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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 23, 2017, 11:25:25 PM
quote author=captainccs:
"Where did Ami Horowitz pick up the idea that in Venezuela we have income equality? Not true."

Socialism (in the US at least) is sold as the promise of greater equality - at the expense of all other things, like keeping the fruits of your own labor and investment, having a positive incentive-based economy or rising the tide that lifts all boats.  They screw up everything else and then fail to make gains on equality as well.



202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Answering Bernie on: August 23, 2017, 11:40:29 AM
will be a lifelong project...

"These days [2011], the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now?"
https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/close-the-gaps-disparities-that-threaten-america


Answering Bernie:
May 30, 2016
http://www.libertynewsdaily.com/blog-929-flashback:-bernie-sanders-praised-socialist-venezuela-as-model-for-ending-income-inequality

In an essay lamenting what he described as the intractable income inequality of the American economy, Senator Sanders declared: “These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger.”

Despite receiving trillions of dollars in oil revenue over recent decades, Venezuela is in the midst of an unprecedented economic collapse, owing precisely to the redistributionist programs that Sanders has extolled as a model for the U.S. economy. Grocery store shelves are barren, hospitals have no access to vital medicines, rationing is under way, and riots have begun to coalesce in the streets of Caracas.

Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, is preparing to leave a country mired in a deep recession and facing a currency crisis. Like Venezuela, Ecuador has been ruled by a socialist government that was able to subsidize its social engineering projects through oil revenues. The end of the oil boom has left the government without the means of paying for its programs, and as Correa prepares to leave office – most likely turning it over to Vice President Lenin Moreno – he used a recent earthquake as a pretext for a huge tax increase.

Argentina, the third of Sanders’ economic role models, is a country with immense natural and industrial wealth that has seen its economy strip-mined by a kleptocratic government. Under President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the government’s official statistics agency, Indec, released a steady stream of fabrications to disguise the country’s decline – which were accepted at face value by credulous people like Bernie Sanders. Now that Kirchner is out of office, Indec has corrected the statistics, and the story they tell of the country’s economic reality is frightening.“Commiserations Argentines, ”began a recent essay in the Financial Times. “You are now poorer than the Chinese, Bulgarians, Azerbaijanis, Turkmen, Mexicans, Malaysians and Gabonese, not to mention your beloved neighbours in Brazil. All is not lost, though. You are still a smidgen better off than those in Botswana and war-torn Libya.”


203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sen. Bernie Sanders 2011, The American Dream is in Venezuela on: August 23, 2017, 11:11:00 AM
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=2177.msg105790#msg105790
https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/close-the-gaps-disparities-that-threaten-america

This passes for wisdom on The Left.

Kill off incentives, private sector income and wealth and the Venezuelan economy is what you get.

Who is questioning Bernie on this now?
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Disparity make us a Banana Republic on: August 23, 2017, 11:05:31 AM
This was referenced by the pollster in GM's income equality Venezuela video.  A keeper for all threads.

We must pursue sameness, no matter the cost.  In 2011, we had not turned far enough left; we had not yet redistributed enough income.  Venezuela was on a better path!  For his clairvoyance, Sanders went on to become the leader of the American Left.

https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/close-the-gaps-disparities-that-threaten-america

Close The Gaps: Disparities That Threaten America,  Bernie Sanders
Friday, August 5, 2011

Washington, it seems to us, is focusing on one gap -- between spending and revenue -- to the exclusion of others. That's unwise, because these other gaps also pose threats to America and its social structure. They, too, ought to be closed.

Take the jobs gap, which doesn't need much explanation. There are far fewer jobs than people seeking work, which is why unemployment is close to 10 percent or higher, if you count those who would like a job but have given up looking. According to economist Laura D'Andrea Tyson, writing last week in The New York Times, the U.S. economy would have to add about 12.3 million jobs to return to employment levels that existed before the 2008-2009 recession blindsided America. A quarter of a million people enter the labor force each month. At the current pace of recovery -- which is to say slower than slow -- closing this gap could take 10 years or more. Talk about a lost decade.

Closing the jobs gap might be easier if there were a solid commitment to closing the investment gap. Unlike other rich nations and, we hasten to add, developing countries such as India and China, the United States doesn't spend nearly enough on education and work force training; research and development; and vital infrastructure such as bridges, roads and air traffic control. This is what's known as "non-security discretionary spending," which is a misnomer. Investing in these areas would actually help strengthen America and secure the future. Yet spending in these categories accounts for less than 10 percent of all federal expenditure, and the share has been falling and is likely to fall further in the grip of the Scissorhands caucus that has taken control of Congress.

Finally, and most worryingly, there's the widening wealth gap. The inequality of incomes in this country has been well documented and much commented on, to wit: The richest 1 percent of Americans now account for almost a quarter of the nation's income, creating an imbalance even worse than the days of the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts.

Less remarked, however, is the fact that America's wealth gap is also a race gap. As the Pew Research Center reported last week, the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households. Think about that. In 2009, the typical black household had $5,677 in wealth -- defined as assets minus debts; the typical Hispanic household had $6,325; the typical white household, by contrast, had $113,149.

The disparity is twice as large as it was in the two decades prior to the Great Recession and the largest since the government began publishing such data a quarter century ago. The downturn has been particularly hard on blacks, who are twice as likely to be unemployed as whites.

Moreover, according to the Pew analysis, the wealth gap widened between 2005 and 2009 because minorities disproportionately reside in states hit hardest by plummeting house values -- Michigan, California, Arizona, Florida and Nevada, where median house prices fell as much as 50 percent .

White households saw house values decline as well, of course, but they tended to be cushioned by other assets that many black and Hispanic households don't have, including savings accounts, pensions and stocks.

"What's pushing the wealth of whites is the rebound in the stock market and corporate savings, while younger Hispanics and African Americans who bought homes in the last decade -- because that was the American dream -- are seeing big declines," Timothy Smeeding of the University of Wisconsin told The Associated Press.

These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now?
205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics, Coercive 'Paternalism' vs economic freedom with inequality on: August 23, 2017, 10:46:35 AM
Taking a bit of the Venezuelan story over here including GM's video for illustration.
----------------------------------------------------------
Coercive 'Paternalism' vs freedom with inequality

On the right, what went wrong in Venezuela is a stupid question, too obvious for words.  Socialism led to economic collapse.  On the left, it is the missing question, seldom or never asked.

Hugo Chavez was the hero of the American Left.  Some were explicit; others just argued we should implement all the same policies here. 
"These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now?"  - Bernie Sanders, August 5, 2011  https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/close-the-gaps-disparities-that-threaten-america

A year ago I asked my closest, then-leftist confidant the question:

If socialism is so great, how do you explain what is happening in Venezuela?

For background, I even included the following information: 
The story of Chile’s success starts in the mid-1970s, when Chile’s military government abandoned socialism and started to implement economic reforms.  In 2013, Chile was the world’s 10th freest economy.
Venezuela declined from being the world’s 10th freest economy in 1975 to being the world’s least free economy in 2013 (other than North Korea).
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1307.msg98285#msg98285

She answered with the best explanation possible:  Maybe they (the socialists) went too far.
I agree and would add at least two exclamation points, They went too far!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaCSdtG4MmI

Coercive Paternalism versus Income Inequality

No one on the right wants zero public sector or no safety net, but we want to limit the powers of government and enlarge the liberties of the individual.  In a freer, market-based economy, income inequality is a fact - a feature, not a bug.  Some people make more money than others.  Some work harder, smarter, longer hours or more than one job chasing a dream.  Some keep making more and more over the working lifetime as they get smarter, more experienced and have more invested. Others hang out on discussion boards...  The fruit of our labor is one reason why labor gets done, goods produced and services provided.  The fruit of our investment, too.  Without fruit of your labor, goods don't get produced and services don't get provided.  It's not rocket science but we keep steering away from what is known to work best.

Coercive Paternalism is the ideal of The Left.  http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/03/07/its-your-own-good/  I kid you not! You don't want or need free choice when 'smart-planners' can do that for you and do it better.  http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1518.msg71031#msg71031 

You don't get to equality without coercion.  And then you don't get there anyway.  Big powerful government is a feature not a bug in real world socialism.

In Venezuela, they pursued the policies and dreams of the American Left.  We should thank them and pay them for their experiment.  They took from the rich and they gave to the people, well actually the government, on behalf of the people (the government).  But private sector capitalism requires private sector capital and they chased it away.  Ironically, Public sector investment also requires a vibrant private sector to support it - and they chased it away.  It's a fact, not a cliche, that eventually you run out of other people's money [Margaret Thatcher].

Among the endless ironies of the left is that as you pursue equality and grow poorer, inequality worsens anyway.  Compare Chavez' daughter with median income or see President Obama's record in the US.
http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/10/iron-fisted-socialism-benefited-hugo-chavezs-daughter-to-the-tune-of-billions-reports-say/
http://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/index.cfm?fileid=AD783798-ED07-E8C2-4405996B5B02A32E
https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/26/during-obamas-presidency-wealth-inequality-has-increased-and-poverty-levels-are-higher/

Who knew?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5KUadzyV9A
"How important is income equality to you?"
"Really important!"

Good luck with that.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDm2-1NZBLw
206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 23, 2017, 09:29:23 AM
Invalid link just means the embed video tool doesn't work anymore with youtube. Must click on the link.

Income equality is first level thinking, right out of our schools and colleges.  The Venezuela experiment proves it is the wrong approach.
207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 21, 2017, 11:14:55 PM
Posted to Twitter and The Motley Fool.

I posted it on Free Republic:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3579489/posts

And I sent it to Powerlineblog, Steven Hayward, and Wall Street Journal, Best of the Web.
208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 21, 2017, 06:09:15 PM
"Our" article is up on Sparta Report.  Now make it go VIRAL...

https://www.spartareport.com/2017/08/venezuela-banning-imports-products-used-opposition/
https://www.spartareport.com/

Venezuela Banning Imports Of Products That Could Be Used By Opposition

Maduro increasing his control of Venezuela
COMMENTARY
By Patrick Pulatie  Last updated 5:44 PM Aug 21, 2017 

With the Charlottesville riots, the Barcelona terror attack, and the relentlessness of the media challenging President Trump, the Venezuela situation has faded into the background. But Venezuela remains the tinder box that it has been for many years.

President Nicolas Maduro continues to put the clamps on the opposition party and the people of Venezuela. His current efforts involve preventing the opposition from obtaining the resources needed to prevent an uprising of the people.  He has done this by imposing strict new import restrictions. Here is a message from a source in Venezuela.

Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof vests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projectiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don’t have an issue with the riot police, I’m CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service (of banned items.)
Dear Customer:
 
Due to the new customs regulations in our country, the importation of the following products is strictly prohibited. This restriction is mandatory, without exception.

PROHIBITED ARTICLES

– Gas masks

– Bulletproof vests

– Air guns, ball guns, of paint and ammunition related to this type of article

– Sling shot of any type

– Pepper spray

– Pepper gas holder

– Paralyzing electric pistols (electroshock guns)

– Metal balls

– Meters, gauges

– Articles containing gas / compressed air

– Knives of all kinds (including machetes and axes)

– Police clubs

– Protective sports goods

– Camouflage articles

– Helmets of any type

– Chest protectors

– Bats and baseballs

– Masks

– Facial Protectors

– Kneepads

– Elbow pads

– Fishing leads

– Bows and arrows

– Safety glasses

– Inflatable balloons

 FIRST AID PRODUCTS

– Antacids

– Gauze

– Creams for Burns

– Salts

– Eye Drops

– Bicarbonates

– Etc.

Medical supplies are tagged as “war materials”
The crackdown on imports that could be used by the people to defend against the Maduro regime only serves strengthen the control of the government over the people. Where it ends is unknown right now, but it does not look good for the people.

 
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela and The Left, Coercive 'Paternalism' vs freedom with inequality on: August 21, 2017, 04:57:48 PM
On the right, what went wrong in Venezuela is a stupid question, too obvious for words.   On the left, it is the missing question.

(As just noted), Chavez was the hero of the American (US) left.  Some were explicit; others just argued we should implement all the same policies here.

A year ago I asked my closest then-leftist confidant the question? 

If socialism is so great, how do you explain what is happening in Venezuela?

For background, I even included the following background information: 
abandoned socialism and started to implement economic reforms. In 2013, Chile was the world’s 10th freest economy. Venezuela, in the meantime, declined from being the world’s 10th freest economy in 1975 to being the world’s least free economy in 2013
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1307.msg98285#msg98285

She answered with the best explanation possible:  Maybe they (the socialists) went too far.
I agree and would add at least two exclamation points, They went too far!!

Coercive Paternalism versus Income Inequality

No one on the right supports zero public sector or zero safety net, but we want to limit the powers of government and enlarge the liberties of the individual.  In a freer, market-based economy, income inequality is a fact - a feature, not a bug.  Some people make more money than others.  Some work harder, smarter, longer hours or more than one job chasing a dream.  Some keep making more and more over the working lifetime as they get smarter, more experienced and have more invested. Others hang out on discussion boards...  The fruit of our labor is one reason why labor gets done, goods produced and services provided.  The fruit of our investment, too.  Without fruit of your labor, goods don't get produced and services don't get provided.  It's not rocket science but we keep steering away from what is known to work best.

Coercive Paternalism is the ideal of The Left.  http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/03/07/its-your-own-good/  I kid you not! You don't want or need free choice when 'smart-planners' can do that for you and do it better.  http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1518.msg71031#msg71031 

But you don't get to equality without coercion. Big powerful government is a feature not a bug in real world socialism.

In Venezuela, they pursued the policies and dreams of the American Left.  We should thank them and pay them for their experiment.  They took from the rich and they gave to the people, well actually the government, on behalf of the people (actually the government).  But private sector capitalism requires private sector capital and they chased it away.  Ironically, Public sector investment also requires a vibrant private sector to support it - and they chased it away.  It's a fact, not a cliche, that eventually you run out of other people's money [Margaret Thatcher].

Among the endless ironies of the left is that as you pursue equality and grow poorer, inequality worsens anyway.  Compare Chavez' daughter with median income or see President Obama's record in the US.
http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/10/iron-fisted-socialism-benefited-hugo-chavezs-daughter-to-the-tune-of-billions-reports-say/
http://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/index.cfm?fileid=AD783798-ED07-E8C2-4405996B5B02A32E
https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/26/during-obamas-presidency-wealth-inequality-has-increased-and-poverty-levels-are-higher/

Who knew?
210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 21, 2017, 11:55:10 AM
Thanks GM.

From Google translate:

Dear Customer:
Due to the new customs regulations in our country, the importation of the following products is strictly prohibited. This restriction is mandatory, without exception.

PROHIBITED ARTICLES
- Gas masks
- Bulletproof vests
- Air guns, ball guns, of paint and ammunition
related to this type of articles
- Sling shot of any type     
- Pepper spray
- Pepper gas holder
- Paralyzing electric pistols (electroshock guns)
- Metal balls
- Meters, guages
- Articles containing gas / compressed air
- Knives of all kinds (including machetes and axes)
- Police clubs
- Protective sports goods
- Camouflage articles
- Helmets of any type
- Chest protectors
- Bats and baseballs
- Masks
- Facial Protectors
- Kneepads
- Elbow pads
- Fishing leads
- Bows and arrows
- Safety glasses
- Inflatable balloons

Products of FIRST AID
- Antacids
- Gauze
- Creams for Burns
- Salts
- Eye Drops
- Bicarbonates
- Etc.
211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How (Healthcare) Markets Work, Denny S, Software Times on: August 21, 2017, 11:26:42 AM
I would love to see Denny S get more involved on more of our threads here.  I recall a collection posted at GilderTech called Denny's Pearls that is worthy of its own thread.

In this piece dated April 2, 2017 he lays out some factors I had not thought of and articulates  other ones better than I have seen previously.  It is very difficult to put the magic of the free market to words; only a few people have been able to do it.  Mostly we just see the damage done by its absence.  I hope it is okay that I post this...  I would like to also put this in Economics - Science thread as the principles in play are not unique to healthcare.

A different article recently pointed out that healthcare inflation should be compared with our service economy, not goods, but still the question remains, why does an aspirin cost $10 apiece or a hospital room thousands per day while the price of computer power and so many other things keeps falling?  We are treating more afflictions with more new treatments all the time but why are no cost saving innovations being made to older, established  treatments?  Something is wrong and missing because of our tampering, skewing and destroying of the free market.
--------------------------------------
How (Healthcare) Markets Work, by Denny Schlesinger

http://softwaretimes.com/files/how+healthcare+markets+wor.html

At a forum I frequent I was challenged to explain why a universal healthcare system is more expensive and less efficient than a free market one. The challenge was posed by an anesthesiologist at a small town clinic.

What if I could convince you that universal health care made economic sense...that if might actually save you/us money?

Adam Smith knew that markets worked but he didn't know how or why so he invented the "invisible hand" to account for it. In the 240 years since The Wealth of Nations we have learned about the workings of markets. The things that we discovered include that markets are complex systems meaning they are not predictable in detail but we do know the kinds of effect that inputs have on prices and availability of goods and services.

What do you think happens when someone without insurance (or the ability to pay out of pocket) gets appendicits? Do you think they just stay home and die?

Think again. They come into the hospital, get taken care of, and then they don't or can't pay their bill. The hospital and staff "eats" the expense. Next time you look at your hospital bill and see the $10 charge for aspirin, you'll understand why. The hospital needs to meet their expenses.
In other words, you are already paying for their care through your higher insurance rates needed to cover those who didn't pay.
Now think about it: if no one had to avoid getting care because of money, they would get their health problems taken care of early, and at less expense. I promise you, waiting until things are unavoidable (like not getting your blood pressure treated until you show up with a stroke) is vastly more expensive than pre-emptive care.

Your example is just one data point -- anecdotal to boot because you don't know the costs involved -- insufficient to come to a definitive conclusion. It also contains a conjecture (bolded by me) that I will show to be false.


Rotating governor used with steam enginesSystems are governed (controlled, moderated, regulated) by feedback, positive and negative. The easiest to understand "negative feedback" mechanism is the rotating governor

The faster spin pushes the weights outward and slower spin lets them drop. This movement is used to control the fuel supply keeping the machine at a constant speed.

An easy to understand "positive feedback" is the screeching of audio systems when the mike is placed too close to the speakers. The mike picks up the increasing volume feeding it right back into the amplifier and out the speakers.

Every input to the market is either positive or negative feedback. If I don't buy something today that's negative feedback, please lower the price if you want me to buy. If the government gives a subsidy that's positive feedback designed to amplify production. Once you think in terms of feedback you understand how the invisible hand works. This is how the law of supply and demand works. The law of supply and demand is the market governor.

What seems miraculous about supply and demand is how millions of independent transactions filter through the system to set prices. I doubt anyone has yet been able to model how that happens, but it happens in every free (independent transactions) market system. The end result is the optimum distribution of scarce goods and services from a cost point of view. The problem is that this distribution might not be socially acceptable and society will insert new feedback to change the shape of the distribution. No matter how noble the intentions, the end result is a less cost effective market.

In an unregulated market the feedback comes from millions of independent transactions. Add extraneous feedback and the economic efficiency drops. I've been pondering for years why the American healthcare system is so expensive. Blaming it on price gougers is not a good answer even if it is part of the answer. One has to dig deeper, search for the causal feedback gone amok. My observations lead me to believe that paternalistic employers were at least part of the problem (see link below). By improving their worker's lot they changed the feedback entering the market creating unexpected distortions one of which was to reduce the efficiency of the market, in other words, by making stuff more affordable for their own workers they shifted the burden to the rest of the market participants.

My first employer, IBM, gave me free healthcare insurance. I didn't have to worry or even think about healthcare costs. My bit of negative feedback disappeared! I want the best, let the free insurance deal with it. With changes in the economy and in the labor market, paternalistic packages (except for higher management) became too expensive. By this time, since the cost of healthcare was basically unknown, the visible culprit of high healthcare costs was the insurance industry. In fact, the healthcare insurance industry itself had been derailed. The purpose of any insurance is to protect wealth. Fire insurance can't protect a home from fire, it can only protect the owner from the cost caused by the fire. Healthcare insurance originally was designed to protect against the cost of unexpected medical care under the assumption that the ordinary health maintenance costs were to be included in the ordinary household budget like rent and other services. Unfortunately the insurance coverage morphed from the transfer of risk of high cost medical treatment to prepaid medical care. That is clearly not the purpose of insurance but it sure makes premiums go up and is highly profitable for insurance companies. But is also alters the feedback the market receives as the payer is not the patient but the insurer.

One easy remedy for the broken healthcare insurance industry is high deductibles which cause the patients to inject feedback into the healthcare industry, feedback that has been sorely lacking for years. Everybody should be a payer!

...  (more at the link)

Now let's put it all together: Insurance morphs into prepaid healthcare, angiograms go from when-needed to standard of care. More business for doctors, more business for hospitals, more business for the pharma industry, more business for insurance companies and, from what I have read, there is no payback in extended lifespans. On the other hand, if the standard of care procedure is not done, it's a good reason for a malpractice suit. This is what happens when your health is not in your hands but in the hands of experts.

Here again high deductibles are your friend, they force you to make a better evaluation of your situation, they give you back control over your health, over your body.

In general terms, market regulation is negative feedback designed to even out the playing field while incentives and subsidies are positive feedback. A free market advocate should accept a minimum of necessary regulation and the least amount of incentives and subsidies. The government has enough venues to provide incentives and subsidies such as the Manhattan Project, DARPA's Internet, the Interstate Highway System, and the Moon landing project to keep industry on the leading edge. The rest should be left to the free market.
212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017 on: August 21, 2017, 10:51:22 AM
I reached Pat at Spartareport.com and he is putting it together for story to publish tomorrow.  Once published, I will see how many other blogs and sites we can get to point to it.

I think it would still help to get this image converted (OCR) to a readable and translatable text, but my computer has been unable to do that.  http://softwaretimes.com/pics/prohibited-items.png
213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017 on: August 20, 2017, 11:50:34 PM
Thank you.  I will do my best to get this published and circulated.  Will link and keep you informed.  Secondly, please let us know by private message what we can send under what labeling to you.
-------------------------------------------------
Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017, from verified, local, first-hand source:

"Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof wests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projetiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc.

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don't have an issue with the riot police, I'm CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service. It would be wonderful if you made it available to blogs and the American press."



Carriers have to make sure these items are not shipped in, NO EXCEPTIONS.

This is an abuse of human rights!


Can someone please try to convert the image to text.  I would like to translate the list to English for distribution in the US.
214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017 on: August 20, 2017, 11:09:02 PM
Thank you.  I will do my best to get this published and circulated.  Will link and keep you informed.  Secondly, please let us know by private message what we can send under what labeling to you.
-------------------------------------------------
Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017, from verified, local, first-hand source:

"Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof wests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projetiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc.

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don't have an issue with the riot police, I'm CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service. It would be wonderful if you made it available to blogs and the American press."



Carriers have to make sure these items are not shipped in, NO EXCEPTIONS.

This is an abuse of human rights!
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, Minimum Wage Disaster, new study August 2017 on: August 18, 2017, 06:10:15 PM
http://papers.nber.org/tmp/62829-w23667.pdf

ABSTRACT
We study the effect of minimum wage increases on employment in automatable jobs – jobs in
which employers may find it easier to substitute machines for people – focusing on low-skilled
workers from whom such substitution may be spurred by minimum wage increases. Based on
CPS data from 1980-2015, we find that increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the
share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers, and increases the likelihood that
low-skilled workers in automatable jobs become unemployed. The average effects mask
significant heterogeneity by industry and demographic group, including substantive adverse
effects for older, low-skilled workers in manufacturing. The findings imply that groups often
ignored in the minimum wage literature are in fact quite vulnerable to employment changes and
job loss because of automation following a minimum wage increase.

Grace Lordan
Department of Social Policy
London School of Economics

David Neumark
Department of Economics
University of California at Irvine

Ms. Lordan and Mr. Neumark show that mandating higher wages kills jobs for low-skill workers across a range of industries. According to the authors, older workers in manufacturing are hit particularly hard, with women and African-American workers also suffering disproportionate harm:

Overall, we find that increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers. Our estimates suggest that an increase of the minimum wage by $1 (based on 2015 dollars) decreases the share of low-skilled automatable jobs by 0.43 percentage point... In particular, there are large effects on the shares of automatable employment in manufacturing, where we estimate that a $1 increase in the minimum wage decreases the share of automatable employment among low-skilled workers by 0.99 percentage point... Within manufacturing, the share of older workers in automatable employment declines most sharply, and the share of workers in automatable employment also declines sharply for women and blacks.

Our analysis at the individual level draws many similar conclusions. We find that a significant number of individuals who were previously in automatable employment are unemployed in the period following a minimum wage increase.
---

The authors also warn that the universe of jobs that can be done by machines is expanding, and will likely soon include such occupations as taxi drivers and bricklayers. This means that minimum wage laws could do more damage in the future than they have in the past.

According to the Democrats’ new “Better Deal” economic agenda, “increasing the minimum wage will provide economic security for all working Americans.” But it’s hard for Americans to have economic security if they’re not working.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-brief-history-of-minimum-wage-disasters-1502823330
-------

What's that again?  This is the National Bureau of Economic Research, not a right wing blog.  Which side favors policies that hurt older workers, women and African Americans disproportionately?  Why don't they disclose all of that before they poll who favors it and who opposes the policy!
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nature, volcanoes under glaciers on: August 18, 2017, 12:09:39 PM
ccp, right, they already wrote global warming into it:
the glaciers are melting and thus removing counter pressures *off* the volcanoes so that the pressure from inside the Earth  will be not be subdued and thus there will be  more eruption.

But in fact, ice mass has been increasing in Antarctica.  Who knew?  That is no matter when your industry is government funding tied to public alarm.

But what about the opposite.  We found 90 volcanoes on earth that we didn't know about, yet warming,  statistically zero in the last 20 years anyway, is primarily human caused.  If we don't even know all the volcanoes on the planet, what else don't we know?

https://www.livescience.com/40451-volcanic-co2-levels-are-staggering.html

Seldom or never mentioned in the CO2 debate is that atmospheric heat trapping is what makes life possible on
earth.

Total human emission per year equal 1% of existing atmospheric concentration levels.  The origin of "human cased" emissions into the atmosphere happens to be the atmosphere.  While warming in the last 20 years has become statisticallyezero, existing CO2  levels, with correct mathematical rounding, is zero parts per thousand (400 PPM) of atmospheric concentration.  CO2 is essential for life and we're not exactly suffocating in it, decreasing levels would be much more reason for alarm.

Also not mentioned is that at least half pf human emissions are either absorbed by the earth or escape from the atmosphere.  

Further not mentioned is many types of energy not requiring subsidy, such as safe, zero emission, nuclear power sources are available.  Reliance on fossil fuels is a temporary choice.  We could easily move our grid off of fossil fuels and same for most of the transportation sector - if we chose to do that.

217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gender wars , victimhood, intolerance, facts, google on: August 17, 2017, 12:32:27 PM
I'm not as sensitive as others to the victimhood of women in technical fields since my mother was an aerospace/aeronautical engineer and my daughter a math major earning more in her first year than most men in our family ever made.  

By taking on the Google dissident, The Economist draws more attention and validity to his claims IMHO:

https://www.economist.com/news/21726276-last-week-paper-said-alphabets-boss-should-write-detailed-ringing-rebuttal

By re-printing this graph and attempting to refute his inferences, they re-publicize the merits:



The side that chooses to categorize individuals by the group they belong to, as if that is their defining quality, brings with that the statistical differences measured in those groups.  If a population has a different mean and similar standard deviation, and if that measure and difference is meaningful, then the differences in numbers of people is far more extreme at the edges of the distribution.  

A better idea than diversity obsession in race would be for us to become as nearly a color blind society as possible, and in gender hiring and promoting, how about trying to be gender blind and merit based?
218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nature, subglacial volcanoes in West Antarctica on: August 17, 2017, 11:59:47 AM
http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/rbingha2/48_2017_Vries.pdf

Scientists discover 91 unknown volcanoes beneath ice sheet in Antarctica.

The number of known volcanoes in the region just tripled.
 
Climate science is indeed settled, we just don't know what it is.

When these erupt, it will be 'human-caused'.
219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration, McMaster continued on: August 17, 2017, 11:36:42 AM
Reading two sides of this story and with VDH on his side, I will just keep an open mind about the value of this guy.  Here is the Jerusalem Post with military opinion that McMaster is a friend to Israel:  http://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Former-top-Israeli-security-officers-McMaster-is-a-friend-to-Israel-502294

And I notice a Powerline post taking a second look at what was written previously:

"I continue to have reservations about him. However, I now believe that one of my posts on the subject was unfair and needs to be revisited. "  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/08/mcmasters-obama-holdovers-a-second-look.php

If nothing else I think we can assume he is hundreds of times more competent and more right thinking than whoever would be in that position if the other side had won.
220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration, Bannon, unrepentent on: August 17, 2017, 11:25:00 AM
Interesting article on Steve Bannon, one of the voices competing for the President's sense of direction, if you can wade through the bias of the writier.

Bannon is partly right in his assessment of trade and China.  (More so than the BS over NAFTA IMHO)  WHy do we allow them to steal our intellectual properties?  The President's willingness to take a stronger stance with China and his threat to go further is empowering the US in negotiations over N.K. for one thing.

http://prospect.org/article/steve-bannon-unrepentant
221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Moral Courage and Moral Arbitrage on: August 17, 2017, 10:56:01 AM
"Moral Courage and Moral Arbitrage
by Dystopic | Aug 16, 2017 |
...
Take Marco Rubio, who today issued a series of tweets condemning Donald Trump..."

If this piece has the facts right, Trump is right and Rubio wrong.

https://amgreatness.com/2017/08/16/really-fault-charlottesville/

To me it looks like leftist opportunism; I don't see why Republicans are joining in.

Does anyone have a different, better version of the facts?
222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump and the campaign rejected meetings with Russians, Washington Post on: August 15, 2017, 11:05:34 AM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-campaign-emails-show-aides-repeated-efforts-to-set-up-russia-meetings/2017/08/14/54d08da6-7dc2-11e7-83c7-5bd5460f0d7e_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_russians-558pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.be1058cc6362

Amazing (or predictable?) how they put negative stories ahead of this one and then write and title this to sound like more appearances of collusion before you read far enough to see they kept turning down those offers.

"Trump campaign emails show aide’s repeated efforts to set up Russia meetings"

Yet the higher up you go in the organization, the more emphatic the answer NO was to the offers.

Mueller must be moving on to try to find 'evidence of other crimes that came up in the investigation'.

Don't ever let an IC and a good Grand Jury go to waste.
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Beware the Obamacare industrial complex, and its litany of lies, Stephen Moore on: August 15, 2017, 10:24:44 AM
Beware the Obamacare industrial complex
Its litany of lies are resurfacing, and consumers will pay the price

http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/13/obamacare-lies-resurfacing/

By Stephen Moore -
Sunday, August 13, 2017
ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The danger of a Republican bailout of Obamacare is mounting with every passing day. A group of “moderate” Republicans calling themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus is quietly negotiating with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to throw a multi-billion dollar life line to the Obamacare insurance exchanges.

This bailout, of course, would be an epic betrayal by a Republican Party which has promised to repeal and replace the financially crumbling Obama health law.
 
Republicans who are “negotiating” this bipartisan deal, such as Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, object to the term “bailout” for this rescue package. The left prefers the euphemism “stabilizing the insurance market.” The Washington Post’s left-wing fact checker, who just can’t seem to get his facts straight, says “bailout” is misleading pejorative language. The Post claims this is merely a payment to low income families to help pay for the escalating premiums under Obamacare. These payments were allegedly always part of the law as passed.

The hypocrisy here is towering. These are the same people who told us over and over again that Obamacare was going to “bend the cost curve of health care down.” These are the same people who promised that Obamacare was going to “save” the average family $2,500 a year in lower insurance premiums. (If Obamacare were lowering insurance costs not raising them, there would be no need for these bailout funds in the first place.)

These were also the same people who swore to us that Obamacare wasn’t going to raise the federal deficit by a dime. Oh really. Where is the $10 to $20 billion to pay for this new federal subsidy going to come from? Pixie dust?

Incidentally, is there even one single promise of Obamacare that has been kept after seven years?

So why is everyone suddenly rallying for an Obamacare bailout? Why aren’t they demanding more consumer choice, an end to the odious individual mandate, repeal of the tax increase, and expanded health savings accounts? The answer is simple. The new health law has given rise to an Obamacare industrial complex. The health system is now like a cocaine junkie hooked on federal payments.


This addiction explains why the insurance companies are lobbying furiously for these funds alongside their new found friends at left-wing interest groups like Center for American Progress. The irony of this alliance is that the left-wing allies the insurers have united with hate insurance companies and want to abolish them. The insurance lobby is selling rope to their hangman.

Hospital groups, the American Medical Association, the AARP and groups like them are on board too. They are joined by the Catholic Bishops and groups like the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association. (If you are donating money to any of these groups you might want to think again.) This multi-billion dollar health industrial complex has only one solution to every Obamacare crack-up: more regulation and more tax dollars.

For example, the Obamacare industrial complex argues that there was an innocent mistake in the Obamacare law as written (imagine that, maybe next time they will read the bill before they vote on it) and that these bail-out funds to Obamacare were intended to be automatic entitlement payments that would not have to be appropriated by Congress.

The Obamacare lobby is salivating over that idea. Every year the insurance companies would get fatter and fatter checks from the government no matter how much Obamacare costs escalate. Is this what the “Problem Solvers” in Congress really want? Financial accountability would be thrown out the window and Obamacare would become an appendage of Medicaid with exploding costs and a blank check from taxpayers.

This year the best estimate is that Obamacare will need at least $10 billion more to keep the system solvent. The death spiral in the program is getting more dire with every passing month, so it’s highly predictable these costs will ratchet up to $20 billion next year and more in the years that follow.

You can call this a bailout or just a swindle of taxpayers who were fed a litany of lies about Obamacare’s virtues from the very start. Either way taxpayers get shafted (again) and the Obamacare industrial complex gets fat and happy. If Republicans are partners to this fiscal crime, they are as culpable as the Democrats who passed this turkey in the first place and they certainly don’t deserve to be the governing party.

• Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with Freedom Works.
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care, Joe Rago on: August 15, 2017, 10:18:02 AM


Pulitzer Prize winning editorial writer, died at age 34, July 2017

Joe Rago continued:

The Political John Roberts
The Chief Justice again rewrites ObamaCare in order to save it.

June 25, 2015

For the second time in three years, Chief Justice John Roberts has rewritten the Affordable Care Act in order to save it. Beyond its implications for health care, the Court’s 6-3 ruling in King v. Burwell is a landmark that betrays the Chief’s vow to be “an umpire,” not a legislator in robes. He stands revealed as a most political Justice.

The black-letter language of ObamaCare limits insurance subsidies to “an Exchange established by the State.” But the Democrats who wrote the bill in 2010 never imagined that 36 states would refuse to participate. So the White House through the IRS wrote a regulation that also opened the subsidy spigots to exchanges established by the federal government.

***
Chief Justice Roberts has now become a co-conspirator in this executive law-making. With the verve of a legislator, he has effectively amended the statute to read “established by the State—or by the way the Federal Government.” His opinion—joined by the four liberal Justices and Anthony Kennedy —is all the more startling because it goes beyond normal deference to regulators.

Chief Justice Roberts concedes that the challengers’ arguments “about the plain meaning” of the law “are strong.” But then he writes that Congress in its 2010 haste bypassed “the traditional legislative process” and thus “the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.” So because ObamaCare is a bad law, the Court must interpret it differently from other laws.

Opinion Journal: Roberts Saves ObamaCare Again
Editorial Board Member Joe Rago on the Supreme Court decision to uphold ObamaCare subsidies to federal health exchanges in King v. Burwell.

More to the political point, the Chief argues that withdrawing the subsidies would undermine larger ObamaCare goals such as giving “certain people tax credits to make insurance more affordable” and could lead to bad policy consequences like higher costs. “It is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate in this manner,” he writes.

Even Solicitor General Donald Verrilli didn’t try to convince the Justices to rule in favor of the good intentions of “reforming” one-sixth of the economy. Instead he stressed statutory ambiguity and asked the Court to defer to the IRS. But Chief Justice Roberts goes beyond this and simply substitutes his own version of what he thinks Congress intended. This means that not even a new President with a new IRS could rewrite the subsidy rule because this rule is now what Chief Justice Roberts says it is.

As Justice Antonin Scalia observes in his coruscating dissent, “We [the Court] lack the prerogative to repair laws that do not work out in practice, just as the people lack the ability to throw us out of office if they dislike the solutions we concoct.” (See more Scalia nearby.) The framers made the judiciary the least accountable branch and vested all legislative power in Congress to protect the accountability necessary for durable self-government.

Justice Scalia quips acidly that “we should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” but the better term is RobertsCare. By volunteering as Nancy Pelosi’s copy editor, he is making her infamous line about passing the law to find out what’s in it even more true than she knew at the time. 
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the Left, An Inconvenient Flop (Al Gore movie) on: August 15, 2017, 09:15:28 AM
This was supposed to be a blockbuster.  Before I knew it was already out it has dropped to 18th in a field of disappointing movies

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?view=main&yr=2017&wknd=32&sort=rank&order=ASC&p=.htm

even though the left and the media (redundancy alert) promoted the hell out of it.
https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/business/aly-nielsen/2017/08/15/gores-latest-climate-film-inconvenient-flop
226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NORTH KOREA’S NEW MISSILES CAME FROM UKRAINE AND RUSSIA, REPORT CLAIMS on: August 15, 2017, 08:37:32 AM
Missile technology "via black market"... (?)
 
http://www.newsweek.com/north-korea-north-korea-missiles-north-korea-nuclear-north-korea-missiles-650504

The speed at which North Korea has ramped up its missile and nuclear defense programs within the last two years is reportedly due to purchases Kim Jong Un’s regime has made on a weapons black market linked to Ukraine and Russia, as the United States and the globe fret over a potential military conflict.

A new report released Monday by the International Institute for Strategic Studies explains the North has made “astounding strides” in missile development, and it could not have done so without a high-performance liquid-propellant engine, or LPE, provided by a “foreign source.”
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Charlottesville, VIrginia on: August 15, 2017, 08:24:10 AM
ccp:  "I thought Trump's initial response was appropriate.  He denounced bigotry and violence from both sides."

I wasn't following this over the weekend, and trying not to now, but his reaction seemed fine.  His opponents' reaction seemed predictable and then yesterday he uttered in the strongest terms everything they wanted him to say.  This wasn't about him and I can see why he didn't want to make it about him.  

Freedom of speech only becomes an issue when it is ugly speech.  Driving a car into a crowd isn't protected speech or acceptable to anyone.  It makes your own group look bad or draws attention to them already looking bad.  If stories that he threatened his mother with a knife are true, a serious crime, maybe the idea of prevention goes back to enforcing existing laws.

Meanwhile NK canceled its attack on the US (Guam).  Ho hum..


[Rick]  "There is little difference in concept between the two forces [Stalin and Hitler].  They just choose different groups against which to spew their hate."

Interesting that both of those evil forces chose the big, powerful government route, as does our left, while the conservative right, when it remembers its principles and direction, favors small government and individual freedom FOR ALL.  There is no such thing in my mind as a big government conservative.

The party of Lincoln who freed the slaves is the opposite of both the neo Nazis and militant white racists.  We oppose racial preferences and want immigrants here for their contribution and their common interest in our liberties, not as parasites, jihadists or to turn us into the place they came from.


VP Mike Pence:
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/13/pence-charlottesville-supremacists-241598
"I will say I take issue with the fact that many in the national media spent more time criticizing the president’s words than they did criticizing those that perpetrated the violence to begin with."   "We should be putting the attention where it belongs, and that is on those extremist groups that need to be pushed out of the public debate entirely and discredited for the hate groups and dangerous fringe groups that they are."
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Soda Tax has Unexpected, Unintended Results on: August 14, 2017, 04:51:57 PM
Who knew??

A new Tax Foundation report finds that the 1.5-cent-an-ounce levy that took effect in January is hurting low-income workers and producing less revenue than promised, is helping beer sales.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/philadelphias-soda-tax-bust-1502661280

It's okay to hurt low income workers, right, I mean if you're a well-intended, leftist-run city?

Tax it and get less of it, unexpectedly, that doesn't apply to capital, investment, employment, labor or private sector growth, does it?
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Intel Matters, Unmasking Samantha Power on: August 14, 2017, 04:40:28 PM
Why did the Obama administration need to know the identities of the Trump officials?  Why was Samantha Power, wife of Cass Sunstein, Ambassador to the United Nations the point person on that?

[Why was Susan Rice, fully removed from the situation, the point person on Benghazi?]

Oddly both were UN Ambassadors.

Who will write the definitive account of the Obama administration once all the failures and scandals are fully known?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/unmasking-samantha-power-1502492067

"...if high-level members of the Obama Administration were abusing intelligence to spy on Trump people during that same campaign, the American people deserve answers on that..."

230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues, Dr Judith Curry. Climate has become politicized. on: August 14, 2017, 04:26:58 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zk7Xfyv6k4

"On balance, I don’t see any particular dangers from greenhouse warming. [Humans do] influence climate to some extent, what we do with land-use changes and what we put into the atmosphere. But I don’t think it’s a large enough impact to dominate over natural climate variability."

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/08/why-global-warming-alarmism-is-wrong.php




231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker... on: August 14, 2017, 02:48:54 PM
" It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. "

  -  by Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776

http://geolib.com/smith.adam/won1-02.html
232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: August 14, 2017, 02:45:30 PM
Previously on these pages:  It would be great to wake one day to the news that our President had created a quiet coalition between the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan, for just this one purpose and they successfully disarmed and dethroned the dictator.  Easier now than later.

Since then...   Russia voted for sanctions.  China voted for sanctions.  China will stop the import from NK of coal, iron ore, fish and other items shorting them of a billion in badly needed hard currency.

Supporting us in a military operation against the nuclear threat of Kim Jung Un is one more step away.

They help in this not because they like us or want to help us but for their own purposes and because the world's largest economy and military still has levers if we are willing to use them.

233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: If he ran as a Democrat on: August 14, 2017, 02:14:48 PM
He could be President:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/215897/mccain-favorability-healthcare-vote.aspx

What a joke.  He has far higher ratings with the opposing party.  When have we ever seen that?

They only like him as a Republican.  In 2008, no one crossed over to vote for him.  Given the choice, they took a smooth talking junior community organizer for commander in chief over a war hero and they did it with historic enthusiasm.
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security, TSA conducts behind-the-scenes security tours for Jihadis on: August 14, 2017, 10:02:19 AM
You can't make this stuff up.  This came out of the local newspaper coverage of the Minnesota trial of a Somali ISIS recruiting operation in the Twin Cities.

"...behind-the-scenes security tour with about 50 imams and other members of the Muslim community at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. "

http://m.startribune.com/prosecutors-say-member-of-alleged-isil-recruit-s-defense-team-preached-jihad/373733531/

Content redacted on a Freedom of Information Act disclosure.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/08/dhs-magical-mystery-tour-doing-the-work-the-star-tribune-wont-do-3.php

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/02/dhs-magical-mystery-tour-and-why-i-need-a-lawyer.php

Who brought these Jihadis here in the first place?!  Who else gets back room TSA tours?  Do you folks want a blueprint to take with you?
235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hugh Hewitt interviews McMaster on: August 10, 2017, 12:15:06 PM
http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-news/watch/hugh-s-one-on-one-with-gen-h-r-mcmaster-1018099779985
236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The Sun did it on: August 10, 2017, 12:08:47 PM

This is a great find!

It turns out the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has over-estimated future global warming by as much as 10 times, he says.  “Yes, CO2 has an effect, but it’s about a fifth or tenth of what the IPCC says it is. CO2 is not driving the climate; it caused less than 20 per cent of the global warming in the last few decades”.

----------------
This matches what I have posted here and what I told a liberal, Yale-educated friend recently.  He asked something like, do I really deny global warming and all the science behind it?  I told him I think it is 2 1/2 to 7 times overstated and THAT is backed up in science too.
---------------

Article continued:

His discovery explains why none of the climate models used by the IPCC reflect the evidence of recorded temperatures. The models have failed to predict the pause in global warming which has been going on for 18 years and counting.

“The model architecture was wrong,” he says. “Carbon dioxide causes only minor warming. The climate is largely driven by factors outside our control.”

There is another problem with the original climate model, which has been around since 1896.

While climate scientists have been predicting since the 1990s that changes in temperature would follow changes in carbon dioxide, the records over the past half million years show that not to be the case.

So, the new improved climate model shows CO2 is not the culprit in recent global warming. But what is?

Dr Evans has a theory: solar activity. What he calls “albedo modulation”, the waxing and waning of reflected radiation from the Sun, is the likely cause of global warming.

He predicts global temperatures, which have plateaued, will begin to cool significantly, beginning between 2017 and 2021. The cooling will be about 0.3C in the 2020s. Some scientists have even forecast a mini ice age in the 2030s.

If Dr Evans is correct, then he has proven the theory on carbon dioxide wrong and blown a hole in climate alarmism. He will have explained why the doomsday predictions of climate scientists aren’t reflected in the actual temperatures.

Dr David Evans, who says climate model architecture is wrong, with wife Jo Nova, Picture: australianclimatemadness.com
Dr David Evans, who says climate model architecture is wrong, with wife Jo Nova, Picture: australianclimatemadness.comSource:Supplied
“It took me years to figure this out, but finally there is a potential resolution between the insistence of the climate scientists that CO2 is a big problem, and the empirical evidence that it doesn’t have nearly as much effect as they say.”

Dr Evans is an expert in Fourier analysis and digital signal processing, with a PhD, and two Masters degrees from Stanford University in electrical engineering, a Bachelor of Engineering (for which he won the University medal), Bachelor of Science, and Masters in Applied Maths from the University of Sydney.

He has been summarising his results in a series of blog posts on his wife Jo Nova’s blog for climate sceptics.

He is about half way through his series, with blog post 8, “Applying the Stefan-Boltzmann Law to Earth”, published on Friday.

When it is completed his work will be published as two scientific papers. Both papers are undergoing peer review.

“It’s a new paradigm,” he says. “It has several new ideas for people to get used to.”

Link again:  http://www.news.com.au/national/western-australia/miranda-devine-perth-electrical-engineers-discovery-will-change-climate-change-debate/news-story/d1fe0f22a737e8d67e75a5014d0519c6
237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left, California secession? Okay on: August 10, 2017, 11:52:33 AM
Secession looks more interesting now that it is the Left proposing it.  It makes me think, what if they did secede?

VDH often points out that Calif is really two states, not north and south but coastal versus all the rest.  If the liberals on the coast want out, and if liberal geographic blocs elsewhere want out too, what if we let them? 

They would take with them some of America's greatest assets, Silicon Valley, the Bay area, L.A, NYC, Wall Street, Boston, even Chicago.  They would get many of the greatest universities and largest newspapers (good riddance).  We would have to innovate and replace what we would lose, like the colonists losing Britain.

We would need new ports granted as part of the settlement and to keep at least our fair share of our military assets.  They probably don't want them anyway.  Both sides would need some form of free trade agreement and reasonable freedom of travel privileges, or right to migrate upon accepting the rules.

I'm sure there are many good reasons not to do this, but how else in our hopelessly divided country can we restore self determination, choice and consent of the governed?

I don't want to live under their socialist, Utopian, coercive government based system and they don't want to live in an individual freedom centered society.  Can we look for a win-win, live under two separate systems?
238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration Letter, RAISE, Tom Cotton, Perdue, Cruz, Rubio on: August 10, 2017, 10:17:37 AM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/r/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2017/07/11/Editorial-Opinion/Graphics/Tillerson_JCPOA_Letter07112017.pdf?tid=a_inl
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How Obama’s Weakness Encouraged Russian Election Meddling on: August 10, 2017, 10:15:22 AM
It was Obama not Trump who was calibrating policy toward Russia

https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/08/04/obamas-weakness-encouraged-russian-meddling/

How Obama’s Weakness Encouraged Russian Election Meddling
DAMIR MARUSIC
From the mysterious death of Mikhail Lesin in Washington DC to the assault on an American in front of our embassy in Moscow, President Obama was very careful in calibrating his responses to Russian provocations throughout 2016. Too careful.

Amid the unrelenting media din accompanying the latest twist in the White House’s ongoing personnel struggles last week, BuzzFeed News managed to cause a minor stir by publishing an update on the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of Mikhail Lesin, the former Putin advisor instrumental in cowing Russia’s lively media in the early 2000s. Lesin, who died in a Washington DC hotel room on November 5, 2015 of “blunt force injuries of the head,” was said to have fatally injured himself by falling after being “excessively” drunk for several days. The death was officially ruled an accident in October 2016. The BuzzFeed article updated the narrative: two FBI agents with some knowledge of the case seemed to suggest that Lesin had in fact been beaten, perhaps with a baseball bat; that he was in Washington to talk to the Feds, and was put up at his hotel by the Department of Justice; and, implicitly, that there had been some kind of cover-up by the Obama Administration.

I was at a small conference in Lithuania almost two years ago, alongside several other Russia-watchers, when the news of Lesin’s death first broke. As our phones lit up with notifications, the consensus was unanimous: “He’s been whacked!” Russia experts have a kind of gallows humor reflex about unexpected deaths of those surrounding Vladimir Putin. Lesin had stepped down as the head of Gazprom Media a little less than a year before amid rumors of having fallen out with someone well-placed in the Kremlin, so his death immediately conjured up conspiracies in our minds. The fact that the Russian Embassy was furiously spinning the story hours after it had broken, saying Lesin had died of a heart attack when there was no way they could have known, just added fuel to the fire. And when it took more than four months for the D.C. coroner to announce that Lesin had died from a blow to the head, and another seven months for investigators to conclude that he had received it from an unlucky drunken fall, those suspicions hardened into a theory: The Obama Administration didn’t want this spiraling out into a large scandal because, among other things, it sought Russian cooperation on Syria and Ukraine.

Does BuzzFeed’s article confirm the theory? Not necessarily. We on the outside can’t know everything the Obama Administration was seeing at the time as it was calibrating its policy towards Russia, and we won’t know definitively for many more years to come. But given what we know of President Obama’s foreign policy thinking during his second term, largely due to the work of Jeffrey Goldberg and David Samuels, we can say that as a tendency, the President saw Putin’s Russia as a problem child to be corralled, not as an aggressive actor to be confronted. And in practice, that personal tendency of the President manifested itself as an over-reluctance to react on the part of his Administration—a kind of timidity.

This timidity was on display all throughout 2016, well before the President was confronted with a detailed report from the CIA containing evidence of Russian interference in our elections. In July of that year, just a little after Trump, Jr. held his meeting with the so-called Russian lobbyists in New York, an explosive video started making the rounds—footage of a Russian security guard wrestling an alleged U.S. spy to the ground right outside the U.S. embassy in Moscow, in the process fracturing the American’s shoulder. It was an act of unprecedented aggression on the part of the Russians, with at least one former U.S. intelligence official noting how such brazen behavior was unheard of even at the height of the Cold War. And it was but the most egregious manifestation of what appears to have been a concerted effort to intimidate U.S. diplomats in Russia. One American family had found its dog killed upon coming home; another diplomat discovered human feces smeared on his rug; and around the time the video, already months old, was leaked to the press, a military helicopter had repeatedly buzzed a car carrying a U.S. defense attaché in the north of Russia. To these provocations, the Obama Administration repeatedly turned the other cheek, presumably out of a desire to not scotch what they hoped were promising signs of a breakthrough in Ukraine or Syria.

Of course, not only did the promising breakthrough not materialize, but a month later, CIA Director John Brennan was knocking down President Obama’s door with a grim intel assessment: President Putin had personally authorized his agencies to commence meddling in the U.S. elections. It was armed with this knowledge that Obama said he confronted Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Huangzhou, China, telling him to “cut it out, or there would be serious consequences.” Putin must have had himself a hearty laugh.

In explaining how he approached Putin, Obama defended his understated manner at a press conference in December. “There have been folks out there who suggest somehow if we went out there and made big announcements and thumped our chests about a bunch of stuff, that somehow it would potentially spook the Russians,” Obama said. “I think it doesn’t read the thought process in Russia very well.” Given the fuller picture we now can piece together, it’s clear that it is Obama who didn’t read the Russian thought process very well. If Russian agents had bludgeoned Lesin into a pulp on U.S. soil under the nose of the Feds and had beaten a U.S. spy on the threshold of the U.S. embassy in Moscow without any perceptible blowback, what possible danger was there for Putin to roundly ignore Obama’s feeble threats?

And indeed, as the Washington Post reported, while Obama did in the end quietly authorize U.S. intelligence agencies to start developing and deploying a powerful cyber-weapon into critical Russian infrastructure, the most visible element of his response to Russian election meddling was taking two compounds used for intelligence gathering and expelling 35 suspected Russian spies—a symbolic gesture. Adding to the irony, the confiscations and expulsions were originally mooted as a response to the roughing up of the American agent in Moscow. Had Obama acted forthrightly then, Putin would have taken him more seriously when he leveled his threats in September.

Many Democrats seem to have conveniently forgotten just how halting, indecisive, and weak President Obama’s approach to Putin’s Russia had been in practice. When the BuzzFeed story first broke, some of the more prominent conspiracy theorists even tried to tie it to the Trump-Russia investigations:

"BREAKING: Vladimir Putin has likely killed another Russian related to the Trump-Russia probe. That makes it... {counting}... a *lot*."  (Seth Abramson - Twitter)

The truth is, insofar as Russian interference helped elect Donald Trump at the margins, it was Obama’s timidity that encouraged them to try such brazen things in the first place.
240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues, Chicago on: August 10, 2017, 10:08:46 AM
ccp,  The quality of the public courts in Lincoln Park was impressive.  I could feel the cushion as I walked on, similar to playing on a tour level facility. Very expensive to build, up to date and heavily used.  And the elegant brick houses where liberal elites live are so tall and close together that you can't even hear the gunfire from the south side.

My first job also was in tennis.  At 16 I would go in (on my bicycle in January) and clean carpeted indoor tennis courts for $1.65/hr.  (Jobs they mostly don't have in the inner city).  At 17 I was teaching assistant to an NCAA champion and at 18 I strung racquets that won two  events at Wimbledon (1974).  But in liberal nonsense America, we degrade entry level jobs, remove the economic ladder and want to see how many people can make it by starting at the top!

No they don't make wooden racquets anymore, the Jimmy Connors (steel) T2000, nor are space shuttle aircrafts made out of Kitty Hawk materials... )  Occasionally groups will host a wooden racquet tournament so people can see how hard it used to be.
241  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: How bad is the rioting and looting in the Twin Cities? on: August 10, 2017, 09:19:59 AM
"Any chants of "No justice, no peace!"? Sporadic looting?"

They were able to correct past kitchen looting mob issuess by over-serving meals and beverages on a regular basis.  In technical political economic jargon, it's called free sh*t.
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: another one we have to get rid of, (McCain) on: August 10, 2017, 09:13:05 AM

This issued was settled in the 2016 election.  McCain's view was on the ballot via his surrogate Lindsey Graham.  Graham won 0.1% of the Republican vote in two states and 0.0% in the rest while Trump and 'Build the Wall' won the nomination and 30 states.

I backed Rubio's approach and it failed.  Elections have consequences.
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races, the problem and the solution on: August 10, 2017, 09:09:06 AM
Hannity, Levin, even Trump are blaming McConnell for the failure of healthcare reform and the people are blaming the Republican party. I don't buy that. It's McConnell's fault only if there were 50 votes there and he failed to find them.  The blame for health care (IMHO) and other unaccomplished reforms lies with those blocking it, McCain, Murkowski and Collins and the 48 Democrats who opposed it.  

McCain was the most deceitful to his electorate of them all.  He said what he needed to say to get reelected, repeal Obamacare - I approve this message.  Then on his deathbed of brain tumor surgery he realized he never has to get reelected again and went back without remorse to being himself.

Murkowski is her own story and Collins is Collins, Republican in name only for the most part.  Maybe Trump and McConnell have more leverage with the Trump state Democrats, especially the ones running for reelection in states Trump won by HUGE, double digit margins:

Of the 10 Democratic incumbents running for reelection in 2018 in states won by Trump, 5 or 6 of those were very lopsided:

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Trump won by 42%
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Trump won by 36%,
Jon Tester of Montana, Trump won by 21%
Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Trump won by 19%
Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Trump won by 18%

One angle to this story is their likelihood of being reelected.  A more timely question is, what they will be willing to do to show their electorate their independence from the extreme progressive, Trump derangement, movement?

Bill Nelson (Fl), Sharrod Brown (Oh), Bob Casey (Pa), Tammy Baldwin (Wi), and Debbie Stabenow (Mi) make up the other five of the ten.

On the other side of the coin, Dems need to win in TEXAS (against Cruz), defeat incumbent Republicans in Arizona and Nevada, plus run the table in the ones listed above, North Dakota, West Virginia, Montana, Indiana, Missouri, to swing the Senate!  What is the winning liberal message that accomplishes that??  Open borders?  Transgenderism?  Higher taxes?
  Liberal judges?  Government healthcare?  Certainly not what they are doing now!

Terms like the stupid party or the party with a national leadership crisis need to be plural.

244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Reform or End the CBO, Mike Lee says make the CBO show its work on: August 09, 2017, 10:05:44 AM
Newt Gingrich promised to reform the static and biased CBO, baseline budgeting and false tax and spending cut math.  A quarter century we still battle the same dinosaurs that act to stop reform of both health care and taxes.

I shouldn't need a link to prove that point.  Has CBO ever been right on ANYTHING?

https://www.cato.org/blog/how-revenue-neutrality-be-judged
https://www.cato.org/blog/cbo-projections-no-basis-claiming-tax-reform-loses-money

When you deny the positive, largely predictable effects of improving incentives in the economy, you are denying science.

The official policy of the US Government in 2017 is to deny science.  Reform the swamp - or drain it.

Famous people caught reading the forum...

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/sen-mike-lee-make-the-cbo-show-its-work/article/2630568

When Democrats passed Obamacare on a party-line vote in March 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that by 2016, 21 million people would receive health insurance through the law's exchanges. In reality, just 10 million people did.

The CBO's model was off by more than 100 percent.

The same CBO estimate predicted that Medicaid would grow by 17 million enrollees to about 52 million. In reality, more than 34 million people have signed up for Medicaid since Obamacare became law, for a total of 74.5 million recipients today.

Again, the CBO's model was off by around 100 percent.

Now the CBO wants us to believe, based on the same models, that just repealing Obamacare's individual mandate, without a single dime's worth of cuts to Medicaid, would cause more than 7 million people to abandon their Medicaid coverage.

There are good reasons to be skeptical of the quality of healthcare that lower-income Americans receive through Medicaid, but why would 7 million voluntarily give up Medicaid coverage they receive for free? These CBO projections, and others like it, strain the boundaries of common sense.

When it comes to topics like the effectiveness of the individual mandate, there are sharp disagreements among experts. That's why, in the academic community, scholars have to "show their work" by publicly disclosing their data, estimates, and analysis to scholarly scrutiny, and most importantly, refinement and improvement.

Congress does need a scorekeeper to provide budgetary estimates for the policy changes it considers. But at a bare minimum, that scorekeeper should be forced to show how its models work. Currently the CBO doesn't have to do that. It's a "black box," a secret formula even Congress can't be allowed to see, yet which the House and Senate must treat as if they were handed down on stone tablets at Mt. Sinai.

It's an indefensible situation.

That is why I have introduced the CBO Show Your Work Act of 2017. This bill would require the CBO to publish its data, models, and all details of computation used in its cost analysis and scoring. CBO would keep its role as official scorekeeper of congressional budget proposals – but now the public and the economic community would be able to see what's going on in all those spreadsheets and algorithms.

That is, it would hold CBO to the same standard the American Economic Association's "Data Availability Policy" sets for all academic economists: requiring all paper authors to ensure their data "are readily available to any researcher for purposes of replication."

Consider again Obamacare's individual mandate. President Barack Obama opposed an individual mandate while campaigning in 2008, but saw the light later when the CBO started scoring Obamacare drafts.

A 2009 memo written by then-White House health adviser Nancy-Ann DeParle informed the president, "Based on our policy analysis, we believe that a weak requirement for all Americans to have insurance may come close to achieving the maximum coverage that can be achieved through aggressive outreach and auto-enrollment. Unfortunately, however, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will likely take the position that without an individual responsibility requirement, half of the uninsured will be left uncovered."


Following this memo, Obama chose to substitute the CBO's policy judgment for his own. The individual mandate became a pillar of the largest policy change in a generation.

Policymakers need data and data analysis to do their jobs. But to do their jobs well, they need the best analysis. And centuries of practical experience tell us that transparency and replicability are essential to the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge. There is simply no serious argument for insulating the most influential economic modelers in the United States from the academic standards that govern everyone from Nobel Prize-winning physicists to second graders "carrying the one" as they learn long addition.

We can do better as a Congress and a nation. We are never going to agree on what the best healthcare, tax, or energy policies should be. But when we make our arguments about the costs and benefits of our preferred policies, we should at least be willing to explain how and why our policies would work.
245  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: How bad is the rioting and looting in the Twin Cities? on: August 09, 2017, 09:28:27 AM
I figure both Minneapolis and St. Paul are burning now, right?

[Black Somalian cop shoots white Australian woman.]  I can tell you it's gone crazy.  I haven't seen anything like it - since last summer.   I don't know if a photo of a recent weekend can capture the level mayhem here in MN.  The mayor of Minneapolis is asking us to embrace the discomfort of transformation.  At the MacG compound, people were seen in a state of panic, fleeing in life rafts, utilizing boats of all types, wind and gas powered, paddling, some pulled by a rope behind a speed boat with only a ski underfoot, others under water, some running, biking, swimming for their lives.  Some accepted the defeat and just sat taking alcohol internally rather than flee.  Will try to keep you updated.
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: America's Inner City; Urban Issues, Chicago continued on: August 09, 2017, 08:57:31 AM
I visited my daughter in Chicago over the weekend and witnessed the amazingly diverse parts of the urban experience.  I visited the downtown financial district.  Saw the outdoor concert crowds.  We played tennis in Lincoln Park while people walked their dogs and new parents attended to their young children on swings.  Biked the Lake Michigan coastline.  Flew in through O'hare.  Left via the bus station. Within this 9 million person metro one can find the best and the worst in our 2017 civilization.

While we enjoyed a beautiful, peaceful day in Lincoln Park on a Sunday afternoon...


other people in other parks had a different experience:

4:20 p.m. Friday — Man shot in Humboldt Park
4:39 p.m. Friday — Man shot following argument at Chicago Lawn business
7:55 p.m. Friday — Man, 29, wounded in Austin shooting
8:24 p.m. Friday — 2 shot in Brighton Park
10:15 p.m. Friday — Man shot, seriously wounded in parked vehicle in Gresham
11:20 p.m. Friday — Man shot on sidewalk in Lawndale
1 a.m. Saturday — Man hurt in Portage Park shooting
1:22 a.m. Saturday — Man shot in chest in Albany Park
5:44 a.m. Saturday — Man in critical condition after Back of the Yards shooting
11:04 a.m. Saturday — Man critically hurt in East Garfield Park shooting
10:15 p.m. Saturday — 2 teenage boys among 3 wounded in Little Village shooting
10:40 p.n. Saturday — Police: Man shot to death while driving in Englewood
11:50 p.m. Saturday — Man shot, critically wounded in South Chicago
12:20 a.m. Sunday — 2 men wounded, 1 critically, in Hanson Park shooting
2:35 a.m. Sunday — Police: 14-year-old boy killed in Pilsen drive-by shooting
3:20 a.m. Sunday — Man shot in Humboldt Park
4:10 a.m. Sunday — 2 wounded in East Garfield Park shooting
4:41 a.m. Sunday — Man shot in Sheridan Park
5 a.m. Sunday — Man wounded in Pilsen drive-by shooting
5:18 a.m. Sunday — Police: Man killed in domestic-related shooting in Clearing
7:56 p.m. Sunday — 2 men wounded in Near North Side shooting
10:50 p.m. Sunday — 19-year-old man shot in South Shore
11:50 p.m. Sunday — Man wounded in West Pullman shooting
3:58 a.m. Monday — Man, 23, shot in Washington Park
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: USMC: All Male Units are better than Mixed Gender on: August 07, 2017, 06:31:17 AM
Let's see, not Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.  Outside of ccp and Reagan winning in Grenada, Japan 72 years ago was our last victory?
248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: USMC: All Male Units are better than Mixed Gender on: August 06, 2017, 10:18:18 AM
I thought that trannies were the key to military dominance.

Is winning wars still the objective of the US military?  Or is it a social spending program with an emphasis on social and cultural transformation? 

249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump era redefines political approval measures on: August 05, 2017, 06:59:20 PM
A story last week said only 14% of Republicans support the job the (Republican) Congress is doing, right after health care reform imploded.  The correct number should be zero.  Who on the right can approve of failure?  That may hurt fundraising,  turnout and brand polling but doesn't make anyone who hates big government switch to favor failed government programs amd the party that brought us that.

Trump approval apparently has hit new lows while nothing seems to get done, yet I would bet he has increased in stature since becoming President and would defeat Hillary more handily now than he did last year.

With his tweeting, his mis-steps, his big mouth, his ego-centric personality, his loose connection with accuracy or truth etc, I could never say I approve of him as President or tell a son or daughter to grow up to be like him.  But I would vote for him over every possible Democrat imaginable. 

We had a 180 degree turn on almost everything important.  The Supreme Court, environmental regulation over-reach, attempts to roll back Obamacare, tax reform effort coming, and on and on.  The question is not whether you approve of him.  The question is whether you want him to keep going.  I do.
250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: August 05, 2017, 06:41:00 PM
"China May Finally Be Ready to Work With the United States on North Korea"

This is all silly.
We have had this dance for decades and where are we now.  Only thing that will work is force.

Otherwise we accept NK a nuclear power - just as Krauthammer pointed out.

I am an optimist on this.  There are a lot of levers available other than force - and we have force too.  I wrote this before but wouldn't it be great if the art of the deal guy with all the levers of the leader of the free world, with logic, power, safety and ?everything else on his side, could get China to cooperate on this?

If they don't and if we don't take out the threat...  Japan, South Korea, Taiwan will go nuclear too, and others.  When the world's lowest tech country can go nuclear, they all will.  A nuclear Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines?  How is THAT in China's best strategic, control of their own backyard, interest?
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