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51  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico readies the corn card on: April 03, 2017, 02:00:13 PM

That is some of the worst economic reporting I have ever seen.  Probably no ag or trade economists on staff at NYT.  Were the Mexicans buying US corn as some kind of a favor to US farmers?  Or was it because they were getting the best product for the best price from the closest, most reliable suppliers?

If they could grow all their corn better and cheaper at home, wouldn't they already be doing that?  Don't we also buy a lot of Mexican agricultural products? https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/agricultural-trade/  What market of similar size, prosperity and proximity will they sell their products to when they cut off US trade?  How popular will Mexican leaders be when they force up food prices.  Is Argentina more efficient than the US?  Maybe a hundred years ago.  Maybe they can cut a supplier contract with Venezuela to buy their excess food.  Or substitute soy tortillas for corn.  Who will notice?

Good grief.

NYT is a little late to the story, CNN had it 2 months ago:
http://money.cnn.com/2017/02/13/news/economy/mexico-trump-us-corn/

What happens if this fictitious event actually happens?
"The global market effect would kick in, if Mexico stopped U.S. corn imports.  Any demand that would shift from the U.S. to South America would cause other world buyers to shift purchases from South America to the U.S.”  http://www.agriculture.com/news/business/no-mas-to-us-corn-imports-mexico-senator-says

Who knew?
52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Electoral, Russians, campaign, administration, spying, hacking, interfering on: April 03, 2017, 12:06:50 PM
There are three questions and three answers emerging in the convoluted Russian spy intelligence scandal web that has been woven:

1) Did the Russians hack/interfere/change the outcome of our election?
2) Did the Trump team play a part in that if it happened?
3) Did the Obama administration spy on the Trump team during the campaign?

As the information is coming in, the answers to that are looking like: no, no, and yes.
53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Mahler's 2nd Symphony on: April 03, 2017, 12:00:55 PM
A pretty part (4 minutes) at the end of the second movement (Andante moderato) before all the wild stuff gets going.

I was proud to see my sister perform this piece over the weekend.  The conductor's opening remarks ended with, "You are in for a treat."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5jBVD1cztA
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Wesbury: Fed may shrink balance sheet on: April 03, 2017, 11:34:29 AM
The political leadership at the Fed is done trying to prop up and cover up the failure of Obamanomics  - and they aren't being subtle about the timing.

Doing the right thing with monetary policy now, suddenly, after doing the wrong thing for a good part of two decades, may have negative, short term consequences.

The Trump agenda has three stimulative components, reforming our tax system, repealing Obamacare and easing the burden of excessive regulations, of which he has so far made no progress on two out of three.  But on come the monetary brakes anyway...

In a perfect world, these corrections with offsetting consequences should all be made at once.
55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China building navy’s biggest amphibious assault vessel on: April 03, 2017, 11:18:43 AM
China building navy’s biggest amphibious assault vessel

South China Morning Post
http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2083109/china-building-navys-biggest-amphibious-assault-vessel

Ships will strengthen navy as Beijing makes more assertive claims to disputed waters in South China Sea and increases sea patrols amid strained ties with Taiwan

China has started building a new generation of large amphibious assault vessels that will strengthen the navy as it plays a more dominant role in projecting the nation’s power overseas, military sources said.
The 075 Landing Helicopter Dock is now under construction by a Shanghai-based shipbuilding company, the sources said.
The amphibious vessel is far larger than similar ships previously constructed for the PLA Navy.
The 075 can serve as a form of aircraft carrier and military experts said it would give China’s navy the ability to launch various types of helicopters to attack naval vessels, enemy ground forces or submarines in the East or South China Sea.
table
The introduction of the vessel comes as China is placing increasing importance on its navy as it makes more assertive claims to much of the South China Sea.
The PLA has also increased the number of naval patrols near Taiwan, amid strained ties with the independence-leaning government of the island, which Beijing considers a breakaway province that has split from the rest of the nation.
China’s navy commander, Vice-Admiral Shen Jinlong, visited the Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Company on Sunday, which specialises in building Landing Helicopter Docks, the company said on its website.

One source close to the navy said Shen’s inspection trip confirmed construction work was underway on the new class of vessel.
“Construction of the Type 075 ships will take two more years,” the source said. “The first vessel may be launched as early as 2019 and put into full service in 2020.”
As overseas ambitions expand, China plans 400 per cent increase to marine corps numbers, sources say

Beijing is also due to launch its first home-built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, on April 23, according to Chinese media reports and military sources, as part of its strengthened naval forces.
April 23 marks the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy and President Xi Jinping may attend the launch ceremony, one of the sources added.
Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said: “This year is a big year for the navy as the supreme Central Military Commission has announced it’s going to expand. That’s why the launch time was set for the navy’s birthday.”
The South China Morning Post reported earlier this month, citing military sources, that the navy planned to increase the size of its marine corps from about 20,000 to 100,000 personnel to help protect its increasing interests overseas.
The launch of the 001A carrier and the construction of the Type 075 amphibious assault vessel provide further evidence that marine corps troops and the navy will play an increasingly important part in PLA operations.
China to step up patrols to create ‘first class’ navy

The Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said building the bigger Type 075 vessels, which are similar in size to the largest American Wasp-class amphibious ships, would help the navy match the US in the use of helicopters in its fleet.
“China has so many giant warships, including four Type 071 amphibious vessels and two aircraft carriers, but its vertical landing capability is still limited due to a lack of the largest helicopter dock vessels,” Wong said. “ The launch of Type 075 will let the navy become the world’s No 2 powerful navy after the US.”
The Type 075 is able to deploy and house up to 30 armed helicopters. Six helicopters will be able to take off from the flight deck at the same time.
The vessels will also be able to deploy landing craft and troops, plus house command and control operations.
PLA Vice-Admiral Shen Jinlong (centre) pictured during his inspection trip at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Company on Sunday. Photo: Handout
Its developer is a subsidiary of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation which has produced at least four, smaller 20,000 tonne Type 071 amphibious transport docks.
The PLA navy dispatched one of the smaller amphibious ships to Fiery Cross Reef and other man-made islands in disputed areas of the South China Sea for the first time last year.
The construction of the new vessel is also likely to put more military pressure on Taiwan.
Its government says Beijing has increased the military “intimidation” of the island since President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence leaning Democratic Progressive Party won elections in January 2016.
Navy must take lead in national defence, retired PLA general says

The US Department of Defence said in a report to Congress last year that the PLA was building a strong amphibious assault force and that this posed a threat to Taiwan.
These included amphibious landing ships, armoured brigades and marine corps, the report said.
Another source said that after visit his visit to see the Type 075 under construction, Vice-Admiral Shen also inspected progress on the new Type 002 aircraft carrier.
The Type 002 will be China’s third carrier, which has been under construction at the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard in Shanghai since March 2015.
It is expected to be launched in about 2021.
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Intel Matters, Russians, campaign, administration, spying, hacking, interfering on: April 03, 2017, 11:11:32 AM
Steer me to the right thread for this...

There are three questions and three answers emerging in the convoluted Russian spy intelligence scandal web that has been woven:

1) Did the Russians hack/interfere/change the outcome of our election?
2) Did the Trump team play a part in that if it happened?
3) Did the Obama administration spy on the Trump team during the campaign?

As the information is coming in, the answers to that are looking like: no, no, and yes.
57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans on: March 31, 2017, 08:35:19 AM
Trump blaming the freedom caucus for the failure of healthcare reform 1.0 is bad politics.  They need each other, and the count was 15 no votes Freedom caucus, 18 no votes other Republicans.
58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 31, 2017, 08:29:41 AM
Without the persuasive articulation of the big picture we offer, we will fail to get there.

That sums up what happened on the last go-around.
59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Two Democrats Back Gorsuch on: March 31, 2017, 08:27:24 AM
The only way this ends well for Democrats is if they admit but it is good for America to confirm a Justice who promises to do his best to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution.

If they get 100% of Republicans, plus these two plus Pence, that makes 55 with more coming.

George Will says let them filibuster - talk endlessly until they are ready to vote.

These two of course are red-state Democrats up for re-election.  Their Democratic colleagues understand what they need to do.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/neil-gorsuch-joe-manchin-heidi-heitkamp-democrats-scotus-236718
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Crafty Dog's solution? on: March 30, 2017, 11:21:56 AM
For as far as it goes, Crafty has this exactly right IMHO for how a successful American healthcare system needs to work - as a long term solution.  The ONLY forces that contain costs are market competition and the budget constraints of the customers, of which we now have neither.  One legitimate role for government is to make providers provide transparent pricing wherever possible.

Can such a program alone (described below) win 216 votes in the House right now, 51 (or 60) votes in the Senate and get signed by the President?    - No.  Why not?  Republicans will be (falsely) accused of putting 24 million people out of healthcare.  100 million adults plus nearly all children under 16 don't work.  That fact doesn't change instantly and doesn't change much over time.  It will take time to repeal the Obama era caps on growth and then take time for incomes and workforce participation to grow and for costs to be contained.  Meanwhile, new cures for ailments will be developed, be expensive and people will demand them. 

There needs to be a plan for the transition to a market system.  10 million people are receiving an average of 3600/year subsidy not counting government healthcare in Medicaid, Medicare, VA, government employee plans, etc.  Very few representatives will support any kind of pure, market solution that leaves them open to criticism of being heartless and leaving real people without coverage.  (cf. The freedom caucus plan had far less support than the Ryan-Trump plan.)

We need a plan that can: 1) pass now, 2) provide adequately for the transition, and 3) leave us in the end with a privatized, market system where consumers have at least as much power as providers and government.

We also need the other reforms, especially of the tax and entitlement systems, that are necessary to grow national income and reduce program dependency or we aren't going to ever grow past rampant government dependency.  Income is an essential component in affordability.

All bills that address a healthcare transition will be flawed, and socialistic, and Obamacare Lite-like, but the consequences of passing none of them right now will be catastrophic.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Crafty's plan: 
a) limit health insurance to true catastrophes after a pretty big deductible; 
b) take the money used to everything-is-covered health insurance use it to fund Health Savings Accounts for low income folks, and
c) require prices be known.
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Tax Reform 2017, Consequences on: March 28, 2017, 02:22:04 PM
The failure of Obamacare repeal makes tax reform harder.  24 Obamacare taxes were not repealed and the coalition is badly damaged.  The bill being floated around is flawed in many ways and no one has an answer that would both succeed if passed and pass.

The blue state penalty (lose deductibility for state and local taxes, property taxes) won't pass.  The rates don't drop that far.  The 'border tax' isn't going to be understood even if it was a good idea.  The CBO won't score it accurately or dynamically.  The talking points against it will be generated by Congress's own budget office.  Guess what, tax rate cuts will benefit the people first and most who pay the highest rates.  Get over it, but they won't.  It will feed the same narrative as kicking low income people off of healthcare, with no conservative messaging to answer it.

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin wants this done by August recess.  

Even if it eventually is watered down enough to pass, it will be too late in the year to make it retroactive to the first.  They can't measure what part of your income is before and after passage so the effective date has to be delayed to 2018, locking is a slowdown for this year - if it hasn't started already.

Investors and markets hate uncertainty, and uncertainty is now the law of the land.  The effect of both delayed tax rate cuts and uncertainty is to freeze decision making and delay and destroy valuable economic activity.

What will be the consequences of that?  Sustained (Obama plowhorse) growth?  Doubtful.  Growth you might expect from tax reform without tax reform?  Not a chance.  A stall or pause that feeds on itself and leads to a correction, recession or worse?  All possible.  

What happens if/when it all fails, negotiations break down on both healthcare and tax reform?  Add to that other potential problems brewing here and around the world?  I don't want to know.

Some of us wrote here in the 2012 election cycle that that was the last chance to get it right, and we didn't.  I didn't think we were writing hyperbole nor overstating the dangers.  What if we were right?

Meanwhile Washington marches on with a Crisis? What Crisis? attitude.  Ho hum, maybe we should try some tax reform over the summer, start with a completely unpassable, incomprehensible bill with no plan to sell it after screwing up healthcare and letting popularity levels of the President and Congress to drop to the thirties and the teens respectively.  

What could possibly go wrong?
62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care Reform on: March 28, 2017, 02:04:35 PM
From somewhere in my readings this morning, these are the votes in the House that the Ryan-Trump-GOP bill did not win, 15 in 'Freedom' caucus, 10 'moderates' and 8 'other'.  There is no way to perfectly measure because they never took the vote.

All accounts either blame the Freedom Caucus ("far right") for not agreeing to what they don't strongly oppose, or blame Speaker Ryan for failing to get consensus.  But a 216 vote consensus was not possible when people strongly disagree with each other at both ends and the middle.

[Doug's proposal here: http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1411.msg102574#msg102574]

The Freedom caucus does not want a new entitlement or anything that would accurately be labeled Obamacare-Lite.  They (correctly) believe in market solutions, government's role if they have one is in the safety net, not to design and run the system.  I agree, but do THEY have 216 votes?  No one asks them, see Jim Jordan on Fox News Sunday, because it is obvious they don't.

Moderates worry about the political (and human) consequences that they will be blamed for keeping 24 million people off of coverage.  See false CBO report - that is required to bring the bill to a vote.  (Change that rule!)

Put in even fewer subsidies and write a purer, market oriented billl for the right and you lose more votes on the left.  Leave it they way it is now and all Republicans (and all Americans) are screwed.
 
So what next for reform?  What force moves the needle or tips the balance?  Hopefully they are reading the polls in the aftermath of this and figuring out an answer.  If they wait until after the mid-terms to primary and challenge each other, the majority will be lost along with the once in a lifetime opportunity to end this disaster.
63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: March 28, 2017, 08:45:50 AM
As you guys probably remember, my proposal was for this sort of tax REPLACING other taxes; that said I find the politics of this proposal intriguing , , ,

It is intriguing in the theoretical sense, to tax pollution for its social cost instead of regulating it.  A number of things don't line up on that for this IMHO.  It's not pollution.  We don't know the cost.  If we tax it enough to make it go away, which is the goal, it doesn't make a solid revenue source to pay for defense, healthcare etc. to replace other taxes.  At some price, we could switch to nuclear grid power for example, which is carbon free, and the budget crashes.

Moving from the theoretical to the political, it doesn't replace the federal income tax unless we repeal the 16th amendment.    To repeal the 16th and move to any or every kind of consumption tax as this would be passed along to the consumer, we would need 288 votes in the House, 67 votes in the Senate and ratification in 38 states.

As GM points out, other taxes won't go away just because we have more sources of revenue.   The politics for taxing income (punitively) remains the same, no matter how much other money we can find.

MHO.
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Opposing the Carbon Tax on: March 27, 2017, 05:21:56 PM
Tax carbon ($40?) per ton.  Pay back to all, $500 per capita per year at the start.

What don't you like?

1.  I don't trust it would be implemented as proposed.  For sure we will pay in more; I don't believe for a minute we would see most or all of it back.

2. If they instead promised to use the revenues to reduce the burden of other taxes, income taxes for example, I don't believe those rates will go down or stay down either.  New taxes lead to new spending.

3. The purpose is to reduce emissions.  If it succeeds, it is a declining and unreliable source of revenue.  Yet the proposal says it will increase over time.

4. I'm not persuaded that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, or that our federal government can accurately or honestly measure and assess the 'cost'.  Carbon dioxide is a trace element in the atmosphere, less than one part per thousand, and yet is an essential building block of life.  I would be far more concerned if CO2 levels were declining.

5) The revenue stream creates its own moral hazard.  People will want more and more.  The government will want more and more, from what it wants less of.

6) In compromise, I propose we tax only the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere that did not originate in the atmosphere.
65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: March 27, 2017, 05:01:11 PM
I have posted in favor of Kurdistan around here for years. 

As posted previously, I'm guessing they would love to host a big US base-- which could be very helpful in our dealings with the Russian-Iranian axis.

This is a great idea.
66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Carbon Tax into Dividends on: March 27, 2017, 10:02:14 AM
I believe Crafty expressed an interest in this.  I don't happen to like it for a number of reasons.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/08/opinion/a-conservative-case-for-climate-action.html?mtrref=gregmankiw.blogspot.com&gwh=5B262B7F86320D4D9C013D0E904A212A&gwt=pay&assetType=opinion
67  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Univ of Chicago Analysis of the GOP tax Plan on: March 27, 2017, 09:52:36 AM
http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2450&context=law_and_economics

Conclusions
Implementing a tax system base
d on the Brady plan will present a substantial
challenge. Many implementation problems a
rise because nothing like this has
ever been tried by a developed country, not to speak of in a country the size of the
United States. It is likely that over time, solu
tions to most issues will be found.
Given the substantial number of issues, however, it is naïve to think that the plan
can be passed into law quickly.
Some issues, such as correcting the treatment of land and inventory are
straightforward. Others
, such a
s the elimination of the regimes for pass
-through
taxation and rules for major corporate transactions, are conceptually
straightforward but will be involve more substantial changes to current law. And
others will be difficult. Among the most important and difficult issues are the
following:

Deferral and the collection of the capital income tax on individuals
.

The legality of border adjustments
 and possible design changes to
improve the odds of compliance with the GATT
.

The treatment of financial institutions
.

The treatment of businesses that consistently generate tax losses while
making economic profits.

Distinguishing between real and financial flows
, and making a consistent
choice to have an R
-based system (or an R+F system).

Transition
.
These i
ssues do not have straightforward solutions and will need careful analysis
as the legislative process moves forward.
68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: March 27, 2017, 09:42:12 AM

Sanders was right there with them when they changed the rule last time:
https://projects.propublica.org/represent/votes/113/senate/1/243

Slime.  If they don't want a 'rule change' invoked, don't use the Senate filibuster to cry wolf.
69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Parenting Issues, Kids' last names on: March 27, 2017, 09:24:37 AM
ccp from legal issues, "Children would now have completely different last names from the parents."

My daughter had a friend from kindergarden and with all the outside activities we became good friends over the years with the family.  Their older son had the dad's last name and the daughter the mom's last name.  I was always impressed how amazingly well blended and loving this close family.  Later I learned that the parents did this from the beginning by choice.

When I entered parenthood as a single father and had no rights at the start, I can't tell you how lucky I was that my daughter's mother chose to give her my last name.  Raising a daughter in an area surrounded with intact families, people always assumed I was her father. )))))
70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: well the republicans just went down in defeat on: March 24, 2017, 09:10:01 PM
Drop this forever and move on is probably a negotiating move.

John Hinderer at Powerline says, in hindsight they should have done tax reform first.  (Famous people caught reading the forum.)
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics, Rock Star U2's Bono "Preaches" Entrepreneurial Capitalism on: March 24, 2017, 06:54:07 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAjKyEGDlXA

Bono: 'Capitalism Takes More People Out of Poverty Than Aid'

U2 frontman Bono, who is also an investor, philanthropist, and Christian told students at Georgetown University that real economic growth, not government aid, is what lifts people and countries out of poverty long-term, emphasizing that "entrepreneurial capitalism" is the key to prosperity.

“Some of Africa is rising, and some of Africa is stuck," said Bono while speaking at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business to about 700 students.  "The question is whether the rising bit will pull the rest of Africa up, or whether the other Africa will weigh the continent down. Which will it be? The stakes here aren’t just about them."


"Imagine for a second this last global recession [in 2007-2009] but without the economic growth of China and India, without the hundreds of millions of newly minted middle class folks who now buy American and European goods – imagine that," said Bono.  "Think about the last 5 years."

Then, holding his forehead with his right hand, Bono, who has an estimated wealth of $600 million, said, "Rock star preaches capitalism—wow. Sometimes I hear myself and I just cannot believe it."

"But commerce is real," he said.  "That’s what you’re about here. It’s real. Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce, entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid -- of course, we know that.”

Bono made those remarks on Nov. 12, 2012
http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/bono-capitalism-takes-more-people-out-poverty-aid
72  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / World Bank: Growth, not fighting inequality is what lifts people out of poverty on: March 24, 2017, 06:42:40 PM
https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/25078/9781464809583.pdf
"...success in reducing inequality and boosting shared prosperity in a given period does not necessarily translate into similar success on other economic, social, or political fronts, nor into sustainable reductions in inequality over time."
73  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Parenting Issues on: March 24, 2017, 03:28:22 PM
We hear about gender 'equality', great word but what they mean is 'sameness'.  It doesn't benefit women be the same as men, nor does it benefit the children.

74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues - Cold extinction, who knew? on: March 24, 2017, 12:18:39 PM
GM:  "The media would never lie to us. They are Professional Journalists! With credentials!"

And that's why they covered this science story so widely and boldly...

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170306091927.htm

Cold extermination: One of greatest mass extinctions was due to an ice age and not to Earth's warming
Date:  March 6, 2017
Source: Université de Genève

The Earth has known several mass extinctions over the course of its history. One of the most important happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago. Over 95% of marine species disappeared and, up until now, scientists have linked this extinction to a significant rise in Earth temperatures. But researchers have now discovered that this extinction took place during a short ice age which preceded the global climate warming.
------------------------------------------------------

Can someone please link the NY Times coverage of this catastrophic global warming refutation.

Correction coming soon to the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24732-2005Jan20.html
Extinction Tied to Global Warming
Greenhouse Effect Cited in Mass Decline 250 Million Years Ago
January 21, 2005

Oops.  No so!


75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Very demoralizing on: March 24, 2017, 12:03:52 PM
Addressing another point from ccp: 
...Why can I not be justifiably angry that so many people in this country are getting something for nothing while I struggle for 5 months a year to pay for it.  Why do I NEVER have a voice?  Why is there no one who will stand up for me?  Why am I always taken for granted? ...


ccp, You (we) will NEVER win the political argument that taxes are unfair to the productive and relatively well-paid.  It has to be won on the other side of it.  Big government and all these spending programs are hurting the beneficiaries.  Look at the inner city, the war on poverty and the cycle of dependence and perpetual low income created.  With SSI, Section 8, food stamps, FAFSA and on and on including Obamacare, recipients essentially enter a contract with the government to stay poor or lose benefits.  As the benefits get larger and larger, the contract to be permanently low income becomes unbreakable.

People on the cusp of receiving or losing benefits face a far higher than a 100% marginal tax rate, making the earning of the next dollar of income a very bad economic decision.  They can make $500 or a thousand more and lose tens of thousands of benefits.  They would need to more than double or triple their income to replace what they will lose, and that is not instantly possible.  Crucial rungs of the economic ladder just above them were torn out by our entitlement system.  Obamacare, unrepealed, brings permanent dependency to millions more people.  The rich will need to make more and more to pay for it or it folds and people with currently lower incomes get locked into lower incomes long term.  Who does that help?

The poor in America had free health care before Obamacare - and after it, if repealed.  Obamacare was aimed primarily at the second quintile, to subsidize comprehensive healthcare for those who work for modest incomes and don't get employer healthcare.  It was also aimed at taking the opportunity to enact an irreversible federal government takeover of the whole system that would eventually lead to whatever you want to call it, single, federal government payer, universal care, socialized medicine.

How do you explain to those losing their O'care subsidy is in their best interest?  That where they were paying $100 of an $800 policy, and now will pay 799 because of some minor deregulation will help them?  It is a tough sell.  That is why you look for a wedge in the opposite direction of the ones planted by the left. 

You must make it possible and desirable for them to make more income and rise out of subsidy.  The rising tide, JFK called it.  You make it beneficial for them to make more and more income, not punishing at the lower end (or at the high end).  You make it legal and possible for them to buy less expensive healthcare policies to cover basic needs while they raise their incomes to pay for larger plans if they want them.  You take the part of the cost out of it that is paying for someone else's care, young paying for the old etc.  Your policy cost covers you and your risks, not the ills of the system.  We need to message better.  We are not replacing a system that works; we are replacing a system that already failed, is unfunded and in a death spiral. 

Create an environment where people want to be off the dole, not on it.  If we can accomplish that in less than 100 years, we are doing better than anyone thought possible.  In the meantime, dismantle this new entitlement the best you before it gets any further entrenched.

This isn't going to be easier later.
76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Health care reform, Very demoralizing on: March 24, 2017, 10:53:39 AM
ccp:  The doctor who during a meeting I was in who said he thought the Repubs would not be ABLE to repeal Obamster  care because of this simple phrase:  "20 million people will lose their insurance"

An exchange on this thread Oct-Nov, 2016:
Gruber:"The main goal of Obamacare was two-fold. One was to cover the uninsured, of which we’ve covered 20 million, the largest expansion in American history. The other was to fix broken insurance markets where insurers could deny people insurance just because they were sick or they had been sick."

Crafty: Name me a Rep who answers this cogently and tell me what he says.
-----------------------------------------------------

It was 100% foreseeable and unavoidable all along that you would be accused of taking health insurance away for 20 million if you "repeal Obamacare lock, stock and barrel".

Any pure conservative, libertarian or federalist can see that health insurance is not the domain of the federal government for a host of reasons.  And any honest historian can tell you that we have not only never ended a major entitlement after it is in effect, have we ever even cut the growth rate of one?!   CBO was wrong on Medicaid by 17-fold as it grew and expanded.

At the very minimum, moving forward on repeal/reform requires consensus of 50% plus one vote of the House, 50 Senators and the White House.  A pure view that the federal government has no business at all in health care may be exactly right but isn't going to ever reach that threshold, no matter what Ted Cruz and the Freedom caucus say.  Do any of them say they have the votes?

Pointing out that the 20 million is really 10 million, http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1411.msg102499#msg102499, or that more than 20 million lost their policies because of Obamacare doesn't make the question go away, what are you going to do about the 20 million (that is really 10 million) that will lose their healthcare if Obamacare is repealed?

Republicans propose tax credits - violation of our principles, new entitlement.  Another option is a transition period, two year delay or phase-out.  It still begs the question, what are we going to do with the 20 million (10 million)?

It partly comes down to policy and it partly comes to surrendering the war of messenging over the last over the last 8 (or 100) years.

To the naysayers of the Ryan and Trump plan, you better do something because doing nothing is worse and will truly lead to socialized medicine if not stopped now.

And to the writers of the Ryan and Trump 3-part plan, this better be good - and prove the naysayers wrong.
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Charles Krauthammer is glorifying the partisan civil war on: March 24, 2017, 10:12:47 AM

He makes a number of good points.
78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / American Creed, Constitutional Law , Gorsuch hearings, Dem JV team on: March 24, 2017, 10:10:59 AM
I see in my open tabs, this didn't get posted a couple of days ago when written.  I was going to point out today that Mark Steyn was making this same point on the radio yesterday:  

"Democrats face a simple choice, how would they like to lose?"

[Leftist commentator, Nina Totenburg was also making this point.]

Steyn says, they can lose fast or lose the slow way, but lose this battle is what is going to happen for them.  Schumer says they will filibuster and press for a different nominee.  Really?  Who is a better nominee for a President like Trump to pick and a Republican majority Senate to confirm?  I predict it will be Dems that fold on the filibuster.  Better yet, break the log jam via the rules and require the Senate to do it's job, advise and consent on Supreme Court nominations.
-----------------

I am embarrassed for my Senators, Democats Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.  [On the good side, they have been nationally exposed for what they are, boring, petty and disingenuous, not 2020 Presidential material as some previously thought.]

Amy [Sen. Klobuchar D-MN] tried to prove the point that originalism is bad by pointing out that the constitution includes multiple references to the President with the pronouns he or him.  But the women's right to vote IS part of the constitution, added in the 19th amendment in 1920, and Article 2 defining how we choose the President also refers to the list of possible candidates as "Persons", never using the word man or men.  What a reckless idiot.  [The next day she opened by denying she was making this false point.]   Amy was a County Attorney and should have been able to handle the job as opposition questioner.  Instead it was quite obvious that she was only reading questions handed to her by others.  One way you know that is that the series of questions doesn't correctly anticipate the nominee's answer to the previous question.  It doesn't flow and the questioner keeps getting thrown off track.  Example, the next day, after losing an exchange with the judge, she reiterated her off the mark point, didn't give the witness another chance to respond and then just said she needed to move on.

As Hennepin County Attorney (Hennepin County is bigger than 8 states), was she a prosecutor or was she a driveling politician who had prosecutors on staff?  Quite obviously the latter.

Enter Al Franken.  Besides his lack of humor, he showed his lack of legal knowledge and preparation.  First he went after one of Gorsuch's 3000 decisions, Trans Am Trucking.  Franken took his speaking time 99-1 over the witness and used his time to demonstrate that he not only didn't understand the pivotal point of the case, but he couldn't pronounce it either, "scrivener's error", and HE'S the one who chose the case to discuss!  [Or did the people who wrote his questions pick it?]  All his other points failed too, What did Reince Priebus mean by ...?  Gorsuch didn't even have to say, it's none of his business what one politician thinks of him.  

Democrats face a simple choice, how would they like to lose? They can delay - as Chuck Schumer is proposing.  They can filibuster.  They can vote no.  And they can cause the creation a new, nuclear option precedent and break the filibuster via a rules vote that would then make Trump future appointments pass too.
79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe, London terrorist identified on: March 23, 2017, 02:03:31 PM
London terrorist identified.  His name is Lars and he is believed to be a Lutheran extremist.


Correction, his name is Khalid and he is believed to be an Islamic extremist.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/live/2017/mar/23/westminster-attack-parliament-resumes-tributes-keith-palmer-live
80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Child Support Statistics on: March 23, 2017, 11:06:15 AM
DDF:  "I have often wondered why the courts find it necessary to grant primary custody to the women..."

Nice post DDF.  The gender inequity in custody is quite amazing.

FWIW, I was father sole custody parent of my daughter from age one on.  The facts of how that came to be are quite extreme.  My attorney tells his other father clients in custody fights about my story and that without circumstances like these they have no chance of winning.

There are different laws in different states.
http://family.findlaw.com/child-custody/child-custody-summaries-of-state-laws.html

Five states — Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts and Missouri — are looking at proposals that would require judges to presume that it’s best for children to split their time as evenly as possible between their two parents. Utah enacted a similar law last year.
http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2016/03/15/more-time-for-dads-states-weigh-changes-to-custody-laws

Data on actual outcomes like you posted tell us more how it really is than does the text of the law.

I don't know that a kid schlepped back and forth every week is a perfect solution either!

Another arrangement I have seen is where the kids stay in the house and the divorced parents take turns living with the children if they can't get along with each other.
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Next Fed Chair David Malpass?? on: March 21, 2017, 01:57:22 PM
A good article today about economist David Malpass, a friend/collaborator of our own Scott Grannis.
Another great Trump pick, the new undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Treasury.
http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2017/03/21/the_us_treasury_and_the_exciting_arrival_of_david_malpass_102597.html

While it’s fun to imagine Malpass eventually replacing Yellen, the great news for now is that he’s been appointed undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Treasury.  His arrival is essential.  That’s the case because the U.S. Treasury is the mouthpiece for the U.S. dollar, and Malpass knows dollar policy as few do.

What’s crucially important is that Malpass understands that money is decidedly not wealth.  If every dollar in the world were vaporized today, the U.S. would remain the world’s richest country tomorrow.  Malpass views money as Adam Smith did, as a medium of exchange that facilitates the exchange of actual wealth.  Wealth is what we humans produce, while money is but a measure that speeds our exchange of the goods and services we create.

The above matters a great deal now simply because the understanding of money within the political class is arguably at an all-time low.  More and more economists, pundits and politicians think the value of money can be tinkered with on the way to artificially grand economic outcomes.  Call it economic fabulism.  While in the real world money merely facilitates exchange and investment, to the fabulists who increasingly dot the economic landscape, money is the wealth.  And changes in its value can alter reality to our betterment.  To the fabulists, dollar devaluation is the path to prosperity.  They couldn’t be more incorrect.

What’s important is that Malpass expertly knows why the fabulists are incorrect.  He knows that the U.S. economy is but a collection of individuals, and individuals earn dollars.  By extension, he’s well aware that the American people aren’t made better off if the dollars they’re earning are being stripped of their value by monetary officials.

Taking this further, Malpass knows well that companies and jobs spring from investment.  That the latter is true explains why Malpass has written voluminous columns and reports, and has given countless speeches over the years preaching the virtue of money that is actually money.  Getting more specific, Malpass has long favored a dollar that is the same today as it is tomorrow, one year from now, and ten years from now.

When a dollar holds its value over time much as a foot will be twelve inches tomorrow and twelve years from now, those with wealth can most comfortably direct it toward future wealth creation.  They can invest.  Malpass knows that when savers put money to work as investment, they’re buying dollars in the future.  But when money is being shrunken, the cost of delaying consumption in favor of investing in future Apples, Walmarts and Microsofts becomes prohibitive.  While investment is the tautological source of new companies and jobs, why invest if any potential returns will come back in severely devalued dollars?

Malpass knows all of the above, and much, much more.  With the U.S. Treasury focused on dollar and tax policy, Malpass understands that taxes are nothing more than a price, or a penalty placed on work.  He knows that taxes raise the cost of getting up and going to work, and since he’ll be the international face of Treasury, he knows that country taxes amount to a daily competition for the investment that authors all advance.  Malpass knows that investment goes where it’s treated well; specifically investment migrates to where it’s not being devalued through currency machinations, or through nosebleed capital gains taxes that suffocate intrepid investing in the first place.

How does all this apply to the American voter? It says here that more than most in the punditry realize, voters have long been clamoring for the policies that Malpass has been preaching for decades.  Plainly stated, voters want economic growth, and to reap the benefits of growth through ever-increasing living standards.

What’s important is that all of the above can be achieved through the modest policy ideas that Malpass will bring with him to Washington.  Malpass does not come with arrogant solutions as much as he’ll bring common sense to the policy conversation.

Malpass will remind all around him that the average voter earns dollars, and as such is not made better off when those dollars buy less and less.  The average voter craves opportunity, and he’ll remind those in his orbit that dollar destruction is anti-opportunity because it’s anti-investment.

Most of all, the internationalist in Malpass will remind those in his midst that a global economy speaks to global options when it comes to investing.  Malpass will alert those around him to the simple truth that dollar devaluation and excessive taxation stateside will cause investment to exit the U.S., and with it the economic opportunity that individuals want regardless of Party affiliation.

Simply put, David Malpass understands economic growth intimately.  What a great development it is that he’ll be bringing his expertise to the U.S. Treasury.
82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2016 Presidential, Minnesota led the nation in turnout, turned right on: March 21, 2017, 01:18:12 PM
Double checking final numbers election night.

"Conventional Wisdom" is that Democrats win when they turnout their voters and Republicans win in the off years, in bad weather and when turnout is down.

All the states that typically have the highest turnout turned distinctly rightward in 2016:
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, New Hampshire, Iowa.
http://247wallst.com/special-report/2016/10/17/states-with-the-highest-voter-turnout/2/?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange_article

Minnesota led the nation in turnout, 2016
http://www.twincities.com/2016/11/29/minnesotas-no-1-in-voting-again/

Minnesota was recently considered also the 'bluest' state in the nation, home of Walter Mondale, Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Paul Wellstone, Amy Klobuchare, Al Franken, Keith Ellison, and the only state Reagan never won.

Barack Obama won MN with 54% of the vote in 2008 and won reelection there in 2012 with 53%.

Hillary Clinton won Minnesota in 2016 with 46% to Trump's 45%, a 7 point fall from Obama's worst result. 

If you combine the other right leaning candidates vote percentages of Libertarian Gary Johnson and conservative alternative candidate Evan McMullen with Trump's total, 53% chose Trump or one of these over Hillary Clinton.

Trump won 78 out of 87 counties in Minnesota.
http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/minnesota

Adding salt to local leftists wounds, MN Republicans held the state House and took the State Senate in 2016. 

Yet the remaining elected Democrats, the Governor, two US Senators and 5 out of 8 House members, carry on with their pure partisanship in denial of this recent turn of events.


83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Hey Huma, What's Up?" - Kellyanne Conway, 2:30 am election night on: March 21, 2017, 12:44:42 PM
Must post this great story before we close this thread and the Clintons disappear quietly off into the sunset.  

[Everyone was afraid that TRUMP wouldn't accept the outcome of the election.]  Clinton's campaign manager had agreed the night before through an email to Kellyanne Conway that within 15 minutes of the AP calling the race for Secretary Clinton, they would wait 15 minutes and then she would take to the podium and declare victory.  'So he was basically saying that you have 15 minutes for Mr Trump to get out there [and give a concession speech] or she's going to declare victory either way.
'And then he said in the event that Mr Trump wins, Secretary Clinton will call him within 15 minutes of the AP,' Conway said with a wink, implying that Clinton staffers were confident their boss would win.

Clinton's camp held up their end of the deal. Conway said that she looked down to see her phone was ringing.
'I look down - literally it was like a movie - my phone is ringing and it said "Huma Abedin" [Clinton's longtime aide]. And I said, "Hey, Huma. What's up?"

"And she's absolutely lovely, she really is. And she's like 'Hi Kellyanne, Secretary Clinton would like to speak to Mr. Trump..."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4325212/Kellyanne-Conway-recalls-Hillary-Clinton-s-concession-call.html#ixzz4byxc9eck


Trump went on to accept the result even though 4 of the 6 closest states were won by Clinton, New Hampshire, Maine, Nevada and Minnesota.
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 21, 2017, 12:15:16 PM
"How are the various political entities supposed to wet their beaks with this? I see no opportunity for graft or rentseeking. This is madness!"


Imagine the economic energy that could be generated if the massive industry of lawyers, lobbyists and rent-seekers seeking favor with the government had to produce something of value instead of feed off of the efforts of others.  
85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: A conservative jurist for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch confirmation on: March 21, 2017, 09:56:54 AM

Speaking of prescient, on the forum we had the pleasure of reading this excellent article a day before the  Neil Gorsuch appointment was known.

Today Judge Gorsuch is giving a constitutional law clinic on NPR, CSPAN? or wherever you can get coverage.

Opponents have accused Gorsuch of being an originalist.  If you are a leftist, isn't a disciplined "originalist" better than having Trump appoint like the liberals do, someone who agrees with Trump on policy and would read the constitution as a living and breathing document that can be twisted and contorted to support those policies.  Glenn Reynolds posed this question a couple of weeks ago:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/03/02/constitution-neil-gorsuch-supreme-court-originalism-glenn-reynolds-column/98537030/
86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care - A Health Care Reform Plan on: March 21, 2017, 09:43:02 AM
I am a humble person but I remember that after reading three thousand pages of NAFTA in 1993, I bragged that I could write an international free trade agreement on the back of a cocktail napkin.

Then came the complexities of Hillarycare (see chart):


The people rose up against that federal monstrosity but fast forward 16 years and along came Obamacare, and the people rose up against that and along came Trump or Ryan Care.

Before we criticize others for taking on the most difficult task of designing a healthcare system that meets all the requirements for all the peope, we should each answer the question of what our own proposal would look like.  With that in mind, today I release my US Government federal healthcare proposal as follows, hat tip to the authors of the 10th amendment. 


Doug's Federal Healthcare Reform Proposal, March 2017:
"Powers, such as anything to do with the people's individual and family healthcare, that are not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 17, 2017, 11:16:26 AM
Democrats, for all their flaws, are geniuses at framing the argument.  The repeal of Obamacare issue has been framed by the question of, what are you going to do with the 20 million that got their healthcare through the program?

CBO raises the number to 24 million who will lose that healthcare.  Krauthammer says it's really 10 million:

"The Congressional Budget Office projects that, under House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement bill, 24 million will lose insurance within 10 years, 14 million after the first year.
Granted, the number is highly suspect. CBO projects 18 million covered by the Obamacare exchanges in 2018. But the number today is about 10 million. That means the CBO estimate of those losing coverage is already about 8 million too high."


It's a trap.  While we fight their false numbers and they never concede, it is taken as admitting that 10 millions will be left out, still too many.

But of course it's a false argument.  Healthcare was getting unaffordable before Obamacare and last 8 years made it a national crisis.  The program IS in a death spiral.  You can't effectively compare a new proposal to something that can't be sustained anyway and we can't compare anything  accurately with static analysis.  And what about the 20 million and more that lost their plans over Obamacare?  That gets lost in the other arguments.  Liberals framed the issue.

Affordability has two components, cost and income.  Big government in general and Obamacare in particular make it impossible to grow incomes.  Look at the stagnation in median incomes or listen to a Bernie Sanders speech.  That has to end.  Incomes have to grow if we are ever going to able to afford all the treatments for all the ailments that will ail an aging population.  The first point of affordability is grow the economy.  Excess regulations look like they are getting disrupted fast, but we kicked tax reform down the road.  Bad choice, it should ALL be on the table.

On the cost side, no one seems to be able to point to the one reason why healthcare costs go up and up and up.  Maybe that's because there isn't just one reason!  Why need to go after all the causes and come up with the best solutions possible.  In a nutshell that answer is to return the free market discipline that other industries have to healthcare.  I hate to be a pessimist, but my thought at the moment is, good luck doing that.

What we have instead is Republicans fighting with Republicans over different proposals that will never pass and become law.  Our side needs to come together and put it all on the table - now - with the best, compromise solution possible.  Or be governed by their policies.  Like when Republicans continued CRAp into the financial crisis, Obamacare is still the law of the land and so is the Democrats convoluted tax plan.

This doesn't get easier later.
88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs, spending, deficit, and budget, Cut 80 programs? on: March 17, 2017, 10:28:29 AM
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-trump-budget/

Wow.  My thought during the tea party rising was that tax cutting had been a good try at cutting government, but what all smaller govt advocates should be able to agree on is CUT SPENDING FIRST.

But Republicans never can from out of power then never do when in power.

And then along comes Trump.

Is this a negotiating ploy or is it a budget.  Maybe we can pass it to find out what's in it.

They said no program has ever been cut or ended.  That was before Obama.  Now we have programs for the advancement of Muslims in NASA.  Programs HAVE to be cut.
89  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics of Health Care, dr. Krauthammer on Healthcare replace on: March 17, 2017, 09:44:09 AM
Some interesting points in here.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-real-world-of-obamacare-repeal/2017/03/16/cba55228-0a71-11e7-b77c-0047d15a24e0_story.html?utm_term=.101fbfef8b8a

The real world of Obamacare repeal

By Charles Krauthammer. March 16

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, but for governments it’s not that easy. Once something is given — say, health insurance coverage to 20 million Americans — you take it away at your peril. This is true for any government benefit, but especially for health care. There’s a reason not one Western democracy with some system of national health care has ever abolished it.

The genius of the left is to keep enlarging the entitlement state by creating new giveaways that are politically impossible to repeal. For 20 years, Republicans railed against the New Deal. Yet, when they came back into office in 1953, Eisenhower didn’t just keep Social Security, he expanded it.

People hated Obamacare for its highhandedness, incompetence and cost. At the same time, its crafters took great care to create new beneficiaries and new expectations. Which makes repeal very complicated.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that, under House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement bill, 24 million will lose insurance within 10 years, 14 million after the first year.

Granted, the number is highly suspect. CBO projects 18 million covered by the Obamacare exchanges in 2018. But the number today is about 10 million. That means the CBO estimate of those losing coverage is already about 8 million too high.

Nonetheless, there will be losers. And their stories will be plastered wall to wall across the media as sure as night follows day.

That scares GOP moderates. And yet the main resistance to Ryan comes from conservative members complaining that the bill is not ideologically pure enough. They mock it as Obamacare Lite.

For example, Ryan wants to ease the pain by phasing out Medicaid expansion through 2020. The conservative Republican Study Committee wants it done next year. This is crazy. For the sake of two years’ savings, why would you risk a political crash landing?

Moreover, the idea that you can eradicate Obamacare root and branch is fanciful. For all its catastrophic flaws, Obamacare changed expectations. Does any Republican propose returning to a time when you can be denied health insurance because of a preexisting condition?

It’s not just Donald Trump who ran on retaining this new, yes, entitlement. Everyone did. But it’s very problematic. If people know that they can sign up for insurance after they get sick, the very idea of insurance is undermined. People won’t sign up when healthy, and the insurance companies will go broke.

So what do you do? Obamacare imposed a monetary fine if you didn’t sign up, for which the Ryan bill substitutes another mechanism, less heavy-handed but still government-mandated.

The purists who insist upon entirely escaping the heavy hand of government are dreaming. The best you can hope for is to make it less intrusive and more rational, as in the Ryan plan’s block-granting Medicaid.

Or instituting a more realistic age-rating system. Older patients use six times as much health care as their younger counterparts, yet Obamacare decreed, entirely arbitrarily, that the former could be charged insurance premiums no more than three times that of the latter. The GOP bill changes the ratio from 3-to-1 to 5-to-1.

Premiums better reflecting risk constitute a major restoration of rationality. (It’s how life insurance works.) Under Obamacare, the young were unwilling to be swindled and refused to sign up. Without their support, the whole system is thus headed into a death spiral of looming insolvency.

Rationality, however, has a price. The CBO has already predicted a massive increase in premiums for 60-year-olds. That’s the headline.

There is no free lunch. GOP hard-liners must accept that Americans have become accustomed to some new health-care benefits, just as moderates have to brace themselves for stories about the inevitable losers in any reform. That’s the political price for fulfilling the seven-year promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Unless, of course, you go the full Machiavelli and throw it all back on the Democrats. How? Republicans could forget about meeting the arcane requirements of “reconciliation” legislation (which requires only 51 votes in the Senate) and send the Senate a replacement bill loaded up with everything conservative — including tort reform and insurance competition across state lines. That would require 60 Senate votes. Let the Democrats filibuster it to death — and take the blame when repeal-and-replace fails and Obamacare carries on and then collapses under its own weight.

Upside: You reap the backlash. Downside: You have to live with your conscience.
90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: March 16, 2017, 09:28:21 AM
"If Russia was still the Soviet Union, the left would do nothing but sing their praises, just like they used to do."

Right.  The fascination right now with Russia is strange.  Yes, Putin is a force of evil and in their eight years they did nothing to stand up to him. We cancelled missile defense in Eastern Europe and handed him Crimea, Ukraine, and the Middle East.  Now, out of power, the Left sees him as Voldemort.

We squeezed him with oil and gas production and the lowering of energy prices, and the Left did everything they could do to oppose all that.
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: March 16, 2017, 09:16:44 AM
BBG's view is welcome anytime.  Personal responsibility is still a factor, not just legalization, criminalization.

Trump and the Feds need to do something about federal law not matching state laws (and state constitutions) and I doubt if sending troops into these (swing) states is the best answer.

Colorado's law partly failed and partly succeeded.  Now it's 4 or 5 states.

We don't need legal heroin or legal meth or legal cocaine or five year olds using drugs.  But we also don't need coercive paternalism to be the law of the land for all personal behavior, soda, french fries, etc.
92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Good summary of Obama years on: March 16, 2017, 08:59:43 AM

"Our view has consistently been that the economic recovery from the Great Recession could have been — and should have been — very robust. And that the only reason it wasn’t is growth-choking policies imposed by Obama: Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, tax hikes, huge new regulatory burdens." - IBD

The crash and the Great Recession were also caused by Democrat policies - Democrat policies that Republicans agreed to.
93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media, Ministry of Truth Issues, Rachel Maddow felony on: March 16, 2017, 08:40:46 AM
Unauthorized disclosure of a tax return is a felony.

http://thehill.com/homenews/media/322477-nyt-columnist-urges-irs-employees-to-unlawfully-leak-trumps-tax-returns
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Prof. Richard S. Lindzen: Withdraw from UNFCCC on: March 15, 2017, 02:19:20 PM
"Let me explain in somewhat greater detail why we call for withdrawal from the UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change].

The UNFCCC was established twenty-five years ago, to find scientific support for dangers from increasing carbon dioxide. While this has led to generous and rapidly increased support for the field, the purported dangers remain hypothetical, model-based projections. By contrast, the benefits of increasing CO2 and modest warming are clearer than ever, and they are supported by dramatic satellite images of a greening Earth.

• The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) no longer claims a greater likelihood of significant as opposed to negligible future warming,

• It has long been acknowledged by the IPCC that climate change prior to the 1960’s could not have been due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Yet, pre-1960 instrumentally observed temperatures show many warming episodes, similar to the one since 1960, for example, from 1915 to 1950, and from 1850 to 1890. None of these could have been caused by an increase in atmospheric CO2,

• Model projections of warming during recent decades have greatly exceeded what has been observed,

• The modelling community has openly acknowledged that the ability of existing models to simulate past climates is due to numerous arbitrary tuning adjustments,

• Observations show no statistically valid trends in flooding or drought, and no meaningful acceleration whatsoever of pre-existing long term sea level rise (about 6 inches per century) worldwide,

• Current carbon dioxide levels, around 400 parts per million are still very small compared to the averages over geological history, when thousands of parts per million prevailed, and when life flourished on land and in the oceans.

Calls to limit carbon dioxide emissions are even less persuasive today than 25 years ago. Future research should focus on dispassionate, high-quality climate science, not on efforts to prop up an increasingly frayed narrative of “carbon pollution.” Until scientific research is unfettered from the constraints of the policy-driven UNFCCC, the research community will fail in its obligation to the public that pays the bills."
-------------------------------------

About the author:

Richard Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT. MIT’s web site suggests his scientific eminence:

Professor Lindzen is a dynamical meteorologist with interests in the broad topics of climate, planetary waves, monsoon meteorology, planetary atmospheres, and hydrodynamic instability. His research involves studies of the role of the tropics in mid-latitude weather and global heat transport, the moisture budget and its role in global change, the origins of ice ages, seasonal effects in atmospheric transport, stratospheric waves, and the observational determination of climate sensitivity. He has made major contributions to the development of the current theory for the Hadley Circulation, which dominates the atmospheric transport of heat and momentum from the tropics to higher latitudes, and has advanced the understanding of the role of small scale gravity waves in producing the reversal of global temperature gradients at the mesopause, and provided accepted explanations for atmospheric tides and the quasi-biennial oscillation of the tropical stratosphere. He pioneered the study of how ozone photochemistry, radiative transfer and dynamics interact with each other. He is currently studying what determines the pole to equator temperature difference, the nonlinear equilibration of baroclinic instability and the contribution of such instabilities to global heat transport. He has also been developing a new approach to air-sea interaction in the tropics, and is actively involved in parameterizing the role of cumulus convection in heating and drying the atmosphere and in generating upper level cirrus clouds. He has developed models for the Earth’s climate with specific concern for the stability of the ice caps, the sensitivity to increases in CO2, the origin of the 100,000 year cycle in glaciation, and the maintenance of regional variations in climate.

Prof. Lindzen is a recipient of the AMS’s Meisinger and Charney Awards, the AGU’s Macelwane Medal, and the Leo Huss Walin Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society. He is a corresponding member of the NAS Committee on Human Rights, and has been a member of the NRC Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate and the Council of the AMS. He has also been a consultant to the Global Modeling and Simulation Group at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (Ph.D., ’64, S.M., ’61, A.B., ’60, Harvard University)
95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The coming Middle East crisis after ISIS is gone, Ralph Peters on: March 15, 2017, 02:08:00 PM
http://nypost.com/2017/03/12/the-coming-middle-east-crisis-after-isis-is-gone/

"What should we do? Discard our preconceptions for a start. Why shouldn’t dysfunctional borders change? In fact, they’re changing themselves. How many American lives is it worth to serve the vision of dead Europeans and grisly Arab dictators? We need not act to change those borders, but we shouldn’t stand in the way."
96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: CBO says Obamacare not in death spiral? on: March 15, 2017, 01:50:01 PM

That is the fake news story of the day, Obamacare isn't failing.  "Trump can fix Obamacare ... by doing nothing".  Good luck with that.  I'm not sure Vox is pulling for his success.

We just have to fund the "risk corridors".  And it's already Republicans fault:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/11/7/1592247/-How-the-GOP-Broke-Obamacare  
Republicans have been undermining it from the start!

Premiums are going up 25-70% PER YEAR, your plan is gone, your doctor is gone, your premiums and deductibles are higher than ever before, and you went from self-sufficient to becoming a ward of the state if you are a median income earner, but the program IS NOT FAILING or in a death spiral.  Good grief.

The article begins:  "Beyond its eye-popping findings on higher premiums and large-scale coverage loss..."   Sorry, but they already got me there.  What is beyond screwing up the system and the economy?  More static numbers - based on assumptions already known to be false.

What the hell was the purpose of the ACA again?  Higher premiums and large scale coverage losses??  Costs far beyond what were promised?  Competition lost and "risk corridors' created that mean insurance companies aren't insuring us at all?
http://dailysignal.com/2016/07/26/16-obamacare-co-ops-collapsed-heres-how-the-rest-are-faring/
http://hotair.com/archives/2016/09/12/coming-risk-corridors-bailout-obamacare/
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/309902-obamacares-risk-corridor-corruption-never-ends

What they miss goes back to the (lack of) dynamic scoring question.  This largest ever new entitlement is already keeping our economy from growing; it's not just a healthcare system or insurance issue.  As the economy stagnates or shrinks and fewer employers go out and hire and fewer and fewer people go out and earn their own way and more and more people become dependent on the government for their largest and fastest growing expense and vote for more and more benefits and larger and larger subsidies, the whole economy goes down, not just the healthcare system.  And then you go in needing surgery and there is a 270 day wait, you know why they called it a death spiral.

That's the kind of small thing one might miss with static analysis.  MHO.
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the left, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada on: March 15, 2017, 01:17:57 PM
“No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there. The resource will be developed."
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/03/oh-trudeau.php
--------------------------------
A liberal favors the Keystone XL Pipeline.  Favors exploration, drilling, extracting and transporting a CO2 producing fossil fuel.  

Previously from Trudeau:
Canada must "phase out" Alberta's oil sands and end the country's dependence on hydrocarbons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
https://phys.org/news/2017-01-trudeau-canada-oil-sands-phased.html
Oops.

Makes me wonder if man-made, catastrophic, global warming is a farce.  Isn't Canada dangerously close to the melting Arctic?  )   Actually, I can see Canada from my living room and can tell you that a warming planet might be the best thing that could ever happen to Canada!

This reminds me of President Obama continuing a campaign of drone strikes against al Qaida targets.  Imagine his opposition to that kind of warfare if he was not in power.  Every once in a while, being elevated to the highest position of power and authority causes a person to do the right thing.  

And so often it doesn't.
98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / European matters, Dutch elections today on: March 15, 2017, 12:58:52 PM
The incumbent, Mark Rutte, is considered to be from the free market conservative party.  I don't think of the Netherlands as a free market country so I don't really know what that means.  "Our ability to create jobs, our future growth, is built on the free market. It's built on open borders." - Mark Rutte
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People's_Party_for_Freedom_and_Democracy

 The top challenger is Geert Wilders of the 'Freedom' party who has made a name with bold talk against Muslim immigration.  They have been coalition partners as well as rivals.  I can't comment on the Dutch immigration problem without bias; I was knifed by "immigrants" on my last Holland visit.  I came out of it better than Theo Van Gogh did: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/03/world/europe/dutch-filmmaker-an-islam-critic-is-killed.html

Regarding Wilders, it's about time someone spoke up about the problem. Whether he is the best candidate, I don't know.   Wilders has lost support in the last poll, but everyone seems to know after Brexit and Trump, polls on these matters have been amazingly unreliable.

This will be interesting to watch.

https://www.ft.com/content/6bc14dee-0909-11e7-97d1-5e720a26771b
99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Modi's Chance to Reshape India's Economy on: March 15, 2017, 12:19:20 PM
This editorial from Bloomberg sums up the opportunity pretty well.  Prime Minister Narandra Modi ran on economic reform, has been working to turn the tide against corruption in government, has won a large number of seats in Parliament in recent election, is poised to win his own reelection next time around, giving him an extraordinary opportunity to implement real economic reforms.  India is the world's most populous democracy with relatively youthful demographics and need to create one million jobs per month.  This is not a table set for splitting up a fixed size pie.  Like us, they need to grow their economy, big time.  And if they do, what and important development that would be for the world economy and geo-politics and US foreign policy.  For another post, India is a natural ally of the US IMO but that relationship keeps getting distracted and deterred by other rivalries and forces.

"The only way to do so at the pace and scale required -- with nearly a million new job-seekers entering the market every month -- is to get private investment flowing again and to crack open India’s ossified land, labor and other factor markets."

Private investment is the key to widespread employment growth.  Who knew?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-03-13/modi-s-chance-to-reshape-india-s-economy

Modi's Chance to Reshape India's Economy,   Bloomberg editors, MARCH 13, 2017

After his party’s triumph in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest and most politically important, Prime Minister Narendra Modi now wields greater power than any Indian leader in a generation. He will need it if he wants to continue to reshape India’s economy.

True, the results don’t drastically alter the math in the upper house of Parliament in New Delhi, where previous reform efforts have stalled, and the polls themselves were hardly a referendum on market liberalization. Yet Modi’s popularity is also inseparable from the pledge that won him office in 2014: to deliver the jobs India’s burgeoning population desperately needs (and thus far, isn’t getting). The only way to do so at the pace and scale required -- with nearly a million new job-seekers entering the market every month -- is to get private investment flowing again and to crack open India’s ossified land, labor and other factor markets.

Some of this should now be more possible at the national level. Modi could, for instance, begin cleaning up and selling off inefficient state-run banks in order to unclog the investment pipeline. The opposition Congress Party could perhaps afford to be obstructionist when swathes of the electorate had real doubts about Modi’s agenda. Facing a clear consensus in favor of good governance and faster economic development, and lacking any credible leader to rival Modi, the party will have a harder time blocking reforms.

More important, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party now controls territories comprising more than 60 percent of India’s population. That grouping presents an ideal testing ground for difficult land and labor reforms. While some measures have been attempted thus far, they haven’t been as far-reaching or as coordinated as they could be. Modi can change that by pressing state leaders to combine their efforts and resources into a more ambitious liberalizing agenda.

None of this is to say that Modi’s recent focus on cleaning up politics and the economy isn’t worthwhile, or that smaller reforms -- opening up more sectors to foreign direct investment, say -- aren’t welcome. It’s critical that the rollout of an already approved nationwide goods-and-services tax proceed swiftly and smoothly. Modi will have to be careful, too, to keep a check on more extreme voices in the BJP, who may take the party’s electoral success as license to promote a more hard-line religious agenda.

But with this victory, and facing the great likelihood of a second term in 2019, Modi has a renewed chance to give India the future its young and eager population deserves. He needs to seize it.
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The math and science behind capitalism on: March 15, 2017, 11:52:01 AM
I like this article, it goes part way to explaining what capitalism is and why it works.  

'capitalism...is individual freedom expressed in an economic system'

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/03/the_science_behind_capitalism.html#ixzz4bPjQNiaa
March 14, 2017
The science behind capitalism
By John Conlin
The economic system called capitalism has been described in many ways, but at its core, it is quite simply free people freely interacting with other free people.  Capitalism has transformed the world by producing more wealth than any other economic system in the history of civilization.

But how does it produce such wealth?  Some have said freedom is the magic potion – that left to their own devices, free people will outperform any other economic system.  

That is true, but the ultimate reason is deeper and firmly based in science and fact.  In the past few decades, a great deal of research has been done on what is called swarm intelligence.  Swarm intelligence attempts to explain and understand the collective behavior of group animals.  Think of honeybees, schools of fish, herds of bison, flocks of birds, etc.

The intelligence of the swarm is a significant multiplier.  Rather than relying solely on individual intelligence, these groups create a collective intelligence that is orders of magnitudes beyond that of any individual member.

They do so without any leader, with no management of any sort, with no one "seeing the big picture."  In fact, having no one in charge is a key ingredient to swarm intelligence.  This incredible increase in intelligence is driven by countless interactions among individual members, with each following simple rules of thumb and reacting to their local environment and those members around them.  That's it.

Perhaps counterintuitively, if an individual member did attempt to become a leader, the group intelligence would drop precipitously.  And although it may be difficult to grasp, this self-organizing behavior has no cause and effect.  It simply is.

Think of the intelligence of one of the members of these swarms versus the intelligence of the group.  We are talking about not adding a few group I.Q. points, but rather increases in intelligence by orders of magnitude.

My hypothesis is this same process is the scientific basis for the success of capitalism, and in fact the success of the human race.  This swarm intelligence has always been at work, but with our highly developed communication skills and the ability to record and store knowledge our collective swarm intelligence is truly astounding.  Just like the honeybee, our swarm is orders of magnitude more intelligent than even the brightest among us.

And thus capitalism, which is just individual freedom as expressed in an economic system, is absolutely certain to "work."  It is a scientific fact just as certain as gravity.  And just like the swarm, it does so with no leader, no management, and no one seeing the big picture – no cause and effect.  It just is.  

And just like the swarm, when we attempt to place leaders in this process, the collective intelligence plummets.  This explains why governments and their activities are always going to be far stupider than free individuals going about their daily lives.  This isn't a political statement, but a factual one.

Again, we aren't talking about knocking off a couple group I.Q. points, but rather magnitudinal increases in stupidity.  This stupidity multiplier isn't restricted to governments; it applies to all organizations, the larger the worse.  Anyone who has worked in government, the military, or other large organizations has seen it every day.

Some economists have noted that during the Soviet Union's existence, the central planners had to daily determine the prices of literally hundreds of thousands of things, and thus the system was terribly inefficient, as they had no way to accurately determine this.  My hypothesis is that even if they could have accurately determined each and every one of those prices, they still would have failed.  The stupidity multiplier of their command-and-control economy ensured this.

The science on this is clear.  If we want to maximize our collective well-being and wealth, if we want to maximize our freedom, if we want to maximize our collective odds for survival, we must allow human swarm intelligence to do its magic.  And governments are not the solution, but are rather the destroyer.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He also holds a B.S. in Earth sciences and an MBA and is the founder and president of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education.

The economic system called capitalism has been described in many ways, but at its core, it is quite simply free people freely interacting with other free people.  Capitalism has transformed the world by producing more wealth than any other economic system in the history of civilization.

But how does it produce such wealth?  Some have said freedom is the magic potion – that left to their own devices, free people will outperform any other economic system.  

That is true, but the ultimate reason is deeper and firmly based in science and fact.  In the past few decades, a great deal of research has been done on what is called swarm intelligence.  Swarm intelligence attempts to explain and understand the collective behavior of group animals.  Think of honeybees, schools of fish, herds of bison, flocks of birds, etc.

The intelligence of the swarm is a significant multiplier.  Rather than relying solely on individual intelligence, these groups create a collective intelligence that is orders of magnitudes beyond that of any individual member.

They do so without any leader, with no management of any sort, with no one "seeing the big picture."  In fact, having no one in charge is a key ingredient to swarm intelligence.  This incredible increase in intelligence is driven by countless interactions among individual members, with each following simple rules of thumb and reacting to their local environment and those members around them.  That's it.

Perhaps counterintuitively, if an individual member did attempt to become a leader, the group intelligence would drop precipitously.  And although it may be difficult to grasp, this self-organizing behavior has no cause and effect.  It simply is.

Think of the intelligence of one of the members of these swarms versus the intelligence of the group.  We are talking about not adding a few group I.Q. points, but rather increases in intelligence by orders of magnitude.

My hypothesis is this same process is the scientific basis for the success of capitalism, and in fact the success of the human race.  This swarm intelligence has always been at work, but with our highly developed communication skills and the ability to record and store knowledge our collective swarm intelligence is truly astounding.  Just like the honeybee, our swarm is orders of magnitude more intelligent than even the brightest among us.

And thus capitalism, which is just individual freedom as expressed in an economic system, is absolutely certain to "work."  It is a scientific fact just as certain as gravity.  And just like the swarm, it does so with no leader, no management, and no one seeing the big picture – no cause and effect.  It just is.  

And just like the swarm, when we attempt to place leaders in this process, the collective intelligence plummets.  This explains why governments and their activities are always going to be far stupider than free individuals going about their daily lives.  This isn't a political statement, but a factual one.

Again, we aren't talking about knocking off a couple group I.Q. points, but rather magnitudinal increases in stupidity.  This stupidity multiplier isn't restricted to governments; it applies to all organizations, the larger the worse.  Anyone who has worked in government, the military, or other large organizations has seen it every day.

Some economists have noted that during the Soviet Union's existence, the central planners had to daily determine the prices of literally hundreds of thousands of things, and thus the system was terribly inefficient, as they had no way to accurately determine this.  My hypothesis is that even if they could have accurately determined each and every one of those prices, they still would have failed.  The stupidity multiplier of their command-and-control economy ensured this.

The science on this is clear.  If we want to maximize our collective well-being and wealth, if we want to maximize our freedom, if we want to maximize our collective odds for survival, we must allow human swarm intelligence to do its magic.  And governments are not the solution, but are rather the destroyer.
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