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The New Moderate’s 2016 Vigilance List

February 7, 2016

What do we moderates have to worry about? More than ever, naturally. 2015 was a banner year for extremists and, by extension, not such a good one for us.

I’ve been updating this list each year to reflect our current jitters. Last year’s list ran to 19 items and more than 4,000 words, and I was about to add several new entries for 2016. Because I don’t want my fellow moderates to wring their hands and gnash their teeth any more than necessary, I’ve consolidated many of the items and cut the verbiage so you can read the list without breaking for therapy. I’ve also dispensed with the references to the previous year’s rank for each item — partly because of all the consolidations, and partly because there’s no need for moderates to be fanatical about record-keeping. We’re not fanatics, after all. Here goes…

1. Rising factionalism. We’ve become a nation of us-against-them, “my team is better than your team,” ”anyone who disagrees with me is stupid.” And that’s not only a stupid attitude but a dangerous one. What will it take to remind all those petty partisans, special-interest warriors, sowers of discord, promulgators of identity politics, subscribers to sacred narratives, and denizens of online amen corners that we’re all Americans here… that the land is spacious and generous enough to accommodate a full spectrum of beliefs, and that we won’t survive much longer as a nation unless we act like one? It’s the United States… remember? Remedy: Try to see every issue from the other guy’s perspective. (We moderates are good at this.) Don’t borrow all your opinions from glib Internet memes and other sources that simply confirm your biases. We all need to start identifying as Americans instead of pledging our loyalty to whatever little ideological boutique promotes our own interests.

2. Islamic jihad and other forms of terrorism. Yes, terrorists come in all colors and persuasions, and homegrown nutjob terrorism is on the rise. But let’s face it: the militant Islamists take top honors in this department. ISIS continues to murder innocents and destroy priceless historic monuments, and the would-be Caliphate has demonstrated an evil genius for enlisting young recruits around the world. We can’t coexist peacefully with people who believe that God has called upon them to destroy us. Moderate Muslims aren’t succeeding in stifling the terrorists, and the West can’t constantly police the world. Remedy: A massive reformation within Islam to bring it into the 21st century, or at least the 17th or 18th. The bloodcurdling excesses of the terrorists could (and should) trigger such a movement among the majority of decent Muslims. Without it, we could be looking at a century of jihad.

3. The rule of moneyed interests. Call it plutocracy or oligarchy or capitalism on steroids — the bottom line is that a tiny, self-entitled, deep-pocketed elite is now firmly in charge of our government, our finances and ultimately our lives. The plutocracy continues to squeeze the middle class by manipulating markets, outsourcing jobs and adopting disruptive technologies without regard for the fate of workers. The yawning gap between meager interest rates on savings (paid to us) and exorbitant interest rates on credit (paid to the banks) is unconscionable. And of course, the plutocrats effectively own most of our politicians. This state of affairs is totally unacceptable within a representative democracy. Unless we correct it, we’re headed toward a neo-feudal society of latter-day lords and serfs. Jousting, anyone? Remedy: Ban thinly veiled bribes by lobbyists (via Constitutional amendment if necessary), regulate the financial industry, get rid of corporate subsidies and tax loopholes, impose penalties on companies that move jobs away from the U.S. And yes, raise taxes on the rich — especially on income from passive capital gains.

4. The scariest presidential candidate field in living memory. Take your pick: a vulgar billionaire demagogue with narcissistic personality disorder, a couple of self-professed evangelical Christians who promote conservative theocracy while conveniently shunning the teachings of Jesus, a shrewd big-money beneficiary with a 25-year paper trail of questionable dealings and decisions, or a 74-year-old avowed “democratic socialist.” When the socialist looks like the most appealing candidate, you know we’re in trouble. Remedy: Draft a reform-minded, non-establishment moderate or hang in there for another four years, mates!

5. Militant political correctness. It’s no longer about being considerate toward historically oppressed groups. That would be too easy. Now whites are routinely ordered to “check their privilege,” even though you’d be hard-pressed to find privileged trailer-dwellers in Appalachia and elsewhere. An award-winning actress took heat because her feminist speech denied “intersectionality” — i.e., she failed to mention transgender women of color. Worst of all, we saw American college campuses, already bastions of anti-DWEM (dead white European male) bias, suddenly flare up as political correctness went all Bolshevik on us. College officials were forced to resign for not crusading against “microaggressions” like culturally inappropriate Halloween costumes. (Hide those sombreros, kiddies!) The oppressed have become the oppressors, and they’re indoctrinating a new generation. Remedy: Encourage your kids to think for themselves and avoid professors with a reputation for militant PC. Just as important, let’s use the PC warriors’ own weapons and start calling them out for their hate speech.

6. The hollowing of the center. It used to be that more Americans thought of themselves as moderates than as liberals or conservatives. No more. Thanks to chronically biased news sources and online amen corners, as well as rising levels of anger, the percentage of self-styled moderates is dropping as more Americans migrate to the left and right (especially the right). It’s bad enough that we moderates have precious few news sources and opinion-makers on our side… now those few bastions of sanity will be struggling to find an audience in a deeply polarized society. Remedy: Don’t let anger distort your thinking. Keep the faith; never feel pressured by others to abandon your sensible beliefs. Support clear-thinking news outlets and columnists wherever you can find them. (And read The New Moderate, of course.)

7. Racial animosity. The race riots of 2014 and early 2015 eventually gave way to more peaceful demonstrations. But as the Black Lives Matter movement gained steam, so did unreasonable demands and provocations. Online message boards often teem with vile racial vitriol from both sides. Double standards abound: blacks get roughed up by police and incarcerated more often than whites for the same offenses; on the other hand, blacks are allowed (even encouraged) to criticize whites, while there’s still a strict social taboo against whites criticizing blacks. Sometimes I wonder if blacks and whites will ever be able to coexist amicably in this society. Remedy: Make an effort to see members of other races as individuals instead of symbols. Even better, make friends with members of other races. Maybe the time has come for us to stop referring to each other as blacks and whites, as if we’re destined by nature to be opposites.

8. American gun culture. I felt impelled to add this item after reading that more Americans have been killed by guns since 1968 — approximately 1.5 million — than in all our wars combined. (Granted, many of those fatalities were suicides, but still… ) Radical white militias are on the rise, mass shootings have become commonplace, and our inner cities are essentially war zones. America’s highest per-capita gun fatalities actually occur in the “red” states, where gun culture is strongest. Despite the bloodshed, the powerful NRA lobby and Second Amendment diehards still scream whenever anyone mentions tightening access to guns through background checks. Remedy: Guns don’t kill people, but bullets do. With over 300 million guns already in circulation, it makes more sense to restrict access to ammunition — especially semi-automatic cartridges whose only purpose is to dispatch dozens of victims as quickly and efficiently as possible. Let’s make it happen.

9. The “Great Demographic Shift.” People of color now account for more than 50 percent of U.S. births. School dropout rates and other endemic social problems will doom a hefty percentage of these new babies to poverty. At the other end of the age spectrum, Americans are living longer and will require decades of subsidies to get by. How will a shrinking middle class support all these needy Americans and still provide enough funds to maintain our infrastructure? Remedy: I’d encourage middle-class and wealthy Americans to procreate more freely (Hey, it’s fun!) to build up the taxpayer base. But I’d also recommend higher taxes (they’re practically at historic lows) and drastic cuts in foreign aid and military spending to open up resources for urgent domestic needs.

10. Environmental destruction. Climate change denialists, take note: 15 of the hottest 16 years on record have occurred since 2000. The only question is how much of the change is caused by human activity. Whatever the cause, we need to take prompt action unless we’d like to see massive crop failures, extensive lowland flooding and seaports that look like Venice. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Venice.) On top of that, the world has lost half of its nonhuman animal population since 1970. Developing nations like Indonesia and Brazil account for much of the destruction as they convert forest to farmland. Several East Asian nations must be held accountable for the wanton poaching of critically endangered wildlife for ivory and folk medicine. Finally, as more Third World nations aspire to middle-class status, they’ll be fighting us for use of the Earth’s limited resources. Eventually we’ll realize that we’ve ransacked a wondrous planet, but by then it will be too late. (And we’re not equipped to start colonizing distant planets just yet.) Remedy: Work with other governments toward establishing and enforcing sensible environmental regulations, because the Earth belongs to all of us. Poachers deserve to be shot on sight, and it’s time for East Asian scientists to perform experiments demonstrating the worthlessness of folk medicines derived from endangered creatures.

11. The immigration/refugee crisis. Yes, it’s honorable and humane to admit desperate people into our country; after all, the Statue of Liberty has been welcoming the huddled masses for well over a century. But mass immigration from a single group has permanent consequences. In the U.S., it means absorbing countless millions of impoverished Spanish-speaking peasants from Mexico and Central America. Will they assimilate, learn English and join the middle class? They might if we didn’t make it so easy for them to get by in Spanish. We’re now a de facto bilingual nation. In Europe, mass Muslim immigration is changing the nature of thousand-year-old cities and cultures. Like the Latinos, Muslim immigrants have resisted assimilation. In some cities they form a surly internal proletariat, and their numbers keep increasing. What if half the population of the Third World decided to migrate to the U.S. and Europe? There has to be a sane limit. Last year saw the mass exodus of refugees from Muslim war zones, and our rich petro-pals on the Persian Gulf didn’t lift a finger to help. Remedy: A thorny issue with no satisfactory solutions. For now: offer temporary shelter visas for the most desperate, impose limits on permanent immigration, use leverage to force the Arab states to accept refugees, and (in the U.S.) make English our official language once and for all.

12. Perpetual low-grade recession. Wealth isn’t trickling down, good jobs aren’t opening up, and I’ve simply come to accept our current doldrums as the “new normal.” Meanwhile, corporations are still exporting jobs with impunity and too many Americans are sinking deeper into debt and dejection. Companies today focus more on beating the next quarterly forecast than on the needs of their own people. At this point we might just be witnessing the American future: prosperity for the few, unending financial woes for everyone else. Remedy: More hiring of Americans by corporations currently sitting atop piles of cash… NOW, not later. Fear not, capitalists: give enough Americans decent jobs, and the money will trickle back up in the form of healthy consumer spending.

13. Police brutality. Here’s a sobering wake-up call: American cops killed more citizens in one month last year than British police have done in all the years since the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. Sure, American cops have to deal with society’s low-lifes on a daily basis. Any cop with an inner-city beat is instinctively primed for life-or-death confrontations, and the prevailing “no snitching” culture makes their job even more difficult. But (and it’s a big “but”) they also need to be seen as a positive force in their communities. There are too many trigger-happy cops who use lethal force to stop suspects (especially black suspects) who simply resist arrest. When there’s a disturbance, they swoop in like an army of occupation. This isn’t the sort of behavior that builds trust. Remedy: Deeper engagement between cops and their communities. Police need to be vigilant but not aggressive… find alternatives to lethal force… define themselves as protectors rather than hired thugs. If all goes well, the residents of these neighborhoods might open up to their local cops instead of putting up resistance.

14. Cultural degeneracy. When did Western culture become an exercise in pushing the proverbial envelope — and how much farther can they push it? Movies, TV, pop music, video games, high art and everyday behavior have combined to forge a cheap and often loathsome culture. Nobody reads the classics. On top of that, we’ve become selfish and narcissistic… the “what’s in it for me?” mentality has spread from Wall Street to the boondocks. Bullying and cheating abound. It’s not enough to succeed; others must be crushed. Do I believe in having fun? Absolutely. (This isn’t The New Puritan, after all.) But we also need to restore respect for the nobler virtues, or we’ll crumble, as the Romans did, from internal and external assaults that we’re too weak to withstand. Do I sound like an alarmist? You bet. Remedy: Beats me. Sometimes I think Western civilization at its apex was simply too demanding and rarefied for our species to maintain for any length of time. We’re slowly reverting to our simian roots, which may be lamentable but probably suits our natures. Still, if you have standards, don’t surrender them!

15. Deficit spending. Our government is spending more than it’s taking in (Greece, anybody?), and the Republican majority would rather cut benefits for the 99% than reduce the military budget or (God forbid) raise taxes. This past year it became evident that the credit crisis is a global issue, and that, if unresolved, the whole system could come crashing down on top of us. Remedy: All governments, including ours, need to stop living beyond their means. Here’s a start, at least in the U.S.: slash military spending and foreign aid. Trim those plush federal pensions, beginning with members of the House and Senate. Trim redundant welfare programs, too (if we offer food stamps, do we also need free lunches?). Stop state-sponsored corporate welfare in the form of bailouts and subsidies. Collect a fair share of taxes from huge corporations and the super-rich. No loopholes. No compromises.

That’s my list for 2016, and it should be more than enough to rouse our fellow moderates from their slumber. Share this list so your friends of all political persuasions can see it. And feel free to propose your own additions to the list. I’d like to hear from you.
Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

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543 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2016 3:09 pm

    Rick as usual you have hit it on the head with this post. I do have a few questions that you might want to address.
    1.Rising factionalism..Are we really more factionalized today than we have been in some points in time in the past? Remember, in recent history the two parties have brought us McGovern and Goldwater. We have not had that many years past since the civil rights movement and Viet Nam was an period of extreme division. One can only imagine what these periods would have been like had cable news and the internet existed during those times.
    2.The hollowing of the center. Is this really happening or is it due to the center’s “I don’t care” attitude? In 1976, over 30% of the eliglible voters voted in primaries, while in 2012 only 15.9% of voters participated in the primaries. Could it be that 16% of voters are cramming extreme politicians can candidates down the throats of the centrist voters because the centrist voters could care less what happens?
    I could add more, but will just add one.
    3. Deficit Spending. Do you really think anyone will do anything about that? What impact would it really have on government programs to require an independent auditor to match mission statements, legislation establishing programs or other data to identify duplicated services and then through a Zero budget process, not only justifying all spending by all departments, also justifying duplication of programs. Then couple that with your remedies and progress might occur.

    You need to add one more to your list. “Rising Entitlement Spending”. I hate to use that term since Social Security is not an entitlement based on the law and how it was written. However, the lack of being a good steward in investing and managing funds has led this to where it is today, so old people are going to be blamed for breaking the bank of the US treasury in a few year to come.

    • February 8, 2016 12:59 pm

      Thanks, Ron. Let me respond to your numbered points…
      1. Polarization was more “out in the open” during the late ’60s, but it was essentially a movement of college students and blacks and a handful of old-time “red” activists; the rest of America was pretty solidly middle of the road or conservative. We didn’t have prominent “amen corners” back then, either — no internet message boards or biased networks like Fox News or MSNBC. (Most Americans thought the three mainstream TV networks were too “liberal,” though.) I really think today’s online amen corners, especially in the form of meme-generators like “The Bureau of Teabilly Mockery,” are to blame for parting the American public into progressive sympathizers and conservative sympathizers with contempt for the other side. They leave no room for a middle ground.
      2. Yes, the hollowing of the center is for real, not just a function of apathy. I saw a chart recently that showed the political shift in the American public over the past few decades. Moderates used to be the hill in the middle; now conservatives are the biggest group, with moderates next, followed by liberals. More alarmingly, the number of moderates is decreasing, while the ranks of conservatives and liberals are growing.
      3. I like the idea of requiring a balanced budget, with expenditures overseen by an “enforcer.”
      Your last point falls under “deficit spending” as well as “the Great Demographic Shift.” As a moderate, I’d be more inclined to raise taxes while eliminating only redundant or excessive entitlement programs. Republicans typically prefer to slash most entitlement programs so they don’t have to inconvenience our corporations — or the rich. I’d go for those corporate tax shelters and other loopholes first, and eliminate subsidies. Why should the interests of needy companies trump the interests of needy families?

      • February 8, 2016 1:31 pm

        Rick, we both know that reduction in spending, tax reform that eliminates special interest deductions, entitlement reform and budgeting based on needs and not wants will never happen until we have something much worse than 2008 and a meltdown of our ability to deficit finance when no one will buy our debt. We need it all in one big legislative package where everyone’s goose gets cooked, everyone’s ox gets gored and no one is happy.

    • February 14, 2016 7:14 pm

      How extreme do you think Barry Goldwater was ?

      “I don’t care if a soldier is ‘straight’, as long as he can shoot straight.”
      Barry Goldwater

      • February 15, 2016 1:20 am

        jbsay..Given the current political climate, I don’t think Goldwater was much more extreme than many in the GOP today. But for the time he ran for President, he was out of the mainstream of the political parties. There were two general positions that made him appear to be much more extreme than he might have been. His positions on state rights and his position on communism. He would not support the sanctions brought before McCarthy. He ran against the elitist eastern wing of the GOP made up of Rockfeller (NY), Scranton (PA) and Lodge (MA). They believed he would bomb Russia and convinced many other that this could happen during the primaries. He was totally against labor unions and fought against them due to the illegal activities they were involved with, even though most Americans were not aware of their involvement with the Mafia and other organized crime organizations. He voted against the Civil Rights legislation, not because he did not believe it was needed, but because of his Libertarian views about state rights. (Today state rights is all be abolished, so that could be considered very extreme). The conservative movement in the GOP aligned with Reagan since he was considered a strong supporter of conservative issues, but in a much less in your face form that Goldwater portrayed.

        So there is much alignment with today’s candidates and Goldwater. I would say Cruz is to the GOP what Goldwater was. Bush and Kasich is the Rockefeller and Scranton and Rubio is the Reagan. (AND NO, I AM NOT SAYING RUBIO IS ANOTHER REAGAN, so nobody jump all over that as there will hardly be another Reagan for along time). But Rubio is a conservative that would appeal to moderates and moderate lefties like RR did.

        Hope this answers your question

      • February 15, 2016 4:41 pm

        Ron P.

        Yup, Goldwater was painted as rarian to start a war with the USSR.
        And not just by Republicans – se the LBJ Daisy add.
        Do you really beleive that ?
        Who had more impact on the nation ? Lodge, Rockefeller, Scranton ?

        Federalism (states rights) and libertarianism have little to do with each other.

        Federalism is about the structure of government. It is a view that government decisions should be made as close tot he people as feasible.
        Libertarianism is philosophical not structural. Federalism might be a good structure, but as a libertarain I care more about how much power the government has – and therefor ho little liberty I have than what level of government excercises that power.

        Goldwater reluctantly voted against the CRA because it went from constraining discriminiatory actions by government to interference in the private economy. He begged that those few unconstitutional provisions get stripped. Otherwise he as a strong advocate of Civil Rights.

        There were provisions of the CRA that violated federalism – Goldwater was not strongly opposed to those. Jim Crow laws are a blot on our public honor.

        BTW contrary to what I think you are claiming post Goldwater federalism has been very successful. The strongest successful current restricting the federal government since the 70’s has been federalism.

      • February 15, 2016 4:48 pm

        The fundimental difference between Reagan and Goldwater, was that Reagan was better at national politics.

        With respect to our current crop of Reagan wannabes.

        Time will tell. None of them strike me as the next RR.

        At the same time I would not have picked Reagan as such a dramatic positive turning point in the US.

        Like most leading GOP contenders at the moment, Reagan was an establishment outsider. An insurgent.

        I am not trying to make Cruz into Reagan – only time will tell that, but Reagan was nearly as much an outsider as Cruz. Though maybe with a more polished performance.

        Further the left has been learning for 5 decades how to cast Republicans in a vile light.

        Examine the policies and stump speaches of Reagan and compare them to the current insurgents – Reagan was more “extremist”.

        The left had not quite gotten as good at painting anyone to the right of Karl Max as an extremist hating hater yet.

      • February 15, 2016 7:58 pm

        “Reagan was nearly as much an outsider as Cruz.”

        Are you drunk? Or just plain ditzoid?

    • February 14, 2016 7:21 pm

      Even George McGovern was perceived as more extreme than he was.
      Bernie Sanders is certain more extreme than George McGovern.

      George McGovern Wall Street Journal Editorial
      http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB120485275086518279

      • February 15, 2016 1:39 am

        jbsay…”Even George McGovern was perceived as more extreme than he was.
        Bernie Sanders is certain more extreme than George McGovern.”

        Yes Bernie is much more extreme.

        But just like Goldwater taking on the party machine run by the GOP, McGovern took on the party machine run by the democrats. He took on Humphrey in the primaries and was far left of the party political positions. Humphrey was the one who tagged McGovern with “being too radical” and in those days “Radical” was associated with Hippies, acid and drugs. Most voters wanted nothing to do with those positions.

        He was also instrumental in remaking the party selection process from the party machine to primaries and caususes while in congress. Where party bosses picked the candidate prior, now the voters picked the candidates. This also did not go over well with many old timers in the party.

        But going back many elections, not many on either side considered “extreme” were ever elected to the position, even though they were the nominee. This election could change everything.
        Trump v Sanders
        Cruz v Sanders
        Could happen.

      • February 15, 2016 4:50 pm

        McGovern’s campaign was taken over by the far left – read him he admits it.

        Though he had some proposals many of us would view as progressive, they were small.

        McGovern himself was more “libertarian” than portrayed – do not get me wrong, still on the left, but probably to the right of even Hillary today.

  2. February 7, 2016 3:29 pm

    Terrific, as always, Rick. I would amplify the need to change the tax code to something approximating the Fair Tax initiative as it would bring jobs , money and investment in factories back to the US, having a huge impact on the economy and our ability to start paying down the national debt.

    • February 8, 2016 1:03 pm

      Thanks, RP. I’d favor something like a fair tax if it eliminated various loopholes, write-offs and tax shelters that currently excuse companies from paying their fair share of taxes. Anything that brings jobs back to this country has my vote.

      • February 15, 2016 4:53 pm

        It you want a proper tax, you do not tax companies at all.
        Business profits are either re-invested – which no one sane wants to reduce, or distributed to owners, where they are taxed as income.

        The “fair share” of taxes on business is ZERO.

        Business taxes are further stupid because they MUST ultimately be paid by consumers – all taxes are ultimately paid by consumers.

      • February 15, 2016 8:10 pm

        “The “fair share” of taxes on business is ZERO.”

        Isn’t the number of economic powerhouse nations who don’t tax business/corporations ZERO?

        Even Communist/Socialist China taxes corporations.
        How come they’re not as smart as you when it comes to tax economics?

      • February 15, 2016 4:55 pm

        Figure out what your actual goal is and do not get confused by things that are tangential.

        Do you want prosperity or jobs ? They are not the same.

        At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”

      • dhlii permalink
        February 23, 2016 2:11 pm

        JJ
        There are 10 countries in the world with corporate tax rates of ZERO.
        There are another 11 with corporate tax rates of 5% or less.
        The overwhelming majority of countries have corporatate tax rates of 20% or less.
        There are two countries in the world with corporate taxes higher than the US.
        There are none in the OECD.

        As a practical matter corporate taxes can only result in a few things.
        Decreased jobs.
        Increased prices,
        Reduced investment,
        decreased profits.

        The first two are CLEARLY paid for by “the rest of us”.
        The third is an idea that nearly everyone is smart enough to grasp as stupid.
        Alright – not everyone, there is a reason growth is an anemic 2% for nearly the past decade.

        As to the last, decrease corporate profits you devalue the shares.
        Except for a one time loss to shareholders, nothing happens.
        Investors pay less for a stock that returns less. Ultimately they get the same return as before – so they investors do not really end up paying corporate taxes, and can not be made to no matter how hard you try.

        You can wish things were otherwise, but that does not make it so.
        The left likes to beleive that taxes have no effect or what is being taxed – except when they don’t.

        If you beleive that taxing cigarettes will reduce cigarette sales.
        Then you should expect that taxing corporate profits will mean corporations produce less. Which unless you are an idiot is exactly what you do not want.

      • February 23, 2016 5:11 pm

        Thanks Dave, I needed a laugh. Those ten countries without corporate taxes are thriving economic powerhouses:

        Bahamas
        Bahrain
        Bermuda
        Cayman Islands
        Guernsey
        Isle Of Man
        Jersey
        Vanuatu
        Virgin Islands, British
        Wallis And Futuna

        I’m in favor of lowering corporate taxes, down to around 25% to 30% weighted by gross domestic product, which would situate our rates within range of other successful industrial nations

        That’s another statistic you failed to point out: the countries with low marginal corporate tax rates mostly have crap economies. Even Ireland, with a 12% corporate rate, and a reconverted high growth tech economy, has suffered a series of long term financial crisis – recessions with GDP tumbling into negative numbers (low corporate rates didn’t prevent the collapse apparently).

        But let’s lower the corporate rates, and see if your prognostications are correct.
        And it it doesn’t work Dont forget to take an oath of silence on future economic discussions on the web.

  3. RonC permalink
    February 8, 2016 11:15 am

    There is almost always an understandable reason for any political position. But, It seems that the more extremely right or left the individual is, the less willing they are to admit any redeeming value to any opposing argument. For example: abortion … I can easily see both sides of this argument. And yet, the antiabortion people cannot ever seem to accept that sometimes abortion is best for the mother and for society … And the proabortion people will never admit that what they are doing is killing a living human being prior to being born.
    This unwillingness to ever admit that the other side of the argument has anything meaningful to say results in the inability to compromise.

    • February 8, 2016 1:07 pm

      Good observations, RonC. Yes, I’ve never been able to understand the fanaticism and absolutism on both sides of the abortion debate, because it so clearly DOES have two sides. The pro-choicers seem to be willfully blind to the fact that it’s not simply a matter of “hands off my body”… there’s another body inside! And some of the pro-lifers would force a woman to bear the child of a rapist or relative, which is equally absurd.

      • February 15, 2016 5:15 pm

        I can understand the fanaticism and absolutism of both sides.

        I can not understand the moral nonsense of those who seek a compromise position.

        The existance of two side does not make the truth fall somewhere in the middle.

        Abortion is a classic example where I may not be able to tell for certain whether the left or right position is correct, but the middle position is not only repugnant, but worse than either extreme.

      • February 15, 2016 5:16 pm

        If the fetus is human – how does the fact that it was the product of rape or incest make murdering it moral ?

        If it is not human – why does rape or incest matter ?

      • February 23, 2016 4:44 pm

        Dave: I can understand your position; it’s based on pure logic. But human life is a messy subject that often defies logic. Yes, the extreme positions only alienate half the population while my moderate compromise solution (let’s define it as “no abortions after the halfway mark unless the mother would suffer a medical crisis”) would probably meet with some degree of resistance from everyone except moderates. But the degree of resistance from either side would be less than the degree of resistance toward the more extreme positions. Pro-lifers would be assured that there would be a ban on late-term abortions; pro-choicers would still have access to abortions in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Nobody is fully accommodated, but nobody is fully denied. That’s the nature of a good compromise. As for the rapists, society is better off without nurturing their offspring. A top-down position? Yes. But so was the abolition of slavery.

      • February 23, 2016 4:58 pm

        Rick, your comment about abortion after midterm and those lives resulting from a rape created a question. Should it not be part of any medical treatment or investigation into rape that the victim is given information into RU486 ( or whatever the morning after pill is called) and provided this treatment free of charge for anyone asking for that service? Seems like planned parenthood could provide funding to an agency providing this service and it would be much cheaper than an abortion weeks later.

    • February 8, 2016 1:24 pm

      RonC..You made the ultimate boo-boo. You mentioned the “C” word. Few of the vocal advocates for either side or the voters that pick the nominees for elected office want anything to do with compromise. Ronald Reagan would be run out of Washington today with his ability to compromise to get anything done.

      • February 12, 2016 12:17 pm

        Roe v. Wade *is* a compromise. It’s one of the most thoughtful pieces of work I’ve seen come out of a group of judges. The trimester system and the varying levels of concern across them…the woman as an individual who should be in control of her own body and her own conceptus during the first trimester, and an increasing level of “state interest” as the pregnancy wears on. Roe v. Wade is the ultimate moderate position on abortion, and we don’t need to change it. Moderates need to uphold it and defend it. Conceptus and fetus are not the same as a “baby”, and Roe v. Wade recognizes that fact. No woman is forced to have an abortion…she has the choice not to do so if she so chooses not to do so. Every woman is afforded the safe, legal means to do so, within the framework of Roe v. Wade, if she needs to…and that is *her* call. If one’s religion has one believe that abortion is sinful, then one does not have to have an abortion. If one’s religion has one belief that life begins at first breath, not at conception, then one may choose to have an abortion. Either way, it’s a woman’s decision, not a man’s, since women only can become pregnant. And that, my dears, is compromise too: realizing that men do not control *everything* in this society.

      • February 12, 2016 2:23 pm

        First of all, if you have been on this site for any time and have read my comments concerning abortion, (especially ones with a former commenter called jbastiat), you will know that I have said many times the federal government should have no say in abortion and states should have few rights such as limits on when they can be performed. I agree with you 100% in most of what you said so you won’t get much argument from me concerning this subject even with my position that abortions should be limited to first trimester. (My daughter works in the NICU and saves premie humans daily, so they are much more than a fetus when many are being terminated. But that’s a personal opinion and not part of this debate)

        As for your example of compromise, look at the date Roe v. Wade happened. Good God that was ancient history when our country was governed by individuals that understood the benefits of compromise. The senators of opposite parties ate lunch together. They met for social gatherings after work. They talked. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill met for drinks and discussed issues where compromise was achievable. That is why he and the democrats in congress got things done.

        So whatever brought on the “And that, my dears, is compromise too: realizing that men do not control *everything* in this society”, I don’t know. I always said abortion is an individual decision and compromise is something that previous administrations did for the good of the country.

      • February 13, 2016 9:20 am

        Roe v. Wade was not a compromise, cougrrrl, it was a court decision, and it left the country with the ongoing debate of when life begins and what limits, if any, should be placed on a woman’s legal ability to end her pregnancy. Do you stand with those who want legal abortions up to 20 weeks, or with those who want abortion on demand for the duration of the pregnancy, up to and including the live birth of an unwanted baby?

        If that seems a provocative question, consider that the abortion debate moved beyond Roe v. Wade some time ago, and now revolves around the issues of partial-birth abortion, born-alive abortion survivors treatment, and the donation of fully formed organs of aborted fetuses/babies (the term varies, based on ones position, of course). I personally believe that the vast majority of Americans believe that there should be a reasonable time limit on abortion, with exceptions for extreme situations – rape, incest, and the life of the mother. The debate on what is a reasonable time limit should be based on current science and medical practice, not on one’s religion or convenience.

      • February 14, 2016 3:50 pm

        “So whatever brought on the “And that, my dears, is compromise too: realizing that men do not control *everything* in this society”, I don’t know. ”

        You don’t have to take my comment personally. If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, don’t put it on. I feel strongly that abortion is not a man’s issue, and I often repeat that sentiment. That’s it; it’s that simple; it wasn’t about you.

      • February 14, 2016 4:19 pm

        These are the type of comments that make two sides of an issue unable to discuss opposing issues like adults and not bratty children…….. “You don’t have to take my comment personally. If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, don’t put it on”.

        So let me repeat what I said on February 12th that you apparently did not read……. “First of all, if you have been on this site for any time and have read my comments concerning abortion, (especially ones with a former commenter called jbastiat), you will know that I have said many times the federal government should have no say in abortion and states should have few rights such as limits on when they can be performed. I agree with you 100% in most of what you said so you won’t get much argument from me concerning this subject even with my position that abortions should be limited to first trimester.”

        So please READ what I say BEFORE responding to MY comments!!!! And if you have something to say that……. “That’s it; it’s that simple; it wasn’t about you”….. then DO NOT reply to my comments if “it wasn’t about you” because replies to my comments are about my thoughts and your thoughts about them,. Start your own original comment and then others can comment if they so choose and I will not if I do not want to.”

      • February 14, 2016 8:01 pm

        Well yes, legally a woman’s body is her own, and she can determine if she wants a legal abortion or not, within the viability or special circumstances statutes

        Or are you saying a woman should be able to abort a healthy 9-month fetus?

        And if a man and a woman are in a long term relationship, and they conceive a fetus from the successful joining of his spermicide and her egg, doesn’t he have a genetic interest in their joint venture? If she decides to abort for non-health reasons, shouldn’t he have a say in that decision? (Movie of the Week to follow!)

      • February 14, 2016 8:08 pm

        My last comment was posted before your other comments were posted, cougrrl and I didn’t know you had answered it. The Word Press interface is, once again, erratic, and I’m also like others only getting intermittent email notification.

      • February 14, 2016 3:59 pm

        ” Do you stand with those who want legal abortions up to 20 weeks, or with those who want abortion on demand for the duration of the pregnancy, up to and including the live birth of an unwanted baby? ”

        First of all, I support Roe v. Wade. I think I’ve already said that. The state has an interest in a fetus in the last trimester. That said, so does the woman who is pregnant. If that woman needs an abortion *at any point in the pregnancy* to save her life, or for any other medical reason that has been determined by her physician, then I’m in complete agreement with her right to attain one safely. And I totally believe that is a physician’s call…not yours, or mine, or anyone else. If it’s not their body, or their life, it’s none of their business. Period.

        I’m aware that Roe v. Wade was a SC decision. It was also a compromise. They could have been totally polarized on the decision, but they weren’t. The justices took into account the many factors that they needed to take into account about this hot-button issue, and to me, their decision represented a well-studied opinion that considered public opinion, medical science, and issues of personal privacy, freedom, and body integrity. It was a masterful decision, in my opinion. As I’ve said, and Ron P. re-iterated, it was rendered at a time when American politics weren’t so polarized that the two parties treated one another as enemies. That’s another thing going in its favor, and to me, anyone claiming to be inclined toward moderation would naturally support Roe v. Wade.

      • February 14, 2016 4:22 pm

        I did not post this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!click the correct “reply” link

      • February 14, 2016 4:59 pm

        Ron P., I did read what you wrote.

        Did you read what I wrote? I said that my response wasn’t about you. I took full responsibility for my own passionate feelings, and said that I repeat myself sometimes.

        It seems like you’re choosing to take that as a slap in the face. I don’t know what to say to convince you that it wasn’t.

      • February 14, 2016 5:48 pm

        Ron P. , are you referring to my reply to Priscilla when you posted “I did not post this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!click the correct “reply” link” ?

        For some reason, there is only one “reply” in this entire thread, for me, and it’s the one just under your original comment. There is no way for me to “reply” to Priscilla’s comment only. Believe me, I looked for one. Don’t know what to make of it.

      • February 15, 2016 12:55 am

        Cougrrl..I apologize for jumping all over you. My email has “in response to” and then my name. So I thought these were in response to something I posted. What may fix that problem for anyone in the future would be to enter their name at the beginning so they know it is responding to that post. WordPress leave alot to be desired in sites like this where comments just attach to unrelated comments made many times earlier.

      • February 15, 2016 5:24 pm

        Compromise is a tool not a value.

        If you have to compromise an actual principle, then the compromise is immoral.

        One of the big problems I have with Rick and the moderates here is they have elevated compromise from a tool, beyond even a value to THE fundimental principle.

        Abortion is the most perfect example of this.

        While there is a position that protects a womans rights with respect to her own body AND the rights of the fetus, presuming it is human.
        That is not a compromise position, and is not likely to be paletable to either side.

        There is not a “compromise” position that is not more immoral than either extreme.

        The left and right can make a moral case for their position.
        “Moderates” can not.

      • Ron P permalink
        February 15, 2016 8:43 pm

        JBSAY…”Compromise is a tool not a value.

        If you have to compromise an actual principle, then the compromise is immoral.”

        We will just have to agree to disagree. (Compromise?)

        Yes it is THE TOOL to reach a moderate position where extremes on both sides are removed. But to compromise a principle to achieve part of that principle is not immoral in my thinking. Again I bring up deficit spending and the debt. I have a position (principle) that government should not be spending more than it take in. If I were in congress and I knew there were 534 other members that had differing views, I would also base some of my decisions based on a principle to get the best deal possible. So if I knew there was a way to get 1/2 of the deficit cut now and to work on the rest later, I would do that. I am compromising one position (no deficit spending) while achieving another (get the best deal possible).

        Being a moderate is not being without a position or a lack of principles. Being a moderate is taking a position whee neither extreme on either side has a dominate position. Being a moderate is being in a position where compromise is not needed much because more decisions end up in a moderate position due to each end of the extreme giving up something to reach agreement.

        Again, I will say the current leadership in the GOP is not compromising, they are giving away the store. The past budget deal gave the democrats almost everything they wanted and the GOP got almost nothing. I do not blame Ryan for this since that deal was already worked out well before he took leadership. But so far I see nothing that indicates things will change going forward either.

      • February 23, 2016 2:23 pm

        Ron;

        I do not see how your critique of my compromise is a tool not a principle argument is not essentially an agreement.

        I noted twice how compromise on abortion is inherently less moral than either extreme.

        You note that compromise on the deficit is a tool to get us closer to achieving some principle.

        It is still just a tool.
        It is still true that both extreme positions are arguably more moral.
        It is still true that the “moderate” position is inarguably wrong.
        At best it is less wrong than one extreme and more wrong than the other.
        The only debate is which extreme is right.

        I would note that compromise still is a TOOL.
        I am not saying we should not ever compromise.
        Only that those who elevate compromise from tool to principle are actually more immoral than the “extremists” they rant about.

        Much of what I find wrong with so called “moderates” is that they make compromise into a principle.

      • February 23, 2016 3:02 pm

        jbsay..Yes compromise is just a tool to accomplish a desired outcome. So let me just say that we have a “principle scale” from never compromising conservative positions to never compromising liberal positions. When you fall into the 10% on either end of the scale, very little will be accomplished given the constitutional makeup of our government. It is not often that our government is made up like it was in 2009 after Obama took office where congress will rubber stamp a presidents agenda. Ronald Reagan never had a majority in the House and just barely had a majority in the Senate and no where near the 60 votes it took then to get anything through the Senate. So given the fact that so-called “conservatives” today mostly idolize Reagan, he had to move somewhere to the middle of the “compromise principle scale” to get much of his agenda passed. So he used compromise as a tool to get his agenda through, while today I suspect he would be primaried out of most GOP elections given that stance he hed on the scale.

        Now given the Trump phenomenon, I have no idea whatever the GOP supporters stand for now. We have a Tea Party favorite that is now the establishment favorite, we have a Tea Party favorite from Texas that can not even get overwhelming strong support from the evangelicals in South Carolina and then we have Trump who runs his mouth for 60 minutes plus and never says a thing. He is asked a direct question and he is the master of deflection. Ask him anything and he never gives a direct answer to a direct question and Fox news, who is giving him hours of free coverage (unlike the other candidates) through their live interviews with the likes of Hannity, will not press the issue of actually answering the question.

        So who knows what will be compromised other than the control of the Senate when Hillary wins the election.

    • February 15, 2016 5:11 pm

      Claims about what might be best for the mother or society are irrelevant.

      Fundimental principles do matter.

      The Germans claimed that the Jews were vermin that it was in the best interests of society to exterminate them.

      How you answer the question of whether a fetus is a person matters.
      We do not like killing animals, but we allow the killing of animals for our own best interests.
      We may not deliberately kill other humans except in defense of our selves or others.

      If a fetus is not human – there is no need for rape, incest, or similar exceptions,
      there is no need to restrict late term abortions.

      If the fetus is human – the that that it was a product of rape or incest might be disturbing but it does not create a right to murder it.

      I have less problems understanding both the prolife and prochoice positions – atleast if consistently applied (you can not be pro-life and pro death penalty, or pro choice and pro PPACA), than I do with “moderates”.

      Is there a “the fetus is sort of human” position that is not morally repugnant ?

      • February 15, 2016 8:32 pm

        “If a fetus is not human – there is no need for rape, incest, or similar exceptions,
        there is no need to restrict late term abortions.”

        There ya go again, not able to understand the differences of change in process.
        Is a day old fertilized duck egg a duck?
        The question is when does a fetus become human.
        If a woman has a miscarriage in the first few weeks of pregnancy, is that fetus a human life that requires a death certificate and a funeral?
        If a woman discovers her third trimester fetus will be born with severe physical disabilities – no arms or legs, deaf and blind – shouldn’t the right to terminate that fetus be available?

        Not everything is either/or. Gradations encompass our lives.

      • February 16, 2016 1:36 pm

        Jay said, “There ya go again, not able to understand the differences of change in process. Is a day old fertilized duck egg a duck?”

        Really. You’d think that folks would understand this. I think that most of them do, really; they just don’t want to admit it because it interferes with their anti-abortion stance.

        However, I’ve got a great scenario to help those who are still struggling with the differentiation between a baby, and a conceptus:

        Let’s say I’m standing on the roof of a two story building. I have a newborn infant in my left hand, and a petri dish with a conceptus in the other. You have to choose which one I drop. Which one will you choose?

      • Roby permalink
        February 16, 2016 2:08 pm

        “However, I’ve got a great scenario to help those who are still struggling with the differentiation between a baby, and a conceptus:
        Let’s say I’m standing on the roof of a two story building. I have a newborn infant in my left hand, and a petri dish with a conceptus in the other.”

        Ah, the conceptus is something that fits in a petri dish. Well, then its easy nearly everyone who is not a religious fanatic can accept abortion.

        Unfortunately, as we all know. the conceptus does NOT always fit in a petri dish. Sometimes the conceptus is much larger and is viable outside the womb. Thats where all the argument comes in with Roe, at least when you are dealing with sane people.

        Perfectly decent people with loads of respect and understanding for women, in fact, many women themselves, have a moral issue with aborting a healthy viable late term fetus, which Roe permits. Get rid of that issue by restricting those late term abortions down to only when the mothers health is in danger or the fetus has a serious defect and my guess is that many fewer people would be finding abortion a political issue worth weighing when voting. Its all so simple in the late term healthy fetus case, you’d think we could get past that . But no, that would be compromising. Activists of any kind have it in their cultural makeup that you don’t compromise because “principles ” are involved. Moderates in general are not those uncompromising people.

      • February 16, 2016 2:19 pm

        Roby, “Get rid of that issue by restricting those late term abortions down to only when the mothers health is in danger or the fetus has a serious defect and my guess is that many fewer people would be finding abortion a political issue worth weighing when voting. ”

        How many late term abortions have there been when the woman’s life was not in danger, or the fetus did not have a serious defect? Got any stats about that?

        You make it sound like women everywhere are having late term abortions because, well, they just decided one day that they didn’t want to have it after all. We all know that’s not how it goes. But we also know that doesn’t stop some people from obsessing about the long-shot possibility.

        That said, I do think that a calmer, more sane discussion about late-term abortion would be useful, and I’m not opposed to such. But that will require taking a look at how often late term abortion occurs, and for what reasons. From what I have read about it, it’s generally not something done for flip reasons. So…again…got any stats on how many women have them for flip reasons?

      • Roby permalink
        February 16, 2016 2:51 pm

        “You make it sound like women everywhere are having late term abortions because, well, they just decided one day that they didn’t want to have it after all. We all know that’s not how it goes. But we also know that doesn’t stop some people from obsessing about the long-shot possibility.
        That said, I do think that a calmer, more sane discussion about late-term abortion would be useful, and I’m not opposed to such. But that will require taking a look at how often late term abortion occurs, and for what reasons. From what I have read about it, it’s generally not something done for flip reasons. So…again…got any stats on how many women have them for flip reasons?”

        None! But As I did say many posts ago, its extremely rare. Lets just amend Roe at the state level to make it non existent and remove the issue!

        But that does not fit the rhetoric of Roe being absolutely sacred and a woman’s choice being the only important issue that decides it in the case of late terms abortions. They do happen, I know that much and if necessary I can dig up some support. Very few doctors would do one, but there are such doctors, there are a few examples of any moral oddity anyone can conjure.

      • Roby permalink
        February 16, 2016 2:53 pm

        The support:

        http://www.factcheck.org/2015/09/clinton-off-on-late-term-abortions/

        Hillary Clinton said that late-term abortions “are because of medical necessity.” There is little research on the subject, but existing data do not support her claim.
        Former Secretary of State Clinton, who’s running for the Democratic nomination for president, appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” and host John Dickerson asked if she supports a “federal limit on abortion at any stage of pregnancy.” She said this is a painful question, and went on to discuss the medical need for late-term abortions.
        Clinton, Sept. 20: I think that the kind of late-term abortions that take place are because of medical necessity. And, therefore, I would hate to see the government interfering with that decision.

        A spokesman for Clinton’s campaign told us that she meant that many late-term abortions — not all or even most — are because of medical reasons. But that’s not what she said. Her statement left the impression that the majority, if not all, late-term abortions are medically necessary. The available evidence does not support that assertion.

        According to the Guttmacher Institute, which conducts research on sexual and reproductive health and abortion, only 1.2 percent of all the abortions in the United States take place after 20 weeks gestation. (“Late-term” does not have a specific definition, but some states that prohibit later abortions define them as occurring after 20 weeks.) There is no definitive information as to how many of those abortions are due to medical necessity (which usually includes either a severe fetal anomaly or a threat to the life of the mother). Joerg Dreweke, a spokesman for the Guttmacher Institute, told us in an email that “[i]t does not appear that there is much in the way of research on this question.”
        One study that did examine the question of why late-term abortions are sought was published in 2013 in the Guttmacher Institute’s peer-reviewed journal, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. That study compared 272 women who had abortions at or after 20 weeks with 169 women who had first-trimester abortions; importantly though, the study specifically excluded any women who sought later-term abortions due to fetal anomaly or maternal life endangerment.
        The study’s primary finding was that “[i]n many ways, women who had later abortions were similar to those who obtained first-trimester procedures.” It found that those who delayed abortions until later in their pregnancies were more likely to be younger women, those with limited financial resources and those who experienced logistical delays such as the need for extended travel to an abortion provider.
        Though the study did not include medically necessary late-term abortions, it at least illustrates that there are women receiving abortions after 20 weeks who do so for non-medical reasons.
        One of the authors of that paper, Diana Greene Foster, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, told us in an email that “[t]here aren’t good data on how often later abortions are for medical reasons.” She said based on limited research and discussions with researchers in the field that abortions for fetal anomaly “make up a small minority of later abortions,” and that those for life endangerment are even harder to characterize. This is because many of the women who fall into that category would be treated under emergent circumstances at hospitals rather than at a dedicated abortion clinic, making numbers harder to obtain, Foster said.
        The Guttmacher Institute does have information about the reasons for abortion at all gestational ages, but not separately for late-term abortions. It summarizes the reasons as follows:
        Guttmacher Institute: The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. Three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.

        According to an older study, published in 1998 in the journal International Family Planning Perspectives, 2.8 percent of a sample of 1,773 U.S. women in 1987-1988 who had had an abortion said “maternal health” was the underlying reason for obtaining an abortion, but this was not specific to late-term abortions. Another 3.3 percent said “fetal health” was the reason.
        There is no question that some abortions later in pregnancies are medically necessary.
        Some serious fetal defects are only detected later in pregnancies, and some maternal medical issues, such as severe preeclampsia and diabetes, could endanger both the fetus and the mother. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 43 states currently prohibit abortion after certain points in a pregnancy; that point is 20 weeks for some states, while others specify 22 or 24 weeks, the point of viability of the fetus, or the third trimester. All those states do have exceptions when the life of the mother is endangered, and some also make exceptions when the mother’s health is at stake or when the fetus is deemed nonviable.
        There are no hard numbers to back up Clinton’s comment that late-term abortions “are because of medical necessity.” Though evidence is lacking in general on the issue, some abortions are performed later in pregnancies for other reasons.

  4. February 8, 2016 11:32 am

    One more thing! I never see anything about overpopulation. The UN projects the Earths population will be 18 billion people by the end of this century. It was about 3.5 billion when I was born. I believe this is the biggest problem we face in the next 50 years. We have already seriously depleted the available fresh ground water in the USA, the oceans are being polluted, over fishing threatens to eliminate meaningful fish populations, rain forests continue to be destroyed, and immigration has caused the population of the more advanced societies to increase even though our birth rate has been sufficiently low to prevent population growth.
    Overpopulation is a much greater threat than global warming. We can build dikes to hold back the oceans or move further inland from the existing shoreline as oceans rise (1 ft?) over the next 100 years. These are easy technological solutions compared to trying to control the weather (which may not even be possible).
    Population needs to be part of the international discussions at least as much as global warming.

    • Roby permalink
      February 8, 2016 12:48 pm

      Overpopulation IS global warming. It is the major vast impersonal force that is behind a huge number of our problems.

      Other than that quibble, right on, you are dead on in your comments RonC.

      • February 8, 2016 2:40 pm

        Overpopulation, plus longer life spans, a component of overpopulation that is altering the dynamics of social interaction

      • February 15, 2016 5:46 pm

        And fears of both are malthusian nonsense.

        Please name one malthusian projection every that has actually occurred ?

        My ultimate rejection of the left has come from several factors.

        I grew up during “Duck and Cover” – the world did not come to an end.
        I put nickels an pennies into milk cartons to feed the millions of starving children in Bangeledesch as a child. Now I am supposed to whig out because the garment factory jobs they have that have saved them from starvation are so unsafe that a few hundred die every decade.
        I grew up with odd and even gas lines.
        In architectural school I was taught oil would run out by 1984, and that I had to design buildings for sustainable living.
        i came to realize if these prognostications were true, a sustainable building would not be enough. That there was no way to build a “sustainable” infrastructure for more than a few percent of the people.
        That in addition to a solar collector, hydroponic garden and dry toilet, my “sustainable” homes would need machine gun turrets to protect me from the attacks of those who were less wise.
        I decided that if oil was going to run out and the world was going to starve, that I would rather be the person fighting for bread than the person killing thousands to protect my own bread.

        Since I have learned this end of the world crap is nonsense.
        It is not new, and it has always been wrong.

        The population bomb nutjobs are no different from Harold Camping on the hill waiting for the rapture.

    • February 8, 2016 1:12 pm

      Yes, I agree with both of you. (I probably should have mentioned the population bomb in my environmental statement… although I have a queasy feeling that a future plague might solve the problem for us.) In the meantime, though, the Catholic Church needs to change its stance on birth control. As for the burgeoning Third World population, I don’t see any way to persuade them to have fewer children. They’ll do what they’ve always done.

      • February 23, 2016 2:31 pm

        Please NO!!!!

        There was not “Population bomb” in 1800 when Malthus first proposed it.
        Nor in 1965 when Ehrlich popularized it.

        Birth rates declined naturally – as they always do as prosperity and life expectancy increase.

        China’s one child policy has been disastrous for it.
        But the unintended consequence of the policy is a distortion in the sex ratio that has serious negative consequences.
        With 1.6B people minor changes in otherwise fixed supplies result in enormous changes in demand. The results are horrible. Kidnapping, trafficing, baby sales, significant and increasing skewing of the age disparity in couples.
        A growing body of young angry males with no relationship prospects.

        All this to bend the rate of population growth a tiny bit from the norm.

      • February 23, 2016 5:02 pm

        China is an anomaly because of its bias in favor of male babies. I don’t think birth control should embrace gender selectivity. But look at Third World countries with scant hope of attaining middle-class status anytime soon. The population of sub-Saharan Africa is projected to skyrocket, probably due to a combination of better medical care and indifference toward birth control. How will these impoverished countries handle their exploding populations? And think of the impact on the environment as more wilderness is cleared for farms and the exploitation of resources. I think we can say goodbye to lions, rhinos and elephants, even if the poachers don’t eliminate them first.

    • February 12, 2016 12:27 pm

      Overpopulation ties in directly with the right to choose an abortion, educating our young people about sex and reproduction, and making birth control available under every insurance plan and via organizations such as Family Planning. It ties right in with the concern about environmental degradation, as well. The USA has one of the most highly consumptive, materialistic societies on the planet, and with every new person we produce, we sink ourselves a little deeper. There are over 7 *billion* human beings on this planet, and many of them are striving to have the same unsustainable standard of living that we have in the USA. Humanity has not been an endangered species in our lifetimes, so far, but as we continue to kill other life forms in our selfish desire to have more more more, we may well be our own demise. Until we figure out the connections between all these concerns, and have the courage to take the necessary steps to curb our numbers and curb our materialistic desires, we can’t have much hope of changing the downward spiral we’re on.

      • RonC permalink
        February 12, 2016 2:09 pm

        cougrrl … You are right on all counts. But the solutions are hard to find because it is man’s nature to want a better life. I dare say that the day is coming when human labor will be all but unnecessary. Robots will be able to do anything and everything that humans do at a cheaper cost. So any profit driven enterprise will lay people off and use robots. Robots don’t require medical insurance, social security, medicare, etc. Robots don’t sue their owners, robots don’t need a home to go home to or a car to drive to that home. The problem then becomes “if you don’t pay people to build stuff, there won’t be any people who can afford to buy the stuff”.
        125 years ago, most people in the USA were involved in the production of food. Now, about 1% of the people are involved in food production. The other 99% are providing services and goods that did not exist in 1890.
        I fear that science fiction has already shown us the future. And it is not a pretty picture. Can we give up our Smart phones and tablets and cars and return to riding bicycles and growing our own vegetables. Too much momentum.

      • February 12, 2016 2:17 pm

        Cougrrl—your comments were well thought out and very appealing (except for that feminist BS about men controlling everything). There are other tough concepts to consider. Does the fact that babies develop inside women’s bodies give them full control over that life? If so, should a man who does not want to be the father, be held accountable through paternity laws to support a child the woman decides to have against his wishes? At what point, either because of mental retardation or habitual irresponsible drug use, should a woman’s control over her own body for reproduction be curtailed? And by what manner?

      • February 14, 2016 4:05 pm

        RonC, I agree that we’re already at a point where the most privileged among us on our planet Earth are likely to lose the most, if we think of curing our addiction to “stuff” and convenience as “losing.” Most certainly it will entail suffering, as does any healing from any addiction. But I have hope that we can learn to accept less with regard to over-consumption, *if we make a conscious choice to do that.* If we choose instead to tantrum like children about what we’re not able to have anymore, then Yes, it will be much more painful. But it’s so very, very necessary for our continued survival.

      • February 14, 2016 4:50 pm

        “Cougrrl—your comments were well thought out and very appealing (except for that feminist BS about men controlling everything). There are other tough concepts to consider. Does the fact that babies develop inside women’s bodies give them full control over that life? If so, should a man who does not want to be the father, be held accountable through paternity laws to support a child the woman decides to have against his wishes? At what point, either because of mental retardation or habitual irresponsible drug use, should a woman’s control over her own body for reproduction be curtailed? And by what manner?”

        🙂 That “feminine BS” is at the root of many of our problems, IMO. The entire blog, and these issues we’re discussing in this side discussion, are all about imbalance. It seems clear to me that the masculine and feminine energies are in great imbalance, on this planet.

        Re: the tough issues you listed, I do see a woman as being in total control over the life that is growing in her body. I realize that this is a very threatening concept to some people in our society, because of that masculine/feminine imbalance I mentioned. But, the female of the species is the one most burdened with childbirth…the health issues, during and after; the discomfort at best, and danger to life at worst; the emotional impact of having a life growing inside of your own body, one that you may have welcomed and wanted, or not; the financial impact in situations where a reliable/dependable male partner does not exist, and in a world where women are paid proportionately less than men, generally speaking. Pregnancy is a woman’s condition…surely on that we can agree. No man at any time will ever be pregnant.

        Should a man who does not want to be the father be held accountable, you ask? Let’s play the devil’s advocate on this one, and re-frame the question: Should a man who does not wish to father a child have sex with that woman…or with any woman, if he doesn’t want to risk having a child with her? Should a man who does not wish to father a child have sex with a woman without taking proper precautions to prevent the pregnancy? He can’t, after all, necessarily assume that the woman with whom he is having sex is, in fact, taking reliable birth control, assuming she has access to that. How can we be sure that he didn’t say he would support a resulting child…only to take that back if pregnancy occur? If a baby is produced, I think we can assume that there is a father, and he had a role to play in the pregnancy. Now, if we as a society take the position that No, if he doesn’t want the child, he doesn’t have to pay child support, then we choose how we’ll help the child’s mother and the child. If the mother cannot support that child on her own, we as a society can help her to support it via various means: subsidized child care, guaranteed minimum wage, health coverage, etc. Or we could be harsh and punitive toward the child’s natural mother, and insist that perhaps she should just give the child up for adoption. This is where it becomes society’s business…after the fetus is brought to term and becomes a living, breathing infant. Our choices as a society about how we want to respond to such a situation–after we’ve just said it’s OK for the biological father to take a hike if that’s his will–does say a lot about how we see women in this situation…and remember that imbalance of the masculine and feminine I mentioned earlier.

        Re: having babies while taking drugs, or if mentally retarded. I’m supportive of sterilization in such cases. Years ago I had a client who was diagnosed MR/MI, and because of her challenges, she was easy prey for men who wanted the sex but not the responsibility of a child. She had several children, none of whom she could raise safely, and none of whom had a father in sight. It was heart-breaking *for her* to watch each of those children be taken from her. Good for the children, but so hard on her. To me, sterilization would be the kinder thing to do for her, and for society. Drug usage is a closely related issue. Anyone can make a mistake, once, and people will, we know that. But if it happens more than once? Sterilization is appropriate, in my opinion. Same thing with child abusers. Again…with over 7 *billion* human beings on this planet, all consuming like locusts, how can we afford *not* to put every single option on the table to curb our population growth? How is tolerating unchecked human reproduction “pro-life”? It isn’t, unless you are totally myopic about these issues of environmental degradation and the loss of other life forms, how it relates to quality of life for all, and unless you think that human beings are somehow miraculously immune to the crash that is an inevitable aspect of species overpopulation.

      • February 15, 2016 11:29 am

        Cougrrl–Thanks for your well reasoned reply. I do take issue with your view of the male/female imbalance issue as it relates to this country (it does very much apply in most parts of the world). A scenario for your consideration: Two attractive twenty somethings enjoy casual sex. Both are sexually active with multiple partners, not like rabbits, but in a manner consistent with many lifestyles today. Ann uses birth control pills, Bill uses a condom. Both have promising careers and no intention of becoming parents. Ann misses period, starts coincidentally having problems at work, notifies two other men and Bill that she thinks she is pregnant. All suggest she have abortion immediately. Naturally occurring hormonal changes in her body and problems at work make keeping the baby feel right. She confides her plight to a male friend, who encourages her to have the baby, for religious reasons. Do you feel all three men who had sex with her, and the man who encouraged her to not have an abortion should share legal responsibility for raising the child? Does Ann’s unilateral decision to give birth to the child absolve all of the men from responsibility?

      • February 16, 2016 1:43 pm

        RP, ” Do you feel all three men who had sex with her, and the man who encouraged her to not have an abortion should share legal responsibility for raising the child? Does Ann’s unilateral decision to give birth to the child absolve all of the men from responsibility?”

        Not to be flip…but I think this is a rhetorical question that has little bearing on practical life and reality (actually, I can’t think of any bearing, but I’ll stick with “very little” for the sake of admitting that there might be one that I just cannot see.) I suppose it’s possible that such a philosophical conundrum could find its way into a real life scenario in way that matters, but it’s not likely, that I can see.

        So…I’m not sure what you’re trying to get at. Can you come back at me with some clarification about that?

      • February 16, 2016 4:19 pm

        Hi Cougrrl– What I am trying to get at with this hypothetical: In virtually all situations where tough decisions must be made, it is only fair that authority to make the decision is paired with responsibility for the outcome. You indicate it is your opinion that in all cases short of mental retardation, the female, as bearer of the child, should have complete authority over the outcome. And yet, when it comes to responsibility for the outcome, the man becomes involved. I gave two examples where men were given no authority over the outcome, and asked you to assign a level of responsibility to them for what the woman unilaterally decided to do. The chances of these scenarios occurring are far from remote, given the incidence of casual sex enjoyed by men and women in this country.

      • February 17, 2016 8:59 pm

        RP, I don’t think that such cases would need an “authority”, as you put it, to assign responsibility for paternity, because DNA does that for us. To me, it doesn’t matter how many people a woman consults to make a decision about whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term…and I do find it highly unlikely that the average woman is going to consult men at work about such a personal decision. Let’s just say, I know a number of women who’ve had abortions in their lifetimes, and it was generally a very private decision for them. Outside parties were not involved.

        But in the end, the responsible parties for the resulting offspring are the biological parents.

        If a man doesn’t want to father a child, a man should take responsibility for birth control when he has coitus with a female. Besides abstinence, vasectomy is the most effective method of male birth control, but hard to reverse sometimes. (I do know a man who did that, however.) Condoms are about 85% effective, I think. Coitus interruptus is highly risky. That leaves considering other forms of sexual expression and gratification that would insure no meeting of sperm and egg.

        Otherwise, if a man’s not willing to be bothered with taking any preventive measures himself, then he’s obviously willing to take a risk with a child support situation if offspring result. If I were totally unwilling to take responsibility for financially supporting any child that I’d fathered, and all I wanted was a good time in the sack, I’d figure out a way to insure that I didn’t get my partner pregnant. But if I did, and she decided to have the child, I think I’d just put on my Big Boy shorts, and support my offspring.

      • February 17, 2016 9:44 pm

        “If a man doesn’t want to father a child, a man should take responsibility for birth control when he has coitus with a female”

        It’s a duel responsibility . If a woman doesn’t want to get pregnant she should use birth control technology to protect herself, or insist her male partner is wearing a prophilatic – or demure from allowing penetration.

        How do you come up with that one sided opinion? When you’re riding in a car, passenger and driver are both responsible for wearing seat belts.

      • February 17, 2016 10:15 pm

        Jay, “How do you come up with that one sided opinion? ”

        Because I answered what seemed to be a one-sided question. RP was asking about paternity issues and child support issues in an imagined case; read his posts. I asked him to clarify his first question and he came back with that seems, to me, to show concern about situations where a woman decides to proceed with a pregnancy even if the male who impregnated her didn’t want a child.

        Of course women should use birth control if they don’t want a child. I never meant to imply otherwise. But it’s very interesting to me that the focus is always on the woman using birth control. Men have equal responsibility in that, if they are quite sure that they don’t want to fertilize an egg that might be brought to term as a child.

      • February 17, 2016 10:22 pm

        “Men have equal responsibility in that”

        Which is what I said at the top of my comment. We’re in agreement. 👌🏻✌👍

      • February 17, 2016 11:03 pm

        I’m beginning to entertain the idea that every male, once he’s attained puberty, should have a vasectomy. You know, like circumcision after birth? Once he’s married, or in a committed relationship, and has a proven way to support any offspring the couple creates, then he can have a reversal of the vasectomy. Or, perhaps, a sperm extraction, and insemination of his partner.

        Just think of the advantages to that approach! No more teen pregnancies. Teens can have the sex that we know they will have without that big ol’ worry. No more money wasted on worthless “abstinence only” programs. The abortion issue suddenly be much less pressing, and will likely be on the table only when there’s a medical issue at stake.

        Pregnancies as a result of rape should be virtually nil. So, the abortion issue related to rape is virtually a bad dream of the past.

        Birth control for women? We’d no longer need it! No more pills, foams, creams, IUD’s, diaphragms, or morning-after pills. For those who are disease free, no condoms, either. Insurance companies won’t have to pay for birth control pills, though as one source I’ve seen claims, only 49% of them cover birth control. Fewer medical issues related to side effects from birth control pills (depression, weight gain, high blood pressure, etc.)

        Think of the savings regarding the foster care system: fewer unwanted, emotionally damaged, special needs children to be adopted.

        It would put men entirely in the drivers seat. No more reasons to fight and struggle about the perceived need to control women’s access to reproductive control mechanisms of any sort! No need to guilt them for enjoying sex. No need to guilt women for failing to use contraceptives, for failed contraceptives, or for the need to attain an abortion in those cases, because those cases would no longer exist.

        I think I’ve just found the solution to the “abortion issue”, folks! Fellas, how about it? 🙂

      • February 18, 2016 1:27 am

        cougrrl..Sorry.
        http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/news/20040505/vasectomies-pregnancy-prevention

        Ladies will have to have an IUD in use also.

        So now we can discuss the issue of fines and penalties for those that do not follow this new law since the government is so good at enforcing other laws. And don’t forget about the funding for the procedures and enforcement.

        So much to think about.

      • February 18, 2016 8:56 am

        Ron P., I anticipated that every male in the “room” would come up with all kinds of reasons why this couldn’t work! 🙂 Much easier to stay with the status quo, huh? Why does this not surprise me?

        All the more reason to require that every health insurance company cover birth control in a meaningful way, and have abortion be safe, and legal. If men could get pregnant, there’d be an abortion clinic in every town, and RU486 would be an OTC medication.

        Re: failed vasectomies, you might enjoy this site about that. I think it captures pretty well how strongly people feel about unplanned pregnancies in a humorous way: http://www.mommyish.com/2014/01/08/vasectomy-failure/

      • February 23, 2016 2:37 pm

        The environment is not on the whole being degraded – it is being improved.

        While there is plenty of data on this – though it does nto make the news,
        most anyone can look arround and observe it.

        Few of us could tolerate the “environmental conditions” of early settlers or indians. Or 16th century londoners.
        In 1900 authors were writing about how much better their lives and those arround them were than people a century earlier. How much less polution there was, how much safer and healthier life was.

        In 2000 the same is true relative to 1900, and in 2100 the same will be true relative to 2000.

        Look arround your own life and world.
        What is better than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago ? What is worse ?

        If you can not see that the environment is BETTER today, not worse,
        then you are either not very old or very blind.

      • February 23, 2016 5:09 pm

        I have to side with cougrrl. We might have cleaner cities today, at least in Europe and the U.S. (China is another story altogether), but tropical rainforest is disappearing at an alarming rate. We’ve lost HALF the nonhuman animal population since 1970. Yes, we humans are a remarkable species, but we’re also the most destructive by far.

    • February 15, 2016 5:30 pm

      You should not see anything about overpopulation – because it is another lunatic farce.

      With current generally available (not cutting edge) agricultural methods the current carrying capacity of the planet with the current farmland is about 50B people.

      With techniques that already exist but are not in common practice the carrying capacity is about 500B in LESS land area than is currently used.

      The over population nonsense has been rampant since Malthus.
      Ehrlich published the population bomb in 1968.

      Since then the population has grown to nearly 8B and our standard of living has DOUBLED.
      Starvation is far more rare now than then. We consume more food and more energy per capita by far than ever.

      Further the current UN projections to 2100 that I am seeing are 11B not 18B.

  5. Roby permalink
    February 8, 2016 12:56 pm

    Too much to digest in your yearly list Rick to say much about it today.

    But my solution to the worst of the race issue is a huge inner city work training project to rebuild the ghetto areas. The problem isn’t black people its inner city people with no hope of a meaningful job and life. Give the poor people there trades, pay them to rebuild the disaster areas. That would go along way to fixing the “race” problem. Nothing is free, make the most disadvantaged populations work, but give them the chance to do that while changing their wretched landscape. It is just so hard to accept that such conditions of decayed inner cities have to exist in the richest country on earth.

    • February 8, 2016 1:21 pm

      Roby, you need to add one more step to your plan. Along with the work training project, there needs to be training and requirements to insure the revitalized areas are maintained and not allowed to become run down. I mentioned months ago that in my area we have the upper class country club district, we have the mostly white middle class neighborhoods, we have the ghettos and public housing that are mostly poor minorities and then we have what many describe as “changing neighborhoods”, What they are really describing is declining neighborhoods. What was 10 years ago white, lower middle class areas with well kept yards, minorities moving up the income scale were able to move and they purchased houses in those areas. A few years later you can now drive through those same neighborhoods and you see homes with shutters hanging from the side of the houses, yards with dead or dying shrubs, lawns without much grass and cars that do not run parked in the front yards. In another few years these areas will be the ghetto districts because the people living in those homes do not know how to take care of assets since no one ever taught them the importance of personal ownership. Only in cities where they have requirements placed on the residents have individuals moved into better environments and the areas maintained their original DNA.

      • Roby permalink
        February 8, 2016 1:57 pm

        Its true what you say Ron. I hope that if they build their community and its infrastructure themselves they may feel pride and real ownership and keep it up.

    • February 23, 2016 5:22 pm

      This problem just won’t go away. Job training and property maintenance certainly help, but there seems to be a vicious cycle at play in our mostly-black inner cities. Who knows where it starts… with the welfare programs of the ’60s that encouraged dependency and diminished the need for strong family units… with the widespread drug abuse and school dropout rates? My guess is that it’s the rampant crime: it drives out small businesses that could provide local jobs. So the unemployment rate skyrockets, which leads to more people on drugs, and more crime to support all those drug habits. But what caused all the crime in the first place? Hopelessness based on poor prospects? But why are their prospect so poor? Because they drop out of school, commit crimes and force businesses to flee? It’s complicated.

      I think we need to address the problem of academic underachievement in poor black communities. There’s just not much demand for disaffected high school dropouts in the business world. My own hypothesis, which I know Roby has criticized in the past, is that blacks tend to be right-brained in a society that primarily rewards left-brained skills. Of course, proposing such a hypothesis would get me expelled from any reputable university. But if we don’t investigate this issue at some point, we’ll produce yet another generation of inner-city blacks with a 40 or 50% high school dropout rate. We have to reach them in school, even if we have to revise our teaching methods to engage them.

      • February 23, 2016 5:38 pm

        “Hopelessness based on poor prospects? But why are their prospect so poor? Because they drop out of school, commit crimes and force businesses to flee? It’s complicated.”

        Sure is interesting that one can go to many websites and read the same comments about blacks, the crime rates, the drop out rates, the children out of wedlock rates and all the other issues impacting the minorities.

        But one can hardly find anyone talking about why the black family unit was so much stronger before the civil rights movement, why religion played such a huge part of their lives back then, why the crime rate was so much lower and all the other things we see today that were not present. I suggest that so many in the media and social welfare profession know what the cause was and do not want that to be widely spread.

        Just like feeding the birds, once they have become dependent on you for food, you can not stop feeding them. You can help them during times of need (snow, floods and other times when the food supply is removed), but you can not feed them throughout the year or they become dependent and forget how to find food on their own. The chicks never forage for food and they are dependent. So too have we created a society supported for years and they have become the same as the birds feed for years.

  6. February 8, 2016 2:52 pm

    So much to digest in your list, Rick, it’s giving me mental indigestion! 🎉
    I suggest you post a new thread for each one in the following weeks, so we can focus and drill down on each, one at a time

  7. February 10, 2016 2:03 pm

    Rick, comment on your point 13. Police Brutality. When we look at professions today, some of the lowest paid positions are teachers, firemen/women and police officers. Then we look at some of the more highly paid positions and we find computer programmers. And I don’t mean the programmers that work in programming for NASA, medical and genome research and other highly technical in nature, I mean app’s design, games design and other insignificant programming other than the profits they provide to the vendor. So is it surprising that our kids are not learning like they did in the past and that some police officers are not cut out for the positions they hold? Maybe if we got our priorities straight and began reimbursing people for their contribution to society, the risk in the positions they hold and the mental requirements to successfully handle the job they hold then we would attract individuals to become teachers and public servants. (All of this is based on national averages and not areas like New York where wages are skewed due to the high cost of living and housing)

    • February 23, 2016 5:28 pm

      Oh, believe me… I’d love to see the various professions rewarded in proportion to their social value… but we still live in a free-market system (well, a corporatist system, anyway) that rewards people who move money hundreds or even thousands of times more than people in “useful” professions. Sad fact of life, and I don’t know how we’ll change it.

  8. February 10, 2016 2:43 pm

    14. Cultural degeneracy:

    Like the Super Bowl Halftime show. Beyoncé and her dancers dressed and gyrating on national daytime TV, looking like participants at a French brothel, with an audience comprised of mega thousands of adolescent children. Would you feel comfortable taking your kids or grandkids to that kind of sexually explicit show?

    The concept of appropriateness has apparently vanished from the culture.

    • February 10, 2016 5:23 pm

      And don’t forget we have our leading “conservative” using the “F” word and P” word (synonym for cat) where people have taken younger kids and adolescent youngsters to be part of the political environment.

    • February 23, 2016 5:29 pm

      Agreed. Our culture has gone full-frontal, and I don’t know how we stuff this naked genie back into the bottle.

  9. Pat Riot permalink
    February 12, 2016 10:45 pm

    My TNM friends, brace yourselves. Have a seat. I am very proud that I did the math all on my own, based on a “hunch,” BEFORE I went out to ANY Internet sites for corroboration. Please check my math. I used a calculator and double-checked, but I could have made a mistake. (I was an English major!)

    A few people mentioned “overpopulation”. So I wondered how much room the people of the world are actually taking up? For the moment, relax and put aside the water situation and use of resources.

    The following calculations are to achieve a “visual” of how much room people are taking up on the planet. I did U.S. population and then world.

    Estimated 300 million people in the United States.

    If we allot 10 square feet for each person to stand in,
    we’d have 10 square feet x 300,000,000 people = 3, 000,000,000 square feet (3 billion square feet)

    Let’s see how these feet fit into square miles:
    5,280 linear feet in a mile x 5,280 feet = 27, 878,400 square feet in a square mile.

    3 billion square feet (the area taken up by the entire U.S. population, I think) divided by 27,878,400 square feet (1 square mile expressed in square feet) = 107.6 square miles.

    The population of the United States, if given 10 square feet for each person, could fit inside 107.6 square miles.

    107 square miles is an area 10.37 miles x 10.37 miles.

    Our smallest state, Rhode Island, is 1,212 square miles. The entire population of the United States could fit in 1/10th of Rhode Island.

    Texas is 268, 820 square miles.
    The entire population of the United States could fit 2,498 times into just the state of Texas.

    If the world population is 7 billion people, and again we gave each person 10 square feet, that would be 70 billion square feet.
    70 billion square feet divided by the number of square feet in a square mile, 27, 878, 400 = 2,511 square miles.
    The entire population of the world could almost fit into two Rhode Islands.

    How many square miles on the land surface of the Earth? (not counting the oceans)…
    Several Internet sites tell me that the land surface of our planet (not counting the oceans) is 57,268,900 square miles.

    The total land surface of our planet in square miles (57,268,900) divided by the area in square miles taken up by the entire world’s population if each person were allotted 10 square feet (2,511 square miles) = 22,807. 2

    The entire world population could fit on the land of the Earth 22,807 times. That is, not doubled, not tripled, not quadrupled, but 22,807 times.

    China and the U.S. are about the same number of square miles. (China is approx. 3.7 million square miles.) The U.S. is approx. 3.8 million square miles divided by 2,511 = 15,133. The entire world population could fit into the United States 15, 133 times.

    As far as fresh water is concerned, we have very effective desalination facilities, and a lot of salt water. (that’s just one thing, people!)

    As far as resources, there are so many ways to be sustainable, it ain’t funny.

    I concludedwe are being brainwashed. Then I went out to the Internet and found this:

    Peace and Love,
    Pat Riot

    • February 12, 2016 11:34 pm

      That was interesting!

      And I will think about it, as they suggest.

      But one point about your statistics, Pat R. Isn’t living in ten square feet of space like being confined to a jail cell?

    • February 23, 2016 5:09 pm

      There is about 6 acres of land for each person now living.

      As population increases ever more of us are choosing to live in ever less space. Something like 99% of us live on 1% of the land.
      We are not forced to do so. Less than 10% is is arable.
      The remainder is quite sparsely populated.

  10. Pat Riot permalink
    February 13, 2016 12:03 am

    hah! I knew someone would quickly raise their eyebrows at that measly 10 square feet! Just enough to bend the elbows out! This English major needed an easy number for all those calculations. I like the scale used in the video better–every family (4 people?) gets a house and a yard (how big of a yard?) and whole world population still fits in Texas.

    • February 13, 2016 12:41 am

      Pat, sometimes facts get in the way of good arguments.

  11. Pat Riot permalink
    February 13, 2016 6:29 am

    Ron, you are right! That happens a lot with my wife. Even after good, rational arguments by me, it often comes back to the fact of what she originally wanted, haha!

  12. Roby permalink
    February 13, 2016 10:07 am

    Pat, All of humanity has the weight of slightly less than a cubic mile of water. We have a similar density to water. Ergo, we as a species could be fit into a cubic mile (I like to solve strange math problems as I am going to sleep and I solved that one at some point this year)

    Yes, the earth, strangely enough, is a biological desert by analysis of life per square foot. Its the same way in the oceans and no politics is involved. But its not due to fraud. There is an actual carrying capacity to an ecosystem, which depends on food and water, trophic levels. In the case of humans we have brought about a 3rd level, we have energy requirements, and a 4th, we create pollution. As Americans you and I generate 18 tons apiece of CO2. How can that be? It is. Multiply that times 350 million and you a not small number in mass and a very much larger number in volume, far in excess of the measly number of square feet we could be packed into. Look at one of those pictures of North America lit up from space at night and you will be hard pressed to believe that the organism responsible for all that energy use could be confined in a mass/volume relationship to an infinitesimal fraction of the land mass. We have a footprint that is much larger than our volume.

    When the settlers reached the great plains they found millions of Buffalo. But they did not find billions or trillions of Buffalo. Why is that, all that empty space full of food for Buffalo, why weren’t there billions of Buffalo? Were it not for the physics of food energy there could be a nearly infinite number of fish in the ocean, or Buffalo in the great plains pre white invasion and people on earth. Trophic levels look em up, not a fiction and not a myth. You can find a lot of stuff online, most of it ain’t worth the time it takes to read it.

    Go up into the upper latitudes, the tundra, where little is restricting the mammals, reindeer and such in the middle of the food chain and wolves and bear at the top. Go there and research what the density of those mammals at the top of the food chain, how many wolves, how many bears. Very few, in the thousands. Not because of bear politics with radical liberal bears trying to keep everyone down with environmental radicalism, or intractably left wing wolves brainwashing the young into leaving far too much open space for anyones own good. Simply because the environment will not produce enough food energy for billions or trillions of moose and bears and wolves etc. at the top of the food chain, or even billions of reindeer. I just looked them up, populations of reindeer are in the millions and declining due to very appreciable global warming of the vast subarctic regions. Some species are extinct, another dimension of human effects on the environment.

    Man has expanded WAY beyond our natural carrying capacity, (which is not the number of square feet we can be packed in). That is a cold hard fact.

    • February 13, 2016 12:51 pm

      “Man has expanded WAY beyond our natural carrying capacity…”

      A hard sad truth I found this Sunday when I went to shop at Costco. So many customers showed up that there were massive backup lines at the check out registers, spilling so far back that the side isles were blocked into one solid shopping-cart jam. Or to paraphrase Coleridge: “Product, product everywhere, nor any space to move!”

      This is by way of pointing out that over population is a coefficient of ‘human’ congestion space. The NYC subway cars are overpopulated in Manhattan during rush hour; the fact that there’s empty seats out in Rockaway doesn’t diminish the toe-stomping congregation of riders at 59th St.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 14, 2016 9:47 am

      Roby, your argument above indicates to me that not only have you been drinking the cool-aid, or iced-tea mixed in Flint, Michigan, but that whatever toxic blend you’ve been drinking or breathing has now seeped through most of your cell walls. The reindeer and bears in the tundra–Jaysus, man! When reindeer can build a wind turbine or plant a vegetable garden, then let’s bring them back into the discussion.

      The ecosystem is in trouble because of the way we live, and the subsequent pollution, but NOT because of the number of people, NOR because of the inability of the earth to provide, which your post seemed to indicate. The earth is not near near it’s “carrying capacity”. (Despite the upper case letters, I’m not shouting.)

      You seem to have the following idea: Well, since our demand for energy is already causing enough pollution to screw up our ecosytem, we’re at the limit.

      Sheesh, it’s more about the chemicals that we are mass-producing that are poisoning our air and water, not about the Earth not having enough capacity.

      And my first-time mathematical post of square footage math was only to get a conceptual idea of how much space we humans are occupying on this planet, and nothing more.

      I hope you are having a good weekend. I hope you are listening to music you enjoy. But honestly I’m disappointed in the direction of your argument.

      Yes, we are polluting the water, air, and our bodies, but we are not overpopulated. Jay’s Costco might be congested. Toyko might be crowded. U.S. highways might be jammed during rush hour. But the earth is not even close to being overcrowded with people.

      Problem 1: There are a number of people who do not give a flying f— or a rat’s ass about the consequences of what they are doing.

      Problem 2: Good people have not yet learned how to coordinate enough to stop enough of Problem #1

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 14, 2016 10:34 am

        Pat, It is too bad that you start your argument by making demeaning personal comments about Roby. Further, you would do well to explain why many parts of the country are running short of fresh water and why the rain forests of South America are being destroyed to grow crops. Yes, through technology we have been able to increase food production dramatically. But, the excess people in 3rd world countries are immigrating to the USA and other advanced countries because of lack of food and opportunity in their homeland. And so, our population continues to increase in spite of our negative population birth rate.
        Ground water is being depleted at an alarming rate and the oceans are being over fished. Please see http://www.farmweekly.com.au/news/agriculture/general/weather/world-running-out-of-water-nasa/2735510.aspx.

      • RonC permalink
        February 14, 2016 10:36 am

        Pat, It is too bad that you start your argument by making demeaning personal comments about Roby. Further, you would do well to explain why many parts of the country are running short of fresh water and why the rain forests of South America are being destroyed to grow crops. Yes, through technology we have been able to increase food production dramatically. But, the excess people in 3rd world countries are immigrating to the USA and other advanced countries because of lack of food and opportunity in their homeland. And so, our population continues to increase in spite of our negative population birth rate.
        Ground water is being depleted at an alarming rate and the oceans are being over fished. Please see http://www.farmweekly.com.au/news/agriculture/general/weather/world-running-out-of-water-nasa/2735510.aspx.

      • Roby permalink
        February 14, 2016 1:06 pm

        Actually, Pat I did not say that all much much about pollution, instead I mostly gave arguments about the natural carrying capacity of the earth. Fish in the oceans have reached their carrying capacity, as have mammals in the tundra and there are not very many of them compared to the space that exists. The mass of all the fish on earth would also only fill several cubic miles of the ocean, meaning that they are using a tiny fraction of the space. Its Not About Space! Its about chemistry, laws of Physics. Argue with them all you wish you are arguing with reality, nature performed this experiment, it took billions of years to perform it. Let online crank rave away, they are idiot children with ne respect, in fact often dripping contempt, for the huge effort that millions of scientists have made over hundreds of years. You can find all kinds of completely lightweight opinions online that are not worth the bandwidth they occupy. Or you can ask scientists who are not lightweight and have spent hundreds of millions of person years figuring this stuff out. I am with science. And I return the contempt for the internet cranks who think they know better sitting on their fat asses in front of the keyboard, I return it with interest. But, hey, its a democracy, an arrogant uneducated, lazy, self righteous ideological fool gets one vote just the same as a highly educated highly intelligent scientist.

        Anyhow, turning back to a normal human color and letting that large vein in my forehead stop throbbing, I used the tundra as an example of a huge ecosystem with relatively minimal human changes to its natural parameters. The great plains before white people showed up is just another example, the native Americans were there for 20,000 years and reached their carrying capacity based on a natural way of life along the buffalo, neither numbering in the billions or hundreds of millions. That is a fact. Explain to me why with all that space they were not much more numerous.

        Yes, now modern man has escaped the limits of the natural carrying capacity of the environment, or so it seems, until global warming gets us as a result of each of us needing so much energy and stuff to live in the modern world that we Americans per capita create 18 tons per year of CO2. Picture how much space THAT fills. Go look up a few figures, the density of a gas at atmospheric pressure first of all, and then report back on the volume that 18 tons of CO2 takes up. If that does not make you think about the need for limits on human effects on the earth and its ecosystems, I don’t know what will.

        Taking another line of reasoning, What Pat, we did not lose enough personal impact on our democracy by multiplying by ten and then ten again and then ten again, since the days when the Constitution was written, you want to continue that, in spite of the pollution, in spite of the extinctions of animals that took hundreds of millions of years to evolve, in spite of the loss of your personal voice drowned at election time in a sea of 350,00,000 Americans also voting and therefore on;y having the choice of nut job A or idiot B as the sum of their involvement in democracy? And you complain that we are losing freedom. Jeez what could be more harmful to freedom than packing 10, 100, 1000 times more people in a place. Dehumanizing, destructive just pointless and stupid.

        I don’t get what your goal is Pat. Jeez, overpopulation, all the benefits, so extremely attractive. Man, you are simply being perverse. All for what, to satisfy your need to have another myth being pushed on us by The Man?

        I Just do not get it.

        But I also honestly wish you a happy Valentines Day and I am sure that as a happily married man that you know what to do to make that work out well! All of us, away from the computer, off to the florists!

    • February 23, 2016 8:38 pm

      There is no such thing as a measurable carrying capacity.

      Malthus got this wrong 200 years ago and it is still wrong today.

      Based on best practices prior to 2000 (not state of the art), the existing arable land is capable of support 50B people.
      Best on the state of the art at the same time the same area is capable of supporting 500B,
      We are nearly two decades past 2000 – so the state of the art is more advanced than two decades ago.

      50% of the waste produced by humans is organic – it is going to degrade fairly quickly.
      Another 17% is paper – which will also degrade quickly.

      Plastic, Glass, and metals are all 100% recycleable – when the value of recycling is high enough.

      Waste generation in developed nations is declining.
      The world generates 2.6T lbs of waste a year.
      If I have done the math right that is an area 2mi sq by 100ft.
      Regardless compared to our land area it is a tiny fraction.

      Total human consumption of energy in the entirety of human existance is very close to the total energy of a single Cat 3 Huricane, and is dwarfed by the energy the sun radiates to the earth each second.

      You are correct nature without humans can support very few predators. The range of a brown bear is huge. Yet today the Brown bear population of New Jersey is orders of magnitude larger than ever before. Why because Brown bears living off human garbage need a far smaller range than those in the rest of nature.

      Physics does not define the limits of population density, our ability to use resources efficiently does. And no other animal comes close to humans in their ability to use resources efficiently – and unlike most other animals we are constantly improving.

      Malthus was almost right, the humans of his era using the technology of his era were within a few orders of magnitude of the capacity of the earth given that level of efficiency and technology. Two hundred years later we are orders of magnitude more numerous, we are far better fed, we are actually less wasteful overall. And the “headroom” we have with current technology is greater rather than less than in his time.

      Pick any resource that you think might be scarce, price it in terms of the labor necescary for the average person to acquire it, and EVERYTHING is both cheaper and more abundant than 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 200 years ago.

      The scale of resources on the planet is massive. There is no resource whose limits would not sustain us for 10’s of thousands of years – or much longer.
      Steel is almost entirely recycled today – we recycle nearly all we need.

      At some level of cost and efficiency that is true of nearly ever resource in existance.

      While our proven oil reserves will last us longer today than when I was a teenager, even if we ran out, there are myriads of replacements for oil. In fact there is an upper limit to the price of oil, because once the price becomes high enough numerous alternatives immediately become affordable. The available Coal, natural gas, methane, uranium, thorium each dwarf available oil. Further syntetic as well as organic replacements for oil are readily available – at a price.

  13. Roby permalink
    February 13, 2016 10:36 am

    On abortion, Priscilla nailed it. Roe vs. Wade was both a triumph of common sense that saved women’s lives and made them much more livable, and a tragedy, because it left the seeds of an intractable political battle that will be going on forever by permitting abortions of babies that are viable.

    How many of those abortions of healthy viable babies occur? Nearly none. But a good sized part of the population insists that it should be a right to kill a viable child as long as they are in the womb. Another large fraction of society thinks that not only abortions but birth control are abominations.

    I want to live in the middle ground where abortions are freely available, but not up to the point of a healthy and viable outside the womb (with granted lots of medical intervention) human. RonC also nailed it, two blinded sides exist. There is a middle ground, unfortunately many people are rigidly opposed to it based on ideology and religion and favor absolutes instead. They will be arguing the point (along with the Jews and Palestinians arguing theirs in Israel) in the time of our children’s children’s children’s children’s…. Silly intractable human race.

    Could the two sides compromise? No! The C word, as RonP puts it, is anathema to activists.

    The idea that only women can decide abortion and reproductive issues does not fly with me, its extreme and absurd. When women do every single thing that is needed to perform abortions, by which I mean physically build the clinics, staff them, provide the electricity and other energy to run them and all of the food and supplies to make life possible for the staff in the clinics then those amazon completely independent women can demand to be left alone to make reproductive decisions (but then they won’t need abortions, will they?). Until then women are half of the human race, depend on the other half for many things (and visa versa) and its far too early to declare that any facet of human life is exclusively female.

    • February 13, 2016 1:08 pm

      Relevant abortion statistics:

      http://www.pewforum.org/2013/08/15/abortion-viewed-in-moral-terms/

    • February 14, 2016 5:08 pm

      “its far too early to declare that any facet of human life is exclusively female.”

      I’ve yet to see a pregnant man. 😉

      And I’m willing to bet my next month’s income that all of the significant wars in my lifetime, at least, were started by men.

      • February 14, 2016 7:36 pm

        Most fathers love their children dearly, despite the fact that they did not give birth to them. To say otherwise is, to me anyway, a perversion of feminism.

        Does a woman have a right to what goes on inside of her body? Of course. But, at a certain point, the so-called “clump of cells” that is created by both a woman AND a man, becomes a living human being, and at that point, I think it is fair to say that, if she has not already chosen to terminate her pregnancy, the woman has agreed to share her body with her child. I also think that the father has parental rights to that child, and should be consulted if the mother decides she wants to end its life before it is born.

        I am not opposed to early abortion. And, certainly, with today’s easy access to abortifascients and early pregnancy tests, its possible for most women to make sure that an embryo never reaches a viable stage.

        Pro-abortion on demand advocates come up with every exception scenario as an argument for why there should be no limits on abortion or even infanticide. Why not come up with reasonable limits and then debate what might be legitimate exceptions?

      • February 14, 2016 8:16 pm
      • February 16, 2016 1:59 pm

        Priscilla, “I am not opposed to early abortion. And, certainly, with today’s easy access to abortifascients and early pregnancy tests, its possible for most women to make sure that an embryo never reaches a viable stage. ”

        We agree. And I am deeply concerned about the attempts to prevent women from having easy…keyword *easy*…access to abortifascients. And also why I highly respect the Roe v. Wade decision.

        I’m also not opposed to a later stage abortion, if it is necessary to save the woman’s life, or any other significant medical condition that requires it for the woman’s sake. Women are not breeder cows. Their health comes before that of any potential newborn. It won’t be easy for the would-be mother to have to deal with that, anyway…anyone who thinks so is being quite callous and ill-informed about the emotional impact that pregnancy has on a woman. It seems pretty obvious to me that most women will *not* choose to abort a late stage fetus just because she gets cold feet about giving birth. I believe it’s between a woman and her physician, at that point, and not for others who think they have some kind of moral authority over a woman’s pregnancy.

        Most women I know have never had an abortion. I know some who have, and who later had children, when they could better accommodate that in their lives. I know some women who have had abortions and never borne children. I even know one who had an abortion, gave a baby up for adoption, and later had two children…even though she did not intend to get pregnant with the last child; *two* forms of birth control failed (no, I’m not making this up.) Every person’s situation is different. That’s why we need to allow women to have choice.

    • February 23, 2016 8:57 pm

      Rowe V. Wade was a disasterous mistake.

      The problem with it has nothing to do with the specific outcome but the logic of the decision.

      Precisely what you claim is good about it is what is bad about it.

      It is not the role of courts to weigh in on science, or medicine.

      The role of courts is to resolve or rights, and the law.

      It is improper for the courts to decide what is or is not a pollutant,
      To weigh in on the stages of development of a fetus, and how those interact with the law.

      The failure of Rowe is self evident as we are seeing new appeals.
      Technology has continuously driven down the point of viability.
      Ultimately there is no lower limit.

      As feasible viability gets earlier and earlier Rowe essentially changes, or the courts end up with a messy problem, in that the logic of their decisions ends up at odds with todays facts.

      Further the court ducked numerous important issues.

      There is no right not to have a child once fertilization has occurred – ask any man.
      But a woman has an absolute right to total control of her own body – to not be pregnant.
      But no rights with regard to the fetus – except to end its dependence on her body for support.

      When the courts try to connect rights to science or to make decisions based on science – they are inherently wrong.

      • February 24, 2016 12:54 am

        jbsay..This is how I understand Roe v Wade. I think if you look at Roe V Wade you will find that they did not try to get into science, but merely stated that it is a private right of a woman to have an abortion based on the 4th amendment. (Too much legal mumble gumble to write here concerning the actual privacy right) The issue of science was left to the states to decide and that science was defined as fetal viability. It was in a later decision where the court held the right to an abortion until the fetal viability was defined. And again, that was left to the states to decide, but normally accepted 23-24 weeks. With science changing and babies surviving a few weeks earlier, fetal viability is still questioned under these decisions.

  14. Roby permalink
    February 14, 2016 12:49 am

    Jay, interesting but these polls are contradictory and hard to understand in some ways. According to Pew only 15% find abortion morally acceptable (but another ~35% consider it not to be a moral issue?!?). Meanwhile according to Gallup and 4 decades of polling, about 20% say no legal abortions under any circumstances, about 30% say it should be legal under all circumstances (All? what does that mean? Anything at all, full term even? Poor choice of words in the question?) and about 50% say under some circumstances. So, approximately 80% stably over 4 decades at Gallup think that abortions should be legal in at least some circumstances but only 15% believe they are moral. The stability of the answers over 4 decades at Gallup is noteworthy.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx

    • Roby permalink
      February 14, 2016 12:53 am

      Ooops, 23% say abortion is not a moral issue at Pew. I tried from memory to make the answers equal 100% but the answers don’t add to 100%. Must be 13% said “don’t know.

    • February 14, 2016 5:11 pm

      The bottom line with choice is, “If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one.” That pretty much takes care of the issue for at least half of the population. Sounds like a great compromise, to me!

      • Roby permalink
        February 14, 2016 5:42 pm

        If you don’t want a fully automatic weapon with a 16 round clip don’t buy one.

        Seriously, how many variations from how many groups that want to be left alone to do what it is that they want to do, whether its those who want to be be wealthy without some poor people voting that they shoudl paying taxes for food stamps and such, gun fanciers who want to have an arsenal with nosy liberals sticking their nose in, dealers who want to sell pot in the neighborhood, Industrialists who want to pollute land that they own, whatever, how many groups say that no damned liberal, conservative, minority, caucasian, EPA regulator, IRS, man, woman, FEC or whatever group they don’t agree with should be regulating them, voting about things that affect them, etc. ?

        Sorry that’s democracy we are in this together sometimes our group wins and gets to force someone not to do something we don’t like, and sometimes they win and get to regulate us. The argument that any group can be excluded from voting (excepting convicted felons I guess) has no footing, a waste of rhetorical energy.

        As well, that Roe vs. Wade Supreme court decision, who was on the Berger court anyhow? Why, damned if it wasn’t those ^%$# men who legalized abortion. Now that its legal we men, all of us, should just shut up if we don’t like, say partial birth abortions or abortions of viable embryos for no medical reason?

        Argue each reproductive legal issue on its merits but trying to exclude my vote on reproductive issues because I’m a male and therefore certainly insensitive to women’s perspectives and issues only insults me, pisses me off, does not work, and has no chance of working, because its legal nonsense. I would not call it moderate. Actually I’d call it discrimination.

      • February 14, 2016 5:57 pm

        “Argue each reproductive legal issue on its merits but trying to exclude my vote on reproductive issues because I’m a male and therefore certainly insensitive to women’s perspectives and issues only insults me, pisses me off, does not work, and has no chance of working, because its legal nonsense. I would not call it moderate. Actually I’d call it discrimination.”

        I *am* arguing the entire issue of *women’s* reproductive issueson its merits. It’s the “women’s” part that is crucial. My argument is that is not your business when any woman decides to have an abortion.

        It’s not mine either, if that makes you feel any better. Each woman’s pregnancy is her own business and between her and her physician. I find it disturbing that so many males seem to think they ought to have a say in a condition of women that will never, ever impact them.

        Male reproductive issues…go ahead, rail away. Got one in mind? It would be refreshing to consider the moral aspects of male reproductive issues, instead of women’s, for a change.

      • February 14, 2016 10:19 pm

        “Each woman’s pregnancy is her own business and between her and her physician. I find it disturbing that so many males seem to think they ought to have a say in a condition of women that will never, ever impact them.”

        We’re parting ways on this topic, as you plunge off the cliff into irrationality.

      • February 15, 2016 9:06 am

        “If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one.”

        If you don’t want to have an abortion, don’t have sex, then it will never be an issue. I think that would be a great solution, and we could have exceptions for rape and incest, of course.

        And, let’s take it a bit further ~ if you don’t want your infant, after it is born, because you never wanted it, or because it’s the wrong gender, or because it came out “wrong” somehow or because your life is just too messed up to have a baby right now , just smother it in its crib. It depends on you totally after all, just as it did in the womb. Just because it is no longer in the womb, is no reason to think that this baby has a right to live if it is inconveniencing you, or making you unhappy ; the poor thing is only going to have a bad life anyway, better to end it humanely.

        On second thought, smothering is pretty violent and hands-on. It would be far more civilized to have an infanticide doctor prescribe a liquid drug, which could be fed to the baby, so that it would go to sleep and never wake up. Alternatively, one could bring it to a no-kill hospital, where it could be adopted.

        I do think we should have a time limit on infanticide. We should have a debate on this.

      • February 15, 2016 2:59 pm

        “I do think we should have a time limit on infanticide. We should have a debate on this.”

        After observing the generation of Melenium brats in our society, I’d say parents🔫 should be able to terminate their kids up to age 18. 🔫🔫🔫

      • February 15, 2016 5:47 pm

        Haha, teenacide! It could catch on….. (with exceptions, of course)

      • February 16, 2016 2:06 pm

        Priscilla, “If you don’t want to have an abortion, don’t have sex, then it will never be an issue. ”

        Having sex is not all about having a baby. I’d say, it’s not about having a baby *most of the time.* It’s about expressing love and intimacy and yes, about orgasm. 🙂

        I think everyone who is willing to be honest with themselves would agree that for each of us, sex isn’t about reproducing the great majority of times that we have it. Abortion is sometimes necessary because pregnancy was not in the plans. It could be due to incest, or rape, or to birth control that failed. I know several folks who have gotten pregnant while using birth control, and one who was using two forms at the same time: condoms, and foam.

      • February 16, 2016 2:10 pm

        Jay, “We’re parting ways on this topic, as you plunge off the cliff into irrationality.”

        In what way do you find my thinking on this to be irrational?

    • Roby permalink
      February 15, 2016 5:54 pm

      They are able and sometimes do (and sometimes visa versa). Oh, you mean legally?

    • February 23, 2016 9:00 pm

      Regardless of what you feel about abortion – we do not decide rights by polls.

      In fact a right is almost by definition something that you retain even if the majority feel otherwise.

      If that were not so, we would have no rights, we would just operate as a pure democracy and whatever the majority decided that would be how things are.

      A right is something you have even when the majority says no.

      • February 24, 2016 1:02 am

        jbsay..we do no define rights based on polls and in the past we have not defined rights based on politics for the most part. We have based rights based on the wording of the constitution.

        However, with the last few appointments to the courts, rights are now being determined by political positions, unlike decisions based on constitutional basis when O’Conner and Kennedy sat on the court and other moderates sat on the court

  15. February 14, 2016 7:12 pm

    “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”
    Barry Goldwater

    “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    Ben Franklin

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  16. February 14, 2016 7:31 pm

    Trying to see issues from all sides, has some validity – though it does not alter the fact that every issue has two sides, that does not make both sides equally valid.
    There are two sides to genocide, few of us give serious attention to the pro genocide perspective.

    Nor has it been my experience that moderates are good at grasping all the sides of issues.

    With respect I have found Rick’s thoughts on many issues inconsistent and muddled.

    One of the problems with moderation, is that once we sacrifice principles everything becomes muddled and fungible.

    Ralph Nader and Grover Norquist have found common ground on fighting corporate welfare.
    Moderates seem unable to accept that some things are just wrong in principle.
    It is often easier to persuade a left wing nut that their values are self contradictory, than to make intellectual progress with a moderate.

    It is hard to overcome the confirmation bias of an “extremist” it is often harder to make progress with someone who has no principles to underpin their positions.

    • February 14, 2016 8:05 pm

      Jbsay, moderates are not without principle and standing on principle can be a moderate trait. I’m not talking here about people who “hug the middle,” for fear of controversy or disapproval, but people who believe passionately in honest disagreement, and/or who believe that that, sometimes two rights can make a third right.

      That’s not to say that I completely disagree with you ~ in fact, I mostly agree. But, not all moderates are squishes.

      • February 23, 2016 9:08 pm

        I do not think that most of the people at TNM actually qualify as moderates.

        Rick is a tepid progressive on most issues, but occaisonally veers to tepid conservatism.

        Worse still he is a tepid statist. Where there is a problem – he always sees more government as the answer. Often tepidly. But still he expect government to solve the problem.

        Quite often many of his problems – just aren’t. Or they aren’t the business of government.

        Pick most any item on his vigilance list. Why does that require government to act ?

        Yes, it would be nice if we all got along. But does the world end if we do not ? Must government step in – either side does not matter, when two people disagree ?

        Most problems in the world ultimately solve themselves – and new problems arise.

      • February 24, 2016 2:39 pm

        So I always see more government as the answer? More than a diehard libertarian would, no doubt. On that score I proudly plead guilty. But if you actually read the Vigilance List and my proposed remedies, you’d see that only five of the 15 items require any sort of government action.

        I’m about as moderate as they come, Dave. Yes, I skew a little to the left on economic issues and a little to the right on social issues… but just enough to steer us back to the center. (Our economy has been commandeered by right-wing plutocrats, and our culture has been captured by the multiculti left.) How would you define a moderate, anyway?

        As for the “tepid” tag… well, that seems to be the moderate’s curse… and it explains why America is drifting simultaneously to the left and the right. The impressionable public, stirred to rabid outrage by sowers of discord at both ends of the spectrum, can no longer see shades of gray. Tepid? If you’re a moderate, you’re fighting simultaneously on two fronts, catching flak from the opposing camps and firing salvos at them in return. Tepid? I prefer to use terms like “balanced,” “fair,” “nuanced,” “sane” — even “radical,” because it actually takes a renegade spirit to advocate and defend sensible centrist values in today’s deeply polarized society.

      • February 24, 2016 3:21 pm

        Rick. “I’m about as moderate as they come, Dave. Yes, I skew a little to the left on economic issues and a little to the right on social issues…”

        And that is what a moderate is. And they come in forms. I would hope that anyone that reads my comments will find where I am on the right side (location, not correctness) of fiscal issues and left side of social issues. But I try to come down on the strict interpretation of the constitution whenever possible. When interpretations begin, that is when progressive decisions are made which I do not like.

        So that is what makes this site so unique. We have from time to time very conservative subscribers (who seem to get frustrated and leave when we will not accept their positions completely), we have left leaning moderates, right leaning moderates and libertarians who can fall anywhere in the spectrum based on their degree of libertarian-ism.

        So thanks for what you do and keep up the good articles as they offer excellent opportunities for your readers to express their positions on different issues.

      • February 24, 2016 4:15 pm

        I agree with your descriptions about political moderateness Rick. But the word ‘moderate’ doesn’t adequately describe our philosophical/political stance, because we’re generally strongly opinionated on the issues we are for or oppose.

        We need a better word – something that indicates picking and choosing the positive and discarding the negative.

      • February 24, 2016 5:31 pm

        Jay, I found this on Urban Dictionary. I love the first criteria for being a moderate:
        Being a moderate is defined as
        “1) a sane person;
        2) someone with a political belief that sits between the two extremes of liberal and conservative, usually combining aspects of both (example: liberal on social issues yet conservative on economic issues);
        3) someone who seeks compromise on political issues and as such gets insulted by the two extremes who just don’t get the idea that this form of government survives by compromise;
        4) someone whose political beliefs seem quiet and mild, and as such always ignored by the media, which seeks out people from the screechy Left and shrill Right because they make for better sound bites.
        Moderates rule. Turn off FOX News and CNN and turn on Cartoon Network!”

        Now we have 4 points that we can discuss, pick apart, ridicule and throw out based on which side of the centrist position one falls into.

        So I’ll go first and everyone can tell me why I am wrong.
        As for point #1, I believe I meet that criteria, but there are some that have said I am a crazy $%^&*^% , so that can be a point of debate.
        2. Can someone be a fiscal conservative and liberal social value individual or the other way around? I think yes. Would they still be considered moderates in their thinking if they were at the two extremes of each criteria. That I do not believe could happen. They might just be a schizophrenic extremist if that were to happen.
        3. I will agree 100% with that point. How many times have we seen people making obnoxious comments, even here sometimes, when anyone mentions compromise. (And let me define compromise as accepting some of the other parties views while some of your views are accepted and both parties giving up some of their desired results. Much unlike the current GOP leadership that has given much in return for little. That is not compromise as acceptable from my perspective.)
        4. Can’t argue with that. How can someone who will calmly discuss issues be a story on a website or media outlet?

        And if the Road Runner and Tom and Jerry are on the cartoon network with all that violence, I will be watching. Anything to make a liberal mad.

      • Roby permalink
        February 24, 2016 2:48 pm

        Bravo Rick. And Thanks for what you do.

      • February 24, 2016 3:22 pm

        Thank you, Roby. I appreciate the appreciation. Moderate solidarity!

  17. February 14, 2016 7:35 pm

    With respect to Islam, while we have a right and obligation to defend ourselves from the violence of others – whatever the motivation, and we can encourage others to refrain from violence,

    What is it that you are looking for ?

    One of the problems I have with Rick the moderate, is that all too often, your solutions are top down and imposed on others by force.

    Changes in Islam would be welcome – but how do you intend to bring that about ?

  18. February 14, 2016 7:39 pm

    3. The rule of moneyed interests.

    Reducing special interests in politics is trivial.
    Get government out of the economy, something that is not its job and that it is not competent at.

    Regardless, whatever power government has someone will try to bend it to their will.
    If you totally eliminated moneyed interests, some other special interest will take its place.

  19. February 14, 2016 7:55 pm

    4. The scariest presidential candidate field in living memory.

    Given that our choices over the recent past have been Bush/Gore Bush/Kerry McCain/Obama Romney/Obama I do not see this election as all that Scarry.

    I can not see Trump as president, but how would Bush, Clinton, or Sanders be better ?

    What seems clear about this election is that the electorate is “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”.

    And that is a very good thing.

    Trump disturbs me not so much because he is loud, bombastic and anti-PC, but because on so many issues he is wrong. He has more resemblance to a moderate populist democrat, than a republican.

    Regardless, the electorate of both parties is incredibly angry with the political status quo – which quite frankly deserves this outrage.

    The fact that establishment candidates of both parties are more banal and milqetoast does not make them better candidates.

    We are past the point where continuing the status quo is “safe”.

    A president Clinton or President Bush III would be a greater danger than a Sanders or Trump.
    Because the status quo is headed in the wrong direction.
    A different direction – even a different wrong direction would be less dangerous than continuing like lemmings,

    • February 15, 2016 3:24 pm

      Jbsay – “I can not see Trump as president, but how would Bush, Clinton, or Sanders be better ?”

      Are you saying any of them, Trump included, wouldn’t be better than Cruz?
      Or Carson?
      Or Carly?
      Or baby face Rubio with his Christian agenda?

      • February 23, 2016 9:19 pm

        Frankly if I had to pick one of the current candidates, I would hold my nose and pick Cruz, so no I do not think any of them would be better than Cruz.

        But more importantly, not one of them is what we need.
        The closest we had to that was Rand Paul.

        Further I do not think it is actually possible to elect what we really need.

        You practically have to be the wrong choice if you want to be president.

        And last it does not matter much.
        None of these candidates will be the end of the world if elected.
        None will be the savior of the nation.

        With few minor exceptions there will be very little difference regardless of which is elected.

        President Bernie will likely be more impotent than President Obama.
        Republicans will retain enough control of congress than nothing of consequence that any democrat wants will happen.

        Flipping the other way, when the republicans in the house can not successfully vote to defund ExIm or PP, why are those things going to be easier with a republican in the whitehouse ?

        It is probable that a republican president will be slightly better for the economy right now – but not all that much.

        Maybe with a republican president we will see tax reform. But that is about it. And taxes will at best be improved – not really fixed.

        There is zero chance of fixing SS or Medicare.
        Or balancing the budget.
        Or truly scaling back government.

        I am not trying to say there is no difference between Bernie and Ted,
        only that there will be very little difference with respect to the country.

        Neither Bernie not Hillary are going to convert the nation to a social democracy.

        None of the republicans are going to get far on most of the issues they are selling either.

      • February 23, 2016 11:20 pm

        “Frankly if I had to pick one of the current candidates, I would hold my nose and pick Cruz,”

        A better idea: flush your head in the toilet and hope the swirling water provides some clarity: which would entail not voting for any of the candidates, all of whom you find inferior. Because a vote for any of them, especially your nose holding vote for Cruz, is still symbolic approval for an inferior candidate. Instead write in your vote for Rand Paul, because, as you state, it’s not going to make much difference who is elected president. Or better, just vote for the only person whose political views match your own – yourself.

      • February 24, 2016 1:10 am

        jbsay.. “Neither Bernie not Hillary are going to convert the nation to a social democracy.
        None of the republicans are going to get far on most of the issues they are selling either”.

        And that is why everyone needs to read the constitution and understand what is in it. The president has little power other than treaties and appointments. They can send stuff to congress, but if congress does not want to act, they don’t. The presidents perceived power only appears when they have a united congress and presidency like Obama had in his first two years and FDR had during the 30’s.

        Now the better presidents in modern time have been the ones with leadership skills and being able to work with the opposition party. Reagan and Clinton were unique in these abilities (until Clinton could not keep his pants on in the oval office)

  20. February 14, 2016 8:05 pm

    5. Militant political correctness.

    Little disappoints me more than that as various oppressed groups have gained power they have themselves turned into oppressors.

    That said – right left, gay straight, black white, male female, …
    you are free to hold whatever views you wish. And you can rant and rave,
    what you can not do is use force to impose them on others.

    Protest speech or speakers you do not like.
    Boycott businesses you think are predjudice,.

    But do not attempt to convert your views into laws imposed by force.

    If the football team at Missou demands the head of the president through peacefull protest – more power to them. If you disagree – speak your mind too.

    If the president is toppled – so be it. If that bothers you – chose a different college.

    Freedom, requires tolerating the freedom of others. Even verbal bullies, even PC’rs.

    One of the other reasons we keep government out of as much as possible, is that is it not “miltant political correctness” that is the problem – it is the use of government to impose PC or any other viewpoint on others by force.

  21. Roby permalink
    February 14, 2016 8:08 pm

    Well, If I’ve been grumpy or quarrelsome of Valentines day here is my gift in penance.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 15, 2016 12:11 am

      Roby I’ll begin by apologizing for going a bit over the line. I didn’t intend to be demeaning for real. It was more like I’d say to my brother, “hey man, have you lost your mind????” Nonetheless, I could have been less flippant.

      We disagree on several points revolving around the idea of overpopulation, but now the misunderstandings are piling up. Somehow I’m perceived a fan of overpopulation and also as anti-science. Not so. I suggest we sweep that whole discussion under the rug.

      • Roby permalink
        February 15, 2016 10:14 am

        Pat, Not to worry, I took your words as humor. I felt no anger, took nothing personally. My own rant is mostly to be taken the same way, as serious, but also humor. I’m glad to be in the same category as your brother, we were brothers in the Dave wars, as I don’t forget.

        What is true is that the ideologically driven aspect of an anti-science, which is mostly an anti-climate science and anti environmental science movement (then there is the religious anti-evolution science as well I guess) really does piss me off, furiously. That part of my rant is real, about ideologically driven people sitting on their fat asses in front of their computers composing anti climate science manifestos, telling us that there is no such thing practically as destructive human impacts on the world, those people I would like to wring their fat stupid necks. Climate science is just as impressive and has the achievements of just as many brilliant people as any of the non politicized sciences. If I could, I would deny the benefits of all of the sciences to the ideologically driven anti-science people. Which would pretty much be a death penalty.

        But the truth is that if I talk with any good American for any prolonged time about science, politics or religion, I will will discover in +90% of all cases that they believe at least one thing that I consider to be utterly crazy. Nor do I imagine that I am the sane one in the equation. That includes my wife, who took a health and wellness class a few years back and became a convert to hippy medicine. Now she talks to me endlessly about chakras and Reiki and wants me to throw my blood pressure medication away because she doesn’t believe in pills. So, its everywhere. People not in science do not understand the fundamental power and the amazing achievements of science and they feel free to doubt it any time its convenient to them. Its not just you Pat, its people in my own life who I love dearly. Its nearly everyone. Sigh.

        To be overly serious about the overpopulation thing one last time, yes, most of America is nearly empty as we see when we fly cross country. Overpopulation does not occur when finally every square foot of the earth has the population density of Tokyo. Overpopulation occurs when there are more people and their chemical byproducts and environmental consequences than the earth’s ecosystems and the environmental parameters of the atmosphere and water bodies can sustain. Food, water, and the atmosphere are not infinite and are actually a hell of a lot more finite than it may seem, unless one takes science very seriously, which most people don’t. Its easy and intuitive to believe if one lives in most places in America that there is plenty of stuff for everyone, room, food, water, atmosphere, fish in the sea. Easy but wrong.

        If someday people learn to make solar powered airliners, wind powered ocean freighters, develop non carbon combustion based energy sources that are of a large enough magnitude to run our factories and huge cities, then we may be able to have even more billions of people, albeit many of them will be in danger of starving if a weather event leads to a bad harvest. I doubt we are going to get to that clean energy future at anywhere near the same speed that the population of the earth is growing.

        I would bet you anything that 100 years from now the human population of the earth will be less than the 7 billion we have now. Either by catastrophe or by deliberate measures. Large numbers of species, emperor penguins, polar bears reindeer will exist at best in zoos or be extinct. 7 billion people, with their requirements for food, water, energy, and raw materials for industry are already too many people for the earths system’s to handle and the consequences are already well in progress. Again, if you believe science, which most people don’t.

      • Roby permalink
        February 15, 2016 10:41 am

        Here, right on cue in my morning news:

        “Severe water scarcity affects at least two-thirds of the world’s population, or about 4 billion people, according to a new study.
        These people experience severe water scarcity at least one month a year, and the number is far higher than the 1.7 billion to 3.1 billion people suggested by previous research. Nearly half of the people affected are in China and India.
        Other countries where large numbers of people are affected by severe water scarcity for at least part of the year include Bangladesh, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and the United States (mostly in western states such as California and southern states such as Texas and Florida), the study found.
        The rising worldwide demand for fresh water is being driven by a growing population, increased agricultural irrigation, higher living standards and changing consumption patterns, according to the researchers led by Mesfin Mekonnen and Arjen Hoekstra of the University of Twente in the Netherlands.
        They said the threat can be reduced by placing limits on water consumption, boosting water use efficiency, and improving sharing of fresh water resources.
        The study was published Feb. 12 in the journal Science Advances.”

        I’m not taking this as the Gospel Truth, especially since 4 billion out of 7 billion is NOT more than 2/3, but it gives some idea of the scale of the fresh water problem.

        http://phys.org/news/2016-02-two-thirds-world-population-severe-shortage.html

      • February 23, 2016 9:21 pm

        Anyone who tries to argue “overpopulation” is clueless about science.

  22. February 14, 2016 8:12 pm

    6. The hollowing of the center.

    Sorry, rick, but it is not so.

    The portion of us identifying as independents is higher than ever.

    I suspect what anoys you is that the middle is not hollow – it just does not share your views.

    Further it does not matter much. The fact that an issue has two sides does not make the middle the correct answer.

    Would the moderate position on the Holocaust be to kill half as many jews ?

    Some things are wrong.

    The Devil is compromise
    Henrick Ibsen

    Compromise: An agreement between two parties to do what both agree is wrong
    Lord Cecil

    You can not compromise with evil
    Because evil will not compromise with you
    Whatever it promises Hell is out to take it all.

    • February 15, 2016 1:48 pm

      Life in the United States has been a compromise for years. That is the way the constitution was set up. The constitution itself was a compromise, thus the Bill of rights.

      It has only been when one party dominated all wings of government that compromise was not needed. And then we can look at the last few years where the GOP has turned tail and ran when the democrats dug in with a GOP majority and the GOP signed off on legislation that was one sided, thus no compromise from the democrats. All because GOP politicians put their careers first, the party second and the country last.

      Everyday we compromise. Do we buy $10.00 a pound steak or $4.00 a pound ground meat. Do we drive 85 miles an hour and risk a ticket, or drive 76 in a 70 zone because we think most cops let people off when doing less than 6 over the speed limit and are the cops compromising the speed limit because they don’t write on 71.

      The middle may not be 100% correct, but is obtaining nothing by standing on principle better than getting 75% and compromising? If we have a deficit of (lets say 3 trillion over 5 years without doing anything) and there are proposals that are totally different from each party is it better to not do anything and continue with a 3 trillion deficit or is it better to negotiate and cut the deficit by (say) 1.5 trillion and work on the rest later?

      There are somethings you do not compromise on. Safety. Like water is one. We see what the impact of a compromise with water is in Flint Michigan when the Republican governor put money first and peoples safety second. We see in foreign countries where construction is compromised and building collapse.

      But in most areas of government and life, compromise is required.

  23. February 15, 2016 1:49 pm

    Racial Animosity.

    The left, right and Rick are all totally off base on this.

    On one hand violence, racism, and the police killings of minorities are all declining.
    As with nearly every other purported crisis the left demands immediate government action on, the problem is improving entirely on its own without government intervention.

    It is very import for us to understand that – not merely about race, but about everything.
    Our world is constantly improving in every way. This is not most of our perception – but it is a very very important reality.

    At the same time many factors – including the smart phone video camera in everyone’s pocket means that we are learning what some have claimed for a long time.
    All too often law enforcement serves itself and not our communities.
    Not withstanding the continuous improvement cited above, the police are too often our enemies rather than our friend. This problem is greater if you are black, minority, young, poor, angry, disrespectful, but the problem exists to some degree even if you are a rich powerful older white male.

    All, even most police officers are not tyrants, but all protect those who are.

    Further the police culture – and too much of our law is about the protection of the police and not the protection of the community or the rights of individuals.

    Policing is a dangerous and difficult job. But those dangers and difficulties are not an excuse to sacrifice peoples rights.
    In a confrontation with a police officer, the safety of the officer is not more important than the life of others.
    When a marginal police officer kills a teen playing with an airsoft gun, it is not the teens fault.

    But what if the same mistake is made by one of the best ? The outcome is still tragic.

    Rick fixates on “mass killings”. But more people die per year in confrontations with police than have died in the past decade from mass shootings. Some of these shootings are of people who were unarmed. The police kill several thousand pets every year.
    Any perception of threat to a police officers safety is sufficient to justify what for the rest of us would be homicide or animal cruelty.

    Only a few percent of police have a college degree. A larger number do not even have a high school degree. Yet we know that an officers likelyhood to resort to force decreases as their education increases.

    Yet we talk of police as professionals and they seek to be paid as professionals.

    We also have to accept that we are never going to have a perfect law enforcement system.

    That understanding that government can not bring about perfection is something important that should be weighed in every single point on Rick’s vigilance list.

    The demand for perfection implicit in all items on the list and the reality that it is not acheivable is an important argument AGAINST greater government power.

    Policing is one area where government government is necescary. We must accept that perfect policing is not possible. But improvement is. However the means to improvement is not to throw more money, more education, more training, more pay, more tools at the problem – though in some cases these might help. It is to the same thing the market does – to hold law enforcement accountable.

    The answer to Black Lives matters and other racially motivated angst groups is not to adopt their policies, but to hold government accountable for its actual violations of peoples rights.

    • February 15, 2016 5:12 pm

      Dude, your observations are like a Jackson Pollack abstract painting: a lot of splatter, accompanied by obscure inconsistency of meaning.

      Maybe some of that has to do with your fuzzy statistics.

      For instance, the overwhelming majority of US police departments require HS diplomas for cop applicants. About 80% of police departments nationally require high school diplomas for patrol cops. And with or without a high school diploma or college credit – or military service, which many police departments accept in lieu of an HS diploma – almost all recruits are required to pass police academy classes, and arduous and probationary training, which nationally averages out to about 1,000 hours per recruit. Big city cops ARE well trained.

      And your comparison of mass civilian murders in comparison to people who have died in confrontations with police is specious in that it fails to note the number of civilians who were armed during those confrontations, or the number of officers in uniform or on duty killed by guns.

      Yes, there will continue to be a few egregious police shootings each year, but unless you significantly reduce the criminal class in the US, take guns out of the hands of those who continue to murder about 12,000 other citizens per year, cops are going to have nervous trigger fingers –

      • February 16, 2016 2:34 pm

        “Our world is constantly improving in every way.”

        Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

        When’s the last time you tried to contact your doctor for something as simple as changing an appointment? A decade or two ago you’d call the office on your dial-up phone, speak with an operator or secretary – who recognized your name and asked how you were doing – and in a minute or two you had a new time and date.

        Today I phoned my physician at Kaiser for an appointment change: first I had to tap in my membership number, then chose a department, then I was transferred to an operator at a console who again verified my name, date of birth, residence address, phone number, before asking me the purpose of the call. Only then was I was transferred to an appointment operator, who after canceling my present appointment had to search my doctor’s appointment schedule for an opening, after which I had to confirm the available date was OK for me, before it was processed. To which she thanked me, mispronouncing my name, and wished me a good day. Total time: 12 minutes.

        It is true that medical science and treatment has improved.
        It is equally true that medical service has deteriorated to the point you feel like you’re a sardine being processed into a tin can by efficient but impersonal forces.

      • February 16, 2016 2:49 pm

        Don’t forget, “Press ‘1’ to continue in English.”

  24. February 15, 2016 2:03 pm

    American gun culture
    More children die each day from accidental poisoning than from gun violence in a year.
    25,000 people died last year from overdoses of prescription medicines, Heroine deaths alone are twice those of guns.

    Most gun deaths are suicides. eliminate those and War is still more destructive.

    The US and scottland have very nearly the same rate of violent crime and violent death.
    In the US the largest proportion are due to guns. In Scottland almost none are.
    Guns do not cause violence or violent death. They are convenient not necescary.

    Post Sandy Hook Obama pushed the CDC into a csurvey of studies on gun violence.
    Even the CDC managed to come back concluding that in the US Guns prevent 3 times as many acts of violence as they cause – and the CDC likely vastly underestimated that.

    Further, gun crimes and gun deaths do not correlate with the legality of guns or of gun laws.
    The highest rates of gun violence are in those parts of the country where gun control is strictest.

    Australia and England have imposed relatively draconian restrictions on Guns.
    The rate of gun deaths plumetted. The rate of violent death continued to decline at the saem rate as before.

    Gun control might reduce the number of people killed by guns.
    It will have negligible effect on the number of people dying from violence.

    Again Rick is seeking to make a perfect world, when that is impossible.

    Given the problems of the world, shouldn’t we be looking at problems that are actually more serious and that we might be able to do something about ?

    • February 16, 2016 2:54 pm

      “Gun control might reduce the number of people killed by guns.
      It will have negligible effect on the number of people dying from violence.”

      Right. We’ll have a replacement number of drive-bye stabbings, and brass-knuckle movie theater killings.

  25. February 15, 2016 2:16 pm

    9. The “Great Demographic Shift.”

    So much nonsense.

    Why are we supposed to “urge people to procreate” ?

    Why is it a matter of public policy or govenrment interest who choses to procreate or not ?
    Shade of “Brave new world”

    Rick, maybe you should think about why so often your remedies can be so easily compared to dystopian horror stories.

    Does it matter whether the american future is majority white or not ?
    I think there are a number of practical reasons why your “fears” are mythical, but ultimately it is irrelevant. There is no reason for public intervention in the racial makeup of society.

    Beyond that you repeat total nonsense about poverty.

    The population of the world has doubled in the past 50 years.
    And by every measure the standard of living of the world has doubled.
    Nearly 8B people are better fed, and live longer and better lives than 5 decades ago.

    In the US – exactly the same thing is true.

    Further there is every reason to expect that trend to continue.

    There will still be a bottom 20% 50 years from now (that is a tautology), but they will with near certainty live better lives than those in the bottom 20% today

    Further – we are living longer AND we are far more productive.
    The areas in which we have demographic failures – are those government has interfered with.
    It is govenrment programs that trap the poor, or elderly in poverty.

  26. February 15, 2016 3:30 pm

    10. Environmental destruction.

    Rick;

    You are far too smart to buy this malthusian nonsense.

    Here are global temps since 1979

    Here are observed temperatures vs. Warmist climate model predicted temperatures.

    You can play statistical nonsense games all you like.

    The warmist understanding of climate is just plain WRONG.

    Real science is skeptical.
    Real scientists go back and correct their hypotheisis when it fails this badly.

    I can refute point by point the mathusian nonsense of climate nazies,

    But we should be far past where that matters.

    Wow 15 of the past 16 years are the warmest in the past 50.
    So what ? The rate of warming is far far below the 4C/century predicted, it is below the 2C/century that (falsely) is claimed tot be a tipping point.
    It is about the same as the rate of warming over the past 250 years – long before fossil fuels could have had any effect (approx. 1975).

    We have been through this malhtusian nonsense before.
    What wing nut catastrophe since Malthus has EVER occurred ?

    There are some very fundimental reasons related to the nature of the universe and of man why these malthusian catastrophies are actually impossible, but the real world should have made that clear to you already.

    Regardless, take any postulated environmental disaster you are fixated on above and check out the real world data.

    The Sahara (and most global deserts as a whole) are shrinking.
    In most of the world – forest area is increasing not decreasing – even places like India, in places like the US and EU it has increased substantially

    Venice is sinking – as in New Orleans, both have been for some time. Throughout the world due to plate tectonics some places rise while others fall.

    Even the IPCC only predicts Sea Level Rise of 30-50cm in the next 100 years,
    That is 2 feet maximum – and that depends on a rate of warming that has already stalled.
    Nor is that an unusual increase

    Here is 300 years of SLR

    The earth’s resources are for all practical purposes limitless.
    Please name any resource we actually have less of today than in the past ?
    Any ?

    African elephant populations have been increasing since the 70’s.
    Africa is one of the most resource rich continents in the world.

    In fact globally farmland has been DECREASING while food production has been INCREASING.

    Further the last thing we want is government involvement in natural resources.
    Governments are the worst stewards of resources that exist.

    Whatever the resource is, in private hands it is preseved, in government hands it is wasted.
    You can check resource after resource.
    US private redwood (and other) forests are increasing – they have increased by more than 25% in the past several decades, We are producing more lumber and we are growing even more still. We are actually reducing the inflation adjusted cost of lumber by increasing the supply, and ensuring there will be more still to meet future needs.

    I would strongly recomend Julian Simon’s “The ultimate resource”.

    Much if not all the environmental nonsense comes from either false or cherry picked data.
    In most every way our environment is improving not degrading.

    In 1900 in NYC we produced 1,000,000 lbs of horse shit per day, and another 250,000 gal. of horse urine. This was a massive public health problem.
    It was fairly quickly cured by Henry Ford. Today the environmental wingnuts are complaining about the far smaller impact of the cure.

    If a mexican farmer has chicken for dinner – 50% of the chicken becomes garbage.
    When a chicken enters a Tyson plant, less than 1% leaves as waste. Everything is is converted to something of value.

    The air quality and health conditions in 16th century london were so bad that average life expectance was less than 30. That is long before the extensive use of fossil fuels.

    We have changed from burning wood, to dung, to charcoal, to coal, to oil, to gas.
    We have done so for a variety of reasons. Ultimately the new source of energy has become cheaper – because increases in demand ALWAYS cause increases in supply – the best thing that could happen to african black Rhino’s would be private ownership.
    There would be more than enough rhino horn to make whatever remedies were desired (whether effective or not) – and the rhino population would increase, because it is always in the interests of producers to assure a future supply. There are 3 chickens for every human on the planet – because we like chicken. 1.9B cattle, 1.4B pigs.

    Coal, oil and gas were each initially more expensive than whatever they replaced. But we switched anyway, because each was cleaner and we valued that, and therefore they eventually became cheaper.

    It is highly unlikely that Fossil fuels are are permanent energy source. Though government meddling in energy is the one sure way to slow down any transition.

    Private investors are already talking about mining asteroids for profit. We are not so far from extracting resources from beyond the planet as you claim.
    Regardless it will happen as soon is it can be done profitably.

  27. February 15, 2016 3:43 pm

    11. The immigration/refugee crisis

    There is none.
    Just as barriers to trade in goods and services cause the most harm to those with the highest barriers, the same is true to barriers to the movement of people.

    From 1860-1900 the US population increased 50% solely through immigration.
    During the same time standards of living increased at the fastest rate in our history.

    Through out the world increasing populations – through whatever means, has UNIVERSALLY correlated with even more rapid increases in standard of living.

    In the past 50 years the world population has doubled. Standard of living has doubled too.
    That is a factor of 4 increase in the production of wealth.

    Further China with the worlds largest population has had its standard of living increase 175 times over the same period. The chinese have gone from the bottom of the third world to the bottom of the first world.

    Modern US immigrants are no different from those of the past.
    They keep their own language, culture, religion and stick to themselves – at the same rates as prior waves of immigrants. Whether they are mexican’s or syrians, they will improve our nation and our culture and we will incorporate them. We will change them and they will change us – for the better.

    The answer is simple – if someone wants to come here – for own own benefit and theirs we should let them.

    We have taken in 45M hispanics in the past 40 years. The world has not come to an end.
    We can manage a few mideasterners.

    1/3 of the worlds population is not going to decide to move to the US tomorow, it is practically impossible. Immigration is ultimately self regulating – just at higher rates than xenophobes are comfortable with. More importantly – the people who actually want to come here – we should badly want. Dreaming of america and the american dream are intrinsically related.

    If those who live here now have lost the american dream – maybe we can get it back from immigrants who have not.

    • February 15, 2016 5:21 pm

      “Further China with the worlds largest population has had its standard of living increase 175 times over the same period. The chinese have gone from the bottom of the third world to the bottom of the first world”

      Right. With virtually no foreign immigration. and the small number of ‘migrants’ they allow in are not granted permenent residence;and almost all of them are Asian.

      • Roby permalink
        February 15, 2016 5:36 pm

        Good grief that howler again. I though we had killed that one. No country’s standard of living could rise by 175 times, thats an absurd and broken yardstick.

        Let me guess, I read as little as possible of Dave’s latest encyclopedia but I can be near certain that he examined all of Ricks points, found him, as well as both the Dems and the GOPs to be wrong about Everything and Dave to be in possession of the one and only truth. He must also have proposed to make huge cuts in government and blamed government for nearly all of our ills.

        What should one drink to cure the effects of this rhetorical malady?

    • February 15, 2016 7:34 pm

      “Modern US immigrants are no different from those of the past.”

      Wrong.

      Almost all past immigrants came from nations in other continents.

      Those immigrants traveled great distances, and for the most part abandoned their homelands and language and loyalties to become Americans.

      Hispanics from South America, notably from Mexico, who have settled here in that last two decades, have turned the Southwest into a bilingual Spanish-English environment. Their loyalties are divided between adjacent places and cultures. I have numerous Hispanic friends and acquaintences, the majority Mexican. They are good people, with qualities to admire. But all have loyalty to their homeland. All have relatives and friends within a day or two car ride. Their language, food, culture remains anchored in Mexican tradition. They consider Mexico and the US as adjacent states, not separate nations. They continue to speak Spanish at home, as do their children, and we are inundated with it daily in public, here in California. My utility bills, my state tax notifications, my medical insurance and hospital notifications, all are bilingual. The Spanish language is now permanently embedded in the US. On the last Republican debate, two candidates for president, spoke to each other in Spanish, to prove they were fluent in that language.

      The first 175 years of the nation’s exceptionalism and identity was primarily forged by an amalgamism of white Europeans, who built a culture and consensus in an English language country on a superstructure of English law and European social custom. All our ancestors who settled here assimilated those customs and language. The Mexicans and other South Americans who have continued to come here after Reagan’s Amnesty do not.

  28. February 15, 2016 3:50 pm

    12. Perpetual low-grade recession.

    Economic growth correlates strongly to the scale of government.
    For each 10% of GDP above 20% that government consumes growth declines by 1%.
    This is robust accross time – and accross the world

    In the US the rate of economic growth has been declining since its 19th century peak at about 7.5%/year. Contrary to wing nuts, that decline is not the natural result of a slowing of technological improvement. It is the natural result of the growth of government.

    20th century growth averaged 3.5%, 21st century us growth is about 2%.
    Total US government today is not far from that of Europe in the 70’s and 80’s,
    and unsurprisingly our economic growth is the same as that of europe in the 70’s and 80’s.

    China had double digit growth for 4 decades from modest increases in economic freedom.
    It is slowing down – because economic freedom alone can only get you so far.

    Hong Kong and Singapore have had consistent 7+% growth for about 75 years and now have standard of living higher than ours.

    If you want out of the economic doldrums – give people more freedom, and smaller government. Nothing else works.

  29. February 15, 2016 4:16 pm

    14. Cultural degeneracy.

    The older generation has been saying this about the younger generation since Caine and Able.

    Get over it. I do not understand my children’s culture. But I am fortunately not stupid enough to buy that mine is somehow superior and more moral to theirs.

    I need to instill in them values like respect, hard work, thinking creatively planning for the future.

    My son seems to think he is going to make a living reviewing video games on youtube.
    While I doubt that he is free to try, and many do and succeed. That I do not understand that is irrelevant.

    My lack of interest in the culture of my kids is little different from my parents lack of interest in mine.

    Further older people – since Adam have criticised the young, because of their increasing interest in entertainment.
    Well out increased prosperity means we will spend out greater wealth on something.
    When we have sated ourselves with food and cloths and a shelter, we will climb Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to other values.

    My children value entertainment more than I do – because they are wealthier than I was at their age. Not because my class is greater than my parents – it is not, but because less income today provides greater wealth than when I was their age. Poor kids today have more actual wealth than I did as a child and I was raised upper middle class.

    • February 15, 2016 7:45 pm

      “I do not understand my children’s culture. But I am fortunately not stupid”

      Isnt that what Hitler and Göring’s parent’s generation said?

  30. February 15, 2016 4:30 pm

    15. Deficit spending.

    Something I can atleast partly agree with.

    Slash military spending – I am with you on that.
    But don’t deceive yourself into beleiving that will be more than a tiny step towards solving the problem.

    Slash foreign aide – still a drop in the bucket.
    Eliminate corporate wealfare – no sugar subsides, no corn subsidies, no ExIm bank, no Planned Parenthood, or Big bird – but still a drop in the bucket.

    Slash govenrment pensions, …. Still a drop in the bucket.

    If you are serious about fiscal responsibility you will grasp that you can not do so without addressing “entitlements” – the social safetynet.

    Shortly the deficit solely from Medicare/Medicaide and Social Security will be larger than the entire defense budget.

    We could eliminate the entire rest of the federal government (and probably shoudl get rid of much of it) and still go bankrupt from entitlements.

    Worse still our entitlements are both stupid and counterproductive.

    In a perfect world we would eliminate entitlements entirely. But that is politically unfeasible.
    But there are still far less stupid ways to do things than we do.

    Eliminate all existing social programs – including social security and medicare, and replace them with a single cash percapita entitlement for everyone.

    For those of us with an income it becomes a tax credit – the only tax credit/deduction we should get.

    Top this with a flat tax and get out of the way.

    This eliminates the disincentives to work – the per capita entitlement is fixed, everyone gets it, it is all we get period. No free healthcare, no rental assistance, no free day care.

    Simple taxes mean we are rewarded for being productive – not for gaming the system.

    Past that much of what government does is totally unnecescary – end it. But the primary saving there is from ruding the burden government imposes on the productive.

  31. Roby permalink
    February 15, 2016 5:59 pm

    Standards or living are just SHOOTING up! I can tell because I live so much better than my parents did. So does everyone I know. And not just in the US, in the post Soviet world as well. We have bigger TVs credit cards have higher limits need I say more, its just Great. <–Sarcasm.

    Anyhow here to discuss the good old days 4 yorkshirmen:

    Four well-dressed men sitting together at a vacation resort.
    Michael Palin: Ahh.. Very passable, this, very passable.

    Graham Chapman: Nothing like a good glass of Chateau de Chassilier wine, ay Gessiah?

    Terry Gilliam: You're right there Obediah.

    Eric Idle: Who'd a thought thirty years ago we'd all be sittin' here drinking Chateau de Chassilier wine?

    MP: Aye. In them days, we'd a' been glad to have the price of a cup o' tea.

    GC: A cup ' COLD tea.

    EI: Without milk or sugar.

    TG: OR tea!

    MP: In a filthy, cracked cup.

    EI: We never used to have a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper.

    GC: The best WE could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.

    TG: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.

    MP: Aye. BECAUSE we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, "Money doesn't buy you happiness."

    EI: 'E was right. I was happier then and I had NOTHIN'. We used to live in this tiiiny old house, with greaaaaat big holes in the roof.

    GC: House? You were lucky to have a HOUSE! We used to live in one room, all hundred and twenty-six of us, no furniture. Half the floor was missing; we were all huddled together in one corner for fear of FALLING!

    TG: You were lucky to have a ROOM! *We* used to have to live in a corridor!

    MP: Ohhhh we used to DREAM of livin' in a corridor! Woulda' been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woken up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us! House!? Hmph.

    EI: Well when I say "house" it was only a hole in the ground covered by a piece of tarpolin, but it was a house to US.

    GC: We were evicted from *our* hole in the ground; we had to go and live in a lake!

    TG: You were lucky to have a LAKE! There were a hundred and sixty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road.

    MP: Cardboard box?

    TG: Aye.

    MP: You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o'clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home, out Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!

    GC: Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at three o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!

    TG: Well we had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the shoebox at twelve o'clock at night, and LICK the road clean with our tongues. We had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and when we got home, our Dad would slice us in two with a bread knife.

    EI: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, (pause for laughter), eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."

    MP: But you try and tell the young people today that… and they won't believe ya'.

    ALL: Nope, nope..

    • February 16, 2016 1:41 pm

      Rather than make stupid jokes. Why not spend a week trying to live as people did 50 years ago.

      It was not hell – it too was far better than 50 years before, and 50 years before that.

      Most people 50 years ago felt about the same as those today.
      Some thought things were going to hell.
      Some thought things were pretty good.

  32. February 15, 2016 9:16 pm

    Rick
    “Rising factionalism”……After what I have witnessed this weekend, there is little hope that our country will ever unit again. Common decency was the last cell of cooperation and that has been removed in the last 48 hours or so.

    For most of our history we have allowed families and friends a period of mourning for lost family members. This could range from 1 day to maybe 5 days depending on the individuals religion and position in society.

    But this weekend we hit the bottom of the barrel in repulsive actions. Not more than 8 hours after the announced death of Scalia did the words come out of McConnell’s mouth to not send a replacement to congress. Nothing of significance in recognizing the loss for the family, nothing to say we have time to discuss the opening after he is buried and the family has had time to grieve, just really divisive political crap. McConnell almost made the comment before Scalia’s body had time to complete get cold, let alone get embalmed.

    As a society, when we have reached the point we can not allow families the decency to grieve before their loss is made a political issue, we have reached the scum at the bottom of the barrel.

    I can only hope that some politician will say we can talk about this after the funeral and let the family grieve, but I have not heard one yet say that. They are all running to the media to make a name for themselves and to stake out a position.

    • February 16, 2016 1:38 pm

      Your initial remarks might have been intended as sarcasm, but they are still true.

      By most ever conceivable measure standard of living throughout the world – both in the US, EU and the developing world is about double what it was 50 years ago.

      In some places such as much of asia, it has far more than doubled.

      It may well be true that you are not in the same class as your parents. In relative terms I have not done as well as my parents. But in absolute terms I am far better off.

      First the choices that people 50 years ago had were far far less than those today.
      Go to Lowes, Homedept, Sears, Best Buy, …. look at the myriads of choices of refridgerators. In 1966 you would be lucky to have 1/2 dozen choices.
      The same with stoves, washers, dryers, Dishwashers, ….
      Nearly all of these are available today for the same cost as in 1966, and far higher quality, features, energy efficiency. If you lived in an urban area you had 3 TV stations to chose from. Today you have infinite choices of content. There was no internet, no email, no work processors, no smart phones. I phone line cost $17/month. Calls more than 10 miles from home cost $.05/minute, interstate calls were as much as $1/minute or more, international calls were prohibitively expensive.
      My parents were “rich” because they owned a color TV and had more than one phone.
      My refrigerator has water and ice in the door, an order of magnitude better energy efficiency.

      I own a lawn tractor and a snow blower. Snow blowers did not exist when I was young, and lawn tractors were for the rich.

      Name anything that existed in 1966 that cost more today priced in the hours of labor someone earning the median income would have to work to pay for it – ANYTHING ?

      Even healthcare costs are only more expensive because we have choices that did not exist then. The same care that did exist then for the most part priced in the labor necescary to pay for it costs less today than 50 years ago.

      Our standard of living is far higher.

      • February 16, 2016 1:57 pm

        “By most ever conceivable measure standard of living throughout the world – both in the US, EU and the developing world is about double what it was 50 years ago.”

        JBSAY…I know I am getting old, so could you explain what this has to do with common decency in allowing a period of time to pass before politicizing the death of Scalia.

        Thanks Ron P

      • February 16, 2016 3:40 pm

        “Name anything that existed in 1966 that cost more today priced in the hours of labor someone earning the median income would have to work to pay for it – ANYTHING ?”

        A pound of pistachio nuts.

        Also – the median cost to buy a new home (in the early 1960s the median home price was 2.2 times income; by 2014 the median home price was 3.7 times income.

    • February 16, 2016 1:47 pm

      I would note the president was fairly rapidly indicating he would be nominating a replacement.

      I would also note that some things do change over time.
      Progress does mean that everything moves more rapidly.

      The mourning of Scalia’s family is not an impediment to continuing the business of the nation.
      We can do both.

      I am not a big McConnell Fan, but this is not some heinous act on his part.
      Presidents have only very rarely been afforded the opportunity to replace a supreme court justice that died in the last year of their term. Nor is that unique to the federal government.

      In my state a Republican governor with a republican house and senate was prevented from replacing two state supreme court justices that retired or resigned in the last year of his term.

      • February 16, 2016 2:17 pm

        JBSAY..you have just solidified my point. Common decency no longer exist. Not too many years ago it was accepted that business-as-usual took place after the burial of an individual.

        “I would note the president was fairly rapidly indicating he would be nominating a replacement.” Does that make it right? Not in my book.

        “The mourning of Scalia’s family is not an impediment to continuing the business of the nation.” Many in my state still stop at the side of two lane roads when a hearse and funeral is passing taking a body to the cemetery. Some people still respect others. How much harm does it do to allow a few days to pass before beginning the political arguments?

        “Presidents have only very rarely been afforded the opportunity to replace a supreme court justice that died in the last year of their term. Nor is that unique to the federal government.”

        My comment had nothing to do with the Presidents opportunity to replace a SCOTUS judge. My comment had everything to do with the repulsive political comments made even before Scalia’s body was embalmed. (If McConnell and Reid could have commented before he was completely cold, I suspect they would have).

        So lets not wonder why people do not respect others and why we have the values we have when not one politician has refused to comment on the political issues. Good christian values would support this position and right now none of them are practicing what they are trying to sell.

      • February 16, 2016 4:04 pm

        I agree with Dave that the nation can grieve (or happily gloat) over Scalia’s death, and simultaneously pontificate on reasons to replace him or not at the same time. I don’t see disrespect there anymore then I would if a Super Bowl bound QB died a week before the game, and there was instant discussion about who would replace him in the lineup.

        The most poignant tribute to the dead Scalia came from an unexpected source, and gave me an uplifting rush of optimism: it came from Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal justice, who said it was her “great good fortune to have known him as working colleague and treasured friend.”

        That two such staunch opponents of opposite political ideology had such high personal regard for each other provides a glimmer of optimism that somehow, down the road, Americas can mend fences and heal those ideological wounds for the benefit of the country.

        Here’s more on their friendship:

        http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/14/politics/antonin-scalia-ruth-bader-ginsburg-friends/

      • February 17, 2016 2:15 pm

        Ruth Bader GInsburg is, to the left, what Scalia was to the right – a brilliant and, more importantly, principled, jurist who arrives at her opinions from a place of ethical integrity, rather than political calculation. It’s a sad commentary on the current state of the Court that this seems so unique.

      • February 17, 2016 6:01 pm

        Priscilla..You are right about Ginsburg being principled as was Scalia. Since the debate continues about what to do about his replacement, I would like to see the GOP follow in his footsteps and do what Scalia would do if he had that choice. The constitution specifically gives the President the power to present appointments and the constitution specifically gives the power of advice and consent for appointments to the Senate. Scalia was an originalist, meaning he based his decisions specifically on the wording of the document. The GOP should shut up, McConnell should shut his trap, the president should shut his pie hole and do what the constitution says. Send a nominee to the senate, let the judicial committee of the senate hold hearings, vote up or down on the candidate and if it passes, then vote up or down in the full senate. And base all conversations on the candidates qualifications and not who is president.Show leadership, not obstructionism.

      • February 17, 2016 6:50 pm

        They should do as you suggest, Ron, but as Trump suggested, they’re going to delay, delay, delay

      • February 17, 2016 7:52 pm

        Two things: 1) Obama has announced that he will not attend Scalia’s funeral. Class all the way, right? and 2) As a senator, Obama made it clear that he would vote against Samuel Alito for political reasons ~he acknowledged Alito’s clear and obvious qualifications to be on the court. And his two appointments thus far have been clearly based on ideology and loyalty to his agenda. So, I don’t have any problem with a Republican Senate burying any nomination he makes in committee, until after November’s election.

        In an ideal world, I’d like to see things work as you suggest, but, in the real world, the Republicans would be unbelieveable chumps to give this president another pick, and let him turn the Court left for a generation. Just as he has the right to nominate, they have the right to approve, and if it gets to a hearing, it will overshadow the presidential campaign. So….delay, delay, delay.

      • February 17, 2016 8:33 pm

        “And his two appointments thus far have been clearly based on ideology and loyalty to his agenda. So, I don’t have any problem with a Republican Senate burying any nomination he makes in committee, until after November’s election…..In an ideal world, I’d like to see things work as you suggest, but, in the real world, the Republicans would be unbelieveable chumps to give this president another pick, and let him turn the Court left for a generation. ”

        Sounds like it’s not OK for Obama to have a left wing agenda, but it’s OK for Republicans to have a left wing agenda. That’s interesting. It’s the right wing agenda to undermine the Constitution that most concerns me about them having an appointment. Dominionism and the “Seven Mountains” comes to my mind. Every American who values our First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, and freedom from government proclamation of religion, would do well to sit up and take notice of the right wing agenda for delay, delay, delay, with such as Cruz in the race.

      • February 17, 2016 8:45 pm

        As a moderate I’d like to see a moderate judge picked.

        And the only candidate running in either party who is likely to do that – is Trump.

        Sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it. But I think I’m right about that. Trump is a mish-mash of liberal and conservative, an ideological gadfly adverse to the strict ideologies of the left and the right. If elected (still a longshot) I don’t think he will want to be more then a one term president. He’ll get in, stir things up, and get out. And it would be fun to see how it would shake out. I think he could do a little more good than harm. Or not.

        Enough prognosticating. Bartender! Another double Jamisson, please!

      • February 17, 2016 8:36 pm

        Typo! I said, “…but it’s OK for Republicans to have a left wing agenda.”

        RIGHT wing agenda, RIGHT wing. Man, if we have Republicans go for a left wing agenda, we’re going to know that the worm has come out of the tequila bottle!

  33. February 17, 2016 1:29 pm

    Sorry to have gone AWOL, but I’ve had some urgent matters to deal with all at once — and I’ve never been a skilled multi-tasker (I just tend to pace around the house more than usual). Nothing serious — just a bunch of colliding (and labor-intensive) items on my to-do list. I’ll be back among you next week, by which time I’ll probably have another 150 comments to read. No problem… Keep them coming. And just for the record… is JBSay the pseudonym for Dave or Jbastiat? I’ve forgotten. (I suspect the former based on his incurable optimism and his laissez-faire attitude toward immigration.)

    • February 17, 2016 2:05 pm

      Definitely Dave. (Hoping for JB to come back~ his unapologetic “conservatarianism” adds an important perspective. Plus, I wanted to get his insider’s take on the Iowa caucuses )

  34. Roby permalink
    February 17, 2016 8:54 pm

    “Four out of the past seven funerals for a Supreme Court justice have either had the president or vice president in attendance.

    Former President George W. Bush attended the funeral for Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

    Former President Bill Clinton attended the funerals for former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Justice William Brennan but did not attend the funerals for Justices Harry Blackmun or Lewis F. Powell Jr.

    Former Vice President Al Gore attended the funeral for Justice Thurgood Marshall.”

    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/white-house-obama-will-not-attend-justice-scalia-s-funeral-n520236

    So there is no obvious break with tradition here, at least recent tradition I have no info going back further on this.

    OK, picking the justices is pure politics, an eye for an eye, going back forever into the past and forever into the future. We have to be partisan because they were partisan and they have to be partisan because we were partisan and no one can find the beginning of the chain or the end.

    What if Obama selects a highly qualified moderate? And since everything is always political on both sides, Obama may well select a hispanic. Given the state of the presidential race on the GOP side it might be advisable to confirm a moderate now to avoid a more liberal choice next year. Can all sides behave themselves and propose and confirm a highly qualified moderate?

    • Roby permalink
      February 17, 2016 9:21 pm

      This is excellent:

      https://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2012/11/something-changed-picking-supreme-court-justice-now-partisan-battle

      And I was wrong, I have long held the belief that Roe is under very little chance of being overturned. If I believe this article, my belief is not the common viewpoint. As well, the Supreme Court nomination is more than anything else apparently about satisfying the abortion position of the Presidents party. How utterly absurd is that, one issue was long ago settled is the turning point of Supreme court nomination process. How did I miss that? I must be the most politically naive person in the country. Armed with this new perspective I am much more likely to be swayed by cougrrls viewpoint. THe GOP/Conservatives ARE out to impose the strict religious viewpoint of their most religiously conservative members on the country at large. Good Grief! So stupid on so many levels. They think they are going to put that right back in the bottle?

      Just Imagine that Roe does get overturned. 80% of Americans think that abortion should be permitted in some cases. If the GOP succeeds in overturning Roe will the GOP survive it? That could be an extremely pyrrhic victory. I cannot believe they are that stupid. Boggles the mind.

      • February 17, 2016 10:15 pm

        “I cannot believe they are that stupid”

        Believe! Believe!

        The other part of the long term stupidity equation is that a large percentage of abortions are minority pregnancies: hundreds of thousands more minority voters will be down the pike in two decades.

      • February 17, 2016 10:32 pm

        Roby, “How did I miss that? I must be the most politically naive person in the country.”

        Perhaps you are. Maybe a result of living in Vermont? 😉

        We all miss things, me included of course. One of the things I like about this forum is that Iearn from everyone here.

        With regard to your insight on this particular issue, though, let me say, with all seriousness, I am so glad to hear that you are now seeing the threat to Roe v. Wade. The article you posted clarifies the “compromise” I referred to earlier…a 7-2 decision, with one R appointee and one D appointee dissenting…that means 4 R appointees and 1 D appointee coming together on this issue! A sensible, reasoned, well-considered opinion that took into account many points of view, including science and medicine, and actually showed concern for the *woman* as a person. I even imagine that perhaps these men tried to imagine how they’d want it to be if it were them who could become pregnant. “Walk a mile in my shoes” is a compassionate approach to this issue, but it seems to be impossible for some men, these days, to think of it this way.

        This article also reminds us, this was pre-“Moral Majority.” Things have changed a lot since then, Roby. Religious fundamentalism has wormed its way deep into our political system, and I am very, very concerned about that. Fundamentalism of any stripe is dangerous to freedom. So, yes, take this very, very seriously. Dominionism is the worst of them all…and that’s Cruz and company. The Seven Towers. Look it up if you haven’t already. That’s why I have said I’d take Trump over Cruz any day. Trump isn’t a religious zealot, and that’s a huge plus in my book.

      • February 18, 2016 1:18 am

        cougrrl..This debate is just like the one I had with a past individual on this site a few months ago and I finally just said “we will just have to agree to disagree and move on”.

        If the courts have ruled then it should never come up again.(Same with Heller v D.C.) No decision made by a court should come before it again. If the decision is totally counter productive and unacceptable to the country (ie Dred Scott v Sandford), then congress can pass legislation to address the issue or amend the constitution (ie 14th amendment). I fear activist judges on either side reopening settled law to match their own political positions and that should never happen.

        At this time due to Roe, this should be a decision between her and her doctor following state laws. If she is married and does not consult her husband, that is a private decision she has made. (And if she does, then there are huge marital issues that they face beyond the abortion that no doctor or law can fix).

        This is one issue where few will change their positions one way or the other. There is little “moderate” in the positions and next to no compromise.

      • February 18, 2016 1:02 am

        Roby There are many decisions that are in jeopardy should the court move from one position to another. For those that Roe is important, it could be a conservative court could redefine when life begins and how it is to be protected. For those that support the second amendment rights to own guns, the Heller V District of Columbia decision is one that could be reversed and handguns could be found to not be “arms” as defined by the constitution. Hillary has said “the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment,” when asked about the Heller v DC and McDonald v. Chicago where the right to own guns for protection was upheld by the court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has noted that a “future, wiser Court” could overturn Heller. And have no doubt that Clinton will appoint justices that will reverse these Heller and McDonald decisions and begin limiting Americans rights to possess guns.

        And a large number of people know this. Just tonight we had a new article on TV concerning the backlog for gun permits. In two counties the number of applications have tripled over the monthly numbers last year. I suspect this is national trend, but they did not say.

        So it does appear elections have consequences. Where one obtains rights, another loses rights.

    • February 18, 2016 12:39 am

      Roby, I want to see Obama send Sri Srinivasan’s name to congress and see how they would react. He passed the senate in 2013 for a position on the D.C’s federal appeal’s court by a vote of 97-0. He clerked for Sandra Day O’Conner. He is considered a moderate. If they blacked that one, then they deserve what they get once Hillary is president.

      • February 18, 2016 10:18 am

        Ron, from a political standpoint, Sri Srinivasan would be a smart pick by Obama. He has ruled both in favor of and against unions and the EPA, so he appears somewhat less ideological than most of the other “short list” candidates. It would definitely put Republicans in a more difficult political position to block him ~ although it did not stop Democrats from trying to block Alito.

        I honestly have no idea if he is a good and fair judge. He may be, but Obama’s history of partisanship and political appointees leads me to doubt it. I have no trust whatsoever in this president to make a nomination that is not politically motivated. That’s not to say that the next president would be better. But, Obama is a lame duck, and he has had 2 picks already, picks that were blatantly political, so his clock has run out.

        Now, if Obama were to agree to meet with GOP congressional leaders and come up with 3-4 consensus picks, and nominate one of them? That would be acceptable. Anyone want to set odds on that happening?

      • February 18, 2016 11:13 am

        “Now, if Obama were to agree to meet with GOP congressional leaders and come up with 3-4 consensus picks, and nominate one of them? That would be acceptable. Anyone want to set odds on that happening?”

        Virtually zero chance of that happening. Obama isn’t even going to attend the funeral, which I think is hugely bad manners. What is he thinking? I can imagine how any request to meet and discuss potential appointments would be received. More tantrums and stone walling.

        It seems to me that “tit for tat” is the name of the game. Obama and Congress both need to grow up. What all of us should do is email and *call* the WH and our “representatives” and let them know how disappointed we are with this dysfunctional behavior.

      • February 18, 2016 1:38 pm

        Well, tit for tat is often the name of the game in politics, cougrrl, I agree.

        But, it’s not as if SCOTUS appointments have not been intensely political for most of recent American history. And when I say “recent,” how about FDR’s court-packing scheme in the 1930’s, clearly the most audaciously political attempt to affect a Court that the President found resistant to his agenda?

        So, even as I would like to see Obama and the leaders of Congress work toward a high-quality consensus choice for the Court (obviously the founders’ intent when they gave the nominating power to the executive branch, but the approval power to the legislative branch) to replace Scalia, I don’t believe that the Congress should roll over for Obama, just because he says so. If it wants to use due process to tie up his political nomination, that’s just business as usual. If Obama wants to get his pick, he needs to nominate someone who can generate bipartisan support.

  35. Roby permalink
    February 18, 2016 9:55 am

    “You should not see anything about overpopulation – because it is another lunatic farce.
    With current generally available (not cutting edge) agricultural methods the current carrying capacity of the planet with the current farmland is about 50B people.
    With techniques that already exist but are not in common practice the carrying capacity is about 500B in LESS land area than is currently used.”

    Like most of Dave’s ranting I missed this gem, buried in the encyclopedia wackedania. The earths carrying capacity is 50-500 billion people! And he speaks of a lunatic farce. This is the same guy who thinks that we can cut the US government by 80%. He seems so lucid 50% of the time. The other 50%….

    The carrying capacity of the earth for humans is set by numerous factors, water, food, greenhouse, gases, and the use of both bio and mineral resources. At the moment the limiting factor is greenhouse gases; with present energy technologies the human race is beyond the carrying capacity of the earth by several billion. At one point we were beyond the carrying capacity of the earth regarding ozone destroying compounds. Thanks to science, both for noticing the problem and for find a fix for it, we solved that and are not all having to live inside for fear of having our skin burned off and DNA scrambled due to radiation. Dave’s right-wing wackos won’t thank science for that; they may well believe that was just another fraud. Regarding greenhouse gases we may just possibly find a replacement for greenhouse gas producing energy sources. If we do it will certainly not be thanks to Dave’s heroes, the denialists. Let that happen and yes the next limiting factor will set the carrying capacity of the earth. 50 billion seems very, very unlikely and 500 billion? That is indeed a farcical number.

    I realize there is no point in being angry with Dave, his brain simply is wired to have the peculiarity of taking extreme positions and believing that he is 100% right and actual experts and nearly everyone else are 100% wrong. Hate the sin but not the sinner. The destructive propaganda he is channeling, yes, I hate that. On one side you have the product by at least a hundred of years of labor by international science, literally millions of people. On the other you have people like Dave with charts and graphs taken from actual science that they misinterpret and mischaracterize. Needless to say, as in any scientific problem field there are dissenting opinions. On the subject of climate change these dissents are few in number, wildly contradict each other and people like Dave and Senator Whackjob from Oklahoma believe 100% of the dissenters and 0% of the mainstream and have a conspiracy theory that involves all of international climate science to explain it. I notice that severe weather has been rather deadly in Oklahoma in recent years. At what point will they get it?

    The world according to science from wiki:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrumental_temperature_record

    “Warming in the instrumental temperature record[edit]
    Most of the observed warming occurred in two periods: around 1900 to around 1940 and around 1970 onwards;[3] the cooling/plateau from 1940 to 1970 has been mostly attributed to sulphate aerosol.[4][5] Some of the temperature variations over this time period may also be due to ocean circulation patterns.[6]
    Attribution of the temperature change to natural or anthropogenic (i.e., human-induced) factors is an important question: see global warming and attribution of recent climate change.
    Land air temperatures are rising faster than sea surface temperatures. Over 1979 to 2012 the trend for land was about 0.254 ± 0.050 °C per decade per CruTemp4 or 0.273 ± 0.047 per GHCN while the trend for sea surface temperatures is about 0.072 ± 0.024 °C per decade per HadISST to 0.124 ± 0.030 °C per decade per HadSST3 [7]
    For 1979 to 2012, the linear warming trend for combined land and sea temperatures has been 0.155 °C [0.122 to 0.188 °C] per decade according to AR5.[8]
    The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report found that the instrumental temperature record for the past century included urban heat island effects but that these were primarily local, having a negligible influence on global temperature trends (less than 0.006 °C per decade over land and zero over the oceans).[9]
    Uncertainties in the temperature record, e.g., the urban heat island effect, are discussed further in a later section.

    15 of the top 16 warmest years have occurred since 2000.[10] While record-breaking years can attract considerable public interest, individual years are less significant than the overall trend. So some climatologists have criticized the attention that the popular press gives to “warmest year” statistics; for example, Gavin Schmidt stated “the long-term trends or the expected sequence of records are far more important than whether any single year is a record or not.”[11]”

    No Dave, I am not going to “prove” it to you, God himself couldn’t and I have a life to enjoy.

    • February 18, 2016 11:08 am

      Roby…I wish that Word Press had a “like” button for this post of yours. Thank you for taking the time to articulate what I have been thinking. Like you, I have a life to enjoy, so I just rolled my eyes and skipped over most of this nonsense. We have to pick and choose our battles, don’t we?

      • Roby permalink
        February 18, 2016 3:31 pm

        Ha, Thanks cougrrl! But I thought you were going to correct me to “God Herself” 😉

  36. February 18, 2016 4:38 pm

    New day, new topics?
    Anyone have thoughts on:

    The Pope insinuating The Donald isn’t ‘Christian’ for wanting to build a wall?
    Apple’s refusal to help break into the San Bernadino shooter’s phone?
    Hillary and Bernie sucking up to Sharpton?
    Obama not attending Scalia’s funeral?

    • February 18, 2016 5:58 pm

      As I’ve said here in the past, I am not a huge fan of the “loveable” Pope, despite having been raised a good Catholic (now lapsed). He seems a politician and a phony one at that, playing the role of the saintly pontiff, while sticking his nose into all sorts of things that a religious leader should stay out of. I can’t believe that people still don’t get that this stuff only helps Trump ~ even Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, both Catholics, jumped rightfully to Trump’s defense, Rubio pointing out that Vatican City has a wall around it for god’s (small g) sake!

      The Apple thing is confusing to me. Apple has helped in FBI investigations before and now they say they can’t? I’m not enough of a techie to understand Apple’s position here, but I have heard persuasive arguments from both sides.

      Hillary and Bernie sucking up to Sharpton? Ugh, but what else is new? They need the black vote.

      I think Obama is being intentionally disrespectful, as he generally is to those he considers his political enemies ~ and Scalia was certainly one. If you are inclined to believe that O is a nice guy, he’s simply staying away so as not to create a distraction. I don’t buy that, but I could be wrong.

      I’d like to hear Pat’s take on the Trump v. Pope war of words!

      • February 19, 2016 12:04 am

        On the Pope:

        It’s interesting to note the amount of anti Pope comments on traditional liberal sites like HuffPo and the NY Times. Most of it from non Trump supporters who are complaining about the Pope interjecting Catholicsm into the political discourse.

        Question asked by one commenter:

        “If Trump was a Jew, would the Pope say he wasn’t Hebraic?”

        On Apple:

        Why should phone conversations be protected by privacy laws in the first place?

        When phone technology was first invented, we had open “party lines” where multiple subscribers could be listening at any time. People were smart enough to keep what was truly private out of those conversations.

        The communication ‘ether’ is public domain. What kind of lawful conversation needs to remain private when balanced by an authentic government need to know? Should the private conversation of two adulterers planning a motel meeting trump two terrorists planning a bombing for legal protection?

        And Apple is full of crap insisting customers buy iPhones because of superior privacy technology. I bought mine for the game, music, and news apps – and so does almost everyone else. And it’s a given for anyone with sense that transmitted emails are hack-able. If you transmit personal email you have to assume it’s as available for scrutiny as a conversation on those phone party lines about your upcoming vasectomy or tummy-tuck, and chose your words accordingly.

        On Scilia’s funeral:
        If Scilia was black Obama would be there.

        Joke of the day:
        If Bernie Sanders wins,
        it will be the first time that a Jewish
        family moved into public housing
        that was left vacant by a black family.

      • February 19, 2016 1:00 am

        Jay..I offer the reason that Apple refuses to work with the government to break into the phone has nothing to do with that one phone since it was owned by the employer, the employer has agreed to allow any information to be used and there is no legal reasons to not search the information. I believe it has everything to do with the customers they are selling the phones. And those that buy the latest and greatest are the ones that just bought the latest a greatest a couple years ago and they are the younger Americans.

        As a group the younger Americans are less interested in what is happening in the country if it does not impact them directly. If it is student debt, then they are interested (Bernie supporters). And I could list many other things, but the iphone security directly impacts them and they are the ones that are going to complain. Will they continue to buy all the Apple products when they come out if Apple gives in the the government.

        It is all about perception. Apple has worked with the government in the past without issues, but since this is a high profile case. Will Apple be viewed as being friendly to the government, and if so. would their products be viewed as being exceptional anymore? I suspect other companies would find a way to use this against Apple in advertising and influence buyers to switch products.

        As a side note, I bet China would have no problem getting into iphones in their country. Government: “Either give us the code or you can stop selling smartphones in this country. And better yet, you can stop producing all the worlds iphones in China also.”

        I would like to see Tim Cook spend some time in Jail for refusing a court order. I bet you and I would be there now, but we don’t have his billions, so I doubt the equal weight of the law will be felt from his perspective.

      • February 19, 2016 1:38 am

        Jay..to followup your comment about security and phones. I do have a question for discussion.

        If a person had an old phone, the law could get records of calls from the phone companies. Now with new smartphones, what is the current law on data from phones? Does the NSA still do that or are the phone companies required to do that? If so, why would you need the key to unlock the phone to see who that phone had contacted?

        2. If the law has a search warrant and enters a house they can get info that pertains to that warrant. If they enter the house and there is a huge safe, how do they get into the safe if the owner is dead? I suspect they hire someone who can crack the safe or break into it. They end up paying that individual to do that.

        3. If they have a phone that is encrypted (safe) does the law require Apple to spend money to write code to break into those phones? They say they do not have that code written and would have to develop it. So, if they begin the coding, who pays? Do you know of any law that requires companies to work for the government when a search warrant has been issued? Do safe crackers get paid or are companies that build the safes required to assist the government in opening those safes?

        Anyone out in TNM know?

      • February 19, 2016 12:55 pm

        I don’t know the answers either, Ron.

        I’m busy with my injured sweet female 12 year old dog, she fell off the couch and fractured her jaw. Now we have to hand feed her four times a day, liquid food and meds until the fracture sets, so my Google time is limited.

      • February 19, 2016 1:40 pm

        So sorry to hear this. I have so much sympathy for your dog. If you get a second, could you explain how they stabilize the jaw in a dog.

      • February 19, 2016 2:53 pm

        The methods to stabilize a fracture, as explained to me yesterday, depends on the severity of the fracture, the placement, and the dog’s bone density and age. I don’t know what they do for a full break – probably surgical stapling.

        Generally, the vet said they wire it (not sure specifically how that works). Or if the fracture won’t heal without support, a dog dental surgeon (yes, they recommended one if it becomes necessary) can screw in a bridge-like clamp to hold the fracture in place. That may stay in place permanently.

        My dog is too old for wiring: and not enough bone density at the fracture. For now, we’re feeding her soft food blended with water and meds. She’s doing ok with that, not having to chew, just licking the bowl clean. If the fracture shows signs of mending, and she’s functioning doggie-like otherwise, we’ll just keep her on a soft food diet, and hope for the best.

      • February 19, 2016 9:41 am

        Ron, your perspective on the Apple controversy is helpful. And it makes sense, that silicon valley would pander, so to speak, to millenial types that consider Edward Snowden to be a great patriot…..or at least a helpful one, exposing the government’s unwanted intrusion into their precious, private affairs.

        On the other hand, people do keep important things like their medical records, bank accounts and credit cards, and other sensitive info on their phones. Not to mention, beautiful actresses have nude pics! And the Apple’s argument seems to be that if they create “backdoor” code to access one phone, it will be available to access any phone, and we have seen the government, via the IRS scandal and others, use private information for political intimidation or retribution.

        So, here again, we have absolute mistrust of the government driving what seems to be lawless behavior. It happened in the Bundy standoff, and now we have Tim Cook, of all people, defying a court order.

        The political spectrum, more and more, looks more like a circle than a straight line, no?

      • February 19, 2016 1:16 pm

        If the US was able to keep A-Bomb technology secret so long, why couldn’t Apple do the same for a ‘back door’ program?

        And why can’t they then reset the technology with newer Privacy code after they hack the old version?

        Something’s not adding up here.

        If Apple did develop the hacking code for the San Bernadino terrorist’s phone, and that code was somehow compromised, wouldn’t hackers still have to get their grubby hands on your particular phone to hack it? Unless you’re some billionaire or mega star entertainment personality, who is going to want to spend time and money to track down and steal the iPhone of a shoe salesman or a bus driver or a community college student?

      • February 19, 2016 1:53 pm

        Jay..Do you really believe that once Apple has this technology developed that the government would not use it in the future.
        Next year:
        Government “We suspect Mr. X of laundering money and need to access his phone to see if that is present.
        Apple: “We can’t do that since the court order was just for that one phone”
        Government to judge “Apple has present the capabilities to unlock this phone and due to the apparent illegal activities taking place on this device, we ask for a search warrant”
        Judge: “Granted, but just for this device”

        And the precedent has been established. So then China needs something and they demand Apples give them the technologies and threaten to stop the sale of the phones in China. Apple gives in since that is where most of their profit comes from. Now China can break into any phone anywhere and someone with this info in China sells the hacking info and its now world wide.

        Sounds unreasonable, but so did 1984 when the TV had someway to spy on the viewer and guess what, check out smart TV and specifically Vizio and Samsung news.

      • February 19, 2016 3:12 pm

        “Government “We suspect Mr. X of laundering money and need to access his phone to see if that is present.”

        Question: does the government have the right to get a court order for Mr X for proof of money laundering if that information is locked in a safety deposit box at a bank?

        If so, why should an iPhone be more sacrosanct then a safety deposit box? If the government is legally able to get ‘private’ information from a metal container, why not from a digital drive?

      • February 19, 2016 5:17 pm

        Here is the difference be a safety deposit box, a home safe and a smart device. Each one has a lock. If the government obtains a search warrant, the means of opening a safety deposit box is available. The bank has one key and there is another the customer possesses. If the government does not have the customer key, they either get a locksmith to make a key or they get the locksmith to drill out the customer lock and they pay the locksmith. The company making the lock and box does not participate. The bank does not foot the bill either. In the case of the home safe, they find someone who can break into the safe when they do not have the combination and they crack the safe. Either using sophisticated electronic tools or old timey tools that open the safe. The safe company does not participate. The government foots the bill.

        In this case it is much like the safety deposit box. The government does not have the key (code), the owner of the key (his employer) and the government needs to break into the box (phone). So let them do the same thing as they would the home safe or the safety deposit box. Find someone that has the tools to break into the phone and leave the manufacturer of the device out of the picture, the same as leaving the safe company or the safety deposit box company out of the picture.

        technology may change, but the basic manufacture, sale and ownership of any product does not change in my mind. The privacy rights are between the owner and the government. If they want to search a product, then it is the responsibility of the government or the owner to conduct the search. It is not the responsibility of the manufacturer to provide the access to the property,

        This is going to be a very interesting SCOTUS case. As a moderate leaning libertarian, my take is the government has a search warrant, but they are not smart enough to figure out how to get into the property. The constitution does not address whose responsibility it is to give them the intelligence to get into the device. Once we cross that line, what line is next for the government to cross?

      • February 20, 2016 1:20 pm

        Interesting observation, Ron, but after thinking it over, I see more sameness then difference between a safety deposit box in a bank, and a smart device.

        The safety deposit box is a repository inside a bank vault, along with numerous other boxes. The vault is the physical architecture that contains numerous repository accounts.

        For smart devices the operating system is the vault (code is the architecture) and the data files saved inside it are the account repositories.

        A bank isn’t allowed to prohibit lawful access to its boxes, or to erect barriers around them, to prevent locksmiths from drilling them open or picking the locks. But that in essence is what Apple’s operating system is doing: preventing the government from cracking open the data files by creating barriers to seal the architecture so they can’t access them.

        Im guessing the courts see it that way too.

      • February 20, 2016 2:35 pm

        Jay….And how fascinating that our founding fathers were smart enough to understand the need for a higher authority than “the government” to decide issue of this magnitude. (That;s before the court became political like courts in third world countries rubber stamping leaders positions)

        I suspect, given the example you have provided, that the current 8 member court would fail decide one way or the other on the case, voting 4-4 along political lines, thus upholding the lower courts order. The criteria used by the justices and their reasoning in this issue for supporting the software development will be very interesting to see as will the position upholding privacy and private enterprise separation.

        But there could also be differences in your example also. Yes the bank has the vault that allows access to the boxes. Each box has a separate customer key. If the government has a warrant, they go to the bank and the bank gets the locksmith to make a duplicate customer key or drill out the lock. Once that happens the government can get into that one box. As for the phone, once the government has obtained the ability to open the door to the vault (password protection on the device), they now have the keys to everyone else’s box (phone).

        Now it could be argued that this is no different than walking into the bank with a search warrant for any box in the vault. That is true. But the difference in my thinking is there is a physical presence in the bank making sure that a warrant is in effect and that physical presence will do whatever is lawful and needed to keep the government out of any box where a warrant is not issued. In the case of phones, there is no physical presence to keep anyone from cracking into anyone’s phone. There are many ways to get your hands on the actual devices information. And once the intrusion can take place using encryption hacking software, what blocks a remote access to the phones content through a back door.

        No one can convince me that “it can’t be done”. I can understand the encryption software and how it can not be hacked because finding the code requires the hacker to provide the device with a code and once it is wrong 5 times it erases everything from the phone or locks it up (from what I have heard). But getting into a device remotely is not that difficult, And having software to defeat encryption would allow access to information that is now protected.

        This is one case I think I am going to follow in the courts. The basis for the arguments for and against are going to be the interesting parts, more so than the actual decision.

      • February 20, 2016 4:24 pm

        Per article I just read on USA Today:

        “What does the FBI want Apple to do with the Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone?
        A: The agency wants Apple to help it overcome programming on the iPhone 5C that deletes the cryptographic key needed to decode the phone when ten unsuccessful tries are made to unlock the phone’s passcode. Once that cryptographic key is erased, it becomes impossible to decode the information on the phone.”

        What does it mean that a phone is encrypted? –
        http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/02/20/phone-encryption-iphone-apple-qa/80623208/

        This suggests the FBI wants to disable the auto delete feature, so it can thereafter hack the terrorist individual phone. That’s equivalent to your bank example of busting into a particular safety deposit box. And suggests they’re not asking Apple for a single ‘universal passkey’ to all Apple phones, but the ability thereafter to hack one phone at a time. And that’s nowhere near as threatening to the privacy of the public at large as is currently suggested by privacy rights advocates.

        I’m not a techie. Am I understanding the USA quote correctly?

      • February 20, 2016 8:35 pm

        Jay…And lets hope the non-techie SCOTUS justices that will have to rule on this case have a very good “techie-to-nontechie” instructor to explain just how this stuff works. It is my understanding that Apple does not have the software to disable the AES features of the phone. And that is where the legal challenge is coming into play.

        If every phone the Apple sells has this software either in a program or resident in a chip then once Apple develops the backdoor into the terrorist phone, they have the backdoor into everyone’s phone. And once they have it for that phone, I suspect they anticipate the FBI knocking on their door every time someone with an iphone has done something wrong and they want to see what is in that phone. If not that, then they may fear the FBI demanding that Apple give them the backdoor so they have it whenever they want it. It is one thing to demand knowing what a terrorist is doing, it is something else to know what Joe Blow had on his phone when he was caught embezzling money. Do you think once they have that software that they will not find judges sympathetic to law enforcement that will continue to issue orders to search phones of non-terrorist? I don’t. I think they will use it in a heart beat to get info. And not only will Apple have to crack phones, the precedent will have been set and all device manufacturers will have to offer the legal system ways to crack their devices.

        So, there will be those that say, fine, let them have it, I have nothing to fear from the government. There are also those that will say there is no way the government should have this info as you can not trust the government with anything. And I side with good ol’ Ben Franklin on this one since the government has demonstrated many times over they can not be trusted when it comes to privacy issues. And the way this country is headed, I suspect it will get worse before it gets better.

        I think this will not be a legal ruling based on Apple producing the software and reducing the privacy in the phones, I think it will come down more on the question of how far can government go to make a privately owned company produce a product that they currently do not have. I think this has been settled given the fact that a precedent ruling has already taken place that forced a bakery that refused to produce a cake for a gay wedding to pay a fine. And florist and bakers can not legally refuse to produce a product they do not want to produce based on any issue when the request is not illegal.. I believe Tim Cook is barking up the wrong tree trying to fight this legal challenge, either on privacy or business practices.

        Like I said they chipped away a small right of private companies to choose who to deal with. Now another one will be chipped away with this decision.

      • February 19, 2016 1:38 pm

        Priscilla, we must never forget that the founders were also very opposed to government and they had a great distrust, so they wrote a document that protected the people from its overreach.

        They added the bill of rights after the constitution was written because certain founders had issues they wanted addressed that was not present in the core document. And when looking at the bill of rights, you can see the importance they placed on each right.

        1.The first and foremost was the separation of church and state.
        2. The right to bear arms
        3. Quartering of soldiers, which included seizure of property by the military.
        4. Privacy

        When you see privacy in the top 4 rights, one can understand the founders understood that government would intrude on individuals privacy without being specifically blocked from that action without due process of law. Today, people might say the distrust of government is way over the line, but compared to the founding of the country, it is not much different. And looking at the NSA, one might say this distrust is warranted.

        The court order to unlock this phone is for this phone only. That shows the lack of knowledge this judge had concerning technology. If there is software present on a device that encrypts the phone and locks it, it is the same software that encrypts all phones.and locks them. If that made it to SCOTUS, I suspect the ruling would be 5-3 in favor of Apple and may not even be that close since Roberts could be a wildcard and make it 6-2. I think they would rule that privacy of the masses was more important than security based on one phone.

        Franklin said in many different quotes in different wordings”Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.” I just find it amazing that the same people that are arguing about the right to bear arms has not changed with the changes in technologies in guns so no limits should be placed on firearms or ammo are the same ones arguing that liberties should be infringed upon due to the technologies changing and security requires this intrusion.

        And to be fair and balanced, those that argue that privacy should not be infringed upon with changes in technologies are the same ones arguing that gun controls are required due to changes in gun and ammo technologies.

      • Roby permalink
        February 19, 2016 1:53 pm

        Jay, sorry about your dog. I hope it turns out well.

      • February 19, 2016 3:13 pm

        Thanks for your concern…

      • February 20, 2016 10:06 am

        Jay, I am so sorry for your sweet pup. Sounds as if she’s doing reasonably well, under the circumstances ~ I hope she continues to mend well.

      • February 20, 2016 10:18 am

        Ron, this Apple thing is fascinating, and I have not heard anyone on tv explain the issue, or its potential solution – as clearly has you have. So many legal and ethical issues have been affected by technological advances that have changed the way we do things and think about things. In medicine, in the workplace, in law enforcement, you name it~ pretty much everything.

        Too bad that our government is so stuck in the 20th century, and our educational system is woefully unequipped to prepare people to confront these issues. Millenials, who should be right on top of this stuff, are not being given the intellectual tools to deal with the important questions. Instead, they are just awaiting the “next big thing” in technology. Well, most of them, anyway……

        Rick, this would be a great topic for one of your posts!!

      • dhlii permalink
        February 21, 2016 4:53 pm

        Priscilla; as one raised catholic – there are no “lapsed catholics” only good catholics and bad catholics – and you and I are bad catholics.

        Catholicism is like being jewish. It is almost a race, culture or ethnicity.
        You can’t get out.

      • dhlii permalink
        February 21, 2016 5:01 pm

        The apple phone thing is just idiocy.

        As Ron noted Apple is making choices based on its impression of how the market will respond.
        Do its potential future customers want it to cave or don’t they ?
        Will their choices drive profits up or down ?

        As a practical matter the choices is also irrelevant.
        Say apple caves – an iPhone is just a computer. The software is entirely modifiable, replaceable or eraseable.

        If Apple helps government in a few days or weeks we will have a new means – Maybe from Apple, maybe from some third party that even Apple can not break into.

        That is what technological progress really means.

        Progress is inherently libertarian. It increases the freedom of individuals.
        It creates new freedoms and opportunities they never had before.
        And it does so far faster than government can limit them.

        Rather than trying to figure out how to roll back the freedom that progress gives us, that inevitably disempowers government, maybe we should think about haw it makes us safer, happier, more productive, wealthier – and all while making us freer.

      • February 21, 2016 7:43 pm

        “Progress is inherently libertarian. It increases the freedom of individuals.
        It creates new freedoms and opportunities they never had before.”

        “You mean like the technological progress of weapons?
        Or the technological progression of devices to use for capital punishment?
        Mass killings and death by electrocution are inherently Libertarian?
        That’s edifying —

  37. Roby permalink
    February 19, 2016 1:36 pm

    http://www.npr.org/2016/02/17/467087858/top-wonks-take-aim-at-sanders-economic-plans

    Reading the comments the Sanders supports have an answer: establishment, establishment establishment, establishment, establishment, establishment, blah blah balh, establishment. I’m as sick of the word establishment as I am of selfie or sheeple. From the left you can sort of expect it, but its incredible, a large number of Trumps supporters sound like aging hippies as well, Down with the establishment! Don’t trust anyone over 35!

    Anyone who actually knows what the &*(^% they are talking about is now the so-called establishment and among our right and left 2016 revolutionaries any inconvenient opinion or fact can simply be dismissed with the contemptuous word establishment. More and more grandiose promises are needed so that in 2 or 4 years people can be even more pissed off at the system.

    Earth to revolutionaries, left and right, the “establishment” contains, in general, people who actually have expertise. It is not a dirty thing to actually have knowledge and experience, although many Americans on the left and right have decided this year that they want to hear even more grandiose promises than usual and that anyone who does not make those promises is the “establishment.” I’ll take the establishment over the wild eyed promisers, left and right. I’m getting to the point where every time when I see a person throwing the word establishment around like its the ultimate answer to anything, I dismiss them as an ignoramus, a lightweight, a phony revolutionary. This goes for nearly all of Trumps supporters and quite a few of Bernies. I have sympathy for the things Bernie’s supporters want but his plans need this kind of scrutiny and I don’t think they pass. Calling the critics the establishment and being satisfied with that is idiotic. Let the so-called Establishment all disappear and we will be left in the hands of people who do not know how to run anything. Things will get much worse, not better. Our problems are hard, simple solutions are a mirage. I suggest that anyone who cares deeply about economic issues actually read a few economics texts or better yet take economics classes before they swallow anyone’s wonderful promises without critical thought.

    • dhlii permalink
      February 21, 2016 4:27 pm

      It is not a dirty thing to have knowledge or expertise.
      It is a very despicable thing to impose your will on others by force – even if you have more knowledge and expertise than others.
      It is immoral – even if you are actually able to make better choices for someone than they can for themselves.

      Knowledge and expertise are do not justify taking over even bits and peices of other peoples lives.

      Is there someone who thinks that drinking 64oz Big Gulp’s in a movie theater is a good thing ?
      Does the fact that something is a bad choice mean the right to make a choice should be taken from us ?

    • dhlii permalink
      February 21, 2016 4:40 pm

      How is it that we decide who these so called experts that should rule as should be selected ?

      Elections ? Do you really think the members of congress should decide what choices of deodorant we should be allowed ?

      Or are they too stupid, but those they empower through legislation are not ?

      Every single choice BP made that led to the Deep Water Horizon spill was reviewed and approved by BMMS. Why is it that left wing nuts beleive the solution to government failure is more government ?

      For more than 22 years I was an architect, and one of my particular areas of “expertise” was building codes.

      I was constantly working with assorted bureaucrats to get approvals for a variety of projects.
      In every instance, code or no code, approval or no approval, I was personally, and professionally liable for whatever got built.
      Whether the project met code or did not – something bad happened and I was going to be held accountable.

      The bureaucrats I sought approvals from were all people who had failed at some step along the road to becoming an architect. Some were nice, some were not. Few if any were “experts”. Not a one would I trust to actually design and build an building.

      There existance was little more than a jobs program or a tax on construction.
      If I was not ethical, if I had no integrity, if I was not worried about the damage that would result if I did my job poorly, or my inability to get future projects, I could have easily gotten most anything I want approved – just as BP managed with Deep Water Horizon.

      Regulators and bureaucrats serve little or no purpose. What they are supposed to prevent will either be prevented quite effectively by holding people accountable for what they have done, or they will not be prevented at all.

      • February 21, 2016 7:53 pm

        “Do you really think the members of congress should decide what choices of deodorant we should be allowed ?”

        If the deodorant has a spray that fries off you armpit hair, indeed I do think they should have a say if it’s allowed to be sold. Even if it’s marketed with a warning: “FIZZLE – Kills Odor And Depilates! Permenent Scaring and Irritation Guranteed!”

      • February 21, 2016 9:00 pm

        Howard Roark, is that you? 🤓

    • dhlii permalink
      February 21, 2016 4:44 pm

      The establishment does not and never has “run things”

      I really do not like Trump.
      But one of Trumps appeals – is that if you are actually looking for someone with experience “running things” that would be Donald Trump. Most of the rest of these Bozo’s left and right have never had to produce something other people valued enough to voluntarily pay for.

    • dhlii permalink
      February 21, 2016 4:47 pm

      Of course Bernies ideas have a tremendous appeal.

      As would govenrment guaranteeing everyone Donald Trump’s lifestyle without having to work.

      But most of us grasp that things that sound too good to be true – are to good to be true.

      http://atlassociety.org/objectivism/atlas-university/deeper-dive-blog/3962-can-there-be-an-after-socialism

  38. February 21, 2016 12:40 pm

    Rick and Jay…Rising factionalism…I just received the latest Rasmussen polling information and in their survey concerning the issue between the FBI v Apple, 50% sided with Apple and said they should not help the FBI, 36% sided with the FBI and 14% were undecided. It does not seem like much can happen in this country without 1/2 the people taking one position and the other taking the other position.

    • February 21, 2016 1:06 pm

      A nation divided can not stand.

      • dhlii permalink
        February 21, 2016 4:22 pm

        We need not agree on everything.
        We only need to agree on very little – what government may and may not do.
        And on that we should be very nearly unanimous.

      • February 21, 2016 8:48 pm

        Huh? What?

        Americans in great numbers agree the government has the right to make and effect laws; most of the disagreement is in the details of the laws

        For instance, there is Overwhealming public support for the Americans With Disabilities Act: 90% (nine in ten U.S. adults) support the idea that public places may not discriminate against customers on the basis of disability And 88% that employers may not discriminate against qualified candidates on the basis of a disability.

        Roughly the same percentages wanted the government to take action to effectuate those concerns. That’s nearly unanimous agreement.

        But wide public disagreements exist on what should qualify as a disability, and the extent of legal action to use. Majorities believe blindness, deafness, paralysis qualify as legal disabilities; but split percentages don’t think autism (75%), schizophrenia (67%) and depression (57%) should be considered qualifying conditions.

        If the government, after holding hearings with experts and testimony with advocates and opponents, comes to the conclusion schizophrenia be included, that they don’t have the right to do so because of a less then unanimous public agreement?

  39. February 22, 2016 1:04 am

    12 minutes of ready made Republican general election campaign ads. Donald will not have to pay much to an advertising agency since no writers will be needed. All they will need to do is cut and paste each segment into the 30 second ad.
    http://patriotvideos.net/the-1-video-hillarys-terrified-will-go-viral/

    • February 22, 2016 2:01 pm

      The lying SOB battle will be a wash, if Cruz or Trump or Rubio faces Hillary.

      Within hours of the choice, the Clinton media attack dogs will edit together video and audio chains of the Republican candidates calling each other liars (and worse) – their scolding faces and voices culled from the recent debates, ads, and news interviews. The voice over will be something like:

      “If Republican leaders (X,Y, and Z) think (X, Y, or Z) is a no-good stinking liar, so should you!”

      Although party voters tend to consolidate around the final candidate, the Republicans are going to have a lot harder time mending the deep rifts that have appeared between the factions: reconciling those dislikes won’t be easy.

      • February 22, 2016 2:16 pm

        In my opinions, the problem with the Republican Party is it is a party of diversity. We have the evangelicals with there strong christian values, we have a large contingency of fiscal conservatives that have a somewhat more liberal stance on social issues compared to the christian right, we have a large block of strong military supporters, while their stance on fiscal issues and social values may be mixed and then there is the truly 10% libertarians that believe in a drastically reduced government. Compare that to the Democrats that do not really have as many separate wings of the party, but rely heavily on minority voters to insure their victories n national elections.

        When you are much more diverse, there is going to be more internal arguments, But unlike the past where the parties came together to support their candidate, today’s “me” voter is much more fickle. While the democrats sustain their minority voter block with continued social service support and promising more social programs, the Republican voters seem to be ones that will show up to support “their” candidate, but they stay home when “your” candidate gets the nomination.

        So I agree with your last comment 100% because the democrats will consolidate while the republicans and Republican leaning independents will not.

        We get what we deserve when only around 60% of eligible voters exercise that right.

      • February 23, 2016 12:29 pm

        Jay, I read articles about “stopping Trump” every day. I never read articles about “stopping Clinton”, although it is plain as day that the DNC is going to get her nominated by hook or by crook, no matter how many Democrats vote for Bernie Sanders. She has already amassed way more delegates than Bernie, despite threadbare victories (and by tiebreakers, yet) in 2 caucus states and a blowout loss in NH – in which Hillary was awarded more delegates!

        I guess my point is that, if you’re going to get all energized by lying SOB’s in politics, it is prudent, as a moderate, to be somewhat balanced in your angry energy. Bitterly fought primary battles have always been the source of opposition research by the other party, and the GOP, which for some years, even decades, now has been far more diverse in its ideology than the Democrats, very often benefits greatly from that. As Ron has noted, the Democrats are much more united in their liberal ideological positions, than the Republicans are in their conservative ones. That is largely because liberalism is a defined ideology and conservatism is not ~ it is merely the idea that certain things should be “conserved”….what “things” are up for constant debate.

        So, yes, the primaries will produce a lot of attack ads, but that is not because the Republicans lie more. Not by a long shot ~ plenty of that to go around.

  40. February 22, 2016 5:59 pm

    Jay./Priscilla,,,,,, to add to our discussion about the terrorist cell phone, Stuart Varney had an interesting conversation this morning on his TV program with John McAfee, the founder of McAfee Computer security software (and Libertarian presidential candidate). McAfee is totally against the court search warrant due to the reasons I have already commented on. But he said that any good techie should be able to get into the phone using methods other than software. His comment was most hardware devices can be entered though the hardware themselves bypassing whatever resident software is on the device that is creating the blockage. He said it would take about 3 weeks to accomplish. He gave little technical info and could have been tooting his own horn, but what he said was logical. And being a Libertarian, I know he would never support development of software that allowed all phones to be compromised.

    When Stuart said the FBI had experts, his comeback statements were…” they are experts in many years old technology, not the current technology.”…..” The government never fires incompetent people, they just let the Peter Principle take over and let them hang around until retirement.”….”There are kids 15 years old that have much more technical abilities than the ones working on the phone, that’s why they need Apple’s expertise”….” When the OMB is hacked and the FBI’s own database is hacked, doesn’t that show they are incompetent in today’s software and technical environment”..”Being able to program, develop hardware and be an expert in technology is an inherent ability much like a mathematician that can calculate difficult problems in their head or an artist that can paint like one of the greats. It is not something that can be learned by those without that inner ability. Those without it will never be excellent at what they do. To learn and become great like those individuals is within the persons makeup”. (Some of these are not exact statements, but as close as I can remeber what he said.

    After listening to him and all of his reasoning on this issue, I do have to wonder if the FBI really does have incompetent boobs working on the project if the way to get the info is through the hardware. (Kind of like CSI-Cyber when they connect all the wires to phones and access info…Haha)

    At least this gives us something to discuss other than the presidential election.

    • February 22, 2016 6:29 pm

      Interesting, and if true could provide a solution to the standoff between the government and Apple.

      But you do know questions persist about McAfee’s grasp on reality, which many suspect may be short a megabyte or two in the sanity storage circuitry …

      Check him out on Wikipedia, in the personal life section for reference.

      • February 22, 2016 9:19 pm

        That is why I said in the first paragraph “He gave little technical info and could have been tooting his own horn, but what he said was logical.” Yes I know much about his alternative lifestyle.

        Bet if the government paid him enough though he would find the way in as his people have to find ways to keep hackers out of all types of devices.

  41. Roby permalink
    February 23, 2016 6:52 pm

    Why Should Democrats Be Trying To Stop Bernie? Because He Isn’t A Democrat.

    Like Trump, Sanders is a hostile takeover, which is why there is a stop Trump movement in the GOP but not a stop Hillary movement, she is the democrat, not the populist revolutionary. I like that part of her candidacy. The prog loons say that the DNC is being unfair to poor Bernie. Hogwash, they have treated his left-wing takeover better than it deserves. The super delegates have not voted and won’t until the convention in late July, if Bernie goes on a roll, they will likely follow. Unfairness solved.

    The Trump Hostile Populist Takeover is going better at present than the Sanders one because the GOP was a ^%$#& mess that was already preset to explode, people like Limbaugh and Coulter lit the fuse long ago.

    What may be happening is that the GOP will continue in a severe decline as far as electing a President. They are not in such a decline in Congress, especially the House. I don’t think the GOP will die, although in many ways it deserves to. I think it will carry on by being a counterweight to unlimited spending by liberals and progressives (two different species according to me). We need that. I’ll vote for the GOP candidate for governor of Vermont as a counter against the loony left in Vermont. That kind of thing will keep the GOP alive. But I certainly hate almost everything it stands for these days. The only part of the GOP I sympathize with is fiscal conservatism, that is not crazy. On everything else it’s a monstrosity, I don’t think I agree with the GOP point of view on anything, the environment, guns, social issues, anything. 100% wretched.

  42. Roby permalink
    February 24, 2016 10:35 am

    “Anyone who tries to argue “overpopulation” is clueless about science.”

    A gem of lunatic arrogance from an authentic American loon.

    Ha! Disagree with Dave, you don’t merely have another opinion, you aren’t even merely wrong, your don’t merely not understand population biology, like Dave and Oklahoma Senator Wackjob do, you simply have no understanding of science, any science, science in general. Disagree with Dave and you are banished to his concept of the scienceless wilderness (that would be nearly everywhere outside Oklahoma and large parts of Texas), notwithstanding you may actually have a biology doctorate and are on the same page as millions of other actual scientists regarding human population biology. No, that is not science in Dave’s world. First rule of Denialism 101, if you are going to deny, don’t limit your scope, Go Big! Science itself is clueless about science. Real science is found, like every other perfect object, only in Dave’s idea of the libertarian world.

    Dave, you poor irrelevant old anarchist, your type is an endangered species, ha, another concept you likely cannot grasp, that the earth has unlimited resources and human actions can drive a species extinct. You’ll look good stuffed in a museum next to the DoDo Bird, in the extinct species exhibit. Future children in a definitely climate altered world can come and gawk at an example of the kind of thoughtless old fool who made an ecological mess for them to live in.

  43. Pat Riot permalink
    February 25, 2016 8:50 am

    Roby,
    Yes, we were allies in the Dave Wars of past years, but those were on different topics (typically Dave’s unflinching and absolute Libertarian theorems). I may have agreed with Dhlii only 10 or 20% of the time, but nonetheless I always admired his use of logic and reasoning rather than him merely parroting popular “schools of thought.” Roby you have drawn a fifteen yard penalty flag for unsportsmanlike conduct with your over-the-top, ad-hominem rant wherein you insert Dave into a museum. Furthermore you are flagged another fifteen yards for excessive homage toward the words “science” and “scientists” as if science were not an instrument and tool used by people to measure specifics, and as if all scientists were huddled together in unanimous agreement at one end of the room.

    This is what we likely agree on: waste and consumerism (let’s throw in ignorance and stupidity) at our current pace is polluting our beautiful planet, depleting our planet’s limited resources, and taking humanity and the planet toward destruction.

    Dave and I, and some scientists, do not agree on overpopulation or the earth’s carrying capacity.

    Now don’t make me eject you from the game!

    • February 25, 2016 12:25 pm

      “waste and consumerism (let’s throw in ignorance and stupidity) at our current pace is polluting our beautiful planet, depleting our planet’s limited resources, and taking humanity and the planet toward destruction.”

      Waste and consumerism, pollution and depletion of resources are ALL coefficients of population. Who cares what the theoretical carrying capacity is: the definition of overpopulation is relative to the system. Take 20 people jammed into an elevator, passengers crushed elbow to elbow, stepping on each other’s toes. The carrying capacity of the elevator can accommodate double the weight of the passengers – but it’s already overpopulated, independent of its carrying capacity.

      Or compare humanity as a virus in relation to the body-planet: in humans the physical carrying capacity of the ‘body’ to host viruses is vast; but it only takes a small critical mass of viral appropriation of that carrying capacity to destroy the host.

      Our humanity virus may have already reached that critical population density to fatally destroy the planet’s ecosystem.

      Too many humans spoil the Eco broth.

  44. Roby permalink
    February 25, 2016 10:23 am

    Thank you Pat. You have I think in stages woken me up.

    You have made many times an analogy about a frog in water being boiled, do it slowly the frog just sits there and lets itself boil. There is no better application of this analogy than to climate change, which is utterly connected to over population. I have been like that frog, I’ve barely been struggling against this double edged sword of overpopulation and climate change. I resolve here and today to stop that. My little protest against Dave’s personal version of the campaign against population and climate science has been a tiny sleepy effort, completely out of proportion to what is called for. Dave speaks in thundering terms in the voice of authority on everything, so I became annoyed with him this time and broke my rule about not wasting my time trying to talk to him. I did right. I need to make a crusade out of fighting the incredible and destructive anti-science arrogance and stupidity that Dave is but one nutty example of. I need to jump up and down about these issues and not just here on TNM. I should have used much stronger language on Dave, but I try to keep my barbs funny. I do in fact have a mean streak, but you have not seen it yet. That may change.

    If one believes various nonsense theories, the moon landing was staged, Cheney blew up the WTC, it really harms no one and changes nothing. But the anti-population science and climate science rot is destructive beyond all imagination. Go watch the March of the Penguins documentary and then think that that entire species, and thousands of others will likely be extinct in 100 years as a direct consequence of overpopulation and climate change if science is correct in its predictions.

    There are only really two alternatives to the anti-science theory, which can be combined, scientists as a group are really stupid and scientists are involved in a global hoax. I spent more than two decades counting my undergrad, Ph.D and doing two post-docs, learning the math, physics, chemistry, biology, molecular biology etc. to support what I finally did research on. I’ve spent another decade editing scientific papers published by the Russian Academy of Sciences, I cover a wide range of topics, because to be honest, my foundation in science is very wide. I do journals on Seismology-Volcanology, Geology, Marine Biology, Neurobiology, Biophysics, Physics, and Chemistry to name some. As well I have tutored undergrads at the local college, on, among other subjects, population biology. I can tell you that in spite of the fact that Russia is an energy-production-dependent economy, the papers in many of the fields I just mentioned talk of climate change, especially the Marine Biology and Physics papers. They have one and the same version of climate change as the so-called (according to Dave’s Loon society) “catastrophist” school (meant as a derogatory term). In fact, being closer to the North Pole and having territory there, there is no denialism on the part of Russian science, none, about climate change. Now, someone can say if they wish that American academic science is a just a crock of politically correct group think, and given the reality of political correctness on campus they might be forgiven (but wrong), but one and the same version of climate change exists in very non-politically correct places. Why?

    As a person who has put most of my adult life into science I have complete and well earned contempt for the school of thought that says that two vast schools of science, based on literally millions of person years of research either Stupid or Lying.

    Old friend, the foul is entirely yours. Denying the effects of population on the earth’s chemistry and atmospheric physics is not harmless, its part of a pseudo-intellectual movement that is unbelievably destructive. You do it in a jocular way, Dave does it like his heros such as Senator Numbskull, do it, in an in your face manner. I should have been much louder in expressing myself about Dave long ago. Future generations will wish people from our who act like Dave could be made to suffer for their arrogance.

    Pat, the whole set of theories that Dave peddles here on any environmental science are based on the idea that there is no chance that science is correct about these things. Because if one even admits even, say, a 10% chance of the “catastrophist” point of view, then one would have to do admit this is important and do something. But that would infringe on his perfect freedom. I think of the predictions of these sciences in terms of probabilities, the problems of climate are exceedingly complex, science may not reach exactly the correct prediction, but the probability is high that science is headed in the correct direction. That means we should be taking as a human race much more drastic actions.

    I want you Pat to put down your skepticism for a moment and imagine that there is a 50% possibility that science is correct about the existence of a human carrying capacity of the earth and about the direction and likely effects of climate change. Instead of placing yourself in the position of stubbornly disputing millions of person-years of work, just for a moment, turn that mindset off and imagine how you would act if you accepted that scientists as a group are neither stupid nor corrupt and are mostly correct about this. Its not an academic argument, the future will be hugely influenced by it, and not even the distant future, your kid’s future and perhaps even yours. You might even decide that this pot of slowly boiling water is trying to jump from.

  45. February 25, 2016 10:26 am

    Overpopulation. Too many people in a closed environment, without the resources available to support human life, right?

    Indulge me here, but how is the earth overpopulated? Are we really running out of food? Air? Water? Seems to me that developed countries have food surpluses, and such low birth rates that their leaders (Angela Merkel, et.al.) are encouraging mass migration to support flagging economies.

    And the whole idea of “natural” resources is somewhat of a human construct in itself, at least on some levels, right? I think that oil, for example, used to be considered a very negative resource, dirty and slimy and useless, until – voila!- liquid gold! And the best scientific minds have already developed substitutes and alternatives to oil, even though scarcity doesn’t seem to be an issue yet.

    I’m not saying that things like malnourishment, homelessness, pollution, and disease are not problems. Or even that certain areas of the world have not depleted and destroyed valuable resources. But, the whole Malthusian concept that these things are due to too many people on the Earth overall, rather than to social behaviors and governing restrictions seems eminently debatable.

    • February 25, 2016 12:45 pm

      Overpopulation is not only evaluated in terms of availability of resources to support human life – it’s also a measurement of the harmful effects of populations of humans on the planet, and on each other.

      Like noise levels, dangerous decibel levels aren’t harmful in desolate desert dunes (luv alliteration) but will drive you insane at 2am in your bed when blasted by next door neighbors.

      Large populations may inherently be detrimental to planet harmony. Mankind an annoying ear piercing noise in an otherwise melodious eco system.

    • Roby permalink
      February 25, 2016 12:55 pm

      Priscilla the “whole Malthusian concept” is an economic one. That theory of that old white guy has long ago moved to the arena of science. Is there any subject that is not eminently debatable? Debates are great, fine exercise for the the mind and all. But some debates are more academic than others. Some have more consequences if one side is wrong. This is not about Malthus, this is about Climate change and the carrying capacity of the environment for trophic levels, which hardly entered the economic based thinking of Malthus, although the final outcome is certainly related.

      When the debate goes between people of science who have spent their lives doing this and are “standing on the shoulders of giants” and people who are motivated not by any deep technical knowledge but instead by some ideological philosophy then I am completely on the side of science as a whole and feel deep anger at the insult to science delivered by the ideological debaters, and even more at the consequences of that so called debate. In the case of issues of over population and climate change the outcome of this “debate” between people of science and people of ideology is not trivial.

      Yes, there is not total unanimity in science itself and having actually been in science I have met some of the dissenters on obscure sounding questions questions such as How does a muscle fiber produce force? that are entirely of no ideological interest. Thus, there is a “theory” of actin-myosin filaments sliding along each other propelled by myosin heads binding to the actin filament and then undergoing a conformational change as they hydrolyze ATP. That “theory” is in every biology and medical text book and there is huge evidence for it. But, there are other theories dating back 100 years or more from the time when there was no technology for looking into the mechanism at the molecular level. I’ve met a person who believes one of those old theories that muscle science as a whole considers to have been disproven. He gets grants, does research, the research must be OK since he gets grants, but no one cares about his dissent because the issue is not politicized. He is just quietly wrong with no consequences to anyone. That goes on in every area of science, no one hears much about it.

      I can show you the data that say that the mass of all of the fish in the oceans have the mass of 20-40 cubic miles of water. Here is the math: 105 million tons is the mass of the human race 800-2000 million tons is the mass of the fish. One million tons X 2000 pounds(per ton) X 105 = 2.1 X 10^11 the mass of the human race. The mass of a square mile of water is 5280^3 X 60(the mass of a cubic foot of water) = 8 X 10^12. If I didn’t make a mistake or leave anything out the human race would fit 42 times into a cubic mile given that we have approximately the density of water. The mass of all the fish is 8-20 times more, at best they would fit half of a cubic mile, if I made no errors.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomass_(ecology) See the table at the bottom of the article.

      The surface area of the world ocean is 140,000,000 square miles. Assume the ocean is on average 1 mile deep, that would be 140 million cubic miles. Fish are using ~ 0.5/140,000,000 of the available space.

      Why is that? Why is the water area of the world nearly completely devoid of the members of the upper parts of the trophic levels? Do you think that science is wrong and can’t count the fish and that really they are much, much more numerous? Or will you accept that science got the mass more or less right and instead have some other explanation than the existence of a carrying capacity for fish in the oceans that is incredibly small compared to the volume of the environment? Or do you accept all that but believe that humans are an exception? On the question of the fish in the ocean there is not the factor of appreciable greenhouse gases that humans bring to the equation of our carrying capacity. Or is that another issue that we need to “”debate” between science and politics?

      I’m not saying that the leaders of the world should just bow down before the current beliefs of science and say “OK, we will do whatever you say” or that non scientists should be just expected to believe that science is always right. But science and scientists should in general get a hell of a lot more respect than they often have.

      In the case of both the conservative and libertarian ideologies there are large numbers of people who have clear and loud contempt for population and climate scientists instead of the respect that should be due to the force of scientific knowledge that has removed us from squatting in front of a fire in the woods suffering from every disease, with rotting teeth, facing possible starvation at any moment. Everything that makes our life that of a modern technological society has been earned by science in some form over millennia. But let science tell us about carrying capacities of the environment or the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere and how that relates to climate and many people are happy to laugh at science and accuse it of stupidity or fraud, and a very high proportion of those arrogant %$#@& are motivated by ideology. As you can expect, I have total contempt for that. I’ll still vote for a republican for governor of Vermont, God help me, if they are not one of those nuts.

      • Roby permalink
        February 25, 2016 12:59 pm

        Typo: the fish have the mass of at most 0.5 cubic miles of water. I corrected my math but missed changing that number.

      • February 25, 2016 1:14 pm

        So (and I am questioning here, because I truly do not understand why climate change and overpopulation are a conflated issue, not because I have contempt for any particular hypothesis) the reason that the earth is warming is because there are too many people on it? Or too many industrialized nations (which is not the same thing, I don’t think)?

        I willingly admit to being a scientific simpleton ~ I struggled through chemistry and bio-sci and my eyes still glaze over at the mention of atoms and molecules and such. So I may represent the objects of your contempt. Nevertheless, I question the certainty of theories that rely on computer models and incomplete data. There have been too many “scientific” theories over the centuries that have turned out to be hogwash, or, worse, manipulation of data for less than altruistic purposes. I present Al Gore as Exhibit A in that case.

      • February 25, 2016 2:26 pm

        Priscilla, I have stayed out of this discussion, but have read most of the comments. Your question is an excellent one. Hope it gets answered.

        I do have a short comment though. And I think this could be considered a very centrist position. I am not convinced that climate change is caused by humans or industrialization, but I do accept the fact the climate is changing. AND, we all know CO2 output is bad. Just look at the air in California in the 60’s and 70’s when your lungs burned when exercising from the crap in the air and your eyes watered to the point some had to pull to the side of the road when driving because you could not see due to the bad air burning your eyes. With pollution controls, much of the air has been cleaned up. So my position is to force China and India to reduce their CO2 output from 75% of the world production to less than 30% (cut it more than in half). While America has reduced its output since 2000 by 20%, China is producing 3 times what it did in 2000 (and climbing ) and India has increase 2 times its output. Make the air cleaner to live in and a by-product just might be a reduction in climate change if industrial activity is the cause. Had this been the message to begin with, there would not be the political argument we have today.

      • Roby permalink
        February 25, 2016 2:19 pm

        Priscilla, yes, until we get the vast majority of our energy from sources that do not depend on burning hydro carbons, which is still far off, then teh human population level and human greenhouse gases are totally linked.

        Notice how quickly we solved the ozone layer problem? That was because there was a simple chemical fix, we did not need to use that particular ozone depleting chemical family as a refrigerant. We found a replacement.

        Getting another source of energy than hydrocarbons is much more difficult, hugely more difficult. Burn Hydrocarbons release CO2. Period. Thus, as our population increases we need proportionally more energy and it comes from combustion of hydrocarbons. Which is a natural process that also goes on in our body and thus we too breath out CO2 just like our cars do. The earth has sinks that can soak up excess CO2, up to a point, but its only 50% of what we were producing 15 years ago, which was the last time I checked that number. The excess goes into the atmosphere and CO2 levels are continuing to increase steadily. What, 14 of the 15 hottest years on record (since like 1880 when we have records) have occurred since 2000. 2015 smashed the previous record and 2016 is already hotter thus far.

        What has already entered the system will raise the temperature by at least a degree celsuis the last I checked, which doesn’t sound like much but it is actually highly consequential to global climate. And that is the number if by a miricle we stop producing any CO2 today, which is far from happening. The global economic crisis actually flattened the human CO2 output for a few years. But as we grow and as places like China and India adn Brazil grow more industrial we use more energy per capita and there are more of us as well. An upward spiral. If you cut the human race by 2 then we would be producing the amount of CO2 that the natural CO2 sinks, which are mainly the forests and the oceans can handle and then in about another 100 years the natural system would supposedly remove CO2 down to the level where greenhouse warming is not a consequence. I have not checked that number in years so it may be off. I will look it up again.

        If we get past the point where we get our energy from burning carbons then we would have a higher carrying capacity perhaps, but there are plenty of other limiting factors, especially if one actually cares about driving other species, and I don’t mean the tricolored snail, I mean lions tigers, polar bears, penquins etc. The ocean has a limited ability to produce tons of fish, we have already affecting that strongly ourselves. Taken as a whole the human race does have a food and a clean water problem even if in large areas such as the US we are not in any immediate crisis. That is not the complete list either.

        OK, you don’t trust Al Gore, but don’t you see that is just a political and not a scientific view? Unfortunately politics is a sport, we have a team, we tend as a group to support our teams players, which are issues; liberals/democrats tend to believe climate science while republicans/conservatives/libertarians tend to disbelieve it because of the human nature to form a clan and defend one’s clan. This issue (climate change) is bigger, much bigger than not trusting Al Gore or trusting him.

        Now I say in advance that if Dave shows up with charts and graphs and his alternate view I am not going to “debate” him, because the real debate is within science between actual climate scientists and not between people who are not climate scientists on the internet. I am a biologist, not a climate scientist certainly not an expert in climate science and I am going to continue to believe that there is a high probability that the professional International scientific community is much closer to the actual truth than the dissenters who are mostly not professional and are instead ideological or religious.

  46. Pat Riot permalink
    February 25, 2016 2:00 pm

    Roby, please stop making this an anti-science vs. science discussion. That’s not accurate. That’s a cheap shot and is counter-productive. You’ve got your mind made up. I think you are correct given D, E, L, and X, but I’d like to show you that L and X are not foregone conclusions, but you seem frantic rather than rational. Priscilla sounds rational. You used to sound rational. Even in an emergency we should remain calm.

  47. Pat Riot permalink
    February 25, 2016 2:02 pm

    Also please do not put humans into the same category as fish and reindeer. We have an animal nature, but we are not in the same category. We have NASA and…scientists.

    • Roby permalink
      February 25, 2016 2:33 pm

      Pat, apparently you have not a single answer to any concrete point I raised. It took me some efort to raise them, was it wasted? In fact, you seem to have completely missed every one of my technical points judging by your completely non substantive response that did little more than call me Irrational. When you start making the effort to address my specific technical points without calling me irrational or hysterical, I will respond. Until then, no more of this. It absolutely IS a debate between science and ideology and I will continue to stress that and to completely favor science. There is a carrying capacity to the ocean, there is a carrying capacity to the land, they are both much smaller than one would imagine. Human ingenuity can only do so much and at the moment human ingenuity has produced greenhouse gases that are changing the climate.

  48. Roby permalink
    February 25, 2016 2:38 pm

    Ron I appreciate your willingness to consider that human CO2 emissions are bad but I have to admit that they don’t burn one’s eyes, that effect is caused by some other sulfuric and nitric acid components of smog related to auto emissions that you experienced in California.

    • February 25, 2016 5:42 pm

      Roby, I understand the issues with smog and what caused the burning sensations. But cars were not the culprit until the population grew so large that the smog became a mixture of industrial pollution and auto emissions. That was not until the 60’s and smog existed well before that. The state worked on all issue to clean up the air and although it is not totally clear, it is a lot better.

      To address Ricks point # 10, environmental destruction, what are your position on India and China being the major contributor of pollutants and what is your position on world reductions when they have increased 200% and 300% respectively between 2000 and 2013, while the USA has reduced its output 20% over that same period of time? (Data from World Resource Institute) My point here is the politics that come into play where the Liberal Global Warmest believe we can snap our fingers, pass legislation that shuts down coal plants, places severe limits on cars to the point that four people can only fit into trucks for vacations longer than 8 hour drives and infringes on private enterprise by making environmental laws so strict that mom and pop can not afford to operate a business anymore. Somehow the LGW’s forget we only account for about 20% of the total CO2, while India and China account for more than 70%. Should they not be the ones fixing most of the problems and should they not be the ones paying for it since they are living off exports to America?

      Come to think of it maybe we do need a 35% tax that Trump wants to put on cheap chinese crap. Maybe that would result in a severe decline in their manufacturing and an indirect decline in their CO2 output.

      • Roby permalink
        February 25, 2016 6:06 pm

        Ron, when I first took up a strong interest in climate change the US was #1 in emissions with China projected to catch up. Well they caught up. Now when we were # 1 how did we react to climate treaties? Now what moral authority do we have to tell them what to do? Unfortunately the US did not exactly embrace action on this issue. I have to research our recent drop by 20%.

        I’m not one of the liberals who think we can just, boom, change this. In fact liberals are correct to believe its a problems but generally on the wrong side of science regarding many of the things that would help, e.g. nukes. The hippies as I call them think we are going to change our light bulbs, drive smaller cars, recycle and nearly immediately convert to solar and wind. Except that one large group of the hippies hater wind power. I’ll admit I actually think that we are totally screwed and will not cut emissions enough to stop climate change. At the very best I think we may slow down our emissions a little, slow down the rate but in the end we get to the same disaster a little more slowly. Its why I don’t even usually talk about this anymore, though its my #1 fear. Vast impersonal forces, of which population growth is the main one, have added up to human caused climate change and it won’t likely be avoided.

        I’m the joy of life aren’t I?

      • February 26, 2016 1:35 am

        Roby, I went back to check my figures and I was wrong on the 20% decrease. We have decreased our output from 5.7M metric tons in 2000 to 5.2M metric tons in 2013. (And some sites have slightly different numbers). That is a 9% decrease and with China’s, Russia’s and India’s increase, we have dropped from 48% of the total world output to 27% of the total world output, thus the 20% drop.During this same period (2000 to 2013) the total output increased 163%, all due to the economic increases in 3 countries, Russia, China and India.

        Yes we are bad at making any changes and had Al Gore stayed out of the issue and allowed the scientist to present the numbers and worked with business leaders before bringing anything to congress, we most likely would have accomplished much more than we have once Gore made his comments and politicized the issue. In some peoples thinking, he did this to sell his books based on his first, Earth in the Balance (1992). Then came An Inconvenient Truth (2006), Our Choice (2009) and The Future (2013) and that just solidified some deniers positions that it was political and not real.

        The other issue is people are not idiots, but our government thinks they are. They think we will buy the crap about making our industries cleaner and taxing people and companies to pay for the change then the problem will be solved. They make us drive cars that many don’t want to drive, but it will solve the problem. They cram CFL light bulbs down our throats that are more expensive, last a shorter period of time and it will solve the problem And if we make people use ethanol gas that totally screws up small engines, then we solve the problem.

        No we are not idiots. Most understand nothing will change if we do not see actual change in China and India. And when we see people walking around china’s cities with mask because they can’t get enough air into their lungs due to the smog, we know they are not doing anything but producing crap for Walmart and ripping off Americans again.

        So lets see a treaty that forces other countries to do something and does not just say they need to and then maybe people like me will buy into actual changes that need to take place. And I mean everyone including the environmentalist that have special interest they want protected. When the global warming changes take place and kills their special interest (like turtles being killed by solar farms) they will need to accept that fact and move on.

  49. Roby permalink
    February 25, 2016 4:22 pm

    Ah Pat, Gonna apologise, I get it, what happened here. You took me to task over my comments to Dave and stated your disbelief in the very idea of overpopulation. So I took you for a seasoned veteran of the climate wars and now I am guessing that in fact you are nearly innocent of any knowledge of these wars. Dave, myself, JB we are all up to speed and know our parts.

    There is an ecological/climate/overpopulation information war and its an important battle but I make the mistake of assuming that everyone is as involved and has as much knowledge of the arguments and facts as the combatants do. It really is a war between mainstream climate science and ideology.

    I got really involved in this issue in 2005-2007 now that I recall the details and read a million books papers Department of energy speadsheets etc.. THen I gave up on it, because I knew too much, I knew that it was a hopeless struggle against my usual villain, vast impersonal forces, which include overpopulation, technology, human greed, and the tendency of many people to disrespect knowledge. People are not going to stop human greenhouse gas emissions at rate that will make any difference. A tipping point will likely come in positive feedback effects in my children’s lifetime, maybe mine. The worst case scenarios are dreadful. But that is my fear, not yours, you have your own different ones.

    Dave is just one tiny example of a much larger army of strenuous denialists who are, believe me, contemptuous of any kind of environmental, ecological climate or population science. But you ain’t one of them as I can see now.

    Pat, you stuck your head more or less innocently into the wrong room and got yelled at by me. Of course you did give me a lecture first, but in any case, Ooops.

    Trust me, Dave ain’t so innocent and deserved much worse than what I said, but you would not probably be at all aware of the history between us on this issue.

    Ironically you have achieved what I think of as your general goal, to get someone off their butt and making an effort to fight. I’m gonna look for bigger venues for that fight.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 25, 2016 5:16 pm

      Roby, my short response above was because I had to go to work and that’s all the time I had at that juncture. I know you know how time-consuming this non-paying exercise here can be because you’ve sworn off of it several times. Besides my job, my wife and I are also trying to get our house back onto the market. One of the criteria for our new place is that it has its own water well in an area where the earth is doing a fairly good job of filtering. I’m well aware of the looming water crisis and many other pending troubles.

      But I do want to do battle with you, and with specifics. You are so sure you are right that I just have to point out where some of your oversights are. You are becoming more Dave-like lately than Dave. One of the things that always bugged you about the Black Knight was how invincibly sure he was that he was right. That’s you now my brother. Everyone who doesn’t see your wedge of reality is a “loon” or an anti-science ideologue. You are going to have to turn in your moderate card. (btw, I was in some of the Dave wars with you for months, but I don’t think it was climate change/environmental. )

      Here is a test to see if you are open-minded enough for discussion to make it worthwhile. The BP oil spill in the gulf, the one we had to see on video pumping all those gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for all those days…can you concede that environmental devastation having less to do with overpopulation and more to do with human choices, or will you automatically connect the dots back to demand for energy and overpopulation. If I can’t get you to open your eyes to the many environmental troubles that are not directly or indirectly because of overpopulation, then there’s no sense ironing out other details.

      • Roby permalink
        February 25, 2016 5:49 pm

        Where on earth did I ever say that every environmental problem is related to overpopulation and none to generally bad behaviors not connected to it?

        I think you need to reread my stuff, I have said that I am not a climate expert. I have couched my argument in the probability that mainstream science is probably mostly right or more likely to be correct than the ideological pseudoscience alternative. Sorry I don’t think that is at all Dave like. I admit there is a chance that things will work out differently than mainstream climate science predicts.

        Whereas you, old brother of mine, state your disbelief in population growth in much more absolute terms. You don’t believe in it and you don’t even have the backing of science behind that. you just don’t believe in it. Flat out. All my arguments about carrying capacities seem astonishing to you to the extent that you think that I have lost it talking about reindeer or fish. OK, Humans aren’t fish, its the one non ad hominum response you have made. Well, that is true you have me there, humans certainly aren’t fish. True, but not very useful. As well, you mentioned NASA. You might want to look up their opinions and activities regarding global warming, which is a direct consequence of the size and energy needs of the human population. Last I looked NASA was alarmed about climate change, loudly alarmed.

        Next time you see any article online that has the remotest connection to climate change or over population read the comments. There is a small horde of conservative denialists that descend on anything that has the slightest connection to these issues and yes they are anti-science as hell. I’m not making the loons up, they are very real. As another part of your education on this, if you want one, find and read the synopsis of the mainstream predictions of international climate science and report back on what their worst case scenarios are. Then imagine what your reaction to all this would be if you tended to believe that they might be mostly correct.

        My response that you took exception to was to Dave and his form of contempt for mainstream climate and population scientists. Here is some of the flavor of one participant in Dave style denialism. From Wiki on Sen Inhofe. You ain’t gonna make me feel wrong for hating this crap pseudo-intellectual anti science movement:

        Early years; 2003 Chair of Environment and Public Works committee
        Before the Republicans regained control of the Senate in the November 2002 elections, Inhofe had compared the United States Environmental Protection Agency to a Gestapo bureaucracy,[31][32] and EPA Administrator Carol Browner to Tokyo Rose.[33] In January 2003 he became Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and continued challenging mainstream science in favor of what he called “sound science”, in accordance with the Luntz memo.[32]
        Global warming a “hoax”
        Since 2003, when he was first elected Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Inhofe has been the foremost Republican promoting arguments for climate change denial in the global warming controversy. He famously said in the Senate that global warming is a hoax, and has invited contrarians to testify in Committee hearings, and spread his views via the Committee website run by Marc Morano, and through his access to conservative media.[34][35] In 2012, Inhofe’s The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future was published by WorldNetDaily Books, presenting his global warming conspiracy theory.[36] He said that, because “God’s still up there”, the “arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”[37][38][39] However, he says he appreciates that this does not win arguments, and he has “never pointed to Scriptures in a debate, because I know this would discredit me.” His opposition to climate action is as much based on concerns about over-regulation of businesses, and he has shown ability to work with his Senate opponents on other issues: in 2003 he co-sponsored legislation to protect the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle.[40]
        As Environment and Public Works chairman, Inhofe made a two-hour-long Senate Floor speech on July 28, 2003 in the context of discussions on the McCain-Lieberman Bill.[41] He said he was “going to expose the most powerful, most highly financed lobby in Washington, the far left environmental extremists”, and laid out in detail his opposition to attribution of recent climate change to humans, using the word “hoax” four times including the statement that he had “offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax”, and his conclusion expressing his belief that “manmade global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”.[42][43] He supported what he called “sound science” with citations from scientists; contrarians including Patrick Michaels, Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen and Sallie Baliunas as well as some mainstream scientists. Two of these, Tom Wigley and Stephen Schneider, later issued statements that Inhofe had misrepresented their work.[43][44]
        On July 29, the day after his Senate speech, Inhofe chaired an Environment and Public Works hearing with contrarian views represented by Baliunas and David Legates, and praised their “1,000-year climate study”, then involved in the Soon and Baliunas controversy, as “a powerful new work of science”. Against them, Michael E. Mann defended mainstream science and specifically his work which they and the Bush administration disputed in the hockey stick controversy.[41][45] During the hearing Senator Jim Jeffords read out an email from Hans von Storch saying he had resigned as editor in chief of the journal which had published the Soon and Baliunas paper, as the peer-review had “failed to detect significant methodological flaws in the paper” and the critique published by Mann and colleagues was valid.[45][46]
        In a continuation of these themes, Inhofe had a 20-page brochure published under the Seal of the United States Senate reiterating his “hoax” statement, comparing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to a “Soviet style trial”, and in a section headed “The IPCC Plays Hockey” he attacked what he called “Mann’s flawed, limited research.”[47][48] The brochure restated themes from Inhofe’s Senate speech, and in December 2003 he distributed copies of it in Milan at a meeting discussing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, where he met “green activists” with posters quoting him as saying that global warming “is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”. He signed a poster for them,[32] and thanked them for quoting him correctly. In an October 2004 Senate speech he said “Global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. It was true when I said it before, and it remains true today. Perhaps what has made this hoax so effective is that we hear over and over that the science is settled and there is a consensus that, unless we fundamentally change our way of life by limiting greenhouse gas emissions, we will cause catastrophic global warming. This is simply a false statement.”[47][49] In January 2005 Inhofe told Bloomberg News that global warming was “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state”, and that carbon dioxide would not be restricted by the Clear Skies Act of 2003.[50][51][52] In a Senate Floor “update”, he extended his argument against Mann’s work by extensively citing Michael Crichton’s fictional thriller, State of Fear, mistakenly describing Crichton as a “scientist”.[53] On August 28, 2005, at Inhofe’s invitation, Crichton appeared as an expert witness at a hearing on climate change, disputing Mann’s work.[47]
        In The Republican War on Science, Chris Mooney stated in 2006 that Inhofe “politicizes and misuses the science of climate change”.[54] During a heat wave in July 2006, Inhofe said to the Tulsa World newspaper that the environmentalist movement reminded him of “the Third Reich, the Big Lie”, as “You say something over and over and over and over again, and people will believe it, and that’s their strategy.”[52][55]
        In a September 2006 Senate speech, Inhofe argued that the threat of global warming was exaggerated by “the media, Hollywood elites and our pop culture”. He said that in the 1960s the media had switched from warning of global warming to warning of global cooling and a coming ice age, then in the 1970s had returned to warming to promote “climate change fears”.[56] In February 2007 he told Fox News that mainstream science increasingly attributed climate change to natural causes, and only “those individuals on the far left, such as Hollywood liberals and the United Nations” opposed this.[57] …

        Global warming temperatures
        In July 2010 Inhofe stated, “I don’t think that anyone disagrees with the fact that we actually are in a cold period that started about nine years ago. Now, that’s not me talking, those are the scientists that say that.” The Union of Concerned Scientists said that what Inhofe stated was wrong, pointing to an NOAA report indicating that, through July 2010 had been the hottest summer on record since 1880. Inhofe added that “People on the other side of this argument back in January, they said, ‘Inhofe, it has nothing to do with today’s or this month or next month. We’re looking at a long period of time. We go into twenty year periods.'”[73][74][75]
        During a House committee hearing in 2011, Inhofe testified, “I have to admit—and, you know, confession is good for the soul… I, too, once thought that catastrophic global warming was caused by anthropogenic gases—because everyone said it was.”[76] Under questioning from committee member Jay Inslee, Inhofe dismissed the notion that he was less knowledgeable than climate scientists, saying that he’d already given “five speeches on the science.”[76]

  50. Roby permalink
    February 25, 2016 5:52 pm

    The usual typo: state your disbelief in population growth should be your disbelief in the concept of overpopulation. Arg.

  51. February 25, 2016 8:24 pm

    Roby, my distaste for Al Gore, his hypocrisy, and his phony activism goes far beyond his politics. He peddles an unscientific kind of fear-mongering that serves no good purpose, other than to enrich himself, and, I think he’s turned more people into “deniers” than believers. The South Park “ManBearPig” episode has become a classic, and that’s certainly not a good thing for people who believe that we face an imminent and serious crisis.

    So, you’re absolutely right- the politics of this has changed everything when it comes to the science out there. When one “team” insists that the debate is over, and that anyone who remains skeptical of an unproven hypothesis is equivalent to a Holocaust denier…..well, it seems as if that team is protesting too much. It’s not contempt. It’s suspicion.

  52. Pat Riot permalink
    February 26, 2016 11:10 am

    Roby,

    I found the time to read through all your responses and all the other responses. Previously I was reacting not to specifics (because I had only scanned the comments) but to your certainty, and to my disdain at being placed in either of only two camps (mainstream science or ideological loons). “Certainty” is a red flag to me and will continue to be so in dealing with human beings (you know: Shakespeare: the fool believes he is a wise man; the wise man knows he is a fool. And the variations of the quote attributed to Socrates: “The wise man knows he knows nothing.”)

    I respect your research, your biology background, the leg work you have put into climate change and environmental issues, and science in general. I agree with much of what you say, but I desire to demonstrate to you that there are other positions besides yours on one hand and the climate science deniers on the other hand.

    Hopefully in this response it will become apparent that I am not a “science denier,” not an ideologue, and not innocent. Time doesn’t allow me to relate to you the many times I have worked with groups of professionals and experts in diverse fields, in business, industry, and education, who said both A and B were impossible, and so I suggested C and they said, “oh, yeah, I’ll be damned, that will work.”

    I’m a raw thinker and a problem solver who has always had one foot in the practical world and one foot in the theoretical, philosophical world. While I was a Project Manager at Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center (roughly 1992 to 2003—essentially groups of industrial engineers, mechanical engineers, consultants, and student interns going out to manufacturing companies for extended periods to provide a variety of solutions) there was a well-known concept regarding the personnel of companies sometimes being “too close” to what they do—and hence the advantage of an outside entity that could observe “from a distance” and offer fresh perspectives and direction. Sometimes the student interns came up with the best solutions. Being “too close” is different than “groupthink,” but both sometimes prevent moving forward.

    I defer to credentials, experience, and specialization on a regular basis, but I also know that the smartest of humans can sometimes not see the forest for the trees, and that sometimes “common sense” and “logic” trumps expertise (oh no the very word “trump” has been ruined), and I’ve been rewarded for speaking up despite overwhelming consensus. So I fancy myself more of a “Captain Kirk” than a “Mr. Spock” (haha don’t laugh too long on that). I sometimes come across as folksy and cute, but partly that is because I pride myself on being able to communicate effectively with CEOs, Presidents of universities, the maintenance crew, soldiers, and the homeless person in a doorway…so please don’t underestimate me for my plain language.

    Life is short old friend. Let’s toss some things overboard so we don’t trip on them and waste time, and instead narrow it down to the CPOC: Crucial Points of Contention.

    Carrying Capacity. I’ve understood this in microcosm since about age 10 when my friends and I were aquarium enthusiasts. A 20-gallon aquarium will only support so many fish (oh lord, back to fish) before the more sensitive species in the tank begin to stress and die. I get it. I believe you scientists when you tell me the oceans are being depleted and poisoned. I’ve seen enough first-hand evidence and online evidence.

    Other things we agree on coming in next installment. I do think this is important. If I’ve awakened a sleeping activist, great. We need more. But I’d like to refine your outlook slightly if I can.

    • Roby permalink
      February 26, 2016 12:05 pm

      Well, this is a letter from seemingly a completely different person than the one who thought I was nuts to talk about reindeer. Looking forward to this. I consider my own sweet wife a loon when it comes to science, don’t take that word too seriously. When I use in on Dave I return the venom he has for my type. Most of the time I mean it without venom.

    • Roby permalink
      February 26, 2016 1:38 pm

      Pat, I have two gigs today so, I am disappearing for the day. I hope to have a great discussion tomorrow.

      At the same time, as should be obvious, I have become obsessive again about posting and need to rein myself in somewhat. Generally, the events of the last two years have scared the bejeezus out of me, we may be headed for political catastrophes, Trump is a symptom of a deep disease. Putin too, and ISIS. So, in reaction to my fear level I post too much. This is supposed to be Ricks blog, not mine. Anybody who wants to help me to pipe down a little is welcome to.

      • February 26, 2016 4:03 pm

        Roby, the problem is not you, it is Rick. He has provided a mechanism for those with opposing views to discuss in a civilized manner differing views. (Civilized for the most part anyway and we all seem to come out ok). So when we have this available, we seem to take advantage of it to help alleviate some tensions in our lives. That is not available in other sites and discussions and debates do not exist. What we find there is the same thing that occurred last night in the GOP slugfest on CNN.

        Yep trump is a symptom of a deep disease. And that is scary as hell.Two people running for the most powerful position in the world and one is someone who would already be indicted if she were not part of the administration looking for a way out and the other is the biggest liar that has ever run for the office. The choices this time around provides the country with total incompetence. And if that 10% chance that Trump wins materializes, the Democrats better get ready for a tremendous payback. Obama has set the stage for executive orders and I predict Trump will take them to unprecedented levels to never be seen again. Congress will finally decide they need to take back control and will pass legislation severely curtailing EO’s after Trump. Hillary will use them, but not to the level I see Trump using them.

  53. Roby permalink
    February 26, 2016 11:15 am

    Priscilla, I mean no insult but you are boggling my mind. There has been research by climate scientists going on for many decades on climate change, a basis consensus exists among tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of climate scientists that the problem has a great probability of drastically changing life on earth, and your reaction to that, rather than adding it somewhere to your List of Things to Fear, is that you don’t like Al Gore!?!

    I am not picking on you, you are just one of tens of millions of conservatives who have had the same reaction I am sure. All the same, I find this just as remarkable as my calculation that the human race would fit into 1/42 of a cubic mile. Just boggles the mind.

    I am tempted to say that Damn, we just have 2 utterly different cultures that share almost nothing in the way of values and in fact have the opposite values on many things in the US but of course that’s grossly oversimplifying, there are many different flavors to those two basic liberal and conservative cultures. But as a very crude approximation there is one religion influenced conservative subculture and one liberal science influenced subculture. Don’t get me wrong, just as many liberals are scientifically illiterate to the extent that I would call them loons, they believe in science they just don’t know anything about science. I am guessing that perhaps 5% of Americans are what I would call scientifically literate, and I only became one of them relatively late in life and almost accidentally so I am not passing judgment.

    This is on the one hand fascinating and on the other, wildly depressing.

    • February 27, 2016 9:32 am

      Roby, I think you DO mean to pick on me, and I am not offended by that, but I think that it does illustrate your general mindset on this topic. Which is that anyone who makes the claim that science is an imperfect pursuit and that scientists have been infected, even corrupted. at times, by political ideologies and emotional coercion, must be a right-wing troglodyte. And I think that that mind-set, combined with your generally well-meaning and moderate world view, is one of the things that causes you to believe that you and I live in different cultures.

      We don’t ~ we’re all in this together. And, if we’re all going to hell in a handbasket ( a very large handbasket, overstuffed with people of all political persuasions), well, that is a tragedy that’s been largely caused by our collective inability to get over ourselves.

      And, just to make my position more clear, I did not say that there is nothing to fear from climate change. I did imply that the fear-mongering of politicians like Al Gore is repulsive to me, and counter-productive to a clearheaded, scientific approach to the problem. If the Exit Glacier has been shrinking for 200 years, as scientists claim, then why only now, do we have to enter into an international climate agreement to restrict fossil fuels? I don’t have the answers, but, like most people, I prefer not to be lied to, by the likes of Mr. Gore (even if he did invent the internet!)

      • Roby permalink
        February 27, 2016 11:21 am

        ” I think that it does illustrate your general mindset on this topic. Which is that anyone who makes the claim that science is an imperfect pursuit and that scientists have been infected, even corrupted. at times, by political ideologies and emotional coercion, must be a right-wing troglodyte.”

        Priscilla, I very carefully did not say that, and not just to be lawyerly but because I don’t think that its so simple. It would be very tempting to think that and my first impulse IS to think that, but then other complicating facts got into my mind. Anytime one sees polls on any topic that separates people out by party affiliation or ideology there is always a confounding 10 or 20 or sometimes 30% who don’t act like one would expect. Liberals who don’t support abortion, conservative who will vote for Bernie Sanders. Life is full of surprisingly large exception to expected patterns.

        Yes, I think every poster here but Dave believes we are going to hell in a handbasket, we have that in common. But we also think that its a variety of very different handbaskets and those hellish handbaskets line up pretty well with our ideological beliefs. Which is not at all surprising.

        I think I might have once written about fear being the strongest motivating factor in political choices, Get everyone at TNM to list their top ten fears and you will see things line up into 2-3 camps, liberal conservative libertarian. The libertarian camp will look a lot like the conservative one. I will look like a liberal in my fear list. Now if we are not afraid of the same things we are not going to fight the same things and in fact if we are afraid of opposite things our efforts as a group will just cancel each other out and nothing will get done about global warming or ISIS or debt or poverty or gun massacres.

        If mars attacks we will get into the same boat, regarding our mars policy, well, maybe, lacking that we are all sincerely working at cross purposes. That would be certainly one of the top fears on my list.

        Anyhow, Pat wrote quite a deep and thoughtful post on the climate and overpopulation and science and I am going to take my time in responding because I want to give him the thoughtful answer that his effort deserves. There will be lots in my answer to Pat that is relevant to what you and I are discussing.

        Everyone is going to have to forgive me my crankyness about science and politics and climate, I AM wound up up about this issue and its true that in frustration I often want over generalize. On the other hand the last decades have shown that all efforts to deal with climate have been kept to level that is wildly inadequate by a disinformation campaign that is embraced by many by conservative politicians of whom Sen Inhofe is the most obvious example. And, as far as I know, no liberal ones. Liberal politicians are on my page here, most conservative ones work against what i believe, often foreociously in a a manner that is contemptuous of science. That bothers me so much I don’t even usually like to think about it or talk about it any more. If every nation on earth saw the climate problem as highly critical and made a tremendous joint and shared effort there is some small chance that the worst case scenario of the scientific mainstream on climate could be avoided but I don’t believe that has any political chance of happening and I do believe that mass extinctions and human catastrophes are a very possible outcome. That is my handbasket to hell.

      • February 27, 2016 12:16 pm

        What’s all this hostility about Al Gore about? And mostly from those with a conservative mind slant. The poor guy was screwed out of the presidency by nefarious machinations in Florida, when his opponent’s Republican brother was the governor of the state (an election in hand was worth two in the Bush).

        Now conservatives continue to bully him because he made a couple of bucks writing and lecturing about a subject dear to his heart: planetary destruction. Yes, like Chicken Little, he may have overstated the danger of the sky falling – though objectively examining that hypothesis, chunks of it do appear to be littering the ecosphere.

        And no, he didn’t invent the Internet; I did, really, it’s true . And if you insult my integrity for asserting it, I’ll turn off planetary gravity, and watch you all float away into the pollution smeared wild blue yonder.

        Sincerely, Sane Jay.

      • February 27, 2016 2:06 pm

        Sure would be nice if conservatives and liberals would get off the 2000 presidential vote issue and accept reality. Liberals say Gore got screwed. Conservatives say Bush won. Facts do not support either position as there was never a complete recount of the votes in Florida and independent studies have never fully determined what the final recount would have been since no one knows what would have been the final count had a complete recount occurred of all ballots, not just specifically hand picked ballots by the parties.

        This is 15 years after the fact and they still do not know.
        http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/31/politics/bush-gore-2000-election-results-studies/

        So can we please put the Bush/Gore presidential election debate to rest (on at least this blog) so we do not get into a debate on that issue again.

        We have plenty to discuss with the “bat —- crazy” GOP v Clinton campaign that is going to happen.

  54. Pat Riot permalink
    February 27, 2016 1:44 am

    I will begin here by validating some of your frustrations as a scientist:

    Yes, of course there is and has been a war between Climate Change Scientists and “Climate Change Deniers.” Anyone with an iota of common sense about the way the world works knows that people connected to the fossil fuel industry and other industries have an incentive to fund research to counter scientific claims that threaten their livelihood.

    This group of deniers includes owners down to lobbyists and politicians and people in support industries and down to ideologues and the “Archie Bunker” type workers who don’t want to hear what they don’t want to hear. This is the subset of deniers that your anger and frustration should be most directed toward. And before people get too sanctimonious and want to throw the first stone, many of us are complicit in this because we drive cars, buy water bottles that end up in the ocean, etc., and we don’t effect the changes we know in our hearts that we need. We turn away and think “not my circus, not my monkeys…I have to worry about myself and my own family.” It is not so easy to break habits. It is not so easy to act for the long term.

    Then there is another subset of people who are good, smart people who are skeptical about information they receive. Do you really need a reminder why this group of people has good reason to be skeptical about information they receive, whether or not it is purported to be scientific?

    There were no WMDs in Iraq, daily red wine is good for you, no it isn’t. Meat is good for you, no it isn’t. Pharmaceutical companies toss out research results they don’t like and continue with trials until they get enough data to support their profit-driven motives. Bill Clinton looked straight at us in the camera and said he did not have sex with that woman. What does the word “is” mean? Aspartame is safe. Sorbitol is safe. Asbestos is a wonder material. Nixon was a crook. Turns out the “Real” in Real Cheese is a brand and the cheese isn’t real. Kennedy was womanizing. Reagan had secret ops in South America and elsewhere. Hillary had to duck sniper fire, no not really. Pat Tillman was a hero who…oh it was actually friendly fire. Some of us are old enough to remember all the cigarette ads, including the cigarettes that were “preferred by doctors”. Asbestos is a wonder material. I said that already. OJ was acquitted. I have personally witnessed a JD Power & Associates award being a crock of shit because all the bad evaluations were thrown away. Coffee is good for you. Coffee is bad for you. Republicans think Democrats are idiots and vice versa. Bananas are the wonder food. Eggs are the perfect food. Cholesterol is bad. Wait there’s good cholesterol. Chiropractors say Western doctors hand out too many pills. Some Western medical doctors question the legitimacy of chiropractic. Compact fluorescent bulbs are good, wait they contain mercury. When Hillary Clinton gets 52% and Bernie Sanders gets 48%, it is a “victory” for Hillary and we see the best possible smiling pictures of Hillary for days and days. When Sanders got more it was “a virtual tie, neck and neck” and we got to see the most unflattering pictures of Bernie, shot upward at all his neck wrinkles, and then quick stop talking about Bernie and focus on Trump. Don’t let any momentum build for status-quo challenging Bernie.

    We are so sick of the distortions, lies, spin, and propaganda, and you have the audacity to be perplexed and fascinated by people’s skepticism of information? You want us to accept information because supposedly a lot of scientists agree, even though other scientists disagree? Are industrialists paying ALL the scientists who say climate change is natural fluctuations more than man-made? How do we know? The ice ages weren’t caused by mankind, and those seem to be a lot more extreme climate change than the few degree difference we are talking about lately. Perhaps the scientific community has done a piss-poor job of getting the information out and proving it to the public.

    I know the value of science. I love science. I love the continuous quality improvements in medicine, in technology, in knowledge itself, but I know science has limitations. I do not worship science as too many people do today. There is a cult of science worship these days that is disgusting. Science is full of trial-and-error blunders. Many scientists are specialized goofballs. No? They have to be; they’re human. Here are two of the most pervasive ridiculous garbage products of science these days: Widely Accepted Pile of Garbage number one: the Big Bang theory for the beginning of the Universe. There had to be something, whether it was matter, energy, or quantum jello, to “blow up” and expand, and what “space” or “area” did it expand into? At best, the Big Bang explains an expanding, observable portion of the Universe. In no way is it an explanation for an origin, and yet it is generally accepted by not only physicists but by huge swaths of the scientific community. It’s Goddamn illogical, and I’ll gladly publicly debate Hawking or anybody on it.

    Pile of Widely Accepted Scientific Garbage Number Two: multiple universes. This is an unforgiveable contradiction in terms. By definition, there can only be one Universe. It is all-inclusive, by effing definition. Whatever realms, sectors, dimensions you want to imagine, they are part of the Universe—the One Everything. It’s a concept of all-inclusiveness that is expressed in a word: Universe. I am amazed that so many scientists are so linguistically challenged that they think that the Universe can be plural.

    Here’s a kicker…
    Given all of the above distrust of information, and respecting science but not worshipping it, I still happen to believe that the Climate Scientists are correct and that a significant portion of the trouble is man-made. But that doesn’t automatically get us to overpopulation as the main cause of the man-made trouble.

    Here’s an If-Then statement:
    If humans continue doing some of the things they are doing (burning hydrocarbons, over-fishing the oceans, ordering a new gismo online that is delivered by Fed-ex or UPS because spoiled consumer can’t find the other three he already has in all of his unnecessary clutter, allowing plastic to collect in the ocean…et cetera) then an increase in population (of more people doing the same crap) is going to increase the eco-damage to the earth. We’re in agreement there. In the above If-Then statement, an increase in population will cause increased eco-damage. With those conditions, over-population will cause more eco-damage and we will be doomed. Most of us get that. But that doesn’t mean we are currently overpopulated. And it doesn’t mean that humans will continue doing the same things we are doing.

    In my final installment, though I am not officially part of the 5% of scientifically literate, I will bless you all (all 5 of you) with hope for the future!

    • Roby permalink
      February 27, 2016 11:40 am

      Yep, you are a writer all right. Which doesn’t mean you are a typist, it means you are a thinker. My hat is off. Masterful.

      Its going to take me a while maybe even a day to reply, but we certainly are both moving to language that has a much more common ground than our previous mutual scoffing. Yes, the information on nutrition coming from that science does give the (correct) impression that science is still in a confusing search for answers to complex issues. Trans fatty acids, good or bad? Depends on the study and the views of the scientist you are talking to.

      I don’t ask anyone to just accept the conclusions of mainstream climate science and I never have and don’t believe I ever said that I do. I say something more subtle, I want people to accept that there is a sizable probability that mainstream climate science is more correct than not and that the worst case scenarios should be treated with proper solemnity given that they imply massive biological destruction and changes larger than any political revolution. One can be skeptical, yes, but one should not just outright deny them based on ideological affiliation and join in the very real pile of abuse that this particular field of science has been exposed to. I am not saying that you or Priscilla or Ron have done that. There are those here that HAVE done that, so if you are not guilty then please don’t feel convicted if I address some heated rhetoric towards those that Have participated in that.

      • February 27, 2016 1:51 pm

        “One can be skeptical, yes, but one should not just outright deny them based on ideological affiliation and join in the very real pile of abuse that this particular field of science has been exposed to.”

        And one should not just outright accept anything that imposes increased cost, decreased product choices, decreased product efficiency , frustration with available products and changes to our personal living environment within the USA based solely on ideological affiliation without significant changes for other countries contributing way more to global warming than America.

        Liberals accept having government control all aspects of your life while non-liberals have a range of beliefs up to and including climate deniers who have very little acceptance of government involvement in personal lives. There is compromise somewhere in the middle that many could accept if everyone suffered a little, not just America.

    • February 27, 2016 12:50 pm

      That was a cohesive coherent summation, Pat.

    • Roby permalink
      February 27, 2016 3:46 pm

      Pat, you have explained your ideas very well and sound extremely sane.

      “Given all of the above distrust of information, and respecting science but not worshipping it, I still happen to believe that the Climate Scientists are correct and that a significant portion of the trouble is man-made.”

      Bravo.

      “If humans continue doing some of the things they are doing (burning hydrocarbons, over-fishing the oceans, ordering a new gismo online that is delivered by Fed-ex or UPS because spoiled consumer can’t find the other three he already has in all of his unnecessary clutter, allowing plastic to collect in the ocean…et cetera) then an increase in population (of more people doing the same crap) is going to increase the eco-damage to the earth. We’re in agreement there. In the above If-Then statement, an increase in population will cause increased eco-damage. With those conditions, over-population will cause more eco-damage and we will be doomed.”

      Total agreement.

      “Most of us get that.” Sorry I really do not think so. Unless people just don’t care than we will be doomed. Which is possible because I myself have entered the acceptance stage of the 4 stages of dying most of the time on this issue. But no, most Americans do NOT get the we are doomed if we don’t make drastic changes part of this. Unless you mean at some faroff hypothetical rhetorical point in the future thousands of years away.

      “But that doesn’t mean we are currently overpopulated. And it doesn’t mean that humans will continue doing the same things we are doing.”

      We are basically quibbling about the meaning of the word overpopulation. If you mean that we still have room to move around and large amounts of land are not densely populated then yes. But my definition of overpopulated is when the human population is using an unsustainable amount of some limiting resource or causing an unsustainable effect on some system that is necessary. In my terms we are already overpopulated in terms of CO2 emissions if the mainstream climate science is more or less correct. We are going to have to agree to disagree on this definition.

      “And it doesn’t mean that humans will continue doing the same things we are doing.”

      You are much more optimistic on that question than I am. As a whole the human race will keep doing the same things that have led to global warming and will stop only when the changes are so apparent as to be immediately toxic to life.

      It was an excellent and very lucid explanation. You and I part on your optimism about people understanding and changing behaviors to the level that would have an effect.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 28, 2016 11:10 am

        Glad something came across from my rant.

        Roby your fatalistic viewpoint in which you do not share “optimism about people understanding and changing behaviors to the level that would have an effect” is certainly understandable.

        I am cooking up the anti-dote for that. I will post it to the “Wild Card Debate” soon. I don’t want to post another essay here as the conversation turns to other topics. I already have the ingredients. I just have to arrange and trim. I predict you will experience joy.

      • Roby permalink
        February 28, 2016 11:34 am

        Hi Pat, well thanks for your efforts to bring me joy! These days joy to me is family and music, and certainly not politics or world events. I would seriously suggest posting your reply here rather than in the wild card section; its just as appropriate as anything else and continuity for anyone else who might ever read our discussion would be served.

  55. February 27, 2016 11:38 am

    I hate to interrupt with a technical question, but I’ve searched WordPress for the answer and cannot find it.

    How can I stop receiving emails on this particular blog of Rick’s? Just too many emails coming in for me and I don’t have time to follow it all at this time.

    I had checked “Notify me of new comments via email.” There’s got to be some way to un-do that. Anyone know? When I go to my list of blogs I’m following, it only references the blog about militias…not this one.

    Thanks much for anyone who knows and takes the time to respond!

    • February 27, 2016 12:35 pm

      Have you tried this?
      Go to top of blog page. Then to the right to
      YOU ARE FOLLOWING THIS BLOG
      And click on (manage). Which takes you to the Followed Sites, where this blog appears, with options to stop receiving emails.

      If NEWMODERATE isn’t there, I don’t know any other way to disable it.

      BTW, what other interesting blogs are you monitoring?

      • February 27, 2016 8:00 pm

        Hey Jay, thank you for your detailed tip. Oddly, when I follow them, all of Ricks’ blogs are no longer showing up. Weird. I hope that this doesn’t mean that I won’t receive notification when he posts a new one.

        Oh, I’m not following any other blogs besides Rick’s. It just had one of his old ones listed, and two more that seem to be WordPress related. I don’t really have the time to get too deeply involved in this, though I enjoy reading everyone’s posts…all of you are so thoughtful and intelligent. I enjoy them all, even though I find myself agreeing with some folk more than others. But, it’s extremely valuable to listen to other POVs. I’ve learned a few things and that makes this blog (and its respondents) valuable. 🙂

    • February 27, 2016 1:39 pm

      Check at the bottom of any message and you will see “unsubscribe for all followup e-mails” or “Subscription Options”. Click on those and you will see various options where you can change what you receive.

      • February 27, 2016 8:01 pm

        Ron, thank you. I hope I have not stopped notification of future blogs. I’ll just have to keep an eye out for that, I guess.

  56. Roby permalink
    February 27, 2016 3:26 pm

    Ron, I have said many times here on TMN that I understand the point and find it natural that many feel that the US should not be harming its economy due to global warming remedies especially in a one sided way, it should be everyone taking the same steps with the same suffering.

    However, the problems with this are numerous. There is quite a drastic reduction in CO2 emissions needed (more than 50%) to actually merely stabilize the present high and heat-inducing CO2 levels. If you removed the entire populations of China, the US, the European Union and Canada and all their energy-related activities from the face of the earth that would cut yearly human greenhouse gas emissions in half. Then according to what I understand the best estimate of science is that the oceans and forests would soak up the CO2 and bring the levels back down to the level pre human-induced increase in 100 years.

    Well, THAT isn’t going to happen.

    Other than eliminating the populations of those countries one could cut everyone’s use of fossil fuels by 50%. That also ain’t gonna happen any time in my life time or perhaps my kids, and as well as the population of the earth grows then you have to be even more efficient. I have done extensive reading on energy and energy technologies and my belief, which would take me tens of thousands of words to justify or explain is that the human race as a whole will cut our global per capita use of fossil or carbon based (like burning wood) fuels much more slowly than population will increase according to projections. So any small gains we make in per capita carbon burning will be offset by population growth.

    The kicker to this is that if one does not produce the miracle of a 50% global human reduction in human greenhouse gas emission then the CO2 level in the atmosphere will simply continue to increase perhaps slightly at a slower rate. We get the same higher and higher numbers, just a bit slower. The best estimate of science last I read was that there is a set of positive reinforcement that will accelerate the process as the heat goes up and ice melts.

    In other words it would take a mind bogglingly drastic immediate reduction in human carbon energy use to have any positive impact. What exactly is the compromise position here? No compromise will be effective, at best we may just get hot at a slightly slower rate under all but the most drastic scenarios of curtailing our emissions.

    It ain’t gonna happen.

    I think we are doomed if science has this right. I would love to believe that Sen Inhofe is correct and that God won’t permit this, really I would.

    Some people cynically believe that some conspiracy of environmentalists is at work in science and that the global warning crisis has been cooked up to promote the goals of environmentalists. Well, if science were going to invent this as a motivation then I think that they should invent a crisis that is solvable. This one isn’t based on the news that science has given us thus far.

    I have become fatalistic, its (devastating levels of climate change) going to happen, unless science really is pretty wildly wrong or other as yet to complex to predict effects occur. I don’t think we can stop it. I care about the politics of this only because it would be great if we at least admit whats happening instead of denying it and blaming it on the messenger. Whatever chance there is to fix this, and its tiny in my view, depends at least on honestly admitting that the problem is real.

    We aren’t going to decrease our emissions, they will continue to increase. If some far-fetched technology for removing massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere were to be created, or a sort of deliberate and continual artificial Mt St. Helens eruption to put particulates into the atmosphere adn block incoming radiation (if that sounds crazy its because it sounds crazy) perhaps that would save us. In any case, while there is a supposed “debate” between mainstream science and deniers of it even just admitting the problem is real and potentially very severe is not going to happen for the general public.

    • February 27, 2016 5:25 pm

      I don’t have any doubt that you are right in much of what you have said. I have nothing to base anything to contradict that.

      But I will say that anyone in a position of power has greatly mismanaged the problem based on everything I have seen or heard. The same people that denied that tobacco caused lung cancer were probably some of the same people that denied global warming is happening. This goes ll the way back to 1896 when one of the first studies came out that said CO2 could cause warming temperatures and shortly after this was shown to be true. And how many liberal and conservative administrations have we had since that time that could have addressed the issue before it became a disaster?

      Then we see studies that take up to the 22nd century and its impact on income, living standards and quality of life and most everyone, including left and right, look at today and my life and will not support much if it impacts them directly. How many Americans would be willing to pay 50% more for electricity ,pay $10.00 per gallon for gas, 100% more for imprts from China and India due to energy tariff fines or agree to move into townhouses in town from their suburban home on large lots to help fight warming in 2100?

      Not many in my mind.

    • Roby permalink
      February 28, 2016 10:38 am

      Ron, I agree 100% with you. But unfortunately the vast impersonal force that is at work here is that governments, ours and everyone else’s, try to solve problems when they are immediate and huge. Yes, the first ideas that climate could be affected by human activities were already appearing long ago. (Hats off to you for having obviously looked into this history.) But the actual serious harms have been far in the future in political terms, and there were much more immediate problems. The human race as a whole will react to human greenhouse gas emissions when the cat is already far out of the bag and cannot be put back in. Politics is not up to solving such problems.

  57. February 27, 2016 4:20 pm

    Trump’s Achilles Heel

    No one’s brought this up yet: Trump’s businesses – is he going to sell
    off all those assets? Because if he still has ownership interest, he will be extremely
    vulnerable to outside attacks from those who want to harm or leverage him.

    This occurred to me yesterday after hearing ex-Mexican president Fox
    basically telling Trump to fu*k himself. What would happen if Mexican
    billionaires like Carlos Slim ($74 billion) or Ricardo Salinas Pliego
    ($17 billion) unhappy with Trump’s hostlile insults decide to gang up on Trump’s business assets, and destroy them? Or once he’s in office if nation states like China unhappy with threat or presidential actions decide to dissolve his wealth in retaliation?

    Whose business will Trump be attending to if that happens, the nation’s or his own? If we’re in the midst of a national crisis, who is he likely to be on the phone with, the heads of government and military advisers, or his bankruptcy lawyers?

    Trump’s business is mostly wheeling and dealing – turning it over to a blind trust isn’t going to keep his nose out of those operations. Just the threat of attacks against his business in the news, held in trust or not,in the would influence his decision making. All the complaints about Hillary under the thumb of nations who contribute to the Clinton a Foundation would pale in comparison

    • February 28, 2016 10:05 am

      Jay, I agree with you about Trump’s businesses. As I learn more about him, I like and trust him less and less ~ not that I ever liked or trusted him that much to begin with, but I was consoled by stories that I heard and read about his above board business practices, which seem to have been inaccurate. I was also horrified by his ignorance on display at the last debate, illustrated when he talked about his sister, a Federal Circuit Court judge and Samuel Alito “signing bills”! He is running for POTUS and doesn’t know that judges don’t have anything to do with signing bills?!? I’m sure he went to the best schools, but he clearly didn’t learn much about government and the constitution. I get annoyed when people start doing the Chicken-Little thing every time a politician upsets them, but Trump really is a little scary.

      On the other hand, are you serious about the foreign contributions and special interest money – in the hundreds of millions- paid to the Clinton Foundation paling in comparison? No way in hell does that pale. It’s worse, really, because it shows not only greed, but the willingness to sell out the US interest for personal gain,

      So, yeah we’re dealing with 2 scumbags of the worst order here,

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 28, 2016 3:31 pm

        Priscilla, I agree with you as usual. “…willingness to sell out the US interest for personal gain”–that’s much more troubling than the standard posing, deceit, and cronyism we’ve come to expect as the darker side of politics.

      • Roby permalink
        February 28, 2016 3:32 pm

      • February 28, 2016 9:14 pm

        We agree on Trump; we’re miles apart on the Clinton Foundation, one of the world’s most innovative and beneficial philanthropic organizations.

        Your assertion that the Clintons are willing to sell out US interests for personal gain is a serious charge. What evidence are you basing that on? What influence did they peddle? And how did they benefit from it financially? Specifics please.

        I’ve been following the story of those charges for years now, and they’re all based on spurious insinuation by the usual Conservative news and political suspects. There aren’t any specifics that hold water; so I’ll let you off the hook providing any.

        I’m not a Hillary supporter in this election; I’m still hoping someone like Bloomberg comes into the the race as a third party candidate; I’m closer aligned with Trump’s antipathy to the porous border and temporarily limiting many (not all) Muslims into the US; and repelled by Democratic enslavement to the Black grievance narrative and other PC capitulations as well. But Trump is a disaster waiting to happen, and the other two front running Conservative bible-thumping bozos are anemetha to agnostic-atheist-doubters like me. It’s looking like a dead end election for me, no matter who wins.

        But that doesn’t mean mutely listening to politically motivated distortions about the Clintons in regard to their foundation. The criticisms are full of crap without any basis in fact. That foundation has done marvelous work in the world. Irrespective of their political beliefs, history is going to admire the foundation bearing their name.

        Disclaimer: I do not now and never have worked for the Clintons, or any political organizations affiliated with them. 😇

      • Roby permalink
        February 28, 2016 10:02 pm

        “Your assertion that the Clintons are willing to sell out US interests for personal gain is a serious charge. What evidence are you basing that on? What influence did they peddle? And how did they benefit from it financially? Specifics please.”

        Jeez, wasn’t I thinking of asking the same question but you asked it better. The Clintons are an old wound to me that is aching, but they are not the Blagojevichs, there seems to be nothing but insinuation, partisan politics, and envy on the part of both the right that began this and the left that is now mindlessly repeating it. I certainly don’t like the fact that the Clintons have gotten rich on the basis of the speaking fees an ex president and his political wife can earn but they have sold no influence, they are not the jailed speaker of the NY legislature Sheldon Silver. Or Dean Skelos and son.

        When this thread is over I hope to be able to use what it turns up to calm down my son who is in a deep deep Sanders trance and repeating the same vitriol from the left. How much of that huge speaking fee money has gone to charity causes via the foundation, do you know? Thanks in advance for any information.

      • February 29, 2016 11:02 am

        Roby, it is quite easy to find reputable sources that question the apparent “pay for play” role of the Clinton Foundation, as well as articles and statistics that show the foundation to be, let’s say, not your typical charity. I’ll link this article, which is brief, but covers a good deal of ground on CGF, including this nugget “Charity Navigator, which rates nonprofits, recently refused to rate the Clinton Foundation because its “atypical business model . . . doesn’t meet our criteria.” http://nypost.com/2015/04/26/charity-watchdog-clinton-foundation-a-slush-fund/

        So there ya go. Most of the Foundation’s millions go to “administrative and programming” expenses, and extremely small amount to charitable grants(6-10%), making it very hard to evaluate. Plus the Foundation is under FBI investigation for failing to disclose all of the foreign donations received during Hillary’s tenure as SecState, when she was negotiating weapons deals, etc. with many of them. But, of course, FBI investigations are confidential.

        Complicating all of this, of course, is the fact that State Department records do not include any emails sent or received through the required channels – only the paper copies of emails that Hillary determined were relevant, prior to wiping her private server.

        I will willingly admit that Clinton is likely to prevail in this, but I don’t consider that evidence of her good character or proof that she did not commit crimes. Trump will pay a far greater price for his sleaze than she will, and the knowledge of that is one of the things that drives his supporters to look the other way on his own sketchy business practices.

        I’ve made it pretty clear, I hope, that I am NOT a Trump supporter, but just as the GOP has enabled his rise by repeatedly screwing over their voters, the Democrats have made it clear that, in the interest of maintaining power, they will circle the wagons around Hillary, no matter what she has done. I’m an equal opportunity cynic on this….

      • Ron P permalink
        February 29, 2016 1:34 pm

        I would hope that those who go to the polls to vote for senate and house races, but do not plan on voting for the presidential ticket would reconsider and vote for the Libertarian. Not because that would get a third party elected, but because it may provide the votes necessary to insure this party gets on all 50 state ballots and into debates the next election so they can at least be heard in the future. The percent of votes varies by state to insure ballot access the next election.

        I find it very interesting that we have federal laws concerning gay marriage, interstate commercial drivers licenses and many other liberties covered by universal federal laws, but we do not have a federal law that allows all parties to file in one central location and become eligible in all 50 states. Every state has its own ballot access laws and for president that should be one universal location in this day and age of internet access.

      • February 29, 2016 1:52 pm

        I don’t know if Bill and/or Hillary donate speaking fees to the Clinton Foundation – though their daughter Chelsea, who works for the federation does, if the speeches are related to the federation.

        Hill-Bill, as members of the board of directors, are not paid anything. Also keep in mind both Clinton’s speak at numerous venues that have nothing to do with the foundation – most of their appearances are related to other topics.

        And let’s put the speaking fees in perspective. Bill Clinton isn’t the only ex- president to be paid appearance fees. Both Bush presidents have cashed into the lucrative speaking circuit. As well as numerous other highly placed former government office holders. And current sitting Supreme Court Justices are paid ‘teaching fees’ for appearances at seminars and universities, and for written articles, and with advances for books, and other perks like those Scalia was receiving when he kicked the bucket. Nobody on the right seems too upset about that.

        Also, let’s put the fees in perspective.

        CELEBRITY APPEARANCE FEES
        http://www.businessinsider.com/celebrity-booking-rate-list-2014-6

        Rock Stars can get $1,000,000 for a concert gig; Elton John’s appearance fee is $1.5 million; even over-the-hill Hollywood actors like Keanu Reeves, Mel Gibson, Nicolas Cage, and Robert De Niro have appearance fees over $250,000. (BTW, I’m available for a shot of Jack Daniels and bar nuts).

        Go to the site and check it out. In Bill Clinton’s range you’ll find Tony Blair, Mikhail Baryshinkov, Richard Branson – and Meat Loaf! You won’t believe the dough handed over to celebrities – musicians, actors, politicians, athletes – just to show up and schmooze with people.

        I have more to say about the Clinton Foundation, with a link to a site, so I’ll continue in a separate comment to avoid the 2-link purgatory.

      • February 29, 2016 2:53 pm

        Ah, turns out you provided much of the same info in your reply to Priscilla I was going to add, about the charity monitor American Institute of Philanthropy, also known as CharityWatch.

        I suggest those with open minds go to the website and check out what’s listed there about the Clinton a Foundation, and then do some comparisons with other A rated charities. The Clinton Foundation shows a higher percentage of its money going toward its charitable mission then the others; and has a lower cost of acquiring donations as well.

        https://www.charitywatch.org/ratings-and-metrics/bill-hillary-chelsea-clinton-foundation/478

        Look at the Governance and a Transparency page, it shows that the foundation meets ALL the criteria for transparency and governance.

        And check out the list of donars at the Clinton Foundation website and tell me which ones donated for their own political or financial advantage.

        The Clinton Foundation came into existence through Bill Clinton’s charismatic huxterism. He
        wooed the world’s most powerful influential and rich individuals and governments to do good in the world, and so far that’s meant about $2 billion dollars funneled into projects that have improved the lives of people throughout the world.

        Give the devil his due, he’s done more good in the world than all the Republican gonifs running for president combined. Yes, he’s gotten rich on his celebrity, with Hillary in his wake, but neither one made a dime by manipulating public policy while in office – and Oval Office blow-job aside, he was a better steward of the economy then Bush 1 & 2 & Obama combined – certainly more moderate then the others.

      • Roby permalink
        February 29, 2016 12:48 pm

        Priscilla, odd bird that I am I actually knew nothing specific about the Clintons foundation and very little about their wealth accumulation until I googled around last night after Jay’s post. I found that they paid 92 million in taxes over the period when they were raking in obscene amounts of speaking money and also that a considerable portion of their speaking money went to their foundation. They are being far from fully transparent, but is not the same, not the same at all as selling their influence, a la Sheldon Silver or Blagoyovich.

        http://www.factcheck.org/2015/06/where-does-clinton-foundation-money-go/

        Here is an excerpt that kills the whole charity navigator issue stone dead. as well as showing that much more than 6% of the money is spent on actual charity, more like 88% Its a conservative media hit job pure and simple. I’m willing to be disgusted with the Clintons for bad actions. I’m not willing to be disgusted with them for good actions. Here are the excerpts:

        “Fiorina isn’t the only one making this charge about the Clinton Foundation. Fox Business Network’s Gerri Willis, for example, also claimed only 6 percent of the Clinton Foundation’s 2013 revenue “went to help people.” Willis claimed that charity experts have looked into whether the Clinton Foundation “wisely spen(t) charitable dollars” and weighed in with a “resounding no.”
        “Charity Navigator … [has] placed the Clinton Foundation on a watch list,” Willis said. “They think there are problems with this nonprofit. They don’t like the way it runs itself. They say the money is not spent wisely.”
        She said Charity Navigator concluded the Clinton Foundation “does not meet their criteria as an organization that does charitable work.”
        But that’s not what Charity Navigator said.
        Here’s what the Charity Navigator site actually states:
        Charity Navigator: We had previously evaluated this organization, but have since determined that this charity’s atypical business model can not be accurately captured in our current rating methodology. Our removal of The Clinton Foundation from our site is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of this charity. We reserve the right to reinstate a rating for The Clinton Foundation as soon as we identify a rating methodology that appropriately captures its business model.

        What does it mean that this organization isn’t rated?

        It simply means that the organization doesn’t meet our criteria. A lack of a rating does not indicate a positive or negative assessment by Charity Navigator.

        We spoke by phone with Sandra Minuitti at Charity Navigator, and she told us Charity Navigator decided not to rate the Clinton Foundation because the foundation spun off some entities (chiefly the Health Access Initiative) and then later brought some, like the Clinton Global Initiative, back into the fold. Charity Navigator looks at a charity’s performance over time, she said, and those spin-offs could result in a skewed picture using its analysis model. If the foundation maintains its current structure for several years, she said, Charity Navigator will be able to rate it again.
        The decision to withhold a rating had nothing to do with concerns about the Clinton Foundation’s charitable work. Further, Minuitti said citing only the 6 percent of the budget spent on grants as the sum total spent on charity by the foundation — as Willis and Fiorina did — is inaccurate. …
        …None of the articles cited by Charity Navigator has anything to do with a low percentage of funding going to charitable work.
        Another philanthropy watchdog, CharityWatch, a project of the American Institute of Philanthropy, gave the Clinton Foundation an “A” rating.
        Daniel Borochoff, president and founder of CharityWatch, told us by phone that its analysis of the finances of the Clinton Foundation and its affiliates found that about 89 percent of the foundation budget is spent on programming (or “charity”), higher than the 75 percent considered the industry standard.
        By only looking at the amount the Clinton Foundation doled out in grants, Fiorina “is showing her lack of understanding of charitable organizations,” Borochoff said. “She’s thinking of the Clinton Foundation as a private foundation.” Those kinds of foundations are typically supported by money from a few people, and the money is then distributed to various charities. The Clinton Foundation, however, is a public charity, he said. It mostly does its own charitable work. It has over 2,000 employees worldwide.
        “What she’s doing is looking at how many grants they write to other groups,” Borochoff said. “If you are going to look at it that way, you may as well criticize every other operating charity on the planet.”

      • February 29, 2016 1:51 pm

        The bottom line for me, Roby, is that we don’t really know – at least, “know” in the legal sense (ha! how Clintonian is that?) – whether or not Hillary and Bill have been using their foundation as a pay-to-play front, with some good charitable work thrown in. I believe they have, you believe they haven’t. As you have pointed out, despite our occasional agreements, we often live in different “realities”.

        I haven’t the slightest doubt that a great case can be made for both her prosecution or her defense, and very little doubt that the defense will prevail, even if it is the weaker and/or less truthful case.

        That’s politics….more and more every day I realize what a truly dirty business it is. I should start watching The Kardashians and forget about the news entirely…….

      • Roby permalink
        February 29, 2016 2:11 pm

        “That’s politics….more and more every day I realize what a truly dirty business it is. I should start watching The Kardashians and forget about the news entirely…….”

        As I have said so many times I miss the news situation of my long lost youth, 3 networks, the Huntley-Brinkley Report, good night Chet, Good night Dave. A mistrust level in the media that was tiny compared to our modern technological era of every kind of news someone wants to hear.

        At Fox the “news” is that ~6% of the Clinton foundation money goes to actual charity work, the reality is that 88% does! If it was NBC, ABC, CBS that made such a report I have to believe that there would be a retraction and a firing or two. Why should anyone believe the “News” from a channel that does not even deny that it is a conservative political operation, in fact that is its marketing plan? Its like believing the “News” on Russian TV. Everyone knows how that News gets created there but huge numbers of people still believe it. Why on earth, how is that possible?

      • Roby permalink
        February 29, 2016 3:14 pm

        Jay, thanks for your posts, we are of the same mind. I am sorry that I have the bad habit of butting in on nearly everything here, I wish I could calm down about politics and give it a break. You wrote my opinion in your first post on this much better than I would have. It made me do some research, what I found provided more evidence of distortions of the Clintons foundation than any actual illegal activities by the Clintons.

        The foundation sounds like a good thing:

        “The Foundation focuses on improving global health and wellness, increasing opportunity for women and girls, reducing childhood obesity and preventable diseases, creating economic opportunity and growth, and helping communities address the effects of climate change. The Foundation works principally through partnerships with like-minded individuals, organizations, corporations, and governments, often serving as an incubator for new policies and programs.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Foundation

        I really truly swear I am gonna try to stifle my need to get in the middle of every topic and let someone else talk. I ‘ve thought of sending our modem in with my wife when she goes to work in the morning and keeping myself offline. Addiction!

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 28, 2016 3:23 pm

      You bring up interesting points about Trump’s business interests, Jay. I haven’t heard anyone talking about this or other potential conflicts of interest. Other politicians have had business interests, but nobody was the loose cannon that Trump is.

  58. February 29, 2016 3:31 pm

    Once again the rising factionalism is impacting this country in a very negative manner and I am going to call it like it is, the GOP is acting like dogs overcome by rabies. Monkeys in cages throwing their own crap at each other have more common sense than what we are seeing today fro this party. And now the latest polls indicate that Trump has a 49% to 16% edge over his closest rival of likely voters.

    To add to this stupidity, the dumb ass from Kentucky is betting on a GOP victory so they can place conservative judges on the bench. What alternate universe is this idiot living in that he expects Trump to be president and congress to remain in the hands of the GOP. It ain’t gon’a happen. If I had to vote for one, I would vote for Hillary before voting for Trump and then head to the bathroom to vomit from the sickness of that act.

    So instead of reading the tea leaves (and not the ones from the Tea Party) and accepting the fact that there is a better chance of getting a more moderate SCOTUS appointment now than after January 20, 2017, he is blocking that appointment so another Kagen or Sotomayor or one even more left is appointed.

    • February 29, 2016 9:06 pm

      This is funny ~ well worth 5 minutes of your time, if you haven’t already seen it:

      • Roby permalink
        February 29, 2016 9:46 pm

        Oh Priscilla, thank you! The Producers, I loved the original too. If we keep our sense of humor, we may survive this or at least laugh up until that terminal breath.

      • February 29, 2016 10:23 pm

        Ha!
        Too bad Trump voters don’t watch late night TV.

      • March 1, 2016 1:00 am

        They are either at their local bar getting drunk, out riding their motorcycles or burning crosses.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        March 2, 2016 2:23 am

        “Trumped” is funny. Maybe our creativity can help pull us through! Thanks for posting.

  59. Roby permalink
    March 1, 2016 5:08 pm

    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/images/02/29/rel4b.-.2016.general.pdf

    I read through this poll carefully. I no longer understand America, at all. All my assumptions and beliefs are sitting on quicksand. Just as one question why on earth is Bill the sexual predator popular? Why do men and women have opposite opinions (I know that sounds like I was born yesterday but I mean about Politics). Why is Bernie beating Cruz very easily while Hillary loses? Why is a grumpy old self described socialist so popular with everyone across party lines? Why are the least loved candidates winning?

    • March 1, 2016 5:59 pm

      First Bernie Sanders. When you have a poll that has 29% Republican and 71% Democrat and other, I would think that many of the other unaffiliated are much more aligned with a liberal position than a conservative position. Bernie is popular because you can believe him. You can trust him, Just like Jessie Helms in NC years ago, the most liberal political leaders in NC said many times something like “I despise his positions, but you can trust what he says he will support, so you know what the position is you have to fight”. Many people in NC may not have supported all of his positions, but they knew what they were voting for. That is the same with Bernie. You may hate his positions, but at least you know what you are fighting.

      No matter what you say about Bill’s sexual activities, as a politician he was a master. Along with the GOP congress, he was able to work with congress to place the country so it could continue the recovery of the 80’s (even with the slight decline in the late 80’s and early 90’s) and balance a budget. Congress and the president worked on welfare reform. Mainstream America would welcome another 90’s style political environment that occurred before the oval office romance. And now, with all the information on JFK, LBJ, FDR and others coming out concerning secret romances, sex in the White House has no negative impact.

      I am not even going to touch men and women having opposing opinions. What universe might you be living in? It is easier to answer why men and women may agree on the few things they do agree on than to tackle that question.

      As for the least liked winning, low political IQ voters that hear the politicians say what they are thinking and buy into that crap without hesitance. I suspect they would follow Hillary and Trump no matter what. And when the media is pulling for both of them and not making them answer hard questions, then why won’t they be the leading candidates?

    • March 1, 2016 6:00 pm

      I think we are entering a new era of politics…presidential politics anyway, Roby. And there are plenty of causes, much blame to go around, and a changing world. A world that has been changing for 35 years, maybe more, and we’re only starting to see it now.

      Trump and Sanders are , in many ways, evidence of the same phenomena, expressing that phenomena in different ways. The main thing, of course, is rejection of what probably 90% of the population sees as the ruling elite in Washington : the “Washington Cartel”, the “Establishment”, the “1%”, the “Globalists:” ……I could go on, but you get the idea. Obama was elected on the promise that he would “change” things….but, of course, his version of transformative change has basically been to muck it up worse than it already was. No one really vetted him, and he has been a huge disappointment, even to a large number of his most ardent supporters.

      So now, comes Trump. He’s gonna change things too- but smarter, so we win. And here comes Bernie. He’s gonna change things too, – but more Marxist-like, so we’re more equal. And, the white working class is mad as hell at the way their lives have been destroyed, and they don’t give a rat’s behind if Trump is a racist, because they think Obama is a racist. And the blacks are mad as hell because they are still stuck in urban hell and they think that it’s because of racism, and everyone BUT Obama is a racist.

      The media is corrupt and stupid. Just as they slobbered over Obama in 2008, they hang on every word of the Trumpkin now. The voters are stupid too. All of us in our own way, because we’ve be fragmented and set against each other.

      I think we are only seeing the beginnings of what is essentially a revolution. Hopefully, it will result in an American Spring, not a total crackup.

      On that note, I will shut the heck up, as I am depressing myself!

      • March 1, 2016 6:18 pm

        I agree Priscilla it’s depressing as hell.

      • March 2, 2016 2:21 pm

        Brilliant summation, Priscilla! I can’t add a word to it.

      • March 3, 2016 9:33 am

        Thanks, Rick. I read this article in The Federalist yesterday, on the recommendation of my 25 yr. old son, who is obsessed with making sense of the current political climate (rare in a millenial, I think).
        http://thefederalist.com/2016/02/29/thunderdome-gone-savage-for-trump/

        It’s a short read, worth the time, but this is the crux of it: “The Trump phenomenon is neither a disease nor a symptom – he is instead the beta-test of a cure that the American people are trying out. It won’t work. But this is where our politics are going: working and middle class Americans are reasserting themselves against a political and cultural establishment that has become completely discredited over time and due to their own actions.”

        The Tea Party, the OWS movement, Black Lives Matter ~ all organizations that have, in one way or another, accused the ruling establishment of both parties of being completely unresponsive. And it points out that the Republican Party, in particular, has essentially become unmoored from its base, and Trump has taken advantage of that.

        It’s a difficult time to be a moderate, because moderates are being disdained as never before. And moderates themselves, I think, struggle to get along with each other, pulled apart, as they are, by the differences that they have at the edges, differences which are spun into “opposition” long before they have a chance to be rationally discussed…..

      • March 3, 2016 1:42 pm

        “he is instead the beta-test of a cure that the American people are trying out.”

        When the dust settles, Trump core voters in both parties aren’t going to have a home after the election. The only way to get long lasting change out of this is for a new third party to emerge – the Disgruntled Party, made up of voters who want their representatives to swear an oath to SHUT UP and agree not to be interviewed on cable or radio or by newspaper reporters, except in times of national emergency, and agree to be water boarded if they Twitter or Facebook during their terms of office.

        And what happens in the event that Trump does get elected?
        The same that would probably have happened if George Wallace was elected president: an era of riots and disorder. Of government shut downs. Of escalating anamosities.

        On the positive side of a Trump administration: a First Lady who will show as much cleavage as Hollywood red carpet starlets; and certainly a few televised ‘You’re Fired!’ by Trump of cabinet members who displease him. And there’s certain to be some interesting presidential appointments: Howard Stern as White House Press Secretary; Dennis Rodman as Ambassaror to the U.N.; and lovely Sarah Palin as Sec of the Interior.

        Entertainment is the new currency of political electability; The Donald has more then enough cash in the bank to buy the Disgruntled vote for the foreseeable future.

      • Roby permalink
        March 3, 2016 10:59 am

        Priscilla, sometimes you drive me nuts, to be honest. And then you turn around and are brilliant. Your last post was very very good.

    • March 1, 2016 6:22 pm

      “Why are the least loved candidates winning?”

      Nice guys finish last?

    • March 1, 2016 6:38 pm

      “why on earth is Bill the sexual predator popular?”

      Even way back in the 1950s, when sexual promiscuity had much more of a negative connotation, Frank Sinatra who had a reputation for bedding a different ‘chick’ a night was immensely popular among all classes of people of both sexes. And now in modern times we’ve become desensitized to sexual dalliance, perceived mostly as titillating gossip sloughed off with a shrug and a smile,

  60. Roby permalink
    March 1, 2016 11:16 pm

    Thanks for the attempts to explain all this guys. I hope the following Bloom county comes out right:

  61. Pat Riot permalink
    March 2, 2016 2:58 am

    A Manifesto of Hope

    I promised Roby I would do it.

    A witty, intelligent, online friend has reluctantly concluded that the future looks bleak. Not just American politics…He has studied the strong scientific evidence regarding the “carrying capacity” of planet Earth, including food and energy demands of human beings, CO2 emissions and other pollutants to air, water, and soil. He looks around him and sees human beings focused on their own pursuits and resistant to change. Many thoughtful persons share his sober conclusions about the fate of Earth’s ecosystem and the fate of humanity.

    The following is intended to offer hope, encouragement, and inspiration. It is an excerpt, a synopsis, and I hope it works without its additional supporting examples and specifics. Sorry if it comes across as pompous. Anyone who doesn’t want to read it is free to catch some re-runs on TV or to simply sit and feel the dread of oncoming calamity!

    While Edison was first tinkering with filaments inside glass, and people thought kerosene lamps on streets and in houses were normal, it would have been very difficult or nearly impossible for people, even the sharp ones, to imagine how ubiquitous and interwoven into civilization electricity would become. Now you may be eager to move on to the next idea, but wait. I want to make sure you are not thinking of the human beings in the days of kerosene lamps as backward, primitive, simple folk. Instead I want you to imagine mathematicians, architects, doctors, lawyers, and skilled tradespeople, et cetera—some of them more skilled and disciplined in thought than many of us today—yes , very capable people who, even after early public displays of electricity, thought electricity was a novelty. They were right there at the cusp, but they couldn’t see what was coming. They couldn’t see it because of what they were accustomed to seeing.

    Similarly in the 1960s and 1970s when typewriters dominated offices around the world, including the moment when Xerox executives said people would not be interested in personal computers, it would have been very difficult for most people to imagine typewriters gone from offices and the marketplace, or to imagine how interwoven digital technologies would become in our lives. Same with the first automobiles in the days of horses and wagons. If we want, we can call it “Normalcy Bias” that makes it much easier to see what is, and what has been, than to see what is not yet reality just around the corner.

    A similar “normalcy bias,” and other factors (this is a summary), leads to an understandable contemporary viewpoint that humans will be burning fossil fuels for the “foreseeable future,” that humans will continue to want and need more energy and more energy, and that humans will remain the fragmented, near-sighted, self-serving dolts many of them have become.

    Now let’s shift gears and consider widespread, momentous, monumental human undertakings. World War 2 is a workable example because many people are familiar with many aspects of WW2. Widespread, momentous, global undertakings occur on many fronts through many, many diverse activities. This is a very important point that should be not be registered merely as a statement using linear, two-dimensional thinking. Your imagination is required. Cecile B. DeMille could not have captured the breadth and depth, the scope, of the myriad of actions that culminated in the outcome of WW2.

    Please read the following very small, rather random list. Add your own favorites.

    Spam and Hershey bars, Winston Churchill, men who got onto boats, men who dug foxholes, women who sewed uniforms, the Springfield 1903 rifle, the Browning submachine gun, women working in factories, men working in factories, men who learned how to fly planes, factories producing ships, planes, and tanks, rivets, supply lines, the Spitfire and the Corsair, radar and sonar, depth charges against submarines, gasoline, Hitler’s decision to turn against the Russians, the Manhattan Project, George Patton, code breakers and code talkers, war bonds, steel pennies in 1943 instead of copper ones, patriotism, Love, the sacrifice of lives…

    The point is that there was not one movement, silver bullet decision, or legislation that led to the final outcome of WW2. Another basic way to put it is that different groups of people did a whole bunch of different things to push the outcome of WW2 into reality.

    Now the goal is for humanity to live in harmony with the planet because, given the trajectories of the current behavioral paths we are on, our eco-system cannot support us. The actions of individuals and groups to remedy this situation are already well underway. Here’s the beauty of what is happening now, and it parallels our World War 2 example: different people will do different things. In fact, 6 billion people will do a whole lot of different things. It’s not prescriptive and one-size-fits all. It doesn’t work to suddenly demand people to un-become themselves. I can’t even get my wife to put her shoes in the closet. But she is a fantastic teacher and her students love her. She pivots toward a sustainable future as she can. Some people are driving Chevy Volts, which is laughably impotent by itself for our seemingly impossible goal. Some are turning their suburban backyards into micro farms. Big frigging deal! Some kid designed a solar-powered skimmer that filters plastic from sea water. Whoop-dee-doo.

    You know some of the pieces already: solar panels, wind turbines, geo-thermal, but remember you do not see many because of what you are used to seeing, and each different thing is not nearly enough, but together, as an accumulation…

    How about every house in the civilized world generates more clean energy than it needs. “Zero carbon” houses already exist. How about legislation isn’t necessary to force people to build zero carbon houses because soon “Dave’s free markets” have many varieties of zero carbon houses selling like hot cakes? I see many game-changers like that.

    The kid who led the development of the solar-powered ocean skimmers has cancelled out his carbon footprint. Many people can and will learn their own ways to cancel out their carbon footprints. Some will inspire others.

    One of the keys to seeing a positive future is to stop thinking of people as “loads on the environment” and instead see their potential as the greatest, most amazing creatures in our known existence. Too many scientists, artists, and common TV viewers have succumbed to the bad habit of dwelling on the negative aspects and viewing humanity as a despicable virus and threat to life. It is time to remember again the good that we have achieved and the good that is right in front of us, waiting for us. The good isn’t going to happen without us. The needed outcome is not supposed to slide into place while we sit and watch re-runs or throw our hands up in the air and say we are doomed, or let stupid people have their way. It is supposed to be pushed into place by our thoughts and our actions. That we have to make this happen validates our existence and our worth. That we have to push against tremendous resistance gives it honor and value. Once devoted to this, food tastes better…etc.

    I see young Americans turning away from sports and entertainment as a daily habit. I see them becoming more selective and choosing reality again. Good for them. What if the energy and enthusiasm we see in sports stadiums is soon directed to real life issues?

    We are on the cusp.

    The bad news is that we aren’t getting enough good done fast enough.

    It’s right there in front of us. It’s all around us. It is exhilarating to be part of pushing a sustainable future. What other choice is there? Find your niche. Do your thing. If you are not feeling exhilarated, you haven’t found it yet. There will be setbacks. Together we can push it into reality. Better to die trying than to turn away. Better yet to make it happen!

    • Roby permalink
      March 2, 2016 1:40 pm

      Thanks Pat, you remind me of a friend of mine, a very brilliant guy, always optimistic, a bit of a techie. Tonight, when I have more time to do it well, I will say more…

    • March 2, 2016 2:46 pm

      A few thoughts for those of us with more somber dispositions:

      Electricity also brought us the electric chair. And technology, like most other ‘advancements’ is a two edged sword. The personal computer and other attendant technologies has turned the world into networks of babble. Twitter is a perfect example. Take the disparate confusion of opinion expressed daily only in the U.S. And multiply it by other disparate confusions world wide, then project that ever increasing Babel of ideas as populations increase and technology multiplies along with it, and the possibility of harmonious accord in the future is nil.

      Information is a form of mind-noise. Our human brains are not able to absorb that unending flow of disparate information without sanity-overload.

      This kind of information overcrowding is synonymous with population overcrowding in that it reaches critical mass independent of ‘carrying capacity.’ The human brain may be capable of storing huge amounts of information, just as the planet may be capable of supporting larger populations of human life; but our hominid species may be unable to handle the emotional and social consequences of those ‘noise’ levels without self destructing.

      In that light, advancing technologies to improve and lengthen human lives and to allow ever increasing populations of us to inhabit the planet may be counter active to the actual well being of our species on HabitatEarth. Less humans on the planet may be better.

    • March 2, 2016 8:15 pm

      You do have a way with words, Pat. I particularly like your repudiation of the idea that humanity is some sort of curse on the globe……as if we were vermin, sullying the paradise that would exist – or did exist – before our numbers grew too vast. Jay, I imagine you thinking of the ideal world as a Disney movie, one like Snow White, with happy little animals and birds, prancing and flying about the woods. Nothing like the Darwinian universe in which predators and disease keeps the population down to a manageable number. Manageable for whom, I’m not sure…..

      When did our focus turn from being good stewards of the earth, conserving resources and keeping our air and water clean, to being god-like control freaks of the earth? This notion (I love to say “this notion” all the politicians do these days, don’ they?) that if we punish industrial development, stop reproducing (or alternatively, keep reproducing, but deep-six our offspring before they can be born and crowd us out), forcibly push back against technological changes that may make life better for the human vermin and ration health-care with an eye to restricting the duration of life for those who have had it “long enough” is….well, I think pretty repugnant. Not to mention creepy. ( Almost a as creepy as Al Gore, flying around in his private jet, living in his gigantic mansion and telling the rest of us to downsize and drive Chevy Volts.)

      Whenever a government says that it’s restricting something for our own good, especially when members of said government show no inclination to restrict their own share of this thing, I’m pretty sure we’re being scammed.

  62. Pat Riot permalink
    March 2, 2016 8:15 pm

    Now why in the world would you want to have a “more somber disposition”? You’ve known for quite some time that you are going to die anyway. Nobody has gotten out alive yet. Dust to dust. So in the meantime, why not meet every day head on and at your best? I remember how in the ’50s the male movie stars were the strong, silent types. Just a word or two and some grunts. Oh it was copied by the macho men. That was my father’s generation. I forget what celebrity came out and said something to the effect of “what a waste to close yourself off like that”. Now the norm is for grumpy and dark to sort of equate with smart. I don’t buy that. Again, would miss out on too much.

    Sure, I’m with you on the double-edge sword of technology. Like many, I believe our technological advancements have too far outpaced our sociological/behavioral/emotional advancements.

    • March 3, 2016 2:36 am

      “.why in the world would you want to have a “more somber disposition”

      We have less control over our disposition, Pat, then we do of our height or foot size

      I’ve always been a skeptic. It’s both a curse and a saving grace. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a joyous heart and a zest for life; but Pollyannaism is like gift wrapping – it hides the nature of the contents inside the package.

      The truth is often pesky. As Carl Sagan remarked, “It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.”

      Ahead, for humanity, I think “a hard rain is gonna fall.” There is no evidence that logic and good intentions will prevail. As a species we remain as savage and bloodthirsty as we were before writing was invented. In fact, armed conflicts, wars, insurrections, have increased in number and intensity and casualty with every technological advancement. Has any invention – from the wheel to the computer, from the sextant to antibiotics, from the fountain pen to the touch tablet, appreciably reduced violence in the world?

      That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to tinker with what’s under the hood, to borrow your metaphor. Optimism is also part of our social DNA, a reflex like whistling in the dark to keep our cares at bey. Even if it’s futile, I’ll follow this admonition…

  63. Pat Riot permalink
    March 2, 2016 8:37 pm

    Here’s a piece that I couldn’t stand to leave out:

    The average person lifts up the hood of a car and maybe knows how to check the oil or fill the windshield fluid. Top notch mechanics, on the other hand, have visuals in their head of the various systems of an automobile, how they’re supposed to work when they are functioning properly, how the systems work together, and what happens when there are various malfunctions, etc. It’s just learning, man.

    Similar with the best heart surgeons. They know. The average person does not.

    Here’s what’s coming:
    The functioning of humanity–from interpersonal relationships to partnerships between nations/regions, and understanding of the planet, including the stewardship of resources, i.e. the consequences and impacts of behaviors–will be as understandable to the average person as the above systems are to the respective experts. I think video games will assist with this leap in this understanding.

    Recklessly messing with humanity and Earth’s ecosystems will become about as undesirable and embarrassing as…yanking one’s pants down at Church? Whatever.

    But don’t fret. A sustainable future will not be sterile or boring. There will be plenty of challenges. We humans will have a much, much better understanding of how the various components influence each other. Or we continue poisoning the planet and blowing each other up. Our choice.

  64. Roby permalink
    March 3, 2016 10:49 am

    OK, Pat, again I thank you for your concern for my somber (to use Jay’s word ) state and your attempt to relieve my worries. You and Jay are doing such a brilliant job of looking at this from different angles that I should just stay out. Ah , but I promised to give my own thoughts so here I am with my reply.

    You have many good points that I hope may turn out the way you foresee. Slight tangent: I got a book for a friend who was down in the dumps years back, ordered it on Amazon, I read it first before giving it to him. It turned out to be a fascinating book, not on feeling better, but on the psychology of how the brain creates your expectations of the future. It turns out that we create our image of how we would feel in the future from how we felt in the past, and that is very inadequate, we are wrong more than right by pasting the past into the future. This is by way of backing up your point that we can’t see the future at all clearly and we imagine it inaccurately.

    Unfortunately, among all the cheerful and wonderful things we did not foresee because we live in the present, in say 1900, we did not foresee that we would invent the atom bomb and nuke all the civilians in two Japanese cities, or that the Japanese would attack pearl harbor, we did not foresee that we would deplete the ozone layer and fix it, or that our impact would make the Great Lakes virtually biologically dead, and then we would fix that slowly too. Fixing these things only comes when they are on the brink of disaster. Unfortunately, not everything can be fixed when its on the brink, the Great Lakes are vast, but the entire atmosphere is vaster. The Amount of greenhouse gases that have accumulated is immense. We did not foresee in 1800 the wonders of modern civilization or that I can push a button and have Schubert’s C major quintet playing in my living room or even as I jog on the road. We did not foresee many things, but they are both good and bad.

    Its a fine line to please you Mr. Riot! If I sit in the warming water too happily as it heats towards boiling then I need to wake up and cheer down and DO something, but if I see a terrible problem and get excited then I need to cheer up! It’s like my tennis game, too aggressive and I hit more errors than winners, too relaxed and I get pushed around and lose. There is a middle ground where I am effective. Our mental outlook would be best perched on that fine line.

    As to my friend who you remind me off, he works miracles, his relentlessly positive attitude affects his personal life and at times those around him very positively, he can do almost anything if he gets interested. He sat himself down and learned to play the piano, little classical pieces, in a week of intense effort, in another week he was composing classical pieces, some surprisingly good, and pieces in the vein of different styles. He did the same with art, started drawing one day (all of these events took place in his mid 30s) and within a month had a show in an art gallery in Miami. He also just as quickly dropped those activities, got bored and went on to something else, he is an entrepreneur and also makes concentrated efforts to help other people through bad patches. Well he is a techie, has been programming computers since he was like 6 or something and a futurist, always enthused about new technologies and always telling me about them.

    But although there are in this world such limitless relentlessly positive people, and they grow up and give Ted talks, there are many more people who are not thus activated. Its great that a kid invented an eco thing and that zero carbon houses exist, maybe 200 years in the future we will all live like that, but China, Russia, India, Brazil, Detroit, NY City are not going to have a zero carbon footprint as a whole now, today when we need it. Its like the idea that any single unemployed person can get a job. Yes they can! But not all 10 or 30 million of them at once, because jobs are created one at a time and not 20 million at a time.

    If I see the world through rose colored glasses I will be much happier, but why will I then act? Sorry old buddy we NEED fear, which has the byproduct of gloom. That’s why we have it so strongly wired into our brains. We also need optimism, we do know that we are going to die and old people know that their death is not so far away, but our brains can’t function when they dwell on that. So, we live in a balance between despair and optimism. Activism is largely the product of fear. I’m not ready to short circuit my fear glands and bury myself in happy musical pursuits because I have kids, and because one of the wonders of this world is that technology has both produced the movie on the March of the Emperor Penguins and made it possible to watch it anytime anywhere, it has also produced so many industrial greenhouse gas byproducts that its a very real possibility Emperor Penguins won’t exist outside of a zoo, tens of millions of years of evolution, zap, gone. That hurts to think about.

    Most people, if they have a reasonably comfortable existence, are decent and fairly moral. The greatest of all vast impersonal forces in the realm of biology, Competition, is amoral and does not allow people or corporations to be otherwise in aggregate or they will die; much as most individuals wish to be decent and moral and leave a good earth behind them, we are forced to engage in activities to compete and survive that have the opposite effect. Al Gore is a hypocrite and I am a hypocrite. I’m not a veggie, drive an SUV (got a great price on it at low millage) and a motor boat, fly here and there. Doesn’t mean I am not sincere in my fear and concern, I’m just not able to escape from my pursuits, I’m just a grain of sand anyhow. My wife would not understand if I tried to convert to an eco hermit, that it, my best excuse. Maybe a miracle will happen and Sen. Inhofe will accidentally be correct and the scientific mainstream wrong.

    Competition and preservation of the environment work mostly at cross purposes until things get very close to disaster. The US, China, Brazil, India, no country can afford to place their economy at risk by doing anything drastic to fix this that would be on the same scale as the problem.

    Thus, joy has not found me on this topic. I am now going to walk away from my 21st century one-eyed monster and practice my violin for many hours, joy will take me over little by little.

    I do sincerely thank you for your efforts.

  65. March 3, 2016 2:25 pm

    4. “The scariest presidential candidate field in living memory.” Depends on how old one might be. For those that have lived through the 60’s on, this election is not a whole lot different than what both parties saw in the 60’s when extreme elements of the party took control or tried to take control. The difference today is it is playing out in the media and not in printed form which many did not follow. In 1964 we had the same insurgency by “outsiders” that took control of the GOP. That insured the election of LBJ and we survived his presidency. Problem is, 60,000 military members were killed and thousands more wounded. They did not survive. Then in 1968 there was a huge fight at the Democratic convention. Demonstrations and civil unrest shook Chicago, while protesters interrupted activities inside the convention. Even newsmen (Dan Rather and others) where ruffed up by security guards inside the arena when they were trying to interview attendees, both those following the proceedings and those causing protests. The Democrats survived, but it led to the election of Nixon. And it allowed George McGovern to be the nominee the next convention and again the Democrats survived the extreme lefts take over of the party. But it insured the reelection of Nixon. And we survived Nixon and the impeachment and resignation.

    So now we have two individuals that are the scariest in the last 40 years or so. The difference being that both parties are in that category. Whoever gets elected will be the one that can turn out the most extreme of their parties. Can we survive 4 years of one or the other? The president can not do anything of lasting consequence without congress supporting them other than SCOTUS. Congress most likely will block most of Trumps initiatives and if Clinton is elected, the house most likely will be retained in GOP hands, so even when the senate flips she will not have to open door policy that Obama had his first couple years to ram through legislation.

    I suspect we will survive this too. I suspect we will not be a strong as we could be, but that is not the issue based on John Adams position that a democracy will eventually commit suicide. Are we headed in that direction?

  66. March 4, 2016 1:08 pm

    Where The Donald honed his debate skills:

    http://www.wwe.com/videos/playlists/donald-trump-greatest-wwe-moments

    • March 4, 2016 1:19 pm

      Anyone watch the brawl, er.. Debate… last night?
      Poor Kasich, the guy can’t get any attention, but when you’re in a food fight its useless to sit there with your napkin tucked under your chin.

      • March 4, 2016 2:59 pm

        Jay..I started to watch it and when they got to hand and penis size, I turned to reruns of Blue Bloods on ION-TV and watched that the rest of the night.

        This country deserves what it gets between Clinton and Trump. The GOP brought this all on itself with the do-nothing congress that it has had control for the last few years. It is going to insure an election of Clinton and liberal SCOTUS rulings for years to come. And they just about have insured the change of senate control to the Democrats. McConnell and Boehner have been a disaster for the country and the GOP. When McConnell opens his mouth, nothing with 1/2 a brain cell of intelligence comes out.

        I know that schools and teachers have a much different environment than when I went to school or my kids went to school, but I find it hard to imagine a civics teacher asking students about the debate and the next 5-10 minutes is jokes and sarcastic comments about Trumps hands and penis size. Nothing good could comes from that discussion.

        This election is going to displace the Jackson and J. Quincy Adams presidential election as the dirtiest ever. Jackson’s support came from rural America and the south. “The working man’s candidate” while Adams was considered an elitist. Nothing was off limits in that election and he and his wife were attacked on marriage, bigamy charges and other personal attacks. Jackson always blamed his enemies for the death of his wife before he was inaugurated. Jackson supporters used terms like “pimp” and other sexual attacks against Adams due to Adams time as ambassador to Russia and involvement with prostitutes.

        So how much does the “working man” against the “elite” sound like what we are headed for today. Trump (redneck white working man’s candidate, rural america) against Clinton (elitist, wall street supported, wife of a womanizer, etc.etc.)?

  67. Pat Riot permalink
    March 4, 2016 2:54 pm

    Roby,
    Thank you for your honest response.

    “We are wrong more than right when we paste the past into the future.”
    Let us hope we are wrong in all the most advantageous ways!

    As a side bar…which of the Great Lakes is the least biologically dead? I’ve been itching to build a cabin at Lake Ontario, or Erie, or Superior. I would guess Superior’s greater size and depth would help dilute unwelcome ingredients, but I’m sure that depends on various factors. I have googled this in the past, and can again, but I wonder if you might have added insights as a biologist that haven’t made their way into reports.

    Haha on the fine line to please Pat Riot… Yes, exactly! You must wake up and realize we are doomed if mankind continues on the same paths. This you have already done. Then you are tasked to muster the most inspiring positive attitude you can to foster cooperation by humans if we are to have a chance of avoiding destruction. If it involves a unique combination of violin, Steve Howe-like guitar riffs, and biology, so be it! You, Priscilla, and others on TNM have inspired me already (that all online discussion doesn’t have to devolve into Jerry Springer).

    • March 4, 2016 3:41 pm

      Do you fish, Pat?

      When we lived upstate in Syracuse, where my wife and her family are from, we’d rent a cabin at Black Lake, a big, moody, beautiful freshwater lake, chock full of fish.

      Haven’t been there for decades, but I check the fish reports occasionally, still good, and I haven’t seen any environmental alerts for it. Unlike Ontario and the other Great Lakes, this one has that old time rural, unpretentious, out of the way feel I like. More Duck Dynesty then Trump Towers if you know what I mean.

      When my wife and I first went there with our newly born daughter, the grandmotherly older woman who ran the cabin site, Mrs, Louck, would take care of the baby while we fished in the morning (yes, those were more trusting times) and she’d have a loaf of fresh baked white bread waiting for us too – the best bread in the world! She was kind enough to give us the recipe – and we (my wife really, she’s the baker) bake it once a year. If anyone wants the recipe I can probably pry it from the ‘archives’ and post it.

      Here’s a link for Black Lake. A Google search will turn up lots more info.

      http://www.blacklakeny.com/

      • Pat Riot permalink
        March 4, 2016 6:07 pm

        Thanks, Jay. Yes, I am a die-hard freshwater fisherman since age 5. That was the name my high school friends and I came up with for our fishing club: The Die-Hards, because we’d fish in the pouring rain.

        I’ve been able to enjoy my parents’ lake view house in the Poconos PA since early 1970s, and still do, but most of the lakes in that region are glorified puddles. Recently I was in the Thousand Island area of the Saint Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. I’ve fished Lake Erie. Recently did some bass fishing in Texas. I will check out your link! I want my own dock, small house, big barn for all my stuff. Rather than have too many acres and pay too much in taxes, maybe 10 acres near game lands or state forest…

      • Pat Riot permalink
        March 4, 2016 6:08 pm

        Those are excellent memories you have at Black Lake. Fresh baked bread after fishing…nice!

  68. Pat Riot permalink
    March 6, 2016 9:55 am

    Ron P, strong parallels between the years of the Andrew Jackson presidency and our current presidential race. Another parallel from today to Jackson is Jackson’s fight against corrupt centralized banking and today’s “too big to fail” and the financial bailout, and Bernie Sanders’ proposed tax on Wall Street gambling to return the favor to the middle class.

    What a character Jackson was: an orphan, champion of the common people against the “elites,” but brutal to the Native Americans. Considering the brutality of 1830s (removal of Native Americans from their lands, African slaves, pistol duels to settle disputes involving slander and gossip), Donald Trump’s buffoonery seems mostly verbal, and a few notches less hideous perhaps, but still embarrassing and base and troubling. Oh what a conspiracy theory I now have connecting more of the dots! I can’t say it!

    • March 6, 2016 1:14 pm

      Yes, there is interesting connections between then and now. Once can also look to the 1900’s after WW1 and see correlations between the unrest of the German people and the rise of the Nazi party due to unemployment, money in the hands of a few and stagnant economic conditions that were all blamed on the “ruling” leaders (elite). The the depression hit and that tipped the anger enough that not only a few Nazi’s were in their government until the 30’s, but the election allowed Hitler to take the leadership position and we know the history after that.

      I am not saying Trump is another Hitler, but the parallels on how more diverse and radical leaders take command is the same in most all cases. The ruling elite are deaf to the citizens needs and wants and at some time some form or a revolution takes place. In a dictatorship it is a coup. In a democracy it is the election of someone radically different that the elites.

      Joke of the day: By the way, Bernie has raise over $100 million, so now he has decided he has enough money to support Hillary.

      • March 6, 2016 1:55 pm

        Here’s Louis C.K. Email about Trump, where he also makes comparisons to Hitler.

        Louis CK is one of my favorite comedians. If you haven’t seen his ‘Louis’ series, episodes are availed on Netflix, and well worth watching.

        What makes his comments about Trump relevant, and interesting, is that a good portion of his audience has come from the same cultural white-working-class background as most of Trump’s core supporters – and the email seems to be directed at them.

        The email:

        “P.S. Please stop it with voting for Trump. It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.
        And I’m not advocating for Hillary or Bernie. I like them both but frankly I wish the next president was a conservative only because we had Obama for eight years and we need balance. And not because I particularly enjoy the conservative agenda. I just think the government should reflect the people. And we are about 40 percent conservative and 40 percent liberal. When I was growing up and when I was a younger man, liberals and conservatives were friends with differences. They weren’t enemies. And it always made sense that everyone gets a president they like for a while and then hates the president for a while. But it only works if the conservatives put up a good candidate. A good smart conservative to face the liberal candidate so they can have a good argument and the country can decide which way to go this time.
        Trump is not that. He’s an insane bigot. He is dangerous.
        He already said he would expand libel laws to sue anyone who “writes a negative hit piece” about him. He says “I would open up the libel laws so we can sue them and win lots of money. Not like now. These guys are totally protected.” He said that. He has promised to decimate the first amendment. (If you think he’s going to keep the second amendment intact you’re delusional.) And he said that Paul Ryan, speaker of the house will “pay” for criticizing him. So I’m saying this now because if he gets in there we won’t be able to criticize him anymore.
        Please pick someone else. Like John Kasich. I mean that guy seems okay. I don’t like any of them myself but if you’re that kind of voter please go for a guy like that. It feels like between him and either democrat we’d have a decent choice. It feels like a healthier choice. We shouldn’t have to vote for someone because they’re not a shocking cunt billionaire liar.
        We should choose based on what direction the country should go.
        I get that all these people sound like bullshit soft criminal opportunists. The whole game feels rigged and it’s not going anywhere but down anymore. I feel that way sometimes.
        And that voting for Trump is a way of saying “fuck it. Fuck them all”. I really get it. It’s a version of national Suicide. Or it’s like a big hit off of a crack pipe. Somehow we can’t help it. Or we know that if we vote for Trump our phones will be a reliable source of dopamine for the next four years. I mean I can’t wait to read about Trump every day. It’s a rush. But you have to know this is not healthy.
        If you are a true conservative. Don’t vote for Trump. He is not one of you. He is one of him. Everything you have heard him say that you liked, if you look hard enough you will see that he one day said the exact opposite. He is playing you.
        In fact, if you do vote for Trump, at least look at him very carefully first. You owe that to the rest of us. Know and understand who he is. Spend one hour on google and just read it all. I don’t mean listen to me or listen to liberals who put him down. Listen to your own people. Listen to John Mccain. Go look at what he just said about Trump. “At a time when our world has never been more complex or more in danger… I want Republican voters to pay close attention to what our party’s most respected and knowledgeable leaders and national security experts are saying about Mr. Trump, and to think long and hard about who they want to be our next Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world.”
        When Trump was told what he said, Trump said “Oh, he did? Well, that’s not nice,” he told CBS News’ chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. “He has to be very careful.”
When pressed on why, Trump tacked on: “He’ll find out.”
        (I cut and pasted that from CBS news)
        Do you really want a guy to be president who threatens John McCain? Because John McCain cautiously and intelligently asked for people to be thoughtful before voting for him? He didn’t even insult Trump. He just asked you to take a good look. And Trump told him to look out.
        Remember that Trump entered this race by saying that McCain is not a war hero. A guy who was shot down, body broken and kept in a POW camp for years. Trump said “I prefer the guys who don’t get caught.” Why did he say that? Not because he meant it or because it was important to say. He said it because he’s a bully and every bully knows that when you enter a new school yard, you go to the toughest most respected guy on the yard and you punch him in the nose. If you are still standing after, you’re the new boss. If Trump is president, he’s not going to change. He’s not going to do anything for you. He’s going to do everything for himself and leave you in the dust.
        So please listen to fellow conservatives. But more importantly, listen to Trump. Listen to all of it. Everything he says. If you liked when he said that “torture works” then go look at where he took it back the next day. He’s a fucking liar.
        A vote for Trump is so clearly a gut-vote, and again I get it. But add a little brain to it and look the guy up. Because if you vote for him because of how you feel right now, the minute he’s president, you’re going to regret it. You’re going to regret it even more when he gives the job to his son. Because American democracy is broken enough that a guy like that could really fuck things up. That’s how Hitler got there. He was voted into power by a fatigued nation and when he got inside, he did all his Hitler things and no one could stop him. 
        Again, I’m not saying vote democrat or vote for anyone else. If Hilary ends up president it should be because she faced the best person you have and you and I both chose her or him or whoever. Trump is not your best. He’s the worst of all of us. He’s a symptom to a problem that is very real. But don’t vote for your own cancer. You’re better than that.
        That’s just my view. At least right now. I know I’m not qualified or particularly educated and I’m not right instead of you. I’m an idiot and I’m sure a bunch of you are very annoyed by this. Fucking celebrity with an opinion. I swear this isn’t really a political opinion. You don’t want to know my political opinions. (And I know that I’m only bringing myself trouble with this shit.) Trump has nothing to do with politics or ideology. He has to do with himself. And really I don’t mean to insult anyone. Except Trump. I mean to insult him very much. And really I’m not saying he’s evil or a monster. In fact I don’t think Hitler was. The problem with saying that guys like that are monsters is that we don’t see them coming when they turn out to be human, which they all are. Everyone is. Trump is a messed up guy with a hole in his heart that he tries to fill with money and attention. He can never ever have enough of either and he’ll never stop trying. He’s sick. Which makes him really really interesting. And he pulls you towards him which somehow feels good or fascinatingly bad. He’s not a monster. He’s a sad man. But all this makes him horribly dangerous if he becomes president. Give him another TV show. Let him pay to put his name on buildings. But please stop voting for him. And please watch Horace and Pete. – Louis C.K.”

      • March 6, 2016 2:08 pm

        In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have posted the email – there was a lot of profanity in it, sorry if it offended anyone; and if I violated the blog rules, I’m ok if Rick removes it.

      • March 6, 2016 2:30 pm

        Jay, as far as I can tell, you have done nothing wrong. This election has set the standard that you can say what you want, where you want when you want to and everything is just fine and dandy. Nothing that was said in that e-mail has not been said many times already on TV (maybe bleeped but kids can read lips), on the internet videos and in debates and on the news.

        I once said to employees when we were arguing over dress codes. “If you will wear it for church, you can ear it here”. That worked until people began wearing many things that should not have been worn in church and why ministers allowed it was anyone’s guess. And it used to be if a presidential candidate would say it, then it should be OK to repeat…Until…..

  69. Roby permalink
    March 6, 2016 2:29 pm

    Wow, Jay I was just about to post this and you did it. C.K. (Never heard of him but I will look him up) Really gets it right. Look at the all the Daily Show stuff as well, if you like political humor, Trevor Noah is pretty brilliant.

    As far as Louis C.K. goes he had me in the palm of his hand after saying that it would be good if a conservative would be president now because we have had 8 years of a liberal and the county is evenly divided. Then I knew that this was not going to be just a simple liberal rant but something thoughtful.

    That is a thing the Bernies supporters don’t seem to get, we are not a progressive country, we are a slightly right of center country, and a president should fit the country. That said, many many conservatives have been led on a long trip away from Dole, Bush I Romney land by the likes of Coulter and Limbaugh and those people cannot have a president they like or we are morally lost.

  70. Roby permalink
    March 6, 2016 2:34 pm

    Hey Mr. Riot, see, we battled it out, everyone was left amiably standing! Partially because you aren’t as nuts as you seemed at first! Heh, 😉

    On music, this year I finally put the finishing touches or most of them on Steve Howe’s Clap well enough to play in public. If I would have done that 30 years ago people would have been excited. Now, its a different generation, they never heard the piece. Mood for a day I always played, piece of cake compared to Clap.

  71. Roby permalink
    March 7, 2016 11:22 am

    A joke about purity and fanaticism that I cut and paste from a WaPO comment:

    “I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing
    on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said “Stop!
    don’t do it!”
    “Why shouldn’t I?” he said.
    I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!”
    He said, “Like what?”
    I said, “Well…are you religious or atheist?”
    He said, “Religious.”
    I said, “Me too! Are you christian or buddhist?”
    He said,”Christian.”
    I said, “Me too! Are you catholic or protestant?”
    He said, “Protestant.”
    I said, “Me too! Are you episcopalian or baptist?”
    He said, “Baptist!”
    I said,”Wow! Me too! Are you baptist church of god or
    baptist church of the lord?”
    He said, “Baptist church of god!”
    I said, “Me too! Are you original baptist church of god,
    or are you reformed baptist church of god?”
    He said,”Reformed Baptist church of god!”
    I said, “Me too! Are you reformed baptist church of god,
    reformation of 1879, or reformed baptist church of god,
    reformation of 1915?”
    He said, “Reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!”
    I said, “Die, heretic scum”, and pushed him off. ”

    A bit reminiscent of the Peoples Front of Judea scene from Life of Brian. “Splitter!”

    This in a nutshell is what happened to my country after the Huntley-Brinkley report devolved into the 500 ideological flavors of echo chamber “news”. I miss my old country. I want it back.

    • March 7, 2016 2:18 pm

      Love the joke, hate the phenomenon. It’s the “boutiquification” of America that I’ve written about.

  72. March 8, 2016 10:44 pm

    Politics aside, I can’t pass up posting this —

    Hustler’s Larry Flynt Offers Independent Medical Exam to Confirm Trump’s Assertion About His Penis Size

    http://www.alternet.org/hustlers-larry-flynt-offers-independent-medical-exam-confirm-trumps-assertion-about-his-penis-size

    Flynt’s telling Trump to put it out there for independent verification. He didn’t say if photo evidence would be made public 📸 . 🤓👹👀

  73. March 9, 2016 12:37 am

    Roby, after your comments on climate change/global warming/overpopulation along with Pat, I thought about them after watching a lengthy conversation about our economy and the impact of the debt on future generation. Then I came up with the following question.

    What is going to have the most detrimental impact on our future generations? Will it be the growing debt that will eventually lead to a default by our government, devalued dollar, massive inflation, huge unemployment problem, “to-big-to-fail” banks and insurance company failures and an economic condition that will make the 30’s look like good times that will be a disaster for most people living during that time?

    Or will it be global warming that will create huge weather disasters impacting the east coast and gulf coast along with the rest of the world? Rising seas that will impact NYC, Miami and other coastal towns that will be partially underwater? Decreased food supply where agriculture will see great decreases in the amount of food grown and a complete change in the type of food, water shortages due to droughts worldwide and the almost elimination of beef and pork since grain will be in so short supply?

    Which ever comes first, the future does not appear to be bright due to the last 50 years of mismanagement by the prior generations and the current generations based on “now policies” and not policies leading to a better future.

    • Roby permalink
      March 9, 2016 11:49 am

      Ron, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to add to your load of depressing issues. Its just like you that you would think about climate in a serious way and take it to heart, bless you. Would that is was as easy to talk to everyone about this issue. Changing opinions is part of the process, here is to the non dogmatic rational people who take serious things seriously. All hope for overcoming every problem lies with that population.

  74. Pat Riot permalink
    March 9, 2016 8:25 am

    Ron P, The threats you mention above are real, but so are the solutions, but humanity is not working enough toward the solutions, so let’s get to it. Everybody can find their niche to get the snowballs rolling. It’s not “pollyanna” or wishful thinking or naivete. It’s bottom-up leadership. Take a look at something impressive, like the Ben Franklin Bridge spanning the Delaware River from Philadelphia to NJ. It was built in the 1920s. Besides the automobile traffic, trains run across it. It’s impressive. We can do amazing things once we put our minds to it. We can do, or we can watch.

    • March 9, 2016 11:38 am

      Pat, you are completely right. We can do things, but look at what we do. We build things, we make things, we buy things. When we want those things, we use debt to pay for it. For families, we go into debt until the lenders will not give us anymore money, so we pay down some debt or we go bankrupt because we can not pay for it. At local government level, we issue bonds and buy things. (Bridges for example) We issue bonds until the bond holders will no longer buy them and then we have to pay them down. We also make promises to workers that they will have a tremendous pension when they retire, but we make no provision for those retirement payments, so we raise taxes when the payments come due or we go bankrupt to get out from under them. The state level is much the same since they also have a requirement to balance their budget.

      But at the federal level, that is not a requirement, so we buy things, we make things and we make promises with no provision on how they will be paid for. We continue at this pace without regard to future generations because today is much more important than by debt holders tomorrow. For the politician, tomorrow is not promised unless today is a freebie for someone. And since the feds are not required to balance a budget, the only recourse when debt will not be purchased any longer is bankruptcy.

      It is the same with the climate and global warming. Someone is going to have to sacrifice if significant changes are to be made. So those with an agenda identify the things they like least and use those as the culprit and want restrictions put on those. Coal powered plants are a target and everyone wants renewable energy up and until the wind turbines are placed in green millionaires neighborhoods with coastal views, or solar plants are placed in a desert with turtles that are low in numbers and they get fried by the solar panels and the greenies go to court to protect the turtles or some other renewable energy moves into some greenies location and impacts their living standards.

      So yes, we CAN make progress toward both the national debt and global warming. But WILL it happen? I seriously doubt it because the current generation of leaders only care about now and if anything is to be fixed, the now will have to be negatively impacted to make a positive change in the future.

    • Roby permalink
      March 9, 2016 11:43 am

      Hey Pat, congrats to you and Bernie’s supporters on Michigan, hey even Nate Silver can be wrong sometimes. I never answered your question on the Great Lakes, but my answer is that I have no special knowledge as a science kind of fellow. They were all in distress, some were nearly biologically dead, they made a recovery thanks to legislation such as the clean water act. Thats all I know.

      Regarding our current problems with climate change, well the whole totality of the governments and scientists and technologists all over the globe could quite likely find a technological solution if they all should decide to make the problem a high priority and put down their purely selfish interests. Some of the countries that are high on the list of greenhouse gas production, e.g., China, Russia, are dictatorships, others like the US are democracies with their own internal political factions, so, I wish I could say I though that we as a human race are going cooperate and do something truly effective, but obviously that magical moment is sometime in the future. There is a wiki article on a list of the popular opinion on climate change in the countries of the world, both on the question of whether its happeneing and whether its harmful. China had the highest percentage of people who thought its happening ~80% if I remember but also the lowest percentage who believe its a threat, `20%. Sadly funny. They think whatever their government tells them to.

      All this does not mean that inventers can’t invent eco thingies and scientists can’t refine their predictions and tools in the meantime or that individuals can’t try to overcome their habits. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop eating meat or sell my motorboat. And my wife is damned if we are not going fly all over the place.

      • March 9, 2016 5:15 pm

        “the whole totality of the governments and scientists and technologists all over the globe could quite likely find a technological solution if they all should decide to make the problem a high priority…”

        I agree. We need a technological solution. I have one in mind. I suggest consulting Scientists like the ‘noble’ Dr Walter Bishop whose vast experience delving into advanced micro-biological phenomena could quickly develop my idea, and solve most of the planetary woes we humans are facing: a Lilliputian Device that could shrink our species down in physical size.

        It wouldn’t be necessary to reduce us to a diminutive 6-inch height — a foot or two high would be sufficient to quadruple the present ‘carrying capacity’ of the planet to support life, and likewise reduce the physical habitable space needed to accommodate even larger population densities.

        I know it sounds far fetched; but think of the benefits. Hunger would vanish for almost everyone – one scrambled egg would provide four omelettes! Energy consumption and manufacturing waste would also plunge: the raw materials needed to make a passenger car would now make a bus; a gallon of gas would take us four times as far; the fabric in a sweater would cover a king-size bed.

        Of course many adjustments would have to be made. Household pets like cats and dogs and parrots and caged birds would also have to be shrunk proportionately – I’m having a hard enough time walking my terrier without him yanking my shoulder out of joint as it is; and I know the neighbor’s cat would jump us like rodents if we were his size. And people with significant financial investments in gold and silver and diamonds would have to be compensated somehow, as the value of precious metals and stones used for jewelry would drop as the weights required for them diminish proportionally. And those invested in real estate would suffer too: smaller size buildings will significantly reduce the acreage needed to build them, and the square footage value of property will drop, notably along coast lines with ocean views.

        But there would be advantages as well. City sizes would shrink, and with shorter distances between streets and avenues, taxi and limo fares would be cheaper. And travel time from uptown to downtown would be faster, leaving more time for personal interactions. And with our smaller bodies, scrub time in the shower and tub would be less, and teeth brushing time too.

        Still, none of the advantages or disadvantages of Lilliputian transformation will deter mankind’s inclinations toward self destruction. We’ll be the same warlike species of self-destructive incorrigibles we are now, with the same contradictory impulses for good and evil, positivity and negativity, insight and stupidity – and though our TV sets and mobile devices and newspaper pages will shrink down in size to fit out smaller hands (yes, Donald’s penis will too) the same amount of discordant information will be broadcast by the same Lilliputian minds as presently inundate us with daily drivel. In other words, “small minded” will still have the same relative meaning.

        I hope this cheers you up, as it did me 😇

      • Pat Riot permalink
        March 9, 2016 7:45 pm

        Roby, I am appalled! You speak like the gentry aboard the Titanic! Or when Jack and Rose bust through the wall and the Titanic worker says, “You are going to have to pay for that!” Ug. Are Trump and Sanders not signs to you? Are bankrupt municipalities and towns in the United States not a sign to you? When will you abandon the tenets and reality you knew and dig in for the coming storm?

        The normalcy bias is strong indeed.

        I will lash the deck furniture together with belts and shirts into a raft, and I will invite others onto it, and I will keep my head up and smile as I do! Perhaps you will play the violin and think fondly of the ‘ole Republic! Good luck my friend!

      • Roby permalink
        March 9, 2016 10:02 pm

        Pat, I’m not the least bit offended, I’m just confused. Your comment referred to which of my comments? Explain in more detail how I am the gentry on the Titanic? You’ve lost me.

        But you should realize, if this helps clear anything up, that in blog comment land we are all Andy Rooney. “I’d like to complain…” Its what we are here for cathartic release of pent up frustration. This is therapy. There are no wildly cheerful people in comments sections, just complainers.

        I just looked up Andy in Wiki and offer the following excerpt:
        “In 1990, Rooney was suspended without pay for three months by then-CBS News President David Burke, because of the negative publicity around his saying that “too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes [are] all known to lead to premature death.”[23] He wrote an explanatory letter to a gay organization after being ordered not to do so. After only four weeks without Rooney, 60 Minutes lost 20 percent of its audience. CBS management then decided that it was in the best interest of the network to have Rooney return immediately.[24]”

        Moral of the story, remove the complaining section of this production and the audience will lose interest. We are all Andy Rooney. And another thing…

        You are Harrison Ford in Mosquito Coast aren’t you?

      • March 9, 2016 10:18 pm

        If someone on national TV made the same statement about gays today, they’d arrest him for a hate crime.

      • Roby permalink
        March 9, 2016 11:17 pm

        I should point out that a person who was only 1/4 as high would be 1/(4^3) =1/64 of the volume and thus the mass. Therefore, your scrambled egg would feed 64 people. Other than that I see no issues with your idea, there has been a movie or two about it. Honey I shrunk the kids, even in Help Paul is accidently miniaturized instead of Ringo. Fishing would be more dangerous though as large pike or bass might eat us as often as we eat them.

  75. Pat Riot permalink
    March 9, 2016 7:30 pm

    Jay you make a Swift “Modest Proposal”. We could also start eating our young, as that would help overpopulation and hunger issues!

    I guess your light-hearted comments are not far from your serious ones regarding “…same incorrigible…warlike species…,” as you have stated before.

    More important than the many technological breakthroughs are the psychological/social ones now in their infancy. I am sorry you are not more surrounded by inspiring people. If you would turn off the corporate news (which combs the earth to bring despair and paralysis), and instead exclusively investigate inspirational trends for 30 straight days, you might begin to shed that cloud about your head, and help us make the future!

    Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their hijacked country!

  76. Pat Riot permalink
    March 10, 2016 12:20 am

    Roby, I think you have me rather hemmed in. I am guilty of wanting TNM to be more than a venting forum. I thought we’d debate, agree to disagree in a few areas, but build consensus in others, then come away with strategies for action. Like way back when several of us talked of an agenda for passionate Moderates. I’m guilty of being a confusing instigator, aiming toward some resolve and solutions, but YOU PEOPLE would rather complain than save the country and the world!! So be it.

    I was referring to where you said you would not be changing. You would fly here and there and cruise in your motorboat, and leave the water running while you hummed Yes tunes in the other room (implied, haha), and I’d certainly allow that ( ! ) if you’d commit to taking your position in the 21rst-century cultural and psycho-social renaissance, but YOU PEOPLE leave me hanging as a lone cheerleader! I tire of myself! Complain away! Mosquito Coast, haha, well played! I think I will create a website or three to give people hope. I’ll send you the links when they are up to speed. Later…

    • Roby permalink
      March 10, 2016 11:59 am

      I also had a hope for TNM, that it would be a grain that a larger moderate movement could condense around. Instead for a very long time it was a sort of conservative libertarian site the revolved around Dave and JB. Very frustrating. I like its tone much better now, but there is no organized moderate movement condensing here or anywhere. It just seems not to be in moderate nature to have a movement. Sometimes a person just has to recognize realities such as the fact our form of government deals with long term problems like debt and global warming extremely poorly or that moderates aren’t activists. Built in vast impersonal forces.

      We all do our bits in spite of our complaining. I once advised a Republican candidate who was running against Bernie Sanders, for the US Senate, Richard Tarrant, unofficially but he met with me several times and we traded quite a few e-mails and I got him to state in debates etc. that climate change was real. It was a small victory. I tried to get him to run a moderate campaign (it was after all Vermont, not Texas) but he took the advice of his manager and spent millions of dollars of his own money embarrassing himself and ruining his good reputation running typical dark WIllie Horton sort of Bernie is weak on crime ads. Which predictably failed miserably after he spent 7 million of his own money. He lost by 33 points. If he had taken my advice he could have lost by 10 points and saved his reputation put a ding in Bernie’s socialist nonsense. He was a mega rich guy who founded a healthcare data company. Anyhow, I got a republican senate candidate to publicly state that climate change is real. That was one of my moments of doing something. They come and go, I’ve done other things.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Tarrant

      My kids used to compare me to the Harrison Ford character in Mesquito coast, I was a bit of an odd duck as a single parent and we had a lot of, er adventures, so I have experience with that comparison.

      I salute your optimism and can do spirit! Please make that site and send links and don’t give up on us either, your point of view is very unusual and impossible to categorize, you are an original.

      • March 10, 2016 1:38 pm

        Roby, I have to question your “but there is no organized moderate movement condensing here or anywhere.” What do you mean by “organized moderate movement”?

        Being a moderate does not mean one does not have an opinion on a subject. There are many different forms of being a moderate and that may be why you do not see an organized movement since a movement would need everyone flowing in the same direction and moderation does not lend itself to that. IMO

        One can be very conservative fiscally, but very liberal socially. Is that being a moderate or is that just being confused? One can be very liberal on one issue (such as healthcare and the different reimbursement models like one payor), but very conservative on abortion (like life begins at conception and no abortions should be legal). One can be very conservative in fiscal spending, but support tax policies that allow for additional support for those in need or for just making the tax policies fair (like all income taxed at the same rate regardless of source including FICA tax).

        So yes, when you read comments from Pat, Priscilla, Jay myself or Dave, you might find comments that are very conservative or Libertarian leaning, but then you may also find that those comments are no where near the beliefs of a Ted Cruz (since JB has dropped out for some reason). I find that many of the comments here would lean toward the Reagan conservative side of issues, that meaning they all have a conservative tilt, but are open for compromise.

        So my definition of a moderate would most likely be “an individual with conservative or liberal positions willing to compromise to achieve at least 50% of their desired needs and wants”.

        How say you?

      • March 10, 2016 2:33 pm

        We’ve had this discussion about ‘moderate’ before. I think Rick said he considered calling the blog ‘The Radical Moderate” but that name was taken. Radical Moderates seems apt, as all of us often defend out positions with radical intensity.

        But I think of myself as a ‘rationalist’ – my sympathies sometimes slither to extremes from both left and right. I’m pro abortion and pro traditional marriage. I’m anti Obama and anti Cruz. I’m pro Tumpites and anti Trump – go figure.

        Maybe a better descriptive would be ‘Contrarian’ – someone who instinctively takes opposing views from extreme opinion. That almost always happens when you’re in the middle, fending off the pc left and the tea-party right, attacked from both sides.

      • Roby permalink
        March 10, 2016 3:58 pm

        I think you misunderstood me Ron. It wasn’t a criticism of anyone or an analysis of what a moderate is. I just mean that there is nothing in this country, a journal for moderates, an actual organization of moderate, books by moderates about being moderate like there is in droves for conservatives, liberals, libertarians, even god help us far left socialists. Nothing for moderates formal that you can see or that would allow us to actually use our political power in an kind of organized way.

      • March 10, 2016 5:40 pm

        “Nothing for moderates formal that you can see or that would allow us to actually use our political power in an kind of organized way.”

        And that seems to be both the positive and negative of being a moderate. Until the last 20 years, there really was not a need for a “moderate” or “centrist” movement. And in many ways, there is no way a “moderate” movement will ever become formalized. Going back a few years, Nixon defeated Humphrey and McGovern and was really considered a moderate with his healthcare positions and his positions on China. He worked with Ted Kennedy to devise a national healthcare reimbursement program (much like the ACA) and it was ready for a congressional vote when all hell broke out with Watergate, Kennedy wanted no part in being part of anything Nixon so that died. Reagan was much more centrist in some of his dealings and worked with democrats to get things passed. Nancy Reagan was the one who convinced him to take a hard line on the wall in Germany. Had she not done that, who knows what Germany would look like today. Bush 41 and Bill Clinton were “centrist” in many positions and had Bill Kept his anatomy to himself, he would be viewed much different than he is today.

        Why do I say a moderate movement will never become formalized. For just the reasons that Jay commented on. “I’m pro abortion and pro traditional marriage. I’m anti Obama and anti Cruz.” OK, so I think I am a moderate right of center individual and I am anti abortion and support gay marriage. I am also anti Obama and Anti Cruz, I am also Anti Trump as is Jay. But I have a qualifier in my positions. I think there needs to be state laws that regulate when abortions should be illegal (after some number of weeks) and I believe if you are a resident of California and you are gay and marry, then the federal government should recognize that marriage. But if Mississippi want to make gay marriage illegal, that is a state right to do so, but anyone with a valid marriage license from another state should be married in all states.

        So to be a moderate is someone with certain beliefs that do not follow the born again christian conservative doctrine nor the government can do no wrong socialist liberal doctrine that is the lifeblood of the current two party system. But those positions between the extremes vary greatly from one person to another and making a party or movement out of those would be like herding a pack of cats.

        Last comment: your comment “that would allow us to actually use our political power in an kind of organized way.” Is this not what we are seeing with the Trump movement in this election. People with vast differences in their positions rallying around one candidate because they are fed up with the two parties that have taken advantage of the populace for too long?

      • Roby permalink
        March 10, 2016 4:01 pm

        Ron. I think your definition is as good as any of what an indefinable moderate is.

  77. March 11, 2016 10:14 am

    Here is the problem ~ and I quote an piece from the Washington Post, back in December:
    “Trump has the exact “moderate” qualities that many pundits and political reformers yearn for in politicians: Many of Trump’s positions spurn party orthodoxy, yet are popular among voters. And like most voters — but unlike most party politicians — his positions don’t consistently hew to a familiar left-right philosophy.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2015/12/16/donald-trump-is-a-textbook-example-of-an-ideological-moderate/

    While we debate whether or not this one or that one holds a “extreme position” we overlook the obvious, which is that much of this is in the eye of the beholder.

    So, for example, I believe that the view that the United States government can somehow enact laws that would affect long term climate patterns is unrealistic. I’ve arrived at that viewpoint by reading analysis and opinion from both sides (clearly, the more wonkish scientific stuff is over my head, but I understand statistics and how they are used and misused), as well as noting the reality that American action alone could not possibly have any meaningful effect, as long as countries like China and India are going to do nothing. I believe that my view is a moderate one – rational, arrived at through honest deliberation of the facts and open to change if and when new facts emerge.

    But to many, I am an extremist, a “denier”, a flat-earth know-nothing. As the social media shorthand says, “YMMV” – “your mileage may vary”…….

    Being moderate is not an ideology, it is not being a centrist. Jay, you often seem to be something of a nihilist, rejecting everything from both sides. Yet, I think that you often arrive at your nihilist views from a reasonable, and fairly moderate approach. There could never be a “moderate” party, because getting moderates to agree is like herding cats. Harder, really,

    Moderates are disdained in today’s political environment. Marco Rubio, who’se campaign is essentially dead, waiting only for Florida to pound the final nail in his electoral coffin, is a moderate. He’s conservative, yes – that is his ideological prism, and he has beliefs that conform to standard right wing orthodoxy. But his presidential ambitions have been essentially destroyed, because he was willing to work in a bi-partisan way on immigration, and agreed to put his name on a bill that is now derided as “amnesty.” (He also worked with Bernie Sanders on a bill to reform the VA). So, he is out of step with the “people” who don’t want compromise on this issue.

    How to define “moderate”? Let me count the ways…………

    • Roby permalink
      March 12, 2016 10:14 am

      When we talk about positions, aside from The Wall, how can we tall what they are? He’s more of a cipher than Jimmy Carter was. In Carters case people saw in him what they wanted to see and so he got elected and then once in power people said, Huh? WTF, I thought he was a _____ . Trump on the other hand has no ideological form because he is not a politician, has no experience in this world, no aptitude for solving say foreign policy problems. He might bomb Putin or he might give him a big fat man kiss on the lips. You just don’t know. Unlike Carter, many look at him and see what they Don’t want to see. I still don’t think he can get elected.

      Listening to him go bing bing we all have the fascinating job of figuring out, is he an idiot, is he a genius? Does he have any clue what he is actually doing or is he simply a crazy person in an egomaniacs paradise, hes got everyone watching him, talking about him, loving or hating him.

      He is inspector Clouseau without the scriptwriter that makes everything always work out for him in the end. Peter Sellers didn’t die, he faked it, laid low, got an astonishing make up job and is running for president. My left eye is beginning to twitch a la Dreyfus.

      • March 12, 2016 11:15 am

        Roby, that is his point. You are not suppose to know what his positions are. He is a master of the deal and reading people. No one gets to where this man is without having the ability to read people and take advantage of their weakness. So if you find the weakness (in this case anger), then say the same thing over and over and they begin to believe the message. And if you are attacked, use every possible way to destroy their message so yours prevails. And realize that voters do not believe much of the message will actually happen, so anything is open for discussion.

        So do I support Trump? No. But I am beginning to fear his administration less than I do a Clinton third term of Obama. I do dislike the idea of Chris Christie due to the fact he is 100% against the western states allowing Marijuana. They can kiss those millions in tax revenues off while the Mexican cartels enjoy the luxury of not having to compete with state laws anymore. But I believe a Christie in the DOJ will insure laws are properly administered as written. I also like the idea of Dr. Carson in the department of health and human services. We need a physician in that department that allows for the end users voices to be heard and not the Washington cartels. And one has to wonder if Mac Thornberrry from Texas would accept the Def. Sec. position? Haven’t come up with a Sec of State name yet, but I bet there are alot that would accept that position that would be willing to negotiate “good deals” and not the crap we have negotiated the last 8 years.

        I am betting on Clinton being elected, but I am also betting that Trump, if elected, will be nothing like you see on the campaign trail and will be much more like Clinton and Reagan on working with congress to get things passed. I am betting on Trump being “The New Moderate” in the White House.

      • March 12, 2016 1:06 pm

        Ron, that’s really excellent analysis (not that I am surprised) of what’s going on with the Trump phenomenon. It’s becoming so much more complex than I could have ever imagined.

        Last night, a huge demonstration of mostly left leaning supporters of Sanders (who I think is probably a decent but misguided fellow, but has become a tool of the more aggressive left) shut down a Trump rally in Chicago. Bill Ayres was there, proclaiming victory, and promising to shut down every Trump rally going forward. Bill Ayres, huh?

        And the right, at least the establishment right, is not at all unhappy about this, because they have the long knives out for Trump too. Ted Cruz, who is consolidating the movement conservative faction of the GOP, made a comment blaming Trump’s rhetoric for the violence at his rallies, rather than pointing out the danger of shutting down a populist candidate through the threat of potential violence. It is right out of the 1968 Chicago playbook…..create chaos and violence and then play the victim. I’ll not be shocked if Tom Hayden shows up at some point in all of this. The old New Left is back! And conservatives are playing the willing dupes. As usual.

        I think we are in the midst of a significant upheaval, and Trump for all of his faults (and he has many, I am not a supporter at this time) is becoming the voice of a constituency that feels that they are losing their culture. He may not be the best voice, but it is what it is. He’s it right now.

        It may go all the way back to the electoral changes of the 60’s, when the South became Republican….the GOP has never embraced the more vulgar white elements of that constituency, but they nevertheless relied on them to get elected. And then screwed them over, repeatedly. Trump is appealing to , among others, those voters, and they will support him no matter what.

        Buckle up, we’re in for a bumpy ride, I fear…….

  78. March 12, 2016 11:58 am

    Ron you explained that so well, that I was willing to go along, until I remembered all the buttons that he has pushed that should never be pushed. I have no sense that he has any sense of right or wrong, any morality other than I win. His daughter he says is so hot that he would be dating her if… Penis boasting in a political debate. The man has no respect for anything, any boundary. Great entertainment I guess a la Jerry Springer. He is a sign of decay and he is accelerating it.

    While I agree that Trump the president would likely be quite different than Trump the candidate, I have no idea were that could go. An ego that size leading the “free world”?!? You think he would not put the Constitution under ferocious assault? He has no boundaries he has shown that and he has tens of millions mesmerized. I find the Trump phenomenon terrifying. Starting from a position of being considered both a vile pusher of racial code rhetoric (the actual white supremacists love him and say he has made their work far easier, why do they say that?) and an absurd buffoon he would have to undergo a stunning metamorphosis to earn the respect of foreign leaders. Not just Trump but America itself would lose a vast amount of respect in the world. He has praised teh governing styles of both Putin and Kim il Jong in one week and that hardly was even noticed because he was doing and saying even more insane things at the same time. I think he would be an easy takedown in the general, leaving a crater in the place where the GOP once stood after the election.

    As well, I’m really not sure that he had gotten so far in life prior to this, he started from wealth and many if not most of his ventures have been sleazy and failed. Nothing can reconcile me to him. You probably are not a Daily show kind of guy, but if you have any interest in admittedly liberal political comedy they have found a gold mine in Trump.

    In any case, he has split the GOP neatly into two and for all I know that was all he really was planning a demolition project to make way for his new Trump casino,

    • March 12, 2016 12:36 pm

      I guess he has said so much that I have missed much of it. I am trying to watch less campaign news and more sports as I don’t think the president can do much himself other than some executive orders that really do not have a lasting impact. So we don’t enforce drug laws in western states, we don’t enforce immigration laws and seal the border, we don’t allow for some environmental issues. None if that is like the damage done by the likes of the ACA and trade agreements. And those take congressional action and that is where we need a complete overhaul. We got rid of Boehner and Pelosi. Now if we could only get rid of Shumer and McConnell. Maybe something good would happen.

      As you say “In any case, he has split the GOP neatly into two”. That’s what happens when you only have two very polarized parties. You have 20% fully supporting one side and 20% the other. That leaves 60% in the middle and then they shift to one party or the other in the primary. That 30% becomes a majority and in each that is where Trump is getting his support for the most part.

      • March 12, 2016 1:11 pm

        Yes, the math on this is important. There is no majority, so pluralities become very powerful.

        But don’t forget the crossover appeal of Trump. There are a lot of white Democrats who are Trump supporters…maybe” in the closet” right now, but I cannot believe that the huge (YUGE! lol) support that Trump has received is coming entirely from the rather staid GOP ranks……..

      • March 12, 2016 1:36 pm

        Well, of course, you already addressed that crossover thing, Ron! Sorry, my response sounded clueless.

        But, getting back to the intense and hardening polarization that you note, I think it will get worse before it gets better….if it gets better anytime soon, that is. Your explanation of the lawlessness of the government, both in Republican and Democratic hands. and the ramming through of unpopular laws like the ACA shows that this is not a “liberal” or “conservative” problem. Or even a Democrat or Republican one.

        Take Obamacare: it was rammed through on a party line vote, infuriating and frustrating at least half of the population. So that half went ahead and gave GOP majorities in both houses of Congress, based on Republican promises to fight any further actions of this type by the Obama administration. Obama, for his part, simply did an end run around Congress with his executive actions, while the Republican Congress did……..absolutely nothing. So now, those same people infuriated with Obama, are equally infuriated with what they see as the feckless and corrupt Republicans.

        Enter Trump.

      • March 12, 2016 5:27 pm

        Priscilla, I think the GOP dug itself a huge hole when it said before the 2010 elections that they would repeal and replace Obamacare. Along with that, McConnell said something to the effect that he was going to make sure Obama was a one term president.

        So for the past 7 years, the GOP agenda has been to repeal something the president would always veto and to do anything they could to make Obama look bad. The only thing other than that was the incessant attacks on planned parenthood and abortion.

        Now I think PP and abortion are important issues, but I believe they are issues that need to be handled at the state level. The feds have a huge deficit to begin tackling, a huge debt to find a way to begin paying down, entitlement programs that are going to break the economy without changes, a mad man in North Korea, China filling up open seas with man made islands and claiming the area around them as their own, a trade deficit that is costing jobs, immigrants overrunning the country and a middle east that is going to blow up in our face, probably as big as 9-11 if nothing is done.

        So while Ted Cruz has made his mark on attacking PP and being anti abortion, spending much of his time on those subjects before the campaign actually began, Trump identified the “HUGE” issues and the anger issues that I listed above and now has many on both sides of the spectrum supporting him.

        And yes, the GOP, if they lose will blame someone. All they need to do is look in the mirror in the congressional offices and they will see the blame.

    • March 12, 2016 1:48 pm

      So far I agree with all your takes on Trump – he’s like one of those optical illusion graphics that looks like two faces in profile one moment, and a vase the next.

      He’s a paradox – a seemingly absurd enigma wrapped in a hair transplant, who seems idiotic from one angle of observation but perfectly lucid from another. This reflects my own impressions of him. One minute I want to kick him in the ass; the next pat him on the back. I vacillate back and forth between scorn and applause depending on the Trump news blurb under media dissection.

      I have more to say about this, but the yahoos on CNN and FOX are both spouting nonsense about the Chicago disruptions of Trump’s rally yesterday, and I need to Take a break to keep from sucker punching my TV.

      • March 12, 2016 2:00 pm

        “an absurd enigma wrapped in a hair transplant”….I love it.

  79. Roby permalink
    March 12, 2016 2:13 pm

    “My entire life, I’ve watched politicians bragging about how poor they are, how they came from nothing, how poor their parents and grandparents were. And I said to myself, if they can stay so poor for so many generations, maybe this isn’t the kind of person we want to be electing to higher office. How smart can they be? They’re morons.”

    You don’t even have to ask who said it.

    As far back as a 1991 interview with Esquire magazine, Trump had boasted: “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass. But she’s got to be young and beautiful.”

    “In a 2006 book, he wrote of women as objectified collectibles: “Beauty and elegance, whether in a woman, a building, or a work of art is not just superficial or something pretty to see.” He once sent New York Times columnist Gail Collins a copy of something she had written about him with her picture circled and “The face of a dog!” written over it.”

    Well, he may seem like a genius to some people but I have my doubts. He is winning the GOP nomination with 36% of the vote in a 4 person race. He ain’t gonna win the general with 36% of the vote. He polls at 40% in composite polls against both Clinton and Sanders, which is the minimum any generic candidate can do, left or right against the opposition. Given that one member of the opposition is a pissed off elderly lefty and the other is a widely disliked lady with a larger than normal difficulty with the truth that is a remarkably low level of support. I say that 40% is the best he gets in the general, after the ad campaigns that need to do no more than digging up every idiot remark he has made. He will leaving the GOP behind him in a ruinous civil war pointing fingers about which side caused it, the establishment or the Trumpites, who are likely to loath each other even more in defeat. If I were the GOP party establishment I’d be praying for a fortunate lightening strike. Or the end that Thurber’s anti hero Jack (“Pal”) Smurch met.

    http://www.cudaclass.info/enc1102/shortstory/greatestmantext.pdf

    • March 12, 2016 2:46 pm

      I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, Roby. I would point out, however, that the GOP party establishment has ignored its problems for many years now, and would likely be dealing with some sort of crack-up right now no matter what. When a party establishment despises and betrays its own base, it generally loses it eventually. The Democratic Party has a different problem, and I submit that Bernie Sanders is its comeuppance….although in true leftist fashion, the Dems go right ahead and award all of the delegates to Hillary, even in the states that Bernie wins outright. Its crackup is coming, it’s just not been so well publicized, and Obama is still in office, giving the party a patina of unity….for now.

      • Roby permalink
        March 12, 2016 3:06 pm

        “the Dems go right ahead and award all of the delegates to Hillary, even in the states that Bernie wins outright.”

        ?!?

        I’d have to see that one in solid print to understand it.

        I do disagree with the whole Democratic party superdelegates thing, which is wildly undemocratic and demoralizing to potential voters. I also disagree with the way many in the press report that those delegates are already Hillary’s. They aren’t.

        What has happened in my phrasing of the same issue that you brought up Priscilla of splintering parties is that both parties have their, as you put it, and I like the phrase, “vulgar element.” The followers of Micheal Moore and Ann Coulter. The more sensible or decent elements of the parties are embarrassed by them but the parties can’t disavow them because elections are won by thin margins. I had the opinion that the really vulgar elements were a larger portion of the GOP base than the Dem one, but the Bernie movement has certainly opened my eyes to the larger left element in the Dem side, who are not all what I would call vulgar, as they include my mother, son and Mr. Riot. Previously I would have said that the left vulgarians hate the rich or even the rather successful, while the right vulgarians hate minorities and the poor. Now it turns out that Trump has captured a segment that I did not know existed, right vulgarians who hate all of those groups, the minorities the successful, everyone different or happier than them.

        In this time of darkness we need some cheer and humor, I heartily recommend reading my link above to Thurber’s story, Thurber was a genius, a real one. Every bit as fine a writer as Twain in terms of imagination and use of the English language, if not of course Twain’s equal in scope or impact. But a comic genius all the same.

    • March 12, 2016 5:57 pm

      I luv Thurber.

      The satire in the story negatively focuses on the media and the political establishment – they’re the villains, not ‘anti-hero Jack Smurch, who was killed because he’s antithetical to the establishment hero narrative. And like Smurch, the media and establishments of both parties have ganged up on Trump because he doesn’t fit their template.

      If Thurber was reincarnated, I wouldn’t be surprised to find him sympathetic to Trump’s persona, And certainly Thurber’s cartoons would enrage today’s PC feminists for blatant male sexism: one of my favorites shows a pretty youngish woman with feet curled under her, sitting on a loveseat, staring up at a middle-aged man, who glaring down at her with wolfish glee says, “My my, such big beautiful brown eyes — and such a tiny brain.”

      And this one, which today would tie up editorial telephone lines and email boxes with outraged feminist venom:

      This, by the way, goes to my indifference to Trump’s early so-called boasting misogynistic comments about ‘scoring’ with woman, which has been a standard cultural sign of male virility from Sinatra to Namath to half the professional athletes in baseball, football, and basketball. And if you watch present cable or tv dramas or comedies you’ll now find dozens of female characters who cavalierly and lecherously boast about their one-night stands as naturally as they do purses and shoes.

      Nor do Trump’s multiple marriages concern me, anymore then Liz Taylor’s husband hopping did — and he seems to have treated his children OK; they appear relatively sane and coherent when interviewed on TV. I’m way more concerned about Trump University: if those stories are true, that certainly reflects badly on him. And he is a shameless self promoter; and loosey-goosey with facts; and about as presidential as used-car-dealer Cal Worthington — but hell, nobody’s perfect

      • Roby permalink
        March 12, 2016 6:11 pm

        Ah Thurber and ah the changing times. My daughters can appreciate him as a cultural artifact but would slap him silly. Even if it does not offend one, Trumps attitudes toward women are political suicide. You have to be off your rocker to say the things he says. I think he has some sort of mental illness, something like Touretts, that happens to amuse people. Something in my opinion is not right in his brain. Strangely and ironically the sister of one of my ex-wives got an angry phone call from him personally over her organisation’s dealings with Trump University. Which has nothing to do with my opinion of him.

      • March 12, 2016 8:29 pm

        “Trumps attitudes toward women are political suicide.”

        That’s another political chestnut I’m not sure about.

        Remember, there may be a growling male dragon, ready to pounce on a female candidate for president – a reinforced glass ceiling protected by men who don’t want to be led by a woman. It’s doubtful Republican women will vote for Hillary just because she’s a woman (Bernie has been stealing a majority of female votes from her so far) and Republicans have been turning out in significantly higher numbers to vote, which would erode any female voting advantage for her in the election.

        I think if Trump runs against Hillary it will be a tight election. Hillary Hatred will solidify Trump support if he’s the candidate. Then it will be a matter of who can channel the most anger into votes on Election Day.

  80. March 12, 2016 8:51 pm

    In a sane world, this man would win the presidency by a landslide. We are not living in a sane world.

    • March 12, 2016 8:57 pm

      He sounds like us.

      • March 12, 2016 9:55 pm

        He sounds the way a responsible candidate should sound.
        But it’s doubtful it will have much effect on the vote.

      • March 13, 2016 12:56 am

        You are right about a sane world and who would be leading. Remember the Democrats went through this same insane thing as the GOP is going through now in 1968. They made sure over the years since that time that their party would never be caught in that situation again. That is why Clinton is so far ahead of Sanders in total delegates, but not much of a difference based on voter preference.

        So no matter what happens with Trump and Cruz, I would bet money that over the next 3 years before the next election the GOP will revise its delegate distribution where the party bosses have much more direct influence on the nominee. McCain and Romney most likely would have been nominated in the past, but Trump and Cruz most likely would have looked at the process and decided not to run. And others may not have run leaving a much smaller field to begin with lending itself to main stream party candidate taking a clear lead at the beginning just like Clinton over Sanders. Most likely another Bush.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        March 13, 2016 8:36 am

        I caught the Marco Rubio press conference live on XM radio in my vehicle. I pulled over to listen to it. He did sound sane, reasonable. It was a sigh of relief to hear rational talk. And he looks good too. He would represent the U.S. respectably at ceremonies–physically, verbally–not be embarrassing. But based on things he has said earlier in the debates, I believe a Rubio presidency would just be a slight tweaking of our Oligarchy, which might be the safest thing in the short term.

        And, judging by the rabble we see on TV, maybe the best for the long term, which I think is in alignment with Roby’s view. But TV gives us a distorted view. Most of the people all over America will hold the door for you at a convenience store. If we had leaders and a media helping to organize “the populace” into sane ventures, instead of stirring up the rabble for ratings and profit, we could get back to sanity almost as fast as Jay’s picture goes from faces to a vase.

        On Friday I went for a walk with my son on a trail. There is a new section with architecturally beautiful pavilions of stained timbers and stone support pillars, playground equipment, wood and steel bridges over the stream, all new. I said to my son, “See, this is government too. This is infrastructure too. People pooling their money together to build something that everyone can enjoy. Which local individual would be motivated to build all this, or could afford it? We need a balance of private sector AND public works…”

        That’s what I see as Bernie Sanders’ vision–not as taking from the rich to give to the poor in order to have it squandered, but using our revenue to build infrastructure, including ‘social infrastructure’ such as access to college, etc.

        But the Oligarchs will not just roll over. And the rabble will squander.

      • March 13, 2016 12:11 pm

        ……………“See, this is government too. This is infrastructure too. People pooling their money together to build something that everyone can enjoy.”

        Yes, many many years ago government used money wisely and funded needs appropriately. In this case, money was collected and spent for the benefit of the citizens. I suspect that the cost of that project was within normal cost for projects of that sort, either governmental or private. Many years ago people pooled their money and hired teachers to teach their kids. People pooled money to pay for the local sheriff. Then they hired a mayor and paid them.

        Then came the liberals and their needs for more money. The Socialist Labor Party advocated a graduated income tax in 1887. The Populist Party demand a graduated income tax in its 1892 platform. The Democratic Party, led by William Jennings Bryan, advocated the income tax law passed in 1894 and proposed an income tax in its 1908 platform. They won and in 1913 the sixteenth amendment to the constitution was approved. Thus the country had an unlimited stream of income with the only barriers being how much the elite were willing to pay in income taxes.

        As income increased, unlimited spending increased. Waste increased. Special interest increased. And as the elite wanted to pay less, exemptions and deductions increased resulting in less revenues collected. Then when no more deductions were to be found, tax rates were reduced for the rich. Spending continued at a very high rate. As a by product, vendors found that government was incompetent or uninterested in controlling costs since it was not “their money to worry about”, so excessive contracts were demanded with built in cost overruns to increase vendor profits. Promises were made for years to come as those making the promises knew it would benefit their careers and they would not be around when the bills came due.

        My point. If federal and state governments acted 1/2 as diligent as those people who pooled their money and built that trail acted, we might be far better off than we are today.,,

    • March 13, 2016 12:21 am

      Now now, Priscilla, let’s not go off the deep end. The difference between the three top Republican wanna-be presidents is like the difference between Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac.

      • March 13, 2016 12:45 am

        Jay, so we have a wonderful choice. On one side we have Poison Ivy, Poison Oak or Poison Sumac. On the other side we have water hemlock (AKA poison parsnip or poison Hemlock). Check out the side effects before voting.

      • March 13, 2016 1:04 am

        I agree. They all suck.im gonna do a write in vote, Howard Stern for Prez.

      • March 13, 2016 9:17 am

        Lol, yes I suppose do have a real soft spot for that guy. Although, I hold no illusions that Rubio, or anyone like him will be able to change the trajectory of our current political climate at this point. I think that Cruz’s rise as the “anti-Trump” leader in the GOP shows that no moderate of any stripe is going to rise in this electoral cycle.

        Cruz was the primary enabler of Trump’s candidacy from the start, praising him and courting his followers (and I choose the word “followers” intentionally, because many Trumpists are not your average voters, they’re more cult-like) for many months, hoping that when Trump imploded, he would be the beneficiary. Only when it became clear that Trump was not going to implode, did the brave, principled Cruz ( that’s sarcasm, Roby, don’t freak out!) begin to criticize the great and powerful Oz.

        And Kasich ~ never has a candidate so openly run for VP. Originally, it was Jeb Bush who encouraged him to get in, so that when Jeb won the nomination (hahahaha, oh well….) Kasich would be a known candidate and accepted as a VP who could help the ticket carry the key state of Ohio, with his running mate from the key state of Florida. Jeb’s demise actually helped Kasich, and Kasich has been as deferential to the front runner as a moderate can be, while pulling anywhere from 5-15 percent of the moderate vote that would likely have gone mostly to Rubio.

        So, on the one hand, I’m angry that this primary has turned into a reality show- “Survivor” would be the most analogous. But, just as in “Survivor” it is not necessarily the best players, but the most devious and strategic players who win. Rubio (along with all of the others who are now dropped out) have been working with rules that no longer apply…..and I suppose one could say that it’s their fault that they didn’t figure the game out soon enough.

        I don’t like the new game. But, on the other side, the Democrat side? The game is totally rigged. Sanders will not, and cannot win. Hillary will be anointed, unless she is indicted, in which case we will get Biden.

        So, yeah, I like the old-fashioned style candidate, who has at least voiced the idea that we are all in this together. But I suppose that he and, I guess me, are passé in today’s political world.

      • Roby permalink
        March 13, 2016 10:40 am

        Priscilla, I give you a 10 for that post. 10+.

        My only beef with your excellent post is that you don’t sound angry enough, not frightened enough, too calmly accepting. Yes, I see the irony, it is angry frightened people who are wrecking our country. But we cannot accept what is happening, we are living in a culture that has slowly fallen into a type of insanity, as you said. We need calm rational constructive anger.

        I don’t even want my kids to produce grandchildren for me to worry about, the situation has become that critical, that dangerous. Before I would want a grandchild things would have to change dramatically for the better. We have to try to follow Pat Riot’s words and wisdom and believe that positive change is possible. We have to believe that our values are Not passé and can still somehow win, because those values are the only ones that can produce a society that is safe and basically wholesome for our kids.

        I’m really not trying to pick on you, you and I are headed for one of those eras were we are in near total agreement. Just, don’t give up.

  81. March 12, 2016 10:30 pm

    And if he was as smart as I am 😬 he would have emphasized more that he was condemning Trump AND the protestors, and loudly called on Hillary and Bernie to do the same. That way he could have rocked two birds with one stone.

  82. Roby permalink
    March 13, 2016 10:17 am

    Rubio was brilliant, eloquent, passionate in a controlled civilized way and dead on every word he said other than being resigned at this moment to support Trump if he wins, even if he hinted that its getting harder, implying that perhaps in the end that may change. I voted for Rubio in our Vermont primary. One can only somehow hope for a brokered convention, Rubio could come out of it.

    Trump is a completely destructive force I have no respect for on any level. No once should be blind or rationalize what he is doing. Its easy to slip into the 4 phases of reacting to dying from denial to acceptance. We just get used to it, desensitize, learn to live with it. Its wrong. After hearing Rubio speak, absolutely eloquently, sanely, he offers a stark choice, A decent thoughtful capable man is losing to Trump steaks that are lie, Trump University that was a scam, idiot sexist, racist, etc. statements, and even much worse than the lack of respect for so many people, setting a standard of using force to repress people’s freedom of speech.

    Hitler, Stalin, Kim il Jung, Pol Pot, are more than people, they are situations, where society broke down and tyranny took over in stages by violent force. Trump is showing us that this can happen in America. If you type Move to into google today Google autocompletes it to Canada. But no one should move, they should stay and prevent this total catastrophic loss of American values. There will be no place to hide if America fails.

    As Rubio so clearly (and note, respectfully and tactfully) said to reporters, the media should examine their role, which in my view is not actually malicious but instead simply has been the blind product of evolutionary selection, competition for readers, viewers, the struggle to stay profitable in a market with infinite offerings.

    Think of poor McCain, he did what Trump did not do, confronted supporters when they engaged in over the top rhetoric directed at his opponent. Imagine the tolerance McCain would have for violence by his supporters (or campaign manager!). I believe that if Trump is the GOP nominee that many republican leaders will make the terrible political choice and not support him, which of course has the danger of making the destruction of the GOP complete. But you cannot accept little hitler as your nominee.

    Trump has unleashed a mob, that is the flip side of populism. Tell me his followers have no relation to brown shirts, tell me a crystal night is something one cannot actually begin to imagine happening in America.

    And now, a potentially idiotic remark from myself that that may defeat the ideals of everything I just said. If there is a crystal night moment in America I will buy a gun and think strongly about trying to kill our incipient Hitler, and in truth I will be relieved even today if somehow something happens to Trump. But that of course would not be able to put the genie back in the bottle. Trump has already let it out, we slid down culturally already to not being very shocked by his treatment of those who disagree with him at his rallies. Trump is leading an angry mob of poor people who somehow have truned off their brains and believe the Trump is angry about the things that have happened to them. What is Trump angry about? Things like the failure of his scam university, that is all, only a blind person would confuse him with a voice for the vulgar side of the poor and middle class. Only the Vulgar is in common, nothing else.

    Obviously a huge long-term set of vast impersonal (and personal) forces have led to this situation where so many people are angry and can be taken over by a man like Trump. One cannot blame Trump for that. I also highly blame our new internet and cell phone technology, which were not created with this in mind but unfortunately have some frightening possibilities for accelerating illogic, mindless group identification, and even in the end the step from non-violent to violent political actions.

    Every responsible person in this country should be trying to use reason to restate American values, which are absolutely in disagreement with everything Trump does and says. That is our only salvation, by the time the Trump movement has completed its evolution into brown shirts, which would still be a major but not unthinkable shift, its too late, we will have an actual civil war and I have no idea how it will come out.

    I’ll try to have a Pat Riot moment. Perhaps good will come out of this. Perhaps more political leaders like Rubio will rise to the occasion and use reason and eloquence to remind people of who we are and what our values are, perhaps the media will hold a serious convention and find a joint way not to follow profit into the path of a national 24/7 Jerry Springer show. Perhaps the thoughtful good Americans who still hold the door open and make everything run on time and build good things will use reason and votes to triumph over the destructive mob mentality, perhaps Donald Trump will be an eye opening moment that good will come out of.

    Perhaps thoughtful democrats will look again at what Obama has done in the way of divisiveness by among other things just bluntly saying that he will go it alone in the face of congressional opposition. Perhaps thoughtful conservatives will reject as a group the dishonesty and dirty tricks that go with the politics and the actions of Ted Cruz. Perhaps democrats will reject the arrogance and tendency towards controversies that stem from deviousness and lack of self restraint of the Clintons. These sins, bad as they are, are several orders of magnitude less vile than the faults of Trump. There is bad and there is catastrophic; there is a difference between having a leg amputated and having terminal cancer.

    The problem is that leaves us with Rubio and Bernie as the untainted ones who can still believably articulate noble ideas and they aren’t doing well votewise. In a fantasy world, Hillary will be indicted, Rubio will emerge from a brokered convention and Bernie and Rubio will engage in a substantive respectful, entirely non Jerry Springer general election and reinspire people to create a better more human country. And while I am fantasizing, Citizens United will be overthrown, gerrymandering as a grotesque mockery of democracy that produces extreme nuts in congress with safe seats and chases out moderates will be undone. Perhaps moderates will vote in primaries and the mainstream media will focus on examining intellectual ideas for governing and solving national problems rationally and push the clown show out of their coverage. Perhaps perhaps perhaps.

  83. Roby permalink
    March 13, 2016 11:07 am

    “Trump digs in after weekend violence, threatens Sanders rallies
    WASHINGTON | BY DOINA CHIACU
    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Sunday threatened to send his supporters to the campaign rallies of Democrat Bernie Sanders, showing no sign of toning down his rhetoric after clashes erupted at his own events over the weekend.

    Trump, front-runner for the Republican nomination, appeared unchastened after simmering discord between his supporters and protesters angry over his positions on immigration and Muslims turned into a palpable threat on Friday, forcing him to cancel a Chicago rally and shadowing his campaign appearances on Saturday.

    Trump blamed supporters of Democratic candidate Sanders for the incidents in Chicago, where scuffles broke out between protesters and backers of the real estate magnate. He called the U.S. senator from Vermont “our communist friend”.”

    Did Sanders actually send his supporters to disrupt Trumps rallies violently? Did I miss something? Because I think that all he has done is forcefully criticize Trump and his followers but there is nothing violent about Bernie Sanders. I have never been one of his supporters, but the man is absolutely not violent. Every movement has people who don’t get it. The difference is that Trumps violent supporters are following Trumps explicit example, they are missing nothing and doing exactly what trump wants them to do. Now Trump is ordering his troops into battle. This situation has morphed into mortal danger to the republic as far as I am concerned. We have a 30-50 million person cult that is fine with using violence as a political tool. The brownshirt movement gets closer every second. God help us, Zeig Trump. Yes, I am hyperventilating. I think we need to.

  84. Roby permalink
    March 13, 2016 11:17 am

    And to be fair, here is a fail by Sanders:
    “As is the case virtually every day, Donald Trump is showing the American people that he is a pathological liar. Obviously, while I appreciate that we had supporters at Trump’s rally in Chicago, our campaign did not organize the protests,” Sanders said in a statement Saturday.”

    Sanders needs to condemn this unequivocally otherwise he sends the message that its OK or worse, a good thing.

    Our two populist candidates are both playing with fire, even if only Trump is explicitly threatening.

    I’m sorry, populism will never be my thing, its a dangerous slippery slope to anarchy.

    • March 13, 2016 4:11 pm

      But he didn’t condem demonstrators disrupting Trump’s rally. Or any of the previous disruptions, which continued to escalate while he and everyone else, Democrats and Republicans, remained silent. Before the old dude punched the black guy, in many rallies previously, protestors disrupted a Trump rallies. Back in December, in Raleigh, NC, “Protesters interrupted Donald Trump’s North Carolina rally at least 10 separate times Friday night in the most staged, disruptive protest of the mogul’s presidential campaign to date.
      The protests began about five minutes into the speech and continued until his closing lines nearly 45 minutes later, as different individuals and groups — strategically placed in different locations all around the more than 7,000-person capacity auditorium — caused disturbances with signs and chants.
      *
      Several of the protesters were connected to Black Lives Matter, either wearing clothing bearing the movement’s name or chanting “black lives matter.”

      http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/04/politics/donald-trump-raleigh-protesters-black-lives-matter/

      The now acceptable meme is that Trump’s responsible for the escalations, but the opposite is true. As the protests continued, Trump confronted them. The media of course focused on him – that’s the money story, rarely on the disruptive protestors, a disproportionate number of them black. Did we hear Bernie or Hillary or anyone condemning them for their obnoxious rudeness? No, just as you didn’t here any complaint when BLM protestors disrupted Bernie and Hillary – they won’t dare slap the hand that pulls the voting lever for them.

      The left is historically responsible for this politically correct double standard of unacceptable mob behavior, like their silent acquiescence to black rioting in Miami Florida and Fergusson Missouri, and the subsequent criminal behavior of those protestors (some white, mostly black) in disrupting council meetings, illegally blocking streets and sidewalks, menacing cops and private citizens with BLM threats and mantras of white privilege animosity.

      I just finished skimming the Sunday talk shows and was once again disgusted to hear little criticism of the protestors who went there to intentionally disrupt the meeting, their interloping presence rationalized by invoking the protestors right to protest. Not once did I hear any of the panalists or commentators point out that there is no right to protest on private property, or to disrupt speech at public gatherings. Not once did I hear anyone describe the protestors as thugs, but frequently heard Trump’s supporters characterized negatively.

      I don’t like Trump, as I’ve said many times; but I tend to identify with his supporters. I do like Bernie, mostly; but I find the majority of his supporters – like the young ones interviewed after disrupting Trump’s rally in Chicago, shallow as brain-washed flash-mob groupies. I’m not saying all his supporters are vacuous PC marionettes (my brilliant leftie writer-artist daughter favors Bernie; my wife the eternal optimist has him as a second choice to Hillary) but in general those under 30 years old have as much depth as paper doll cut outs.

      All of the anti-Trump protestors interviewed in Chicago the other day either were frothing at the mouth or dumb as doorknobs when asked what it was exactly they were there to protest. The people who came to hear Trump on the other hand seemed like civilized Americans. Many said they were uncommitted in who they would vote for, there to hear what Trump had to say in person, unfiltered by news. The media and opposition politicians keep accentuating the ‘anger’ of these Trump’s supporters, but suppress addressing the solutions to the core reasons they are angry. If Trump is eliminated from the presidential race, who fixes the porous border and the continuing displacement of English as the dominant language throughout swaths of the southern US? And the continuing suppressing of jobs and wages from those surplus illegal workers? And who addresses the overall loss of manufacturing jobs to other nations? And who confronts the establishment domination of the political system by the rich? And who stands up to nonsensical political correctness? And the relentless BLM narratives which to my ears are far more racist then anything I hear from whites. Are any of the candidates but Trump going to rock the boat at all on any of those issues?

      The answer is no

      • Roby permalink
        March 13, 2016 4:44 pm

        I can agree with you about the character of lots of the protesters but not about Trump. He held a rally in Vermont, he ordered his security to take the coats of protesters and throw them out into the cold. His audience loved it. That is purely 100% unacceptable behavior for a serious presidential candidate, or actually anyone. You and I are living in alternate universes when it comes to Trump’s behaviors. He is setting a tone that is unprecedented. I’ve seen dozens of examples of his completely unacceptable words and actions and I ma not even looking that hard. Protesters don’t even have the right to be there? 1st amendment not counting for anything? A political rally is a public event, not a private one, Its a US election, its not like a private company or something like that were they can decide who gets in. The elections are public property. I am not pro-disruption and I can see that someone who simply will not let the candidate speak can be removed after being warned but who can say that they can’t even be there. Basic freedom of speech.

        Here is one example I found immediately in a google:

        “A Muslim woman wearing a hijab was escorted out of Donald Trump’s campaign event on Friday by police after she stood up in silent protest during Trump’s speech.

        Rose Hamid, a 56-year-old flight attendant sitting in the stands directly behind Trump, stood up Friday during Trump’s speech when the Republican front-runner suggested that Syrian refugees fleeing war in Syria were affiliated with ISIS.

        Trump has previously called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

        Despite her silence, Trump supporters around her began chanting Trump’s name — as instructed by Trump campaign staff before the event in case of protests — and pointed at Hamid and Marty Rosenbluth, the man alongside her who stood up as well.

        As they were escorted out, Trump supporters roared — booing the pair and shouting at them to “get out.” One person shouted, “You have a bomb, you have a bomb,” according to Hamid.”

        Is that OK? Why? If you think that is acceptable then you and I are just going to live in alternate universes. In mine Trump’s words and actions are wretched and utterly unacceptable.

      • March 13, 2016 5:52 pm

        All true, Roby. But we have to be careful ~ there are those who can be incited against Trump to the point of trying to kill him, believing that he is the second coming of Hitler. And they would consider his assassination to be a good thing.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is a dangerous ratcheting up of the rhetoric on both sides now. And the media is complicit almost to the point of being largely responsible. Yes, I think that Trump’s rhetoric is dangerous, but I think that there is a lot of anti-Trump hysteria as well, and it is no less dangerous.

      • Roby permalink
        March 13, 2016 9:41 pm

        I can agree with you again Priscilla, Trump and the media are using each other. But the one in control appears to be Trump, he is manipulating the media more than visa-versa. He wants them to whip up that anti-trump frenzy and most of his outrageous acts are aimed more at the media than the supporters who are in the same room with him. I am not about to forgive what he is doing to my country.

        I don’t think there is much chance that he is going to wind up like that former Putin thug, dead in a Washington hotel room with a smashed in head and no idea which particular of his many possible enemies did him in. But his worst enemy is the GOP establishment, that is certain, its who he has harmed the most. Although I fantasize about doing him in, that would do more harm to to the country than good, most likely. I may not be completely sane at the moment but I’m not completely nuts either.

        There are lots of people I have a moment of wishing harm to, the clock boy and his family moving to jihad paradise and demanding millions to make up for their suffering gave me such a moment that I mentioned on TNM as well, But I’m harmless.

  85. Roby permalink
    March 13, 2016 11:45 am

    “I will tell you from what I saw, the young man stuck his finger up in the air, and the other man sort of just had it,” told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “But I still, I don’t condone violence.”

    “He went absolutely wild punching, and frankly, when they punch, it’s okay. When my people punch back because they have to out of self-defense, everybody says, ‘Oh, isn’t that terrible?’ The fact is, that we have very peaceful rallies.”

    This is beyond my belief. Trump is mentally ill, incoherent, morally incontinent. And winning the GOP nomination. This is the darkest thing I have ever seen perpetrated by an American or Americans in America in my lifetime.

    • March 13, 2016 3:46 pm

      Yeah, the black guy did give the crowd the middle finger just before the old cowboy hat dude slugged him. Does that make it right? Depends on your perspective.

  86. Pat Riot permalink
    March 13, 2016 2:00 pm

    It is going to get uglier than punches and rhetoric. Mass Media has already shown where its loyalties lie. ($$$$) Mass Media loves “the buzz.” Rhonda Rousey (sp?), WWE (and the other wrestling acronyms, I’ve never watched), cage fighting, the NFL, Jerry Springer…Think about how many people fill those stadiums. People have posters in their homes of Al Pacino in the tub from Scarface. They think they love that darkness. If a few people get stabbed or shot at an upcoming rally, I could see Trump saying, “Oh well, we’ve gotten to tighten security to weed out the scum…” and then moving on…but the Media will love it, and multiply it exponentially.

    Recently I was at a Jiffy Lube. The TV in the waiting room had Jerry Springer on. Four people were kind of half-watching it. I said, “anybody mind if I change the channel?” I made sure I was sitting down first so I’m not intimidating. They all look at their shoes or their knees. Nobody has the wherewithal to even answer me. Sorry Roby but those are sheeple. Somebody could say “hey, go ahead” or “if you don’t mind I’m watching it.” And I’d say “Cool, you were here first.”

    The people I was raised with know how to communicate and how to act, but I see less and less of it. I swear the solutions are not as difficult as many think. I want people to wake up, but I don’t think I ever said I was optimistic.

    Hold your positions, Patriots! Put some bottled water in the basement. Re-connect with your friends, your network. Get out of debt. Put some extra Spam in the pantry. Hold on…

    • Roby permalink
      March 13, 2016 2:55 pm

      100% agreement with you Pat. But the distinction about the use of sheeple here, which I can agree with in this use, is that someone is not a sheeple in this case because they don’t agree with your theories, (which is just using sheeple as an insult rather thinking that someone could have a real and rational reason for disagreeing) but because they are part of the general opiated mass that have been sucked into a generally numb state by the tube. I turned mine off years, decades, ago.

      I was sitting in the office of an actuary in Moscow 2 years ago with my wife’s sister who had to get some stupid bureaucratic thing done and there was a TV on with the Russian equivalent of MTV. Plastic fake boob blonds with no talent singing wretched (sadly American inspired) rubbish one after the other. After a while I started pretty loudly commenting on how every bit of it was fake and how it was a far cry from the beautiful authentic Russian music of the 60s. Everyone in the office looked embarrassed, looked at their shoes, said nothing, here was an American sitting and criticizing their pop culture as fake and even inspired by shit low level American culture and no one could get over their embarrassment to agree or disagree (other than my wife’s sister who agreed and did not look embarrassed.). It was probably a stupid thing to do.

      In a general way, yes, there are many, many sheeple worldwide, those easily led and mesmerized by empty soul sucking garbage. Those brought up in cultures were it is very unworthwhile to not be a sheeple. 19 million North Koreans, One murderous dictator and he is safe as a kitten in a pet store and can kill them off ten by ten at his whim..

      Pretty soon you and you are going to reach the 99% agreement level, about football, Yes, fishing (I was an addict, even tied my own flies as a kid) and politics and culture. And just think only about a month ago I thought you might have a slight screw loose!

      Oh, what are we going to do? I’ve never had such a feeling of foreboding about the future of my country. Am I just catching it, the general hysteria, hyperventilating?

      Pat, I want to DO something substantial, but what can I do, get a bumper sticker, post stuff on facebook, write essays here? What can I do short of getting that gun to play a real substantial part in changing this horrifying situation? If only I could get a message from the future and really know whether Trump was really going to morph into an American Mussolini I’d know what to do about that gun. (I’m not actually planning any such thing, just fantasizing).

      • Roby permalink
        March 13, 2016 2:58 pm

        “Pretty soon you and you” ha, ha, this typo is funny at least. Should be You and I.

  87. Pat Riot permalink
    March 13, 2016 2:25 pm

    Oh and don’t get me wrong about the NFL for instance. I’m practically an NFL historian. Slept with a football. Watched the slow-motion highlights as a kid. Played a thousand games of tackle in the old neighborhood. It has been difficult for me to look away, but I’ve had enough of that national distraction. And so I understand that one can be an upstanding bloke and watch football or soccer or whatever. It’s when the populace knows more about Peyton Manning or Lebron James than they do about their own real lives that’s it’s disgusting.

  88. Roby permalink
    March 13, 2016 3:04 pm

    Sanders put it right, Bravo!:

    “Sanders denies involvement with protestors: To talk about our organization or our campaign disrupting his meeting is a lie. Were there some people there? There were thousands of people, as I understand it. Some of them were supporters of mine, but, certainly, absolutely, we had nothing to do, our campaign had nothing to do with disrupting his meeting.

    Sanders asks supporters not to disrupt meetings: I think people have the right to protest. I do not like people disrupting anybody’s meetings. And I would hope that my supporters will not disrupt meetings. To protest is one thing. To disrupt is something else.”

    • March 13, 2016 4:35 pm

      Better late then never.

    • March 13, 2016 5:18 pm

      This is a good thing, if Sanders means it. I strongly believe that the “hard Left” (the Bill Ayres left, that is) is looking to use the idealistic Sanders supporters to engage the “angry right” Trump supporters in real violence, which would, of course, draw in BLM, Farrakhan supporters and other activist groups looking to create disturbance and force a major law enforcement response. If and when that happens, I’m afraid that 1968 will look tame by comparison and the establishment of both major parties will be helpless to stop the destruction that will occur. Even reasonable people of good will will feel obligated to choose sides and the idea that “we solve our problems at the ballot box” will be a quaint old idea.

      • March 13, 2016 5:52 pm

        Priscilla. When you believe the establishment of both parties will be helpless to stop the destruction when the BLM, Farrakhan and other activist groups that create disturbances, I guess I am living in a different time warp than most people. I think both parties are already helpless and in fact, I believe that both parties are the root cause of the disturbances that are taking place today. People are sick of the establishments on both sides and the only ones voting for those supported by the establishment are the ones that are directly benefited by the policies of the establishment.

        Just like in the 60’s with race riots and the massive demonstrations that led to deaths such as the students at Kent State, the parties did not listen to the mass of people then and they are not listening to the masses now. We have one party that is supporting every minority cause that anyone can think of. Abortion, LGBT rights the infringe on straights ( such as legal use of restrooms by the opposite sex if one “identifies” with that sex) gay marriage, welfare and healthcare for dependents of illegal immigrants and a host of other issues that the majority of citizens are beginning to find infringing on their rights. Then we have another party that wants the laws of the country enforced, such as immigration. They may accept LGBT behaviors, but find sharing restrooms with those of the opposite sex unacceptable. They may have no problem with abortion, but do not believe their tax money should be going to support those activities. And then there are those who have been impacted directly from incompetent trade policies and are fed up with the government wasting money on bad programs that do nothing but support a few hundred government workers and duplicate multiple programs already in force.

        Those are the people that you are finding at Trumps rallies. And the ones that benefit from the minority programs that now actively infringe on the majority rights are the one demonstrating, some not out of anger, but in many case out of fear of losing benefits they have now.

        I do not support Trump. I am scared to death of him. I will not vote for him nor will I vote for Hillary. I will vote for the Libertarian as no matter who they run, they will have to be more in tune with the majority of people than those two. I know they will not win, but if enough people do what I am planning to do, maybe they will have a much easier path to getting on all 50 state ballots in 2020 and maybe they can become a viable alternative to insanity in the future..

  89. March 13, 2016 7:22 pm

    Roby, and everyone, I don’t want a Trump presidency. I wouldn’t mind punching him in the nose if I could get away with it without his body guards slapping me silly. Numerous times I’ve pointed out his WWF history and mentality makes him unsuitable for the office of president. I’ve criticized his shady Trump University and his campaign lies; and I aligned myself with Louis CK, who said ‘Don’t vote for Trump.. It’s not healthy.”

    I wouldn’t vote for him as prez any more then I would let him pilot a jet plane I, or my family or friends were flying on. But though the messenger is screwed up doesn’t mean his core message isn’t relevant. If you distill out the inflammatory rhetoric and egotistic flamboyance, he’s addressing important issues that need national focus.

    The political fault lines in the Republican base Trump’s candidacy has revealed, showing the deep dissatisfaction with government of large numbers of the white American populace – a chasm of discontent that exists among Voters of both parties, evidenced by the mass defections of Democrats – isn’t going away.

    Those voters need a roost where they feel welcome. What happens to them after this election?

    • Roby permalink
      March 13, 2016 9:18 pm

      Jay, you are being perfectly rational, whereas I have overdone it and worked myself into a perfect snit. I need someone to pour cold rationality on my head, thanks for that.

      • March 14, 2016 9:09 am

        Roby, working oneself into a perfect snit is understandable these days. I read an article recently about how people have been going to their doctors complaining of undue stress caused by this election. I’ve actually been trying to take your advice and avoid watching or reading too much coverage of it….being the political junkie that I am, that tack isn’t working too well, but then I take Pat’s advice and focus on all the positive things still going on. And baseball will be starting soon!

        Just trying not to to climb into that handbasket, basically. Hang in there!

      • March 14, 2016 11:38 am

        RE political junkies:

        Yes, it’s a corrosive addiction.

        If Shakespeare was alive today and writing a modern version of Henry the Sixth, he immediately would change the dialog in Part 2 Act 4, Scene 2 to read: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the newscasters”

      • Roby permalink
        March 14, 2016 10:39 am

        I thank you very kindly for your calm and wise words Priscilla. My life is full of great things, and I live in a sheltered beautiful place that is just turning spring that is far from the crazy zone, so I really should calm down and let this go and worry about work and family and my pleasures. But I work in front of the computer, so I’m just one mouse click away from posting and reading and I have an obsessive element to my personality that is fascinated what is happening in a very dark way. But I will try, I will, I will. 🙂

    • March 13, 2016 10:04 pm

      Jay, you are right on the mark. Like you, I do not want a Trump presidency, but before his candidacy became the dumpster fire that it has become, I felt that he was speaking a lot of truth and reaching out to a huge swath of the electorate that has literally been left to struggle, and, moreover, made to shoulder the blame for their struggles – they get paid too much, they’re lazy and won’t take certain jobs, they don’t add to a corporation’s diversity, they have the wrong skills…..

      Immigrants and minorities have been encouraged to accept the government’s (that is the taxpayers’) largesse, to use the legal system to allege discrimination, to look at the US as a country that owes them something, rather than a country to which they owe gratitude and loyalty.

      Trump is the first politician to say, “hey, you working class and middle class white Americans have been jerked around big time, but nobody cares, because they’re all pandering to the minorities that vote for them. I’ll pander to you, because right now it’s your issues that are being ignored.” It’s more complicated than that, of course, but that’s why he is where he is.
      His authoritarianism appeals to people, because they are tired of waiting for things to be set right. (How long have politicians been talking about securing the fricking border and doing nothing about it?)

      So, no, I would not vote for him. But, we can’t continue to ignore his voters….well, I guess we can, but we may end up with something worse that a Trump presidency.

  90. March 14, 2016 1:02 am

    There’s an article from the NY Times relevant to our discussion, about Trump supporters in Florida. What’s eye opening is how many are switchover Democrats and Independents, and minorities.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/14/us/donald-trumps-tampa-office-is-an-unlikely-melting-pot.html?_r=0

    I hope it’s available to non subscribers…

    • March 14, 2016 9:26 am

      An excellent article, Jay, and one that explains not only the Dem crossover voters, but many millennial voters (one of them being my very intellectual and politically engaged youngest son, who began the primary season as a Rubio supporter) who have literally given up on politics as usual, and are willing to take a chance on someone who says that he will do things differently, better, and more fairly.

      My son has also pointed out that the left has always been about shouting people down, and that this has gone on on college campuses for several years now. Many colleges and universities will not even book conservative speakers, fearing the uproar that it will cause among students, who have been raised to believe that they don’t have to hear anything that disturbs them…..I guess the old “sticks and stones” thing no longer applies to these delicate flowers, who need safe zones from scary ideas.

      So the Chicago protest is just more of the same, just run by more professional – and more dangerous – activists. And many Trumpists feel that it is their right, maybe even their duty, to fight back, instead of meekly submit to these people.

      I found it interesting, and somewhat encouraging that that one woman in the article referred to trying it Trump’s way for “four years” and then “firing him” So, at least for most people, solving problems at the ballot box is still the American way 🙂

      • Roby permalink
        March 14, 2016 10:31 am

        “My son has also pointed out that the left has always been about shouting people down, and that this has gone on on college campuses for several years now. Many colleges and universities will not even book conservative speakers, fearing the uproar that it will cause among students, who have been raised to believe that they don’t have to hear anything that disturbs them…..I guess the old “sticks and stones” thing no longer applies to these delicate flowers, who need safe zones from scary ideas.”

        Yes, you have me there, its a good point that I have lived through and fought against, all I can say is that those are mostly very young immature people (with a few Howard Zinn Noam Chomsky wackos to lead them) and they are actually tiny in number, whereas these guys are not young and not tiny in number and most haven’t been on a college campus in years. Yes, its very bad that one tiny minority is irrational and gets its way on campus too often, 50 million people being irrational and trying to get their way seems to me far, far worse.

        To be fair, in the 60s there was, as we all know, huge turmoil, a mass movement of millions, and riots and violence, but at least I can understand what that was about, 50, 000 dead in the Vietnam war, many more wounded, and even many more driven mentally ill from what they went through, the draft was in place, I could have been next to be shipped off to south east asia to kill or be killed, the Ohio river caught fire, apartheid in the south was violently defended and civil rights workers were murdered. Hundreds of adult supposedly respectable people lined up to scream at and even threaten the life of a tiny 9 year old black girl being escorted into school. Those are powerful images. There were some good reasons to have a rebellion.

        This time the main word that I hear used most often to explain this anger is white. Are we supposed to lose our national civility because now its white people who feel used? The other factor is inequality of wealth and free trade. Does anyone have an actual plan to address inequality of wealth that passes the laugh test? Anger, as many have said, is not a plan. Suddenly Archie Bunker has joined the hippies at OWS and is just as mad as hell at the bankers and wall street as any radical english professor inappropriately teaching economics without any but the most superficial knowledge of what the GATT or World Bank is. At least the 60s protesters had specific goals that could actually be described and even sometimes accomplished. The people Trump has harnessed don’t as far as I can tell, other than a 4000 mile 20 foot high wall that is very likely to be an expensive pathetic failure, and are going to be even more wildly angry when they get nothing out of this whole mass insanity. I have always said that one of the worst things about the left is that they make promises they can’t possibly keep. Now Look!

        Seriously, when black people get upset their most irrational radical element burns down their neighborhood, pharmacies and all and we sit shaking our heads. But that is nothing, now when white people are upset, their most irrational element is gonna burn down the country itself, starting with Wall street led by a lying billionaire. The Civil war that people like Coulter and Bill Ayers have been fomenting is just about here. I just see nearly complete irrationality on a mass scale.

        As I have said many times, I talk on skype quite often with people in Ukraine who just went through a revolution and it turned out very very badly for them, all of them. They weren’t doing well before, now they are doing much, much worse.

        Bin Laden was trying to destroy us and it looks like his poison went way deeper than it even seemed.

      • March 14, 2016 2:59 pm

        Yep, the Breitbart thing has been yet another sign of the conservative/Republican crack-up.

        Here’s the thing: the Republicans have a no-win situation right now. They basically have to decide if they want to die by hanging, electrocution or lethal injection. In other words, the manner of death is their choice, but they die either way (figuratively, of course).

        Some say, nominate Trump and hope that he is telling the truth when he says that he will be a much better general election candidate than he is a primary one. That he can fight the left in a way that conservatives have not been able to, because they won’t stoop to the left’s tactics. And if he wins, the left is defeated, in the short term at least.

        Some say unite behind Cruz, a true, if unlikeable, conservative, try to soften him up with a likeable running mate like Rubio or Kasich, and, if he loses to Hillary (or Joe) we get another crack at it in 4 years. But at least we haven’t betrayed the ideals of the party, and the GOP continues to be the party of idealistic conservatism and constitutional government.

        Some say take this fight to a contested convention and give Mitt Romney another crack at the presidency. Maybe he couldn’t beat Obama, but surely Hillary?

        There will certainly be other scenarios, but the GOP will never be the same no matter how things turn out. And, if Jay is right- and I believe that he is – there will be a similar come-uppance on the other side, with perhaps a new party emerging over the next cycle………

  91. Roby permalink
    March 14, 2016 2:00 pm

    And then you have stuff like this, Trumps world not only resents the Ayers types, or disruptive protesters, its even resentment and physical mishandling of ?!Breitbart news reporters?!?. And its hardly even a ripple in the campaign and the Trump voters won’t care. We are in a morality and social norm free fall. Berlusconi, would be a dignified replacement.

    “NEW YORK — The Breitbart News reporter allegedly roughed up last week at a Donald Trump press conference has resigned from the conservative website, saying that she can’t work for an organization that doesn’t support her.

    Michelle Fields, who said that she was grabbed by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as she attempted to question the candidate last Tuesday in Florida, was joined in her resignation by a Breitbart editor, Ben Shapiro.

    Police in Jupiter, Florida, said Monday their investigation of the incident is ongoing. No charges have been filed.

    Lewandowski has denied the allegation. Trump told CNN that the incident, also witnessed by a reporter from The Washington Post, was probably “made up.”

    After initially publishing Fields’ account, Breitbart posted a story doubting its own reporter, saying the “likeliest explanation” is that Fields was grabbed by a security officer, not Lewandowski.

    Shapiro, in a lengthy statement first reported by BuzzFeed News, said Breitbart did nothing to support Fields outside of tepidly asking for an apology. “In the ultimate indignity, they undermined Michelle completely by running a poorly-evidenced conspiracy theory as their lead story,” Shapiro wrote.

    Shapiro called Breitbart’s chief executive, Stephen Bannon, a bully who has shaped the company into “Trump’s personal Pravda.”

    Bannon did not immediately return an email message asking for comment.

    Breitbart’s chief public relations representative, Kurt Bardella, dropped the company as a client on Friday.”

    • March 14, 2016 5:19 pm

      “Lewandowski has denied the allegation. Trump told CNN that the incident, also witnessed by a reporter from The Washington Post, was probably “made up.””

      There we go. Misinformation doubled.

      CNN is incorrect reporting that the WP reporter ‘also’ witnessed the incident. He is the ONLY witness. The Breitbart reporter didn’t see who yanked her. She asked the WP reporter, “Was that Cory (Lewandowski)?” And he said it was. Nobody else saw anything.

      Trump is incorrect stating the story was probably made up – someone yanked her; but she’s entirely relying on the WP reporter’s eye-witness assertion, so if anybody is making it up, it’s him.

      Breitbart’s assertion that the ‘likeliest explanation’ is Fields was grabbed by a security officer, not Trump’s aide, is likely true. The I’ve looked at the available videos and photos, and heard the WP reporter’s audio tape, and my impression after studying the time line sequence is that Lewandowski wasn’t close enough to Fields to do it. But there was a security guy there who could easily have been mistaken for Lew(too long to spell) – similar chunky body and dress – and the WP reporter could have gotten the eye witnessing wrong – not uncommon for reporters.

      So looking at it objectively, Breitbart was right. They didn’t join in the hoopla of condemnation their reporter wanted because the story doesn’t hold up. And if that’s right, they’ll never be praised for restraining from their usual conservative Super Market Tabloid overreaction, because as Trump supporters they will be accused of censoring truth over politics.

      Ms Fields will be the only short term winner here: she’ll end up working for higher pay at a liberal media news organization with oodles of sympathy for standing up to the forces of Conservative darkness. But her fellow reporter professionals are probably snorting up their sleeves at her initiating a criminal complaint for assault for getting her arm yanked when covering a story – the kind of wimpy response that went out of style when Lois Lane was more timid than Clark Kent, hiding under at desk at the Daily Planet.

      • Roby permalink
        March 14, 2016 8:48 pm

        Truth is the first casualty of war.

        But why should any member of Trump’s campaign be grabbing a reporter who was asking a question? Didn’t erstwhile Missouri professor Melissa Click lose her job for something like that, and rightfully so?

        These kinds of things happen because master media manipulator Trump loves making that impression, that he has a hyper rude hyper aggressive relationship with the press (and not only them). Live by the sword, die by it. His followers love that aggression, people like myself think he is a dangerous jerk who is breaking every convention of civility.

        You and I have much in common, but I have to say that thus far that we would seem to have very different ideas about how to treat a woman, breitbart reporter or not. Not an insult, just an observation.

      • March 14, 2016 9:56 pm

        “But why should any member of Trump’s campaign be grabbing a reporter who was asking a question?”

        I’d guess it was to keep her from moving into the aisle where Trump was moving. That’s stand operating procedure for the secret service operatives, and was the explanation given for why a secret service op guarding Trump last week body slammed a male reporter. Or maybe it wasn’t a security guard who grabbed, but someone else in the crowd trying to get a better view of Trump.

        “You and I have much in common, but I have to say that thus far that we would seem to have very different ideas about how to treat a woman, ”

        Do you think woman should be treated more deferentially when they’re engaged in the same kind of work as men? Would that apply for female combat soldiers on the battlefield? Lady cops carrying loaded weapons?

        In my younger days I worked as a reporter and editor for an upstate NY Weekly newspaper, (we actually took notes back then 📖 ) and got shoved and pushed and elbowed as much when trying to get a story as I was when playing roller-skate street hockey as a kid, growing up in Inwood-Washington Heights in Manhattan. Getting your arm yanked is no big deal. She should have sucked it up like a professional and not whined like a brat. And she certainly shouldn’t have told the Wasington Post reporter is was OK for him to go with the story – that was very Kim Kardashian of her.

      • March 15, 2016 12:31 am

        There is a difference between being tough, but fair and being a bully and overbearing to others you come in contact with. Corey Lewandowski has been known for years for his abrasive personality, lies and inappropriate campaign tactics. There is a pattern that has developed in this campaign that scares the hell out of me. We have a President today that does not want to hear many people give him recommendations that do not fit his own thinking. He wants “yes” people working for him and validating his thinking.

        But if Trump ever gets elected, one can see now what type of people he will surround himself with and they are not ones that rising government employees would want to work for long. You can not manage by fear. There will be constant turnover in staff and that will have a direct impact on the GOP for years to come. If or when another GOP nominee gets elected, there will be few political science graduates that have worked in lower level positions that will be ready for leadership staff positions, leaving a void in the white house staff, much like what we had when Carter was president.

        Trumps inner circle of advisers will be #1 a’holes that will make working in the white house a pure hell. Especially for women with the way Trump view females.

      • March 15, 2016 2:08 pm

        “Trumps inner circle of advisers will be #1 a’holes that will make working in the white house a pure hell. Especially for women with the way Trump view females.”

        I don’t want to be placed in the uncomfortable position of defending Trump, but women who have worked for him for many years in high paying executive positions have contrary opinions. They agree he can be boorish and sexist and blunt at times, but otherwise treats them as fairly and often better then his male employees, at least so this article and others out there implies:

        http://news.yahoo.com/whats-up-with-donald-trump-and-the-women-not-090043983.html

      • March 15, 2016 6:02 pm

        Sorry that i can’t get on the Trump bandwagon and defend this man. I guess my values do not allow me to get into the same mold that Trump has formed for himself. When we have had men like Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush 41 in the White House with high moral standards and then I see our leading candidates are Clinton and Trump, I have to begin questioning what has happened to our society over the past 20 years that has allowed the same thinking that was prevalent in the 50’s and prior to become the acceptable norm today. And if one can not see the parallels between Trump and many of the views held by bigots in the 50s and before, then this blindness will only grow.

      • March 15, 2016 12:34 am

        There is video tape evidence this happened and will be used int he case that is beign brought against Lewandowski. So if everything goes as planned, we might know the outcome of the case before the election.

      • March 15, 2016 9:45 am

        Ron, you have a link to that proof? I’ve looked at everything I could find via Google, and didn’t see anything to suggest the aide could have grabbed her.

      • March 15, 2016 1:09 pm

        I don’t have that clip as I was watching our local news and they were covering the story and played something that showed this happening. There is one on the New York Daily News website that has something that is suppose to show it, but I don’t see the actual grabbing happening.

        So the courts will have to decide as the lawyers will have techies analyze the video and have it ready fro any court case that happens. I do know she has filed suit against the person responsible and hopefully the court will expedite the case and not take two years to finalize something like so many cases take.

      • Roby permalink
        March 15, 2016 9:27 am

        Ron, I could not agree more with every word you said. I was sure that you and I would be on the same page as far as treating women goes. A man cannot be president who refers to his ladies as “a young beautiful piece of ass.” Its just grotesque. I would shoot any man like that who came around my daughters, but I would not have to, they would shoot him first. I’ll be amazed if Trump gets 35% of the female vote in the general. I am looking forward to the words “pathetic loser” being attached to him for the rest of his life come November. He is Icarus, flying too close to the sun, a bad end awaits. And women will deal that bad end.

        Justice grinds slow but exceedingly fine.

      • March 15, 2016 10:01 am

        Despite my comments about Ms. Fields and her bruise, I agree with you on Trump’s remarks about women, Roby. Trump is a pig.

      • March 15, 2016 1:03 pm

        I grew up in a family when strong women were the exception and not the norm. My grandmother worked in the shipyards during WW2 as a welder along side my grandfather when a shortage of workers created the need for alternative sources of labor. (She was featured in the June 1943 Ladies Home Journal in their coverage of women supporting the war effort). My mom and dad were 50-50 partners and my mother never took crap off any man, including my father. Lets just say i learned to respect women as the ones in my life earned and demanded respect. I have little respect for Donald Trump and less still for the Bimbo’s he weds as all they are after is the lime light and lavish living conditions in return for sex. Even the king of Jordan, where women as considered second class people in the Muslim world, treats his wife with more respect than Trump treats women in this country.

        Notice that the democrats are not saying much about the GOP primaries. Hillary has begun to talk about Trump, but they are salivating at the thought of Trump being the nominee. And in a way, so am I.

        There are so many juicy video clips of his insane comments that the left is going to have heyday. And maybe he will damage the party so badly that the likes of O’Connell and Boehner will never rise to the level they have that has created the mess we now have. Maybe there will be sane billionaires that will join forces and create the possibilities of a third party for the moderates that will allow the likes of Kasich, Webb (from Va) or even Rubio to have a reasonable chance of defeating the extremes of each party we are now faced with.

        I hate to say this, but I hope that the DOJ does not press charges on Hillary because a Sanders/Trump election would be a complete nightmare for this country.

      • March 15, 2016 1:55 pm

        A trial will be expensive. Makes you wonder who will be paying her legal fees. Disgruntled establishment Republicans or incensed Democratic Feminists?

        As a long time aficionado of courtroom drama TV, I’m guessing the trial, like Obama’s SCOTUS candidate, will be delayed until after the presidential election, and then quietly settled privately.

      • Roby permalink
        March 15, 2016 10:22 am

        “Trump is a pig.”

        Hear Hear! Maybe part of his brain is clever but there are other parts that could not be less clever. Many of his behaviours make me believe that he is either dumber than a box of rocks, or alternately, the presidency is not his actual goal. Also, he may just be mad as a hatter.

  92. Roby permalink
    March 14, 2016 10:30 pm

    Sometimes people just have to agree to disagree. Two professional and, ironically, conservative people just quit excellent jobs over a little ordinary newsy pushing? The transcript seems to show that something went big baraboom that should not have. But I don’t have time make this a full scale research project. I’m never gonna know the absolute truth.

    Fields: “Mr. Trump, you went after the late Scalia for affirmative action, do you — are you still against affirmative action?”
    Voice (allegedly Corey Lewandowski): “Excuse me, thank you.”
    A few moments later (noise of the room can be heard)…
    Terris: “You OK?”
    Fields: “Holy sh*t.”
    Terris: “Yea he just threw you.”
    Fields: “I can’t believe he just did that that was so hard. Was that Corey?”
    Terris: “Yeah, like, what threat were you?”
    Fields: “That was insane. You should have felt how hard he grabbed me. That’s insane. I’ve never had anyone do that to me from a campaign.”
    Terris: “Can I put that in my story?”
    Fields: “Yeah, go for it — that was really awful. That’s so unprofessional.”
    Terris: “He really just almost threw you on the ground.”
    Fields: “He literally went like this and was grabbing me down. “I don’t even want to do what he just did to me. Oh my God, that really spooked me that someone would do that.”
    Terris: “What threat were you?”
    Fields: “Nothing. I was asking about affirmative action.”
    Terris: “And he probably knows you, right?”
    Fields: “Yeah, I don’t understand. That looks horrible. You’re going after a Breitbart reporter, the people who are nicest to you?”
    Terris: “I know, I’m going to put it in my story.”

    Doesn’t sound like business as normal to me and it sounds consistent with the Trump way. When the Trump way is the brand you very deliberately market you may not get the benefit of the doubt so often. My sympathy is with the reporter. I have no idea what Kim Kardashian has to do with it.

  93. Pat Riot permalink
    March 14, 2016 10:33 pm

    Jay I agree with you that the arm yank got blown out of proportion, but so do most things in the Media. “Help, I’m being repressed…!”

    “Roller-skate street hockey”…If that was before roller blades, then I’m guessing you know about those white blisters on the bottom of your feet! Good times.

    • March 14, 2016 11:03 pm

      More then the blisters I remember the elbow and knee pavement scrapes.

      These were the kind of skates we had then; they came with a roller skate key, but you could never clamp them tight enough to keep from falling off, so we’d loop electrical tape around the front to hold them tight in place.

      https://www.google.com/search?q=old+fashioned+roller+skates+with+key&rlz=1C9BKJA_enUS672US672&hl=en-US&biw=1366&bih=909&prmd=sivn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwis2O-E1sHLAhVU42MKHUkzB88Q_AUIBygC#imgrc=P6pZKtMz1PdgRM%3A

      I’m sure Trump’s daddy bought him the more expensive kind, with lace up boots attached.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        March 15, 2016 9:51 pm

        “…the elbow and knee pavement scrapes.” Oh man I forgot about those!

        I now remember during the Wonder Years we would roll up our pant legs to compare our scrapes to see who had the biggest and most wounds. When the wound was fresh Dad would pour red Merthiolate or Mercurochrome on it (both long since banned by EPA for containing Mercury). And, when the hockey puck or ball went down the sewer inlet at the corner, we’d remove the heavy steel lid, hold the smallest kid by his feet and lower him down to retrieve it from the swill, and I don’t remember any hand washing occurring afterward. Yikes! Makes us sound like street urchins! We boys wore ties and “suit jackets” to Catholic school, so we were “upper low class,” haha.

        “Marathon kickball games” were great too! Sometimes until it was too dark to see the ball. Ah those pre-technology good ‘ole days!

        Thanks for the prompt down memory lane.

    • March 15, 2016 9:42 am

      I was such a wuss that I would never roller skate, because I was afraid of falling. We also had no sidewalks where I grew up, which I told myself was the reason for my reluctance. Although, lord knows, the street was so quiet that we were able to play marathon kickball games, without any concern that a car would drive through and interrupt…..

      I have my doubts about this whole arm yank thing, too. I’m guess that it is not at all uncommon for reporters to get pulled and pushed out of the way at these things, and Ms. Fields seems to be just fine, save for a wittle bwuise on her forearm. (Women in combat!! Yeah!!)

      Brietbart.com was once one of my go-to conservative news sites, but it has become a Trump propaganda outlet, and I’ve deleted it from my list. My guess is that Fields along with editor-at-large Ben Shapiro, a brilliant guy, for whom I have great respect, wanted an excuse to resign from Brietbart, and this was it. Rubio’s point that this incident is just another part of the pattern of thuggishness in the Trump campaign is still accurate, I think, although the actual incident seems a tempest in a teapot.

      • March 15, 2016 9:45 am

        Breitbart not Brietbart. I was misled by the cheese.

  94. Pat Riot permalink
    March 14, 2016 10:35 pm

    One of my favorite Monty Python bits of all time:

    • March 14, 2016 10:41 pm

      “Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords”….. I think the RNC might be wise to take this into consideration. Things may work out better.

      Thanks, Pat!

      • Roby permalink
        March 15, 2016 9:46 am

        “Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords”….. I think the RNC might be wise to take this into consideration. Things may work out better.

        Ha, made my Day!

    • March 14, 2016 11:08 pm

      Ha ha ha!
      Makes you yearn for a return of the monarchy!

  95. March 15, 2016 12:58 am

    One has to wonder if this is what Trump has in mind when he said on February 23rd ” they would be carried out on stretchers”

    http://www.facebook.com/CavernMuseum/posts/736401616412025:0

  96. March 15, 2016 9:20 pm

    Bye bye Marco, Bye Bye…

    • March 15, 2016 9:27 pm

      To put it in Trumpese, he got schlonged in Miami.
      And again, low Democratic turn out.

    • March 15, 2016 11:48 pm

      Will be interesting how the following elections go and where Rubio’s support end up. I would think many would migrate to Kasich since they both are more moderate compared to Cruz. It will also be interesting how Trump does in the coming primaries since most are closed primaries, meaning you have to be registered as a Republican to vote, so he will not have the massive numbers of independents and democrat crossovers voting for him. And most polls do not completely eliminate people who can not vote in one parties primary, so they really are not a good indication right now.

  97. March 16, 2016 11:32 am

    How do you unite the factionalized Senate and bring the Warren Democrats and Mike Lee Republicans together???

    Nominate Merrick Garland as the next SCOTUS judge.

    Talk about putting the screws to McConnell. Here is a judge so much closer to Scalia than Sotomayor or Gingsburg that is look like a Bush 41 or Bush 43 appointment.

    So we know “snake eyes” McConnell has a genetic guarantee for screwing up anything that comes across his desk, so I have no reason to believe he will not continue to block any appointment, leaving Hillary to appoint one of her extreme left judges that will insure liberal rule for years to come. And hers will not be 62 years old, hers will be in their early 50.s making sure they stay around for along time.

    But when the extremes of the Democrats and Republicans both would vote against Garland, the moderates know Obama did something right for once.

    • March 16, 2016 12:03 pm

      You’ve been batting 1.000 for quite a while.

    • March 16, 2016 12:24 pm

      71% of conservative Republicans do not want the hearings held. Overall 66% of Republicans don’t want them held.

      http://www.people-press.org/2016/02/22/majority-of-public-wants-senate-to-act-on-obamas-court-nominee/

      With all the anger directed at the Republican leadership for not keeping promises to their electorate, there’s no way they will backtrack now and hold those hearings until after the election.

      • Roby permalink
        March 16, 2016 1:07 pm

        More proof that conservatives are very often their own worst enemies. They should adopt Pogo as their symbol.

      • March 16, 2016 2:05 pm

        I agree.

        “Abiding in the midst of ignorance, thinking themselves wise and learned, fools go aimlessly hither and thither, like blind led by the blind.”
        — Katha Upanishad

        https://ironicman.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/blind-leading-the-blindjapangovenrment

      • March 16, 2016 2:14 pm

        The SCOTUS appointment is a minor side issue for now. There is every precedent for the Senate to refuse to give Garland a hearing, and there is no constitutional imperative for them to do so. If they end up with someone worse under President HRC , then it’s their problem to deal with…and by then we may have a Dem Senate anyway. Garland is left of center, he’s just a way better jurist than Kagan and Sotomayor, which is why Obama didn’t nominate him the last two times that he had a chance.

        So, count me as not very outraged by any of this. Just politics as usual. A nice move by Obama (he is nothing if not politically astute), but the Republicans should stand their ground on this one.

      • March 16, 2016 5:48 pm

        “There is every precedent for the Senate to refuse to give Garland a hearing,”

        Doesnt the historical record support the opposite position, Pricilla?

        “14 presidents have appointed 21 justices during presidential election years. A half-dozen presidents, classic lame ducks, filled Supreme Court seats even though their successors had been elected.”

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/02/29/one-third-of-all-u-s-presidents-appointed-a-supreme-court-justice-in-an-election-year/

        And for moderates this nominee seems like a good choice. I don’t want to wait for a more liberal justice there to rule on politically correct laws; nor a more conservative justice to tip us further right.

        For moderates and libertarians waiting for more ideologically-correct nominees is not a good choice. We’ll be affected negatively one way or the other, as always.

      • March 16, 2016 4:37 pm

        And that is why I like to call myself a Libertarian as 66% of republicans are living in a fantasy world if they really think Trump can win. I give him no better than 50-50 and that’s stretching it when you look at the states he has to carry. So given my position that it is better to get 50% of what you want instead of standing on principle and getting nothing, I support someone like Garland and would not bet that pick on Clinton not being able to fill the vacancy next January.

        I will agree that the promises O’connell made painted himself into a corner. That’s what happens when you put your mouth in gear before your brain, but he is noted for that. So all these Republicans got elected last election with the promise of Repealing Obamacare and people bought that. They forgot to tell the voters Obama was there to veto anything they did. They said they were going to cut spending, but they forgot they needed some Democrats to buy on or it would not pass the Senate. And they forgot that 2016 was an election year, so 1/2 way through the senate session in 2015, nothing controversial was going to be introduced to impact any establishment congressional member wanting to run for President. OOPS, they did not figure Trump into the equation.

        So now they are pissed off and are supporting a nut job that makes all these wild promises and none of them will get done as congress is the one making legislation and laws, not the President. But the majority of voters have no clue as to what the president can and can not do, so they think they are voting for someone with dictator power who can snap their fingers and the “King’s Court” marches out and reads the dictates to the populace.

        Maybe we need a civics test before allowing people to vote. More immigrant citizens know more about our government than our natural born citizens that have no clue as to what the gvernment can and can not do.

      • March 16, 2016 9:35 pm

        It’s pretty easy to argue both sides of this issue, but, like I said, it’s the right of the Senate to table this nomination if they choose. It’s a gamble for them really, especially in this crazy election year, but I am sure that after all of the times that Harry Reid stuck it to the GOP (passing O-care through reconciliation, nuking the filibuster, so that Democrats could pack the federal appellate courts with left-wing judges, refusing to allow a budget to come to the floor and be debated or passed for 6 years, etc) we can forgive the GOP Senate for not taking up a lame duck president’s SCOTUS nomination, especially this particular one, replacing the most steadfast constitutional conservative on the court. We’ll all survive if SCOTUS gets by with 8 justices for a bit.

        I leave you with Senator Joe Biden’s words from 1992, when there was concern that one of the Justices might retire (and George H.W. Bush was president: ” Were there a vacancy, Biden argued, Bush should “not name a nominee until after the November election is completed,” and if he did, “the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.””

        I think it makes sense.

      • March 16, 2016 10:48 pm

        I agree the Senate is not constitutionally bound to advise and consent in a timely fashion. They can stall as long as they want. In fact the Constitution doesn’t say they have to consent or advise in any particular time frame.

        In the same fashion, if Trump runs for president there’s a good chance that Republicans are going to lose control of the Senate; if Trump wins, Democrats may be in charge. Therefore,when Trump’s sends a nominee to the Senate, they too are under no obligation to hold hold hearings for as long Trump’s in office.

        The republican fools now in charge could incite future fools to greater dereliction of duty.

        This is why I hate the two party system. The dunces at both extremes screw those of us in the middle.

        And I leave you with these words from Orrin Hatch:

        “In May 2010, Sen Hatch publicly supported a potential Garland nomination to the Supreme Court, as reported by Reuters:

        A Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Thursday he would help moderate jurist Merrick Garland win Senate confirmation if President Barack Obama nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court.

        Senator Orrin Hatch said he had known the federal appeals court judge, seen as a leading contender for the Supreme Court, for years and that he would be “a consensus nominee.”
        Asked if Garland would win Senate confirmation with bipartisan support, Hatch told Reuters, “No question.”

        “I have no doubts that Garland would get a lot of (Senate) votes. And I will do my best to help him get them,” added Hatch.”

        You see the hypocracy?

      • March 16, 2016 11:53 pm

        Priscilla, I have no problem with the constitutionality with what the senate is doing. In a presidential election year when the GOP was running a ticket that had a good chance of defeating Clinton, it might be the right thing to do.

        So a Bush/Kasich…Kasich/Rubio…..Rudio/Kasich or even a Cruz/Kasich type ticket where the candidates are not mentally challanged would be in a position to send Clinton into retirement for good. And then they would be able to pick the judge.

        But when the apparent ticket will be Trump/??? the odds right now are not good that he will defeat Clinton. I see no way Kasich or Rubio would ever accept a VP slot, so that almost takes Ohio and Florida well off the list of states he might win. There are not enough old white lower middle class workers to elect Trump.

        So given that set of circumstances, the odds are good that any appointment Clinton makes will be one much more liberal than what is being offered.

        So i kind of relate this to winning the lottery. Do you take 100 million over 30 years to you or a beneficiary (if you die) or a reduced amount with a cash payout right now, lets say 65 million. Most people take the sure thing and take the 65 million. I say take the sure thing in the judge that is acceptable to most senators and not bet the store that Trump will win and offer anything better.

        I also do not trust Trump given his Democrat turn to /Moderate turn to Republican. He may appoint someone even worse that Garland. And he could also have a Democrat senate that would not accept any conservative judge as payback for the current senates actions.

        But I am in the minority as most GOP voters I know say resist and hold out. They are blind to the fact that compromise has to happen in Washington to get anything done.

      • March 17, 2016 10:15 am

        Lest I be tarred as a supporter of obstructionism, I will say that I agree with both of your arguments in favor of holding hearings for Judge Garland …..in theory, that is.

        In reality, here is what would happen. The hearings would become a political circus, in the midst of a presidential campaign. Obama has wisely chosen as his nominee a less than hardened ideologue, for once – there is a reason for that, and it is that he wants the Republicans to look like extremists, right in the midst of an election year when we will be choosing between P,T, Barnum and Aging Evita to be our next president..

        If Garland is so great (and I agree that he is a good choice) why did Obama pick two very, very inferior choices – particularly Elena Kagan, who was put on the Court for one reason: to support all of the constitutionally iffy laws and orders that she defended as as Solicitor General – over Garland in his first two chances? He had the right, of course, but my point is THIS IS ALL POLITICAL. 100%, and to argue otherwise is hard to do.

        Obama has had his chance to mold the Supreme Court to his ideological bent. The stupid Republicans allowed him to get two inferior and blatantly political choices on the court. Now that he’s nominated a respected jurist, for the express purpose of making the GOP look bad in an election year, they should not take the bait. That is all that I am saying.

        Jay, I agree that our 2 party system sucks right now. But it wasn’t always this way, and I don’t think it’s the fault of the system, but rather that the system has been corrupted. Probably to the point that it needs to be blown up completely. And that is the argument of many Trump supporters, who see his hostile takeover of the Republican Party as the beginning of the “revolution” I don’t agree with them, but I can see the validity of their argument.

  98. Roby permalink
    March 16, 2016 2:08 pm

    And Believe me, I don’t think conservatives are alone!

    • March 16, 2016 4:25 pm

      As far as conservatives being their own worst enemies? Abso-friggin’-lutely!!

      Trust me, as a conservative, I have been the target of more vitriol and hate from other conservatives, than I ever have from liberals. Liberals just think I’m stupid and crazy, or that I’m somehow brainwashed by Fox News or something. But Tru-Cons, as I call them, can get pretty nasty.

      • March 16, 2016 5:03 pm

        “But Tru-Cons, as I call them, can get pretty nasty.”

        Amen to that. I put those type of conservative’s in the same category as the old time KKK members that did not accept anyone’s race or religious beliefs unless they were white and protestant. There was no moderation or acceptance if you were of a different color or if you were Catholic, Jewish or Mormon. So the next time one of them is in your face and
        un-accepting of your positions, relate that to something in the past years ago.

  99. March 17, 2016 11:54 am

    A tangent to the Supreme Court discussion, but I just came across that information that thus far 7.5 million people have voted for Trump. Half the states have voted. And the republican primaries are the ones with High turnout. Just a little approximation gives me a ballpark estimate, ~30 million people will vote in the primaries this time. 165 million voted in the 2012 elections out of an estimated 225 million eligible voters. It looks like about 1/7th of eligible voters vote in the primaries. Presume that Trump will have won 15 million votes after primary season is over. The US population is ~320 million. 83 million voted in the 2014 mid terms.

    I’m not necessarily saying that I want the others to vote, they may be so out of it that they would pick someone worse than Trump.

    But still, 7.5 million people out of 320 million have voted for Trump and look at the result. If somehow 7.5 million moderate republicans would have said, God help us, and gone out and voted for Kasich where would we be now? Our vote Does count. Why do moderates not wake up and save us during primary season? Or Even Establishment republicans? All they had to do was pick a consensus and get 7.5 million voters to the polls and then the GOP would not be in the hole its in today. Boggles the mind.

    • March 17, 2016 1:05 pm

      “30 million people will vote in the primaries this time”

      Is that all voters or only Republican?
      Must be Republican only, right, because if Trump already has 7.5 million who voted for him,,he’ll probably double that before the primaries are over. That would mean half the primary Republicans will favor him. But everyone (the media) says he only is backed by a third of Republicans. ? ? ?

      • Roby permalink
        March 17, 2016 1:15 pm

        I meant all voters but made a math error, I was off by a factor of ~2. Its interesting that the state votes have mostly agreed with the polls anyhow, regardless of participation rate, which are taken of either eligible or likely voters. How do they figure out who is a likely voter? Ha, the first question they ask when they call, do you participate in any online discussions, if yes, they say good bye.

    • March 17, 2016 1:14 pm

      Roby..”All they had to do was pick a consensus and get 7.5 million voters to the polls and then the GOP would not be in the hole its in today. Boggles the mind.”

      Look at the Democrats and how united they are in their views. Then look at the GOP and how many factions of that party exist. (Establishment, Christian coalition, Tea Party, etc etc).

      So for instance, Cruz has the support of most of the Southern born again religious right and a large part of his campaign is religious based. How does that play to the northern GOP voter that is much less likely to buy into those views, but their needs are manufacturing jobs? And you can parse each segment of the GOP supporters and find one candidate that fits their needs, while the Democrats have one basic need and that is government.

      Trump has an ability to read people and the environment like no one before him has been able to do. While all the politicians have advisers and they lock into political issues that they have used for years to get individuals elected, Trump locked into 4 issues and you can not get him off those issues no matter how a question is asked. Immigration, Trade, Islam and jobs. Ask him anything and it comes back to one of these issues.

      That is why he is attracting the blue collar democrats and republicans and why he just might send the second half of the Washington cartel that has controlled DC for 26 year home.

      • March 17, 2016 4:28 pm

        Exactly, Ron. Trump – and to a lesser degree, Sanders – has tapped into a zeitgeist that the Washington leaders of both parties are completely oblivious too, focused as they are on donors and lobbyists and interest group voters.

        I recently discovered (like yesterday, actually), in a phone convo with my sister, that she will be voting for Trump in the NY primary. Now, I will describe my sister: 58 years old, married with 3 children (one daughter adopted from China), retired from an extremely successful big-time advertising career, worth abou t$10-12M in net worth. I mentioned in a previous comment a while back that I once met Hillary Clinton at my sister’s home, where my sis was hosting a fundraiser for Hillary’s Senate campaign. She has voted for Clinton, Gore, Bush, Obama and Romney. I often tease her and call her “The Unicorn” since she is that mythical creature – the “swing” voter.

        She says she will definitely vote Trump, because something has GOT to change in our country, and no other candidate will change anything (I presume she is eliminating Sanders as having any shot to win the presidency, but she wouldn’t want his type of change anyway, I guess). She thinks Trump is a runaway train, she doesn’t know whether to trust him or not, but she says she discounts all of the bull about him being Hitler and such, because, after all, we have all known Donald Trump for 40 years, through the gossip columns, TV, etc. Hell, Hillary went to his wedding! She’s not afraid of him, and she laughs off most of the bogeyman stuff. She says the worst thing that he can be is a really bad president, but that we’ve had really bad presidents for the last 16 years, so what is there to lose.

        She is not a poor, Southern white male racist. She is far from stupid or uneducated. She is a rich New Yorker, who socializes with other rich New Yorkers. She claims there are many like her, who won’t admit that they are voting Trump, because of the stigma attached to it, but they are.

        All of this is not to say that I agree with her, but to make the point that I’m not so sure that Trump might not be our next president…….

  100. Roby permalink
    March 17, 2016 8:47 pm

    Well, Hitler wasn’t a person, he was a situation. It isn’t Trump that terrifies me, its that such a large part of America is so desperate that they want trump and don’t care what he does. That situation has some parallel to other catastrophic leadership choices, Hitler, Mussolini.

    Baring another huge terrorist action I am very confident that Trump loses given the number of large groups that are against him, Wall street being just one example. I believe he will lose by at least ten points. I’d even bet on it and I am Not a better, but the odds are so poor that I would be risking much more than my prize.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-03-08/where-billionaires-line-up-on-donald-trump

    An excerpt:

    “Bloomberg is in good company as a business leader who has voiced concerns about Trump and his divisive campaign. Billionaire Barry Diller, a chairman and senior executive at InterActiveCorp and Expedia, told Bloomberg in an October interview that “all [Trump] is is a huckster” and that he’d either “move out of the country or join the resistance” if Trump becomes president.

    Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos recently tweeted the hashtag #sendDonaldtospace after Trump insulted The Washington Post, which is also owned by Bezos, suggesting he’d “reserve him a seat” on a rocket destined for outer space. Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard’s CEO, said in a statement last week that Trump was “unfit to be president” and that he would “take America on a dangerous journey.”

    And Stanley Druckenmiller, billionaire hedge fund manager and founder of Duquesne Capital Management, told CNBC in an interview last week that Trump “has a kindergartner-level view of economics.”

    “The stuff that comes out of his mouth just astonishes me,” he said, specifically citing Trump’s focus on Chinese currency devaluations as Beijing instead continues to prop up its yuan.

    This opposition to Trump is noteworthy, given the potential for America’s richest to get richer under a Trump White House.

    Trump’s tax proposal – which the Tax Policy Center estimates would slash $9.5 trillion from federal revenue streams over a 10-year period and add $11.2 trillion to the national debt by 2026 – would cut taxes at every income level.”

    • March 17, 2016 9:42 pm

      Yeah, but a Trump Presidency still sounds like fun.

      One minute I hate him; the next I want him. Like that Clash song:

  101. Roby permalink
    March 17, 2016 9:04 pm

    http://www.usnews.com/news/slideshows/china-terrorism-and-trump-the-top-10-threats-to-the-global-economy

    “China, Terrorism and Trump: The Top 10 Threats to the Global Economy
    A new assessment breaks down the biggest risks to international markets.

    The potential international economic risks associated with GOP front-runner Donald Trump winning the White House in November are equivalent to those posed by the threat of jihadi terrorism, according to a new analysis from The Economist Intelligence Unit.”

    “Kevin O’Marah, chief content officer at the supply chain-focused research organization SCM World, says Trump’s policies would be “absolutely disastrous to business, broadly.”

    “If you’d gotten tough on China 15 or 20 years ago, you could have prevented some of the job migrations. But that ship has sailed. Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he says. “The China thing is saber-rattling with an opponent – if you want to call China an opponent – that probably would have no trouble surviving a trade war with us.”

    Increased hostility and potential trade wars with Mexico and China, two of America’s largest trading partners, would have economic ramifications that would ripple well beyond just the U.S. economy. November is still several months away, and there’s no guarantee Trump will take the White House. But the EIU suggests the economic threat posed if he does is a very real one.”

    • March 17, 2016 10:50 pm

      If Obama can’t even get a Supreme Court nominee a hearing, how will Trump get anything enacted when both parties will obstruct him from day one…

      • Roby permalink
        March 17, 2016 10:59 pm

        There is actual stuff presidents have to do. Its not a system that worls without one of the three branches functioning. And the president controls the State Dept and the cabinet level departments. A complete dunce as president (out side of casino real estate skills and reality TV skills) could work incredible harm on many many fronts. As well, his supporters will riot on a regular basis on his suggestion once empowered by him winning. They are already beginning. Perhaps you are just playing devil’s advocate, but Jay, you’ve lost me, I don’t get you here. I don’t mean it as an insult or provocation, but we are living in different universes regarding trump and his movement and the not small number of his followers who are completely un wholesome..

      • March 18, 2016 12:24 am

        AMEN!!!!My question has been addressed!!!!!!!!!He can not get anything through congress.

        We need to fear Clinton more as she may have the Senate and be 50% on the way to getting her stuff approved.

  102. Roby permalink
    March 17, 2016 9:16 pm

    I Realize I am probably overdoing it, flooding TNM with my anti-Trump stuff when no one here is even a Trump supporter. OK, I am addicted to finding and sharing anti-trump essays and articles its part of convincing myself that Trump himself will not be around in my news a year from now even if his damage to my country will not just disappear. Every morning I watch the Daily show from the previous evening, and get the liberal millenial take on Trump, pretty harsh. But then I read the news in the day and the criticism from GOP leaders, conservatives, business people, is even stronger, they begin to sound like they have the same values as the liberals in comparison to Trump. I just don;t think there are enough secretly Trumping independents to beat the large majorities of women, minorities, Wall street insiders, business leaders and on and on.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/03/michael-gerson-trump-abyss-220925

    “Republicans risk falling into the abyss with their support of Donald Trump, the top speechwriter to George W. Bush warned Thursday.
    In a Facebook post in which he shared his Washington Post op-ed, Michael Gerson decried the Republican presidential front-runner for attacks that he said go beyond the establishment, going so far as to say that the Manhattan real-estate mogul is fundamentally altering the “way of doing politics based on persuasion, consensus, compassion and inclusion.”

    Gerson reflected on his piece Thursday morning, blasting Trump and his supporters’ “Tear it all down” ideology as tantamount to destroying American traditions and institutions that go back to the nation’s founding and going against everything he has “argued about politics and ideology for the last 30 years.”
    And he reserved his harshest criticism for Trump himself, slamming his “magical policy thinking, setting goals with no serious thought of how they might be achieved; his menacing encouragement of political violence; his disdain for ethnic and religious minorities, which has unleashed and emboldened racists and anti-Semites of every sort; his penchant for conspiracy theories, including a very dangerous vaccine denialism; his promises to conduct the war on terrorism by ordering war crimes, which would set up a constitutional crisis when the US military honorably refuses; his cynical manipulation of gullible religious leaders with tactics that border on blasphemy; his casual use of lies, which he defends even when exposed.”

    On Wednesday morning, Trump himself said that his top foreign policy adviser was himself, and he has not elaborated on his platform beyond declarations to “bomb the s— out of” the Islamic State and tweak existing international law in order to make it legally permissible for American military troops to resume waterboarding “and a hell of a lot worse.”
    Gerson remarked in his Facebook post that sometimes he wants to shake people (“intellectually, not physically”) who want political “disruption” and ask, “Disruption in favor of what? Look at what you are doing! Look at what you have done! The Republican Party is now firmly harnessed to the wild, uncontrollable horses of fear and exclusion. It has already sustained damage with Latino voters that may take a generation to undo.”
    He continued, “And now many Republicans will find rationalizations to support Trump. That is natural — the reality of politics in every time,” he continued. “Many people simply go with the winner. But this isn’t a normal time. I believe that the decision to support Trump, like an embarrassing tattoo, will follow them the rest of their lives. Republicans are not merely making a choice; they are looking into the abyss.”…

    • March 17, 2016 9:46 pm

      But Roby, the new Republican alternative is Cruz, a truly evil man who is way more likely to snatch away your moderate liberties and undermine your ability to play the guitar without religious limitations.

      • Roby permalink
        March 17, 2016 9:58 pm

        Jay, I decidedly want neither man, but I fear Trump more. I see nothing, absolutely nothing fun about him. He will break many more vital things than he repairs. revolutions go everywhere other than were their perpetrators intend and the unexpected collateral damage is huge. I have kids, you have kids, they will be the one’s to lose the most in a revolution. I already see the tone of Trumps revolution, its wretched. If you see any fun in this then you and I have an utterly different view. Two years into a Trump presidency I have a strong feeling that you would confess that you were having no fun and regret that you ever expected any. I’m taking this revolution syndrome very seriously, I don’t want it. Evolution, not revolution.

      • March 18, 2016 12:19 am

        OK I have read the first few comments that have been posted this evening about Trump, but this one makes me post this question based on the comment “He will break many more vital things than he repairs. revolutions go everywhere other than were their perpetrators intend and the unexpected collateral damage is huge.”

        Please expand on this comment to clarify some specific issues that you fear he will screw up. I still believe it takes congress to legislate anything the President wants to do. Now people wanting to do harm might begin to riot after is election, but if the majority of people vote him in, then the voice of America has been heard…..(I am sick of the minority of people dictating what the majority of people have to live with. 20% of people want reduced salt on food, so 80% have to buy potato chips that have reduced salt that taste like eating sawdust. 20% of people want reduced fat in meat, so 80% have to buy bacon that you have to add cooking oil to the pan and add salt to make it taste like bacon should taste). So blacks and minorities might demonstrate because they don’t like the outcome, but the majority of people voting would be heard.

        We have had Obama for 8 years and he has tried his hardest to screw up things, but it has taken congress to actually do it. Sure he signed the Iran deal and has some questionable E.O’s but that’s it. Congress is responsible for Obamacare and all the other problems we have today.

        For example of Trumps position:
        Rounding up illegals and sending them home….. Bet congress will not fund new boots on the ground running around the country and locking them up. Now enforcing the laws of the country may deport people when it is enforced, but who cares? If they get caught, fine, send them home. If employers have a huge penalty for hiring illegals and they fire them, fine. If they can’t get work and have to leave the country, fine. That’s the law. Enforce it!

        Border Wall and Mexico paying for it…There is no Mexican politician that would do that for fear of losing the next election or being shot by the cartel that owns them when the drugs they smuggle into the country becomes harder to get over the border.

        Trade Tariffs to penalize China and Mexico….last time I read the constitution, all trade deals have to be ratified by the senate.

        Ban on Muslims coming into the country.,,,,,The day he issues an E.O. that creates this ban, a court order will be issued to stay that directive and the next 3-4 years will be one court case after another until SCOTUS rules this invalid.

        Tax reform (costing billions and running up debt)….The president does not create a budget. Never has, never will. They can request certain thing be included, but the House creates the budget.

        Healthcare reform and repeal of Obamacare….Again, he does not create insurance reimbursement. He sends request to congress and they create the new program. Best they will do is modify the current program.

        Job Creation…Again, when was the last time a president created a job other than a few associates in the White House or a consultant here or there?

        Are we electing a King, or a President. If a President, everyone needs to read the constitution and see what their true powers are limited too.

      • March 18, 2016 1:22 am

        Yeah, Ron, if he gets elected (I doubt it but you never know) all the forces of establishment power, Democrat and Republican, will prevent him from him initiating any legislation harmful to their future interests. And if he petulantly messes around, they’ll destroy his wealth. I’m sure plans for that have already been set in motion –

      • Roby permalink
        March 17, 2016 10:36 pm

        As well, Cruz is no danger to any of my liberties that I can see. He’d do a lot of things I would not like but my liberties are safe. Any conservative president is a threat to abortion as currently defined, I’ll grant that. I can’t see what else he can get through congress or the Supreme court to curtail my free enjoyment of my liberties. What specifically are you concerned about? No one is going to make church mandatory for gods sake. A man who does not understand either economics other than at the level of casino real estate deals, or foreign policy at all cannot be president.

        I believe that neither Cruz nor Trump would be elected even without a GOP civil war, let alone with it, no matter how much the Clinton’s rub me and many other people the wrong way. In fact, as a bit of a non sequitur, an actual terrorist attack pre election would quite possibly send people running to the establishment as represented by the Clintons to protect them. We will see. I believe the odds are very long against anyone from the GOP side winning the presidency. I’ll gentleman’s bet anyone here for any non-monetary symbolic prize that the Dem candidate wins pretty easily.

      • March 17, 2016 11:11 pm

        Cruz isn’t evil, Jay, he’s just a phony, and not a particularly good one, at that. I

        He did figure out how to survive in this year of too many candidates and Donald Trump. And he got lucky in that, up until about a month ago, the tens of millions of Super PAC dollars spent by Jeb Bush were used to destroy not Trump, but Rubio, Cruz’s most dangerous rival ( and apparently everyone else’s). He also positioned himself as an outsider, in a year when outsiders ruled (how a sitting senator married to a Goldman-Sachs investment manager is an outsider, I don’t know, but he made it work),

        But I see no way that he is the nominee. The party will take Trump over him, unless he beats Trump outright, which is looking pretty much impossible. I think the ticket will be Trump/Kasich.

  103. Pat Riot permalink
    March 17, 2016 9:26 pm

    Priscilla, the “profile” of your sister as a non-stereotypical Trump supporter brings up important aspects of the Trump situation. Indeed it would be very interesting to know how many people are secretly planning to vote for Trump, but not voicing it in PC circles with friends and co-workers etc.

    Along the same lines, I have an acquaintance who has been a life-long Federal Gov’t worker. Conservative Republican. One could say she is part of “the establishment” (I agree that term is getting over-used and needs further delineation). One doesn’t have to be a one-percenter to be part of the establishment. She is all about Trump. When I ask her about the things Trump says, his abrasiveness, lack of tact, buffoonery, she compares him to Mayor Rizzo of Philadelphia (he was “rough” like a local Trump without the billions or millions) and she says, “he doesn’t have to speak well, or be the greatest person…he can be rough, as long as he gets things done…”

    I still smell a rat in this whole election process. It seems like overwhelming manipulation to me. Seems like most of the population is being herded like cattle. I’ll have to edit my explanation.

  104. Pat Riot permalink
    March 17, 2016 10:23 pm

    Part of my conspiracy fear:

    At some point prior to 2008, at some meeting, one of the spin doctors had to be the first to say, “I think