; we have to disarm them of missiles and nukes.

2.  Trump is not Carter etc.  He WILL recognize Taiwan. (He already has.)  I will come down sort of like "Mr. Gorbochev, Tear Down This Wall.  His advisers will all say no, too dangerous, too provocative and then he will do it.

3.  China's ego-like victory over the US by prolonging the NK crisis is trivial compared to Japan arming and going nuclear.

Japan updates satellite technology for domestic 'GPS', which also gives them the best view ever of NK (and China).

Given all that, I see NK as more a crisis for China.  When will they see that?
168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics, Janet Yellen: This economy still sucks. on: October 09, 2017, 12:50:14 PM
“My colleagues and I may have misjudged the strength of the labor market,”
    - Janet Yellen  Sept 26, 2017

So let's oppose all reforms that would energize growth and help labor...
169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, 10 years of Plowhorse and we are still worse off! on: October 09, 2017, 12:45:04 PM
What say Wesbury to this?

80% of U.S. reported less income in 2016 survey than in 2007.

Net-worth midpoint is $42,400 below pre-crisis level.

(What is your net worth AFTER you subtract your share of the federal debt, and how has THAT changed?)

Newly released income and wealth data from the Federal Reserve Board’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances show that America’s richest families enjoyed gains in income and net worth over the last decade. Not part of the top 10 percent? Then your income probably fell.
Readers of this thread know:  For ten years we chased the policies of equality over growth.  While we destroyed growth and inequality widened.

Lessons learned:  NOTHING.
170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People, gun rights, What sells more guns? on: October 09, 2017, 12:36:13 PM
I wrote my complaints from the media thread to Fox News Sunday and added this, something everyone here already knows:

If fewer guns is your safety point, look at what escalated gun sales in America more than anything else, the perception that guns will be taken away or not available to buy later.

Obama is the best gun salesman in America

Gun Sales Have Dropped Since Trump's Election

Once again and as always, liberalism involves first level thinking.  Nothing would contain gun sales like running our government like the Founders intended, securing the country and enforcing all of our constitutional rights.  Nothing scares people into arming, building fortresses and stocking ammunition like threatening to take our rights away, without a constitutional amendment and without due process.
171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media, Chris Wallace Fox News Sunday smears NRA on: October 09, 2017, 12:12:05 PM
I wish to revise and retract anything positive I have said about Chris Wallace.  His interview the with NRA executive director yesterday was AWFUL.  He blamed him, accused him, spewed liberal talking points, interrupted, didn't let him answer.  Not fair, no balance.

2 or 3 of their panelists were worthless too.  Juan Williams every week for balance?  Not exactly compelling TV or analysis.

One thing in media, why they don't split their time something like 50-50, allow a guest to give his/her side of it and also challenge them where they are wrong or where there is another side to it.

This is noteworthy in media because it seems that Fox News is ripe for replacement on the right.  They want to be fair and balanced and end up on the far left part of the time.  That leaves an opening a mile wide for a conservative alternative to emerge.

NRA already agreed with 'bump stock' regulation.  What else would have helped here?

Disclaimer, I don't watch cable news so must admit an occasional once a week peek is not a full examination.  Their radio news however often speaks with the same liberal talking points of the hated MSM.
172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Feinstein, 84, not going softly into the night on: October 09, 2017, 11:51:06 AM
She's running again!

And she will win again.

California's best senator...

Ages at the next Presidential election:
Feinstein 87, Pelosi 80, Steny Hoyer 81, Clyburn 80, Jerry Brown 82.
Democratic Leadership Looks Like Old Soviet Politburo

Which is better for their cause, stay in office forever or groom new leaders for tomorrow?
(Remember that 'their cause' is to personally hold onto power for as long as possible.)
173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 17 statements of NO EVIDENCE to support claim of Trump Russian collusion on: October 09, 2017, 10:54:53 AM
Sharyl Atkisson formerly of CBS lays out what we know so far:

1. The New York Times
Nov. 1, 2016
According to the newspaper, the FBI says there’s no definitive connection between Donald Trump and the Russian government, reaching that conclusion after a wide-ranging investigation. The Times cited law-enforcement officials who said any cyberattacks carried out were “aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Trump.” The FBI also found no conclusive evidence of deliberate communications between Trump and a Russian bank, that were alleged earlier.

President Trump
2. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin, House Speaker)
Feb. 28, 2017
No one has ever showed us any evidence that any collusion had occurred between an American involved with the political system and the Russians.”

3. James Clapper (Former Obama Director of National Intelligence)
March 5, 2017
“[Regarding] NSA, FBI…CIA…Director of National Intelligence (DNI), that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians, there was no evidence of that included in our [January] report,” Clapper testified. He was asked, “…but does it exist?” He answered, “Not to my knowledge.”

Former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
4. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California, House Intelligence Committee Chairman)
March 20, 2017
During a hearing, Nunes questioned then-FBI Director James Comey:
NUNES: Do you have any evidence that any current Trump White House or administration official coordinated with the Russian intelligence services?
COMEY: Not a question I can answer…
NUNES: Well, I think — I understand that…but I can tell you that we don’t have any evidence and we’re conducting our own investigation here.
Rep. Devin Nunes, Chairman of House Intelligence Committee

5. James Comey, then-FBI Director
March 20, 2017
Comey was asked if he agreed with former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Clapper who said there was “no evidence” of “collusion between the members of the Trump campaign and the Russians.” Comey replied, “I think he’s right about characterizing the [January] report which you all have read.”

6. Rep. Chris Stewart, (R-Utah, House Intelligence Committee)
March 20, 2017
“At this point, everyone on this dais should agree with Mr. Clapper because we in the committee have seen no evidence, zero, that would indicate that there was collusion or criminal wrongdoing between any members of the previous [sic] administration or campaign and Russian officials.”

The Kremlin in Moscow is the official residence of the Russia’s President.
7. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California, House Intelligence Committee) 
April 2, 2017
When asked, “Can you say definitively that there was collusion, there were people affiliated with the Trump campaign who were working with Russians to time the release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton that had been hacked either from [Hillary campaign chair] John Podesta or the DNC?” Schiff replied, “I don’t think we can say anything definitively at this point.”

8. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California, Senate Intelligence Committee)
May 3, 2017
When asked if she had evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, Feinstein replied, “Not at this time.”

9. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia, Senate Intelligence Committee)
May 8, 2017
“People that might have said they were involved, to what extent they were involved, to what extent the president might have known about these people or whatever, there is nothing there from that standpoint that we have seen directly linking our president to any of that.”

10. James Clapper (again)
May 8, 2017
At a hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) asked Clapper if it’s still accurate that he has no knowledge of the existence of evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. Clapper replied, “It is.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Photograph by: Frank Plitt via Wikimedia Commons

11. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California)
May 9, 2017
Rep. Waters has repeatedly stated that President Trump “has colluded with the Russians,” but when asked if she has seen evidence to back up her claims, Waters replied: “No, we have not.”

12. President Donald Trump
May 9, 2017
In a letter of termination to FBI Director Comey, President Trump wrote that Comey had informed him “on three occasions that I am not under investigation.” (This was later confirmed by Comey, contrary to reporting that stated Trump was “lying.”)
President Donald J. Trump

13. James Clapper (yet again)
May 28, 2017
On NBC, Clapper states that in looking at possible Russian collusion, “my dashboard warning light was clearly on” but “I have to say, at the time I left, I did not see any smoking gun certitude evidence of collusion.”

14: Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
June 4, 2017
On CNN, Sen. Warner is asked whether he has seen any evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. He says: “There is a lot of smoke,” but “we have no smoking gun at this point.”

15. Former FBI Director James Comey (again)
June 8, 2017
Comey confirmed to Congress that he had, indeed, told President Trump three times that he was not personally under investigation.

16. Jeh Johnson, Obama Homeland Security Secretary
June 21, 2017
In Congressional testimony, Johnson was asked whether, at the time he left the government in January 2017, he had  “seen any evidence that Donald Trump or any member of his campaign colluded, conspired or coordinated with the Russians or anyone else to infiltrate or impact our voter infrastructure?” He said, “Not beyond what has been out there open-source, and not beyond anything that I’m sure this committee has already seen and heard before, directly from the intelligence community. So anything I’d have on that is derivative of what the intelligence community has — and the law enforcement community.”

17. Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) at press conference with Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA)
Oct. 4, 2017
“We can certifiably say that no vote totals were affected, that the tallies are accurate. The outcome of the election, based upon the counting votes. They did not in any way shape or form that we’ve been able to find alter that.” As for collusion with Russia, “the issue of collusion is still open, that we continue to investigate both intelligence and witnesses, and that we’re not in a position where we will come to any type of temporary finding on that until we’ve completed the process.”
174  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VP Pence walks out on kneelers, Kneelers call it a "PR stunt" on: October 09, 2017, 10:08:23 AM

Kneeler call it a PR stunt.  Pot calling the kettle ... silver, or however that expression goes.

175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bobby Jindal for HHS Chief, Trump’s Best Chance At Obamacare Repeal on: October 06, 2017, 10:07:01 AM

Jindal’s health-care policy bona fides can’t be overstated. Anyone who’s interviewed him or been present for an open-ended Q&A knows that he can expound at length on, say, the problem of counting hospital uncompensated care as a reimbursable Medicaid expense. Or the ways that federal Medicaid matching funds incentivize states to spend more than they need to. Or any number of arcane aspects of health policy

Jindal had among the most detailed and realistic plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, which he unveiled back in 2014. If anyone could push Congress toward the policies that would have the most effect, and might actually get past a divided GOP Congress, it would be him.
176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: TPP withdrawal hurts US on: October 06, 2017, 10:00:26 AM
That's right.  The US should be the leader of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact talks and every clause in it should be about free trade, not giving up sovereignty.  Now it will be negotiated badly and we'll still be pressured to join.
177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Leftist of the Year Award, Nobel Faux-Peace Prize on: October 06, 2017, 09:56:32 AM

A group against nuclear weapons.  What progress are THEY making in Iran (or NK)?

If the peaceful people disarm, the rogue states win.  Leftist logic leads to unintended consequences.

What year did Reagan and Thatcher win the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing down the Soviet Union?  What would Norway look like if the US and NATO had not contained them?

Carter, GORE and Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, but not Reagan.  Good grief.
178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy, Sedition, and Treason? on: October 06, 2017, 09:44:55 AM
Regarding tin foil and Vegas shooter,
It seems to me the Sheriff on the news is a 'straight shooter'.
Nothing makes sense but what I've learned is that unless you can help, look away for a while and let facts be gathered and substantiated.

This fits one narrative if he was Islamically radicalized etc and another if it was political or cultural, but still these events always make no sense to a rational mind.

He didn't clean up after himself.  Either casings were there or they weren't.  If they are hot as they fall, then there are carpet burns and smoke.  Was it out on a balcony?  WItnesses saw where it came from and experts were in the room immediately after.  No plan or motive for a coverup. 

Aiming isn't a big deal to kill 58 in a crowd of 22,000 and thousands of shots.

Nothing makes sense but what I've learned is that unless you can help, look away for a while and let facts be gathered and substantiated.
179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California, Sanctuary / sovereign state? on: October 06, 2017, 09:25:52 AM
Jerry Brown signs sanctuary STATE bill into law.

They don't respect our laws.  How is this different than Roy Moore not implementing gay marriage passed by one swing vote activist Supreme Court Justice?
ccp on Catalonia leaving Spain:  "Like California separating from US."

Okay, what if they did?

What if we respect self determination.  They already have split.  Let them go.  We will need some ports and to keep our military assets that they don't want anyway.  They can keep their share of the debt.  I'd like to see that repayment schedule.  Much of the state can stay, let them vote county by county or precinct by precinct, and let others join them.  Hopefully we can negotiate free trade and travel for anyone who was a citizen before the split.

Here is a political map as recent as 2000.  Note red and blue reversed!

Can we build ports in the 2000 'blue' areas?
180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: European matters on: October 06, 2017, 09:10:29 AM
Like California separating from US.

Yes.  An even bigger part of Spanish economy than Calif is to US.

Other independence movements in Europe.  Scotland obviously and 6 others:
181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Pakistani Awan Connection on: October 06, 2017, 08:57:56 AM
Youtube interview yesterday.  Judicial Watch Director of Investigations & Research interviews the lead investigative reporter of "The Daily Caller," who broke the story.  They discuss the latest developments in the case of the Awan, what we know so far:

Since no one will tell us what really happened under all these suspicious and criminal circumstances, maybe someone here can weave it all together in a plausible scenario...

Obviously these people were either hired to commit crimes or they discovered nefarious acts that makes these 50 Democrats not inclined to turn against them.

The crazy payment amounts are for what?

The Pakistan connection means what?

Republicans shy away from a Democrat scandal, why?

They are receiving money from politician in Iraq.

They are paying the police in Pakistan.

They receive a government motorcade when in Pakistan, work at McDonalds here.

Democrats say it's no big deal.  DWS kept paying him after caught.

Imrom (sp) had multiple wives here, abusive bizarre behavior.

Court date today.

Members of congress or chiefs of staff adjust prices of government acquisitions, hiding how they spend taxpayer dollars.  Procurement fraud and much worse(?)
182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues: Norway: Full Carbon Capture by 2022 on: October 05, 2017, 09:41:54 AM
That is really interesting!

My thought too!  

We know now that CO2 emissions can be captured and stored in the ground, right where they came from, (before they previously originated in the atmosphere).

What is yet to be determined is how affordable this will be.  Too expensive, I assume, to use widely at first and then on a downward path like all new technologies.  We can assume there will be a diminishing value at some point where removing one more molecule isn't worth the cost and we don't need or want to remove all of it anyway.  

The important point to me is that projections in 'climate change' that assume we will continue to emit at the same per capita rate for the rest of the century and until the planet is unlivable without drastic government action ignore completely the accelerating rate of change of these kinds of innovations.  We could have cut emissions easily in half by now if we had just switched the grid to mostly nuclear and the transportation sector mostly to natural gas.  Once we solve the battery issue with electric vehicles, a good part of the transportation sector can go carbon-free too.  As homes and solar and wind products get more efficient, they will be less and less reliant on the grid as well.  Jet travel can be replaced by magnetic levitation transportation, electric and carbon free - if the grid wasn't still powered by fossil fuels:
Denver to Vail in 9 minutes.  Denver to Dallas in 73 minutes:

With successful carbon capture, coal plants could be 'environmentally friendly' too.

What we need to solve all of this is: more prosperity, faster, sooner, greater.  Not less of it.  The solutions aren't coming out of third world countries that don't do the research and can't make the investment.

Have you read anything about whether the frackers can use the CO2 to inject into the wells?

I don't know but assume the technology will apply to all stationary sources.   The question will be a matter of economics (and politics).  It will apply most economically to coal where it can do the most good.  Natural gas is already 40% 'cleaner' than coal so the cost/benefit gain is not as great for natural gas.

We are at the inflection point right now, not centuries away from changing the way we make and use energy - without heavy hand of government botching it.
183  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: When the excrement hits the fan, mass killings, etc on: October 05, 2017, 08:50:37 AM

Famous people reading the forum(?), I was pleased to see the President include this in his remarks yesterday.
184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Pakistani Awan Connection on: October 05, 2017, 04:53:52 AM
A lot of detail here, I don't think this link is in our thread yet.

MANY names beyond DWS listed in this, Charlie Crist, Rahm Emanuel and Joe Donnelly the vulnerable Democratic senator running for reelection in Indiana...
185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (gun and knife rights stuff ) on: October 04, 2017, 10:32:02 AM
Not to minimize the deaths of 58 perhaps going on a hundred in a crowd of 22,000, but imagine for a moment that the gun control crowd succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, completely unrealistically, and eliminated every gun of every type in America forever.  There are trucks and knives but also weapons available and under development that could kill all 22,000 and more, made from readily available sources.  Same mass murderer possessed ammonia and fertilizer for example.  Neutron bomb, Cuban sonic attack and so many other possibilities if mass destruction is your aim.  Same crowd ironically favors open borders so no matter what is illegal here it will be brought in under their system of non-enforcement.

The killing will end when we identify killers before they kill, and each episode ends when someone shoots the shooter.  In every mass murder we can say that was not soon enough.
186  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Las Vegas Mass Murder on: October 04, 2017, 10:14:44 AM
Somewhere in this discussion of the mass murder where people are still dying it should be noted that, like during 9/11, while people were frantically racing for any possible exit, law enforcement and first responders were entering the area under fire.  Words can't describe that level of courage and valor nor express our thankfulness for it.
187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Environmental issues: Norway: Full Carbon Capture by 2022 on: October 04, 2017, 09:49:35 AM
If true, if made affordable, this changes everything. )  We can stop the greening of the planet.

Norway says could achieve full carbon capture and storage by 2022

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Market to Grow Rapidly Owing to Increasing Demand for Clean Energy Globally
188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: I'm ashamed of the country on: October 04, 2017, 09:37:04 AM
ccp:" I feel sorry for her [Michelle Obama].  She has had a tough life."

Very funny.  Paid 316k per year as vice president for community and external affairs (community organizer?), like everybody else does.  Her title and salary tripled when her husband's importance skyrocketed, like HRC.
Oppressed like her husband who got into the Ivy League Harvard without publishable grades.  I feel sorry for him too.  Like Kaepernick, he never really had a chance, half black in such a racist country.
189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Catalonia to move to declare independence from Spain on Monday on: October 04, 2017, 09:14:44 AM
G M:
Fracturing/collapsing nation-states isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, expect it to spread globally.
"Catalonia to move to declare independence from Spain on Monday
by Reuters"

It makes me wonder, what is Spain without its strongest region.  What is Spain without Barcelona, losing a good deal of Mediterranean coast bordering on the south of France, tourism, agriculture, employment?  Catalonia is one of the richest regions in Spain.

As the most prosperous of Spain's 17 regions, Catalonia houses roughly 19 percent of Spain's economy, benefiting from tourism, exports, manufacturing, and industry.

As GM suggests, what other regions of what other countries will follow.  

Is Spain even a country?  Or is EU the country?

In some ways, aren't we generally better off with smaller, self-governing jurisdictions that make voluntary agreements for security and trade with our neighbors?

Muslims want Iberian peninsula back.
Does this make the rest of Spain more vulnerable?  The parts closer to and touching north Africa?
190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Puerto Rico on: October 04, 2017, 08:45:53 AM
PR voted for statehood last time but with lousy turnout.

Of course we should pay for disaster relief.  Isn't that what their federal income taxes go to pay for?

"Most residents do not have to pay the federal personal income tax."

To be fair, most mainland residents don't pay either.

"As American citizens, they are eligible for all welfare entitlement programs."
The following programs are provided by the U.S. Federal government in Puerto Rico:
Head Start Program
Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico (Programa de Asistencia Nutricional)
Section 8 (housing)
Community Development Block Grant
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Minimum wage in Puerto Rico
 Employers not covered by the FLSA will be subject to a minimum wage that is at least 70 percent of the federal minimum wage or the applicable mandatory decree rate, whichever is higher. The Secretary of Labor and Human Resources may authorize a rate based on a lower percentage for any employer who can show that implementation of the 70 percent rate would substantially curtail employment in that business. Puerto Rico also has minimum wage rates that vary according to the industry.

One side sees them as a reliable voter group.  But imagine these are two companies in merger acquisition talks.  What does each side offer the other?

If both sides passed balanced budget amendments, we would have no use for each other.  There would be no spending increases to distribute.
191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mass Shootings Are A Bad Way To Understand Gun Violence on: October 04, 2017, 08:11:18 AM
From 538, this appears to come out of the same study as the previous post by a former 538 researcher.  Again, strong case made without even mentioning the positive role of guns.

Mass Shootings Are A Bad Way To Understand Gun Violence

It’s impossible to say when the first mass shooting in America took place. Plant your shovel in the internet and you’ll find one event described that way, and then another. Deeper and deeper. Back and back. The 13 residents of Camden, New Jersey, killed by a neighbor in 1949. The eight Winfield, Kansas, concertgoers murdered when a man fired into a crowded intersection in 1903. The 60 to 150 African-Americans shot and hanged by a mob of white men in Colfax, Louisiana, in 1873.

There is something distinctly American about this way of death. Mass shootings1 happen in other countries, but they are far more common here. Between 1966 and 2012, there were 90 such incidents in the U.S. The next four countries with the most mass shootings had 54 combined. There is also something distinctly American about how we respond to these events, the way they become tangled up in the national debate about guns — this question of how to reduce deaths attributable to a weapon protected in the founding documents of our land. No other country has that particular challenge. So mass shootings become a symbol of gun violence in general. The deaths of dozens become a window into the death of one, and a separate one, and a different one over there.

This, of course, has already happened with the mass shooting on Sunday in Las Vegas that left at least 58 people dead and hundreds more injured.


And this is a problem. What we know about mass shootings suggests that they are different from the everyday deaths that happen at the end of a gun. The weapon is the same. So much else is different. And the distorted image we get by using one as a lens through which to view the other has consequences for our understanding of the problem and the policies that might address it.

Last year, we produced a series of stories on American gun deaths and the people behind the statistics. From that reporting, and other sources, we know mass shootings are different from other kinds of gun deaths in several ways.

First, they’re rare, and the people doing the shooting are different. The majority of gun deaths in America aren’t even homicides, let alone caused by mass shootings. Two-thirds of the more than 33,000 gun deaths that take place in the U.S. every year are suicides (click through the graphic below to see how gun deaths break down):

And while people who commit suicide and people who commit mass shootings both tend to be white and male, suicide victims tend to be older. The median age of a mass shooter, according to one report, is 34, with very few over 50. Suicide, however, plagues the elderly as much as it does the middle-aged.

Second, the people killed in mass shootings are different from the majority of homicides. Most gun murder victims are men between the ages of 15 and 34. Sixty-six percent are black. Women — of any race and any age — are far less likely to be murdered by a gun. Unless that gun is part of a mass shooting. There, 50 percent of the people who die are women. And at least 54 percent of mass shootings involve domestic or family violence — with the perpetrator shooting a current or former partner or a relative.

The historical trends for different kinds of gun deaths don’t all follow the same course. While data suggests that the number of mass shootings similar to the Las Vegas event has gone up, particularly since 2000,2 homicide rates have fallen significantly from their 1980 peak and continued on a generally downward trajectory for most of the 21st century. Meanwhile, suicides are way up, with the biggest increases among women. The trends are different because the situations are different and the people are different. Maybe different solutions are warranted, as well.

You could, theoretically, cut down on all these deaths with a blanket removal of guns from the U.S. entirely — something that is as politically unlikely as it is legally untenable. Barring that, though, policies aimed at reducing gun deaths will likely need to be targeted at the specific people who commit or are victimized by those incidents. And mass shootings just aren’t a good proxy for the diversity of gun violence. Policies that reduce the number of homicides among young black men — such as programs that build trust between community members, police and at-risk youth and offer people a way out of crime — probably won’t have the same effect on suicides among elderly white men. Background checks and laws aimed at preventing a young white man with a history of domestic violence from obtaining a gun and using it in a mass shooting might not prevent a similar shooting by an older white male with no criminal record.

If we focus on mass shootings as a means of understanding how to reduce the number of people killed by guns in this country, we’re likely to implement laws that don’t do what we want them to do — and miss opportunities to make changes that really work. Gun violence isn’t one problem, it’s many. And it probably won’t have a single solution, either.

192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WP: "I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise." on: October 04, 2017, 07:58:41 AM
Washington Post!  Today.  She worked for Nate Silver's "538".  Not a conservative group!

She makes the case against sweeping gun control laws without even mentioning the defensive role of guns.

I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

By Leah Libresco October 3 at 3:02 PM
Leah Libresco is a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site. She is the author of “Arriving at Amen.”

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

After a shooting in Las Vegas left at least 58 people dead and injured hundreds, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Oct. 2 said Congress’s failure to pass gun-control legislation amounts to an “unintentional endorsement” of mass shootings. (U.S. Senate)
I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.

As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.

As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference. Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them. I couldn't even answer my most desperate question: If I had a friend who had guns in his home and a history of suicide attempts, was there anything I could do that would help?

However, the next-largest set of gun deaths — 1 in 5 — were young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides. These men were most likely to die at the hands of other young men, often related to gang loyalties or other street violence. And the last notable group of similar deaths was the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence. Far more people were killed in these ways than in mass-shooting incidents, but few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.

By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.

Instead, I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions. Potential suicide victims, women menaced by their abusive partners and kids swept up in street vendettas are all in danger from guns, but they each require different protections.

Older men, who make up the largest share of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. Women endangered by specific men need to be prioritized by police, who can enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Younger men at risk of violence need to be identified before they take a life or lose theirs and to be connected to mentors who can help them de-escalate conflicts.

Even the most data-driven practices, such as New Orleans’ plan to identify gang members for intervention based on previous arrests and weapons seizures, wind up more personal than most policies floated. The young men at risk can be identified by an algorithm, but they have to be disarmed one by one, personally — not en masse as though they were all interchangeable. A reduction in gun deaths is most likely to come from finding smaller chances for victories and expanding those solutions as much as possible. We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.
193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: did raiders throw game? on: October 03, 2017, 10:57:20 AM

Hard to believe but any effort short of their best effort can throw a game.  Just one more thing taking down a game that used to bring us all together.

Too bad that the NFL and all professional sports are such such whores with their stadium subsidies or someone could argue a point about a private business having a right to run it as they reasonably see fit.

One thing our children and grandchildren will never hear, "Please rise for the singing of our national anthem."

Someone please show me a picture of a soldier taking a knee for a fallen soldier - DURING THE PLAYING OF THE NATIONAL ANTHEM prior to the current controversy.

This fiasco started with Kaepernick alleging the nation oppresses black people.  The timing and context had to do with the false accusations in Ferguson.(?)  This quarterback's oppression consists of his African American birth father leaving him before his birth.  How many times should we apologize for that before he respects his country again?  He received free college and a $126 million contract from this oppressive country.  How much sweeter would that have been if he was a white - and under-performed after a great rookie half season?
194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why Did the Las Vegas Shooter Target a Country Music Festival? on: October 03, 2017, 10:24:17 AM
This makes sense in the absence of any other information, you have to wonder what led to this choice of victims. 

I would add that a motive of any suicidal mass murderer is go out in huge burst of fame and glory.  For the lesson of the next would-be mass murderers, I wish we could de-personalize him with the least amount of public attention possible.  Just 'Loser' or 'screwed up assh*le', not the greatest mass shooter of all time.

Also, his death needs to left out of the dead victim count.  He isn't a victim here.
195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi and related matters on: October 03, 2017, 10:08:28 AM
G M: "I'm sure the media will be all over this!"
Swept under the carpet.  And we never get lied to by the political narrative of our intelligence agencies... Look up Benghazi today and Google takes me to this:

quote author=Crafty_Dog
Sounds like a partial confirmation of my theory, which I elucidated here within weeks of the attack, that the CIA annex was there to supervise a gun running operation to the Syrian rebels (something which Hillary wanted IIRC) via Turkey.

"Obama Administration Knew that al Qaeda Terrorists Had Planned Benghazi Attack 10 Days in Advance"
"Administration knew three months before the November 2012 presidential election of ISIS plans to establish a caliphate in Iraq"

What a shame that the conspiracy theorists (like us) were right and the trusted officials of the United States were wrong and lying.  I sat and watched Susan Rice spew out the Obama administration lie on channel after channel, unable to answer a single followup question because she was carefully chosen as the official who knew nothing about what had happened other than prepared, false talking points.  

The recent election that was illegitimate in this country was the 2012 contest.  The Obama administration systematically blocked the opponents from organizing via the strong and corrupt arm of the IRS and blocked the truth from coming out on important national and global security matters that people should have known before voting.  The media co-conspired in this disinformation, not starting or ending with professional journalist Candy Crowley swinging the second debate back to Obama, over this failure and lie, after Romney had decisively won the first.

Regarding the trickle release schedule of Hillary's State Department emails, I predicted the obvious; the least damaging ones will come out first and the really damning ones will come out never, unless some whistle-blower comes forward.

Thank God for Judicial Watch, and thank their management and donors.  Getting the truth out has turned out to be more valuable than any political group.
(Give here:  
Too bad we can't get the truth out sooner!

I am concerned about how the history books will cover the current era.  The Obama administration was wrong on almost every foreign policy decision they made and the media participated in covering up facts and keeping them in power.

Now we live in a much more dangerous world and Benghazi 2012 and coverup was a major component of that.  If people had fully known how poorly our economy was doing and how badly our foreign policy was, we wouldn't have had an Obama second term, we wouldn't have had another Hillary candidacy and we wouldn't have Trump.  These events are consequential and they know it or they wouldn't work so hard to concoct lies and hide truth.
196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Quantitative Easing: "competitive devaluations" like 1930s, "never again"? on: October 02, 2017, 11:15:50 AM
John Taylor will hopefully take Yellen's place...

"The Fed’s “quantitative easing” was in effect a monetary policy of “competitive devaluation,” and he added that “other countries have now followed and been even less circumspect about the fact that they were engaging in competitive devaluation. Competitive devaluation was tried in the 1930s, and unsuccessfully, and the result was that around that time major countries agreed they would not engage in competitive devaluation ever again.”   - Allan Meltzer

Prof. John B Taylor of Stanford:
The resulting movements in exchange rates can be a source of instability in the global economy as they affect the flow of goods and capital and interfere with their efficient allocation. They also are a source of political instability as concerns about currency manipulation are heard from many sides. They are another reason to normalize and reform the international monetary system. In my view a rules-based international system is the way to go, as I  discuss here:
197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WaPo: Bruce Bartlett: I helped create the GOP tax myth on: September 29, 2017, 10:40:40 AM
Crafty already pointed this out in places, but Bruce Bartlett is wrong throughout.  The column is titled: "Republican trickle-down theory is lies" at USA Today.  Bold claim, myth wasn't strong enough?  Yet he doesn't identify a single lie and doesn't back up his own conclusions with any consistent or significant truth.  The role he claims he paid earlier draws attention to his turnabout but this doesn't stand up on substance, starting with the straw man title.

"Trickle down" is an anti-growth, straw man argument.  They say or imply the theory is to give money to the rich and hope it trickles down to the rest.  But in tax rate cutting, no one is giving money to anyone, we are just changing the formula of what you're allowed to keep of what you legally earned, trying to ease the brakes of a monstrosity of a hindrance. Shamefully, the top tax bracket in this isn't really going to be lowered anyway and capital gains aren't reformed either, all in the interest of appeasing jackasses like this.  But this article was most certainly written to respond to whatever Trump or the Republicans would come up with.

Is our current tax system is inhibiting growth?  [YES]  If so, how and by how much?  Scott Grannis has a chart with the growth gap with an area under the curve is in the tens of trillions.  Where is Bartlett's his math on that?  Is he saying 1.5% growth is maximum growth?  That is absurd IMHO.

Real growth in fiscal year 1984, the first full year after tax rate cuts was 6.8%.

No one can seriously argue that the potential for growth unleashed by reform isn't enormous.  This package doesn't get there, but in my view, we could certainly triple the growth rate from 1.5 to 4.5% if we successfully reformed taxes and regulations.  That kind of growth would change lives and balance budgets.

From the article:
Trump is wrong: Tax cuts don’t equal growth.  

These aren't "tax cuts" and they don't "equal growth", they are rate cuts and reforms that remove inhibitors to growth, like companies and business leaving our country.  That Trump can't articulate any of this is another matter.

The best growth in recent memory came after President Bill Clinton raised taxes in the ’90s.  

Patently false.  The growth rate by all measures was far better after Clinton lowered capital gains rates and reformed welfare later in his Presidency than after he raised tax rates.  Wages grew 6 times faster after tax rate cuts than after rate hikes.  Link for that is in this thread; I am happy to re-post it (again) anytime. Bartlett is inclined to conflate periods and ideas to draw wrong conclusions.

Reagan’s 1981 tax cut ... unleashed the American economy and led to an abundance of growth.   True, but he has his dates wrong.  The rate cuts were phased in delaying the effect to January 1, 1983.

...Based on this logic, tax cuts became the GOP’s go-to solution for nearly every economic problem.

Every significant tax rate cut has unleashed growth and economic growth is a far reaching solution.

Extravagant claims are made for any proposed tax cut.

No.  They are mostly under-sold.  Exactly the opposite is true.  Every tax rate cut is met with a false, static, CBO score that is plastered as 'gospel' all over the media even though CBO has been wrong 100% of the time.

Wednesday, President Trump argued that “our country and our economy cannot take off” without the kind of tax reform he proposes. Last week, Republican economist Arthur Laffer said, “If you cut that [corporate] tax rate to 15 percent, it will pay for itself many times over. … This will bring in probably $1.5 trillion net by itself.”

If these really were aggressive and lasting reforms, the amount that economic growth would bring in over time would be in tens of trillions.  

There’s no evidence that a tax cut now would spur growth.  Companies and dollars fleeing, 100 million adults not working, zero growth for a decade, what would it take to call it 'evidence' that our government is crowding out our private sector?

The Reagan tax cut did have a positive effect on the economy, but the prosperity of the ’80s is overrated in the Republican mind. In fact, aggregate real gross domestic product growth was higher in the ’70s — 37.2 percent vs. 35.9 percent.

Oh good grief, is he really suggesting the 70s had a better economy than the 80s?  Does anyone long for the economy of the 70s?  His numbers for the 70s of course exclude the recession that followed (runners left on base) resulting from squeezing out the double digit inflation left by the 70s.  Even so, revenues to the Treasury doubled in the 80s, while the top rates dropped from 70% to 28%.  Think about how remarkable growth has to be to even bring in the same amount of revenue while multiplying by such a drastically lower tax rate.

If you don't believe me, then ask the voters of Reagan's time.  Reagan won 49 states in his reelection.  Carter of 70s growth lost 40 states in his reelection attempt.  And tax-raiser Walter Mondale became the first person to lose statewide contests in all 50 states, when he came back to lose the only state he won.  Growth rates under Reagan's rate cuts were far more than three times current rates.

There was the simple bounce-back from the recession of 1981-82. Recoveries in the postwar era tended to be V-shaped — they were as sharp as the downturns they followed. The deeper the recession, the more robust the recovery.

There is no evidence showing a boost in growth from the 1986 act.

During the entire period that the Reagan tax rates were left essentially intact we had a quarter century of growth that ended when the political arrow turned to pro-tax, anti-growth, and then economy then descended into a far deeper financila crisis and recession than the bad stock market day of 1987.

Strenuous efforts by economists to find any growth effect from the 1986 act have failed to find much.

On these pages we document the growth that came out of the Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton and Bush tax rate cuts, while he plays games with stats claiming the 70s were better than the 80s and the Clinton rate hikes spurred growth.

Despite huge tax cuts almost annually during the George W. Bush administration that cost the Treasury trillions in revenue, according to the Congressional Budget Office, growth collapsed in the first decade of the 2000s. Real GDP rose just 19.5 percent, well below its ’90s rate.

What a convoluted thought, putting decade against decade instead of analyzing the effects of the policies.  REVENUES TO THE TREASURY grew by DOUBLE DIGITS after Bush tax rate were fully in effect and continued to grow at that rate until the economic outlook changed when Democrats swept the election in Nov 2006 promising to raise rates.  Their victory BTW was based more on a successful flipflop on the war in Iraq than it was on economics.

CBO says federal government revenues rose from $1.782 trillion in 2003 to $2.568 trillion in 2007 (using fiscal years). That’s a 44 percent increase.  (Left wing) Politifact says that increase came from economic growth, not lower rates.  What was to be demonstrated, has been.

Economy Grew at 7.2% Rate in 3rd Quarter (2003), Fastest Since 1984
(Newspaper of amnesia)
198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Trump tax plan version 1.0 on: September 27, 2017, 09:22:08 PM
Underwhelming.  Some good features in it.  Mark Levin (on radio) summed up some observations that overlap mine:

1)  More and more people pay nothing at all.  No skin in the game.  Federal spending doesn't pay the bill.  Moral hazard: a reason to keep income low for life.  Political hazard:  that makes two parties that support having large numbers of people not pay their fair share.

2)  Trump offers a 4th tax bracket - for the "wealthiest", while bragging about only three brackets.  Surcharge on the wealthy.  Compare with Reagan for a moment.  Reagan cut the top rate from 70% to 28% and doubled revenues in a decade.  Reagan curt across the board.Trump is cutting top rate from 39.6 to 36, then add a surcharge, just like Pelosi-Obama in this regard.

3)  Play the class warfare game with the Democrats and you will lose it.  They are better at it.  You can't defeat wrong headed thinking by joining in with it.  The opponents aren't going to support it or support you  just because you throw them a bone or two.  Do what's right and explain it.  What is the most efficient formula to raise revenue for the public sector while maximizing growth and income in the private sector.

My other concerns:

4)  Does nothing with capital gains (that I can see).  Index 'gains' to inflation!

5)  Eliminating Blue State deductions will lose votes of blue state Republicans without winning any Democrat votes.  Our red state friends say we deserve this penalty, but 40-50% in the blue state don't favor the punishing rates in the first place, and now get a second hit.  A good compromise would be to eliminate the state income tax deduction but keep the property tax deduction.  How is it that supporting your local schools with tax dollars isn't tax deductible?  It isn't income available to pay federal taxes.

More info:
199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Muslim majority in Europe in two generations on: September 27, 2017, 04:46:53 PM
"Ah, I'm sure it will be fine."

Reminds me of a discussion we had about a video:

Yeah, vacation in France.  Hope nothing happens to you or your stuff...

I don't need to travel to visit a third world country; they're building one here.
200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Trump Tax Plan 1.0? on: September 27, 2017, 11:46:03 AM
Coming out today, ZeroHedge has the details.  Some good features.  Overall, I'm not impressed.
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