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An Open Letter to Republicans

March 30, 2017

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Dear Republicans:

 

I need to have a word with you, and this time it doesn’t concern Donald Trump. Of course, it’s easy to get distracted by the antics of a bizarre con-artist who might have conspired with Russia to throw the 2016 election. Maybe distraction is part of the plan. But Trump is only one man — an aging blowhard at that — while your numbers are legion. At least for now, I’m more concerned about you.

For example, I noticed the other day that your Republican-dominated Congress voted in favor of removing restrictions on killing Alaskan wolves and bears… including cubs and their mamas… including hibernating individuals sound asleep in their dens… using planes and traps if necessary… in NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES, of all places. I used to assume that a wildlife refuge was a place of refuge for wildlife. How obtuse of me.

I’m sure you have your reasons for wanting to murder these furry critters. I’d like to think you don’t really salivate at the prospect of blowing wolves and sleeping bears (and their cubs) to kingdom come, although I could be wrong. I know they’re predators (or potential predators, if you take the cubs into consideration). They prey on caribou, moose and other game animals that Alaskans like to kill for themselves. And I know you resent the federal government for protecting land and wildlife from private interests (all that beautiful timber, just sitting there, when it could be so much more useful in a sawmill!).

But something tells me you were especially eager to repeal the no-kill rule because it went into effect during the final months of the Obama administration. (Yes? Am I getting warm?)

Like an upstart lion that has just taken over a pride, you’ve wasted no time trying to kill the cubs sired by the deposed alpha male. It doesn’t seem to matter to you whether some of Obama’s cubs were worthy of survival — out they go, all of them! You’re relishing your power and asserting your dominance. I understand that. But maybe you should think twice about throwing out the good with the bad. Did it really steam your noodles to make health insurance available to people with pre-existing conditions (i.e., the people who need it most)? Did it grate against your Republican instincts to protect the wildlife in those wildlife refuges?

You seem to be in love with guns. You declared that even crazy people should own them, all the better to mow down mass quantities of unsuspecting citizens (preferably Democrats). You’re in love with money, of course, and you seem hellbent on transferring more of it from the beleaguered middle class to the flourishing business elite. You’ve cooperated with drug companies that cruelly price their life-saving products in the upper stratosphere. You stand steadfastly in opposition to science — especially climate change and evolution, because you’re a bit defensive about fossil fuels and the inerrant nature of the Bible. You’ve eliminated funding for Meals on Wheels and Big Bird, not to mention the arts. (How else are we going to build The Wall?)

You don’t quite know what to do with blacks, Hispanics, gays, feminists and Muslims. It makes you sad that we’re no longer living in Beaver Cleaver’s world, and I can understand the tinge of regret for the lost idyll of mid-20th century America: the innocence, the near-universal moral standards, the tight family and neighborly bonds, the patriotism, the sense of unity as clean-cut fellow Americans. We’re a fractured and often discordant culture, no doubt about it. And the cultural left keeps ramming more changes down your already-sore throats.

I suppose you enjoy thumbing your noses at those smug, sandal-wearing chardonnay-sippers, those coastal progressive snobs who ridicule your values and your spelling at every opportunity. I can’t entirely blame you; I know they can irritate the bejeezus out of you (and occasionally me).

But by destroying institutions and regulations that the elite left holds dear, you’re also hurting the loyal, unadorned folks who once represented the heart and soul of America. They’ve served in the military, labored hard for their wages, suffered financial breakdowns and still salute the flag. You’re letting them down.

Sometimes I have to wonder if your team has gone over to the dark side, deliberately enacting legislation that would appeal to Lucifer or at least Ebenezer Scrooge — the ornery, misanthropic, tightfisted Scrooge, not the Scrooge who gained enlightenment from the three spirits of Christmas. I know you’re tired of paying from your pocket to help people who can’t seem to help themselves — but try to remember that millions of those people actually voted for you. Even those who didn’t still deserve a chance to feed themselves and fight life-threatening illnesses without going broke. (If you haven’t noticed, serious medical treatment today looms beyond the financial reach of all but celebrities, CEOs and investment bankers.)

Are you willing to just let those uninsurable proletarians die and “decrease the surplus population,” in Scrooge’s memorable words? Can you observe their suffering from inside the walls of your gated communities — and are you enjoying it? Have you been reading too much Ayn Rand?

If you’re as Christian as I’d like to think you are, you won’t begrudge them a government-guaranteed helping hand instead of leaving them to the whims of the free market. (The free market isn’t free, and survival can’t depend on whims.)

I know that Democrats can be shrill and supercilious in their opposition to your policies. I can understand why you might want to put your hands over your ears and go “Na-na-na!” while they bleat about patriarchy, privilege and transgender locker room rights. But please be wise enough to separate the bogus from the beneficial. Be big enough to listen to their legitimate grievances. You don’t have to agree — just listen. They’re not the enemy. They’re your fellow Americans.

Eisenhower, model Republican that he was, would have understood. He embodied both strength of character and ordinary human decency. He possessed a generous spirit moderated by classic American pragmatism. He was president of all the people, not just the Republicans.

My final word of advice to you: be more like Ike.

Thank you,

The New Moderate

 

Coming soon: “An Open Letter to Democrats.”

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate and the author of the recently published e-book, Lifestyles of the Doomed.

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1,044 Comments leave one →
  1. Roby permalink
    March 30, 2017 10:01 am

    Oh my. You have stepped in it this time!

    Why did the Obama climate change policies have to be wiped out at a stroke of a pen? My Theory, that occurred right after the health care debacle that saw trumps popularity sink to a new set of lows, which at this point can only happen when conservative leave him, because there is almost no approval coming from the dem/lib side. So, trump was hoping to throw something to the conservative to make them love him again and climate change seemed like a good move.

    I see stories on my news feed such as Why did the GOP just vote to remove protections on selling your personal information?

    Well, why? I’m sure there is some good reason why America will be greater when my personal information can more easily be sold. Oh, I know that under closer inspection this can be somehow blamed on Obama, or it didn’t really happen, or the dog ate their homework, or something.

    And, lest anyone believe that I have it in only for the GOP, a facebook post appeared yesterday from a friend of a relative that listed Bernies wonderful 11 point plan to fix America and I nearly threw up. I could support 1 point. The other ten were a fantasy and a recipe for A) a civil war, B) a 4 trillion dollar deficit, and C), a recipe for a depression. So, the primary voters of both parties as a group are completely nuts. The trump presidency has been completely nuts and it will either continue for the full 8 years and/or be followed by a dem presidency that is completely nuts from the other direction. We have cancer, either it will continue or go into remission only to be followed by a heart attack. The patient will require a miracle to survive.

    I guess the chances that anyone from either party will sit down and figure out something practical, like how to make medicare continue to work for the 65+ population is just a lost cause.

    • Rick permalink
      March 30, 2017 2:40 pm

      Roby, I’m convinced we need a third party now, if only to subvert the perpetual “us vs. them” factionalism of the current partisans — and their insistence on ideological purity.

      I’m all too aware of the follies on the left, of course, and they’ll have their turn. Right now, I’m waiting for Dave’s assault, and I have a feeling Priscilla won’t be pleased, either — although she’s too good a friend to hold a grudge. I wonder if I’ll actually persuade anyone on the Republican side.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 30, 2017 5:01 pm

        What assault ?

        I think you are hypersensitive to the right.

        I also think you confuse the “deconstruction of government” which I see as a tremendous good, as somehow evil.

        Yes I want to see business and all of us more free. But contra the left.
        That is NOT what big business wants.

        Yes, I think that free people sometimes make mistakes.
        Still we are better off more free than less free and government makes plenty of mistakes – with worse consequences than free individuals.

        Regardless, I am far more worried by the right when they are trying to make new laws, than dismembering the old ones.

        As to shredding all of Obama’s “legacy”.

        Average US growth for the 19th century was 7%, for the 20th 3.5%, for the 21st 2%, For Obama about 1.8%.

        The last time the economy was this weak and anemic for this long was the last time a progressive republican tanked the economy and was followed by a progressive democrat who kept it their.

        I liked Obama as a person – mostly.
        But his policies were disasterous. The sooner gone the better.

        Regardless, Obama and the left had their 8 year shot to fix things.
        Instead they made things worse.

        Trump has been elected and he will be judged in 2018 and 2020 based on the economy.

        If the things he is doing right now are truly bad for the country – we will know that and Republicans will pay in 2018 and 2020.

        If on the other hand the Obama regulations and policies being gutted were holding us back. We will also know that and it will be democrats in trouble.

        Personally I am mostly concerned about republicans at the moment.
        Democrats are increasingly irrelevant, and clueless.
        They are preparing to follow Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders off a cliff.

        Those marching to that cliff like lemmings are loud and numerous – but neither loud enough nor numerous enough to effect anything.

        I am watching carefully what Republicans do. that is what matters right now.
        I am not under the delusion they can not screw things up.
        I fully expect them to screw much up.

        I am just hoping they get enough right to improve the rate of increase in standard of living. Without stupidly demanding too much of our freedom to do so.

        I am not in agreement with your specific attacks on Republicans.

        In fact thus far outside of Sessions I have been very impressed by Trump.
        But I am watching cautiously.

        With very few exceptions I want Trump to keep his campaign promises – in the form he has tried thus far.

        Not because I agree with everything he is looking to do.
        But because the way he keeps his campaign promises reflects how much I can trust him on other things.

        I am an open boarders person. I am opposed to the immigration EO.
        But I am impressed that he has tried to keep his promise, and that he has done so in what despite the super hype of the left has been an extremely reasonable way.

        Trump also promissed he would oblitaerate ISIS and then stay out of conflicts in the mideast where our Interests were not involved.

        I would prefer that he left ISIS to the mideasten nations.
        But I do care to see is most out of the rest of the mideast.

        Bushes ventures into the mideast have been an economic and political disaster.
        Obama promised changed and if anything was worse than Bush – if it is even possible to distinguish them.

        I think we should cut a couple of hundred billion from defense spending – not increase it but 54B.

        I do nto think it is much of a secret how I feel about govenrment spending.

        But I can live – for the moment with republican crap on defense spending.

        If we quit F’ing up throughout the mideast.

        We have had two big wars with the mideast in the past two decades.
        GWII, and OPEC vs. Permian Basin Frackers.
        The first was a disaster. The second a triumph.
        The first was bloody all around.
        In the 2nd the US is far better off, far less dependent on unstable countries in the rest of the world and actually exporting oil.
        The second was fought and won – decisively, with the active interferance of the US government.

        And Trumps evisceration of the Obama Climate Nazi’s will ensure that remains the case in the future.

        A higher standard of living means producing greater value at lower human cost. $40/bbl oil means a higher standard of living.

        Obama could have delivered that.
        He failed.
        Good ridance.

      • March 31, 2017 4:09 pm

        Dave: Thank you for not assaulting me, although the sheer number of words makes it difficult for me to respond without taking notes. (I don’t have time to take notes, so I’ll just write you a general reply here.)

        I didn’t vote for Trump, but I actually favored several of his campaign promises. It seemed, for a while, that he was a populist who would try to break the influence of big money on politics, rebuild our tattered middle class and focus on our internal problems rather than try to police the world. So much for promises.

        So far, he’s staffed his cabinet with moneyed insiders poised to wreck their respective departments, proposed tax cuts for the rich (while cutting programs that help the less well-off) and called for a huge increase in military spending. Then, of course, there’s The Wall — Trump’s Folly. (Illegal immigrants will be using boats and planes in the future.)

        But my message was directed primarily at Republican politicians who, like those male lions, seemed to take positive delight in destroying anything sired by Obama. Granted, Obamacare is a strange and probably unsustainable program, but at least it extended coverage to people who would have been considered uninsurable. Ryan’s healthcare plan would have been disastrous.

        As for the environmental protections, I still can’t believe any observant person can be a climate change denialist when 16 of the past 17 years have been the hottest on record. Glaciers are melting, the warming sea is killing massive coral reefs, and the cherry trees are blooming nearly a month in advance. The only question is how much of the change is caused by human activity, not whether it’s actually changing.

        And why cling to fossil fuels instead of investing in clean energy that will provide far more jobs while it helps retard global warming? I suspect it has something to do with the fact that Republicans instinctively loathe smarmy environmentalists like Al Gore. Let’s divorce the issue from personalities and politics; we need to stop ravaging this planet, because we’re not ready to be colonizing other worlds just yet.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 1, 2017 10:21 am

        I do not organize my comments – why would I expect you to organize your replies.

        My assessment of Trump’s campaign is much as yours.

        My assessment of his presidency is that he is doing what he promised.

        He has put into his administration people who have real world experience successfully running lean and successful operations. Those people tend to have done well for themselves. They are not to my knowledge large political contributors. Trump does nto appear to be running a patronage government.

        I vascillate between beleiving Trump is brilliant on a level the rest of us do not comprehend, and just incredibly lucky. Regardless, many of what appears to be his “mistakes” turn into opportunities.

        I have ZERO problems with his eviscerating government. Aside from my own ideological views – every single past successful effort at rolling back government has produced rewards for decades after.

        Past that Trump is fixated on getting the economy going. slashing regulation will help, tax cuts will help, slashing spending will help.

        I and anyone who is numerate would gladly trade all of our social safetynet programs for a 1% year over year improvement in standard of living.

        This is where you and I part company. Like it or not, the impact of specific types of taxes is relatively well understood. The impact of specific types of spending are also relatively well understood. The impacts of regulation are relatively well understood.

        Starting with Carter we had Three presidents who prioritized the economy over government – Carter, Reagan, Clinton. While each made some mistakes in other areas – the benfit to the entire country was enormous.

        We subsequently had two presidents who had other agenda’s that trumped the economy – and things went to hell.

        We had over 3.5% Growth from 1980-200, we averaged 2% since 2000.

        What does it take before YOU – whatever you want to label yourself grasp that big government is the problem, not the solution ?

        That regulation makes us poorer.
        That “taxing the rich” – if that is how you have to label it – makes us poorer,
        That government spending – even “safetynet spending” makes us poorer.

        My “ideology” was not all that different from yours a couple of decades ago.

        But I have watched what worked and what did not – and then searched for the information about it.

        We actually know what works – with a fairly high degree of certainty.
        I found it amazing that despite the heavy left shift of academia, and the fairly heavy left shift of government that the overwhelming majority of economists regardless of what they call themselves, are dubious of high taxes – particularly on investment, are dubious of regulations, and are dubious of govenrment spending.
        Aside from concensus, there is also facts and data.

        We live in the real world – as noted above the incentive for politicians is to do something – even when nothing needs done.
        Absolutely politicians can always find some prominent guru to offer a plan that allows then to do what they want to do anyway.

        Absolutley if you shop hard enough you can find someone with credentials to argue for whatever you want to do – right left, center.

        But everything is NOT a matter of opinion. Everyone is entitled to have and express their opinion – but all opinions are NOT equal.

        Frankly I think the ideology of the left is far LESS plausible today.

        When Reagan was elected we did nto have the internet as today.
        It was not possible for ordinary people to easily get information from primary sources.

        Today, it is far less excusable to buy into crap that does not work.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 1, 2017 10:38 am

        Looking at our economy as Trump inherited it.

        The post 2008 recovery was very unusual in the normally small business significantly leads every economic recovery and big business lags.

        But since 2009 Big Business has done fine – small business by nearly every measure is in the dumps. As a result we have very low labor force participation, low growth and a fragile economy.

        That big business is doing well should not be a surprise – you and I are absolutely agreed that there is an incestuous relationship between big business and government.

        What we do not agree on is the solution.

        You think more regulation is needed – yet big business benefits from regulation.
        Has Dodd Frank or Sarb-Ox harmed big business ?
        Regulatory compliance is a relatively cheap price for a big business to pay in return for barriers to entry that make it essentially a regulated public monopoly.

        I can tell you that what big business fears most is competition – particularly from the bottom. I can tell you that big business excercises sufficient control over regulation to assure that it will never really harm them, or that the price for ignoring regulation will be low.

        But in the end the facts speak for themselves. Post 2008 the left regulated the crap out of us – and big business is doing fine – small business is not, and as a result our prospects are dim. We are surely and unhappy.

        The cure for what ails us is NOT a deeper and broader social safety net, more regulation, bigger government, more spending and more taxes on the rich.

        That did not work in the 30’s and it did not work in 2009.

        It did not work for Cuba, or Venezuela.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 1, 2017 11:08 am

        Why cling to fossil fuels ?

        Who is doing that ? That is not even the question.

        The question is “why is government deciding what fuels we should use ?”

        We have switched fuels myriads of times in the past – we have done so even when that switch increased our energy costs – we have done it on our own – when the benefits to us were sufficient and our standard of living was sufficient to afford it.

        That is part of why this ludicrous concept of positive rights is so evil.

        We are not entitled to clean air or water – we have those things as a result of our own effort – because our standard of living is high enough that we can afford those.
        They are not a right. They are something we earned by being highly productive.

        I have zero doubt we will shift to different energy in the future – I doubt that is soon.
        Because the facts are that alternative sources are not close to ready – and massive govenrment regulation is not going to make them ready sooner.

        Another stupid fallacy of the left – that spending lots of money is the same as “investment”.

        As to “global warming” – I am sorry here, but frankly, I think at this time anyone who still beleives in that hoax should be wearing a dunce cap.

        Yes, those on the right “instinctively” loath environmentalists – not because they loath the environment – but because environmentalism has been taken over by lunatics from the left who continually seek to use it as a vehicle to advance left wing ideology not actual environmental concerns.

        I knew before you wrote your post that north american forests are growing – and that most of that growth is in private commercial forests – not federal or state forests.

        I also knew that our forest conservation policy since the begining of the 20th century has been disasterous. That most forest fires are natural not man made and that they form an important natural function. That imposing our ideas of what was needed to protect the forests had actually made them more fragile – BTW exactly the same thing is true of desertification, it has taken us 70 years to learn that the very things we have sought to prevent – the burning, trampling and over grazing of grasslands are exactly what they need to thrive.

        I did not know that as we have scaled back logging the increased destruction of forests – in both alaska and the lower 48 by fires has been 4 times larger than the decrease from logging.

        The bottom line is that nature does nto work at all like left wing nuts – even highly educated and credentialed left wing nuts think .

        Not a single malthusian left wing nut prediction has ever occurred.
        There is no “silent spring”, the population bomb was a dud,
        peak oil I, II, III, …. have all been fizzels gas costs less today adjusted for inflation than in 1970, and the global proven oil reserves at current rates of consumption will last longer than ever.

        It is self evident that the planet has barely warmed in 20 years – if it has warmed at all.

        It is also increasingly obvious over time that the impact of warming – in the unlikely event we were to get it would be NET positive.

        So no I am not interested in this left wing nut nonsense about “ravaging the planet”.
        Those who have been repeatedly wrong about everything have absolutely zero credibility.

        John D. Rockefeller did more good for the world – for the poor though his success with Standard Oil than Mother Theresa.

        Those people who rant about robber barons and evil exploiters – are the ones who are actually evil.

        I do not care what you “feel” about the planet ot the poor or the most vulnerable among us.

        I care what you have done. The consequences of the actions of those who purportedly care have universally been bad. While the consequences of the actions of those who you berate the most have been near universally good.

        Jesus did not say – when did you feel for me while in prison ? or when did you steal from others to feed me. He did judge us for our virtue signaling. He said we will be judged by our actions.

        By that critieria, those on the left and environmentalists are a disaster, and the people they accuse of raping pillaging and burning are often hero’s.

        Regardless, until you open your eyes and see the world as it truly is, your judgement has little value.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 1, 2017 12:29 pm

        Rick;

        I would strongly recomend reading Julian Simons “The Ultimate Resource II”
        https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Resource-Julian-Lincoln-Simon/dp/0691003815

        Unfortunately it only goes to 1998.
        But nothing of consequnce has not conformed with the data Simon collected then.

        The book is a massive compendium of the actual data in the various subject of the assorted malthusian prognoistications of the prior 3 decades.

        It is essentially the data based refutation of the assertion that we are “raping our planet”.

        The only think controvesial about the book is the arguments,
        No one actually disagrees with Simon’s data.

        One of the things Simon points out is that periodically assorted end of the world claims gain media attention.

        Subsequently – often over years, they are explored and the data demonstrates they are false. There are no big media retractions. Often all but a few scientists in the narrow part of the field that determined that the meme was false continue to beleive the nonsensical claim that has long been refuted.

        You could likely poll scientists today and go through a long list of high profile claims of impending disaster that have all subsequently been disproven – and not merely does the public, and politicians, but even most scientists continue to beleive them.

    • dhlii permalink
      March 30, 2017 4:25 pm

      Obama’s climate change policies needed wiped out with a stroke of a pen because the are fraud.

      Trump campaigned against the hoax of climate change.
      The process of reigning in EPA and NASA on climate change began as Trump took office and had nothing to do with PPACA.

      We have spent more than 100B on this hoax. It is well past time to end this nonsense.

    • dhlii permalink
      March 30, 2017 4:32 pm

      Why do you presume that every law or regulation with a pleasant sounding name is inherently good ?

      Why do you presume that when government steps in an says it is doing X that it is actually doing X or that there are actually good consequences of it doing X ?

      If you wish to protect your personal data – don’t git it out willy nilly – that is up to you.

      This is just about the only place in the world I post under my own ID, and even here I am using an email that is exclusively for Blog posts.

      Regardless, I am far more concerned about what the government is colecting about me than what Amazon is.

      Amazon wants to figure what I am going to want int he future and make sure that it is ready even before I know what I want.
      There is only one way I can conceive the information Amazon is collecting on me can be harmful to me – and that is in the hands of government.

      I do not care what amazon collects or how Amazon uses it.
      If Amazon uses what it knows in a way that is troubling – it will get punished by the market and it knows it.

      What I care about is that government can get at the information Amazon is colecting easily – without a warrant.

      You worry about the wrong thing.

      When was the last time any business killed someone ?

      Our government likely killed someone today.

      • March 30, 2017 6:26 pm

        Lordy, off your meds today?

        Paranoia is really a psychiatric condition.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 31, 2017 10:51 am

        Moogie
        No meds, no paranoia.
        Just noting, it makes far more sense to be concerned about what people who actually have the power to take away your liberty and life might do with your private information, that what those who provide you with bread or flats screens might do.

      • March 31, 2017 11:37 am

        Agreed, Dave. And, it’s funny….what happened to all of the left-leaning libertarians? Other than Glen Greenwald and Matt Taibbi, I never read anything by left-wing writers about government intrusion on privacy rights.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 31, 2017 4:25 pm

        I am a big fan of Glenn Grenwald – though I sometimes disagree,

        One rare occasions Matt Yeglasias gets things right.

        As to where are the “left” libertarians – try here.
        http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/

        At the same time I would note that libertarians are inherently “left”
        They are for individual liberty

        I would also note that just because I do not beleive government should step into something does not mean I am giving my impramateur to whatever conduct free people might pursue.

        As an example – government is barred from discriminating.
        Individuals and businesses are not.

        Government can not have different laws for blacks and whites, gays and straights or transgendered or …

        A business can (and must be able to ) discriminate as it pleases.

        And if I do not like how they choose – I can boycott them.

        Gay, straight, black white, transgendered, catholic, jew, athiest

        You have exactly the same rights, and government must protect them the same.

        I care how you conduct your life – but I have no actual say, except where your actions reduce the liberties of others.

        I think that is very liberal.

  2. March 30, 2017 10:07 am

    I love this post, so I guess the Righties will hate it. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Rick permalink
      March 30, 2017 2:45 pm

      I tried to be a little sympathetic, but yeah — our conservative friends will probably heap infamy upon me.

      • March 30, 2017 9:09 pm

        Turnabout is fair play. You owe us righties now. 😉

      • March 31, 2017 4:13 pm

        Stay tuned for my next column, Priscilla. I’ll probably lose a few liberal friends over that one (assuming they read it).

  3. Roby permalink
    March 30, 2017 10:12 am

    BTW, if that is your handwriting above, an online analysis revealed that you are indecisive, literary, a natural born balancer, too liberal, and in deep shit with conservatives on this site at the moment. (that’s just a little joke, I did not actually go to an online handwriting analysis site and paste in your signature and thus invade your privacy by throwing your personal information around online. I’m not a free market conservative so I would not do such a thing! But, be careful what you display online, they are out there and they are hunting, with the aid and sympathy of the GOP apparently)

    • Rick permalink
      March 30, 2017 2:54 pm

      It’s my handwriting, so I’m fair game for prying robocams (or whatever they use). My attitude is “let ’em snoop.”

    • dhlii permalink
      March 30, 2017 5:05 pm

      So Rick posts his signature – and you think that taking something rick has made public, feeding it to a handwriting analysis site is an invasion of his privacy ?

      Are voodoo dolls and ouija boards invasions of privacy ?

      Or is there something I do not understand in your post ?

      • Roby permalink
        March 31, 2017 10:39 am

        Humor.

  4. March 30, 2017 11:07 am

    Finally. ’bout time you took the gloves off with the Republicans. They don’t deserve sanctuary, these days. The words “cruel” and “mean-spirited” fly to my lips with every unfolding story of their assholery, these days.

    “Sometimes I have to wonder if your team has gone over to the dark side…” THIS. These days, I don’t wonder it “sometimes.” I wonder it just about every day.

    • dhlii permalink
      March 30, 2017 5:15 pm

      I hope we are all paying close attention to Republicans.

      I am atleast as worried as the rest of you.

      I voted for Johnson. I am happy the “lessor evil” won.
      I did not say truth and light triumphed.

      At the same time if the left is whigged out over what Trump has actually done those far since the election – then the left is in a bubble – but then that is self evident.

      “Deconstructing the administrative state” is going to result in some results that make good sound bites for the left.

      I do not get the appeal of hunting bears in helicopters. I think you you are trying to prove your “hand size” by hunting bears – that you should have to do it alone in the woods at night with a slingshot. That would impress me.

      But I am not getting bent out of shape over the first real serious effort we have seen to reign in the federal government in decades.

      Frankly I hope it is contageous and spreads to the states.

      If Rick or the actual left wants to piss over Republicans – be my guest.
      I beleive in free speech.
      And republicans with real power is only slightly less scary than democrats with real power.

      Mostly I would prefer gridlock- decades of it would be nice.
      that is far less dnageorous than legislators doing something.

      As Franklin noted

      No mans life or liberty is safe while the legislature is in session.

    • March 31, 2017 6:13 pm

      Cougrrl: Today’s Republicans are probably motivated more by a desire to strike back against the Democrats than by an actual desire to be evil. It’s factionalism — a fight to the death. The GOP folks know they’ll give the liberals a collective stroke by sticking it to poor people, cutting taxes on the rich, and ending environmental protections, and that makes them happy.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 1, 2017 12:46 pm

        Honestly Rick, though I have less trust of politicians to do the right thing – by far than you.
        I also have less beleif that their primary motives are to screw the other guy.

        Republicans did oppose Obama’s policies – because they beleived they were wrong.

        Democrats are opposing Trumps – because they beleive they are wrong.

        In my view the fundimental distinction ties to the distinctions between the core essentially “instincts” of the right and left.

        Again I would refer you to Prof, Haidt’s moral foundations.

        The left is driven by the desire to feel virtuous.
        Those on the left beleive that if they do what feels like it should help others – that it will help others. They truly beleive that, and they beleive it without regard to evidence to the contrary.

        The right is driven by disgust and order. During my lifetime disgust has diminished as a driver for the right – hence tolerance if not support for gays. But order is still an important appeal to the right.

        Further the influence of libertarians on the right has increased over time.
        Hence the right is more fiscal conservative, limited government,

        We have tended to oscillate between left and right – because the left has more powerful appeals. Emotions are very strong. And because immediate benfits and delayed or hidden costs are appealing.
        But over the long run these fail.

        Obama and democrats swept the political landscape in 2008 – because government had clearly failed – catastrophically, and republicans had the misfortune of being in power when that failure occurred. Arguably many were also complicit.

        Subsequently the left failed. We did not get recovery, PPACA is still not strongly supported. All the Obama legacy that Trump is brushing away to the great anger of the left, is so easily discarded because it does NOT have broad public and strong support.

        While there is an element of war. The objective of each party is less to harm the other. but to succeed. And each beleives success is accomplished in a radically different way.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 1, 2017 1:00 pm

        Do you really think Trump is ending environmental (non)protections – because that makes him happy ?

        I do get very tired of this presumption that spending money and enacting regulations labeled “environmental protection” constitutes actually protecting the environment.

        Regardless, I beleive that Trump wants to be remembered as a great man.
        As a private citizen he was about Branding. His name was on everything.

        Now his objective is to be remembered as a great president.

        I do not think Trump or Bannon or any of his people take their pleasure primarily in screwing the environment.
        I do not think they get it primarily from screwing the left (though I do think they take some pleasure in that).
        They (like democrats) are actually doing what they beleive is best for the country.
        Like democrats they are on occasion wrong.

        Regardless, I think Trump has absolutely taken heed of Carville’s assertion – its the economy stupid.

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 2, 2017 7:08 pm

        “The GOP folks know they’ll give the liberals a collective stroke by sticking it to poor people, cutting taxes on the rich, and ending environmental protections, and that makes them happy.”

        …and that makes them happy.

        If accurate, then Yes, they’ve gone over to the Dark Side. Only someone holding such a seat would find happiness in hurting the poor–so many are working poor; and harming the environment, upon which we all depend for life itself. Yes, mean-spirited. Abominable. Absolutely nothing worth defending anymore. Cruel and mean and ugly and contemptible. And certainly *not* Christian…most especially *not* that.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 10:11 pm

        Except that it is horribly inaccurate.

  5. March 30, 2017 11:24 am

    Rick, you have been watching too much MSNBC. Not only , as Moogie said, the righties will hate it, so too do some of the more moderate of your readers, like me.

    So a elitist in Washington D.C. that has never set foot in Alaska knows better than the people that live in Alaska what is good for the Alaskans. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, a political independent, filed suit on this bill because many Alaskan people are indigenous to the land and have lived off the land for centuries. To have someone in Washington D.C. pass laws that control what they do with their land is bull crap. How many people from the lower 48 have ever seen Alaska personally? And what right do they have to tell Alaskans how to handle their land?

    I agree with you on healthcare and the joke the republicans proposed. After 7 years, one would think they would have had a consensus plan on the table from day one. They did not expect Donald Trump to win, so why work on a replacement plan once they found him to be the nominee. and what they proposed was not healthcare reimbursement reform, it was corporate and rich tax relief.

    Timber harvest in Alaska, If one does their homework one will find that in many of the national forests in Alaska, tree regeneration is so fast that unlike those in the lower 48, they HAVE TO BE thinned. For example, natural regeneration is so abundant in the Tongass National Forest that many new trees quickly replace the harvested forests. Many areas require thinning for healthy regrowth after the first 15 years and after about 50 years, the second growth area will have more timber volume than the original old growth acreage.Native to that area, as well as the indigenous population in the lower 48 have known for centuries how to manage forest. Just look at the indian lands that were next to the national forest in Colorado years ago when fires swept through the “protected” forest, but were easily contained once they reached Indian lands.Clearly and thinning are part of forest management where some species of trees need to be cut before the die of natural causes.

    So I will stop with one last request. In your next research for an article, how about leaning right, going after the waste in government. I know your the big picture guy, but there must be ways you can find information on how much we waste every year and on what and then maybe people like myself would not be so anti-spending on government programs. Damn, even Bill Clinton supported work requirements for Medicaid though support of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 which he supported when he said he would end medicaid as we knew it in 1992. Maybe an article on how we waste for example 1billion this year, budget a 3-4% increase next year and we waste 1.03 – 1.04 Billion next year. And how about finding out how many duplicate programs we waste money on.

    Maybe we could support all those elitist programs with the money we waste.

    • March 30, 2017 4:35 pm

      I would like sources as to the tree regeneration in Alaska. Since it is so much colder there, I would think the opposite.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 30, 2017 5:32 pm

        Found a graph with alaska

      • Ron P permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:32 am

        Moogie. Hope this helps. Please read the complete information concerning trees dying, insect infestations, etc. I am not in favor of areas like the Red Woods being harvested nor clear cutting of the rain forests, but I am also not a tree hugger that thinks every living tree should be left standing.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 12:08 pm

        Red Wood harvesting in the US today is almost entirely private. What occurs on public lands is not sufficient for proper forest management.
        I do not know exactly what the US redwood losses to fire on public lands are each year – but I would bet they dwarf – not just harvests on public lands – but total redwood harvests.

        Over the past 50 years due to the massive opposition of environmentalists to logging several things have happened – logging in the US has shifted HEAVILY to automated logging (fewer jobs) on private lands. These commercial forests are being sustainably managed – in fact US lumber output is rising AND our forest land is increasing concurrently.

        Further manaufacturers that use wood in their products have either shifted from wood or shifted to being able to utilize younger woods.

        Private managed forests are also producing higher quality lumber faster

        This is how free markets work.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 2, 2017 7:05 pm

        Dave I have no idea what the redwood harvesting is either today. I was using it as an example based on many years ago from my experience with my family taking a vacation ins the “redwood section” of California that was not national forest. Driving down the “scenic” highway that was advertised as scenic, there was about ten rows of trees (not really rows because it was nature planting it, and then hills upon hills of clear cut land, not a tree to be seen. I have no idea what this land looks like today, it could be covered with houses for all I know. But one thing, I bet there are no redwoods on that land and if there are, they most likely are still small. I always wondered why they had to clear cut and could not selectively leave some trees, but then we go to the private corporations desire to maximize profit and leaving trees for future people to enjoy is not part of that strategy.

        (And don’t giver me a 5 page dissertation of corporate profits, private enterprise and freedom to do what they need for stockholder returns. I know where you stand and you know where I stand and we will never agree).

        But when forest can be harvested and they grow back in a few years better than what they were, then I am not the tree hugger that we have in Washington D.C. that never set foot in Alaska.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 9:39 pm

        There are various sources of data on Forests.
        The US forest service produces a yearly report that roughly corresponds to what I wrote – though as typical of government agencies they try to take credit for anything good that has occured, and there is a fair amount of pressure to tilt the report to strongly suggest they need more power – either to prevent some evil or to encourage some good.

        If you are looking for broad compendiums of data in a single source I would strongly recomend Bjorne Lamborg’s “the skeptical environmentalist” and Julian Simon’s “The Ultimate Resource II”.

        While I mostly agree with the thesis of both books, there most significant value is a single source for accurate data on a wide variety of subjects that come up often.

        Once you have atleast scanned either – and grasped that much of the malthusian crap you hear one these subjects may be nonsense. You are sufficiently intellectually armed to go out and try to verify.

        You do not have to accept Simon or Lomborg unquestioned.
        Once you grasp what to look for google is your friend and will give you what you need to determine where the truth is.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 10:00 pm

        I do not pretend to know exactly why someone else did something that I do not like.

        I also do not pretend to be allowed to dictate what others do.

        If my neighbors paint their house chartreuse that will likely annoy the crap out of me and make my visual environment unpleasant.

        It is still their right to do so.

        There are a bazillion reasons – both bad and good that some redwoods somewhere may have been cut down. Those are not mine to know.

        Overall when I actually look deeply into the worst things man has ever done – whether to the environment or some other area, I inevitably find government inextricably involved.

        But government is not the sole source of bad decisions in the world.

        I will also note that destruction is an important part of how we learn and evolve.
        We learn from mistakes. Mistakes are particularly important to markets.

        Red woods are replaceable. Not easily – particularly really old ones. But still replaceable.
        And that is a part of what the logging industry learned from the environmental wars of the 80’s and 90’s. Rather than continuing to fight and slowly die trying to log in federal lands – which time has now told us they should have been allowed to do, they have shifted to developing sustainable supplies of redwood – and other woods on private lands where it is far harder for government and “environmentalists” to interfere.
        It is also easier to establish your own rules for how to manage redwood forests that you own. There is less thrid party oversight telling you exactly how you have to do your job.

        As a consequence redwood has been getting ever cheaper since 2000

        Look at the above graphs and then read Julian Simon and you will note that even though Julian Simon died in 1998 and the Ultimate Resource II was published in 1998 the price graphs for redwood and douglas fir match the patterns Simon claims are universal.
        Price spikes CAUSE price drops and supply increases.

        And personally I am very happy about this development.
        Among the many hats I wear – I am an architect, and I love woods.
        Much of the furniture in my home is teak and rosewood and walnut and cherry,
        and the building materials are pines, and cedars and redwoods.

        I am happy that the free markets have worked arround government and nutcase left wing nut environmentalists to assure that we have sustainable abundant supplies of materials I love.

        Dr. Suess’s the Lorax is a wonderful story – but it is not reality.

        Humans do stupid and destructive things – and sometimes those stupid and destructive things permanently deprive us of something we will never get.

        But most often they help us to learn what we truly care about and assure ourselves that we will never run out of redwoods – not natural vistas of majestic trees, and not abundant redwood siding to create beautiful homes.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 10:09 pm

        Ron;

        There are an infinite variety of arguments to support the proposition that individual liberty ultimately produces the best results.

        I am going to simply address “corporate profits” only because you raised it.

        The left is right (and wrong) about Citzen’s United. Corporations do not have rights (or profits). Their owners do. those owners are people. Some of those people are the Buffets and Gates and aparently now Bezos.

        But an awful lot of them are you and I.

        I have significant whole life insurance – that is all invested in corporations. I do not know exactly how, but I know that one of the wise choices I have made was to buy that insurance decades ago. And I know that insurance represents my ownership of little peices of Apple and Microsoft and Amazon, and that screwing them over is screwing me over. Because corporations are not people, there are fictions created to represent the rights and interests of groups of real people.

        I also have IRA’s and other investments – if I had been wiser when younger I would have more. But still I have some – and they too represent my ownership of those “evil corporations”.

        So yes, I care alot about “corporate profits” – because I have worked hard all my life and because some of my big investments have proven catastrophic failures, but some of the lessor investments I have made are what will ensure that as I am growing older I will not have to live purely on Social Security – which I have very low trust of, and that I may have something to leave to my children so that they are still better off than I.

        So that is what “corporate profits” mean to me.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:33 am

        Moogie Forgot the attachment. Sorry
        http://www.akforest.org/facts.htm

    • March 31, 2017 6:38 pm

      Ron: No, I don’t watch MSNBC. Even CNN is getting to be too liberal for me. What struck me about the Alaska ruling is that wildlife refuges are supposed to be just that: places of refuge (protection), free from human aggression. If Alaskans really want to kill bears and wolves (and their cubs), they have access to thousands of square miles of land outside these refuges.

      As for the trees, what you’re saying is that forests can’t manage themselves without human intervention. (How did they survive before we arrived on the scene?) I understand that a certain amount of management might make for more optimal conditions, but that doesn’t mean we should be turning over public forest land to loggers and other private interests.

      I never got around to discussing welfare, Medicaid and other entitlements for the poor. I supported Clinton’s scaling back of our welfare system, which (since the 1960s) had been creating a permanent underclass dependent on government handouts. I’ve wondered, for example, why we need free school lunches if we also offer food stamps; I agree that duplicate programs are a waste. Maybe the assumption is that poor parents don’t know enough about nutrition to offer their kids healthy lunches; that could be true.

      I’m all for “workfare” for able-bodied poor people; we have to strike at the root of chronic poverty instead of just throwing money at the victims. That means finding new teaching methods to reach ghetto kids and keep them in school, ridding the streets of gangs and drugs, ending incarceration for petty offenses, and ensuring that inner-city people have access to decent jobs, food and healthcare.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 1, 2017 1:03 pm

        Who own’s alaska ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 1, 2017 1:21 pm

        The claim is not that forests can not manage themselves – we are several centuries away from that as having any bearing in reality.

        We do not have – not in Alaska, not in the west, not in the north east the pristine forests of precolonial times – and even the indians were know to start forest fires to create open areas for farming and other purposes.

        “Conservationists” have had demonstrably wrong concepts of environmental management for over a century.

        We have learned this both with respect to forests in the US and with respect to grasslands in Africa and elsewhere.

        In everything – periodic destruction is a part of the natural cycle – it is a key part of free markets, it is also critical to ecosystems.

        If a forest is not periodically cleared by man – it will be cleared by fire. we can prevent both for some time – but not forever, and when some form of natural clearing comes – it will be larger and more disasterous the longer we prevented it.

        This is also true of the economy. We do not want govenrment pushing things in the same direction. We do not want government preventing the natural failures that are a critical part of a thriving economy.

        The great depression was a consequence of government errors in monetary policy that made the boom of the twenties too large and too long without correction.

        The great recession was a permutation of exactly the same problem.

        In a proper free market – absent government economic controls of any kind – we would have a near constant low level of failures. These are imporant. they are how we learn and how we create space and resources for new things.

        What we do not want is boom bust cycles, we do not want systemic uniform success – and failure.

        The same is true of forests and grasslands and nature.

        Finally, you need to decide what is the planet for, what is the economy for ?

        It is heresey for the left, but ultimately it is about HUMAN values.

        Most of us could care less about bears and wolves – except the extent they are beneficial to humans.

        The significance of another species thriving or extinction – is how that benefits humans.

        Intrinsically most of us grasp this – a substantial amount of life on this planet exists only at our pleasure. Cows, Horses, Dogs, Turkeys, Chickens, Pigs, ….
        would not exist as they do, in the forms they are in, and the numbers but for their benefit to humans.

        We need to get honest with ourselves about that.
        We preserve nature for ourselves and for our children – because we place a value on it.
        Not for any other reason.
        And that value – must compete with the other values that we have.
        It is not scaremental, or absolute.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 1, 2017 1:29 pm

        With respect to “those at the bottom”

        “Maybe the poor do not know how to feed their kids. ”

        And why do you think government does ?

        Again – if you leave people to make free choices – a small portion will make bad choices.
        If you do not – the NET is (pretty much by definition) worse. We do not make better overall choices for people from the top – than we do indiidually.
        Among other reasons because one size does not fit all.

        I have noted before that my kids were cyber chartered.
        That proved to be incredibly good for them – though more for one, than the other.
        but it was also obvious that it was NOT the best education for everyone.
        It was close to exactly what my daughter needed – particularly at first.

        There are alot of minorities in their cyber charter – and it is not as good a choice for most of them. HOWEVER it is a far better choice than the ones they do have available to them.

        When we decide from the top -we go for one size fits all. Or maybe a very small number of sizes.

        When we leave people free they have many many choices. most good, some very good, and a few bad.

        Some poor parents will make bad choices with respect to their kids food.
        Most will make better choices on their own than government would make for them.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 1, 2017 1:43 pm

        You keep deciding what needs to be done, and then how to do it and your choices always presume the use of force.

        Do you know how to teach students better than what is done today ? Do you know someone who does know the better way ? Is there one better way ?

        Is there any solution that we have sufficient confidence in to impose by force ?

        I know what educationally worked for my kids.
        I do not know what will work for someone else’s kids and I do not beleive there is some expert who know a single best way for all kids.

        We fought alcohol and it gave is organized crime.

        The war on drugs has been a far worse unmitigated disaster.

        But we do not have some perfect answer.

        We do not have some magical cure to drug use – and we are not going to stop drug dealing or even put more than speed bumps in its way.

        Again one of the errors of the left – you presume that because you know something is bad – that you can ban it and the world will be better -that does not work.
        As bad as somethings are – prohibited in them is worse.

        You want to rid the streets of gangs and drugs AND you want to stop incarcerating the crap out of the poor.

        You can not have both

        You can not have a regulatory state that discourages risk and supresses profits and expect to have jobs.

        Jobs are not created by government – they are created by people who demand and expect to be better off as a result of hiring you. If you interfere in that – you get no jobs.
        Tax the rich – less jobs. Raise minimum wages – less jobs. More regulation – less jobs.
        More rules – less jobs.

        Food and healthcare are things we earn by being productive.

        Even attempting to give them away – assures that we will be even less productive.

        By the sweat of your brow you will earn your daily bread
        That is not some religious mumbo jumbo.
        It is a law of nature.
        Trying to govern at odds with nature tends to lead to failure.

        More simply – the root to the things you want is not through govenrment.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:48 am

        Rick please see attachment I sent moogie concerning forest logging.

        As for the indigenous population and their right to hunt and fish on their lands, are you saying you support those in the lower 48 telling those that have lived for thousands of years what they can do with their land. Sounds to me like the same thing that happened with the Indians in the 1700’s and 1800’s when the white man decided they would steal the Indians land and gave them crap in the southwest that no one else wanted, and still many would not live there.

        Now in the 1900’s and 2000’s we are still taking indigenous peoples land (and calling it land preservation). I call BS on that. It is one thing to set aside the land to restrict development, it is something else to restrict the use of the land that people have used it for for eons.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 2:22 pm

        If you wish to see what life is like when government controls everything – look at that of “native americans”.

      • April 6, 2017 8:57 pm

        “which (since the 1960s) had been creating a permanent underclass dependent on government handouts”

        No. What is creating the permanent underclass is underpaying workers! It is absurd that wages have kept sinking and sinking and sinking and yet conservatives are surprised that more people than ever have to ask for government benefits.

        I have a college degree. I’ve had as many as FOUR part time jobs and yet still can’t get 40 hours a week. I live in rural Appalachia which was among the first areas of the country to feel the pain of jobs being shipped overseas and the lowering of wages. We have been suffering here since the 1970s, each decade has gotten worse. I did not realize how bad until I moved here in ’99. Two people can no longer run a household with 2 working class jobs.

        If you send all the jobs overseas, or you replace everyone with robots, just how do you expect the economy to be healthy??? No one has money to buy anything. This is why the world economy sucks – working class people are not being paid middle class wages. I can make you a long list of what I’ve been unable to buy anymore for 15 years.

        You should have just been reading that many stores that catered to the middle class are shutting down. Saying that everyone is buying online is bunk. Too few people have money to shop department stores any more.

        I bring this up again & again…but it seems people prefer answers that fit with conservative ideology. ..which is created by the rich to keep themselves rich. SMDH

      • April 6, 2017 11:41 pm

        Moogie, I will tackle your last comment first.

        “You should have just been reading that many stores that catered to the middle class are shutting down. Saying that everyone is buying online is bunk. Too few people have money to shop department stores any more.”

        Please note the attached annual report for Amazon. Please note that in 2012 Amazons revenue was $61 billion. Note that in 2016 that had more than doubled to $136 billion. In 2015, Amazons revenue was $107 billion, so they increased $29 billion, more than Sears total revenue for the same period. During 2015, Sears revenue was $31.2 billion and in 2016 it was 25.1 billion. That is a 20% drop in revenues in one year. People still are buying and they are buying online. People still have money!! So I can not agree with your comment that “few people have money to shop department stores any more.” They have money, it is just easier to sit down at your computer, order something and have it delivered. I have not been in a big box store for many years, and only go to Costco and Sam’s occasionally like many of my friends.
        http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/amzn/financials

        I agree with you that jobs moving overseas has been a disaster for American manufacturing. Asinine trade agreements like NAFTA that was supported and signed by Clinton in the 90’s was one that really caused many jobs to move to Mexico. Today most small Fords are produced in Mexico, many GM cars are produced in Mexico and Canada. Go on-line and google “what is the most manufactured car in America” and you will get Toyota. In fact three of the top five cars with the most American input are foreign owned. You might remember Ross Perot and his comment about the sucking sounds of jobs going to Mexico under NAFTA. They called him a kook. He was right. And then add into the equation the currency manipulation by China to make their products cheap, while putting high tariffs on American products going into China and that causes more jobs to go overseas. Try finding any electric hand tool at Home Depot or Lowes that is built in America. You can’t find one.

        But now that this has happened, there is not going to be many jobs returning even with Trumps commerce department working to correct deficiencies in trade agreements. And paying $15.00 to flip burgers at McDonalds WILL cause a decrease in those jobs. Go into a Chili’s and you will find they have many fewer wait staff. They have table kiosk to order and pay. The few people working are the host and a few bringing orders to the tables and those people also clean the tables.

        And in your part of the country, don;t forget also the executive orders making coal powered plants shift to natural gas. Yes natural gas is cheaper now, but would they have changed over without that EO. And taking all that income out of the hands of people in coal country took probably 5 times that amount out of the economy given the multiplier effect. And you sure as hell can not blame that on a conservative!!!!

        So, please tell me what your degree is in as you have mentioned this many times, but I don’t remember you saying if it is education, business, etc. The option you may have to choose is moving to someplace where a job is located, as in your part of the country, I suspect few jobs are available in any field.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 8, 2017 1:42 pm

        Moogie, Ron P;

        Why doe it matter precisely what Amazon’s or Sear’s sales are ?

        AGAIN
        Increasing standard of living requires producing greater value for less human cost.

        Does it matter whether that is done by Sears or Amazon ?

        I can understand that you might care if you chose to buy Sears stock – but that was your choice, and probably you should have bought Amazon.

        I can understand if you work for Sears – but that was your choice, and probably you should have considered working for Amazon.

        The objective is NOT to provide good high paying jobs to everyone.
        It is to increase the net, median or average standard of living.

        Too many – particularly on the left seem to think that things can get better – with absolutely no losers of any kind.

        Do we have to protect the buggy whip industry ?

        Over the past 40 years – Standard of living in nearly every quintile has doubled.
        That is the goal.
        The bad news is that since 2000 the rate of improvement has slowed, and since 2008 it has slowed further.

        That is the real problem we need to address.

        Contra Moggie and the left – extremely productive and profitable businesses like Amazon are what we need more of.

        Do you think Amazon is eating companies like Sears for breakfast by selling crappier products at higher prices ?

        They way you profit in a free market – is by delivering more value at lower cost – do you think it is accidental that that sounds very much like the way we impove standard of living ?

        Is there something wrong with NAFTA – absolutely. The US should just unilateraly drop all trade barriers. There is no need nor any benefit to any deal.

        The US has lost alot of crappy low paying jobs – absolutely. There is no way to increase standard of living if large numbers of us work at crappy low paying jobs.

        Even now those in a variety of areas should see the writing on the wall.

        Is there anyone here who thinks that the Fast Food industry is going to be a big source of low end jobs in a decade ? If you are an MW burger flipper or clerk at McD’s you should expect to lose your job to an ipad or a robot as soon as McD’s can make that happen.

        If you want to make that transition occur faster ? Raise the minimum wage.
        If you want to stall it for a little – get rid of the Minimum wage.

        What you can not do is force paying people more than the job they are doing is worth – it is just not going to happen for more than short periods of time.

        Manufacturing is coming back to the US in a big way. The standard of living in China has risen dramatically and the result is they are not so competitive anymore.
        Further While the chinese are very good at making 100M of something, they are incredibly bad at short runs customization.

        Which raises another common stupid left wing nut economic error enshrined in our anti-trust laws, and examplified by Bernie Sanders stupid deoderant remarks.

        The economies of scale are a relatively small part of the efficiency and profitability of a free market.

        Again back to how we raise standard of living.
        We do not do so by delivering massive amounts of corn flakes at the absolute lowest possible cost. We do so by providing each person with the breakfast of their choice.

        Value is no Tons of cornflakes cheap. Value is what each and every one of us wants as cheaply as possible – and we are not the same – we do not want exactly the same things.

        China is slowly shedding manafactuing jobs two ways.

        First other really poor countries like Bangeledesch are taking the truly low skill low wage jobs from China – just as China did from us.

        And the result is that we continue to be able to buy very a huge variety of nice cloths in abundance dirt cheap.

        Second they are not skilled enough nor automated enough to produce short custom rund quickly – the US is and as a result US manufacturing – as it has continuously since the birth of this nation is growing. And really good manufacturing jobs are growing.
        But you better be able to operate a CNC machine – or better still support and maintain a half dozen CNC machines.

        And I beleive Moogie was bitching about all those auto jobs leaving for Japan. ….

        Oh, So 70’s and 80’s. Where have you been ? Honda opened its first plant in Marysville Ohio in 1982, subsequently nearly every autmanufacturer in the world is producing cars in the US.

        What they are NOT doing is producing them in Detroit where we have made doing so cost effectively nearly impossible.

        Why are foreign automakes building cars in the US ?
        The left will tell you it is US content rules.
        BUNK !

        It is for many reasons:
        The US is the worlds largest market – particularly at the lucrative high end.
        It costs money to build cars (or anything else) overseas and ship them to the US.
        To do so there must be a large competitive advantage.
        The US has the most reliable energy in the world.
        The US has the cheapest energy in the world.
        The US has the best transportation infrastructure in the world.
        The US has an abundance of affordable raw materials.
        The US has the worlds largest well educated highly skilled labor pool.
        The US has a completely different work ethic than most of the world.
        These are just SOME of the advantages to the US.

        But again note – these factories are highly autmoted.
        They produce great value with small numbers of high skilled highly paid workers.
        Not with thousands of low wage low skill workers.

        Next, I think the opportunities of Uber and Lyft and the rest of the sharing economy are fanstatic. I think breaking down traditional employment is great. The more we get people to think of themselves as their own boss – the more productive we shall be.

        But if you are driving for Uber (or lyft, or a cab or truck or any other kind of driver) and do not see the writing on the wall – these jobs are all going to be gone in a decade or two.

        We have a nasty mess coming briefly – as automated vehicles and human driven vehicles compete for dominance of the road – but in the end human drivers are losing.
        If you are paid to drive – start looking for another job now.

        If you are farm labor – get a clue – your job is not long for this world.
        It has been harder to automate some aspects of farming – but the driving forces are strong.

        The public really hates stories about poor migrant farm workers.
        Replace those workers with machines – and there are no more boycotts and protests.
        And food is cheaper.

        There should be an obvious common theme above – creating ever greater value with ever less human resources.

        The very things that the left – and occasionally the right excoriate, are exactly what makes us better off.

        BTW post NAFTA the standard of living in BOTH the US and Mexico rose noticably.

        But absolutely ANYTHING that we do to raise standard of living means ever less people doing the jobs we currently have.

        And that is what drives our stupid government policy.

        This is natural. It is normal. It is what we want. In fact the more we get of that the better.

        Why ? Because it is ALWAYS possible to make use of more labor.
        If we produce more value at less human effort – we have both more to spend on something else – and the labor available to produce it.

        If you think that you can do the same job the same way with the same productivity from the time you graduate from High School until you retire and hove your standard of living continuously rise – think again, that is just not possible.

        That less human effort part of raising standard of living is absolutley critical.

        We must free people from unproductive or low value tasks to move them to higher value tasks or standard of living does not increase.

        That means you had better be prepared to learn, adapt and develop new skills through your entire life.

        BTW Clinton’s rhetoric on Coal was stupid. Obama’s Clean power plan was even more stupid – these problems will solve themselves. Goernment just messes things up.

        Is there anyone who thinks that the destruction of coal mining jobs is reverseable or primarily a consequence of government (despite the fact that Government has handled it badly).

        Like everything else Coal Mining has become highly automated.
        If we were not in the process of shifting from coal to Natural Gas for power – because it is NET cheaper and far more flexible,
        We would still have terminated most apalachian coal mining jobs from automation.
        Coal Mining today takes increasing smaller numbers of increasingly skilled people.
        And likely will require ever fewer very soon.

        That is not to say there is no future for coal mining.
        For the short term probably not – but US coal energy reserves are somewhere between 3-10 times as large as oil and natural gas.

        And burning coal in a power plant is not the only way to make use of coal for energy.
        At the moment the politics and economics weigh against a return to coal – in different uses. But that will inevitably change in the future.

        But the jobs are not coming back.

        If you used to be a coal miner – find some other valueable job to perform.

      • April 8, 2017 6:04 pm

        Dave I thought I wrote comments too long for people to read, but yours makes mine look like like the Cliff Notes, so I read about the first 1/4 and stopped.

        I will answer the following.
        “Why doe it matter precisely what Amazon’s or Sear’s sales are ?”

        I posted what I posted because Moogie said people were not buying in big box stores anymore because they did not have the money to buy, not because they were buying online. I posted the facts about Sears and Amazon to prove to her that people were still buying high quality products at a comparable price because they did not have to fight the crowds, spend time driving to the shopping centers and all the other inconveniences that go with shopping inside a store.

        I will also say that Amazon took Sears (and Montgomery Wards) model for “online selling” and perfected it for todays public. I can remember my parents and grandparents calling a telephone number in a catalog, placing an order and having that either delivered to the local Sears (or Monkey Wards) or having it delivered to their home at an additional charge. How interesting how societies wants and needs change and now those that developed the “catalog” sales are either close to bankruptcy or have one out of business and another company is racking up sales using an online catalog for sales.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 11:14 am

        “Why doe it matter precisely what Amazon’s or Sear’s sales are ?”

        While I agree with much or all of your answer, and your response to moogie.

        The question itself had very important point to it.

        What does it matter to you what business provides you with what you want and need affordably ?

        As a consumer – what matters is overall value, and the cost to get that value.
        Not who the seller is. Aside from whether my IRA is invested in Sears, and possibly a tiny bit of nostalgia, I do not care if Sears grows or dies. I do care if my standard of living rises or falls.

        In free markets, producers compete, and they either continually improve or they fail.
        Sears may recover, or not. So what ?

        Moggie makes the mistake of fixating on jobs.
        If we have to prop up every failed producer because their failure reduces jobs – then our standard of living is stagnant or declines.

        Because AGAIN

        Standard of living increases when we produce more value at lower human cost.

        That second term (required) ALWAYS means ever less people to do the same thing.
        It is a requirement – otherwise we do not have free human resources to do something new.

        If all Sears employees lose their jobs tomorow – they are free to do something else.
        If Amazon etc. are providing us with everything we want and need at lower human cost.
        We are better off. We do not need (or want ) sears.
        and those resources need directed to something we do want and need – possibly something we do not know we want and need.

        The destruction of inefficient or low value producers is inherent in free markets.
        It is not a failure. It is an asset.

        It is the only way to higher standard of living.

        And that is my big point. Moogie is actually complaining about something that is very GOOD. Not bad.

      • April 9, 2017 1:22 pm

        Because damn it, she made an incorrect assumption and I posted info to show she was incorrect, just like you do with hundreds of comments you make. If you don’t want others correcting incorrect statements, then stop doing it yourself!

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 4:16 pm

        I appologize.
        Your argument is correct.

        I was just seeking to make a different point.

      • April 11, 2017 8:51 pm

        Are you going to pay for me to move somewhere else? Otherwise I have to stay put. Like most other people, I can no longer afford to move.

        If more people had more money, Amazon’s revenues would be far higher than they are. I buy from Amazon maybe 2x a year because I can find a few things really cheap & easier. (especially because I live out in the sticks)

        You people must miss all those articles about how many people, especially younger ones are graduating with degrees and can’t find work in their field. What difference does it make what my degree is in??? It is in a science subject. You have already decided people without degrees are not deserving of a living wage, now you are trying to make us believe that only certain degrees are worth more than a living wage. SMDH.

        It is positively stupid to keep saying that working people in any area or any job of 40 hours a week does not have to be paid a living wage. Replace them with robots? Who in the hell are you going to sell anything to when half the nation isn’t working or doesn’t make enough money to buy anything? have you not read the reports that over the half the nation no longer has savings?

        Some people on this thread need to step out of the gated communities and get to know real Americans – especially those of us born after 1960. Its not pretty. What little I have in retirement savings is not growing much at all. I bought a double wide trailer because that was all I could afford on a teaching salary. My clothes are all from Goodwill, my furniture mostly hand-me-downs. When my dishwasher broke (I had bought a damaged one for $75) I had to ask mom for money to buy another one (actually it was a birthday present).

        I have said before, I have more options than many people I know because my mother is one of those retirees of the richest generation on record. IT doesn’t do much for my pride, but I won’t be homeless or hungry.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 12, 2017 12:50 am

        And why are your choices someone else’s problem ?

        I suspect all of us are somewhat sorry for you – but I am not sorry enough to think you are entitled to something from the rest of us.

        I pointed out to you that a family with two people employed full time earning minimum wage makes about 32K/year
        That is below the median – but it is not much.

        All work is noble; the only ignoble thing is to live without working.
        Maria Montessori

        I just received an email offering me a project writing a report – for $1700.
        It is about 3 days work. Anyone with a college degree can do these. They require internet access, a spreadsheet, and a word processor. They require learning about how buildings are constructed – but anyone can learn.
        They are boring and take a while and I do not enjoy them.
        But I like paying my mortgage and I take projects like this when I do not have the consulting work I love.

        If you are claiming I can not keep myself busy 100% of the time with high paying work that I love – you are right.
        If you are claiming there is no work out there for people willing to do it – you are full of it.

        If I had to I would flip burgers at McD’s to make ends meet.

        Apparently you never read the Grapes of Wrath. The Joad’s lost everything – but they were still able to travel to California to look for work.

      • April 12, 2017 12:57 am

        Moogie, I read your first response and then you posted this one. So you did answer some of my questions.

        So here is my response and I would hope you will respond and comment as to why I may be wrong.

        As for college students and jobs, why is it that companies say they need high tech immigrants to fill hard to fill jobs.
        http://blog.indeed.com/2016/10/18/high-skill-immigration/
        In 2016, there were 1.9 million graduates with bachelors degrees. 358,000 in business, 199,000 in health,173,000 in social sciences and history, 117,000 in psychology, 105,000 in biological sciences and 99,000 in teaching. All of these will allow most students to get a job except for Psychology and history. One web site offers the following jobs that are available for psy majors.
        Advertising Agents. …
        Career Counselor. …
        Case Manager. …
        Child Care Worker. …
        Laboratory Assistant. …
        Market Researcher. …
        Psychiatric Technician. …
        Probation and Parole Officer.
        Looking at his list, one has to wonder if many psy graduates would accept a job in many of these fields. Could those with these degrees be the ones sitting at home, or could it be the ones without a job are those that just barely passed and graduated in the bottom 10% of their class. Maybe they need to get a degree in a STEM area and not in liberal arts.

        And again, you did not respond when I offered information concerning the economy of your area and how it has changed due to the drying up of coal sales. I can understand that you may be unable to move for some personal reasons. I also understand that teachers are a profession that are over worked and grossly underpaid. But in some areas this is not true, while in areas like yours it is fact. And the fact is in areas of economic difficulties, teachers are the first public servant to not get a raise. I also note that West Virginia average teacher salary is $41,200, not great, but well above what people say is a living wage.

        As for living wage, we would have higher wages if we did not have the large number of untrained workers taking jobs in the hospitality businesses driving down wages. If an illegal immigrant walks into a hotel and agrees to work for $8.00 an hour, why should that hotel operator pay someone $15.00. But if that unskilled individual was not available, then maybe they would have to pay $15.00. We also need to eliminate unfair trade. I support trade when it is fair to both parties. But our government has not provided fair trade agreements and that has provided incentives to American companies to move overseas. Along with that, high taxes in America compared to foreign countries is also an incentive to move overseas.

        And as I said earlier and you did not respond. When one supports NAFTA and TPP and ship jobs overseas, then you are going to decrease the wages paid to workers in America. And who was instrumental in getting NAFTA passed?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 12, 2017 1:09 am

        “Moogie: If more people had more money, Amazon’s revenues would be far higher than they are.”

        http://fortune.com/2017/03/31/amazon-stock-trillion-dollar-company-apple-tesla-google/

        Apple, Amazon and a few other companies are racing to become the first Trillion Dollar company.

        Amazon’s 2016 Revenues rose 27%. That is $136B in things Amazon sold last year.

        So it sounds line Amazon;s revenues are FAR HIGHER.
        And they continue to grow at that rate.

        Apples revenues increased last year by more than the entire net worth of Pfizer – pfizer is #55 on the fortune 500.

        And the revenues of these companies can only grow ONE WAY – if people are buying ever more form them.

        Buy from Amazon – don’t – your choice.
        Nor do I care why you buy (or don’t) from them.

        The fact is alot of people buy alot of things from Amazon, and they are buying more and more all the time. In fact Amazon’s increase in sales is greater than Sears entire sales.
        And 25 times greater than Sears entire value.

        25 Sears’s could disappear without swallowing the net positive impact of Amazon on the economy.

        Amazon managed to get the USPS to deliver on Sunday – the only similar demonstration of real power I have ever seen was when Cheney got the guy he shot in the face with a shotgun to apologize to him.

        For a while I thought Amazon was sort of joking about Drone mail delivery.
        Amazon spent 17B last year on Shipping – that is more than Sears is worth by a long shot.
        The total revenue of the US postal service was only 70B.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 12, 2017 1:28 am

        Who said you were entitled to work in your field ?

        I graduated from College with a degree is architecture.
        I am a registered architect – even today.

        I support my family doing embedded software and have for the past 20 years.

        My daughter is a licensed EMT, she has 3 jobs right now – she works part time for Halmark, gets weekend work as an EMT, and takes pictures of buildings for inspection reports.
        She wants to be a psychologist.

        If you graduated from college with a degree in underwater basket weaving – I would not be surprised if you can not get a job in your field.

        STEM unemployment from 2007 through the present has never been much higher than 2.5%.

        We are each free to chase after whatever job we want and love.
        There is no guarantee we will get it.
        You do not have a right to a job in your field.
        You do not have a right to any job – beyond whatever you can do yourself.

        I do not live in a gated community.

        I had a great job that I loved in a key position in a family business for 22 years.
        When the economy went south in 2001 my father decided that he liked the business smaller – he was older and did not need to make as much and could manage a business 1/3 the size easier. But a business 1/3 the size did not have the ability to continue to support me and my family, so I went after work elsewhere. I completely changed my career.
        Since then I have had some really good years – and some really bad ones.

        I have never really been “unemployed” because all that really means is I am working for myself and not getting paid very well.

        I am doing well enough – but I work hard to do so – and I often have to do jobs I do not like much.

        SO no I don’t have alot of sympathy for people who could do some of the jobs I do – but don’t.
        and bitch and moan because no jobs in their field have arisen.

        Even in my “field”

        I have written business software and database software and graphics software and web software and defense software and stuff for lots of agencies with three letter names.
        I have done electronic locks and centrefuges, and software for drones, and for busses, and tractors and wood chippers and trains and boats …..

        I know alot about alot of things because I have never stopped learning.
        Because I do new things all the time.

        But like you I choose to live somewhere where my skills and talents are not very well paid.
        It is not so bad as Apalachia – but it is not a booming tech center.
        And I could double what I make each year easily buy moving – if I chose to do so.

        I do not have problems with people making choices.

        I do have problems with people bitching and moaning because they can not have everything they want.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 12, 2017 1:41 am

        If your retirement has not grown you have it very badly invested.
        My 401K more than doubled from 2007 to the bigging of 2016 – I have not looked at it since.

        It is conservatively invested and I would prefer it was larger – and it should be, but I did not invest when I should have been.

        I also bought (with a really big mortgage) an apartment building in 2008.
        My investment in that has more than doubled in that time.

        If you have not invested well – I have sympathy for you. I had my IRA abysmally invested for over two decades because I was stupid and not paying attention.

        But my bad choices are MY bad choices.
        I am not looking to blame them on someone else.

        I buy my cloths at goodwill too – there is lots of good stuff there and it is cheap.
        I am almost 59 and I am not a fashion model.

        I do not think I have bought new furniture since I got married – 35 years ago, nearly everything I have is “hand me downs”.

        When my dishwasher broke – I bought another for $10 at an auction. It worked fine.

        My parents are from the same generation as yours – and they did very well.
        but I will leave my children more than they left me – despite the fact that they were more successful than I have been. Why ?
        Because we are better off today than 50 years ago. Which you still do not grasp.

        John D. Rockefeller was the richest man in the world in his time.
        Yet he could not afford penicillin, or vaccinate his nephew against scarlet fever.
        He could not own a dishwasher, washing machine, radio, tv or a cell phone.

        My tenants who are in the bottom quintile have many many things that John D. Rockefeller did not anc could not have.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 12, 2017 1:51 am

        It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret of happiness. ~James Barrie

      • dhlii permalink
        April 7, 2017 3:48 pm

        I have not been in a sears in years. Nor Kmart or JC Penny.

        I buy quality goods cheap at Costco, or less quality even cheaper at Walmart.

        Or I buy cheaper and usually better still from eBay, Amazon, AliExpress, etsy, ….

        Or I go to tiny mom and pop stores selling very upscale goods

        We have had a serious problem with small business starts since 2009 – due pretty much entirely to the economic hostility of government to small business and their favorable disposition to big business.

        That said look arround you.
        I do not know about appalachia – though I will next week.
        But everywhere I travel there are more stores, more malls, more strip malls more blocks full of artsy chops, more, more more.

        Actual studies of the impact of Walmart on a community – not the crap sold by the left, have shown that it increases small businesses and jobs.

        You do not seem to grasp our GDP is rising – that means we are producing MORE all the time, and what we produce we must sell.

        I am sure you do bring this up again and again and you are WRONG – again and again.

        Please show me any data that credibly demonstrates that we are not better off than 30 40 years ago.

        I do not want stupid nonsense about income inequality and wages.

        I want real hard data that people’s wealth has declined. That they are less able to afford cars, TV’s refriderators, Cell phones, laptops, … that they are moving into ever smaller homes and apartments

        Because in the real world exactly the opposite has happened.

        The rate of improvement has been declining – it was worse under Bush and worse still under Obama. And we certainly can and should do better.
        But we are not declining.

      • April 11, 2017 8:26 pm

        If we were all as well of as we were 40 years ago , there would not be so many angry people out there stupid enough to vote for Trump.

        I don’t know what dream world full of liars you inhabit, but I am not going to dignify your BS with any further response.

      • Ron Petterson permalink
        April 12, 2017 12:15 am

        Moogie, why are you even here? You make a statement, I respond with documentation to refute your position, I asked you questions and there is never any response. One can not understand another’s position when they will not hold a conversation and try to support their positions other than just spouting off liberal/conservative talking points. I can watch MSNBC or Fox News to get that same information.

        I suggest you may want to visit “The New Moderate” as they seem to be ones that will agree with your positions and not challenge anything you say.

        Like university students today, liberals do not want to defend their positions or listen to any opposing views. That web site offers that type of environment that you may enjoy.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 12, 2017 12:38 am

        The real world not a dream world.

        Why do we have so many Angry people ?

        Because we are used to improvements in standard of living of 3.5%/year, and since 2000 we have been lucky to see improvements of 2%/year.

        Because things are never improving for 100% of us, but the slower the rate of improvement the greater the proportion of losers – though it si still small.

        Because ObamaCare which was supposed to decrease our insurance costs by $2500/year
        and allow us to keep our insurance and doctor, and cost the country nothing, has instead cost the country $1T, required a large tax increase, increased insurance costs by more than 2500/year and left many people with worse insurance, worse coverage and without the docotr of their choice.

        Because the left promised recovery from a recession they participated in causing – but blamed on the banks, and failed to deliver on that recovery.

        Because though all of us are improving slightly – the politically well connected – particularly those well connected to democrats are doing extremely well.

        Because look at all of our problems – name one that is not CAUSED by government ?
        So why would we NOT be angry with government ?

        Because the left has amped up identity politics such that they are calling more than 50% of the country hateful hating haters.

        I can go on – and on – and on.

        What is not true is that we are worse off – or even the same as 40 years ago.

        Please pick ANYTHING that is not heavily regulated and show me that it is less affordable today than 40 years ago ?

        I can not help it that you – like most of us are incapable of seeing the past clearly.

        We tend to look back on the past with nostalgia.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 12, 2017 12:39 am

        Respond – don’t your choice.

        But arguments are not made with invective and ad hominem.

        I have given you lots of facts.

        I have also made big broad easy to refute claims – if they are false.
        That you don’t even try – speaks for itself.

  6. dhlii permalink
    March 30, 2017 3:29 pm

    Dear Rick;

    Had the great spirit or big bigger given us opposable thumbs and bigger brains – so that we could create and use helicopters and high powered rifles, you can trust us that we would not be using them to hunt hairless hominids.

    Yours truly
    Timber Wolves and Grizzly Bears.

    PS:
    That three little pigs thing – just miscommunication.

    PPS:
    Regards to Red Riding Hood and grandma.

    • March 31, 2017 6:41 pm

      LOL. Yes, nature is thoroughly amoral — it’s a dog-eat-dog (or wolf-eat-human) world out there.

  7. March 30, 2017 7:03 pm

    I knew I didn’t want to read this, Rick, lol.

    But, I did, and I find it stunningly immoderate, especially for someone I know to be a moderate. Your attack on Republicans is worthy of MSNBC.

    I would join Ron in encouraging you to try and dig a little deeper into the actual reasons why Republicans want to roll back many of the restrictive laws and regulations that have been passed over the last two decades or so. It’s not because they have gone over to the dark side. It’s because the science and/or economics behind the laws are junk ~ and often dangerous junk, at that ~ promoted by left-wing activist groups, and eagerly enacted by the Democrats, in order to continue to cash in on support from these groups.

    Off the top of my head, and because Ron and Dave already put forward some good facts on the Alaska thing, I think about the deadly wildfires that have been increasingly ravaging the Western states during the 21st century. These wildfires kill many, many big and little furry creatures (not to mention feathered and even icky reptilian – not republican – ones), destroy their habitats, destroy homes, take human lives and endanger many more, and cost billions and billions of dollars ~ mostly taxpayer dollars. Oh, and when it comes to deforestation, you can’t do much better than these fires.

    What we hear in the media is that the increase in the number and intensity of these blazes are due to…..climate change, of course. But no, actually, there have always been seasonal wildfires, even before Republicans sought to destroy the earth.

    The reason that the fires have increased is largely due to policies imposed by politicians and bureaucrats bowing to the will of radical environmentalists: the banning of insecticides and fungicides which can have allowed trees to die, along with the lack of timely removal of these dead, dry trees; the refusal to build roads through national forests, impeding the ability of firefighting equipment and personnel to get to the fires; bans on clearing dry brush, in the name of “protecting” wildlife habitats; and ironically, “controlled burns” that get, ummm, out of control. Many more, and none of these things supported by the eeevil bunny and birdy hating Republicans.

    When it comes to environmental politics, there are too many Big Lies to count.

    • Roby permalink
      March 30, 2017 8:33 pm

      Well, some day he will most likely write a balancing column of equal immoderation about democrats. You’ll Love It, every word, and most likely wish it were much stronger! Why, he could hire you to write it!

      When it comes to environmental politics I’ve seen the hyperbole and hysteria of the left activists up close and personal when I worked for the state as an environmental engineer. Still, what many in the GOP have done in the way of deception on global warming easily takes the top ranking for the Big Lie, Al Gore’s big house notwithstanding. Some problems actually Are problems.

      No Dave, I am not challenging you to a debate on this. I know your point of view quite well already. Evil environmentalists as you once said and then doubled down on.

      • March 30, 2017 8:55 pm

        I will say, Roby, that politicians in general are fond of the Big Lies. And Republicans have their Big Lies as well. I may be a partisan, but I’m not a blind partisan.

        I would dearly love to see an open letter to Democrats, especially those who voted for Neil Gorsuch, when he was appointed to the Federal Appeals Court (they all did, at least all the ones that were in the Senate back then), but now rip him as a cold-hearted, corporation-loving, working-man hating, S.O.B. and plan to filibuster him.

        Or maybe the ones who railed against GOP obstruction, and now insist that everything that Trump does be obstructed. I would love that. You are right

        Not because the Democrats are the "bad guys." But because they get away with way more blatant hypocrisy.

      • Roby permalink
        March 30, 2017 9:29 pm

        After Garland was squashed you really can’t complain about hypocrisy on the Supreme court politics from the GOP booster side. Both are totally qualified and should have had a non political confirmation. Perhaps if the GOP did not have its sights set on Planned Parenthood And Garland had not been torpedoed, Dems would be acting differently. Yes, I know I am arguing that two wrongs plus a third wrong make a right.

        Gorsuch is quite intellectually worthy of being on the SCOTUS and if I were in congress I’d vote for his confirmation. But I’d have voted for Garland if I were a republican, so I guess I am pretending that I am a nearly fictitious character, a straight shooting politician.

        So far nothing trump has done that I know of other than appointing Mattis is deserving of the support of any democrat (or any republican with a conscience).

        Now, if and when the dems vote down a worthy infrastructure bill, that will be a case of true obstruction for the sake of obstruction.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 31, 2017 11:11 am

        Not really looking for a CAGW debate.
        I think that debate is pretty well over.
        Whatever the impact of humans on global temperatures – it is very small.
        I would also note that Human CO2 may not be the most significant human impact, but that CO2 is the only human impact that meets the political criteria of the left of being potentially runaway.

        Anyway despite the recent frauds at NASA claiming otherwise, The “hiatus” continues.
        Either you accept that there has been no significant warming since 1998, or we can construct a trend line from 1970 to the present, regardless – the overall rate of warming is back consistent with or BELOW prior natural warming.

        The CAGW thesis has been falsified.
        It is time to purge the religious zealots from places of power and move on.

        I have no clue what the left is going to do – given that the sky is no longer falling.

        But I think that you, Rick and all those – left or moderate, who have been name calling as anti-science or neanderthal those who were skeptical about CAGW owe us an apology.

        At the barest minimum it is clear this was not ever a debate over real science – the science is not and never has been certain enough to bear the weight you put on it.

        Those who use science to advance ideology – harm science.

        There are a number of other recent scientific scandals that have not helped.
        But CAGW has significantly damaged the credibility of science.

        But that is what happens when scientism replaces real science.

      • March 31, 2017 11:16 am

        Garland may be a good judge but 1) Scalia died unexpectedly in the middle of an election year ~ there is ample precedent for not confirming a SCOTUS pick under a lame duck president. Of course Obama was going to nominate someone, but it was a political move to motivate Democrat voters. 2) Garland is definitely a left leaning justice in the mold of Obama’s other 2 picks ~ not AS left-leaning, because Obama is smart enough to know that the only shot he had was by nominating a moderate liberal, instead of a lockstep leftist 3) I think Garland should have had a hearing, if for no other reason than to show that his confirmation would have tilted the court permanently left. But he would have never been confirmed. His nomination was purely political, and it remains a talking point, not a real issue.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 31, 2017 4:16 pm

        There is no right to be a supreme court justive.

        Garland and Gorsuch are likely both decent people and judges,
        But neither has some right to be a supreme court justice.

        To become a supreme court justice you must be nominated by a president and approved by the senate.

        The president can nominate whoever they please.
        The senate can approve reject or do nothing.

        I oppose democrats filibustering Gorsuch for two reasons.
        First I think he will be an excelelent addition to the court – probably better than Scalia.
        Gorsuch has a natural rights understanding of law, and is likely to give some weight to the Declaration of Independence as well as constitution.
        I am not sure I share exactly his understanding of natural rights, regardless it is a better foundation than the democratic textualism of Scalia.

        The second is that a fillibuster of Gorsuch will fail.
        If Trump subsequently nominates a bad candidate the left will have no arrows left in their quiver.
        An attempt to fillibuster has a slightly better chance at succeeding if the candidate is weaker. With Gorsuch it just looks like stupid sour grapes politics.

        You will note – nothing I have said denies or deprives democrats the right to oppose or obstruct Gorsuch to whatever extent they wish.

        I think it is a poor choice for them – not one they are not permitted.

        BTW George Will had an excellent article on the fillibuster.

        He sugested completely eliminating all the changes to fillibusters since 1970 or possibly since 1917.

        No cloture votes, no 3/5ths requirment.

        Just standard speaking fillibusters.
        A single Senator can fillibuster anything – if they can hold out.
        Further when a filibuster is taking place the Senate is effective unable to conduct other business.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 31, 2017 11:31 am

        Priscilla;

        I have no problems with democrats attempting to block Gorsuch.
        Just as I have no problems with Republicans succeeding in blocking Garland.

        Gorsuch is well qualified – Garland was too.

        But there is no right to a seat on the supreme court.

        In the past the senate has provided its consent to qualified candidates – regardless of ideology.
        They were free to. Now ideology is more important.

        If that change is unacceptable – we correct it at the ballot box.

        Regardless, the senate can confirm or not, executive appointments however it pleases.

        Moderates should favor things such as the filibuster – as it pushes us towards more moderate candidates.

        Normally I think provisions that empower the minority are incredibly important – but that ship has already sailed (and sunk).

        I have only one significant concern regarding Gorsuch and that is that somehow his natural rights foundation – which I strongly agree with, has lead him to oppose peoples rights to terminate their own lives.

        I do not understand the feat of logical gymnastics that got him there.

        That also bodes badly for Rowe – which is likely what concerns democrats.

        In my view Rowe was badly decided – you do not use science as the basis for making decisions about rights.
        But Rowe was not “wrongly” decided – though the same results with a better foundation in rights would have different consequences in terms of the rights efforts to bridge arround Rowe.

        Anyway, back to my point.

        I have no problems with democrats doing whatever is in their power to stop Gorsuch.

        I hope they fail. I beleive they will fail. I beleive that it is a mistake for them to oppose Gorsuch.

        But the arguments are political, not for the most part constitutional.

        I wish all judges and justices ruled on the law and constitution as written, and left the “living” part of the law and constitution to the legislature and people.

        As an example Roberts should have killed PPACA, if as he did, he was going to decide government could not mandate the consumption as a commerce clause power. Rewriting the law in a judicial oppinion is not the purview of the court.

        PPACA should also have failed on the later King v. Burwell challenge.
        The burden of drafting the law clearly rests with the legislature.

        PPACA was a rushed abomination, and we do not want mamouth laws rushed and then fixed by executive or judicial interpretation.

      • Roby permalink
        March 31, 2017 11:37 am

        “I think Garland should have had a hearing, if for no other reason than to show that his confirmation would have tilted the court permanently left. But he would have never been confirmed. His nomination was purely political, and it remains a talking point, not a real issue.”

        Yep, I knew it. Anything, and I do mean anything, can be rationalized. Works for you, for me its just empty words, that cover the universal partisan principle “anything is fair, as long as we win.” Your hope, of course, is to turn the court permanently to the right. If its wrong to turn it left, then its wrong to turn it right. So, sadly being intellectually qualified is not enough, one must be politically qualified as well, as you just made clear.

        But, what Rick wrote, that’s how people outside the GOP who don’t have that GOP narrative buying tendency see the GOP, Rick nailed it. You can quibble about the details and somehow substitute the issue of Alaskan trees when Rick wrote not about Alaskan trees but about hunting regulations. Anyhow, what Rick wrote, its probably how you saw the GOP yourself before your inversion.

        As for me, I will buy a good bashing for both loony ^&%$#@ parties, some of such a diatribe may be caricature or subject to debate about some details, but both parties are captives of their extremes and they are both a menace. Right now, one party has all the levers of power, and a crazy despicable POTUS to boot, so the immediate threat is from your side. But the dems are lurking in the wings waiting for their chance to be a menace, which will surely come. And, the worse the GOP does, the worse the Dems will do, I believe that is a law.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 31, 2017 4:37 pm

        I have no problem with what happened to Garland – and if democrats manage to stop Gorsuch – I have no problem with that.

        I do not however think that Gorsuch “leans right”.
        I think that adjudicating the law and the constitution as actually written is NEUTRAL,
        It is “:moderate”.

        It leaves control of the constitution and the law with the people and the legislature – not the courts. And that is where it belongs.

        If you had 5 Gorsuch’s on the court and you wanted Gun control – nothing would prevent you from amenfing the constitution to get it.

        If you had 5 Garlands on the court and wanted end gun control – there is nothing you could do to accomplish that.

        That is what is wrong with the left’s idea of the role of Judges.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 31, 2017 4:43 pm

        Off the top of my head I can not think of a good reason to hunt bears and wolves from helicopters.

        Nor can I think of a good reason for a law against it.

        Just because I do not like something does not mean I think it should be illegal.

        I am straight and men having sex with men thoroughly revolts me.
        But just because something revolts me does not mean I am entitle to make it illegal.

        Neither revulsion which according to Prof. Haidt who I refered to earlier, is a strong force underpinning the rights values, nor emotion which is the strong basis underpinning the values of the left are acceptable basises for law.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 31, 2017 4:47 pm

        So long as Trump is working to “deconstruct government” he has my support – atleast in that.

        I would have given Obama support for improved transparency – but the government that promised to be the most transparent ever turned out to be the least.

        Presuming that:

        Trump is never actually connected to Russia in “rigging the election”
        He does not do something like start a Trade war or a serious hot war
        He manages 3% economic growth

        Republicans are going to do well, and so will Trump.

        To the extent any of the rest of what we are fighting over is releivant – it is relevant only as it applies to those things.

      • March 31, 2017 11:52 am

        I hope the Republicans nuke the filibuster. Back in the days when it was a REAL filibuster, and these guys had to talk round the clock, it was a way to prevent further debate on a bill or nomination. But, since it’s become an easy way for Democrats to block the right of a Republican president to get judicial nominees confirmed (when Republicans tried it against Obama, the Dems nuked it entirely for lower court justices) it has become an easy obstructionist move.

        If they want to preserve it, they should require that it go back to being a talking filibuster. But most of our Senators, other than a few, are too lazy for that. (A lot of them are too old to stand for that long).

      • March 31, 2017 11:58 am

        Unfair, Roby. It WAS a political move. Do you think that Obama actually thought that Republicans would confirm his third SCOTUS pick in an election season, when his own VP had codified the precendent of NOT doing that?

        I do think that the GOP erred in not giving the guy a hearing. And, if you recall, many, if not most, people though they were foolish not to take Garland over the more left-wing justice that Hillary would likely nominate. So, it was a risky move by the Republicans, and it paid off.

        I think that you sometimes think that politics is ideology. I view politics as strategy, and I don’t evaluate it on the basis of right and wrong, but on whether it accomplishes the strategic goal. So, Obama was smart to nominate Garland, but the strategy didn’t work.

      • Roby permalink
        March 31, 2017 12:52 pm

        “I view politics as strategy, and I don’t evaluate it on the basis of right and wrong, but on whether it accomplishes the strategic goal. ”

        Then why raise the issue of democratic hypocrisy? That’s just to work yourself up it certainly is not going to resonate with anyone who is not a fan of the GOP What you said above was just a paraphrase of “anything is fair as long as I win.” And, of course, the strategic goal is ideological.

        So, I am not buying. Both teams suck, they are both full of hypocrisy; on any question you can name the “they did it first” routine goes back to the Pharaohs.

        Once upon a time you loved team A and loathed team B. A switch flipped and now you love team B and loath team A. All the explanations of why team B is now in the right in every conflict go back to your change in teams. Someday you may completely tire of team B and move to the not very partial middle and make few defences for either team. Until then you have to twist yourself in knots to justify your lens, which is ideological. It works for you, great, but its empty for me.

        But I will leave you in peace about it further in this topic.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 31, 2017 4:57 pm

        In keeping with Priscilla’s theme:

        The democrats are being hypocritical about the filibuster – they are the ones that gutted it.

        If reid had left it alone – republicans would have been more successful in stalling Obama nominess – particularly judges.

        But most of Trumps cabinet would not have been confirmed.
        And neither Gorsuch nor Garland would get to be on the Supreme court.

        I do not think that OConnel could have invoked the nuclear option had Reid not done so first.

        But it will be trivial for him to extend it a bit.

        Regardless, much of this is strategy and tactics.

        While I strongly favor rules that empower minorities – such as the filibuster,

        I do not see it coming back.

        In the meantime

        Democrats are wrong to oppose Gorsuch because exactly what they do not like about him is exactly what all 9 justices of the supreme court should be like.

        But as to the rest of the strategy and tactics.
        I think filibustering now is a tactical mistake.

        It is not immoral or improper, it just will not work, and will have no actual benefit to democrats.

        But they are free to persue it.

    • March 31, 2017 2:03 pm

      Well, for one thing, you misunderstood, or misread, what I said, which was “But because they get away with way more blatant hypocrisy.” The operative phrase there being “get away with.”

      Now, you can argue that the mainstream news media is very balanced and treats Democrats and Republicans the same. But, that would be a very flawed argument.

      I have said over and over, that politicians are, for the most part hypocritical. Politicians from both sides. I have called politics a blood sport, and it always has been (“Et tu, Brute?”).

      I am of the opinion, easily backed, I think, that Democrats get away with their hypocrisy to a far greater degree than Republicans, because the media is much more likely to ignore the hypocrisy of the politicians that they support and like. That’s all. You are free to disagree, but I wish that we would stay on the same page.

      • Roby permalink
        March 31, 2017 2:05 pm

        “Well, for one thing, you misunderstood, or misread, what I said, which was “But because they get away with way more blatant hypocrisy.” The operative phrase there being “get away with.””

        Its a fair point. One for you.

    • March 31, 2017 6:45 pm

      Priscilla: I know environmentalists can be dweebish, obnoxious and clueless; they probably alienate millions of Republicans who, left alone, might actually favor environmental protections.

      As for forest management, see my reply to Ron above. Yes, smart management would create better conditions in the forests, but I’m pretty adamant about keeping private interests out of public lands.

      • April 1, 2017 1:03 pm

        Rick, I see it as more than public vs. private, or even smart management, although management is certainly an issue with any government bureaucracy. My issue is legislation and regulation based on non-scientific and non-proven concerns, coupled with a complete disregard for unintended consequences. The harm that has been caused by the EPA, both environmental and economic, likely equals or surpasses the good that it has done.

        But when Republicans point that out, they are vilified. That’s all.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 1, 2017 1:51 pm

        I agree – private interests should be out of public lands.
        But 65% of alaska should not belong to the federal government, and another 35 to the state. With truly private lands less than 1%.

        The state and federal government should own a few percent of the land in the country – and that should be preserved without change over time.

        The remainder should be privatley owned and its use determined by the free market.

  8. Anonymous permalink
    March 30, 2017 7:12 pm

    Thanks, Rick, loved it.
    Let’s alot of Reps read it, they are almost as bad as Dem are

    • March 30, 2017 9:03 pm

      Hear, hear! Or here, here! I never know which one it is……

    • dduck12 permalink
      March 30, 2017 9:49 pm

      Here, here. It was me that praised Rick, above. It should of read: Let’s hope a lot of Reps read it, they are almost as bad as the Dems are. And, I would add, now that I am on actual keyboard, that the Reps are worse because they are in bed or in the s—-pile with Trump.
      “What a revoltin’ development this is.”

      • March 31, 2017 11:08 am

        I knew it was you dd12! Are you calling for revolution, you violent leftist??

    • March 31, 2017 6:47 pm

      Thanks, dduck. Yes, our friends on the Democratic side of the aisle will get their roasting in my next column. But notice that even in this piece, I tried to understand the Republican mind and even sympathized (a little).

  9. Roby permalink
    March 31, 2017 1:07 pm

    I have a theory, which is based on the mechanism of reversible chemical equilibrium, that if half of the righties died at once from a righty virus, half of the lefties would change sides and the same proportion of left and right would result.

    Example, the Vermont legislature was purged of any meaningful conservative power already 6 years back or so. And yet, the result was not anywhere near as left wing as you might have expected. Lots of lefties in the legislature had to abandon left wing positions once the Dem party had total power and started to think and act like moderate conservatives to balance the lefties.

    Here on TNM, Poster A from the left of center can be in an intense battle of words with two posters, B and C, from the right who unite forces to attack him. Poster A leaves altogether for several months and returns to find the B and C have fallen out of love And even like and are hitting each other over the head with rhetorical tongs. One of them turned out to be much further right than the other and they separated with one being relatively liberal compared to the other. Given time and the actual power to legislate you would be back to a liberal and a conservative in a short time. Oh yes I have seen it happen, I was poster A!

    A Chinese proverb: A man’s face, a woman’s face and yet the same exact skeleton lies underneath. What two different act of theater!

  10. dduck12 permalink
    March 31, 2017 9:16 pm

    Priscilla: Me a leftist? Even if you are joking, I take that as a compliment. Roby, above, partially explains the shift in attitudes in political leanings in a sort of “nature abhors a vacuum” way. I have always been a bet of a contrarian when one side’s choir hurts my ears. It is easy because both sides are so full of s____ and themselves I hate political parties except for Groucho’s which he probably would not join- me too. I am also not too keen on folks that have been a member of one party all their lives and never admit that it has flaws.

    • Roby permalink
      April 1, 2017 7:48 am

      In other words you are a very pithy version of Rick! TNM is just the place for you.

    • April 1, 2017 9:34 am

      Of course I was joking dd12!!

      • dduck12 permalink
        April 1, 2017 8:09 pm

        Aw shucks, ya got me, Priscilla.
        Yes, Roby, I am a frequent user of rest rooms, but I keep my visits short, a trait at least one commenter on TNM wouldn’t understand. 🙂

    • dhlii permalink
      April 1, 2017 1:54 pm

      For me left means – if there is a problem – government is the answer,

      If you see the government as the answer to most problems then I would label you on the left.

      I do nto think it matters much precisely how you plan to use government to impose some solution by force. on the rest of us.

  11. Ron permalink
    April 1, 2017 7:43 pm

    Rick, I am disappointed to see you digress from your only slightly left position to an anti conservative position. Conservatives are not fully represented by the egotistical Trump.
    And canceling federal laws means the states can can save wolves and bears if they want to.
    You disappoint me …

    • April 2, 2017 9:18 am

      Good point, Ron.

      • April 2, 2017 11:21 am

        By the way, this is a different Ron. Not Ron P. Maybe “Ron” will add the initial so it is clear which Ron is posting.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:40 am

        I thought the tone sounded different.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:49 am

        Yep. “Ron” sure doesn’t want to be confused with me!

    • April 2, 2017 7:29 pm

      I knew it wasn’t you, Ron P.

      It could be RP, or a new Ron.

      Never knew there were so many of you! 😉

    • April 3, 2017 11:12 am

      I think both the Republicans and the Democrats have gone off the rails during the past few years, so naturally I’m going to be critical of the GOP in my “Dear Republicans” letter. Don’t worry… the Democrats will have their turn, although most of my barbs will probably be aimed at the maniacs who have taken over our colleges.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 1:24 pm

        If you want to address the college situation – I would strongly recommend watching many of Prof. Haidt’s youtube video’s on the subject.

        Some things he noted:

        The campus changes happened suddenly and surprised even left academia.
        Despite ideological similarities – this was not actually driven by academia – though academic diversity is a separate problem and since 1998 academia which has always been predominantly left has gone well past a tipping point – but that is actually an independent issue.

        Haidt is crediting changes in parenting and laws driven by changes in the media in the late 70’s

        For these students it is not about free speech. It is about preaching heresey in the temple.

        Haidt noted that at the Murray event – the protestors did not care if the lecture continued – off campus. What they opposed was bringing satan (Murray) to speak in their temple – the college.

        That this is about an assault on their religion.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 1:33 pm

        And the portion of the student population engaged in this violent illiberal activism is actually small.

        This is where the left tilt of academia kicks in.

        The majority left on campus is not intellectually equiped to deal with this extremist attack originating from a small portion of the student body.

        This is not actually left on right warfare. It is left on left.
        The mainstream left is being attacked as racist, homophobic and bigotted.
        Because that has been their rhetoric, they do not know how to respond.

        The average college professor or dean or college president is going to capitulate when labeled as a racist, specifically because they do not think of themselves as racist, and because they have been trained to see subliminal racism in others and are unsure that they are not racists when they are attacked as racists.

        Essentilly a small faction of the left withing colleges has effectively started using the tactics and strategy of the left against the left.

  12. April 2, 2017 11:23 am

    Thought everyone would like to read a good article concerning bipartisanship. When you have MSNBC saying good things about a Republican, I might have to check to see if global warming has come to and end and the cooling has impacted hell. Looks like it has frozen over.
    http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/columnists/john_railey/railey-can-sen-richard-burr-become-the-hero-the-russian/article_4cd27896-d7db-5711-a986-ed13c0f826ef.html

    • dhlii permalink
      April 2, 2017 12:02 pm

      I have been following Andrew Mccarthy on the Russia stuff.

      If the left ever manages to connect the dots and demonstrate real collusion with Russia regarding the election – Trump is dead.

      That said they have an incredible distance to go.
      Thus far crediting everything that has been leaked as true – there is less connection between Trump and Putin than was openly reported between Clinton and Putin prior to the election.

      Clintons interactions with Russians prove nothing more than Trumps do – that people involved in international enterprises sometimes talk with foreign businessmen and diplomats.

      What is becoming increasingly evident is that The obama administration was involved in more that spying on Russia but was venturing into political espionage – establish that and it is WORSE than watergate.

      Nixon had to create a private group – “The plumbers” because he could not get FBI, CIA, … to do his dirty work for him.

      The leaks with respect to Trump are things we do not know whether are true or false.
      BUT we do know that they are leaks from the Intelligence community and that they do reflect that the IC was paying alot of attention to Trump.

      We now have Evelyn Farkas – a clinton campaign operative and former high ranking Obama appointee on national television admitting that after the election she was still inside the intelligence loop AND that she was encouraging Obama administration staff to get whatever they had on Trump out there.

      There is just not an innocent way of interpreting that.

      “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.”
      Ralph Waldo Emerson

      As this continues it is increasingly likely that someone is going down extremely big time.

      Technically even if the left demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump’s campaign collaborated with the Russians, we could still see both Trump and Obama or atleast alot of former Obama staff fall – because much of what has happened has been a crime – even if they were right.

      But that outcome is highly unlikely,
      If actual collusion with the Trump campaign is demonstrated – that will be “yuge”.

      But thus far this is a very weak circumstantial case with highly plausible explanations.

      And Emerson’s Aphorism is correct.
      Either The left gets Trump’s scalp or Trump is going to be collecting alot of scalp’s of his own.

      And frankly this has gone sufficiently far that I do not think there is anyway of backing down now.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 2, 2017 7:15 pm

        The democrats could care less about the outcome. It is the process that they are interested in. They are taking the GOP Benghazi playbook and perfecting it. They do not want an outcome until after 2020 as this is their Benghazi and if they keep creating smoke, people will believe their is a fire somewhere and that will impact the outcome of the 2018 and 2020 elections.

        But the reason I shared the article was to show that bipartisan cooperation still exist in Washington. But it takes a senator from the majority party that is not running next election to team with a minority party senator to make this happen. I suspect this bipartisanship would be somewhat different if Burr was going to run again in 2020.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 10:26 pm

        Maybe this is Benghazi, maybe not.

        I may be wrong – I have seen scandals drawn out infinitely and then fizzle that I thought were fatal.

        But I think this has a relatively short life.
        Either someone finds more than a few puffs of smoke in the Russia Trump meme or this story turns and destroys those pushing it.

        the assorted past congressional investigations – republican or democrat, started with the legitimate oversight power of congress.

        This is rooted in a political inquest by the executive of the opposite party. That is quite different.

        I would also note that this builds on Fast & Furious – which the right beleives was a deliberate DOJ effort to sell guns illegally to produce the impetus to drive new gun laws.

        And The IRS scandal which is a serious criminal action within the administration, and only fizzled because it does nto appear to rise higher than Lehrner.

        As more comes out – and it must, about who was investigating who and who was leaking what these prior scandals come into play too.

        Those of you on the left are probably incapable of grasping that for people who voted for Trump Fast & Furious and the IRS scandal were egregious, evil, illegal and deeply offensive.

        The left likes to play the race card – I think if Obama was not black – the IRS scandal might have taken down the govenrment. If it reached into the whitehouse, it was worse than watergate. Regardless, the failure of DOJ to prosecute is very disturbing.

        Finally, Trump has a reputation for being vindictive.
        If he survives the Russia Scandal he is taking a scythe to the intelligence community, and he is likely getting out the long knives.

        Like Emerson said – “if you strike the king, kill the king”.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:28 pm

        I have to agree with you on all counts you listed as possible activities that could have taken down Obama.

        But my thinking is many on the right believed what they heard from Hannity or read on social media concerning Bengahzi, even though I don’t remember seeing anything final that would have sent Clinton to trial or prevented her from running for President. I think the same thing is happening with the Russian issue, but multiplied by up to 10 because Fox and a few insignificant web sites kept the Benghazi issue alive, where this issue is being driven by NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, PBS, most print media (ie NY Times, Washington Post and local papers), many local TV stations and a host of social media sites (ie Huffington Post). AAnd the more times a lie is told, more people begin to believe the lie as being true.

        And in a way, this is the same thing Russia is doing in spreading fake news across Europe trying to influence their elections. Russia’s ability to control anything militarily is not possible now due to their economic issues and the decline of their military, but they sure can influence things cheaply by spreading fake news.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 2:00 am

        The fundimental issue regarding Benghazi was that the administration lied to the public about a terrorist attack immediately before an election.

        There is the separate issue of whether Benghazi was handled competently.
        I think not, but that causes administrations to lose credibility and elections not go to jail.

        Republicans have made mistakes before – we investigate those too.

      • April 3, 2017 2:49 pm

        And what was the final outcome of the House investigation into Benghazi????

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 4:47 pm

        There are multiple reports – they are available.
        I am pretty sure the referal to the FBI regarding the Clinton private server came from the Benghazi committee.

        Regardless, congress can recomend to the administration, it can refer for DOJ investigation, and it can convert hearings into legislative action.

        The first two occured.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 2:06 am

        Clinton lied under oath regarding her emails – I beleive that was in the Benghazi hearings.
        She also lied subject to perjury in some of the pleadings regarding the Judicial Watch FOIA case. And she inarguably violated 18cfr793(f) and possibly 18cfr793(e).
        Those are the serious issues.
        FBI wanted to investigate Clinton Foundation – and there is far more likely something there than Trump-Russia.
        There are also myriads of more minor records keeping violations that are not crimes but are illegal.

        And what bothers me the most is that Clinton vigorously went after the producer of “The Innocence of the muslims” and had him jailed.

        High government officials should not use their power to crush little guys for political purposes.

      • April 3, 2017 2:50 pm

        Again, what came of this investigation?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 4:48 pm

        What became of the Benghazi investigation ?
        Or what became of the referal to DOJ that resulted ?

        At a minimum – Clinton lost the 2016 election.
        That is a pretty big outcome.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 2:10 am

        At the moment New York Times is all to often “fake news”.
        I mean honestly NYT ran a front page story that Trump was wiretapped and is not lambasting Trump for tweeting what they ran fist on the front page ?
        I could care less what propoganda Russia is selling.

        People who want to buy a particular ideological narrative – are going to do so.

        But today we have the greatest ability to find the truth that we have ever had as ordinary people. But you have to sort it out of the weeds.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 2:12 am

        the media is biased. Got that,.
        I am not a big fan of Fox either.
        They may reflect a different pespective than CNN – but they do not reflect MY perspective.

        All that said – the media is biased – so what.
        I do not care – that is their right to be.
        The last thing I want is government imposing some balance standard on the media.

        Markets will do that – or not.

      • April 3, 2017 2:58 pm

        Dave are you living under a rock? You may not care if the media is biased or not. That is your right and that is a good position to take when no one can do anything about biased reporting anyway. They are private companies and can report the news anyway they want.

        But there are millions of voters that vote based on biased media reports. There and thousands that votes based on fake news stories. That should concern many people today because fake news and biased reporting in the past did not influence the percentage of voters that it influences today. Where people did not read the paper or listen to news on TV in the past, they are bombarded with this stuff on social media hourly. When the average american checks their phone almost twice an hour for each waking hour, they have much greater chance of seeing a fake/biased news story than previous generation.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 5:04 pm

        There is no right to an unbiased media.

        If you do not like one or many media outlets – find others you do.

        People vote for lots of reasons – my grandmother always voted for the most handsome candidate.

        Possibly elections would be different absent biased media.
        So what ?

        What remedy do you want ?
        Government meddling in political speach in the 60’s and 70’s was disasterous.
        We do not want to go back.

        The media is like the rest of the free market. It is selling a product.
        I do not want any more regulation on the media than my hot dog – that would be none.

        I get to decide what I think is fake news – you get to decide for yourself. Rachel Maddow is allowed her opinion.

        We fix this kind of bad conduct in a free market by changing our purchasing behavior.

        When you say that “fake news” changed voting – you are saying – others are too stupid to know what is true or false, but you are not, and some expert should be appointed to save stupid people from beliving fake news.

        I am not all that happy with the overall intelligence of the average american.
        But I do not presume to know enough to know how to fix things for them.

        We already have myriads of political fact check organizations.
        That make it abundantly clear that specicially charging an intelligent person with an obligation to examine things without bias provides pretty close to zero protection from bias.

        Do we have a greater chance of seeing “fake news” today ?

        No. I do not think so. The Three network when I was young were more sophisticated in their bias and error. Absolutely today the wild wild west internet exposes us to more extreme “fake news”, but we are also far more likely to see the actual truth.
        Discerning which is which is a personal problem.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 10:31 pm

        I am not sure that what you see as the optics matters that much.

        If Burr does not produce the results the left wants – he will be villified.
        He has more room with the right.
        I would note historically Republicans are far better at being willing to hold republicans accountable, than democrats.

        I do not know much about Burr, but I do not presume things because someone is republican.

        I have noted that I have a great deal of respect for McCain.

        But he is in a blood feud with Trump – one that Trump started.
        Regardless, I have zero doubt that McCain would sacrifice party and country for personal revenge.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:31 pm

        “If Burr does not produce the results the left wants – he will be villified.
        He has more room with the right.”

        True if it becomes a “Burr” investigation. Right now it is a “Burr/Warner” investigation and if it stays that way, the left will have a harder time discounting the findings if they don’t support their desired outcome.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 2:15 am

        Burr, Burr/Warner – does not matter.

        Absent a smoking gun – wherever they are right now – Burr and warner will get polarized if they do not find something compelling.

      • April 2, 2017 7:47 pm

        Ron, it is all about the process. And James Comey, as possibly the most powerful man in Washington now, is playing the process game as well.

        If the FBI has been investigating Trump’s ties to Russia since July 2016, and is not able to make a report of any kind, I have to assume that the agency has gotten mixed up in the Watergate-style political spying that we’re beginning to see evidence of. All of the “Trump associates” named by the NYT and the Washington Post have offered to testify publicly, none have thus far been permitted to do so.

        As long as Comey keeps Trump under investigation, Trump can’t fire him. Well, technically I suppose he can, but the political fallout would be radioactive. And as long as Comey stonewalls Congress, which is what he is currently doing, the cloud of the investigation will continue to hang over the administration, despite the total lack of evidence.

        It’s obvious that our intelligence community has become dangerously politicized, and that there are many embedded leakers, as well as whistleblowers, both ready to deal in classified info that helps their side . I’m afraid that we will never know the truth of what has been going on.

        But Rachel Maddow will continue to get high ratings, peddling her Russia conspiracy theories. If they can keep this thing going until 2018, it might help the Democrats win back some seats. And if James Comey continues to stonewall Congress and keep his “investigation” going, he’ll outlast Trump.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 10:38 pm

        Comey ultmately has no more power than the facts.

        Worse still the FBI has had its credibility shredded for both the right and left.

        There are indications at the moment that the FBI was involved in negotiations to fund continued investigations by the British Spy that the Clinton’s hired to do opposition research. While it is good they said no. It is still going to be hard to get out of that without looking bad – compromised.

        I do not think Comey is particularly partisan, or evil. But I think he sacrificed principles for expedience. I think that he did a versiion of the Roberts PPACA decision – and decided what the result had to be, and then bent the law to fit the results he beleive was politically necescary.

        I do not mean he bent the law to the republican or democrat desired result – but the one he thought was best for the nation.

        That is still a mistake. Confidence in the integrity of the FBI is pretty much shot.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 10:50 pm

        what does “know the truth” mean ?

        In arguably some of Trumps people had contact with russians.
        As did Clinton’s.

        Both Trump and Clinton were engaged in activities that would have required legitimate contacts with russians.

        Maybe real collusion occured – I honestly doubt it.
        I still do not beleive that Putin thought Trump was in his best interests.
        The most I am likely to beleive is that like everyone else Putin though Clinton was going to win, and wanted her to weaken her.

        Frankly, I do not think that Russia was effective.
        Prior to the election even Obama spoke about Russian activities in the election suggesting they were both real and not unusual.

        Most all the allegations regarding Russia were known prior to the election.
        Thus far nothing has come to light might have impacted the election that voters did not know prior to the election.

        What has occurred is that after the election – the left failed to grasp that
        The fault was in themselves and not their stars.
        and has grasped at the russian straw.

        Both because they need an explanation for the impossible.
        and because the left absolutely totally loaths trump in the way the right was accused of hating Obama. Only much of the left does not even pretend that is not so.

        I think this is going to end very badly. Exactly how I do not know.

        I do not beleive there was collusion – among other reasons because if Trump somehow bought russian help – he got a bad deal. Russia did nto decide this election.
        And because I do not think despite his one way bromance with Putin Trump is that stupid.

        But even if there was collusion – absent a “john dean” coming forward you are never going to prove it.
        At the same time you can not disprove a negative and the left is going to forever beleive that somehow putin got Trump elected and they colluded.

        But what can be known is what was going on inside the US IC.
        And heads are going to roll over that.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 10:57 pm

        Maddow is playing to the faithful.

        How many Trump voters tune into Maddow ?

        If you want this to have an effect in 2018 and 2020, you need to change Trump voters.
        I have seen nothing thus far that suggests that happening.

        Frankly. I think the left is imploding.

        The giant question for 2018 and 2020 is the economy.
        Not Russia, not PPACA, not Tax Reform, not Immigration, not ….

        To the extent any of those matter at all – it is their effect on the economy.

        My gazing into the crystal ball suggests a better recovery by 2018 and Republican gains not losses.

        But I am watching lots of economic signs – and there are both good ones and bad ones.
        we have been pushing forward a minor recession for several years.

        I expected it before the election.
        If Clinton had been elected I think it would have happened immediatley.

        I do not know if Trumps actions thus far have been sufficient to forestall it
        there are lots of clues that say the economy is starting to strengthen.
        But there are some warnign signs too.

      • April 2, 2017 7:50 pm

        Andrew McCarthy is excellent, Dave. I’ve been following him, as well as Victor Davis Hanson, both of the National Review. I’ve also been reading Eli Lake of Bloomberg News and Glenn Greenwald.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 10:59 pm

        I am not familiar with Lake.

        I already mentioned my respect for Greenwald.
        He is one of those on the left who has been willing to stick to his ideals and positions even thought it meant challenging those of his own ideology.

        I greatly respect that.

    • April 2, 2017 7:55 pm

      And, Ron, I’ve been impressed with Burr and Warner. Although, Nunes and Schiff started out a lot more cooperative than they are now… I hope the Senate committee can hang in there and find out what’s happened/happening. The Senate Judiciary Committee has been doing some good work too, despite their being much more partisan.

      • dduck12 permalink
        April 2, 2017 9:25 pm

        I hope they can too. An independent counsel is too premature and there is plenty of smoke, Tom Keane said today on Zakaria’s show, it would take five months plus and disrupt the nation. A bipartisan, bicameral committee of congress should do it first.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:12 pm

        dduck, right on about an IC being premature, and everyone calling for it knows that to be a fact. But when they call for one and it doesn’t happen, that strengthens their position that something illegal took place and the Attorney General is trying to cover something up.

        From my understanding, the law specifies the AG naming an IC when there is substantial and credible information available concerning a government official in some level of government. Right now that has not been made available to anyone, but the Democrats will continue calling for it regardless.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 1:57 am

        I do not beleive there is an IC law on the books at the moment.

        There is no legal requirement to name an IC.

        At this point in time political corruption is investigated by DOJ.
        This is why Clinton was not prosecuted, not was Lehner, nor the IRS commissioner, not Clapper, nor Brennan, nor ….

        Because things like lying under oath were acceptable to the Obama DOJ.

      • April 3, 2017 2:48 pm

        Good god you are picky with peoples words. NO DAVE THERE IS NO CURRENT IC LAW!!!!!!!!!!!!. I typed an “s” instead of a “d” in “specifie “. They are right next to each other on the keyboard. But the original law stated their had to be substantial and credible information before an IC could be called for and I would think that would be a requirement if their is a law or no law.

        The demos are pulling out all their plays on this to crucify Trump, regardless if there is something there or not.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 4:43 pm

        I do not put much effort into typing, grammar or spelling.

        I have zero grounds to complain about that of others.
        You meant something different – got it.
        So long as I do not have to defend responding to what was written, rather than what was intended.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:12 pm

        I see nothing here that should take very long.

        It is pretty self evident that a great deal of spying on the Trump Campaign occurred prior to the election.

        Apparently starting long before Trump was nominated.

        With the exception of specific testimony from Trumps people,
        the rest of the evidence already exists or is never going to be uncovered.

        What it is not – is publicly available.

        Absent a John Dean the only way you are getting Trump is by exposing in a very big way that the Obama administration was very agressively spying on Trump.

        The left has got to hope that “the ends justify the means” – and that will only fly if Trump is actually caught in something.

        If not, alot of Obama political appointess are likely to be exposed and possibly jailed and this could potentially significantly tarnish Obama.

        Frankly, I think this was a very very stupid political gambit on the lefts part.

        Absent some stunning revelation – this will play fine with the extreme left.
        But it is not ruffling the feathers of Trump voters.

        The most dangerous thing I think Trump may be doing, is going after the Freedom Caucus.

        Trump won. He won on his own. He is not beholden to the republican establishment at all.

        But republican representatives and senators also won. And they won absent Trump coattails.

        To the extent there is any political synegry. Trump voters are more likely aligned with the Tea Party and Freedom Caucus.

        Trump ran against the very people he is starting to try to make nice with.

        That is politically incredibly dangerous.

        But then if my political savy was better than Trumps, he would have lost.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:00 pm

        Schiff has been an idiot for as long as I have been following this.

        I am not sure that Nunes is not in over his head.

        I see know real substance in the attacks on him.
        But they appear to be working anyway.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:02 pm

        I have no more faith in the senate committee – than the house.

        If anything less.
        Senators are for more impressed with their own importance than representatives.
        and are more likely to have larger political aspirations.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:42 pm

        “Senators are for more impressed with their own importance than representatives.
        and are more likely to have larger political aspirations.”

        What makes this one different is Burr is retiring after this term in office. In 2022 he will be packing up his 1973 VW Thing and heading back to North Carolina. He has been in Washington since 1995, which mens he will have served in the House or Senate for 27 years. I doubt he will be one that stays in DC as a lobbyist. So he has no larger political aspirations. He was once mentioned as a running mate with McCain and said locally he would not do that.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 2:22 am

        You have confidence in Burr – I get that.

        Personally I think the Trump side of this is trivial:
        If the FBI, NSA, CIA had a smoking gun regarding Trump we would have seen it by now.
        Further investigating is NOT going to find a smoking gun.

        Put the assorted named actors under oath in public and see if anything falls out.
        Absent a John Dean, the Trump side dies.

        Then the question is what you do about the Inteligence leaks and the near certainty that the administration was using the federal govenrment to investigate a political opponent for political purposes.

        I think the leaks we already have a re highly likely to be fully traceable.
        Prosecute – and then see where that leads.
        That is a longer term issue and so long as Trump is not implicated by the house/senate investigation, can be persued by DOJ.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 2, 2017 11:06 pm

        Priscilla, I think the divide between Schiff and Nunez is much greater than the divide between Warner and Burr. When I see Nunez and Schiff, it seems very apparent to me these two guys don’t like each other personally, let alone their differences in political positions. Right now Warner and Burr seem to like each other and would be one of the few you might see having a drink after work together. But I think that it might also be Burrs ability to support more moderate legislation and since he doesn’t have to worry about reelection, he can tell McConnell to go jump in the lake if he does something that jerk doesn’t like.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 1:53 am

        What has legislation got to do with this ?

        This is an investigation.

        I want whoever is doing it to follow the facts where they lead.

        If they actually lead to Trump – we will have a constitutional crisis.
        I can live with that.
        But I do not expect that.

        The bigger problem there is it is impossible to disprove.

        The other side is easier. There is already plenty fo evidence that misconduct occured the only question si who and how much.
        Find out, and prosecute.

      • April 3, 2017 2:43 pm

        Dave, I posted a reply and it did not show up when I look at comments. So this might be a duplicate.

        You need to read the complete comment in the context it was written and not specific words picked out of context. Burr can get more cooperation on INVESTIGATION because he has crossed the line and supported left of center LEGISLATION. It is much easier to get cooperation from Warner when he has worked on other issues that Warner supported in the past. And if McConnell does not like what he is doing, Burr can tell him to go …….. becasue he is not worried about his position in the senate, especially after this term.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 3, 2017 4:40 pm

        This is not a hill I have any interest in debating much less dying on.

        I think your confidence in Burr is misplaced. Nor do I think it is broadly shared.
        Rachel Maddow does not give a Flying F, that Burr is a lame duck and in theory not easily influenced.

        I do not see much to “investigate” regarding Trump. There are records that already exist regarding whatever conduct there has been between anyone vaguely associated with Trump and Russia. Anything we do nto already have is not going to be magically concocted (I hope) in the next couple of weeks.

        Get what records exist – apparently alot.
        Bring these people in under oath and question them – preferably publicly.

        Again unless there is a “john Dean” among them – this is going to die.

        As to “russian hacking” – I think that has already been beaten to death.
        Absent collusion with Trump it is not a matter of serious public import.
        I am not sure it is really even congresses purview.

        The last issue is the extent to which the prior administration went outside of what is proper and legal.

        We already have the prima facia case there – we would not be discussing any of this absent criminal mishandling of classifed information – and interestingly the rumours once again connect this to Clinton and her staff. Who maintained security clearances and access after the left government – that is nearly certainly improper. You must either be in or work for government to hold a security clearance. and even with a clearance you must have a demonstrated need to know to have access. Neither of which are plausible.

        There are political issues trying to prosecute former Obama Administration people.
        Which hints that this should be handled by congress or a special prosecutor.
        Of course there was no problem with the DOJ and FBI handling those investigation prior to the election ? If we trusted the FBI to investigate Clinton – I think we can trust it to investigate, her and aparently Susan Rice and … now.

        That leaves the investigation of Trump and his contacts with Russia for congress.

        And that does not seem like it should be a tedious job.
        “Get’r’Done”.

        Partison, non-partison, it does nto matter.
        Unless there is a smoking gun and Trump is impeached the results are going to be partisan fighting regardless.

        I have not seen any serious problems with Nunes work thus far except that he may not have the political chops to swim in shark infested waters.

        Regardless, if you are expecting some happy non-partisan outcome – I want some of what you are smoking.

        This is going to be bitter, contentious, partisan, drawn out and at best end up with house cleaning in the intelligence community.

        It is not going to give closure to anyone.

        Most importantly it is not going to inspire the left to do some well needed soul searching and figure out why they lost.
        We have all the signs that democrats are moving further left.

        I do not care that they act in opposition to Trump – I expect that. It is their job.
        What I care about is the future of the democratic party.
        Because republicans and Trump need strong opposition.
        Not weak marginalised socialist opposition.

  13. dhlii permalink
    April 2, 2017 11:17 pm

    Here is a video interview of Prof. Johnathan Haidt.

    I should think Haidt’s insights might have significant appeal to “moderates”.
    While I do not 100% aggree with Haidt, he has incredible insights into how our ideologies work. He is incredible on the psychology of political values.
    Why each of us beleives what we beleive.

    Anyway there are alot more clips of Haidt on youtube and you can find many of his papers.
    I highly recommend him.

  14. April 3, 2017 9:56 am

    Very good clip Dave! I read The Righteous Mind a while back, and he hits most of the important points of it here.

    I particularly like his description of his time at Yale: “There were probably 3 or 4 conservatives there, but they were icky and yucky” lol.

    Also, his explanation of why libertarians are overwhelmingly male is also very interesting.

    And that more and more people vote against the people they hate, rather than for the the people they like…..that was pretty obvious during this past election. I think that the neverending “Russia hacked the election” theme of Democrats is basically an electoral strategy to get more voters to hate and fear Trump and the Republicans, and to drive turnout in the midterms and beyond.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 3, 2017 12:56 pm

      I am not in 100% agreement with Haidt on everything – but I greatly respect him.
      He is absolutely brilliant, and he brings to discussion facets of political identity and ideology that most of us are completely unaware of.

      I have been following him for sometime – before he “discovered” libertarians.

      I directly corresponded with him on libertarians and empathy, and I would like think that he adjusted his definition of empathy in response to my criticism’s.

      Libertarians have emotions just like everyone else – and with as much individual variation.
      We are not distinguished because we feel less, but because we weigh our feelings – no matter how strong low in much of our decision making

      Though even there – there is absolutely nothing wrong with making a choice based entirely on emotion. I do so quite often. What you may not do is make a choice that involves restrictions to the liberty of another.

      Anyway there are many other clips of Haidt.

      In the past I have characterized him as a liberal that understands libertarians.

      Watching he newer clips, he has done everything short of come out as a libertarian.
      He has completely flipped his views on economics – he has grasped that the advent of free markets has done more to improve conditions for the worst off than all charity ever.
      He is now calling the left “illiberal” and “progressive”, and he is calling himself a centrist.

      The most important thing about him and his work is he is very good at something most of us are very bad at – understanding the the principles and values of identity groups – often better than those groups members do themselves.

      I think I am better than most – at understanding the ideology of others.
      Partly because at one time or another I have traveled through most ideologies.
      But Haidt is far better than I am.

      Most of us – particularly those on the left are absolutely abysmal at understanding the views of others.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 3, 2017 1:17 pm

      I am not sure whether it was Haidt – but someone similar on Youtube noted that the Left is pushing the Russia hacked the election meme, because they must explain their loss.
      If the cause of the loss is not something external – Russian hacking, then it requires questioning their own beleifs and ideology and they are not prepared to go there.

      This is particularly noteworthy as even in the highly unlikely event that some collusion with Trump is ultimately demonstrated. Clinton did not lose because of Russian hacking.

      Democrats lost connection with a significant portion of their base – particularly blue collar whites.

      Elsewhere I am reading post election analysts that are saying that minorities are increasingly enamoured with the left.
      It is highly unlikely that any republican is getting a majority of any part of the minority vote.
      But very small gains in minority votes would make the GOP impregnable.

      The left likes to claim that Republicans can not consistently receive the ever higher number of white votes needed to win elections – as minorities expand.
      But democratic victories require even higher percentages among minorities – and that too is not sustainable.

  15. dduck12 permalink
    April 3, 2017 10:23 pm

    Hey moderates (cough) here at TNM, there are two new books on you reviewed today in WSJ: They’ll Meet You Halfway
    Faces of Moderation
    By Aurelian Craiutu
    (University of Pennsylvania Press, 295 pages, $49.95)
    Moderates
    By David S. Brown
    (University of North Carolina Press, 335 pages, $34.95)
    “Mr. Craiutu acknowledges that a moderate is a thing hard to define but helps us infer the creature’s outlines from its markings in the wild. Moderates, in his view, see the world as complex, unpredictable and dangerous but also as hopelessly imperfect. They are skeptical of revolutionary change or the idea that history is guided by progress; their overriding concerns are avoiding violence and preserving liberal institutions.”
    “Mr. Craiutu argues. A true moderate, he says, rather than seeking “safe spaces,” welcomes opposing views. Moderates know that nobody has a monopoly on the truth and are willing to appear inconsistent in order to follow the facts, moving (deliberately) first to one side and then the other like human ballast in the interests of keeping the ship of state on an even keel.”

    • April 4, 2017 1:00 am

      Would be nice to know what he defines as ” liberal institutions.”

      I have to agree with his description of a true moderate.” Moderates know that nobody has a monopoly on the truth and are willing to appear inconsistent in order to follow the facts, moving (deliberately) first to one side and then the other like human ballast in the interests of keeping the ship of state on an even keel.” This is why you see few moderates in congress today. Every Liberal and Conservative thinks they own the truth and are unwilling to budge from their positions.

      And I love appearing inconsistent in many cases. It drives Liberals and Conservative nuts. I can keep a conversation going for eons just by tweaking my positions. I can annoy or irritate someone intensely. And sometimes I change my positions when new information comes out that I was unaware of, unlike so many today.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 4, 2017 8:26 am

        The left – particularly the modern left mas distorted the meaning of the term “liberal” beyond meaning.

        I linked to some videos by Prof. Haidt, he used to call himself liberal, now he is calling himself centrist and quoting John Stuart Mills. He has started using the word “illiberal” to describe the modern left – particularly the violent censoring crowd on campus.
        I like that use as illiberal is an accurate description, and makes an effort at restoring liberal to its actual meaning.

        Through to the 40’s and possibly the 50’s in the US liberal was pretty close to libertarian.
        This makes it very confusing for moderns trying to read Locke, Adam Smith, our founders, Hume, Mills, most of the leading intellectual lights from the 17th to the mid 20th century – as they use the term “liberal” constantly – and what they mean most closely resembles modern libertarianism

        Regardless I have no problem with the term “liberal institutions”.
        I have no idea what moderates mean by it.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 4, 2017 8:42 am

        I am disturbed by the expression “a monopoly on the truth”.

        The root of real “liberalism” is that to the greatest extent possible choices should be made by individuals.

        That inherently means we are free to determine truth for ourselves.

        There are not too many conservatives on TNM at the moment.
        US conservatism has always had strong libertarian elements.

        Regardless, my primary disagreements with all over anything are less about is their truth in your view, but can you impose your truth on the rest of us by force.

        We all should have the greatest possible freedom short of constraining the freedom of others to follow our own truth in our own lives.

        The world is incredibly complex, and constantly getting more so.
        Easy answers are rare if they exist at all. Answers that work for all of us are close to non-existant. Perfection is unattainable – but improvement is acheiveable.
        We are constantly seeing those who think their truth provides easy answers trying to impose it on all of us by force.

      • April 6, 2017 10:46 am

        Dave, I might agree with you, if I thought that the minority party is using the filibuster for anything but purely partisan obstruction, i.e. to paraphrase new DNC chair Tom Perez, Democrats don’t give a sh*t what they’re voting for, it’s going to go down.

        A loyal opposition does not obstruct everything. Unless they consider themselves part of an undemocratic resistance, not loyal to any constitutionally elected representatives.

        I don’t think that, in the long run, gridlock does the nation any good. It simply reinforces the notion that the legislature is useless and that we’re better off with a” benevolent” dictator. You know, someone like Obama (and yes, I’m being ruefully sarcastic there.

        The Constitution provided for majority rule by legislature, except in certain narrowly defined situations, such as veto overrides, where it specified a 2/3 majpority.

        I think we should do something radical, and use the Constitution as the blueprint for governing.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 6, 2017 4:26 pm

        If the use of the filibuster by democrats is purely partisan destruction the electorate will address that.

        I think your assessment of that is correct. I think this is a big tactical and strategic mistake for democrats.

        There is a difference between the so called republican obstruction from 2009 forward and that of democrats.

        Republicans are – to the extent either party is, the party of limited government.
        Saying “NO” was fully consistent with their values and was what that portion of the electorate that supported them wanted of them.

        In the midst of the shutdown polling was showing something like 75% of people not wanting to see the debt ceiling raised.

        Democratic obstruction does not send the same message. While it is playing well with the extreme left of the democratic party – it is not playing well overall.

        Regardless, democrats as individuals and as a party are free to make their own choices.
        And voters will make theirs in two years.
        My crystal ball says this is a mistake.

        I think Democrats would have been better to save this fight for the next nominee.
        They would have been in a stronger position then.

        They probably still would have lost – but Republicans would have looked worse.

        Regardless, democrats are free to do as they choose.

        There is nothing “morally” wrong with filibustering.
        There is nothing morally wrong with nuking the filibuster.

        What matters is how the voters respond.

      • April 6, 2017 5:15 pm

        Well my crystal ball has another take on it. It says the GOP once again has screwed up royally with the way they present things to the people. They keep talking “nuclear”. How many people know what the hell “nuclear” means. Now the Democrats will go out and talk about how McConnell (McConnell rule) has changed the Senate and how bad that is going to be, when the GOP should have been talking about the “Reid Rule” at every turn they could to stick Harry Reid with the fact they changed procedures to get judges confirmed.And now when they change everything to a simple majority vote with no filibuster, it will be McConnell Rule that cause the change. And they will do one fine job making that change a negative in the thoughts of the majority of voters.

        I have no idea how or what the democrats will be saying, but I am very sure they will frame this as the GOP destroying tradition and then a large percent of the “swing” voters will buy into that crap.

        Just like when the GOP “shut down” government when they really did not “shut down” government. Vacation spots were closed, non essential government workers were given a handful of paid days off and all you heard or saw was how children were locked out of national monuments on school trips or people on vacation could not get into see the national parks. Not a word about the 90% of government workers still on the job or the fact the 10% sent home still got paid.

        And again this morning the GOP held a news conference to announce NOTHING about a possible plan that may or may not be acceptable to both wings of the party that may or may not be voted on once they get back from their two week vacation. They have worked so hard the past 90 days, they need 14-15 days to recuperate.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 6, 2017 8:01 pm

        Are republicans bad at messaging ? Absolutely.
        Are Democrats going to try to spin this as strongly as possible in their favor ? Absolutely.

        Do I know how people and voters are going to respond ? Only time will tell that.
        My abilty to look into the crystal ball has no special meaning.
        It has no connection to what is right or wrong, or ideology.

        If I am wrong about how people will respond – well I am just wrong about it then.
        It has no impact on my credibility on anything – except my ability to guess how others respond. While that might be a useful skill, it does not answer any of the questions I think are important.

        Everything is going to simple majorities.

        The only hope we have is a return to the pre-1917 rule – which was ANYONE could filibuster. That they had to hold the floor or yeild to someone sympathetic, and that debate could not be shutdown or suspended and that no other business could be conducted until the filibuster was over.

        No voting involved at all. You still passed everything with a simple majority.
        But even one person could atleast try to throw sand in the gears and bring everything to a halt.

        There were actually LESS filibusters – by far under that rule.

        Every single thing we have done to weaken the filibuster has made them more frequent.

        I beleive I read that Gorsuch is now the only supreme court justice EVER that has been filibustered. Bork was voted down – not filibustered.
        Several other nominees had less than 60 votes – with the majority of the other party opposed, but were appointed anyway – no filibuster.

        We shall she what happens. But most people do not understand this.

        Just to be clear, I do not think that Democrats filibustering Gorsuch was something evil.
        I think it was a tactical mistake.
        If Trump gets another nominee they are likely to be MORE controversial.
        Because frankly Gorsuch was probably the least offensive to democrats on Trumps list.
        And because absent something unexpected, the next seat is going to swing the court.
        The best Democrats can hope for is that Kennedy retires – that will convert the court to close to a reliable 5:4 – Roberts is not reliable, but he is more so than Kennedy.
        If it is Ginsberg or Breyer – then it becomes a 6-3 court with 2 unreliable conservatives.

        We will have to see who Gorsuch actually is. History suggests that Judges often change when they are elevated to the supreme court.
        But if he sticks to his judicial philosophy – I would toss the rest of the court for 8 more of him. His judicial philosophy is the only legitimate one.

        If the constitution and laws are applied exactly as written – if we do not like that – we can change the constitution and law and be assured that a Judge Gorsuch will decide subsequent cases based on the new law or new amendment.

        If the constitution and our laws mean anything different from the common understanding of the words at the time they were written – then we have the rule of man not law, and we can not fix it.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 6, 2017 8:16 pm

        The argument that republicans are destroying tradition – only flies with conservatives – because progressive practically by definition do not care about tradition.

        Placing a high value on tradition is very nearly the definition of conservative.

        Yes, one of the things on the Republicans agenda should be two laws:

        1). The orderly “shutdown” of the government in the event of a failure to approve further spending. There is absolutely no reason that precisely what gets done and what does not can not be specified by law. Democrats have deliberately chosen to impliment shutdowns to put the most pressure on republicans.
        What government needs to do when shutdown, needs to be outside of the broad discretion of the president.

        2) The orderly continuation of the government in the event of a failure to approve further borrowing. Again we can dictate by law, how that is handled. The absolute responsibility to approve borrowing constitutionally rests with congress alone.
        It used to be every single instance of borrowing had to be approved.
        The debt limit was just a convenient way to keep from having to continuously approve new borrowing. The debt limit is not in the constitution it is just a law.
        Congress can specify the priority by which things get paid when their is no borrowing authority. And/Or is can specify that some borrowing for very specific purposes can be done automatically.

        I think these could be extremely important.

        I beleive that both the debt limit and shutdowns can be effective political tools.
        They are more normally tools of fiscal conservatives – but even democrats are threatening shutdowns right now – there is a debt limit fight coming up.

        Republicans tend to lose these fights because they are poor at messaging, and because republican presidents tend to try to minimize public pain in a shutdown. While democrats try to maximize it. And finally because uncertainty is the most scarry force in these conflicts.

        Pass a law that says SS and Medicare get paid no matter what, and that a couple of other high profile items frequently used to stir up emotions are off the table, and we can have government shutdowns continue half of forever.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 6, 2017 4:29 pm

        The oppositions gets to choose when, where and what they oppose.

        Whether opposing everything is acceptable depends on the specific things and then ultimately the electorate.

        I do not think republicans were wrong opposing nearly everything.
        I do think democrats are.

        Not because either choices is inherently right or wrong.
        But because specifically for democrats at the moment total obstruction is coming at the expense of narrowing the party.
        It did not do so for republicans.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 6, 2017 4:36 pm

        To presume gridlock is inherently wrong is to presume that government must constantly be doing more. Why ?

        The requirements of government are minimal.

        Obama strove to be a benevolent dictator. It was the responsibility of the courts to reign that in.
        Grid lock means grid lock. It does nto mean that because congress does not act the president can.

        It means when we can not come to an overwhelming concensus – we can not further infringe on others liberty.

        A decade of real gridlock would likely balance the budget, and result in doubling economic growth.

        I am in the process of (re)reading John Stuart Mills “on Liberty” right now.

        He is amazingly prescient. He noted that representative government arose to disempower autocrats and to restore power to individuals – but that it was certain to evolve to disempowering individuals and empowering government,
        He noted that at a time when the TOTAL governments of majority of the developed world spent less than 5% of GDP.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 6, 2017 4:41 pm

        No the constitution did not provide for majority rule.
        There is no majority rule provision in the constitution.
        There are only a few specific instances were the constitution proscribes how congress shall make its choices – and those require supermajories.

        Equally important all legislation must be approved by the house, by the senate, by the president, and a majority of the supreme court should it be challenged.

        That means all legislation required the unanimous consent of 4 different institutions.
        That is not majority rule.

        There are actually very good reasons for this.

        AGAIN government is force – legislation requires force.
        Each new law not only burdens the individual liberty a bit more – but increases the resources needed to sustain the government that enforces it.
        Every law is a tiny step closer to a police state.

        Therefore we should think very long and hard about exactly how necescary any law is.
        Because every law will have a cost.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 6, 2017 4:45 pm

        I agree that we should follow the constitution.
        I do not agree that it is majoritarian.

        The constitution specifically enumerates the powers of the federal government.
        Everything else belongs to the states or the people.

        That is a big place to start.
        If most of us – left, right or other feel that the some necescary power was not granted the federal government – then we can ammend the constitution to provide it.

        Much of what republicans used gridlock to thwart – is not a power given to the federal government in the constitution.

        Interfering in private contracts – such as health insurance is explicitly barred in the constitution – not merely to the federal government, but also to states.

    • April 4, 2017 8:52 am

      I agree that welcoming opposing views is a hallmark of being a moderate. It’s also a hallmark of debate, which is becoming a lost art, as it is largely replaced these days with partisan ranting and accusations.

      I don’t think that a moderate has to be a centrist, and there are really very few here who are genuine centrists. Keeping an open mind doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have strong opinions or admitted biases ~ it means that you listen to opposing arguments, with the presumption that your own opinion and biases are not objective truth, and that, in fact, there may be no objective truth to be found in most debates..

      Ron, to your point, I believe that the author is likely using “liberal institutions” in the older, more traditional sense, as opposed to today’s left-wing liberal sense. An old-fashioned liberal is a believer in constitutional freedoms and civil rights, fiscal responsibility and strong foreign policy. Today’s left-wing progressives are not liberals in that sense, nor are many conservatives, who may preach those things, but, once in power, support whatever is likely to get them re-elected and/or accrue more power.

      The problem is that getting elected, or re-elected, is a necessary prerequisites for effecting any kind of policy….and moderation is increasingly unlikely to get you elected. As our society becomes more diverse and complex, it’s less and less likely that moderate positions will appeal to a majority.

      • April 4, 2017 10:38 am

        “and moderation is increasingly unlikely to get you elected. ”

        And each step the Senate takes to changes years of traditional rules only speeds the process to less moderate politicians. The Reid Rule started to process by removing the super majority for appointments of lower positions in government. Now McConnell will get SCOTUS appointments approved by using the Reid Rule. That makes all future SCOTUS appointments political, which is far from what we need in the highest court of the country, but it also reduces moderation at the highest level.

        Once the Reid Rule is placed on SCOTUS appointments, it is just a matter of time before some special legislation that the dems or GOP wants passed that is opposed vigorously by the opposing party gets passed using the Reid Rule and then the senate becomes as polarized as the House. No longer will anything like the gang of eight occur and no longer will the minority party have any influence in the country until after they become the majority party.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 4, 2017 1:20 pm

        George Will had an excellent column on the filibuster.

        Fillibisters almost never happened prior to 1917.
        At that time the senate change the rules the first time to accomidate “must pass” legislation for the war, and the frequency of filibusters increased.
        In the 1970’s we changed the rules again and filibusters increased dramatically.

        Pre 1917 there was no 2/3 or 60 vote requirement – legislation passed solely on majority votes in the senate. But a single senator could filibuster anything. When the floor was open to debate, there was no means to end debate until debate actually ended.
        Further the senate could do no other business – until the filibuster ended.
        The senate was essentially shut down

        Wills recomendation is to return to the filibuster of the first 150 years of our history.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 4, 2017 11:15 am

        The old fashion definition of liberalism meant openness to the expression of other views.
        It meant not merely leaving people free to express their own views – but to follow them in their own lives.

        That is what old fashioned classical liberalism and modern libertarianism are.

        To be maximize the freedom to say and do as you please in your own life you must minimise government. government power comes at the expense of individual liberty.
        We want to assure that governments efforts are directed at securing our liberty because anything else is at the expense of our liberty.

        The absence of objective truth does not preclude establishing that one subjective truth is more probably correct than another. Or that some claims to truth are just false.

        AGAIN we severely limit what truth government pursues – because when government defines truth in a domain – we are no longer free to find our own truth in that domain.

        All of the above should be readily accepted by all of us.

        To the extent there is any debate it should only be precisely what the limits of govenrment are. At what point does government power shift from securing our freedom to restricting it.

        We do not have to accept other perspectives. We can dogmatically denounce competing truths. We can assert that all viewpoints beyond our own are complete and total crap.
        What we can not do is use government to supress other views or to impose ours.

      • Roby permalink
        April 4, 2017 11:17 am

        Ron, you predicted this turn of events when the Reid Rule happened. You were correct in every word you said, and I remember what you said pretty well.

        Bleh. Downhill we are going.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 4, 2017 11:33 am

        I am not sure that the older definition of liberal includes strong foreign policy.

        The definiton of liberal has varied over time. But it is not until the mid 20th century that it started to empower government

      • dhlii permalink
        April 4, 2017 11:51 am

        I have not adopted the meme that politics is getting more contentious.

        Our founders were incredibly nasty to each other.

        Even the concept of a neutral press is a mid 20th century concept.

        That said if the people are polarizing – then that is how it is.

        I would note that the concept that the majority of people can impose their will on the rest – though more commonly expressed by the left today is present in the right too.

        Even moderates here seem perfectly happy to impose some compromise on us all by force.

        There is only one ideology which severely restricts the power of a majority to impose its will on the rest of us by force. Moderation as defined at TNM requires compromise – but that compromise is still going to be imposed on all by force.

        The polarization of the electorate just means that instead of imposing usually bad compromises we are increasingly likely to impose either what the left or the right wants.

        While my preference would be to impose nothing.

        One of the advantages of one ideology or another winning an argument is we get to test a proposition of that ideology in the form that ideology beleives will succeed.

        We can fight over whether PPACA is an abject failure or a success.
        But whatever it is, it is owned exclusively by democrats.
        It is a measure of democratic policy that we can use to determine whether we want to give democrats more power.

        We are currently seeing Trump stomping through government “like a bull in a china shop”.
        While we should reserve final judgement until the results are measureable,
        we should still expect to have a metric to measure Trump’s policies.

        We have had 8 years of sub 2% average growth. Democrats have been blamed for that.
        If Trump can not correct that – then those on the left claiming this is the new normal, will have been proven likely correct.
        Conversely if Trump succeeds (or fails) at inducing growth, we will have a reference to determine to some extent what works and what does not

        The polarization of our politics is not inherently bad.

        The fundimental issue is that while failure is an important source of knowledge in a free market, failure is a highly undesirable event in government. The consequences of even small government failures dwarf market failures.

        But if we can learn no other way – then we can learn through government failure.

      • April 4, 2017 2:16 pm

        As I’ve said, I think that, once the filibuster stopped being a talking filibuster and became an obstructionist tool of the minority, it was doomed. And, at this point, I’m happy to see it go. The idea that the Senate is an elite legislative body, made up of dignified public servants who play by a mutually agreed upon set of rules, and venerate the Constitution, has gone the way of the dodo bird. Business in the Senate has become a partisan slugfest, maybe more like a partisan UFC match.

        This whole Gorsuch thing makes it clear that the filibuster has become a joke. Chuck Schumer has been denying that the Democrats are filibustering, claiming instead that there is a “60 vote expectation” for any SCOTUS nominee. Both of Obama’s nominees got that number because there were GOP Senators who, despite reservations, voted for Sotomayor and Kagan because they were accomplished judges. If that were used as the standard for Gorsuch, he would easily get or surpass 60 votes. But, the actual constitutional standard is 51.

        51 should be the legislative standard going forward as well. If it isn’t, Congress will be gridlocked for the foreseeable future.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 4, 2017 4:49 pm

        The filibuster has always been an obstructionist tool.
        That is its purpose.
        That is the purpose of all the checks and balances.

        I do not see the SCOTUS fillibuster surviving the week.

        I beleive that Gorsuch should be confirmed.
        But I also beleive that the filibuster in the broadest form possible should be restored.

        I would do as George Will recomended
        Because 51 or 100 votes is NOT enough.
        The constitution does nto specify – except in rare instances – such as impeachment or overriding a veto the number of each chamber that must vote to approve any legislation.

        I would be fine with requiring 60 affirmative votes in the senate to approve anything.
        And/Or 60% of the house.

        I have no problem with gridlock.
        I only wish it had started a century ago.
        We have alot of majoritarian crap to get rid of before we can revert to supermajoritarian rule.

        The constitution does not specify the number of votes a SCOTUS nominee must get.

        One of the big problems at the moment is that Reid destroyed trust by going nuclear in the first place – though republicans did threaten during Bush.

        I think the filibuster is dead. Because even though I think alot of republicans would sacrifice Gorsuch to get it back. They do not trust democrats enough to beleive that when they have power again they will not nuke it again.

        A filibuster that only applies when republicans are in power is not appealing.

        Right now there is no means short of a constitutional amendment to create that trust.

  16. Roby permalink
    April 4, 2017 1:24 pm

    I wrote to my Senators (Leahy and Sanders) of my (delusional) idea to expand Medicare one year at a time.

    Yesterday I heard back from Leahy, he thanked me for my concerns about trump and gave me a rant about trump care. I did not mention trump in my letter.

    Today I fired of the following, only for the purpose of spleen venting, since it will do no earthly good. But It may amuse someone here:

    Dear Sen Leahy,

    I did NOT contact you about donald trump. I loath trump and believe that the GOP has lost many of its principles, its a wretched state of affairs. However, sad to say, I am not at all impressed with your party either, most especially the Vermont wing of it, which is far too far to the left. One large reason we have the POTUS we do is Bernie Sanders fantasy campaign to turn the US into Scandinavia. Bernie Sanders would not be any more fit to govern our country than trump is, because, like trump, he has ideas that are naive and extreme, if very good-hearted.

    One of two things will happen in the next election, either trump will be re-elected because the base of the democratic party has succumbed to fairy tales about Scandinavian style government, or a very left leaning democrat will win and be unable to govern. Why? If you were to make a map of the US showing every county in which a majority of voters really believe that the US should try to become much more like Sweden, it would show that no more than 5% of the land mass of the USA belongs to the democratic socialist camp. Delusional promises are being made.

    Obama care had good intentions, but its actual result is that millions of people are supposed to buy nearly useless insurance plans at a considerable cost. This leaves such people with LESS money to spend on things like seeing a doctor. I’m sorry, the GOP base lacks common decency but the Democratic base lacks common sense.

    Where is the party of Truman and Kennedy? Where is even the party of Carter and Clinton? Its been hijacked by people who believe the transgender bathrooms are a giant political issue, who believe that college students should have a complete loss of control in the presence of ideas that are not to their liking. These people believe that there is a way to make “the rich” (which ain’t me!) pay for free everything. I HATE that democratic party.

    Sen. Leahy, you are a McGovern style liberal. I’m sure you are terribly sincere, but outside of the Vermont bubble you represent ideas that will be put over on the red counties of the US, which means nearly all of the landmass of the US, over their dead bodies. Your ideas, the ideas that are popular with the increasingly delusional base of the Democratic party, cannot govern the US. Perhaps you could come up with a plan to fill the country with Swedes.

    As bad as he is, and I consider him to be atrocious, trump will be re-elected if the battle is between trumps delusional plans and Bernie Sanders’ delusional plans. If he isn’t, the pendulum will swing to the other extreme and we lose again. After several more such swings between extremes there will be nothing left for us but civil war.

    I see a sour future, no matter what.

    Please do not send me any more propaganda. Health insurance is NOT health CARE, and at times, it means NOT having health care, since the forced insurance premiums remove a great deal of money from many people without providing any access to anything other than catastrophic care

    Sincerely,

    • dhlii permalink
      April 4, 2017 4:34 pm

      Amazing – we are almost in perfect agreement.

      Three Nits.

      You misrepresent McGovern. The current democratic party is more statist than McGovern.
      You misrepresent Scandanavia. Despite having a broader social safety net than we do, it is generally otherwise more free market than the US.

      For all their flaws, the Bernista’s did not lose this election. The Clinton’s did.

      Bernie is waaaaaaay too far to the left.
      Clinton is politically whatever is convenient for the moment.
      She was by far the strongest “neocon” among any of the major candidates.
      She chose to run slightly to the right of Sanders.
      But her big flaw was being too corrupt.

      The Bernista’s are threatening to lose elections into the future.

      I am more likely to be at odds with democrats – because most of the democrats today have a stronger streak of statism.
      But this country needs a strong opposition party (regardless of which party is in power).

      Democrats are threatening to self immolate.
      We have listened for years to claims republicans were about to fracture.
      That has not even come close to happening.
      The gloves may come off between Trump and the Freedom Caucus.
      But the GOP will survive.

      Democrats are threatening to self marginalize into irrelevance.

      I am becoming skeptical that the democratic party is even capable of self recovery.
      Where are the voices that will reverse its shift its leftward death spiral ?

      • Roby permalink
        April 5, 2017 8:56 am

        The two basic impulses behind liberal and conservative will last forever, here and abroad. They can fall on hard times but they cannot be exterminated. They will always reinvent themselves and spring back.

        This election was won by an inch on the last play. The party that lost was going to be in a crisis for sure. And the party that won. So it has come to pass.

        The bigger picture is the growing left-right chasm that results most of all from the latest technology.

        There may be some sort of quiet but powerful centering moderating force that will pull us back from flying apart in the left and right directions. If so, the sooner it starts to assert itself, the better.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 5, 2017 10:07 am

        The US has had relatively stable – though shifting like boxers political parties for two centuries.

        It is a mistake though to wed those parties to ideologies.
        Republicans are made of numerous very different factions today.
        Past republicans have been radically different than today.
        Progressivism arguably started with republicans.

        I am not talking about right-left.
        I am talking democrats/republicans.

        historically the two parties have NOT been near equal most of the time.
        long term political control by one party has generally been bad for the country.

        democrats are in danger of becoming marginalized. They seem to be deliberately chosing to do so.

        This election was won narrowly. Though I do not think on the last play.

        Win or lose there are 10’s of millions of voters in this country who are VERY angry with the left.

        That is an extremely dangerous situation. They are either going to win elections and take and excercise power – that is the “safe” solution or keep this up long enough and they are going to revolt in some fashion. Regardless, if they do not get what they want through the political process, they will get it another way. Further while there will be some ebb and flow in that group – the probability is they are growing.

        Everytime the left infringes on our rights it creates a few more opponents.
        You do not grasp that even having majority support on every issue (which you do not have),
        is not the same as having a majority overall.

        PPACA made some enemies. Keystone XL made some enemies, Clean Coal made some enemies, Department of educations weakening of due process on campuses made some enemies, DoE strong arming schools on transgendered bathrooms made some enemies,
        …..

        It is not necescary for people – all now opposed to democrats for individually different reasons, to agree on everything else.

        I think that is a major part of what we saw in this election.
        Well that combined with the left has been calling everyone who disagrees on anything “hatefull, hating haters” for so long that they have ultimately applied that label to more than 50% fo the country. And you are not getting people you have called hateful to vote for you.

        Next, Trump was the big unknown in this election – and he won.
        When people choose the unknown over the known – that means they are VERY unhappy with the status quo.

        I keep repeating that If trump manages 3% growth he will be re-elected in a landslide.

        In the next election Trump (and republicans) will be the “status quo”.
        An improving economy means a large body of people who know they are better off.

        Those blue collar whites that voted for Trump – are going to increase.
        Trump made inroads into blue collar democrats. He did not win them all.
        He did not win most of them. They will be far less affraid of him next time.

        The biggest thing Republicans have to do right now is not screw up.
        Unfortunately that is not in their nature.

        Trump is taking an axe to government, That plays badly – with people who will never vote for him. It plays very well with his base AND with people who MIGHT vote for him.

        Even his immigration EO’s which have generated a holy war – have something like 80% public support.

        The death of RyanCare may have been good for republicans.

        It is what they do that can get them in the most trouble – not what they undo.

        I personally think tax reform is really really important.

        But unless done right – it should not be done at all.

        I am also hearing hints that Blue Collar whites are only the first domino to fall.
        That minorities – particularly blacks are starting to rethink democrats.
        Do not get me wrong Republicans are decades away from any hope of winning a majority of minorities.
        But democrats must win something like 75% of minorities to win elections. They are used to winning 87% of blacks. With Obama they won something like 95% of blacks.

        If Trump gains 2-3% in minorities democrats will be unable to win elections in probably 80% of the country.
        Schools are a really really big issue for minorities – particularly blacks.
        3/4 of a century of supporting the left on education has brought blacks worse schools.
        Minority parents know that if they send the best of their community to college – nearly all of them need massive remedial help just to get through freshman year.
        This is not a flaw of blacks. It is a flaw in their education.
        Blacks are increasing ready to try the alternatives republicans are offering.

        I have told you – my kids were cyber chartered.
        Almost 1/2 the students in their cyber charters were black.
        Why – because in many instances a cyber charter is the only hope a single black parent has of the education that will save their child from the same life they have.
        Cyber charters do nto have to be great. They just have to be better than the worst.

        Finally, democrats have not grasped the significance of this election.
        It was a repudiation of the past 8 years. It is also the most recent way point in a trend.
        This was not 2008 – an election that reversed in the last few months.

        I would also note – for every negative Clinton had Trump had one.
        Trump’s negatives on election day were worse than Clinton’s – and yet he won.

        yes, tactically the breaks could have gone differently and resulted in a clinton victory.

        But still republicans DECISIVELY won the ideological battle.
        If you strip Trump of all his negatives and Clinton of all hers – Trump was still going to win.

        Everyone who fixates on the closeness of the election is hoping that next time Republicans will run an equally bad candidate AND democrats will not.
        that could happen. but it is not likely.

        Democrats MUST move towards the center – or hope that Trump gets caught in bed with Putin. Because otherwise they are in very deep trouble.

        They would have been in deep trouble even had they won.
        Because inarguably they have lost the center – and they do not even seem to understand that.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 5, 2017 10:10 am

        Pulling the democrats back to the center – has to come from within the democratic party.

        I have not only seen no signs of that – but everything has been the opposite.
        The left is doubling down on stupid.
        The sense the left projects is that if only Bernie had been nominated Trump would have lost. Only those truly in a bubble think that.

      • April 5, 2017 1:48 pm

        “The left is doubling down on stupid.”

        One can fix ignorance through education
        You can’t fix “stupid”

      • April 6, 2017 11:00 am

        I think that nominating Joe Biden would have been the only way for the Democrats to win this election. His appeal to blue collar white workers would likely have won the states that Trump was able to take out of the Democrat column. But, just as no one predicted Scalia’s death, and the effect that it would have on the election, so too did Beau Biden’s death affect the course of our political history. Funny how two untimely deaths had more impact on the election than the Russians……..

    • April 4, 2017 6:37 pm

      Good letter. His staff will send you there preprinted form letter tanking you for your dislike of Trump and then go into their talking points.

    • dduck12 permalink
      April 4, 2017 11:41 pm

      Excellent Roby.

  17. April 4, 2017 1:39 pm

    Good letter, Roby. Not that Leahy will be swayed by it. I wonder if any of them read any of their mail…..

    • April 4, 2017 6:39 pm

      Are you kidding. They are to busy making nice to the lobbyist to worry about theor constituents at this time. About 12 months before their next election they will read a handful of letter to get the pulse for the election propaganda.

      • April 6, 2017 10:48 am

        Or they’ll get their interns to do it, and write a summary paper on the issues.

  18. dduck12 permalink
    April 4, 2017 11:47 pm

    I want to complement you guy/gals on TNM. I simultaneously posted the review article about moderates here and on the other “moderate” site. Over there except from one commenter, it went down like a lead balloon. Here, in contrast, it engendered intelligent discourse.
    As my one commenter pointed out, many people think they are moderates.

  19. April 5, 2017 12:49 am

    Roby, I enjoyed your letter to your Senators. I like that you wrote your opinion (a call for realistic policies rather than fantasy campaigns, et cetera, etc.) and sent it. More Americans should write their legislators. Even if many such letters “fall on deaf ears,” it is real and good that such letters come into existence. I will do it too. The gist of my letter will be a plea to reach across the aisle, to appeal to the elephant not just the rider (ala Jonathan Haidt), with reminders of some of the important reasons for doing so.

    • Roby permalink
      April 5, 2017 8:35 am

      Thanks Pat, and everybody. I think I will modify it and send it to the DNC for a lark and see how they respond. I can pretty much imagine their rhetoric but perhaps they will surprise me.

    • Roby permalink
      April 5, 2017 8:58 am

      Great idea Pat!

    • dhlii permalink
      April 6, 2017 4:16 pm

      I enjoyed his letter to.

      I do not however value reaching accross the aisles.

      Our representatives were elected to do what is best for the people they represent.
      Not to go along with their party or get along with the other.

      I am content to see gridlock.
      If a problem actually is large and important enough that we need to cooperate – we will.
      In the meantime – we should do nothing.

      It is doing things we should not that has created all our problems.

  20. April 6, 2017 10:59 pm

    Sometimes we need to lighten up, so here is information concerning the healthcare debate as to how the medical community sees it today sent to me from a friend also from healthcare system employment.

    The medical community was unable to reach consensus on what to do with America’s health insurance situation during their recent annual meeting.

    The Allergists were in favor of scratching it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

    The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

    Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was laboring under a misconception, while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

    Pathologists yelled, “Over my dead body!” while the Pediatricians said, “Oh, grow up!”

    The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.

    Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow.

    The Plastic Surgeons opined that this proposal would “put a whole new face on the matter.”

    The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off.

    Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and those lofty Cardiologists didn’t have the heart to say no.

    In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the Assholes in Washington.

  21. Roby permalink
    April 7, 2017 8:29 am

    Meanwhile, I’m trying to picture what a win could possibly look like in a proxy war with putin in Syria.

    I’ve been saying for months that as ugly as the putin-trump romance was, the inevitable falling out of love phase is far more disturbing. I’ve also been saying that a competent administration picks a few winnable battles wisely, while this one picks losing battles incontinently. (something may be seriously wrong with the chief asshole in Washington.)

    But maybe some magic will occur and that will turn out to be a great idea in the end.

    • April 7, 2017 8:38 am

      Why do you think that the airstrike was a bad idea?

      • Roby permalink
        April 7, 2017 8:56 am

        Describe for me what a win looks like in Syria.

        We are going to upend the situation and give putin a sharp lesson when all is said and done? Or we are going to fail and give putin-assad a victory? Which seems more likely?

        Fight winnable wars.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 8:51 am

        What is a win in Syria ?

        Take out ISIS.
        Go home.

        I beleive the strikes against Asad were justified by his use of WMD’s.
        But I do not beleive we have any other significant interest in Syria beyond taking out ISIS.

        I also beleive we should have taken out the Taliban in Afghanistan,
        and gone home.

        What is a winable war ?

        One that you win.

        Hopefully we have learned from Vietnam that there is no substitute for victory.

        But having destroyed whoever attacked us and/or our allies, it is time to leave.

        We are not responsible to rebuild other nations, or to repair the damage we cause retaliating for their violence against others.

        The message we need to send is “mess with us, and we will destroy you, learn from that or we will be back”.

        We do not get to choose the governments for other nations.

      • April 7, 2017 12:15 pm

        I don’t think that the strategic goal here is a winnable war. I think it is an appropriate response to Syria’s use of sarin gas bombs and a long-overdue assertion of American power.

        Trump has been being tested on the world stage since before he was inaugurated. Obama’s lack of response to Syrian provocation has been almost unanimously declared a disaster, and any new president would have had to deal with this. Ironically, Hillary claimed that she would have done exactly the same thing, right before the strike happened.

        It’s clearly not without risk, But as many foreign policy experts have been saying for the past 8 years, weakness is provocation in itself, and the message that the US is no longer leading from behind had to be the message here.

        Syria may a problem without a solution. But Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have signaled approval of this move. So has Turkey, for what it’s worth. And they are all Middle Eastern nations that are nominally our allies, and have stood by why we negotiated a deal that has strengthened Iran and Syria, and allowed Russia establish its influence with them.

        It’s a slippery slope. But if there is a clear strategic goal here, and that goal is to establish America’s refusal to tolerate the use chemical weapons, as well as to indicate that there are consequences for violating international law, then I think that it’s the best course of action that we have, from a list of bad choices.

      • Roby permalink
        April 7, 2017 12:48 pm

        “hen I think that it’s the best course of action that we have, from a list of bad choices.”

        Well, I agree about the bad choices (that sounds like my usual rhetoric) its all we have ever had in Syria, and in general in the middle east. I’d like to be bigger about admitting that than the GOP has been about Obama’s actions. When Obama came into power we were war weary the blood, the dollars, the lack of winnable situations. BTW More members of the Vermont National Guard died per capita under W than those of any other state, including the members of the infantry mountain unit that I once was a member of. Staying out of losing conflicts was the wish of the voters in 2008. Not that the GOP propagandists are going to note that fact or remember that it was a GOP administration that destabilized Iraq and set the stage for ISIS with over the top aggresivness . Obama was elected to NOT be W Bush. I think he did the best he could with the hand he was dealt.

        I’d like to respect the difficulty of the choices that any president, even trump, faces, that picking the best of the bad choices. It does not make it easy when the GOP was one giant political partisan attack on Obama from every angle, too aggressive in Libya, not aggressive enough in Syria, too mild in Ukraine (which is utter bullshit!). I regard 90% of the GOP critique of Obama’s foreign policy as being pure unhelpful partisan politics, which set a bad stage for their GOP president.

        Nevertheless I will try to respect the POTUS, as the commander in chief, if not in any way as a person. Foreign policy is ^&%$# difficult and should be nonpartisan, as republicans are about to suddenly conveniently remember.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 9:01 am

        I have no problem Critiquing the GOP.

        Afghanistan was justified.
        But we should have gone in, destroyed the Taliban and left.

        We had/have no further obligations.
        If the Afghans choose to replace the Taliban with Taliban II that is their choice – it is not our business until they attack us again.

        The ONLY message we have a right to send is attack us or others – and you will be destroyed. The mess you make of your own country is your own business.

        We were not justified in going into Iraq.
        I did not support that at the time, but I was less outspoken than I should have been.

        That is the extent of the mess Bush created.

        We are still in Afghanistan and Iraq – that is on Obama – and will be on Trump if we remain for long.

        We got into Libya, Yemen, Syria all under Obama – Not Bush.

        Sorry Robby, Obama is well past “I inherited a Mess”.
        He did, but he chose to make it much bigger.

        Even The Mess in Ukraine and Crimea are of his making – Clinton goaded Ikraine into a coup, and the Russians respond.

        Do not poke the bear unless you are prepared to directly confront the bear.
        Ukraine is in a war of our making.

        I think that is immoral.
        And that is not a Republican or Bush deal.

        So fine – excoriate Bush – I will join you.
        But pretending Obama was sucked into a mess Bush created is utter nonsense.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 9:11 am

        With respect to GOP criticism of Obama.

        Get a clue. If you want the job of President – it comes with criticism.

        We had no interest at stake in Libya.

        The only interest we have in Syria and Iraq is the defeat of ISIS.

        One significant difference between Trump and Obama is that Trump acts unilaterally.

        That has advantages and problems.

        In this instance it means our intention of destroying ISIS does nto make us Asad’s friend.
        I think right now Trump has made that clear.

        Something Obama was never able to do.

        I will also note we have Susan Rice and Obama lying to us once again.

        We were told that 100% of all of Asad’s chemical weapons had been destroyed or removed.

        I think there are good reason to criticise Bush, and excellent reasons to criticise Obama.

        So far I will have to wait and see regarding Trump.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 9:31 am

        Of course Obama’s handling of Ukraine was abysmal.

        We – the US, Clinton encouraged the Coupe.

        Unless you are prepared to stand behind that, you have no business pushing a coup.

        First we encouraged something that was not our business, then we abandoned them when things got tough.

        Yes it is appropriate for the GOP or anyone else to criticise Obama over that.

        Frankly I find the “you can’t criticise Obama” meme racist and offensive.

        I am glad that this nation elected a black man to the highest office in the land.

        I am not happy they elected a bumbling Chicago poll and light weight socialist – regardless of his skin color.

        I think Obama was a decent person. But he was an abysmal president.

        His handling of foreign affairs was horrible – much worse than Bush and that is bad.
        His handing of the economy was poor.
        His signature legislation – PPACA is a failure.

        On many issues where he could have done some good – he either did not, or actually made things worse.

        We needed to address policing – instead of demilitarizing our police, Obama turned it into a civil rights issue – now all of that is being rolled back and we are going to get worse not better – Obama atleast gets the blame for a missed opportunity.

        There was an opportunity for federal sentencing reform. Republicans were cooperating.
        That died.

        I beleive there was a real opportunity for immigration reform. But Obama blew it, acted entirely unilaterally and all of that is being rolled back.

        There was an opportunity for drug reform. Prominent Republicans were supporting it.
        Obama actually increased federal drug law enforcement.

        Gay and Transgender rights issues should have been addressed in congress – not the courts.

        Obama was elected as a consequence of an economic failure.
        His mandate was to address that.

        Not regulate the crap out of the economy,
        Dodd-Frank does nothing to address the causes of the financial crisis – there is no one claiming it will avoid another.
        ARRA was a large waste of money.
        PPACA is an expensive disaster and had nothing to do with economic recovery.

        Our air and water have been improving steadily for over a century.
        There was no need for the clean power plan or the waters of america regulation.

        Most everyone grasps that coal jobs are not coming back and coal is on the decline naturally. There is zero reason for the left to step in and get themselves blamed for the inevitable

        Fast & Furious was criminal and the DOJ stonewalled investigating.
        The IRS scandal should have sent several people to jail and should have been thoroughly investigated – instead DOJ stonewalled.

        The most fundimental issue about Benghazi was that Clinton Susan Rice and the President lied about it on the eve of an election.

        Ancillary to that is that it uncovered Clinton’s egregious attempts to make private and personal government records, and in the process to treat our national security negligently.
        As well as running what appeared to be a pay for play scheme from the state department.

        And Finally Hillary made sure that some peon was scape goated and Jailed over her failure in BenGhazi.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 9:33 am

        Respect is not something anyone is entitled to – not POTUS not Trump, Not Obama.
        It is earned.

        This is a problem with the left – you are way to big on beleiving that things that each of us must earn:

        our daily bread
        healthcare
        credit
        respect

        are something we are entitled to.

        We are free to speak – we are not entitled to be listened to.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 9:44 am

        I equate claims that something should be “non-partisan” as claims that they are beyond criticism.

        Sorry, no. Nothing government does is beyond criticism.

        I am overall more likely to criticise Democrats that republcians.
        But primarily because democrats more frequently expand government power than republicans.

        I am not “partisan”. My criticisms are driven by my values not some political identification.

        Regardless, criticise away – we need MORE criticism of government – whether republican or democrat – not less. If the only way we get that is partisan – so be it.

        I fully support the democrats choice to filibuster. I think it was a strategic and tactical mistake, but I am 100% behind their right to criticise – even if I do not agree with the criticism, and to oppose, even if I do not agree with their opposition.

        My concern is you only get one “last fillibuster” Gorsuch was nto the best candidate to use it on.

        I think that Trump and McConnell rope-a-doped the democrats.
        There is not a broad national anti-republican backlash against nuking the fillibuster and confirming Gorsuch.

        I think that Rump deliberately Chose a candidate that would satisfy his base AND was sufficiently inoffensive that most americans could accept him.

        He had several far more controversial candidates he could have picked.

        There is a strong likelyhood Trump is going to get to put atleast 1 more Justice on the court. The next will likely swing the court.
        I would like to see the next be another Gorsuch.
        But there are alot of non-gorsuch like choices in Trump’s list.

        Without the threat of a filibuster – those could get appointed.

      • April 7, 2017 1:06 pm

        Roby, your point about Obama being elected to NOT be Bush is so true, just as Trump was elected to NOT be Obama – or Hillary, since, foreign policy-wise, they ended up pretty much as the same person.

        And there are no good choices. Trust me, the far right Trumpists are in agony today, as are many isolationist libertarians. The specter of escalation and unintended consequences looms large, not to mention that the sight of people like McCain, Rubio, Bill Kristol, and other hated establishmentarian-hawkish types praising the decision fills them with dread.

        But these are people who saw the election of Trump as an F-you to the Democrats. Trump actually has to BE the president, and I think that the term “it’s lonely at the top” has never been more real for him.

        But one of the reasons I voted for him is because he’s got a skin like a rhinoceros (an orange rhinoceros), and he’s not afraid to piss off anyone (with the possible exception of Ivanka and Jared, which worries me a bit) if he thinks that he’s making the right call.
        Too many Republicans have backed off, when they feared that they would be attacked by the press, apparently unaware that it would happen whether they backed off or not (Neil ~ now Justice ~ Gorsuch a case in point).

        We need more fearlessness in Washington.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 9:55 am

        And yet in oh, so many ways Obama was Bush III.

        We are still in Afghanistan.
        We are still in Iraq.
        Quantanamo is still open.
        We are still in the war against Terror.
        We are still droning the crap out of people.

        What changed between Bush II and Obama ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 10:07 am

        I agree with alot of your assessment of Trump.
        And I mostly felt that before the election – though I was not prepared to vote for him.

        I am MOSTLY thus far happy with him.

        I would also note that I think that alot of what he is attacked for – works for him.

        While he has the highest negatives of any first year president – those of congress, democrats, and the press are much lower.

        And in one form or another he wins most of the confrontations he sets up.
        And while the left fights over stupid tweets – other changes occur more quietly.

        His Immigration EO’s have made the left, the media and the worst of the judiciary rapid.

        While I support very close to open immigration – I do not have a problem with his immigration EO’s.

        We should take nearly all comers. We should not take criminals, and terrorists.

        Further while I beleive that immigration is a massive win win. It is not a right.

        Most people are looking at the left, washington, the media and the attacks on trum and going “where’s the beef” ?

        If the left does not come up with something stronger on Russia and soon, the political cost of the Russia matter will fall on the left not Trump.

        Absent substance it is Obama, Rice, Democrats, and the intelligence community that will be the big losers.

    • April 7, 2017 12:54 pm

      Roby, I agree more times than not with you, but in this instance I have to disagree. I think this is a win for America and a win for Trump. Why?

      Because it sends a message that America is once again supporting human rights. It sends a message that using illegal substances on citizens, even in your own country will not be acceptable. It sends a message that we now have a president that could care less about what others (Putin) thinks of him) and cares more for American standing in the world and being the America that was missing from 2008 to 2016.

      It also sends a message to the Chinese that they might want to do something about that midget that lives next door that is trying to change the power in the far east. One has to wonder how the president (or prime minister) of China felt once he returned to his room to find out we bombed Syria and it was happening at the same time Trump and he were sharing a dinner. And it sends a message to North Korea that they might be next if they keep messing around like they have been. He wants attention like a little bratty kid, well he might get the attention he does not want.

      So now we have Russian ship steaming to the Med. Sea as a show of power since that is where the missiles originated from American war ships. I doubt that does much good in the relationship between Putin and Trump. One has to wonder if the Sec of States visit next week in Russia will be cancelled or go on. If it does go on, it seems like that is going to be a very interesting discussion.

      But what it does for the most part is sends a message that when Trump makes a comment about something being unacceptable, he means it, unlike Obama’s line in the sand.

      • Roby permalink
        April 7, 2017 1:44 pm

        A, its news to me that you agree with me more often than not! I’m not completely lacking in any ego whatsoever, so I will admit that I enjoy hearing that.

        B. I understand your point about standing up for human rights and showing putin resolve.

        C. I hope that this all somehow works out as optimistically as being a win for us. But… this could get messy, Very messy, and very unpredictable.

        D. Even if it IS trump, if putin winds up being the clear loser in this I will be overjoyed and give full praise, even if that thought is painful.

      • April 7, 2017 2:36 pm

        When you post something going forward I agree with, I’ll let you know. Just don’t let your head get too big. Don’t want anyone thinking your on steriods

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 10:53 am

        I agree with your points.

        I would ask what is the ultimate objective ?

        I think nearly all of us oppose Asad’s use of WMD’s.
        Though there are differences in what should be done about it.

        I think we have a justifiable case for destroying ISIS,
        and I think that will happen.

        The key issue is “then what’ ?

        My hope is Trump will get the hell out of the mideast (militarily).

        I think there is more reason to hope for an Arab-Israeli settlement than ever before – which means there is little hope where there was none before.

        Obama actually gets credit for that. He has so pissed of most of the Arab power in the mideast over his Iran deal that Trump is incredibly appealing to them, and Israel is no longer at the top of their enemies list.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 9:53 am

        There are two US carrier groups in the mid east and have been for two decades atleast

        One Russian ship is not much of an issue.

        Russia poses two serious threats to the US.
        They are still a very serious nuclear power, and a nuclear war is a near end of the world lose-lose.
        We do not want to take on the Russian military in any parts of the former USSR.
        It is probable that we would prevail but it would be very costly.

        But Russia’s ability to project power – other than nuclear much beyond their local environs is poor. They could not as an example participate in Syria against our opposition.

        And I absolutely agree that the response to Asad was supposed to be noticed. by North Korea and China.

        North Korea is a huge problem. They have been teetering on the verge of starvation and failure for decades. The North Korean Regime is certian to fail and collapse in the future.
        The question is what will that collapse look like.

    • Roby permalink
      April 7, 2017 1:20 pm

      Its a good post Priscilla, But… Fearlessness would be best if attached to some kind of competence in the arena in which decisions are being made. Bush 41 actually knew WTF he was talking about on foreign policy. I long for his days. I trust Mattis to provide military competence, as Colin Powell did for Bush 41, but he does not make the Political decisions, that is trump’s domain. I strongly doubt trump’s abilities there. He may very well be reacting on the most petty and uninformed levels.

      Lets all pray for a miracle of surviving this era somehow.

      • Roby permalink
        April 7, 2017 1:27 pm

        I am more than fine with pissing off putin, but its a long road ahead and trump is in a weak political position, he is rather isolated, whereas putin has a free hand. I like their cards better than ours in the middle east. I have great fear of how this plays out. Military actions always start with optimism, even parades. Its a sad sequence that usually follows the initial feel good striking out.

        Its all so complex that anything may happen, including a drastic comeuppance for putin and his ideas. Or a drastic increase in his position

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 10:47 am

        What are Putin’s cards ?

        Trump’s most fundimental problem in the Mideast is that americans really do nto want to hear any more about the mideast ever again.

        Our military capability is completely unparalleled.
        Our fundimental military problems are:

        We can not figure out how to not lose the peace after we have won the war.
        We can not allow any conflict with Russia or China to escalate to nuclear.
        We can not will a land war NEAR either China or Russia.

        That is pretty much it. DOD war gamed all out war with Iran – it was over in 90 days with US casualities about triple those in Iraq – the problem was what to do after winning.

        Syria is nothing.

        The threat of the Russian frigate is that somebody will make a mistake and start a hot conflict. Nothing more. A russian surface ship is not likely to survive a few minutes in a conflict with even a few US destroyers.

        The Russian Frigate – thought the most advanced in Russia is less than half the displacement of the US Burke class destroyers it is “threatening”.
        Burke’s are considered superior to the Ticonderoga Aegis Cruisers that are being phased out.

        Further the US navy is the most experienced in the world – completely unequaled – both in equipment and in experience. That is a very very big deal.

        Russia and China and India have been trying to build navies for decades.
        Sometimes they produce some capable ships.
        They do not have the multi-generation naval traditions necescary to successfully fight a navy.

        There are only three consequential global naval powers – the US, the UK and Japan.

        The UK is waning as a power – even a naval one, but it is still formidable.
        Japan had the navy scrapped post WWII, but has rebuilt and they have a very long naval tradition.

        The only naval area that Russia is truly formidable is their submarine fleet – and that has lots of problems but is still scary.

        India and China have decades to go before they have the skills to fight the navies that they have built.

        There are a couple of capable regional navies – such as South Korea and Taiwan, but these are incapable of projecting power.

        Put simply though Russia itself is closer to the mid east that we are.
        Russias actual ability to project power outside its own region is extremely poor.

      • April 7, 2017 7:44 pm

        Well, I don’t know that Trump is in such a weak political position vis-a-vis Putin. But, I agree with you that what looks like military success, can quickly turn into defeat, quagmire, or public scorn.

        Here is one thing that I find somewhat encouraging. Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have lined up with Israel in opposing Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, which threatens the ruling party of each of those nations. Despite the fact that they are Muslim nations, they are, at least by ME standards, relatively stable and secular. I certainly don’t mean to suggest that they aren’t anti-Semitic or that they are friendly towards Israel, but they have begun to recognize that they share a common enemy in radical Islam, which they fear more than they fear the Jewish state. With US leadership, the desire to defeat Islamism may lead to a successful coalition.

        Jordan has indicated for some years that this is a alliance of “frenemies” that needs to come together. Maybe, with assistance from the US, it might.

        It will need to confront the threat of a nuclear Iran sooner rather than later.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 10:55 am

        Agreed!

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 10:19 am

        Trump looks like a bull in a china shop.

        On that we are likely agreed.

        Ultimately what matters is substance, not style.

        Obama had style – in spades.
        But that accomplished nothing.

        I may be wrong, but I think Trump’s “recklessness” is an act of sorts – like Bush II’s language mangling – practiced and deliberate.

        I think for the most part Trump is careful to provoke fights that he can win – atleast win in the terms that matter to him.

        He is unlikely to ever to win over the left.
        He is unlikely to ever win over the press.

        His attacks on those cost him nothing – unless they alienate others.
        and they do not.

        I think the immigration EO was a provoked fight – and ultimately a big win for Trump.

        Winning is not always getting what you ask for. It is getting what you want.
        I have a great deal of problems with politicians – because I am blunt and straight forward.
        I ask for what I want. I do not engage in sophisticated strategies.
        But Trump does.

        Like it or not he has sent a strong message to his supporters, to his enemies, to the world, to those who are not sure that he keeps his promises – maybe not literally – but seriously.

        If you were North Korea what would you be thinking right now ?

        And as I have said before – if growth is 3% by 2018 the GOP will do well.
        If growth is over 3% in 2020 Trump will be re-elected in a landslide.

        And if Democrats do not get their act together and shift SERIOUSLY towards the center
        they are in danger of being permanently irrelevant.

        Worse still there are few if any rising stars in the democratic party.

        While Republicans have a very deep and varied bench.

        An a few successess in a few areas besides growth could give republicans significant inroads even into minorities.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 9, 2017 8:45 am

      Syria is complex.

      Obama handled it horribly.

      We have a real legitimate interest in defeating ISIS – they are a terrorist organization and they continue to foment attack against us and others.

      I am deeply disturbed that Asad has used WMD’s.
      I would love to see him gone.

      At the same time we have no business in someone else’s civil war.

      There is a big difference between destroying ISIS and picking winners and losers in Syria.
      Though the effect may be the same.

      Yes, Attacking Asad is facing off against Russia. But I am not overall that worried about that.

      We can not and are not taking on Russia in Ukraine – which is why Clinton cheerleading for the Ukrainian coupe was utter stupidity.
      But outside their immediate surrounds Russia is no threat.

      At the same time we should take out ISIS in Iraq and Syria and get out.
      The rest of the Syrian and Iraq issues are for Syrians and Iraqi’s to decide – not us.

      When we get past this nonsense that it is our job to build nations this becomes much easier.

      Our military is their to serve our interests – to destroy those who attack us or our friends.

      It is not our job to rebuild nations. It is not our job to choose the form of government for others.

      This is also what we should have done in Afghanastan – gone in taken out the Taliban and left.

      The world needs to know – F with us and we will take you out

      “Americans
      Willing to cross a frozen river,
      at night
      on christmas
      to take you out in your sleep
      Not kidding, we have done it.”

      We get in trouble when we decide that we have the right to decide how other countries should be governed.

  22. Roby permalink
    April 9, 2017 8:15 am

    So, our missile strike seems to have changed precisely nothing about the military situation in Syria. Haley, presumably speaking for the president says our goal is regime change. So, we are planning to pry Syria out of putin’s cold dead fingers?

    Lose-lose. trump has declared that he will play chicken with putin in Syria. either he backs down, leaving putin stronger, or he commits to an actual bloody war with putin over Syria.

    Like any good American I despise tyranny. I despise Assad, putin, the N. Korean midget, the Iranian religious fanatics.

    We cannot launch a war with Russia, N. Korea, or Iran. We can patiently contain them. We can try to have a solid west that isolates them economically. It N.Korea invades S. Korea, we can act. If we act first we will cause a catastrophic war that will destroy S. Korea. We aren’t going to do that. So, its an empty threat, which weakens us. The same in Iran. The same in Syria.

    Be patient, calm, stable, build a strong western alliance and let our enemies make the mistakes that slowly degrade them. That would be the one and only actual plan we have since we are not going to attack any of our enemies first. Unfortunately they have the advantage of time and patience as dictatorships and we have haste and chaos, because we have a perpetual election.

    trump wishes to scratch every American itch at once. He is just as bad at foreign policy as I expected him to be. He will leave the next president in a much weaker position.

    I tried to believe in your comments Ron and Priscilla, I tried to give some credit to the idea that trump might be on to something. That lasted about a day.

    • April 9, 2017 8:53 am

      Roby, I think that the best way to view this strike is by using the simplest possible explanation ~ Occam’s Razor, as it were. That explanation, to me, is that Bashir Al Assad has been conducting a holocaust within his own country, using conventional as well as chemical killing agents to slaughter civilians, and that the US, under the Obama administration, repeatedly warned that, if he were to continue, there would be some sort of military consequence. The “red line’ that, ultimately, Obama failed to enforce, after claiming that Congress would not allow him to do so, has remained out there, tempting Assad to cross it, which he has, repeatedly. As, a result, it has remained as an obvious sign of American weakness and lack of resolve, and the civilian carnage has continued.

      Trump, advised by Mattis and McMaster, decided that the time had come to stop dithering and hiding behind the UN, as Syria continued to violate international law. Nikki Haley was a powerful advocate for the need to condemn Assad, and made it clear that Russia deserved equal condemnation for its support of his actions.

      That red line, combined with the repeated, apparently incorrect, assertion by Kerry and Susan Rice, that all of Syria’s chemical weapons had been removed, via Russia, was left for Trump to enforce. And he did.

      • Roby permalink
        April 9, 2017 9:11 am

        What exactly did he “enforce”? He enforced precisely nothing. He only made it perfectly 100% clear that the only way he can change what is going on in Syria is to fight putin for Syria. Americans won’t support that. He is playing an empty hand and everyone knows it. If you don’t have any way to change things, don’t promise it.

        Meanwhile he is also sending our forces to sit near Korea. What will they do there? Send the message that “here we sit doing absolutely nothing”? Just makes the midget’s position more secure. Lose-Lose.

        Apparently the alt right believes that we should not be the world cop at all, the neo cons believe that we should be a superman world cop and can take on all the dictators in the world all at once. The middle path would be to be a world cop that chooses winnable military battles and uses economic means when there are no winnable military battles.

        One group of conservatives is isolationist, another has delusions about what military options we actually have. Liberals aren’t in the equation or I’d bash them too, but they are out of power and influence. They do at least realize that putin is bad news. I guess trump and many conservatives are going back to that realization by now.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 11:47 am

        Roby;

        I think it is a given that the US has the justification necescary to destroy ISIS.
        They have attacked us and others. Whether it is Obama seeking to crush ISIS or Trump the questions are merely about how to do that, not whether.

        The response to the use of WMD’s is a new issue – though I guess there are stories that it was occuring under Obama.

        So is Asad’s use WMD’s against his own people a justification for war ? yes/no ?

        It is certainly morally reprehensible.
        But we are not obligated to go to war over every morally reprehnsible thing any other nation does.

        Regardless, either you beleive it is not sufficient, or you beleive it is.

        If you beleive it is, then we are merely arguing about tactics.

        Would you support “regime change” if Putin were not backing Asad ?

        I also think there is a huge subtext here – North Korea.

        They are a far greater danger – to us and to others than Asad.

        The NK ambassador to the UK just defected. He has stated repeatedly and unequivocally that if threatened – even by internal instability NK will use nukes.
        And NK is as unstable right now as ever. It is deeply impoverish and may be facing starvation again.

        I do not care very much whether the US ends up in a confrontation with Putin in Syria.
        I do care whether that conflict remains confined to Syria.

        But at some point you have to decide what level of threat you can live with.

        If Putin gave the US an ultimatum tomorow – surrender or Russia will launch an nuclear first strike – are you surrendering?

        If the answer is not yes, then you already have decided that there are some confrontations with Putin – however undesireable that you are not backing down.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 11:50 am

        Do you and the rest of the left still think Trump is Putin’s sock puppet ?

        BTW all Putin needs to do to thoroughly F up Trump is to release(or leak) proof there was some kinds of deal of dealing between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

        That is far less dangerous to Putin than Missle Frigates or nukes.

        I would suggest to you that if you do not see that soon – it is because ti does not exist.

      • April 9, 2017 9:25 am

        Trump enforced a red line that had been drawn, and brightly, by Obama. I’m sure that you saw Obama, on TV, repeatedly warn Assad that the use of chemical weapons would have a consequence. It never did.

        I don’t think that it will go farther. It was a pinprick strike, and, if it accomplishes anything, it will force Assad to slaughter his people using more conventional means. But the enforcement of Obama’s red line has occurred, and Trump has put the world on notice that the era of empty threats, and false assurances (as in, all of Assad’s chemical weapons have been removed, through our “agreement” with Putin) is over.

        You can disagree with this method of reasserting American leadership, and many do, but I believe that that is what it is.

      • Roby permalink
        April 9, 2017 9:26 am

        I’m sorry Priscilla, you seem to have woken up in a world in which assad has been crippled (or even affected at all) by the airstrike. Meanwhile I woke up in a world where the Syrians are continuing to do what they were doing. Any decent person will condemn assad. It affects assad not one whit. Nothing is as exhilarating as being shot at without effect, as Churchill said.

        Perhaps I will wake up in a world sometime in the near future where Americans pilots went head to head with Russian pilots over Syria and won and putin just accepted the loss and went away defeated. That would be great, I’d be ecstatic. It sounds like a fantasy to me. But I’m just one of those wimpy moderates who worry too much.

        Just describe to me a plausible path by which we defeat putin and assad in Syria. If you can’t then you should not be feeling too good about this. Not to mention those other guys who used to be priority 1, what were they called, IS something or other.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:03 pm

        Roby;

        Every single one of us understands the dangers of conflict with nations that have nuclear weapons – particularly russia with LOTS of nuclear weapons.

        That and the question of whether responding is justifiable are the ONLY questions or relevance.

        I completely understand your fear of Russia. But this is far bigger than Russia.
        If you are unwilling to stand up to Russia because of they have Nukes – what of China ? Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, India, Israel ?

        If you are unwilling to stand up because of the threat of nuclear weapons – then you inspire
        other nations to want them.

        This is where that leads

        If you do not want war – you can not avoid it by appeasement.

        So what is the use of force in response to the use of WMDs justifiable ?

        If so, do you back down because there is a small threat of broader use of WMDs ?

        I am not trying to say – I do not understand where you are coming from.

        Personally I think Obama’s red line over the use of WMD’s against his own people was a mistake.

        I think we destroy ISIS and leave.

        But what is beyond that is not simple.

        There is a risk in confronting Asad.
        And there is a risk in not confronting Asad.

        And the risk either way is much the same.

      • Roby permalink
        April 9, 2017 9:57 am

        We must have a completely different idea of what the word enforcement means. When we assert American leadership it damn well better be something that actually works, wins.

        When we fight a war in Syria and clearly win it then you can talk about enforcement, real enforcement. This is fantasy enforcement.

        Syria is unwinnable. Making a feeble symbolic effort and then stopping is a loss. Its a win for putin and assad and lil Kim and the Iranian theocracy.

        When trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met what was likely going on in Xi’s mind was not that trump is a formidable opponent to be feared and respected but rather that trump is shallow, in a weak position in his own country, does not know how to play the game of international chess, and will likely not last long. Something to be endured, perhaps taken advantage of.

        I’ll be ecstatic to be completely wrong and will happily eat humble pie when trump’s new neo con military policy actually improves things in the world, but from where I sit it looks like the neo con version of trump is not going to affect the Korean, or Syrian or Iranian or Russian situation for the better, he is making things worse. I’d LOVE to believe otherwise.

        Reagan, as a relevant tangent, built up American forces, but rarely actually used them, and when he did use them it was on mighty Grenada, one reason he left office beloved, the lack of American blood that was shed. Implied force is a far better tool than real force.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:11 pm

        Enforcement means – the use of force.
        That is all.

        If you make a law, a regulation, a rule, a line in the sand and you do not enforce it – it is worse than if you did not make it in the first place.
        Whether we are dealing with Syria – or selling lose cigarettes.

        Force means potentially killing people – maybe even alot of people – and even being killed.
        It always means that.

        There are only two complexsities of consequence in syria:

        The threat of significantly broadening conflict with Putin – even to going nuclear.

        What do we do after we win. Something we are incredibly bad at.

        As to the diplomacy of this – Putin needs a face saving means to back down.
        His stance in Russia rests on his image as a strong man.
        But the US needs to send a very strong message on WMD’s – to North Korea and Iran.
        We can not appear to back down – or the world is not safe.

        So tell us all how you manage both of those objectives ?

      • Roby permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:06 pm

        “Do you and the rest of the left still think Trump is Putin’s sock puppet ?”

        If you should happen to ever wish to ask me an actually intelligent question, then I may happen to see it and choose to give it a thoughtful answer.

        But your silly question does give a hint at who the actual intended target of the message sent by blowing up some pieces of desert was: American critics of trump. trump’s team certainly could not have been in contact with putin’s guys during the election if trump is now willing to pulverize some desert sand into quartz glass at the cost of a few million dollars. Right. Fail. Try again.

        Because the target of that message certainly wasn’t lil kim. Lil Kim, “Oh No! If I continue my present policies American missiles will make a terrible mess in the Syrian desert. I must stop now! I feel suddenly like having a democratic election and giving up my nuclear program. I want to make Hyundais too! The people’s revolution is getting to be a real drag.”

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:20 pm

        Robby – it is a very serious question.

        It is so serious that it is arguable that Trump was motivated in this conflict atleast partly in demonstrating that he was NOT in Putin’s pocket.

        And there are already those on the left arguing exactly that.

        It does not matter who the target of the message is.

        What should be clear is that Trump is not in Putin’s pocket.
        That does not destroy – but it radically weakens the argument that he ever was.

        I share with you the concenrs about this.
        Though Unlike you I am also concerned about the consequences of doing nothing.

        I am less affraid of some sabre rattling with Russia than North Korea getting the idea that they could threaten us or others with nukes to get their way.

        Puttin is dangerous Kim Jong-un is thoroughly unpredictable and nuts.

        Regardless ignoring the fears of confrontation with Russia,

        for Trump this is a huge political win.

        Kerry is discredited,
        Rice is discredited
        Obama is discredited.
        claims of his links to Putin are dramatically weakened.
        A clear message is sent to NK and Iran.

        The question is not at all silly – it is quite serious.

        You may not change your mind – but millions will.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:29 pm

        Absolutely there is an issue with Kim Jong-un.

        He is between a rock and a hard place.
        He is the leader of a failing country.

        The intelligence during the Clinton administration was that absent a deal – which they got, North Korea was collapsing. Millions were starving.

        They had no IRBM’s and ICBM’s at the time. The danger was that pilots would carry nuclear weapons to SK or Japan.
        Clinton caved – I understand why. But I think he was wrong.
        NK is going to collapse at some point.
        I think conditions there now are close to during Clinton – again.
        Except now they have IRBM’s and ICBM’s and they are approaching submarine launched missles.

        So please tell me what the “safe” way out is ?

        Do we wait until Kim Jong-un has a nuclear missle sub of the coast of California ?

        I would also not that there are other factors.

        Lets say NK collapses and does nto use nukes going down.

        The US and China are rushing in concurrently.
        We will both be looking to secure a dangerous nuclear arsenal.
        We will both be looking to address a humanitarian disaster on an incredible scale.
        And we might be doing so while concurrently fighting against one of the largest armies in the world

        I can pretty much guarantee that no matter what happens – someone will be saying – there was a better way.

      • Roby permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:31 pm

        “Enforcement means – the use of force.
        That is all.”

        Ahhh, now I see. I had previously believed that it meant something like:

        “the act of compelling observance of or compliance with a law, rule, or obligation.”

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:58 pm

        “the act of compelling observance of or compliance with a law, rule, or obligation.”

        compel: force
        synonyms: force
        bring about (something) by the use of force

        Or are you planning on using a tongue lashing ?

        Get a clue – do not threaten the use of force – unless you are prepared to deliver.

        And

        Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

        When we are discussing government – we are discussing force.

        This is an area that the left can not get a grip on.

        Amazon succeeding and Sears failing – the left sees as “force”.
        Getting fired from a job is “force”.

        But passing a law saying you can not buy 64oz soda’s or sell loose cigarettes – that is not force ?

        Get a clue – having choices different from those you like – is not force.
        Losing something that never was yours in the first place – is not force.

        Being given a choice between obediance and loss of life or freedom – that is force.

      • Roby permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:42 pm

        Anyone who believes that trump is in putin’s pocket has the intelligence of a packet of gravel.

        trump and putin were companions of convenience during the election, they had a common purpose. How far it went and whether anyone on trump’s team went too far, only various intelligence sources can say. trump heaped praise on putin and visa versa, the russian media, which is fully a putin owned concern, fell loudly in love with trump, the russian spy people did their best to help trump. All objective facts. But no, trump is not in putin’s pocket now that he is POTUS. He is his own free lunatic.

        BTW, trump also praised the leadership of our darling lil Kim. That was stupid. Wanna argue about that?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 1:12 pm

        So are you saying that Clinton – who would have continued to bar DAPL and Keystone, blocked coal and oil exploration
        Was a worse choice for Putin than Trump ?

        You say they were companions of convenience ?
        What did Russia get from it ?
        In what way is Russia not predictably WORSE off with Trump ?

        The entire Trump Putin argument has from the begining rested on the premise that Putin is so stupid he does nto have a clue what is in his own best interests.

        I do not recall Putin praising Trump prior to the election.

        And actually no the things you claim are objective facts – aren’t.

        The fake media I see is the New York Times – that repeatedly gets stories completely wrong or from thin air – and then complains when Trump repeats an NYT headline – like “Trump wiretapped”.

        Prior to the election Obama said there was nothing unusual about Russian election activity.

        Wikileaks continues to deny that Russia was the source of the DNC emails and the evidence suggests they were an inside job.

        If you have all these objective facts of russian spies and the russian media – praising trump
        provide links ?

        Or did the russian media “secretly” help Trump – and how is it that secret news stories are helpful ?

        And how many US blue collar workers read RT ?

        I looked at enormous amounts of media coverage prior to the election.
        It ran about 75% anti-Trump.
        Even republicans were to a large extent attacking Trump.

        Absolutely there was some anti-clinton news – even NYT and Wapo had to occasionally notice that the FBI was investigating her.

        Regardless – please give me the new outlet and stories that changed millions of voters minds ?

        Nearly all the Anti-Clinto stuff I read was in the normal places you would expect it
        Washington Times, NRO, places like that.

        Are you saying Andrew McCarthy is a Russian Spy ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 1:20 pm

        I was as surprised as anyone that Trump won. And I did not vote for him.

        But I am sorry most of us do not buy this “russia hacked our election” nonsense.

        Honestly I do nto care how you define fake news.

        The huge Clinton problems are:

        She is a crook – something we have known since the 90’s
        The continuous fall out from her lying about benghazi and about her mishandling of classified documents, and her pay for play scheme at State.
        that plus her collapse during the campaign.

        I know many people thought she won the debates. But I recall one moment were she gave trump a prolonged look of pure malevolent evil. Not a word was said but that froze my heart.

        The DNC emails pissing all over sanders.

        The other issue was her strategic mistake of ignoring the rust belt.

        Of all those things – only the DNC email leak has ever been claimed to have anything to do with Russia. And that was trivially preventable – do not say stupid things in emails.
        Then you do not have to worry about being hacked.

        And just to be clear – the media was relentlessly negative about Trump – far far more than Clinton.

        So how is it that the Russian “hacked the election” ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 1:21 pm

        Trump says lots of stupid things.

        I think his bromance with Putin was incredibly stupid.
        But it was also one-way.
        And clearly he is not in Putin’s pocket.

      • Roby permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:54 pm

        A clear message is sent to NK and Iran.

        What is that?

        The US military hates desert rocks, better watch out?

        Since we are not about to actually launch a first offensive attack on any of our serious enemies, our willingness to lob a few million dollars of missiles into Syria without doing any serious damage is merely a propaganda point trump can use at home. None of the regimes we hate are so weak that they were frightened by that. Internal US propaganda is the best use of the strike, those who wish to misuse the word enforce can now feel better than Obama. Those who approved of Obama previously still will, those who disapproved still will. But conservatives now have an (absurd) talking point to add to their collection.

        Enough waste of a beautiful day. Outta here.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 1:42 pm

        From what I understand about a dozen hangers and 20 aircraft were destroyed,
        along with fuel storage and runway damage.

        Numerous non-US sources such as humanitarian organization has reported the damage as extensive.

        But it is claimed that atleast one syrian aircraft managed to take off from Shayrat air base the next day.

        Syria has a total of 470 aircraft in their airforce. So this is a small but noticable amount of damage.

        Syria does nto have easy ability to replace anything – their airforce has declined by 1/3 during the civil war.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 1:49 pm

        The US military seriously discussed invading Iran during the Bush administration.

        A decapitation mission in NK is fully conceivable – particularly with Chinese support and that might be possible.

        Lets see the US took our Afghanistan in weeks initially with 29 Green Berets with air support and the assistance of the northern aliance.

        Russia took years and failed.

        It took approximatly 45 days to take out Iraq. With a military between 4 and 8 times larger than Syria.

        The North Korean Militaria is about as large as Sadam’s.

        Get a clue there is no clue that we can take out most regimes on this planet – short of China and Russia relatively easily if we wanted.

        The fundimental problem is not the capability to do so conventionally – it is that NK and Iran are nuclear powers, either we completely take out their nuclear capability in a first strike,
        decapate or pray that they do not launch nukes while they lose.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 1:53 pm

        Trump did not draw the red line in the sand – Obama did.
        Trump did not lie about whether Asad had WMD’s left – Obama did.

        I do not expect any of this will change your mind. that does not mean it will not effect anyone.

        Regardless, this makes the Trump and Putin were in bed together meme a much harder sell.

        No Obama loyalists are unlikely to change their minds.
        There is about 20% of the country that is in the bubble and will never see the light.

        I do not question that this still could go badly for Trump.

        But for now the immediate after effects are good for Trump nearly all arround.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 9, 2017 11:30 am

      It has barely been hours since the strikes.

      It is way way too soon to decide where this is all going.

      I think the US first priority has to be the destruction of ISIS.

      I am not sure I agree with regime change accomplished by US force of arms.

      Sabre rattling with Putin is dangerous – because Russia has lots of nukes – not because they sent a Frigate to the Med.
      Crushing Asad has risks – because Russia has nukes, and because we will feel compelled to nation build afterwards.

      Crushing Asad is easy.

      North Korea is unbeleiveably tricky.
      I think that Clinton should have let NK fail in the 90’s.
      But that was a very dangerous play
      They had nukes then – but no nuclear capable ICBM’s or IRBM’s.
      Now they have both and are close to submarine launched nukes.

      NK is failing at some point in the future.

      There was never a time when a north korean failure was not dangerous.
      But the danger will worsen with time, not improve.

      Strong alliances are nearly meaningless.
      The US defense budget is 1/3 of the world total.
      It is more than the top 15 other countries combined.

      The entire EU defense budget is not 1/4 of the US.

      I would also note that Bush as a multilateralist – but willing to go alone.
      Obama was a big multilateralist.
      Trump is a unilateralist.
      Under Trump the US is going to lead – and the world can follow or not.

      While I often worry about his judgement and where he will lead us.
      The multilateralists have failed.

      Personally I think our response to Asad was sufficient.
      I think we turn and crush ISIS and then leave.

      I do not think regime change is our business.

      But that does nto mean I can not see the argument for regime change.

      What I am most affraid of is that whatever we do militarily, we will feel obligated to remain and engage in nation building.

      We suck at that. We need to quit.

      • Roby permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:08 pm

        “Crushing Asad is easy.”

        Well, go get ’em Tiger!

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:32 pm

        Just to be clear.

        I think the missle strike was fully justified.

        I think the talk about regime change is a mistake – not because we can not do it.
        But because we suck at nation building,
        and because we do have a justification to take out ISIS.
        We do not have sufficient justification to take out Asad.

        My view is take out ISIS and leave.

      • Roby permalink
        April 9, 2017 12:44 pm

        “I think the talk about regime change is a mistake – not because we can not do it.”

        Well, splain how.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 1:27 pm

        How we get regime change – or why talk of it is stupid ?

        According to wikipedia Syria has a combined military fo 173,000
        Sadam had somewhat less than a million in his military in 2001.

        That is presuming we are engaging in a full scale Invasion.
        The other alternative is a predator and one hellfire missle.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 9, 2017 11:32 am

      The jury is out as to whether Trump is any good at foreign policy.

      But thus far he is better than the past 3 predecessors who were all bad at it.

    • April 9, 2017 1:37 pm

      Roby, this may have been a mistake or it may not have been. It depends on the ability of the Trump administration to build a coalition that will act to further degrade Assad through direct and indirect actions. During the Obama administration, he was so adverse to getting into any foreign hassle that he would make comments thinking Assad and others would take his word for it and then when they ignored him and he did nothing which degraded America’s “influence through strength”. When that happened, allies began to wonder just what would happen if they joined the USA in any actions, so they backed off. Take for instance Ukraine. If Obama had backed the government in Ukraine with weapons and technical assistance, would Germany have stepped in to assist in anyway? We will never know, but because the United States was in a very weak position in foreign affairs, few countries seemed interested in reaching out to help other than taking refugees fleeing their country.

      So now Trump has lobbed some missiles into Syria, like Clinton did in Afghanistan . Maybe they did nothing to harm anything. And if he does nothing going forward or he commits a larger amount of military assistance into Syria without western allies help, that will be a problem. But if his administration can get the allies to ban together, along with the middle eastern countries that came out in support of his actions and come down on Russia and Syria with some meaningful economic sanctions, then maybe his actions were the right move. They showed the rest of the world that the USA was back (for a few minutes anyway) in the position of “influence through strength”.

      Now if that last, it depends on what they do going forward and how it is carried out. We should know in a short period of time.

      • Roby permalink
        April 9, 2017 3:53 pm

        “If Obama had backed the government in Ukraine with weapons and technical assistance, would Germany have stepped in to assist in anyway?”

        In my opinion, that was not a real option. It would have been far too aggressive. Russia and Ukraine are separate countries yes, but they were the same political unit only half my lifetime ago. They are far too tightly historically and culturally connected for the US to meddle militarily in. If we had supported Ukraine with actual weapons I believe that putin would have been standing in Kiev in a month, as its ruler.

        We are going to have to disagree about Ukraine.

        I really hope that the trump plan has strengths and advantages that I am not seeing. We will, as you say, see pretty soon.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 4:53 pm

        The mistake was in sending messages that we would back a coup in the first place.
        And that is on Clinton.

        Most everything after that was predictable.

        Neither the US nor the EU have the ability to take on Russia on her turf – atleast not without horrible risk and potential consequences.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 4:34 pm

        We shall all see what Trump does.

        It appears that the Arab world is splitting Shiite/Sunni With the Sunni’s siding with Trump.

        That appears to be another Trump/Obama difference.

        Obama pissed off the Sunni’s – Particularly Saudi’s.

        I do not think Trump is particularly fixated on or needs a coalition.
        He merely needs to mean what he says and follow through.

        My big concern is the “exit strategy”.

        Just leaving when Asad is removed and ISIS destroyed seems perfectly fine to me.
        This nation building crap just makes us enemies, and gets us in trouble.

        It is likely there will be sanctions.

        Personally I think that is wrong.

        Economics is not the business of government. And historically government is bad at it – including sanctions. It often takes years to make sanctions have an effect.
        Often they inspire nationalist and anti-american sentiments in the countries being sanctioned.

        I would strongly recommend “The Ugly American” to you. It is an excellent book and a quick read and the story is a bit different than most people think.

        The point is the US government is abysmal at foreign policy. That most often whatever we do in foreign policy backfires on us. Our aide goes to the corrupt leaders of government and alienates the people.

        What works for the US – is our example, our people.
        Freedom is contagious. The US can transform the world – simply by getting out of the way of the informal diplomacy of our own people.

        I noted earlier that I had been reading “the guns of august”.

        That will not leave you with a good view of the ability of diplomats.

        And just reinforces the message I keep trying to reiterate to Roby and the rest of the left.

        If you think Trump is a Klutz – and he is. Do not presume that our “professionals” are better.
        That our spy’s no what they are doing, that our diplomats no what they are doing, that our regulators no what they are doing.

        What was most noteworthy about the start of WWII – is absolutely nobody knew what they were doing. Not the British, Not the French, Not the germans, Austrians, Belgians or Russians.

        If Roby want to claim Trump does nto know what he is doing – I could easily agree.
        But I do not presume other world leaders or Career diplomats do either.

        And I would suggest that much of the protocol that Trump disdains is just layers of nonsense put in place by career diplomats to maintain power and make it appear they are doing something when they are not.

        Trump and most of his people are from business. They are used to removing or going arround obstacles. Including the inertia of their own staff.

        Trump and his people have a reputation for doing big things with small numbers of people.
        Because that is how things actually get done.

  23. April 9, 2017 3:14 pm

    “I’m sorry Priscilla, you seem to have woken up in a world in which assad has been crippled (or even affected at all) by the airstrike. Meanwhile I woke up in a world where the Syrians are continuing to do what they were doing. Any decent person will condemn assad. ”

    And you wrote this in response to a comment in which I said: ” It was a pinprick strike, and, if it accomplishes anything, it will force Assad to slaughter his people using more conventional means.”

    Regardless of the world in which you think I awoke, I don’t think I said anything to indicate that I believed that Assad had been crippled or affected at all, other than to back off of killing via chemical attacks.

    The point I tried to make was that the missile attack was meant to send a message ~ nothing more, nothing less. What strategy follows, I don’t know. But it seems clear that it will differ from the previous administration.

    • Roby permalink
      April 9, 2017 3:43 pm

      Priscilla I said that because of our difference of opinion on what the word enforcement means. You think something got enforced, I don’t see it.

      I hope as a freedom loving tyranny-hating American that the trump plan improves the world. Tillerson is saying today that China understands the need for action on N. Korea. We’ll see what that really means in the end. Probably something quite subtle.

      I have my own hot little temper and believe me there is a not small part of me that wants America to go around the world toppling tyrants. I loved seeing Hussein toppled and hanged, and his sons, the evil bastards. A hot war in the air with Russia vs. American pilots appeals to a big part of me. But, invading Iraq appealed to that same part of me. How did that go? Having at Russia is an event of another scale entirely. Perhaps the world needs it, another Cuban missile crisis like confrontation between the US and Russia. But, perhaps the world will not survive it as we know it. Who wants to roll the dice and see? We are all northeasterners here. We won’t do well if it really turns serious. Economic pressure appeals much more to me. I see no way to win in Syria. Let Putin have it, its just another expense he has taken on while ordinary Russians, believe me have less and less and for example a health care system for the elderly that would make you weep. I’m rambling.

      I’m just one little guy with a very very very partial knowledge of these things. I can easily have everything wrong. Perhaps in the end we will look at trump like Reagan. I can only hope.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 9, 2017 4:50 pm

        Again – enforcement means force – 59 Cruise missiles wreaking havoc on Shayrat air base – is force. Whether it was effective is a different question – regardless it was still force.

        I have no doubt China sees the need to do something about North Korea.
        I think that understanding has been around for some time.

        The question is what can be done – either by us or by china or by both of us ?

        I do not pretend to know the answer.

        My Opinion was the best oportunity was missed by Clinton.

        Regardless, North Korea is dangerous.
        NK is unlikely to get less dangerous in the future.

        I like to see tyrants toppled to – and was glad to see Sadam fall.
        But that does not make it our job.

        The issue with Kim-un is not that he is a tyrant – there are plenty of those int he world.
        It is that he is a beligerant tyrant with nuclear weapons who is constantly threatening even killing those who get in his way.

        I think the odds of a hot war with Russia – even merely a small air war are small.
        More likely are lots of hot headed sabre rattling and mistakes that kill people.

        I would like to think that US pilots are superior. But they are all human.

        With respect to rolling the dice – every disagreement with Russia has the potential to escalate to Nuclear war. Putin gains power by rattling Sabres.
        but that causes problems – I do not honestly think he wants a real war with the US.
        But he also can not appear to back down.

        I do not actually have a problem with leaving Syria to Russia – but ISIS must go.

        I do beleive that we can not make threats, draw red lines in the sand – unless we are going to stand by them.

        Obama drew the line – then lied.
        Trump is enforcing that line.

        BTW I do not honestly think the guys who are making the decisions and purportedly know – know that much better than you or I.

        Their track record does nto suggest great skill or knowledge.

      • April 9, 2017 6:50 pm

        Roby, I do wish that we could just leave Assad to Putin, and the hell with both. Of course, about a year ago, Assad was on his heels, about to be overthrown by his own people, in a brutal civil war that has seen both Iran and Russia leap to the salvation of Assad, while we continued to claim that we would leap to the salvation of the rebels, except that we could never figure out exactly who the good rebels were, if there were any good rebels at all, and how we would benefit from saving them. So, I agree with you 100% that there may be no good solution.

        But, unfortunately, “no good solution” doesn’t mean that we can safely ignore the continued success of Iran and Russia, as they extend their influence and power in the Mideast, via their support of the Assad regime and their increasing threat to the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Jordanians and, as always, Israel.

        Refusal to support our allies in the region is not going to make the Iranian threat go away. Speaking softly, and refusing to pick up a stick won’t deter Putin from his increasingly profitable alliance with the mullahs. It’s only going to create increasing chaos as those allies will feel it necessary to take matters into their own hands, almost certainly with disastrous results.

        To the extent that I pray, I pray that Trump has the guidance to make the right calls here. Threading the needle probably doesn’t begin to describe the task.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 11, 2017 8:51 am

        When we do not involve our military in a conflict – we are not obligated to take sides.

        We can condem the vile actions of each side.
        We need not figure out who the “good” rebels are.

        That is the position of George Washington from his farewell address.
        And mine.

        When we use force it is AGAINST something – not inherently FOR the alternative.

        When we grasp that it is NOT our job to solve the world’s problems – it is not our job to figureout what Syria should be or who should govern their – but solely to address conduct that justifies the use of force – our choices become much simpler.

        ISIS has engaged in an provided support for acts of terrorism against us and others.
        We may legitimately destroy them.

        Assad has used WMD’s against his own people.
        That is absolutely morally reprehensible – but more complex.
        We are not inherently justified in using FORCE to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations – that does not mean we can not use our voices.

        There are complications because Assad agreed to turn over his WMD’s to the russians,
        and because Obama and Rice assurred us that had occured, and because Obama gave Assad an ultimatum on the use of WMD’s.
        The left may not like this – but they have actually committed the US – and Trump to “regime change”

        Personally, I am with you – Leave Syria to Assad, Putin and Iran – they all deserve each other.

        But that is not what is going to happen.

        Yes, we can ignore the continued “success” or Iran and Russia.

        If Russia wants to pump money and weapons that it can not afford into propping up Assad – why should we stop them ?

        Everyone seems to presume that foreign entanglements come at no cost.

        While the left has overestimated the cost of US military involvement in the mideeast – there is still no doubt that atleast 1/4 of our national debt is tied up in our mishandling of the mideast.

        Why should we presume that Russia and Iran are somehow able to dump resources into propping up failed regimes to their benefit and at no cost – just because we do not see the bill.

        The USSR bankrupted itself through among other mistakes military overreach.
        Do not presume Putin is more able that the USSR.
        His economy is weak. He is propping up myriads of puppet regimes such as in Crimea and now dabbling in the mideast again. Oil which in something like 90% of Russia exports is low.
        and for myriads of reasons is unlikely to rise significantly any time soon.
        The US has recently fought and won WWIII – it was fought in west texas and north dakota.
        It was fought without the support of our government.
        The dramatic shift in US energy independence has wreaked havoc on represive regimes throughout the world dependent on oil money to prop them up. Russia, Venezuela, Iran,
        The rest of the mideast are all less powerful and less important – particularly to the US today.

        Again I would encourage you to read or reread “The Ugly American” Most of us now older people will recognize the story. Regardless, it is a good picture of what has worked for the US and what has not.

        Our government has NOT served us well in foreign relations.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 11, 2017 9:01 am

        I am going to recomend another book.

        Walter Block’s “Defending the undefendable”.

        While I think it is a good book – though Block is past even me, I am recomending it for a different reason.

        Because Block deliberately confronts the “unthinkable”.

        A habit we should engage in more often.

        You have suggested “we can not allow” certain things to happen in the mideast.

        Why not ? Quite often the ‘unthinkable”, the thing we are willing to use force over, or go to war over – is more a threat to our ego – than our national interests.

        You said Putin’s involvements in the mideast were profitable.
        I agree they enhance his image and prestige.
        I think they are temporarily useful for him at home.

        But ultimately they are a large cost – not a profit.

        We seem to have little problem grasping the mistakes the US makes.
        But we seem to presume that other nations act without error.

        I think quite often the best thing that the US can do in foreign affairs – is nothing.
        Let others engage in their intrigues.

        Russians can not eat national self esteem.

      • April 9, 2017 6:51 pm

        By the way, that was an epic run-on sentence I wrote in the 1st paragraph of that comment 😉

  24. April 12, 2017 6:14 am

    dhlii—you are the perfect mouthpiece for conservative “thinking”.

    Funny I can google “wages not risen with GDP” and come across many articles which all say the American worker has been f****d for the last 4 decades, except for an article by the Heritage Foundation that claims the data has just been “misinterpreted”. Yes, GDP has grown tremendously – I never said it didn’t – but workers were screwed out of the wealth.

    Google “Walmart destroys small businesses” – which I saw in my own town when they came 10 years ago – and plenty of articles to confirm it. In fact, I did not find any articles saying small businesses grew when Walmart came to town.

    Google “Americans have no savings” and you will find article after article on how bad it is. BTW, I am speaking of articles from reliable sources – not the “Heritage foundation” or “Mother Jones” but good solid middle of the road sites – but you probably consider them MSM therefore full of fake news. That is your problem, you obviously read sites I consider a joke.

    The only thing in the way of new building around here is one older mall has been replaced by a strip center, with mostly cheapo stores, not department type stores. As I have said, the majority of people cannot afford department stores or the little boutiques you refer to. And dollar stores are popping up – you know the ones that cater to the lower class, not the middle class.

    My money is in Edward Jones and Vanguard, 2 well-known, well regarded companies. The only way you make lots of money is to have lots of money, and I don’t.

    I suspect the little fuel economy is getting is from “the richest retiree generation ever” those born in the 30s & 40s and some 50s. As they die off and we burn what money they have and wages are not increased, the situation will be getting worse and worse. Now Trump is defunding so much government that unemployment is going to go up tremendously. There won’t be any job growth from new jobs because most people still won’t have any money – except those at the top. What I notice is more and more ads for the upper class, that is what entrepreneurs are fighting over.

    I told you my degree is a Bachelor of SCIENCE. You know, a STEM subject. I have met and read many, many stories of people with “real” degrees who are not making livable wages.

    Your daughter has 3 jobs??? and you think this is a good thing?? Well, I want better for me and mine. I want the people at the top hogging all the money to pay good wages, regardless of what they think of the “skills” needed. This is the problem world-wide, not just the US – if you don’t pay most people well, you cannot have a robust economy. Henry Ford had figured this out, I don’t know why corporate American has forgotten. You think Income Inequality is not the problem because your conservative sources tell you so. It is the MAIN problem. During those “terrible” years after WWII when we were more “socialist” we had the strongest middle class ever seen. But rich people don’t like it when they can’t control everything, so starting in 1980 with “Reaganomics” they started putting things back to the way they had always been – a few rich at the top and everyone else miserably poor. Please don’t insult me by telling I should be happy that I have indoor plumbing because most of the rest of the world does not. I have higher standards because my grandparents and parents did.

    You also misunderstood what I am saying about jobs. I never said in the least I am crying about Amazon replacing Sears, or bringing back coal jobs, or manufacturing jobs. I am saying WHATEVER a job is, regardless of skill, the lowest skilled people still must make some sort of livable wage. Then you price up from there. Notice I am not saying doctors and janitors will be making the same. What has happened is all the money is staying in the hands of a few. What happened to the “trickle down”??? It ain’t happening. That is why our economy is stagnant.

    Most of the people I know – this is over 50 years, 4 states, diversity galore – cannot afford to buy an apartment building. You are NOT working class, have never been working class, and that is why you don’t get it. You have always had enough money to buy yourself out of any situation and to invest for the future. One bit of bad luck does not devastate you, as with so many people I know, because I make sure I know real, average people. The fact that you can’t grasp I CANNOT AFFORD TO MOVE shows you have no true understanding of poverty.

    I never ask for any dam pity from anyone. I’m lucky, I won’t ever be homeless or hungry. I’m a mouthpiece for people who are too busy working multiple jobs to be on here to speak for themselves. I want better for them. They are NOT lazy, just grossly underpaid.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 8:43 am

      I am not a conservative. I am libertarian.
      Regardless, I do not represent some one. I speak MY mind.
      I have thought very seriously about what I think.
      It does not come from emotion but facts, logic and reason.

      I can google “bigfoot sitings” and come up with millions of hits.

      Regardless, you did not read what I wrote.

      Though I dispute the wage claim – and I provided the moving GIF graphing the changes in income since 1971 that refutes any claims that wages have not risen.

      And there are so many statistical fallacies with the Income Inequality and stagnant wages claim – is there a single study supporting your claim that wages have not risen that is tracking the wages of fixed groups of people ?

      You do as an example understand that the people who were earning minimum wage in 1979 are not the same actual people as are earning MW today ? And that if you are not tracking people as their wages move up and down all the IE data represents is that the job of flipping burgers (or any other entry level job) has no more value today than in the past.

      In fact any specific job that has not changed over the past 40 years has no more value.

      Standard of living rises ONLY is more value is produced with less human effort.

      It is not possible for the standard of living of a person flipping burgers in 1979 to be higher than a person flipping burgers today – UNLESS one of the following is true:

      They are more productive
      They are receiving charity at the expense of someone else.

      Regardless absent increases in productivity standard of living can not decline.

      Overall productivity has increased since 1979.
      About 70% of the increase in productivity has been due to capital improvements – not improved labor productivity. As an example if a builder buys a backhoe fewer men can dig more ditch in an hour – because of the backhoe – not because the men are better at digging ditches.

      HOWEVER about 60% of the gains in productivity have gone to wages.
      Therefore investors have been giving charity to labor.

      But lets get back to reality. Wages are NOT the measure of standard of living.
      Wages are measured in money and long term monetary measures are very inaccurate because of inflation. And contra vast amounts of charts and papers and … you can not accurately adjust the price of narrow goods for inflation – because inflation adjustmets – to the extent they are accurate at all, are for the market overall, and inflation is not uniform over products, or time.

      If you want an accurate picture of the changes in your income – your ability to consume, not the dollars you are paid, over time, then compare the amount of effort it took you to earn something in 1979 to today.

      The most accurate reflection would be to compare what YOU and each other specific individual could purchase in 19789 with what YOU and the same specific people can purchase with the same labor today.

      That would accurately reflect the fact that you have gained skills and are more productive today than then. It would also accurately reflect that on average people who were in the bottom quintile in 1979 have risen two quintiles by today.

      But if you insist on looking inaccurately at what someone in the bottom quintile in 1979 could consume vs. what someone in the bottom quintile in 2017 can consume – which is NOT a measure of how wages have changed, it is a measure of how what low skill labor just entering the market can consume – these would NOT be the same people. They would be different people similarly situated.

      One should expect that a starting burger flipper today creates the same amount of value as in 1979. Unless as I noted before they are somehow able to flip more burgers.

      In fact for EVERY Quintile US Census data shows that we have double the wealth we had in 1979.

      That means even starting burger flippers are twice as well off as in 1979.

      Think about it – while you can refer to census data, this is also something you should personally know from your own observations.

      The average lower quintile family has about twice the living space as in 1979,
      They are more than twice as likely to have a TV, in fact multiple TV’s, they are many many times more likely to have a phone and phone service, they are more likely to own a car – sometimes two. They are many times more likely to have airconditioning,
      They can afford to eat out more often.

      By every measure of actual WEALTH and abiity to consume they are better off.

      Further most everything they might want to buy is CHEAPER.

      In 1979 I was making MW, and a top of the line refrigerator costs $1200 – it would have taken me 10 weeks of labor to earn enough to buy that refridgerator.
      Today a far better Fridge costs about 900. If I were still making MW – it would take me 3 weeks today to earn that fridge. But I am not still making MW and it does nto take more than a few days to earn a fridge.

      You can do that for all goods. Almost nothing is more expensive today than in 1979 – those few things that are not much cheaper are those like education and healthcare that are heavily government regulated.

      This should not surprise you at all. It is how the economy works.
      To raise standard of living we MUST
      produce greater value with less human effort.

      If we do that absent inflation – prices decline over time – including the price of labor.
      BUT the price of labor drops more slowly than all other prices so we are always able to afford more with less.

      That BTW has been universally true in the US for the past 400 years.
      And through 1913 mild deflation was the norm.

      Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomena.
      Milton Friedman.

      Today inflation is deliberately introduced by central banks, because their ability to attempt to manage the economy requires introducing inflation.

      That is what all the rot that has been discussed over the past decade about central banks trying to figure out how to operate close to the “zero bound”
      Monetary policies do not work without inflation.

      Regardless, unless you are brain dead you graps that if over 40 years you are pad 1/2 as much as you were at the start, but everything you wish to buy only costs 1/4 as much as it did you are twice as well off.

      If you understand that, and you grasp that inflation is not uniform over either time or goods,
      Then you understand that the claims of stagnant wages rest on data that is meaningless.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 9:04 am

      I have no idea what the Heritage foundation might have written – though I can guess.

      But I do know that the US census has been tracking what families own for more than a century. And it has found that wealth has doubled in every quintile in the past 40 years.

      Further you should be able to personally verify that from your own observations.

      I recall driving through the worst neighborhoods in my city in the 70’s
      The cars were crap and few and rusting and many were up on blocks.
      They were old and cheap cars. There was garbage in the front yards, and the buildings were in disrepair.

      Today I can travel down the same streets.
      In fact today I would be willing to walk down them. This is still the poorest part of my city,
      but there are more cars, the cars are better – often used BMW’s and Mercedes’s and SUV’s rather than rusty Datsun B210’s of Chevettes and Gremlins.
      There are no cars on blocks, no trash in the yards, many gardens, the building are well maintained.

      So the poor in my city are much better off today than in the 70’s and I can personally tell that with my eyeballs.

      But if your memory is poor – try watching 60’s and 70’s movies or TV programs.
      Look at the streets in those movies. Look at the apartments people live in, look at the things they had then compared to today ?

      The inarguable fact is that we – and particularly the poor are far better off today than 40 years ago.

      Therefore YES anyone making claims otherwise – has made some kind of error.

      Get a clue, it is always possible using statistics to prove anything you want.
      It is always possible to misrepresent what something means.

      As Mark Twain said
      Lies, Damn Lies, and statistics.

      A classic example is this entire immigration/outsourcing nonsense.

      If shirts can be produce for half the cost – that makes us BETTER off, not worse.
      ALWAYS.

      That is precisely what we WANT to occur.

      I beleive Ron claimed that immigrants were driving hospitality job wages down.
      Great – that makes us all better off. Not worse.
      The immigrants are better off then they were in the country they came from – or they would go back.
      The people who used to do those jobs had better have moved to jobs that are actually worth the higher wages they want paid.
      The rest of us pay less for travel and accomodations.

      More value for less human effort.

      That is the DEFINITION of an increase in standard of living.

      Yet people like you are ranting about it as if what actually makes us better off is making us worse.

      As if there is some way besides producing more value for less human effort to end up better off.

      So is data routinely “misinterpretted” – absolutely and obviously.

      If McD’s replaces clerks with ipads – will we be better off or worse ?
      Better off means – more value from less human effort – so clearly we would be better off.
      Yet, already we hear ludditte moans and laments.

      If uber and lyft and yellow freight replace their drivers with computers – are we better or worse off ?

      Again geter value for less human effort – so we are better off.

      So long as you are listening to talking heads that are telling you that immigration is bad, that outsourcing is bad. That robots and automation are bad.

      that producing more value with less human effort is bad, then you are being lied to and deceived.

      Because the ONLY way to raise standard of living is to provide more value for less human effort.

      And anyone claiming otherwise is lying.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 9:21 am

      The “walmart destroys small businesses meme is crap. It is the result of a few very very badly done “studies” – they were not really studies, but when someone scribbles nonsense on a napkin and reports it in public and it gets repeated enough times – it becomes godspell to those who want to beleive.

      People still report this nonsense.

      But the fact is Walmart creates jobs – not just jobs in the stores – but jobs in the surrounding community.
      The walmart destroys jobs meme is trivial disprovable.
      There are states with small enough populations where adding two Walmarts would show a noticeable negative effect on that states employment and wage statistics if the so called walmarts destroy jobs meme was true – yet everywhere that Walmart has opened stores were it is possible to measure macro job figures and note any Walmart effect – have found RISING employment post walmart.

      Walmart’s act much like Amazon. The introduction of a Walmart does result in some job closures – and lost jobs – those businesses that are competing head to head with walmart, and have nothing more to offer, tend to fail.
      Just as Amazon is destroying Sears.

      At the same time – just as there is an entire infrastructure arround Amazon – jobs at amazon, and jobs with amazon providers, and jobs with amazon affiliates, the same is true of walmart.

      Within 5 years of a walmart opening in a community new business starts INCREASE.

      Again to anyone with a brain this should make sense.

      If you can buy more value for less at walmart, then you have more of you income available to spend on other things.

      And that is what is found. When a Walmart moves in new businesses are created with people spending the additional money they have that they would not have had but for walmart. And they are spending it on higher end things – the goods and services that walmart does NOT produce.

      Regardless, you are once again taking an obvious net positive – producing more value with less human effort and deluding yourself into beleiving it somehow makes us worse off.

      You are on the wrong side of Bastiat’s “Broken Windows Fallacy”
      http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

      Get a clue.

      Absolutely anything that increases the value produced and decreases the human effort required. RAISES our standard of living.
      Anything that does that is VERY GOOD, and HIGHLY DESIREABLE, regardless of any real of misperceived side effects.

      Rising standards of living REQUIRE destruction. Get over it.
      Do not be confused by the fact that producing more value with less human effort MUST mean some displaced labor ALWAYS into deluding yourself into beleiving it is NET bad.
      Anyone telling you otherwise is deceived or lying.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 9:28 am

      Off course Dollar Stores and Walmarts are popping up.

      These are places that allow those at the bottom (and often the rest of us) to buy more for less.

      And again these RAISE standard of living.

      I shop at Dollar Stores all the time.

      I have 5 apartments I rent. I need cleaning supplies and all kinds of things I can get at Dollar Stores all the time. I pick up brooms and dust pans, and buckets and air freshner and cleaners and …
      I leave with a cart full of stuff for $10. Even at Walmart I would have paid 3 times as much.

      Sometimes the stuff does nto last long.
      But if I buy an expensive dust pan for my apartments it will disapear in a week anyway.
      Or if I buy an expansive bucket to spread tar on my roof – it will be destroyed when I am done.

      Regardless, if the people in your community are buying for less at places like Dollar General – then they are doing something with what they have left as a result.

      And there is nothing they can be doing that is not overall good.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 9:30 am

      I do not care whether a source is left, right middle of the right.

      I care whether it is spouting total gobbledy gook.

      Anyone claiming that producing more value for less human effort is BAD,
      is either deceived of lying.

      Regardless of their political lean.

    • Roby permalink
      April 12, 2017 9:31 am

      You know what Dave, you have been labeling me a far lefty for the last forever and refusing to process a word I actually say about my actual ideology.

      So, turn about is fair play. You are an ultraconservative trump lover and I can’t hear a word you say to the contrary, its all a smoke screen. Your economic ideas are to the right of right and you have been eagerly willing to forgive trump for violating every libertarian principle I once thought you really had on immigration and trade. After years of listening to you stick the lefty label on me despite all evidence to the contrary, I am happy to see you get yours back. Ultra-conservative trump-loving liberal-hating, climate-change-denying Dave. Moogie nailed you.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 12, 2017 3:10 pm

        I do not have any problem with turn about.

        You are free to say what you want – just as I am.

        And you get judged by what you say.

        I think it is pretty clear to most everyone here – that I am no “trump lover”.
        At best he was the lessor evil.

        I am happy that he has not been as Bad as I had expected.

        I honestly do not care if the left wishes to trash him – justifiably or not.

        I am attacking the left on Trump related issues – not because I like Trump.
        But because the frothing at the mouth on the left demonstrates why they lost and why they will continue to lose. It demonstrates what is wrong with the left.

        Most of us know what is wrong with Trump.

        My economic “ideas” have three characteristics:

        They are rooted in individual freedom.
        They are the “ideas” of almost 300 years of the greatest economists that have ever lived.
        In the real world they work.

        You want to call them – right of right, call them whatever you want.

        I do not personally think much of economics is “left” or “right”.

        What works works. What doesn’t doesn’t.

        I wish that the individual freedom was a principle that conservatives held dear.
        If they did – I would call myself conservative.
        But they do not, so I can not.

        FA Hayek explains that pretty well.
        https://www.cato.org/articles/why-i-am-not-conservative

        As to forgiving Trump ?

        I am at odds with both the right and left over immigration.
        We can not have nearly open borders and a scheme of positive rights.
        They are completely incompatible.

        I value the freedom of people to come here as they wish highly – asking nothing of the US but freedom, and demanding nothing of them except that they respect the equal freedom of others. Which is more than those on the left do today.

        Many here sing the praises of compromise.
        I have made it clear that is a tool not a value.

        I value open borders. But the only entitlement freedom can come with is freedom.
        So long as the left demands positive rights – the freedom to cross our borders uninhibited is not possible.

        I disagree with WHY trump is doing much of what he is regarding immigrantion – but I agree with atleast some of WHAT he is doing.

        Even in the nearly pure open boarders arrangement – the argument as to whether we allow criminals in or vet for terrorists is a completely independent argument.

        I personally beleive in minimal vetting. But that is a pragmatic, not principled view.

        I graps that letting nearly anyone in will mean acts of terrorism and deaths of citizens.
        But I still beleive on net we will be better off.
        That is pragmatic, not ideological.

        There is nothing ideologically wrong with barring those who will not respect the equal freedom of others.

        So far with respect to immigration Trump is:

        temporarily freezing immigration for nations Pres. Obama identified as terrorists threats, until DHS is able to better vet people from those countries.

        What part of that should anyone disagree with ?

        He has suspended immigration of refugees until DHS can better vet them.
        I oppose that – but not strongly.

        He is separately moving to quickly deport those illegal immigrants who are charged with a crime.
        I oppose that – but not strongly.

        He is adding border patrol agents and building a wall.
        Again I oppose these, I oppose all wasteful government spending.
        But the high estimate of the cost of the wall is about 12B.
        That is something like the cost of half a dozen F35’s
        You can count me as opposed to the vast majority of wasteful government spending.

        You also seem confused.
        Opposing something does nto require me to throw molotov cocktails and bricks through windows.
        Not going to war over some issue is not the same as supporting it.

        Regardless it is very hard to go to war on immigration, when the left has staked out a farcical position I do not want to have anything to do with as the hill they want to die on.
        Apparently quite litterally.

        Am I ultra-conservative – no.
        Do I love Trump – no.
        Do I like some of what he has done – such as take a machette to the federal government – yes.
        Do I buy this Russia nonsense ? no.
        Am I really bothered because it is increasingly obvious that the Obama administration was doing what even nixon did not, and using the govenrment to spy on political enemies.

        Do I loath the left – yes.
        Liberals are people who prize liberty. Those on the modern left are not liberal – but I do loath them
        I would likely loath those conservatives that would use govenrment to restrict our actual liberty.
        So far that is not Trump – atleast not much. But yes I worry about that.

        BTW I do not consider nothing that something like 80% of people support Trump on immigration to be anything more than demonstrating how batshit crazy the left is.
        I KNOW my views are not broadly supported. You actually think yours are.

        Nor do I consider noting that Republicans are going to do very well in 2018 and 2020 if the economy improves to make me conservative.
        It is just my read of the crystal ball.
        If we had elected Hitler and he produced 3.5% growth we would re-elect him.

        Regardless, I point these things out because It is my view that the left must change – for the good of the country. If it does nto we could quickly become single party government, and I do not want that.

        Sanders and Warren are not the future of democrats – whatever else you may feel.
        What I do not see is any real future emerging from democrats.

        Am I opposed to the GAGW hoax – absolutely.
        Long before Trump.

        Am I happy that Trump is slashing EPA – absolutely.
        Though he can get rid od every government agency created since the start of the 20th century and a few from the 19th and I would be happy.

        And the federal laws that go with them.
        The law we need is relatively simple – particularly at a federal level.

      • April 12, 2017 4:37 pm

        Thank you Roby.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 12:41 pm

        Moogie is doing an excellent job of making you look like a centrist.

      • April 13, 2017 1:00 pm

        Dave, hopefully Roby will not take that as an insult as being a centrist is where most of the logical thinking takes place.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 4:43 pm

        I am finding Robby’s posts quite interesting today.

        Except that he is less blunt he is practically channeling me.

        The “center” moves all over the place. Logic does not.

        I have noted before I am reading J. S. Mills right now.

        In 1838 he was on the extreme left. He was a “liberal”
        Today he is slightly to the right of me.

        Mills was mostly correct in 1838, and still correct today.
        But the center as far from him in one direction in 1838 as it is in the other today.
        What is correct, what is logical, has not changed at all.

      • April 13, 2017 5:54 pm

        Dave, you are correct that the center moves all over the place, as does the left and the right. Today just look at the issue with the middle east. The far right basically wants us to stay out of that mess. The left finds it better if we intervene and help those that are being tortured, killed or refugees. Just a few short years ago one might find a handful of leftist that thought being in the middle east was good, while just a few on the right thought we should have hands off.

        The constitution is a document that the right wants interpreted for its words and not a living document. How ironic that they would support this when that same document was a series of compromises. The makeup of the house was a compromise set forward by Connecticut, The Senate was a compromise after the House was set up the way it was to satisfy the states that had other ideas. The elections, as they were originally created was a compromise with the House being elected by any white man living in the state, while the Senate was elected by their legislatures and the president by the electoral college. And one could go on through the rest of the document and find where one group of founding fathers wanted one thing and another group something else.

        So given the current environment, do you think we could ever create a document like that and have it last for over 200 years, still controlling our government? I suspect nothing would never get passed today and if one did, it sure would not last 200+ years.

        But everyone changes. Look at Kennedy. Would he be a leading Democrat today if he held the same positions he held in 1960? The left would go mad with his position on taxes. Would Reagan be a leader in the Republican party, especially the Freedom Caucus. They would go mad with his ability to compromise to get 60% of what he wanted. They want 100% or nothing. Both Reagan and Kennedy would be considered much more centrist today than their party’s are today and they would never even be considered for president. Just look at the candidates in both parties that had any sizable support and Kennedy and Reagan would not even create a ripple on the popularity meter.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 12:36 pm

        The argument over the constitution is stupidly muddled.

        The left’s “living constitution” is no constitution at all. It is the rule of man not law. It is lawlessness. It is our worst problem today and I am not sure how it can be repaired absent tremendous upheaveal and disruption.

        I think the names “originalism” and “textualism” tend to diminish something that is incredibly important.

        I would also note there are multiple forms of originalism and textualism and only one that is valid and moral.

        The rule of law – not man. REQUIRES that the law we must each obey be understandable and well known to each of us. Anything less ultimately is the rule of man, not law, it is lawlessness. This is not a principle of constitutional or statutory interpretation – it is just how things are.

        The law – whether int he form of the constitution or statutory law, MUST mean what ordinary people understand it to mean.

        That has two really important facets:

        No matter how we arrive at law – we can not impose law that does nto have incredibly broad public support AND understanding.

        Disobediance to the law comes at a cost – not merely to the law breaker – but to society.
        Prohibition and the war on drugs should make that clear to all of us.

        Both with prohibition and the war on Drugs we have sufficient data to know several things:

        The behavior we criminalized will continue even though illegal.
        Criminalizing it over long periods of time does not change that.
        There is little difference in the public harm of that conduct between its being legal and its being illegal.
        There is incredibly public cost to making that conduct illegal.

        I am using Drugs and prohibition as examples – primarily because the factors above are well understood for those.

        If I had a magic wand that I could waive to make drug abuse go away – I would readily do so.
        But that wand does not exist. a century of ever more draconian law has changed nothing.

        A majority of us today are ready to see marijuana legalized – that is close to a no brainer, it is arguably less dangerous than alcohol. but few of us are ready to legalize crack, or heroin.

        But laws against them have had no consequential positive benefit and enormous cost.

        Now take what I hope you understand from the failure of the war on drugs and apply it more broadly.

        Any law that you pass will have some who will not obey, and enforcement against those will impose a public cost (as well as result in a loss of freedom for all).

        That is not an argument against laws – but it is an argument to restrict laws to only those few things that we are nearly unanimous on.

        There is tremendous overlap in enforcement cost for some laws.
        There is not substantially greater cost to enforce laws against murder, than against assault.
        But there is little overlap between laws against murder and laws against speeding.

        Regardless, the point is – no matter what the purpose of the laws we pass is, the more laws we pass the ever greater the scale and burden of government – because enforcement must grow with every new law.

        The cost to enforce a law increases with the number of laws. It increases with the lack of overlap with existing laws, it increases both as the law diverges from the shared values of the people and as it has support from smaller portions of the people.

        We can pretend that we are just arguing about money – but in this instance we are talking about the cost of ever increasing tyranny.

        Law is a both critical and tryanical process.
        The rule of law means – rule by laws with supermajoritarian support, that are well understood by those they apply to, and where the meaning of the law does not rapidly change.
        Anything else is tyranny.

        We can call that “originalism” or “textualism” or we can call it “living law”.

        But it still becomes:

        The meaning of law must come from the people – not the courts or the legislature.
        It may be our courts job to “interpret” our laws – but the scope of “interpretation” must be narrow. It is not the “intent” of the legislators that matters. It is the understanding of the people. We choose to scope that understanding to that of the people at the time the law or constitution was enacted – for two reasons: Because we need the meaning of the law to be constant, because every changing law is lawless, and because it is always in our power to change the law or constitution when our understanding diverges too far from that of those who ratified it.

        This is the only method of understanding law and constitutions that is sustainable, that is not ultimately lawless. It is not conservative or progressive.
        It is absolutley living – as it must be, we the people are always free to change the law or constitution. Our elected representatives may not do so without our support, our unelected judiciary may not do so at all. We do not elect our federal judiciary – BECAUSE they do not need to be answerable to the public. Their job is gramatical, syntactic, and historical – it is not ideological, it is not rooted in values.

        I would not that nowhere in the above is there are place for “legislative history” or “legislative intent” – because despite the fact that the legislature drafts laws – it is the understanding of common people that establishes their meaning.

        From the perspective of the more recent debates on constitutional interpretation.

        This is NOT the “originalism” of Bork – who suborned the constitution and law to the legislature and democratic whims.
        It is NOT the “originalism” of Scalia – who is a more moderated form of that of Bork.

        It appears to be the “originalism” of Gorsuch – who despite the shared name “originalism” is neither Bork nor Scalia.

        But we shall have to see how he actually rules.

        I will again note – the above argument is NOT “conservative” or “libertarian”.

        It is logic and reason. It is pragmatic. It is based on what we know works and what we know fails.

        I would challenge anyone supporting the lefts “living constitution” to explain how it provides stable answers to any legal or constitutional questions. How it allows ordinary people to understand the law and constitution they are obligate to obey, how it enables them to repair the damage – should the courts get it wrong, or to change the constitution – should changing values dictate that. I would also ask those on the left – how they reconcile their “living constitution” with the fact that most of the controversial decisons of the left wing of the court were not consistent with the values of most people at the time. That seems to me to the be anti-thesis of a “living constitution”. In fact I can not see that as anything but a few men imposing their personal beleif about what is right and wrong on all of the rest of us.

        In many – maybe most instances I share their beleif as to what was constitutes right and wrong. and I can reach a justification for the same decisions rooted in natural rights and limited government. ButI can not reach it based on the lefts claim of a “living constitution”

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 12:48 pm

        Reagan was an Alcolyte of Barry Goldwater.
        I would suggest reading Goldwaters conscience of a conservative, as well as Reagains campaign speeches.

        Yes, I think today Reagan would be a member of the Freedom Caucus.

        To a limited extent you are correct about Reagan.
        He knew he could not transform the federal government 100%.
        So he picked his battles – what was winable and what was not.

        On election I think he came to the realization that the USSR was economically fragile, and he grasped the tremendous benefits to the entire world that would accrue from its collapse.

        In prioritizing that, he had to give up or weaken other objectives.

        But Reagan did not compromise on everything. Nor did he inherently beleive compromise what the universal answer. It was a tool to get as much of what he wanted as was possible.

        To an extent the same was true of Clinton.

        Trump is currently running into his own version of the same problem.

        The president does not unilaterally have the power to deliver everything he promised in his campaign – we should be thankful in that.

        In 2018 we will measure republicans by what they have accomplished.
        We are most likely to fixate on the state of the economy – not whether the wall was built or not.

        Both Trump and Republicans detailed campaign promises are only important to the extent they contribute to a stronger better country.

      • April 14, 2017 9:34 am

        Just glanced over what dhlii wrote, what I read was same old same old – I never saw anything to refute that his kids (adopted or not) are starting far far far ahead of mine for one reason: MONEY.

        In his world, it is NEVER acknowledged that some (I would say most) people have far more hurdles to overcome than his kids. His standard (conservative) response is “Sucks to be you”.

        I do not consider myself liberal, for that is not balanced. I am a centrist. I don’t believe we need to pay for college for everyone – everyone does not need to go!! But I have enough sense to see when we have a completely free market working people get screwed as they have for 40 years now. Some regulation is necessary. Try to remember it was evil people called “liberals” that got us a 8/40 hour day/week, safety regulation, elimination of child labor, womens votes, civil rights for non-whites, social security, medicare/medicaid. And these laws were absolutely necessary because wealthy business owners would not treat workers morally!! This is the same age old battle of worker vs. owner. Can we go too far to the left? I’m sure we could. But it has never happened in this country.

        I am giving up now. As long as dhlii continues to only read lies that protect business owners, and to spread those lies on this forum, I have no use to talk to him. It is sad that working people in my neighborhood continue to listen to the likes of him and vote against their own economic interests. I will continue to write my local newspaper to give them something new to think about. I have already heard from a few younger voters (under 30) that they had never thought of things the way I present them. There’s hope.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 1:31 pm

        No refutation is necescary.

        You say my kids had far far greater advantages ?

        I am not going to debate our relative incomes – though I am not rolling in dough, and like most everyone else have to figure out how to make ends meet when the mortgages come due, and dental bills come pouring in – My daughters teeth suck – as does every other child I know who came from the same orphanage. Or the transmission or tires int he car needs replaced or the roof leaks or …..

        But I would ask you what is it that mythical money you think I or others have has done to create this create advantage for my kids ?

        What is it that I gave my kids that you or anyone else can not give theirs ?

        Most of the things you think are “advantages” I was not able to afford to give to my kids.
        But even if I could have afforded them – I would not have, because I do not think they are advantages.

        My kids went to public schools. My wife and I worked to get our kids the best public school education we could – which is why they were cyber chartered – most of their classes were poor inner city kids – getting the same education for the same reasons.

        My kids likely benefited from the fact that both my wife and I are knowledgeable and well educated. We know as an example that long term success correlates strongly to the number of words a kid learns before school, and that correlates to the education levels of their parents. Of course my daughter spent her first two years in really crappy orphange.

        You say this mythical money created some great advantage – well what is it ?

        The obligation of proof is yours not mine.

        To the extent I think it “sucks to be you” is primarily the consequence of your own attitudes.

        Shit happens to all of us. I do not like to compare piles of shit – it is meaningless.
        We are all obligated to deal with the shit that happens to us.
        Because in the end it is our life and no one else is obligated to make us happy.

        What I see in you is someone who is choosing to be unhappy.
        I doubt your ciricumstances are nearly as horrible as those of 3/4 of the world – many of whom are quite happy. further you have far more control of your circumstances that you are willing to admit to yourself.

        It is easy to blame others.

        Get a clue it is your life.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 1:47 pm

        How am I protecting business owners ?

        I expect them to have to compete in the free market, where success requires that they deliver ever greater value at ever lower cost.

        I want them stripped of any protections from competition that they have rented from government.

        I want government to quit picking winners and losers – in business and elsewhere.

        I want government to quit taking your freedom and mine.

        I beleive you are entitled to do however well you chose on your own or in voluntary cooperation with others.

        You are entitled to demand whatever you want.
        No one is morally or otherwise obligated to give you anything.

        You seem to think that the fact that businesses will not pay you what you desire makes them immoral – how so ?

        You are free – you can take the job they offer or not. As you please.

        You are no more free to dictate to others what they must offer you than they are to dictate to you what you must accept.

        You have a very bizarre concept of morality.

        Aparently anyone that does nto give you what you want is immoral ?

        Regarldless – if you are going to toss out claims that others are immoral or lying,
        then you stake your own credibility and reputation on those assetions.

        It would be in your interests to prove your claims.

        Specifically how have I lied to you ?

        Specifically how is some institution immoral.

        I still can not manage to understand this bizarre football coaching claim of yours ?

        If an employer in this case a school comes to you and says your job is to teach 7th grade and mow the side lot, and that job pays $X – you are free to accept or decline. You are also free to counter. What you are not free to do is force them to offer exactly what you want at exactly what you want paid. Sometimes we are lucky and that is what we get.
        But not getting what we want from a free exchange does not make the other party immoral.

        Hillary was not in anyone’s economic interests. You are back selling the typical left crap that there is somehow a free ride.

        The left is losing elections because the majority of us grasp that the piper must be paid, that the ride is coming to an end and that more stupid programs defering costs to future are not going to help.

        Your idea of economic self interests – is immoral – it is stealing from others or from yourself in the future or your kids.

        Hopefully you wrote something more cogent and innovative in the newspapers.
        What you have posted here is dull boring, crap that was refuted two centuries ago.
        That the left keeps selling. It is not in anyway new or inovative, but far more importantly it is “the road to serfdom” you are free to take yourself down it, draggings others by force is immoral.

      • Roby permalink
        April 13, 2017 5:37 pm

        “I am finding Robby’s posts quite interesting today.
        Except that he is less blunt he is practically channeling me.”

        I am saying nothing today I have not said many many times before. And yet you have been lambasting me as a member of the “left” forever. I have my different sides, I believe I am a moderate liberal. I’m not altogether allergic to government involvement to provide what people of higher income are able to do for their own kids. I am allergic to taking it to extremes. There is a balance point, a middle ground and for me it is the most sensible ground.

        Note that below I said that I was greatly helped to get my life in gear by the CETA program of the Carter years, a Federal public program that paid me to be trained as a mechanic. I believe that there should be a constant CETA program especially aimed at the locations of persistent rural and inner city poverty. Job training greatly encouraged and facilitated by the government.

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

        All my beliefs are perfectly self consistent as far as I am concerned. Responsibility for ones self is a sort of conservative ideal. Its a very wise philosophy. But the children of parents who can afford their education have an advantage of the children of the poor. The kids of the poor did not choose their parents, why do they not deserve a decent chance to learn a trade and become self sufficient?

      • April 13, 2017 6:00 pm

        Roby, I will take your question concerning job training one step further back in time. You got trained through a government program. Back until maybe the late 60’s or early 70’s, or it might be a little later than that, high schools had classes to train kids that were not going to college to be able to get a job working with their hands. Metal shop, auto mechanics, wood shop all provided basic training for a kid to go out and find an apprentice job in a field they had training in from high school.

        Now who control the school systems and who screwed up the programs where kids that are not going to college have NOTHING to fall back on to make a decent living?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 12:50 pm

        If you want schools to be responsive to the needs of the students and parents – you must make them answerable to students and parents.

        The best means of doing so – is through free markets.
        Just about the worst is what we are doing.

      • April 15, 2017 2:59 pm

        Well for the past 40+ years, schools have answered to the bureaucrats that are bought and paid for by various parties. The last thing schools answer to is their students and parents.

        Hoe long do parents and students need to continue their decline until something changes?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 14, 2017 5:41 pm

        I do not percieve what you wrote to Moggie as less “extreme” than what I wrote.

        I do grasp that it is less blunt.

        I also think that it is not consistent with other things you have written.
        But I have said the modern left is not consistent.

        The federal government spends $4T/year. It is awfully hard for anyone – even the federal govenrment to spend $4T and get absolutley zero or worse negative value out.

        At the same time few of us would disagree that the federal govenrment does not come close to producing $4T in value – so it is NET negative. When pew aand Gallup survey people the common perception of ordinary people is that the federal government “wastes” about $.50 for every $ it spends – this is remarkably consistent with the results of Robert Barro – the economist who has gathered by far the largest publicly accessible database on this.
        He has found that the multiplier for government spending varies between .25 and .8. With .8 typically being acheived for military spending in times of war. His norm is between .35 and .45 – very close to what people tell polsters.

        This brings me back to your CETA program – and myriads of other government programs.

        While there are some programs that are absolute fails.
        I do not know much about CETA – but decades of studies on federal jobs training programs have found them to have nor merely ZERO value, but actually negative value.
        i.e. the Trainees from govenrment training programs are LESS qualified and able to get jobs than they were before training.

        If that was not true for you personally – great. No government program fails absolutely everyone.

        Regardless, job training should be a total no brainer – and the evidence is that is so.

        If a free market needs skilled labor that does not exist, those who need that skilled labor will do whatever it takes to get it. They will subsidize training programs, they will provide training themselves – whatever is necescary to meet their need for specific skills.

        And in the real world we see this all the time. When we need truck drivers – the airwaves get filled with advetisements for driver training cheap or on the job training – whatever trucking firms need to do to get enough drivers.

        When there is an overabundance in some skill area – the cost of that training rises and no one subsidizes it, and the wage goes down.

        ARRA had horribly distortive effects on labor – part of the reason for the enormous costs per job.

        Much of ARRA was road construction – and not only aren’t road construction projects shovel ready, but they are mostly skilled labor jobs.

        Designing roads – drew highly skilled labor (engineers) from other commercial construction – and moved it to roads. This increased the cost and decreased the highly skilled labor available for projects other than roads. Substantial increases to the engineering labor pool do not happen in months – they take many years – often decades.

        Once those projects were designed, road construction labor is also skilled labor.
        While there is some overlap between the labor needed to build homes – which had record levels of unemployment, and that needed to build roads – the overlap is relatively small.
        You can not just take labor that used to build homes, and have thiem building highways and bridges overnight. In fact road construction is more automated and more high skilled than home construction.

        Anyway there are studies out there on ARRA. I am sure you can find a few that say good things, but the majority of the good studies show ARRA as a tremendous waste of money.

        No we did not spend $500K and get nothing for it. But we did not get anywhere close to $500B of value.

        And that is the fundimental problem.

        I will have no problem agreeing with you that we can pick most any government program and find someone who is better off as a result of it.
        I do not think we can find any government aide program where all of us as a whole – or even the narrow community that program was designed to serve are actually better of – on the WHOLE.

        We can argue about that – but that is precisely what Barro’s data shows (there are many others that have come up with similar results). When any government program comes up with a multiplier less than 1 than MEANS that the value that program delivers is less than its cost.

        You could try arguing that well sometimes we should waste some money to help people.
        Sounds good. While I would still claim that is the role of charity, not government,
        there is still a better argument:

        When a government spending multiplier is below 1, that not only means the government wasted money, but it also means that the government did not do as well for people as would have occured had that money remained in the free market.

        While we can not predict exactly how that money would have been spent in the free market – we can know that it would have gone towards creating more of the things that we – the people, want and need. That where it was necescary to create jobs to create what we want and need – it would have done so. It would have created the jobs producing what WE want and need.
        Not what some elites in washington think we want and need.
        When you let those in Washington decide – maybe you get some value for what they spend – but you do NOT – pretty much by definition, get the results you would have if we chose how to spend our own money.

        The left likes to vilify the super rich. But even Adam Smith grasped 250 years ago, that once someone’s money exceeds their ability to consume it, they are ultimately serving others.

        What is the difference between Warren Buffet investing his Billions and the government “investing” ?

        How is the government building roads different from Buffet building railroads, or factories or stores or …..

        Whether it is the government or Buffet – both are seeking to increase value produced – Buffet is just better able to understand what constitutes actual value – partly because of his own skills, but partly because the market will punish him if he fails to direct his investment towards thing WE value.

        That last part is really critical. The 0.01% did not get their by delivering to other uber rich people what uber rich people want and need. It is not an accident that Walmart is one of the biggest businesses in the world.

        People like Buffet and the Walton’s get incredibly rich by delivering to most of us – including the poor – what we want and need.

        If I had a choice between Letting Warren Buffet decide how to spend a Trillion dollars and letting the US government decide – I would pick Buffet.

        The argument above is entirely pragmatic. I do not think there is a single ideological component to it. Further in the real world – the data we have tells us that is how things actually work.

        The important questions are NOT has government actually helped people by spending incredibly large amounts of money. Of course it has.

        But FIRST – has government spending been NET helpful.

        The SECOND – has government spending created a greater NET benefit than leaving the same money in the economy where you and I and others would have spent it on what we want and need.

        The evidence is that government sometimes does good. That is rarely is good on NET, and that it never does better for us than what we would have done had we decided for ourselves.

        If CETA helped you – great. Having helped, one, or two or even thousands of people, does not make it a good program – even if you personally benefited.

        All of us would have been better without it. Probably you would have been better without it.

        Regardless, you do not get to presume that when government acts, it does so in a vaccum. That government benefits do not have to be paid for.

      • April 14, 2017 7:28 pm

        What I find amazing about the liberal left that cries out for higher taxes on the rich, I don’t see Buffet, Bezo’s or Bill Gates offering money to the government to make them feel beter about not paying enough. I don’t see them leaving their billions where the government can take most of it in inheritance taxes. They all have some charitable trust they are leaving it to.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 1:01 pm

        Buffet is a brilliant investor. If I had massive amounts of money to invest – I would be highly inclinded to allow him to invest it.

        I also have a very good auto mechanic that repairs my cars.
        I do not hire that mechanic to do web design.
        Buffets skills as an investor seem to be very narrowly limited to investing.
        I am not sure I would select him as CEO for an ordinary business, and certainly do not take his advice on politics.

        Buffet has of late been compelled to make political pronouncements and in that arena he has proven to be an idiot.

        Regardless, more directly addressing your argument if our objective is raising overall standard of living, then the tax rate on investors such as Buffet and Gates should be 0.
        Inarguably the money they invest results in the greatest overall improvement to standard of living.

        Far behind in second would be charity. Charity suffers from most of the problems of government spending. But charity is still voluntary, and charities need to persuade to receive donations and that means either providing credible evidence or beleivable promises that they will make beneficial use of the money that they are given.

        Far behind charities in last place is government. Money taken from the economy by government is not taken voluntarily and even when spent to benefit others is on the whole spent badly. On net significantly more harm than good is typically done.

        Mao Tse Tung died in 1976. After his death China cautiously – at the margins and often starting with peasants acting in secret experimented with capitalism.

        Even when done openly, these experiments were always at the fringes. Disrupting those parts of the chinese political economy that were deemed critical or functional or intrinsically linked to socialism or the party was and remains prohibited.

        In 1976 the average standard of living of a chinese was about $60/year – about the same as it was at the end of the Qing dynasty. Today as a result of those capitalist experiments the standard of living of 1.6B people has been raised to about 11K/yr.

        Nothing anywhere ever before has lifted so many people so far so rapidly
        All charity in the entire history of the world has not had a fraction of that beneficial impact.

        The 2nd total greatest improvement in standard of living took place in india from 1980 to the present with the slow strangulation of the “permit raj” and similar moves from quasi socialism to quasi capitalism. The improvement change in India would be the worlds largest total improvement – greater than all other improvements ever combined – except that the one in china at almost the same time was even greater.

        With all respect to Jesus, or Buddha, or Mohammed, Adam Smith and Free Markets have done more good for “the least among us” than all charity, and all religions ever combined.

        Bill Gates has helped far more people – not through his charity, but through his business accumen than Mother Theresa.

        Gates did not intend the good he created, and in fact some of his efforts were arguably notorious and evil – and still the net result was dramatically for the good.

        Nobel Prize winner Ronald Coase touched on the fact that those engaged in free exchange – even when deliberately trying to cheat and game the system – so long as they are barred from using force and fraud ultimately will act beneficially for the rest of us.
        I beleive it was Acemoglu who took that beyond a tangential observation into an actual proof.
        In a free market – without using force or fraud, you can not in the long run succeed in doing more harm than good – even if you deliberately try.

        No Moggie, Roby, Ron(s), Priscilla, ….

        I am not naive. I grasp that some in business are evil sociopaths. I expect that government will bar them from using force and fraud against others.

        But overall the evil effects of business are very close to a non problem. They are so enormously dwarfed by the good.

        Neither China nor India are countries that we should idealize.
        Nor am I ignorant of some of the bad things that have occured in China at the same time.
        But I am not so blind that I do not see that the good of raising 1.6B people from the bottom of the 3rd world to the bottom of the first is an unbeleivable net good.
        China is now one of the primary nations providing aide to Africa while a generation ago it was more destitute than africa.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 11:33 am

        Our public education system is paid for through taxes.
        In my community that is through property taxes.
        But that does not matter all taxes are ultimately levied on consumption – one of the reasons we should shift to a pure consumption tax.

        Put differently – there is no such thing as a free public education. The parents and children being educated, pay for it one way or another.

        Absolutely – ordinary people could not afford the something like 17K/yr that is paid on average for a US high schools student – interestingly a local top tier girls boarding schools only costs about 20K/yr, the local private high school is about 11K/yr. a well respected local menonite high school is about 7K/.yt and the local catholic high school is 5K/yr with discounts for those with need.

        Our public education – like everything the government provides for us is incredibly expensive because government provides it “free”.

        Catholics have been providing cost effective quality education to students (even non-catholics) for longer than there has been public education. Minorities provided schools for their own kids – long before government funded education.

        The fundimental requirements of education have not changed in almost two centuries.
        Yes, much else has changed – but we are doing no better tat educating our children than we have done in the past. While I do beleive we can do better, our failure to improve education is not a failure of technology, it is the inherent failure of “public” education. Government is not equiped to develop, measure and apply improvements focused – not in anything.

        In 100 years we have gone from phones being a bulky non-portable luxury of the afluent to their being incredibly powerful critical communications facilities ubiquitous even among the poor.

        Immagine if the same had happened to education ?

        The left fails to grasp that the key target of the majority of the free market is to deliver quality at low cost to everyone.

        Again Walmart is near the top of the fortune 500. Harry Winston is not.

        If you want innovative, and inexpensive education tailored to each students needs to be readily available you must remove education from government.

        About 1/3 of the cost of every apartment I rent is taxes, and more than 50% of that is school taxes, and everyone must pay – whether they have children or not.
        For a cheap apartment that the “school taxes” are nearly what a catholic elementary school education averages.

        I have absolutely zero doubt that if we completely eliminated “public education”,
        that even the poor would be able to afford to pay for the education of their children at lower cost than they pay today.

        What would be different is that paying for education directly, without government in control, would empower parents to demand that schools deliver in return for the tuition they demand.

      • April 15, 2017 11:49 am

        “we should shift to a pure consumption tax.”

        We agree on this!!!!! 🙂

      • April 15, 2017 12:02 pm

        “we should shift to a pure consumption tax.”
        We agree on this!!!!! 🙂

        WHAAATTT?????????

        Man am I confused. You support a consumption tax?????
        That is the most regressive tax available. It taxes what is consumed and the lower class income group spends more of their income percentage wise than the rich.

      • April 15, 2017 12:26 pm

        don’t know where the comment on consumption tax is now…

        Consumption Tax to me would be on things like yachts, fine jewelry, art pieces, 2nd homes, luxury cars, alcohol, tobacco, clothing from Neiman Marcus, trips abroad, fine hotels, …things that would not affect the lower classes.

        I’m tired of the Non-Job-Creating upper classes keeping all the money. Even though some people are claiming Income Inequality does not exist…it most certainly does, and is the cause of all our woes.

      • April 15, 2017 3:38 pm

        Moogie, the items you mentioned would be included in a consumption tax, along with the trillions spent on all other consumer purchases. The consumption tax in its purist form is a sales tax applied to the purchase price of all items purchased. Consumption taxes do not tax savings. It taxes money spent. In some places it is a value added tax based on the amount of value added at each point in manufacturing an item.

        So if you make $35,000 a year and the government takes $3,500 in various taxes (social security and state income tax, no federal tax), that leaves $31,500. Then lets say you pay $1000 a month for rent (mortgage) and utilities (I exclude those from CT) that leaves $19,500 a year for food, clothing, car repairs etc. All of that is considered “consumables” and that is taxed at some rate.

        Then take the dude at Goldman who makes 200 million a year. He no longer has federal taxes on this 200 million. So he has maybe 30 million in SS tax and state tax (@15%) leaving him 170 million. He buys three 250,000 cars a year, one house at 10 million a year and 250,000 in jewelry per year. Thats 11 million, plus say another 55 million on misc stuff. He is saving in the range of 100 million.

        So who is paying a higher percentage. The one that is paying tax on 66 million in spending based on 200 million income, or the one paying tax on 19.5T based on 35T income.

        I know these numbers may not be completely correct, but there are no studies that indicate that the one saving money will end up paying a higher tax rate than those spending all of their income. The only way that could ever happen is if everyone making over 75.000 a year gets a check for a certain percentage of their income in the form of a tax rebate.

        At one time I thought the consumption tax was a good thing. Now I do not.

        What I think is best is a flat tax where anyone with taxable income over a specific amount, say $40,000 pays a specific amount, say 20%. Total income, absolutely no deductions what-so-ever. I don’t know the income level or the tax rate needed to balance the budget, but someone could come up with those specific amounts. Could be $30,000 and 15%.However, that will never happen as too many special interests (home mortgage companies, charitable organizations, corporations getting corporate welfare in the form of deductions) have their elected officials bought off to support their interest, not those of the voters.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 4:08 pm

        Ron.

        Pure consumption tax – no other taxes, no SS taxes.

        current federal taxes are about 18% of GDP.

        That means a consumption tax of 20% with some mechanized for excluding taxes towards the bottom, will generate the same revenue as all other taxes today.
        There is no need for an SS tax.

        Regardless, you do not want to impliment any form of federal consumption tax without constitutionally barring income taxes.
        Otherwise you are headed for the same problems Europe is trying to get themselves out of.

        The other reason for taxing consumption is it dispells this nonsense about wealth.

        Wealth is what we CONSUME, not our income, the purpose of labor, investment, …. is not to produce income, it is to produce WEALTH.

        It does not matter who has the most money. We are all being taxed an equal portion of what we CONSUME.

        It also means government is motivated to work towards increasing our ability to consume rather than decrease it.

      • April 16, 2017 4:17 pm

        Dave thanks for the input on consumption tax, but I don’t think the feds would ever do away with FICA. And states would never give up their income tax even with their own “consumption tax” in the form of a sales tax. Just won’t happen. How could you ever get 50 different states to agree on revenue sharing?

        You state: “Pure consumption tax – no other taxes, no SS taxes.”
        I can just see Texas giving up revenue to California or what the thought was unfair distribution of tax revenues. Maybe the end of SS would happen, but never state taxes. That would put the states to far under the control of the federal government on where and how they spent money.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 12:32 pm

        I think getting the states to shift to consumption taxes would be trivial.
        Though I am specifically talking about a federal consumption tax, not revenue sharing or a state tax. The overall tax rate would have to be higher to accomidate state and local governments.

        Regardless, individual states can continue to have whatever tax system they wish.

        Eliminating FICA is simple and we are increasingly close to that anyway.
        Social Security, medicare and medicaid are increasingly paid from general revenues – not FICA taxes,

        With respect to states – if there is a federal consumption tax – with revenues going to the fed.
        It is trivial for states to add their own tax collected at the same time with much the same rules but paid directly to the state. Most states are already ahead of the game and have a sales tax infrastructure.

        What would happen is we would get rid of the mail order problem. Though that is not a huge problem.
        Regardless states would still be soverign and independnet, there woudl be no revenue sharing.
        A state could choose to continue property and income taxes.
        I doubt many would.

        States would still derive their revenue on what occured within the state.

      • April 17, 2017 1:05 pm

        Eliminating FICA tax would be interpreted by the moderate left to far left as “cutting entitlements” (Yes, we both know that (1) social security IS NOT an entitlement if funds were actuarially handled correctly and (2) other entitlements could stay like they are and the media would still report CUTS).

        States will never give up sales tax. And I would not expect them to. Right now they collect 100% sales tax in their state and they keep 100%. If this were a 100% consumption tax at the federal level, they would have 100% collected by Washington and they would get 65% to 80% back depending on the allocations some ass in Washington would develop.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 9:58 pm

        SS and Medicare are completely disconnected from their taxes.
        There are myriads of laws and court cases to that effect.

        They are not “entitlements” in the sense that any of us have any claim to them.
        They are in the sense that that is how they are budgeted.

        The actuarial and investment argument is meaningless as that is not hbow government handles them.

        I do not think we are getting a national consumption tax – because conservatives will not impose a consumption tax without a constitutional barrier to income taxes.
        I agree with that. Which is the primary reason it will never happen.

        I am sorry the states are not a problem.
        The federal govenrment can not dictate what the states do.
        Nor am I trying to.

        I am NOT proposing that the federal government collect state tax revenue and return it to the states.

        My proposal is ONLY for the federal government.

        But I would expect the states to follow with their OWN pure consumption tax – because it would be to their advantage.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 3:48 pm

        Nope, the consumption tax is going to be on EVERYTHING, it is likely to be about 20% – because that is what opperating the federal government costs us – a bit over 20% of everything we consume.

        You are talking about luxury taxes. They are just plain stupidity.
        Congress taxed luxury Yachts during the 90’s that proved profoundly stupid.
        The rich quit buying yachts and the thousands of people making yachts were the only ones who suffered.

        That alone should give you a clue who left wing nut policies always have unintended consequences – usually hurting people completely different than targeted.
        It also should give you some understanding that politicians and left wing nuts are remarkably stupid, and unable to see the obvious indirect results of the stupid things they think are good ideas.

        I would suggest reading this – written long ago and true today.
        http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

        Regardless, if you impose it as a “luxury tax” people will quit buying what you defined as luxuries – they will buy something else. You will never cover everything that someone could conceivably consider a luxury without nailing everyone else too.

        If you want it to work you must tax EVERYTHING, and you must tax it equally.
        Otherwise you will do great harm.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 3:50 pm

        The “non job creating upper class” does nto exist.

        If you have anything invested, you are creating jobs. More important you are creating wealth for others.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 3:52 pm

        Of course “income inequality” exists – it always has and always will.

        That said the distribution of income in the US today is overall better in my view and frankly if you were to look at it honestly I would bet in your view that ever.

        What is your objective ? To make everyone poor and miserable or to have the highest overall standard of living ?

        I keep telling you that standard of living has doubled in the past 40 years.
        That is absolutely true just as “income in equality exists”.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 3:59 pm

        By defintion zero income inequality is called communism.

        That does not work – are you going to try to argue for it ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 3:25 pm

        Absolutely I support a pure consumption tax.
        With absolutely no other form of taxation at all.

        The regressive aspects can be dealt with – relatively easily.

        Prior to 1916 the federal government was almost entirely supported by Tarrifs and other consumption taxes.

        Though I would insist on a broad (covering everything) consuption tax.

        Broad consumption taxes are relatively modern as they were nearly impossible to impliment in the past.
        Now they are probably simpler than income taxes.

        If you have a consumption tax, then when the government debates some benefit that requires more taxes – absolutely everyone has a stake.

        The left is flouting recent polls that claim broad support for many aspects of PPACA.
        But when people are asked would they be willing to pay a little more for pre-existing condition coverage or …. the popularity of those same polices tanks.

        We have a situation today where ever government benefit has a lobby, but since we are sufficiently divorce from the costs of those benefits we can impliment programs that would not have support if people knew they were paying for them.

      • April 16, 2017 3:32 pm

        Dace you need to take a breath and read what is in the messages before you jump to conclusions. If you did you would see in the e-mail notification you received on this message that my reply was to Moogie. You commented on the consumption tax and she relied with a 4-5 word statement, “we agree on this”.

        No need for a dissertation on why you agree with yourself.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 3:40 pm

        How to make a less regressive consumption tax:

        Lets set the rate at about 20% – that is probably very close to where it needs to be.
        It is going to be collected at the final sale of any good or service – nothing gets taxed twice.

        Next you decide the low income cuttoff. Lets use 21432 – that is the top of the bottom quintile in 2014. If we presume people in that quintile spend 100% of what they make, that would be 1786/month. At 20% tax that is $357/month.
        These figures are by household and I would prefer to do it by individual.
        Regardless, we now send EVERY household (or individual) that amount as a consumption tax rebate every month. Rich, poor, does nto matter, we all get back what we spent in taxes on the first 21432 of our spending. Everything else ends up being taxed.

        The specific rates, and numbers are not critical.

        You adjust to accomplish several things:
        atleast 80% of us pay taxes directly proportionate to what we consume.
        The actual rate is the percent necescary for government to operate.
        There is now a huge political incentive to control government spending.

        There is absolutely zero impact on investment.

        Economists have always prefered consumption taxes to income taxes.
        The fundimental problem is that until the modern era broad based ones were difficult to collect.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 3:17 pm

        There are likely many other things we agree on.

        What we are unlikely to agree on is government.

        Where you can not get a super majority of people to agree,
        then you may not do that by force. therefore you may not do it with government.

      • Roby permalink
        April 13, 2017 6:14 pm

        The concept of a college degree has been cheapened by saying that everyone should have one. Its the same thing as saying the people should all go to school until they are 22 rather than 18. So now a college degree is the new high school degree, surprise.

        Baltimore needs people who can rebuild the falling apart row houses. There is a demand for that skill there and application of that skill would turn a degraded catastrophe into a place again. They don’t need very many people with degrees in poly sci or philosophy or sociology. Who will hire such graduates? They need people who can build things. I’ve built things, it is satisfying, at the end of the day you can see what you did, what you built.

        Europe is too complicated a thing to overgeneralize but I believe that in Europe as a generality people get sorted out into the academic or trade route pretty quickly and both sets of people have a decent living available to them.

        The 22 year old guy who installed my carpet last year had his own business and made so much money he had just bought a house, Outright, no mortgage. That is living (much) better than the post docs I knew! let alone polysci majors. Have you ever met a political scientist? I haven’t!

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 12:59 pm

        What matters is not “degrees”

        It is teaching people skills that it is inside their ability and motivation to learn.
        We are not all equal.
        It is teaching people the skills that are going to be needed.
        It is providing proof to those who need those skills that they have been attained.

        I work as an embedded software developer today. I am well respected in that field.
        I am one of only about 2500 people with my name inside the Linux Kernel Source.
        Most of the other 2500 are likely more deserving – but it is still a meaningful measure of accomplishment – it gets me jobs.

        I have some education in the work I do, but my college degree is in Building Sciences – Architecture. Oddly I am starting to get more architectural work all of a sudden.
        But for the past decade plus I have made my living in software.
        No one looks at my college degree – because I have decades of experience and references that will confirm that I am good at what I do. I even have some products out in the field.

        Whether one is being hired as an employee or a consultant – those hiring are looking for evidence that the person or company they are hiring knows what they are doing.

        degrees are the lowest form of acceptable proof. That is all they are.
        They are a ticket to get the opportunity to prove that you can actually deliver.

        It is still possible, though less common for people to succeed – even in high skilled fields without a degree. To do so you must prove competence another way.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 1:15 pm

        Despite Moogies claims it is still possible – in fact easier than ever to succeed.

        I gave her a few specific examples.

        I have written articles for technical journals – primarily as a means of building my credentials.
        Though it is really nice to see your name in print.
        Regardless, it is both possible and many people make a good living writing in myriads of forms.

        More recently I got back into architecture – sort of.

        I have found several companies that pay fixed fees to do assessments of drawings, specs and budgets – nor do you have to be an architect to do so. I am training my daughter to help with these. She is doing the majority of the hard work. I am reviewing them. She is getting about 1/4 the fee and doing much better than she was at Target and Halmark. Further in 6 months or so she will be qualified to do them on her own. If she was able to do one a week, she would make enough to pay for an ivy league education out of pocket.

        Moogie has a college education – this is inside her ability to learn to do. It is boring but lucrative work. It requires attention to boring details, and some learning about building construction.

        The same company also offers projects doing building evaluations. These are much like “home inspections” except that they pay more and are of commercial buildings.
        Mostly it involves driving to a building photographing absolutely everything – including and especially all the mechanical equipement in the building, asking the building managers alot of questions, and going home and filling out a report which is mostly prewritten and requires filling in details and selecting options based on your observations and photos.
        The whole process takes about a day. It requires less skill than the prior project.
        It takes about 1 full day to do a report – including the site visit. One of these a week would very nearly pay everything at an ivy league school. Most of the people doing these – do not have a college degree.

        And these are just the choices that come to the top of my head.

        If Moogie or anyone else really wants to get ahead the opportunity is there.

        That does not mean it does not require effort.

        Regardless, I have respect for people who work their ass off to get ahead – regardless of where they start.

        I have no respect for people who whine that it is impossible. that life is too hard.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 9:34 am

      The math is trivial – a family with two minimum wage earners is near the bottom of MIDDLE CLASS.

      According to US census data upper class families of 4 have on average 2.54 full time jobs.
      Lower class families have on average .25 full time jobs.

      If lower class families had jobs – even minimum wage jobs at the same rate as upper class families – they would be middle class.

      There is no shortage of jobs – just of people willing to do them.

      • April 12, 2017 4:36 pm

        That is a load of BS.

        Rick, you should ban this liar.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 12:37 pm

        You have accused me of lying.

        That means that one of us is.

        Which of the following is false:

        the minimum wage is 7.25.
        The work week is 40 hours.
        There are 52 weeks in a year.
        A full time minum wage employee earns $15950/yr.
        two full time MW people – earn $31900.
        According to the IRS the top of the 2nd quintile in 2016 was almost exactly 30,000
        “Middle Class is therefore more than 30K/year”.
        32K is more than 30K/year

        Apparently you think that math and statistics you do not like are “lies”.

        Get a clue.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 12:40 pm

        Absolutely – silence those who way things you do not wish to hear.

        Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.
        Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927).

        But banning people is so much easier than confronting the truth.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 10:05 am

      Moogie;

      Cut the crap. Unless you are actually disabled, there is absolutely no reason you can not save and invest – and buying an apartment building is just one way.

      Go to the library of bookstore – there is a self improvement section with hundreds of “get rich quick” books.

      The bad news is you can not really get rich quick.
      But the good news is that they all tell the same basic story – and one that works.

      Get out of the couch, get off your ass. slash your expenses to the bone – get another job, do whatever it takes to cut expenses and increase revenue and SAVE.
      This will also build credit – or fix bad credit.

      Depending on how bad your circumstances are – it will take more or less time.
      But it will take time.

      When you get your credit score back over 650 – you can get a mortgage.
      If you are going to live in the place you buy – you can get a 98% VA/FHA mortgage.
      For a 50K property that means you need to save about 2-3K to close.
      Then you have to live in the place for 9-18months. During which time you SAVE even more.
      At that time you REPEAT, go out and buy a NEW 50K property with a VA/FHA loan.
      Now you rent the first one. A 50K house in the poor parts of my city rents for about 800/month. The tenant pays utilities. Your mortgage will be about 400/month and that will include taxes. Counting water/sewer, maintanace, and the fact that you will not have 100% occupancy – you will likely do just slightly better than break even.

      EXCEPT that every single month a tiny part of the houses you are renting becomes your not the banks.
      Further if you have non-W2 income you will save about 1000/year in taxes on that income.
      Unfortunately you can not deduct rental costs from your W2 income.

      Every 9-18 months you buy a new property.
      A family of two can do this on minimum wage.
      If you are able to buy a new 50K property every year for 20 years.
      You will own about 1M in property – with about 500K in mortgages on it.
      And that is without taking into account inflation or appreciation.

      This is not the only way to do this. You do not need to do this through real estate.
      And if you do not like “social work” or know how to do routine building maintanace – then you should do something else.

      You can go out and buy a franchise store – there are myriads of ranchises and you shoudl do your research – alot of them fail, and you lose much of your investment.
      But most do not. You will have to save longer to buy a franchise – these can cost anywhere from 15k to 250K or more for something like McD’s
      But they are out there.

      Look at all the van’s on the road with ‘Brand” logo’s. Most of these are franchises.
      You can get a lawn care franchise, a lock smith franchise, a dog fence franchise, a pool cleaning franchise, …. myriads of opportunites – and you are mostly your won boss.

      But you have to do some things first.

      1). get off your ass.
      2). Slash your expenses.
      3). SAVE, SAVE, SAVE.

      BTW if you can do 1,2,3 – and NOTHING else. then put what you save into a quality sound investment and you will still do incredibly well.

      My son is in HS, he also has a part time job at Target.
      He works very hard at Cyber Charter School. Gets nearly all A’s, is pretty smart, games in most of his free time. We can not get him to do his chores without fighting.
      And he has enough saved to buy a 50K house on a 20% down commercial mortgage – i.e. he would not need an FHA/VA 98% mortgage, and he would not have to live int he place for 9-18 months.

      Aside from hard work, slashing your expenses and saving – what is the “secret” here ?

      What you are doing is betting against – all the things you say in your posts too me.

      When you do this – when you save and invest – whether you are Warren Buffet or some bottom Quintile guy with two MW jobs, what you are doing is betting HEAVILY that the future will be better than today.

      You are defering spending in the hope that you will be able to buy far more with saved and invested money in the future.

      And guess what you will be right.

      Because not only is have things improved in the past 40 years – they will in the next.

      My only mistake has been making the wrong investments at the start.

      There are myriads of other ways to do this than those I have suggested.

      • April 12, 2017 4:35 pm

        How about you just cut the crap and admit you were born into wealth and privilege, and if you had started out the way many of my students or foster teens did, you wouldn’t be so arrogant.

        With over half of America living paycheck to paycheck, most of us think it is obvious that working people are not being paid enough. Actually it has crept up into the degreed also, not making enough.

        I don’t know if you are are just blind or stupid.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 12:20 pm

        Ah, yes – the “wealth and priviledge I was born to”.

        When I was born my parents lived a tiny apartment in a podunk town – they lived there until I was five. Both my parents worked. My father commuted an hour each way to work everyday.
        They left me with my Grandmother (who was nuts). They had saved enough by the time I was 5 to get a mortgage on a home slightly nicer than their apartment that had a basement in it that Dad converted into his office. Mom kept working and Dad started his own business in the basement. In 40 years they grew that “mom & pop” business into something that provided jobs for 50 people. They both worked until they died. Most of the time they worked 16 hour days. I worked from the time I was 5 on. My parents never had a vacation until they were in their 60’s. I am 58. I have had two “vacations” in my life – I spent a two week honeymoon in Ireland 35 years ago.

        My parents gave me the most important thing – the understanding that I could get whatever I wanted through hard work.
        I paid my own way through college – they did not.
        I bought my first home. I bought my first car. I paid for my own wedding and honeymoon.
        My parents expected me to make my own way in the world.

        that is the “wealth and priviledge I was born to”

        BTW you can follow much the same story back through either side of my family for atleast 3 generations.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 12:25 pm

        If you think “paycheck to paycheck” is bad.

        you should try running a business.

        I have been unable to pay myself at all for 6 months at a time – and if you work for yourself you pay but can never collect unemployment.
        I have managed to beg borrow and steal enough to keep the business doors open – to pay employees through very tough times.

        I have watched as my savings – that stuff you are too stupid to do, disappeared, and then debt piled up trying to keep the business running until things improved.

        I have had clients take over a year to pay, I have had many not pay at all.
        I have had employees steal.

        Paycheck to paycheck is easy – atleast you mostly know that the paycheck is coming and how much it will be and when it will arrive.

        You continue to be completely clueless.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 1:32 pm

      Of course people have no savings.

      That is a choice, not a function of the economy or growth or standard of living.
      It is also a function of government – the more uncertainty government creates about the future – the less we save, the less we invest and the less we take risks with future payoffs.

      That does not make saving hard.

      People save because of who they are, and their sense of the future – not because of how much income they make.

      In fact you will find that people who save tend to rise from one quintile to another – because of who they are.

      All your article is pointing out is that different people are different. We have different values.

      • April 12, 2017 4:31 pm

        “Of course people have no savings.
        That is a choice, ” – that is the stupidest, most upper class thing you have said yet. THEY DON’T HAVE SAVINGS BECAUSE THERE IS NO MONEY LEFT FROM PAYING THE BILLS – IF THERE WAS ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY BILLS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

        I know this all too well personally. I was raised by 2 of the most anal parents ever when it came to money, just like their parents before them. I can get more out of $1 than most can out of $10. But we just cannot make enough money to pay our bills, much less save. THAT IS A FACT, not some kind of character flaw on my part as you so desperately wish.

        Again, you take too much of your good fortune for granted. I can’t help but wish God takes you down a peg or two.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 11:56 am

        Then reduce your bills.

        I do not complain about the choices other people make.
        But you do not get to use your own choices as excuses.

        My tenants – working class or below,
        Universally have multiple large screen LCD TV’s, smart phones, laptops. There are a forest of directTV antenas on my building.
        Often they end up with outstanding bench warrants for parking tickets they failed to pay and now owe $500.

        There is no right to Netflix. to a smart phone, to ESPN and Showtime and HBO.
        If you do not want to spend the night in jail and owe $500 for a parking ticket – pay it while it is only $5. If you can not afford the ticket – watch where you park.

        I have zero doubt that there is not a single one of my tenants that could not pair unnecescary items from their budgets and save $5000/yr.

        It there is not enough money left after paying your bills – then do not buy smartphones, and …..

        Most of my tenants have much more high priced electronics and more premium entertainment services than I do.

        That is fine. That is their choice. But if that does not leave enough to save – that is the result of their choices. Not some inability.

        I have an apartment that costs $550/month to rent – and another $50 for utilities.
        USDA claims that an adult male eating wisely should spend about 187/month on food.
        That is a total of a bit over 9000/year for food and shelter.
        You claimed to be making $14/hr – that leaves you 20K/yr. above your basic needs.

        And you say you can not save anything ?

        No, you do not want to.

        Thats fine, your choice. But don’t expect sympathy.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 12:00 pm

        If you are making $14/hr and can not make ends meet – either you have very high expectations of what you are entitled to, or you are very bad at budgeting and spending money.

        Sorry, you do not get to just make things up.

        I have no doubt that there are things you have now that you are not prepared to give up to save. Nor do I have a problem with that.

        What I have a problem with is your pretending that your choices are actually entitlements.
        That you have the slightest clue about either poverty or what it takes to get ahead.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 12:03 pm

        I am well aware of both the good fortune I have had – and the bad.
        I am aware that tomorow could bring some event that takes everything away.

        What you are not aware of is that if you have learned – as your student has, how to succeed and get ahead.

        If something came and took everything away tomorow.
        It is likely he would be back where he is now in a year or two.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 12:07 pm

        Now you are wishing ill on others.

        I do not pretend to know more about your life than you have shared.

        You would be wise not to pretend mine was somehow easier than yours.
        I have had plenty of gut punches from the school of hard knocks.
        Ones I would never wish on anyone else.

        The mere fact that you are prepared to wish ill on others, means it is highly unlikely that you have ever expereinced any real troubles or you would not say anything so stupid.

  25. Pat Riot permalink
    April 12, 2017 7:30 am

    Moogie, very well said in your last post. I didn’t read your recent debate with dhlii, but I can imagine it. There are more than a couple “tips of icebergs” in your last post that I’d like to jump in on, but I have to leave for work.

    It can be humorous (or infuriating, depending) how people in one socio-economic “class” sometimes just don’t get it when it comes to realities in the other socio-economic classes (and I’m NOT aiming that at dhlii; that’s just a general statement from me from witnessing it, sometimes in startling ways. )

    There are parallels/similarities between how socio-economic classes are inhabiting different worlds, so to speak, and how the Left and Right are speaking with very different value systems and worldviews, etc. I wish I had time to explore that more.

    • Roby permalink
      April 12, 2017 9:37 am

      “It can be humorous (or infuriating, depending) how people in one socio-economic “class” sometimes just don’t get it when it comes to realities in the other socio-economic classes”

      Pithy and right on Pat. Add the misunderstandings between the cultures of different regions of the country and different religious ideas and you have our alienated mess.

      This is eternally relevant:

      ‘Are there no prisons?”

      ‘Plenty of prisons,’ said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.’And the Union workhouses.’ demanded Scrooge. ‘Are they still in operation?’

      ‘Both very busy, sir.’

      ‘Oh. I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,’ said Scrooge. ‘I’m very glad to hear it.’

      ‘Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,’ returned the gentleman, ‘a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?’

      ‘Nothing!’ Scrooge replied.

      ‘You wish to be anonymous?’

      ‘I wish to be left alone,’ said Scrooge. ‘Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned-they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.’

      ‘Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.’

      ‘If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

      • April 12, 2017 2:49 pm

        I think Roby gets it 🙂

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 8:26 am

        Of course he does. You have defined “gets it” to be agrees with you.

        Not actually understands anything about others.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 2:21 pm

      Yes, it is humorous how people from one socio-economic class do not get it.

      I have learned from myself, from my own experiences, and from watching others.

      That the people who “get it” are going to do fine, and their “socio-economic status” is going to rise.

      In fact you do nto even have to “get it” very well – just barely enough.
      You get often (not always) get to make lots of mistakes, if you get it just enough – you will do fine.

      If you do not, there is little hope.
      If you are not looking to improve your life – it is not going to improve – atleast not much.
      To the extent it does, you are free riding off those who do “get it”
      If you are not looking to do better – you won’t.

      That attitude is probably the most important thing.

      Being a landlord dealing with bottom quintile people is very enlightening.
      It does nto take long before you know which of your tenants are headed up the ladder and which are not, or even headed down.

      And even before that there are applications – I get about 10 applications every time I have to rent an apartment. Again these tell you alot about people.

      One of the things I find incredibly useful – since my tenants rarely have a credit card much less a credit score that is not in the basement. Is checking for parking tickets.

      Most everyone who lives in the city gets tickets – it is a city run racket. An extra tax on residents.

      But how people pay their tickets tells alot about them.

      If you pay your tickets before they get kicked to the District Magistrate – you are likely a good prospect. You are fiscally responsible. If you wait until a parking ticket turns into a bench warrant – then there is no way I am renting to you.

      I am completely shocked because probably half of the people who apply to me for an appartment have outstanding bench warrants – and most of those are for unpaid parking tickets.

      Do I understand that ? Sort of. We are all prone to stick our head in the sands and hope problems go away. But often that is not going to happen.

      And I think it is reasonable to presume that the person who rants and raves and spits and froths and then quietly goes down to the police station and pays their $5 parking tick – on time, is likely to not only make a good tenant, but probably save, and will likely move out on me to buy a small home. While the person who has 3 outstanding $500 benchwarrants for unpaid parking tickets – is probably never going to get their life together, and is a bad idea as a tenant.

      Do people get down on their luck some times ? Get kicked in the teeth – sure. It has happened to me – and pretty bad. I have sympathy when it happens to others.

      It does not take too long to tell the people who ALWAYS have an excuse, from those who had a bit of bad luck. Nor is it that hard to tell the people who are climbing up the ladder from those who are climbing down.

      And BTW all of that is an excellent reason that government should stay entirely out of it.

      The people who are climbing down – or treading water, are doing that no matter how much help you give them. They are never making their lives better but temporarily.

      The people who are climbing up – but get dealt a setback:

      Will manage without help.
      Will get help from the people arround them who have a good basis to bet on them.

      Government can not tell them apart.
      Equally important government is not allowed to try to tell them apart.

      Equality before the law – means the government can not and should not try to decide who will benefit from help and who will not.
      Government must afford the same benefit to everyone, even if they will blow it.

      Which brings me to the last most critical point.

      You think you understand those in a different socio-economic class better than I, better than others,

      GREAT. You are absolutely free to help those you think ought to be helped.
      You are free to not help.
      What you are not free to do is force others to help based on your choices as to who should and should not get help.

      And that is what involving government is – it is forcing others to do as you would prefer.
      Worse as you do not actually do yourself.

      I make choices like that all the time.

      I am pondering right now. I have a good tenant – who had a falling out with her room mate and is now in an apartment she can not afford. She fell behind on the rent. But she kept me informed, she periodically gets caught up, and pays her late fees,
      but she really can not afford the apartment.

      I can reduce the rent but probably not enough to make things work. But maybe.
      If my tenant leaves – I will lose atleast one months rent – that is pretty typical.
      Last time this unit was available to rent, it took me 3 months to rent it.
      If I cut the rent ands she manages to stay atleast another year – and keep up,
      I am probably ahead – and she is better off.
      But if I cut it and she continues to fall behind – we are all worse off.
      Further my rent is already below market on this unit.
      So this is sort of money coming from my pocket.
      And I have mortgages to pay and taxes and water bills and repairs and ….

      It is nice to help someone – and watch them pull through and succeed.
      It is not so nice when they fail anyway.

      Further you do something – and the person you are helping is often appreciative for a while,
      but often that fades and they start to feel they are entitled to whatever breaks you give them.

      Anyway, I am not so interested in the opinions of people regarding people in other socio-economic classes, when you do not have skin in the game.

      Gamble with your own resources. Let me decide what risks I will choose with my own.

    • April 12, 2017 2:56 pm

      Pat Riot – I have written about my history from time to time, I’ve lived in 4 states and among an incredibly diverse number of people. The school in the “Dead Poets Society”? My Dad was a teacher there. Graduated from the high school in Houston the NASA brats go to Taught in inner city Dallas. Now living in rural Appalachia and kept foster kids here.

      I am thankful I had 2 married parents, who came from working class parents who taught them all the good things kids should be taught. Grandparents started poor but due to good wages after WWII became solidly middle class and sent their kids to college. Dad was able to equal them but not surpass them financially. The grandkids, not so great.

      I have found over and over and over among those who lean right…that they take their upbringing and good fortune for granted. I do not any more.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 9:23 am

        I find among those on the left that they take their failure to reach their own expectations as proof that the “system” has conspired against them.

        I find the history you relate not particularly impressive.

        You seem to think that the people you consider to be “priviledged” who do not “get it” regarding social class must all have been born with silver spoons.

        The average life of a fortune 500 company is 25 years. That of an average business is shorter. 95% of those on the Forbes 400 richest people in the world inherited little or nothing.
        Three of the billionaires on that list were actually homeless at one time during their lives.

        One of the reasons that you find that particularly those who have started their own businesses and succeeded are not particularly sympathetic to your whining is because that nearly all of them came from circumstances worse than yours.

        It is you that does not understand. It is you that thinks that you are rigidly locked in by circumstances beyond your control.

        Worse still you are selling that nonsense to others. Trapping them, as you have trapped yourself. Selling self victimization as a virtue.

        I can lay out my family history that with each generation would make your history look elitest.
        But you would inevitably find some way to discount it.
        And this is not supposed to be a contest over who has overcome the worst adversity.
        Nothing in your story has suggested to me that you have endured real hardship in your life.
        Nothing in your story provides me with any basis for your claim that you can not improve your life – if that is what you want.

        If you are happy with your life as it is – that is fine with me. That is your free choice.

        I have personally made choices that restrict my fiscal success.
        I am not whining because I can not have the income that I could easily get working in seattle, or much of California. I have chosen to work in a highly technical field AND I have chosen to work from home AND I have chosen to live in a part of the country that is not a tech center.

        My choices and I am happy with them. I am not looking to change them. I am not pretending that I could not have made those choices differently, or that it is someone else’s fault that I can not have both the other things I want and the income I could have if I made those choices differently.

        Nothing you say about your story strikes me as different – except that you seem to beleive you were entitled to more.

  26. April 12, 2017 2:09 pm

    I figure most of you will dismiss the source as just a ranting liberal rag, the problem is these stories are all too true. Once you are poverty stricken, for whatever reasons, it is exceptionally difficult to get out. Because you have money, did you know that your car insurance is cheaper? Because I now have to pay mine monthly, I pay $60 a year more for it. People who don’t have checking accounts or credit cards are going to have to pay at least a dollar per transaction more for paying for things like phones and electricity. When you can buy the larger boxes of items, you generally save money. Those ratty apartments you see in the city are just as expensive as the nicer ones in other areas. I have learned many small problems like this since becoming working class 15 years ago.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/07/evicted-poverty-and-profit-in-the-american-city-matthew-desmond-review?CMP=fb_us

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 3:26 pm

      Wow, discounts for paying up front – who would have guessed.

      Yet, somehow you consider that criminal.

      I guess you think it is also vile to charge people who have historicial paid their bills on time less interest than those who do not ?

      I guess that would put you with Sen. Warren – we should eliminate payday loans for the poor, instead forcing them to go to loan sharks.
      Such is the generosity of the left.

      Yes, people without credit cards and checking accounts pay more for some transactions.

      I opened a checking account at 11, my kids opened theirs at 14.
      My 18 year old son has saved almost 10,000 in a year working part time for Target.

      What have I told you in my posts ? reign in your finances, figure out how to save.
      get a checking account, get a credit card, use them wisely.
      Yes, you will spend less – twice over. Once because you have become more frugal, and once because we reward people who behave fiscally responsibly.

      Is that hard to get started ? Absolutely. Is it imposssible ? Not a chance.

      Are some apartments more expensive than others – absolutely.
      Laws of supply and demand are immutable.

      If you can not afford a car and must live near work.
      Or more commonly, if you have lost your license repeatedly and will never get it back and have to live near work – you can expect to have to pay more for a worse apartment.

      Those are the apartments I own.
      Of course I had to pay more for the building – for the same reasons.
      And the city forces me to constantly pay for stupid things – rather than do the maintenance I need, the result being higher rents and less nice apartments.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 3:33 pm

      Moogie;

      With respect to Mr. Desmond’s book – “evicted”, I suggest reading it.

      In the end he came out far more favorably to landlords than the article suggests.

      We had a debate here a few years ago about the NYC landlord renting crappy rooms for $100/month who got shot.

      He is gone and the city threw his tenants on the streets – they are now homeless.

      The apartments they lived in were bad,
      but living on the streets is worse.

      Further his tenants were mostly drug addicts.
      Even if they could afford a better apartment they would rather live in a hell hole and have more to spend on drugs.

      You do not seem to understand that people often choose things the rest of us think are poor choices. They are free to do so. But those choices must come with the natural consequences – or everyone will make poor choices.

      You said you were a teacher. If so you are not working class.
      Most of my tenants would die for half a teachers salary.

      If you are not why not ?
      How have you lost a job that it pretty much impossible to get fired at.
      Honestly I do nto want to know.

      I just do not want to keep hearing that all your problems are someone else’s fault.

      • April 12, 2017 4:26 pm

        I lost not one but TWO teaching jobs because I was not a football coach. I live in the South. Football is more important than teaching. I told them they could kiss my a** after the 2nd time. I’ve been working class since 2002. I’ve not made better than $14/hr…consider a “good” wage in this area.

        I’ve mentioned before…quit telling me how lucky I am just because I have indoor plumbing and most of the world doesn’t. I want higher standards for all…not just for you rich whiners.

        “I just do not want to keep hearing that all your problems are someone else’s fault.” – truth hurts your ears, don’t it???

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 11:37 am

        I do not beleive that the public should be paying for private individuals education.
        All that has done is dumb down our education and vastly increase its cost.

        I certainly do not believe that the public should be paying for football.

        That said if we ignore the public funding aspect of this.

        If the expectation of the school and parents was teaching AND football – well those are the conditions of the job. Get with the program or get out.

        You are perfectly entitled to decide that you will not take a job that involves teaching and football. You are not free to demand that someone else change the job they have to suit your wishes.

        You do not get to decide what others should think is important.

        If you are unwilling to do the job that is available – you do not get to bitch because the job you want is not available.

        $14/hr is 30K/yr. That is middle class.

        Regardless, if you bother to look, there are plenty of ways to make more if you actually want.

        I have written articles for magazines – in my case technical journals.
        These paid about $600 for a 2500 word article. That is about a days work.
        Many many technical and trade magazines – in just about every trade there is are dying for content.
        There are plenty of online sites that pay.
        One article a week is 31K/year

        I currently do commercial building inspections on the side. These are much like the home inspections that people get for mortgages, except for commercial buildings.
        I get about $800 for one of these and it is 1-2 days work.
        Though the companies hiring for that prefer experience in building construction,
        they are short staffed and most anyone with a college degree can do the work.
        One building a week is 42K/year.

        There is a booming tutoring business – you can’t move – fine do it over the web, use skype or something like that. Craigslist is advertising tutors from $25/hr through $100/hr.

        Cyber charters are looking for qualified teachers – you get to work from home.

        And no football. And they pay better than regular schools.

        There are web sites like upworker and freelance that you can get work from.

        Web development is easy and there are entry level jobs at 50-60K/year.

        The local Gas and Go chain is looking for managers – 47K/yr with benefits.
        They will take trainee’s at $15/hr with benefits.

        There are myriads of other choices.

        You are free to choose as you please – including saying no to all of the above.
        You are not free to pretend you have no chioces – merely because you do not have the one you want.

        Frankly your pretence at being “working class” is repugnant.

        Many of those people do not have a college education, some do not have a high school education. Though they too have far more opportunities than they admit, they have far less than you.

        I do not think the majority of the poor and working class are “lazy”.

        You on the other hand seem to have myriads of opportunities and no interest.
        Everything is someone else’s fault.

        And you wonder why whiny left wing nuts irritate people.

        The student you berate for succeeding and expecting the same from his peers – I admire.

        He certainly “gets it” better than you do.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 11:41 am

        Your honestly admitting that you beleive all your problems are someone else’s fault ?

        By your own admission you pissed away a career as a teacher – a job that presumably you spent 4 years working to acheive and many years practicing – because you refused to participate in the football program.

        When you tell your boss to “kiss your ass”, you should not be surprised not merely to lose your job, but to have difficulty finding one.

        You are entitled to be as picky as you wish about your own life and what job you will take.

        You are not entitled to blame the world for not giving you the choice you want.

        Something you should have learned teaching english

        Cassius:
        “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
        But in ourselves.”

        Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 4:02 pm

      You want rents to go down ?

      Get government out of housing.

      I am facing a likely significant rent increase. Why ?
      Because the Obama administration started imposing pressure on cities where lead was testing too high.

      My city is one of those. Of course the primary reason poor kids are testing high for lead is because of the lead in city water. But god forbid the city would admit it has a problem with its very expensive water system.

      So we are looking at new ordinaces, every city apartment built before 1979 has to be tested for lead yearly. And if any lead is found it must be abated.

      Who do you think is paying for the lead testing ? Landlords ?

      Of course you think that you are a left wing nut.
      Get a clue. Every time the city raises a cost to me – rents rise.
      Not just mine but every other landlord in the city.

      Tax hike – rents rise, water bill increase rents rise.

      For 4 years I fought the city over mice.
      I have no mouse problems. Once in a while I get a tenant that leaves food out – they get mice. It is in the city. I live in the country – my kids leave food out – and we get mice.
      That is how it works. When that tenant cleans up or moves out, the problem goes away.

      The city property code grasps that mice are a tenant problem – not a landlord problem.
      The law is actually on my side for once.
      My tenants BTW do not complain about mice. The city comes in to inspect and demands that everytime an apartment goes vacant I must exterminate.
      Which is of course nuts as mice do not live in empty apartments, there is no food.
      I only see mice or evidence rarely and only in apartments where tenants leave food out.
      Anyway, I fought this to the District Court. Eventually I gave up.
      I hired terminex. It was cheaper than fighting.
      Rents went up 25/mn and everyone has pest control.
      WE have no less mice than before.
      But the city leaves me alone, and terminex gets some money every month – that my tenants are paying.

      I used to have private trash service. They would go back behind the building every week and drag all the cans and junk to the truck and haul it away.
      But the city forced me to go to the city trash service.
      That costs more, requires tenants to take their trash to the curb and I get fined if they don’t.
      Again the law is actually on my side – by law tenants are responsible for their own trash, not building owners. but again I took this to the district magistrate. Who happens to be a friend.
      He did nto care. So now I pay someone to come buy on trash day and take all the trash out, becuase the tenants will not do so themselves. And again rents go up.

      I have a roof that is near end of life. I keep patching leaks but I really need to replace it.
      I had saved up enough to do so. Then the city came by and decided that all the apartment buildings on my side of the street needed repainted. I have little that needs painted – the building is brick, but what does is hard to get at and expensive.
      So no new roof this year, and I did a crappy paint job to get the inspector to go away.
      And the rents went up.

      The prior owner switched the building from a steam boiler to electric heat.
      But the old steam boiler was still in the basement.
      Last year the city made me rip out the boiler – somebody had to pay for that, so the rents went up.

      Taxes go up – rents go up.

      I pay about 4 times as much in city taxes as I do out in the country.

      You would think that government would cost less in the city.
      What is not cheaper with people closer together ?

      Regardless, there should be another theme obvious here. The city makes the life of landlords difficult. Landlords are most everyone’s favorite boogey man.
      Passing more laws that “punish us” always sounds good.
      But all it does is punish my tenants – not me.
      Because rents just go up.

      But it does have another effect.
      The more difficult dealing with the city is – the less people rent apartments.
      So the rents go up.
      My rents have increased 50% since 2008, and I am lagging behind other landlords.
      I could easily cut my rents 50% – if the city would get out of the way.

      • April 12, 2017 4:21 pm

        Poppycock.

        You would just let people die of lead poisoning, wouldn’t you? O, boo hoo I have to pay for lead testing. And I would bet you don’t lobby to get the water problem fixed, just whine about “regulations” Regulations that save lives and protect poor people from landlords like YOU. The city is not in the way, your lack of morals is.
        SMDH.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 9:55 am

        Apparently you can not read.

        The primary source of lead poisoning today is NOT from lead paint.
        I am not sure that it ever was.

        Regardless, today the primary source of lead poisoning today is municipal water systems.

        I will be happy to allow you to test my aparments for lead – on your own dime.
        It has been 40 years since lead paint was available for sale.
        There is no flaking lead paint in my apartments – or likely anywhere else in the city.

        And BTW no one dies today of lead poisoning. Lead is primarily a danger to children as there is evidence that it reduces intelligence.

        Yes, in your topsy turvey world I am immoral – because the city it trying to cast the blame for THEIR failure on others.

        Regulations that do absolutely nothing to address the actual source of the problem – those “save lives”.

        Your entire ideology is based on emotion not fact, reason, logic.

        You are free to screw yourself up.
        Not the rest of us.

        And someone who thinks they can impose their will on others by force should not by talking about morality.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 5:23 pm

      Some comments on your article:

      The law strictly divorces building maintanance from rent and eviction.

      If you are a tenant – you must pay you rent whether I keep up the building or not.
      CONVERSELY, I must maintain the building – whether you pay your rent or not.

      I can evict you for failure to pay rent. If I even whisper that you should not report a problem to the city or you will get evicted – I could be in deep shit – possibly go to jail.

      I beg my tenants to tell ME their problems FIRST – even when they are behind on their rent.
      It is far easier to fix whatever a tenant is unhappy about – than to make a city building inspector happy.

      What actually happens is that tenants who are behind on their rent think that calling the city and complaining about the building will justify witholding rent – since the do not have the rent they pretend they are witholding it.

      But as I said that is not how the law works.
      I can not evict you because you complain about the building.
      I can if you do not pay your rent – regardless of the condititon of the building.

      That is one of few areas my friend the district magistrate gets right.
      If I file for eviction and a tenant starts complaining about the building he tells them to talk to the city – not him, and asks if the city set up a rent escrow account for them and how much they put into it. When the answer is no and nothing that argument is over.

      In your article – Mr Charney makes $400K/year on 131 trailers.
      That is about 3000/trailer/year. If the trailers are fully paid off – that is about right.

      If each trailer cost about 50K (including land etc) that is about 6.5M worth of assets,
      a 400K return on 6.5M is about right.

      If you had a 6.5M IRA would you think that 20K a year was an acceptable return ?

      Your rent should not be more than 35-45% of your income – that is what banks use for mortgages.

      But does that mean because you are low income – some landlord should rent to you for less than his apartment is worth ?

      My cheapest apartment is $550/m. If it becomes available – it will be rented in two weeks.
      The demand for cheap apartments is enormous.
      My nicests apartment is 850/month – it is 4 times as large and much nicer.
      But it usually takes me 4 months to rent whenever it is free.
      Everyone wants it. No one wants to pay for it.
      No one wants the cheap apartment – but they all want to pay 550.
      The market decides these things not me.
      I need about 2600/m in rents to pay my mortgage, taxes, water, sewer, pest, trash, electric, gas and cover vacancies.
      I pretty close to break even over the long run.
      But in another 10 years I will make about 1000/m because I will not longer owe a mortgage.

      If I had 131 units instead of 4 and they were all paid off – I would be making 393K/year.
      That is of course after 20 years of making nothing and repairing them al the while.

      The tenants in your article are
      Heroine Susie
      Lamar who lost his legs to frostbite when he passed out in an abandoned building doing crack.
      Scott a nurse who stole opiods from his patients.

      If you want people to help those who are unable to help themselves – you have two choices.
      Pay them to do so, or do so through a church or charity.

      While most landlords I know will give tenants who are trying some slack. No landlord is a charity.

      Landlords provide housing as a business, just like grocery stores sell breakfast cereal.
      You do not ask the grocer to give away cornflakes because some of the people buying them are on a fixed income. You do not expect people to shop for people who can not do so themselves for free.

      Worse still we could get rid of the privates services and landlords that do these things.

      For much of US history we institutionalized the disabled. Government run homes, where they were essentially tortured and deprived of dignity.
      So Do you think these private actors you are so upset about are more evil than when government did this directly ?
      Worse still when government provided services directly – they are far far far more expensive.
      Government housing projects – often have less expensive apartments – that are incredibly highly subsidized.
      Cabrini Greene was a government housing project.
      There are still plenty arround and they are abysmal places.
      People could do far worse than spend 70% of their income on an apartment.
      They could get an apartment from government.

      Anyway, you should probably read Mr. Desmond’s book “Evicted” before pontificating.

      • April 12, 2017 5:39 pm

        Roby: LOLOLOLOL

        dhlii: you and Trump must go to the same “fact” manufacturer

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 12:46 pm

        If I have cited a fact in error – demonstrate that.

        Naked claims of vague error are fallacy and ad hominem.

        They are not refutation,
        they are not even valid argument.

  27. April 12, 2017 2:46 pm

    “I care whether it is spouting total gobbledy gook.” — that is awfully humorous coming from you dhlii.

    You reek of the same privilege as the people I went to high school with. My Dad got a job at NASA with one of the subcontractors outside of Houston, Clear Lake is the high school NASA brats go to. I know my parents thought is was wonderful and they were doing the right thing, but I hope to God I never find myself in a similar neighborhood ever again. Snob does not even begin to describe them. And I am sure today everyone of them is a good conservative “Christian” Republican, downing the poor people they have never met, blissfully unaware of how easy they had it growing up. My friend down the street said “well I was the child of a single parent”. Yeah Steve, a single parent with a college degree and a good job living in an upper middle class neighborhood…as if that equates to growing up poor in an urban setting the child of a teen mom. Sheesh. Yes I do look at my classmates FB pages and see this kind of thing. Even I did not think about how truly fortunate I was until I went to work in inner city Dallas. Moving to Appalachia made me even more thankful. I suggest you stop BS people about how you “earned” all you have and start being more thankful.

    JFYI…I didn’t bother to read most of what you wrote this time. Its a waste of my time. Everything you write is simply a justification for keeping the majority of people poor. The more words you need to justify…the more you must have to hide. “Libertarian” or “conservative” is just shorthand for “I got mine, screw everyone else”.

    • Roby permalink
      April 12, 2017 3:46 pm

      Moogie, my wife has survived a whole lifetime of things that go far, far past my own (and probably your) ideas of what is bearable or survivable, first in collapsing dysfunctional USSR, then in newly “independent,” Ukraine and later even in America. Bad luck and bad treatment from many (but not all) in her life were never lacking. She just never gave in to any kind of self pity and kept driving forward. Pure will power, positive thinking, and determination. And, gratitude for any and every good thing that she had or experienced. That is one hell of a recipe for having a good life. I recommend it to anyone who is not satisfied and feels badly used.

      • April 12, 2017 4:13 pm

        Then she is exceptional. But most people aren’t.

        That is the main problem…we expect everyone to be exceptional. Won’t happen.

        And on top of the bad things that happen to her, maybe she had some extraordinary things happen that gave her hope. Maybe you were one of them.

        A former student of mine from the “ghetto” is now degreed, makes great money…and sometimes it starting to sound conservative, putting down his fellow black people. He had 2 things going for him that most don’t; he was an excellent basketball player and super smart. Got scholarships to college. Did he work hard and make good choices? sure. But without those 2 items he might be in the same boat with many of his classmates.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 9:39 am

        I expect people to take responsibility for their own lives.

        I expect that idiots like you are not going to spray this nonsense that everyone who was manage to do better than them did so as a consequence of having a silver spoon and is clueless as to the circumstances of others.

        If you are unable or unwilling to rise about your circumstances – that is your choice.

        Whatever you choose for your life, that is fine with me.

        I do not believe as you that some magic gene or whatever miraculously endows some of us the ability to endure adversity and not only thrive but succeed.

        But even if that is so – that creates no entitlement in others.

        Whether you have that “magic gene” or whatever it is you think is the secret sauce the fact is lots of people have started from worse circumstance than you are in now, and substantially improved their lives.

        I do not care if you choose not to. I can understand that completely.
        What I care about is your whining that you are both entitled to make the choices that give you the life you have, and entitled to the life that would have required you to make different choices.

        I do not care so much for you, as that you are sending the message to others that they too, are entitled to better without having to do what is necessary to achieve it.

        Seventy plus years of left policies have created an enormous trap for “the most vulnerable among us” – that is your fault, and you will not take responsibility for it.

        You want to pretend that the fictitious masses of silver spooned successful are responsible for the mess you created.

        I do not think the poor are lazy. I think they are victims of the lies of the left.
        I think they are often making wise and rational choices based on the circumstances that confront them. Circumstances that your ideology has created.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 9:48 am

        Absolutely the student from the “ghetto” that you taught, who succeeded had a couple of advantages.

        Guess what, Pretty much all of us have “a couple of advantages”.

        I hired a person as a CAD operator 3 decades ago. He was not well educated, he not very smart, but he was very ambitious. Today I see trucks all over the place with his name on them. He owns a very large landscaping business.
        If being smart is a criteria for success – he should be a complete failure.
        If coming from a good background counts – he should be a failure.
        If having money matters – he should be a failure.
        ….

        Like it or not your successful student is right.
        If your circumstances are not to your liking – that is YOUR problem.

        No each of us can not use exceptional intelligence or skill at basketball to acheive success.
        Each person has a different route.

        But the primary requirement is the desire for a better life and the willingness to work hard for it.

        If you do not have those – that is perfectly fine – but then you failure to acheive what you want is not someone else’s fault.

      • Roby permalink
        April 12, 2017 5:04 pm

        Well, her father was an alcoholic who beat her mom at times. In other words, a very common type of soviet man. Her first husband was a good guy, but he got blown up in a munitions explosion during his military service at 19 leaving her a widow with a baby. Second husband married her for her apartment then tried to steal it, then divorced her when that failed, also rather a common story in the USSR. Third husband was a good guy in some ways but Very alcoholic. Died of it. Meanwhile she had a growing son and the USSR collapsed and wiped out everyone’s life savings in Ukraine, which had exceptionally corrupt leaders. She got hired to teach, wound up setting up an entire cultural program that is still going today, school needed money for repairs, government had none to give so she shook down the local business men for money to fix the heating system, ha, pretended to be govt. official. I’m not going to go into the details of all the crap she has been through in America, where, among other things she learned english on the fly while working, it was a LOT. I met her at JC Penney she did alterations (expert seamstress).

        When she was 4 (if I remember correctly, perhaps it was 5) she decided to go visit her mother at work for lunch, mom was a nurse practitioner for pilots at the local airport. So, she walked for about a mile by herself on roads and through a field to get to the airport. Mom was a bit surprised so see her. Yeah, she may be exceptional…. but, I’m telling you, optimism, determination and gratitude for all the things that are good (and everyone has something to be grateful for) do not hurt and can only help.

        By the way, her sister had a crippled leg and came down with leukemia she was not supposed to survive but did, held down like 4 different jobs teaching art. Bought her daughter an apartment from her savings. Had a stroke, barely survived. Learned to paint left handed. She is likewise (to my wife) leading a happy life in spite of all the crap that surrounds her. Just keeps going. We talk nearly every day on Skype. Wonderful woman, cheerful, wise, kind Strong!

        Optimism, determination, and gratitude, the more the better. They improve life for anybody who will use them.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 9:25 am

        Kudos to your wife.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 5:26 pm

      Moogie.

      I stand behind whatever I write.
      If you have a problem with a factual claim I have made – raise it. I do not make facts up.

      I understand that you do not like the facts I provide. I understand they are inconvenient. I understand that you do not agree with them.
      But they are still facts.

      I would further note that in the internet era there is little excuse for making a significant factual error in a posting. You can check anything you are not sure about before posting it.

      “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”
      ― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

      • Roby permalink
        April 12, 2017 5:37 pm

        “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

        Oh, the irony.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 12:44 pm

        If I have a fact in error – that is trivial to demonstrate.

        I offer all kinds of facts all the time.

        I have yet to have anyone demonstrate rather than merely assert error.

        Opinions are difficult to refute.
        But facts are pretty simple.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 5:50 pm

      Moogie;

      You smell privilege because your nose is broken and you smell privilege everywhere.

      In public school I was the smartest person in my class, the nerd – the top 1/4 of one percent in all standardized tests, I was not particularly physically attractive, I had very curly hair and that resulted in slurs about my racial background. I was not very good at sports, I was the 98lb whimp.
      I was teased mercilessly by other kids. And Bullied and beaten. I had no friends until high school, when A guidance counselor took pity on me and forced me into the fall play and to be the statistician for the football team.
      My family was catholic and I attended a very evangelically religious public school.
      Most of my classmates thought catholic sacrificed babies and there was a chute in the basement to send them straight to hell. And I made the mistake of identifying my religion in 4th grade and no one in school ever forgot it.

      And I have had worse experiences since.

      I am not unhappy with my life. But pretending I am “priviledged” is idiocy.

      I have had many advantages that some other people do not.
      I have also had many disadvantages that I would not wish on the rest of you.

      But I am not whining, nor should you or anyone else.

      Given your posts, I am frankly dubious that you have ever met actual poor people either.
      Do you know people who have been victims of violent crimes ?
      Do you know people who did not finish high school ?
      Have you had to work with people who had criminal records – sometimes violent ?
      Have you ever hired any of them ?
      Have you every helped anyone to get social security disability ?
      To get rental assistance ?
      To immigrate to this country ?
      To get an apartment ?
      Have you ever volunteered to help someone who was institutionalized ?
      Have you ever been inside a prison or jail ?

      I get that your life isn;t what you hoped.

      I do not get that you really have a clue about “priviledge”.
      I do not get that you really understand the people at the bottom.

      Among other things you seem to think that those towards the bottom need a handout – and everything will be better.
      Get a clue. They may need help but they have to get it under circumstances where they feel like they earned it – otherwise whatever help they get will have no value and will be squandered.

      Most of the people in the bottom quintile manage to get out during their life time.
      Those like you telling them they can not, that they are unable to, broke, defective, entitled to our sympathy and handouts, disserve them. You give them an excuse for not trying.
      Which is way to easy for many of them. I understand that. I have been there.
      I have been where life was so hard I wanted to just give up. To where I did give up – atleast trying. And I have been there more than once.
      There is only one way out. Help is great, it might even be essential. But the only way out comes from inside YOU. You have to take ownership of your own life.

      You want to help the “most vulnerable” – give them opportunaties, not handouts, and then EXPECT them to live up to their own potential. Do not give them excuses to fail – if you do they will fail.

      You sound like someone who has given up.
      I am sorry for whatever has kicked you in the nuts.
      but I have no sympathy for your giving up.
      That you are encouraging others to beleive they can not succeed is worse still.

      I do nto beleive the poor are lazy. I beleive they are responding to the choices offered them.
      And that if they were not offered so many bad choices by the left, they would be more likely to make good ones.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 6:08 pm

      Many years ago shortly after I was married. Our best friend at that time as a black woman, and she had an older daughter that we grow close to. They lived in real poverty – not like the poor today. This was about 35 years ago. Clara died in her 50’s of heart disease and her daughter had 3 kids, and 3 abortions to something like 5 men. Those kids lived in poverty. My wife and I were the closest thing to sanity for them. the oldest was smart, she did well in crappy schools. With our encouragement and help she applied to an ivy league school – and got in, and struggled through, and now lives in SF making 6 figures. The 2nd daughter graduated from College – but not an ivy. and is doing very well.
      Her last child is my sons age and best friends with him. Clara’s daughter eventually married a white man – a Navy Chief. They own a home in the suburbs. She has her own business – she does personal care for elderly people, and is very very good at it.

      I do not know what they went through – not from the inside, and I do not pretend.
      I know it involved lots fo falling down and getting back up. It involved mistakes, and consequences and learning, and lots of bad stuff.
      I know that we were there.

      From your posts – I do not think you really understand any of this.
      I think you are a clueless down and out white guy who thinks because he is moping in his own life that he understands the trials of others.
      I think you have a giant chip on your shoulder. I think you resent all those white purportedly christian uppity people who succeeded when you have not and do not understand why they are not where you are and visa versa.

      You think you understand because you moved to Apalachia – yet your posts show you as completely clueless. You are likely the worst thing that could happen to the people you think you want to help.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 6:09 pm

      Of course you did not read what I wrote. You are sure you know what I said so you do not have to bother to find out.

      You think you are the first smug left wing nut I have ever bumped into ?

    • dhlii permalink
      April 12, 2017 6:15 pm

      No write I write is not some justification for keeping people poor.

      Reading comprehension – strike that comprehension is not your forte.

      We all do better when EACH of us does better.
      We each do better when we are driven by our own self interests.

      Your way holds the very people you claim to want to help DOWN.

      Regardless, you claim to know me – when obviously you don’t.
      you have no interest in finding out what I think by your own admission.
      It is just easier to make it up and tell me what I think.

      I have little doubt you treat the poor the same.
      You do not really bother to listen to them either.
      you are sure you know what they need and not interested in learning otherwise.
      You are more interested in forcing control on them to demostrate your own virtue than do anything that might actually help.

      • April 12, 2017 6:23 pm

        “I think you are a clueless down and out white guy”…

        You are hilarious, and clueless. I am a white FEMALE.

        “Given your posts, I am frankly dubious that you have ever met actual poor people either.
        Do you know people who have been victims of violent crimes ?
        Do you know people who did not finish high school ?
        Have you had to work with people who had criminal records – sometimes violent ?
        Have you ever hired any of them ?
        Have you every helped anyone to get social security disability ?
        To get rental assistance ?
        To immigrate to this country ?
        To get an apartment ?
        Have you ever volunteered to help someone who was institutionalized ?
        Have you ever been inside a prison or jail ?”

        “I do not get that you really have a clue about “priviledge”.
        I do not get that you really understand the people at the bottom.” —-BWHAHAHAHAHAHA

        You obviously don’t read what I write, for I have answered all but 2 of them. Since you accuse me of being a liar, I figure you must be projecting. Its a psychological term for people like you. Google it.

        Good day sir, you have wasted enough of my time.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 1:23 pm

        “You are hilarious, and clueless. I am a white FEMALE.”

        And that changes what ?

        I am sorry that I presumed that a teacher that would not coach football was male.
        my bad.

        What part of my arguments does that change ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 1:30 pm

        I have not accused you of being a liar.
        I have accused you of being clueless.

        You have accused me of being a liar – quite openly.

        As to the rest – maybe somewhere in some post on the internet aspects of your life story have been sprayed to answer some of what I asked.
        But I have not read every post on the internet.
        You did not answer my questions.

        Thus far I have no reasons to beleive you have really suffered much adversity.

        You have parents that do not sound all that upper class to me, that seem to continue to atleast partly support you long past any time you should have become responsible for yourself.

        You say you have anxiety and depression. No I do not consider those character flaws.
        They are just obstacles. We all have obstacles. I have had both anxiety and depression.
        I can not compare mine to yours. But I can to someone close to me who have had far worse.
        It is not an impediment to getting what you want from life. Just another problem to be overcome.

        Or you can let it own you. Your choice.

  28. April 12, 2017 5:58 pm

    somehow my comments don’t end up where they should

    Roby, your wife is amazing, and still exceptional.

    I suffer from crippling depression, as my mother and grandmother before me…and I think there was some on Dad’s side of the family. He suffered from anxiety also. That makes the “positive attitude” thing a bit more challenging. You know why I have survived and become a productive adult (despite dhlii insistence that I am a sorry loser)? Because my family has money. I’ve been able to pay for counseling & anti-depressants even when I’ve had no insurance. It costs me at least $50 a month in meds, more when I need counseling. That’s money many people don’t have. Many many people I have met here in Appalachia suffer from depression – but they cannot afford to treat it. So they drink, drug, sex, fight and believe what the Baptists tell them.

    Of course I am sure dhlii will tell me that depression is not an illness just a character flaw. Been told that by numerous conservatives around here…all of them claiming to be “Christians”.

    You know dhlii was bragging about his son…who could be around the same age as my kids (foster). One of my girls is 22 now, trying to get thru college. She’s basically never known her father, her mother died of breast cancer 3 years ago. It was a long illness. Her mom’s dad spent some years in the pen for meth cooking. His dad was a bootlegger. The family has always been poor.

    And dhlii will probably tell me his son is no luckier, and has had no more blessings than she has had. SMDH.

    • Roby permalink
      April 12, 2017 6:25 pm

      I’ve had 3 very deep bouts of depression in my life, each of about a year long, not a thing I would wish on anyone. They did pass and leave me able to be happy and productive. I do not mean to in any way insult you, simply yes, you do and have always sounded depressed. My son suffers from depression as well, its a genetic thing. For some reason, in my experience, depression often seems to push people to the left of the political spectrum, where they become very exposed to all the social injustices and that only makes it worse. My son for example.

      Honestly, and I seriously hope you take this in the manner that I intend it, medically depressed people would be much better off NOT thinking about politics and society, its a hard enough subject to take when one Isn’t depressed. There has always been greed and cruelty in the world along with kindness and decency and generosity. They are not increasing or decreasing, they are just attributes of the human brain. Nature and nurture set some people up to be more generous or more greedy. The news is, of course, the bad news and now we have a million different news networks beaming the the bad news at us all day long. There is lots of good news too. Good news is as inexorable as the ocean tide. In the mid 1800s the average lifespan was 38. Doctors were lethal, no better than witch doctors, they cut your veins open if you were weak and ill, or made you vomit or blistered you. In all of the millions of years of the human race we live in the one tiny sliver of history when medicine and science and education actually work and are real things. But Huffpost and Fox won’t tell you that, all political information as spread by ideological news sources is basically supposed to make you sad and angry. Which for a depressed person is all too easy. My advice is, avoid it like the plague, its deadly stuff for a depressed person.

      Let the world run its own course without your taking it too much to heart, Moogie, you have your own life to make as good as you can. Optimism may not come easily (or at all) to a clinically depressed person, but gratitude is still possible. I find gratitude to be the strongest possible medicine. Determination is hard but still possible as well.

      Dave is just nuts anyhow, most of the time. He is not actually lacking in all kindness, he is just completely owned by his ideology to the point of obsessive blindness. If the details of his life that he describes are true, there is plenty of generosity in him at times, although his way of expressing himself and his ideological fanaticism hides it beautifully. No one, not you or me, here is every going to change Dhlii the slightest bit. Its his problem, not ours.

      I wish you the best possible success in overcoming this.

      • dduck12 permalink
        April 12, 2017 9:42 pm

        What Roby said.

      • April 13, 2017 5:42 am

        Thank you both, Roby & Dduck12.

        Unfortunately his problem is our problem. Too many people out here where I live, and obviously plenty of others believe their destitution is entirely their own fault, which is just plain a lie. With the current level of piss-poor pay, half of America is going to remain destitute. They also spread the BS that everyone should be completely independent and never ask for any help.

        My “daughter” that I just described above? She is a victim of this extreme independent thinking. People like Dhlii keep saying this bull about how they “earned” everything they have all by themselves…but we know his kid has started with far far far more advantages than Kristen. But she feels guilty about any help I give her. I had a 15yo car that I got running for her but it needed a new transmission. I set up a “go fund me” to get it fixed, and someone locally wrote to tell me how I shouldn’t be helping her, she should have to do it all by herself!! (I later found out what a hypocrite this one was being, they had plenty of help) A kid who’s an orphan…you’d think I was buying her a brand new luxury car or something. It embarrassed her so I stopped trying to do it that way and got the money otherwise. But finally after being ignored and never thanked, and finally disrespected for 2 1/2 years, I took it back. No, she has not finished college. And now the odds are against it. Whereas she had my small, gas-efficient (that is how my parents taught me to save money), free car to drive she’s gone and bought a huge gas sucking SUV (because that is what people around here think is cool to drive). When she doesn’t finish college she won’t attribute it to all the expenses she runs up with that SUV. But it is out of my hands. I know I did the right thing.

        I have found it interesting that middle class people help each other and their kids and will ask for help most of the time. Poor people don’t and I think that is a key difference. People like Dhlii feed on that and keep the poor working against themselves.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 4:07 pm

        Yes, you life, as well as anyone else’s is their responsibility.
        It can not be any other way.

        Your use of “fault” is deceptive – it presumes that there is some perfect and failure to acheive it requires blaming someone.

        I do not BTW have any problem with you or anyone else being happy as they are – regardless of where they are.

        I do have a problem with you or anyone else blaming others for where they are.

        Humans are entitled to nothing – not even life.
        Rights, liberty, freedom, do not guarantee life or much of anything else.
        The right to free speech does not grant a right to be listened too.
        The right to do with your own life and body as you please does not make you able to do as you please, it just requires that others do not interfere.

        We are not equal. As you noted with your basketball player,
        We are not equally smart.
        we are not equally ambitious
        we are not equally talented
        we are not equally handsome
        we are not equally able.

        We will not and in most instance can not be made equal.
        We have o right to any equality – except equality before the law.

        To the extent our differences are anyone’s fault that would be nature or god.
        You can blame those all you wish, you will not get anywhere.

        Neither you nor anyone else is or can possibly be entitled to be paid whatever you wish.
        You are entitled only to receive back the same value you have given in free exchange.
        You can not compel someone else to exchange with you, nor compel them to pay you what you wish. Just as they can not compel you to work for them or pay you what they wish.

        Half of america is not destitute.
        The poorest people in this country today with few exceptions live better than John D. Rockefeller – the richest man in the world a century ago.
        Please tell me what he had in 1900 that you do not have better today ?
        While there are a few things – they are very few.
        Yet, you want to blame other and claim you are destitute ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 4:32 pm

        Of course all of us “earn” nearly all of what we have.

        No we did not “build that” – we exchanged what we did build that someone else wanted for what someone else built that we wanted.

        Again we are not all equal – and never will be.
        Nor are we all equally able to succeed.
        But we are not entitled to more from those who are smarter, more ambitious, more handsome, more whatever.
        Each of us is free to use whatever we were given to acheive as much of what we want as we can. The absence of perfect equality in that does not create any obligation in others.

        With respect to your daughter – how is it that my children started with far far far more advantages than yours ?

        My daughter was left at the side of a road in China when she was 6 days old.
        She sent the next two years in an orphanage so bad that they tore it down before I ever got to see it. The new and improved version is not so hot.

        My son was given up by an unwed pregnant korean woman.

        That is your idea of starting with all the advantages ?

        My wife and I are both articulate, and we have pushed our kids. We have taught them self reliance – those are advantages. But you are equally free to teach those to your kids.
        We pushed them to get jobs as soon as they were able – again nothing you are not free to do.
        We encourage them. And at the moment we provide them with some help. We will always provide them a place to stay and food to eat.
        They are both headed to college – and they are expected to pay for that themselves.
        My daughter bought her own car and is paying her own insurance.
        We will expect the same from my son shortly.

        We love them – but we are doing for them much of what my parents did for me and their parents did for them. As they become adults, they are responsible for their own lives.
        That is very important. Not that I would not give them anything.
        But that what I do not want to give them is dependence.

        Regardless, as is typical you are spouting nonsense.

        With respect to your daughter and her choices – I beleive you said she was 20.
        She gets to make her own choices with her life, and you get to make yours with respect to her.
        What you do not get to do is force your will on her.

        Your diatribe on the best car is just nonsense.
        The best car is the one each of us thinks is best for us.

        If your daugther chose a car that gets 15mpg instead of one that gets 30mpg and she drives 20,000 miles a year – which is very high, than she will be spending about 1300 extra per year for the gas guzzler. More likely she drives less than half that.
        There is a reason lots of suburban women drive SUV’s – it is because they are safer (and more convenient) and because they value that more than the gas savings.

        If your daughter is killed in an accident she would have survived in an SUV where would your values be ?

        Get a clue, life is complex – every question does not have a single right answer, or one that is right for everyone. Which is why you do not get to impose your will on others.

        Help your daughter, or don’t.
        Put strings on your assistance, or don’t
        your choice.
        But she is an adult and you do not control her life anymore.

        You say you did the “right thing”, from what I can tell you antagonized your daughter, made it so that she is unlikely to take the help you do offer, and unlikely to ask your advice in the future. That is your idea of the right thing ?

        I guess my children do have advantages yours do not.
        My children do not have controlling idiots as parents.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 4:33 pm

        Ah, now I am in some great plot to keep the poor in their place.

        How would that be – by providing them with a decent place to live ?

      • Roby permalink
        April 13, 2017 10:43 am

        “People like Dhlii feed on that and keep the poor working against themselves.”

        It should be obvious that Dave has his own cross to bear, his own unusual cognitive situation. Forget about him. Who are you gonna change, yourself, your kid, or some guy with a cognitive syndrome online? Online one can find someone to agree with, someone to disagree with, someone to love, someone to hate. It all depends on what you are looking for.

        Forgetting Dave and Davism, Having kids is a huge emotional risk, for everyone. They can struggle, it hurts to watch.

        I had a lot of help from family and some important help from society, (e.g., the CETA program helped me get an associates degree in Automotive Gas and Diesel Technology from an excellent trade school. which was my first education success that unlocked the student in me) otherwise my strong ADD would have left me in the mud all my life. I am very grateful for all that. Still, none of it was going to help me until I discovered my own motivation, determination, and developed confidence and discipline, which in my case came later than most people. No matter how much support there is from family and society the world is competitive and will always sort itself out into people with high, average, and low levels of motivation, determination, and discipline. A person has to bring that themself. Being bitter with some aspect of society is a pure waste of time. Which is why gratitude is so powerful, it defeats bitter thinking and blaming outside forces. Those last two are complete poison.

        Until a person has motivation, determination and some discipline college is an expensive drinking and sex party. Your daughter may be lucky she did not graduate, it means she can still get grants and loans and finish if and when she finds herself, her real goal. In America, and almost Only in America, one can complete their higher education at any age. Dumping people into college at 18 when they are not ready helps no one.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 4:37 pm

        I agree with nearly everything you have said.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 3:03 pm

        Kudos, Much good advice
        Have you read Burns ?

        I particularly found your digression regarding the past fascinating.
        It applies to everything. Not just depression.

        We look at the past through rose colored glasses.
        When we look at the distant past we are oblivious to such things as that sanitation was pretty much nonexistant until the 17th century and poor until the 20th.

        The left bemoans polution – as if the past was pristine clean.
        Yet today life – in the US and the world is cleaner in most every way than ever in human existance.

        Moogie raised the idiotic income inequality argument.
        Again an argument that only works when you look at statisitcs sideways with a presumpitive bias.

        I find it very disturbing that those of us who have been alive 20, 30, 40 years can delude ourselves into beleiving that it was somehow better than today.

        But our memories are all rosy and gauzy.
        When we remember the past clearly it was not so hot.

        A part of what often confuses us is that we tend to remember the happy memories and not the bad. Most of us were happy in the past.
        We did not know how much better off we would be in 30 years and the changes happened slowly so we do not grasp today how much better off we are then we were.

        Regardless, our misperception of the past is at the root of our inability to grasp economics and politics. Properly perceive the past – and most of the nonsense politicians try to sell us vapirizes.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 13, 2017 3:55 pm

        What will change me is facts, logic, reason, argument.
        What will change you ?

        BTW I have changed plenty over my life.
        Q.E.D. I am changeable.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 13, 2017 1:02 pm

      I am sorry about your mental difficulties.
      I have had much experience with mental health issues – some of my own, and alot with both my immediate and extended family.

      I have never claimed that the things I have suggested are “easy”
      Simple and easy are not the same.
      Very simple things are often very hard.
      I have dug myself out of moderate depression on occasion – and that is hard.
      I have had to help people very close to me struggle to recover from severe depression and anxiety. It is extremely hard.
      It also can be done.

      The gist of the entirety of everything /i have said to you is that:

      It is your life.
      No one else’s.
      What you make of it is up to you.

      If you have been kicked in the teeth, robbed, beaten, raped, cheated,
      all that is bad. Those who have harmed you deserve to be punished.
      But your life is still your own.
      No one else can fix it.

      The means to fix it are for the most part simple.
      They are not easy.

      Regardless of what might have happened to you,
      no one else – aside from possibly whoever may have harmed you,
      owes you anything.
      And in the event your problems are the result of some actual harm someone else has done to you – something real rather than this nonsense about requiring you to coach football in return for a teaching job, the odds are slim to none that whoever actually harmed you will or even can give you what they might owe you.
      In the end your life is still your own.

      The fact that the words are simple, that the solution is simple – does not mean I do not know that accomplishing them is hard.

      I am not looking to win the fight over who is the biggest victim.
      I beleive I related one of the darkest times in my life here once before.
      I am not going to repeat it.

      If you have really experienced worse – you have my sympathy.
      But your life is still your own, no one else’s.
      If whatever triggered your mental health issues is less – you still have my sympathy.
      But your life is still your own, no one else’s.

      It is not the role of government to rectify all the wrongs in the world.
      It is far beyond its ability anyway.

      I respect those who engage in charity and do so myself.
      But all the churches and charities in the world do not change
      the fact that your life is your own, no one else’s.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 13, 2017 1:08 pm

      You keep saying I am somehow priviledged – yet you are the one dependent on some rich family.

      My parents did well – it took decades and lots of hard work.
      What the gave me was the understanding of how to work hard. And their example.

      They did not pay for my education,
      they did not pay for anything else.

      It would also be nice if you would quit presuming you know what I think and will say – because you clearly do not.

      I do not care any more what so called “Christians” have told you – than I do about the nonsense you tell others here.
      Crap is crap – whether from the religious right or the lunatic left.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 13, 2017 1:15 pm

      Moogie;

      My children are both adopted.
      My son has a tiny bit of information and might be able to find his mother.
      My daughter knows nothing except that she was abandoned at the side of a road in china – and even that is likely false, and the truth much worse.

      If you are a foster parent – then there is atleast one thing about you I can respect.

      I am proud of my children. Are you saying I should not be ? Aren’t you proud of yours ?

      I think people should be free to cook and use meth if they want.
      But the choices people make affect their lives.
      I want people free to make their own choices.
      If they make bad ones – then the consequences of those choices fall on them.

      You are only free if you can make choices other people do not like.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 13, 2017 1:21 pm

      As best as I can tell the only fundimental difference between my children and yours – is that mine have me as a parent and yours have you.

      My son is nearly the same age as yours,
      My daughter is a little younger than yours.

      Yours are foster children. Mine are adopted.
      My children are asian, I do not know about yours.
      Mine stand little to no chance of ever knowing their biological parents.

      My kids have had a variety of problems – ones I hope yours did not.
      But hopefully this is not a contest over who is the bigger victim.

      I am proud of what my kids have accomplished.
      Hopefully you are proud of what yours have.

      Though aparently you think the problems of ordinary life are unusal – when they involve you.

  29. April 13, 2017 12:26 pm

    dhlii: YAWN.

    Got no time for your verbosity today.

  30. April 14, 2017 9:51 am

    Moogie, you claim that Dave considers you to be a “sorry loser,” because you’ve struggled with economic hardship and emotional depression, yet he’s never said anything of the sort. He’s only claimed that everyone is free to help themselves, and that expecting government to take responsibility for ones’ personal struggles is not only foolish, but, ultimately, harmful to everyone (sorry, Dave, if I’ve mischaracterized your position). I think that Roby has said the same thing.

    When progressives hear anyone say that people are “free to help themselves,” they generally hear it as “Hey, you’re on your own, buddy ~ good luck with that.” They assume that those on the right have no emotional connection to those who need help, no empathy or concern for those who are struggling. What conservatives generally mean is that, without personal responsibility, there can’t be any self-reliance,and that self-reliance is the source self-discipline, which, in turn, is the source of strength. Nurturing may be fine for children, but adults need strength. And, endless nurturing will not help anyone to develop strength.

    The role of government in helping those who need a hand is where we logically disagree, i.e. does any government assistance constitute too much “nurturing?” Accusing the other side of immorality, insensitivity or stupidity is where we go wrong.

    • April 14, 2017 10:36 am

      “people are “free to help themselves,” they generally hear it as “Hey, you’re on your own, buddy ~ good luck with that.” They assume that those on the right have no emotional connection to those who need help, no empathy or concern for those who are struggling. ”

      That is pretty much how I see those on the far right.

      With good reason.

      The ones I know personally, like those I went to high school with, have never spent one minute of time in the shoes of poor people. They have absolutely NO clue how fortunate they are, how many fewer hurdles they had to jump than the kids I have worked with. I was at the poor end of the neighborhood I lived in, but after working in the inner city and living in rural Appalachia I realized how incredibly fortunate I was. Conservatives go to far in the area of “personal responsibility” and fail to see the whole picture of how the poor have the deck stacked against them so badly, and it has worsened in the past 40 years. In what I glanced over in dhlii reply to me, there was NO mention of how much easier his kids have it than mine.

      My one goal in all my political writings is one; A LIVABLE WAGE FOR ALL FULL TIME EMPLOYEES. As I said earlier, you start at the bottom with the least skilled and give them the lowest wage, and work up from there.

      The economy cannot be robust when most of us are not making a middle class wage. (and I did not say the lowest wage would be a middle class wage.) True news sources have been writing about the disappearance of the middle class for at least 25 years, because that is how long I have watched it. IMHO since 1980 conservatives have worked to put us back to where we had been for centuries before the New Deal; a small number of “hugely” wealthy people that control everything and vast numbers of poor. They like it that way.

      Sadly dhlii believes all the drivel in conservative news sources that are bent on keeping all the wealth at the top. I hope you are wiser.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 4:16 pm

        Several years ago I debated Prof. Haidt who I have repeatedly recommended her in person on exactly this issue.

        And as a consequence Haidt has actually reformulated his definition of Empathy as a moral foundation. I still think he has it sort of wrong. But he has improved it.

        This arose because there are three factors that uniquely identify libertarians completely distinct from conservatives and progressives.

        The first is the extremely high value they place on liberty.
        Progressives and conservatives value liberty two – but neither to the extent that libertarians do.

        The second is the importance of logic and reason in making choices.
        Libertarains are 20 points better than those on the left in the use of reason and logic in decision making and 25 more than those on the right.
        This difference is so large that when libertarians are grouped with conservatives – despite the fact that they are the smallest ideological group – libertarians and conservatives combined still outperform progressives.

        This is why you will find an assortment of studies that demonstrate that either the left has IQ’s 5 points higher than the right or two points lower – depends on whether the study treated libertarains as part of the right.

        The final distinguishing characteristic of libertarians is with respect to empathy.

        Haidt’s original conclusion was that libertarians have by far less empathy that wither progressives or conservatives – high empathy is the distinguishing characteristic of progressives – but control the left it is strongly present in conservatives.

        My argument with Haidt was that libertarains are not inherently less empathetic than others.

        They just do not allow empathy to drive decisions. i.e. they do not ACT based on empathy.
        They act based on logic and reason. Particularly outside of their personal lives.

        Being free means you can make logically poor choices driven by emotion in your own life
        But not with those of others.

        I have known people who are truly heartless. I have not seen any evidence that they are particular to one ideology or another. I think there are plenty of progressive sociopaths.

        I think actual empathy does not divide strongly by political identity.

        Only the willingness to place emotion over reason in making decisions is ideological.

        I am emotionally distraught by many things I see and experience.

        The fact that my daughter is adopted from China made it impossible for me to watch late night TV for a long time. The “save the children” comericals still tear me apart.
        That there are other children in the world living in conditions like my daughters orphanage is heart rending. I do not have enough nickels and dimes and dollars to save them all.

        Though I would further note that my concern for those children harms rather than helps any connection to the left.

        Several people – including Haidt have noted that humans are tribal.

        For most of us our families come first.
        and out bonds and empathy weaken in rings as we move to membership in more and more remote groups.

        There are two points here, that the left misses.

        The first is that as I said the greater the distance – the more differences between us and others, the weaker our empathy and ties.

        What the left sees as racism and discrimination is natural and innate.
        It is not “hate” is it merely a weaker connection the more ‘other” someone else is.

        The swedes are discovering this as they incorporate millions of outsides into one of the most homogenous countries in the world.
        those left social safetynet programs only marginally work in the “nordic social democracies” because the people are literally all from the same tribe.

        Even Moogie cares far more about her neighbors in Apalachia. They are “closer” both physically and biologically, they are likely the same race, they are the same nationality.
        They are less “other” than somali’s.

        Therefore it is more important for her to help appalachian families – who as far as the world goes are in the top %1

        By virtue of adopting my daughter from a decrepit orphanage in china, all those kids on “Save the children” are not “closer” to me emotionally. For me families in appalachia are more “other” than starving children in africa or ecuador.

        There is no difference between what Moogie and I feel.
        If there is then I think my emotions are stronger.

        What is different is that she wishes to use force to compel me to help people in Appalachia, while I want to use persuasion to get her to help people elsewhere in the world.

        There is no right or wrong answer to who should be helped.
        But the use of force is wrong regardless.

        And I would hope you would understand that this also ultimately means we can not make choices for others based on OUR emotions.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 4:27 pm

        You keep asserting this nonsense and demanding that others prove you wrong.

        Things are worse in the past 40 years ? Crap! – certain not according to the mark I eyeball or any other credible data source. Start with the US census. Families in every single quintile have MORE or everything than they did 40 years ago.

        Cars, AC, TV’s, Washers, Dryers, Dishwashers, Microwaves, living space, food, healthcare.

        That is ten specific items. Every single one of those was readily available to the middle class and rare in the lower class 40 years ago. Each of them is more common in the lower class today the middle class 40 years ago.

        Now it is your turn. Can you name ten specific ways in which the lower class is demonstrably worse off today ? I do not think you can you name ONE ?

        You say my kids are better off than yours – How ? You keep claiming this. The responsibility to support a claim rests with the person who makes it.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 4:51 pm

        I have already demonstrated that todays minimum wage is more than a liveable wage.

        It provides a higher standard of living than the richest person in the world in 1900 – John D. Rockefeller.

        Rockefeller had not air conditioning. He had no antibiotics, few drugs many of which were vodoo, no vaccines, in 1900 he had no car. by 1900 it is possible that Rockefeller had a phone. He certainly did not have a TV, Dishwasher, microwave, dryer.

        those few things that most of the poor have today that rockefeller had in 1900 – almost no one else did. Not the poor, not most of the rich.

        You definiton of a “living wage” would be incredible luxury for most of the world today – or most people ever born.

        Regardless, a person is entitled to the value they produce. That is all.

        The moment that you presume that you are free to decide what wages who should be paid, one of two things must occur.

        Either you must not also decide at what and how hard each person must work
        or you will end up with ever fewer people working ever less hard and producing ever less.

        When you set wages rather than allow the exchange of value for value, you errode rather than increase standard of living – particularly for those you seek to help.

        Finally, you are thoroughly deluded about the nature of money.
        It is clear that you not only think money is wealth (bzzt wrong), but that only money is wealth.
        From that error flow myraids of bad consequences.

        I have not addressed as an example the fact that if you jack up wages at the bottom you will either get inflation into things return to the same levels as before – or you will destroy jobs – in one way or another,.

        Finally. how is it that you think that you or anyone else is capable of deciding the correct value of anything ?

        If you set the minimum wage to some purported “living wage” That inherenty means you are also controlling the prices of all other goods – otherwise there is no such thing as a “living wage”. Soi you appear to beleive that individual humans, or computers or government or some institution has the knowledge to be able to set the price of everything.

        I would recommend doing some reading on “the economic calculation problem”.
        This is an economic debate that occured in the 40’s and 50’s that demonstrated that socialism must fail because it has no workable system for setting prices.

        Free markets set prices – they do so without government, and without cost. They do so dynamically adjusting continuously to all changes in everything throughout the world.

        It is outside the ability of any government – or all the super computers in the world to replicate that. And you can not set a “living wage” pretty much by your won definition without doing the impossible

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 5:55 pm

        A middle class wage is by definition the wage that the middle 20% of us make.
        The middle class is always making a middle class wage.
        The other 80% of us by definition always are not.

        Here is a graphic of changes in income distribution over time from the pew research group.
        Are you telling me that the changes depicted since 1971 are bad ? that you would prefer the income distribution in 1971 to the present ?

        I get very very tired of this extremely stupid rising income inequality meme.
        Anyone arguing it brands themselves as statisically inept and worse blind to their own life experience.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 6:04 pm

        The New Deal was a colossal failure.

        The US caused the great depression, entered the great depression before any other nation, had the strongest economy going in and should have endured it more easily than other nations. BTW every single fact above is also true about the great recession. Our responses were different.

        First Hoover and then FDR engaged in these ruinous socialist programs that protracted the depression. Even the UK which entered the depression weak exited fairly quickly.
        In the nordic countries – which at that time were far more capitolistic than today, the great depression was barely a blip. Those countries that did little, or cut government spending and taxes exited the great depression first and fastest.

        The US is the ONLY nation ever to have a recession in the midst of a depression.

        But for the War in europe it is unlikely that FDR would have won the 1940 election.
        Polls 9 months before the election had Wilke way ahead. Those on the even of the election showed that voters prefered Wilke but for the war in Europe.

        If you actually want to learn something about the great depression – I would strongly suggest Amity Shlaes book “the forgotten man”.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 6:09 pm

        Adam Smith is a “conservative news source” ?
        Or JS Mills ? Or Thoreaux ? Or John Locke ? Or FA Hayek or Ronald Coase ? Or Robert Barro ? or James Buchanon (the nobel prize winning economist, not the failed president) ?
        Or Milton Friedman ? Thomas Paine ?

        I have never been a regular Fox viewer, I do not think they are any more credible than the New York Times – ie. they are pretty bad. I have listen to more NPR than fox by far.

        Regardless my arguments are not routes in “news”, they are rooted in facts, logic, reason, economics, and the writings of some of the smartest people of the past 250 years.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 15, 2017 2:08 pm

      Like Roby you are expressing my views less harshly than I have myself.

      To borrow from Prof. Haidt, you are appealing to the elephant and I am appealing to the rider.

      I do not know anything of Moogies life besides what she writes.

      And mostly what I know of that is that she is very unhappy with her circumstances.

      I beleive that people are free to choose homelessness, and some do.
      Some do not chose homelessness, but they value some aspects of it sufficiently they will not sacrifice them for other things they say they want.
      Most people do not choose homelessness – and therefore usually get out of it.

      I have started at the bottom – presumably Moogie is not homeless, to make a bunch of points.

      The only thing “wrong” with being homeless, is if it is imposed upon you by force.

      I do not judge those who are homeless.

      I am finding Moogie lacking – not because of her circumstances – which I have no real idea of. But because she is unhappy with those circumstances and blaming others and demanding that others fix them for her.

      Whatever her circumstances – she is not obligated to change them. She is not “lazy” if she choses not to change them.

      I doubt her circumstances and mine are all that different.
      My children’s biggest advantage is having my wife and I as their parents.
      Not this mythical vast wealth that Moogie seems to think I have, that she can not explain how my kids benefited from. I hope that she too has been a good parent to her kids.
      I have no way of knowing.
      Even my own view of my own parenting is hope and aspiration.
      My kids will become what they become. I have little ability left to change that.

      There are lots of things I wish were different about my life.

      Bill Gates is only 2 years older than I am. I have met him in person several times. Including when Microsoft was very small.

      It is easy to ask – why am I not him ? But though I would like to magically have the wealth he has. Honestly I am not him and do not want to be him.

      I would love to win the lottery – but I am happy.
      I am still looking to improve my life and expect to do so. But I am not looking for others to make that happen or blaming others because it has not.

      And that is alot of what bothers me about Moogie and the left.

      She claims that people who did not vote for Hillary voted against their economic self interests.

      Please explain that to me as anything more than a beleif that someone else should give you whatever it is you want – that you are entitled.

      Moogie is unhappy with her life. I am sorry about that. But she owns her life, no one else does.

      I pointed out ways she could make more money – but there are thousands beyond that, the point was only that if that is really what she wants it is inside her abilty.

      My guess is that is not what she wants – or she would do it.
      Not chasing after more is OK with me.
      It is OK if you are homeless, working class, middle class, ….
      What is not OK is forcing others to give you more, when you will not do so yourself.

      My problem with Moogie is not with her class – I doubt we are so far apart as she thinks.
      But in her unwillingness to own her own life.
      Either be happy as you are or change it. You not only have no right to force someone else to fix it, but doing so is immoral.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 15, 2017 2:36 pm

      “You are on your own buddy”

      Yes, actually we are “on our own”. It can not be any other way. The entire concept of collectivism and social justice is a myth that defies reality. No one else can fix whatever is wrong with your life. No one else can make you happy.

      HOWEVER, there is nothing about “being on our own” that precludes us from helping others.
      The vast majority of what we do in life is for others – we voluntarily give others what they want in return for what we want.
      That is completely on our own, and very much not.

      What is most important though is that it is free. Otherwise it is not moral.

      I have noted before that my family regularly provides meals for the “homeless” (most of them are not homeless, most are just poor or elderly or elderly poor getting a free meal)
      Part of the reason for that is there are just not all that many truly homeless people anymore.
      Please note I did not say NONE.

      Regardless, I do it because I enjoy it.

      I think that is one of the things those on the left do nto understand.
      Our self interest is whatever we value to the extent we value it.

      If it makes you feel good to provide meals to others, or anything else that you do that is “charity” – then you have been rewarded for what you have done.

      I certainly would not expect you to do something for the less fortunate if it made you miserable.

      We are responsible for ourselves as individuals, but we are to varying degrees social animals.
      Involvement with others often makes us INDIVIDUALLY happy

      One of the things I do nto understand about the left, is that they seem to actually hate helping others. They hate it so much most will not do it themselves – they convert it into a job and through government force it on someone else.

      I have never met a government social worker who really felt they were doing any good.
      Most of them do not like their clients very much.

      Moogie was bitching about some of the conditions that came with some teaching job.

      I have done work I loved, and work I hated. I few things I have done were so miserable that unless I am too poor to do otherwise, I will find a way to pay someone else if I have to do them again.

      But I presume that most of us like what we do most of the time – isn’t that our goal ?
      I absolutely have to do work I do not like. but I am constantly working to do more of what I like and less of what I do not.

      The entire reason for striving to be more wealthy is to do more of what I like and less of what I do not.

      I though my father would die at a drafting table – like Frank Lloyd Wright.

      Moogie is sort of right – he started with next to nothing, and made a success of himself.
      At the same time in later life he made myriads of poor decisions,
      Those decisions took away from me what I had thought was my future.
      In the end they slowly destroyed what he had built, and two decades before he died he mostly gave up and costed to death. He costed with a fair amount of wealth – nearly all of which was gone by the time he died. My mother who died 7 years before he did – her last words to me were “just you wait, he dies penniless” and she was nearly right – and as mean as that sounds, it was mostly delivered to push me into protecting him, because my fathers success had depended on my mother protecting him from his own mistakes.

      Regardless, I do not ever want to stop working. I love what I do. Not just specifically what I do – but most (not all) work. I can imagine not working as hard as today. I can not imagine not working at all.

      I certainly can not imagine saying no to a job that I love, because there were a few things that came with it that I did not.

      I am left with the impression that Moogie does not get joy from doing anything – atleast not anything that involves “work”

      And that I do not understand at all.

      And in the end I suspect that is Moogies real problem.
      I think that if she got whatever is that she is hoping for that she would still be unhappy.

      I think that the problem is not lack of opportunities, or miserable circumstances, but inability to be happy.

      That is a quite common problem – but I find it more on the left.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 15, 2017 2:39 pm

      I do not know what “conservatives” mean.

      But you can divorce emotion completely.

      We are each on our own, is fact, whether we like it or not.
      Even our relations with others – our social activity is a choice, that we can not impose by force.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 15, 2017 3:44 pm

      It is immoral to use force to take what belongs to one person to help another.

      That is why government has no role in helping those in need.

      But I try not to bludgeon people with the moral facet – until those on the left try to assert the moral superiority of their position.

      The good samaritan was a person – not a government.

      I think we have moral obligations to help those in need.
      But those are individual obligations, not societal ones.

      Among other reasons because we can individually – or through voluntary groups help people without using force and without any moral conflict.

      We can not do so through government.

      Governments failure in aiding others is purely a pragmatic argument.

      While I think that failure is intrinsic to the nature of government.

      We are not all equal – that is just how it is. But we are all entitled to equality before government.

      Nuturing people requires recognizing that people are not equal.
      Government can not meet both its equal protection requirements and help people who are not equal and have different needs.

      Further when government does something it creates the appearance of a right.
      Rights to assistance from others are not sustainable and infact create significant negative incentives.

      The studies I quote that demonstrate that government spending has a negative impact on growth in standard of living, also not that social safety net spending as an ADDITIONAL .3% negative impact.

      Creating moral hazard and negative incentives privately – through charity is extremely difficult.
      In government it is trivial.

  31. April 14, 2017 10:39 am

    Additional note: If people were well paid and we once again had a solid middle class…would their be any need for so much charity/government assistance? I think not.

    • Roby permalink
      April 14, 2017 11:23 am

      Its a great ideal. All we lack in an actual mechanism that will actually work to ensure a livable wage. Which is where it becomes an unresolvable ideological argument.

      I think it is literally getting to be close to 10 years that I have been at TNM arguing. I’ll admit that when I first started I thought that government could make an impact on the wage issue. But, I was wrong. For every regulation there is a way around it, hiring overseas and mechanization are the most obvious ways out. Pass a law that say that full time employees must have X,Y, and Z and companies simply make sure they have very few full time employees.

      Now, if there was some all powerful entity regulating the economy it would be obvious that the economy is healthier when everyone makes good money and that killing off the middle class is harmful to the economy and if taken to its furthest extreme would lead to failure of the economic system. Who will buy anything?

      In reality individual companies and corporations make their own individual decisions with the only criterion being profit and stockholder satisfaction. There is no government regulation that can change that reality. It is a very vast impersonal force that sets wages.

      I worked for a very left wing guy one summer, an actual communist in the flesh, for his house painting business. Guess what, he was a cut throat capitalist in the flesh when it came to his own business and workers, ruthless. I asked him if he saw the irony. He just looked at me like I was nuts. Its seems so logical and easy to pay good wages until you have a business yourself.

      • April 14, 2017 11:24 pm

        That’s a great story, Roby, an example of how politics and reality consistently collide.

        I have a friend who owns a church. She and her husband are both ex-addicts, who found salvation through God, and realized, at some point, that they were both charismatic and persuasive spokespeople for their brand of evangelical Christianity. Over time, and with extraordinary success, they acquired a huge following, and made a ton of money, enough to build a big church and to raise their 5 children in a large and luxurious home.

        This is not to say that they are fake or greedy. On the contrary, they are very genuine, and they have legitimately “saved” many people, who otherwise would likely have spiraled downward into hopelessness.

        Their brand of salvation is both conservative and empathetic. They are both rich and charitable. They are both sophisticated and religious. I often find my friend’s love for expensive shoes to be at odds with her missionary zeal. Her children have worked in some of the most poverty-stricken areas of the world.

        I have no idea who she voted for. And I don’t care.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 1:19 pm

        My father in-law was a member of an extremely fringe evangelical christian church. Not very far to the left of Westboro Baptist church.

        These are people that I loath – possibly more than those on the left.

        The minister whose values I can not stand, whose vile sermons I have on occasion been forced to listen to, and this church were there repeatedly, when my father-in-law needed them.
        They were there when he moved from his house – and was to old to do it himself. They were there when he moved again later. They were there when he developed cancer. they were there when he was dying. They were even there for my wife and I despite the fact that they knew we share almost nothing with them in terms of faith.

        I still can not stand to listen to anything those from this church say.
        I am not sure whether I consider myself christian. But I do have faith in a god.

        We are expected to feed the hungry give drink to the thirsty, invite in strangers (and immigrants – even muslims) cloth those without care for the sick and visit those in prison
        Whatever my father-in-laws church preached, they lived Matthew 25:31-46.

        One of the problems I have with the left, is that they do not.
        They preach concern for others. But their religion does not demand that from themselves.
        Their god, government is supposed to steal from others in their name, in the hope of helping people, while they do nothing.

        I sometimes encounter people from the left who are feeding the hungry or helping immigrants. I respect those who act according to their beleifs.

        One of the huge problems with the left is that its fixation on emotion confuses intention with action. Who is the better person ? The one who talks about helping others, and demands that everyone else should do so, but does nothing themselves, of the person who preaches hate but is there when people are in need ?

      • April 15, 2017 8:46 am

        “Supply and demand!!!!!!!! If there is a large supply (labor) and low demand (job openings) the price goes down. ”

        I have a somewhat different take on supply and demand…if people have no money to buy your product, there is no demand so you need no supply. Therefore you are not hiring workers at any price. But I doubt you will read that in any economics book. They are written by business owners, and the ones I’ve looked in make little or no mention of workers. They don’t want us to know we might be more important than we think we are. Which actually is killing this nation economically right now.

        I have become really really big on BALANCE. (isn’t that what we should be striving for as centrists???) IMHO, our economy is out of whack because most of the money is stuck at the top. When we had the strongest middle class, it was more fairly distributed. Not evenly distributed…that is too far left. The middle is somewhere between the conservative “everyone is 100% responsible for their own destiny” and a “nanny” state. Neither extreme is good.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 2:25 pm

        The law of supply and demand is immutable it is not subject to your “Take”.

        Adam Smith wrote the most important economics book ever, he was not a business person.
        He was a teacher like you, but primarily of social and moral philosophy.

        “if people have no money to buy your product, there is no demand so you need no supply. Therefore you are not hiring workers at any price.”

        What you offer is a correct application of the law of supply and demand.
        Given that we have about 95% employment at the moment that means, BY YOUR OWN ASSERTION – that people do have the money to buy products.

        BTW the people running business are extremely aware of precisely what you have asserted – and more.

        McD’s knows the exact effect on the profit margin and sales of every penny change in price of any burger they sell.

        They know quite well that selling a million burgers at $0.05 profit each is better than selling 700,000 at $0.06 profit each.

        Walmart as an example only make on average 1.5% profit on each sale.
        They know that they will sell far more goods if they keep prices low.
        They also know that if they can sell everything in the store 4 times a year that a 1.5% profit per sale is a 6% overall profit on the money the have invested.

        Put simply businessmen already understand far better than you the thing you are trying to argue – that often you can do better by selling something for less.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 2:27 pm

        Ah, yes, everything is a conspiracy, businesses are deliberately trying to keep you stupid.

        Get a clue – what you know and do not know is your responsibility.
        IF you think there is something you might want to know – go learn it.

        While there is no conspiracy of businesses to keep you stupid.
        Even if there were it would be ineffective as you are free to find out whatever you want.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 2:31 pm

        No you are not big on “balance”.

        Free markets self balance. It is a requirement. The law of supply and demand is just one example.

        What you are big on is CONTROL.

        You are opposed to having markets work things out on their own.
        You are opposed to businesses trying to figure out what you want and need and how they need to produce it so that you will buy more (which means figuring out how to sell it for less).

        What you want is to have government impose your idea of how the economy ought to work on all of us by force.

        That is CONTROL not balance.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 2:43 pm

        Still confused about money.

        The way that those at the top accumulate money is by providing the rest of us with the wealth we want and need.

        There is no other way.

        If as you say money was statically clogged at the top the market would seize and growth would stop.

        As to your claim that at some time in the past money was distributed better.
        I provided you a link to a moving graph of the distribution of income over time starting in 1971.

        Please identify what time period since 1971 you think that income was “better” distributed that today. What the data shows is that the middle class has been “hollowed out” because they have become more wealthy. That in 1970 we had something close to a tall bell curve with a tail for the rich and an relatively low peak. Today the curve is flatter and most of us have much higher income than in 1971 and the tail is taller.

        Too me that is a much better income distribution. Nearly all of us are much better off.

      • April 15, 2017 8:48 am

        “he was a cut throat capitalist in the flesh when it came to his own business and workers” hypocrisy does not respect political class…in my neighborhood those that speak the loudest about Jesus are the greediest.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 6:52 pm

        You are correct that whatever regulation is imposed will either be co-opted or circumvented.

        You can attribute that to malevolence if you wish. Regardless it is outside your ability to alter.

        I would suggest that you think of it more as the normal workings of economics.
        It is like newtons laws of motion – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

        Whatever laws you pass to push the economy will automatically generate pushback.
        It is completely unavoidable.

        It is inherent in the way that economies work. It is not changeable.
        It is even inherent in how we want them to work.

        The objective both of business and of society is to create more value at lower human cost.

        When government increases cost the natural operation of the market will be to find some way to circumvent that increased cost.

        The businessmen you think are acting “evil” are doing exactly what they would do if the price of steel rose or of grain or …
        They would be finding the way to get ahead – to produce more value at lower cost regardless of whatever is increased.

        Anything short of an infinitely powerful entity will inevitably result in the same results.

        The fact is – though the economy is dynamic – everything is always in dynamic equalibrium – or close to it. You can not push water up hill. When you try to force the economy all you do is end up with a different – less efficient equilibrium.

        Less efficient means – lower overall standard of living.
        The effort of government to make things better – do make some things better for some people – though only rarely the people intended in the way intended. But the net is still a lower standard of living for all.

        Yes, corporations work to create value for shareholders, and that is exactly what we want them to do – so long as they are prohibited from using force or fraud.

        It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. Adam Smith

        Small business is no different from big business here.

        Wages are set by the same forces that set every single price – the laws of supply and demand.
        The same forces that continuously try to drive the price computers, TVs, and gas down – drive the price of labor down. The same forces that drive those same prices up – drive the price of labor up.

        Over the long run the only change in the relationship between the price of labor and the price of everything is our ability to produce more with less effort.
        That increases the value of labor relative to the price of everything else.

        And it is only the ratio that matters – absolute prices are irrelevant – only the changes in relative prices.

        And by that measure – we have ever increasing ability to purchase more of what we want and need.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 6:55 pm

        My Nephew is at Stanford studying for a doctorate in philosophy.
        He is almost as far left as you can go. His diatribes against capitalism are vile and frothing.

        When he is home, he helps his mother (my sister) with a rental property she has.

        Suddenly her tenants are lazy good for nothing bums – not “the most vulnerable among us”.

        I can not grasp haw someone who is smart can cope with the cognative disonance.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 15, 2017 6:33 pm

      It is still not and never was sustainably possible to pay people more than they produce – period.

      Standard of living rises BY DEFINITION when we produce greater value with less human effort.

      If you dick arround with wages as you wish at best you accomplish nothing beyond devalunig currency – and who really cares if you are paid $15/hr if that will only buy what 7.25 does today. More likely you increase low skilled unemployment and decrease medium skilled unemployment.

      If I own a McD’s and must pay my workers $15/hr – then I am going to fire those not worth $15 and hire more people who are.

      You do not seem to grasp that the fast food industry employment model is based on hiring an excess of low wage low skill labor at low prices. They can make a fast food resturant work just as well with much fewer higher skilled higher wage people.
      They deliberately choose otherwise – because there is a large surplus of low skill labor.

      If you do as you wish you will increase that surplus screwing the very people you wish to help.

      This is a real and growing problem in the US – though the same problem exists and is worse in most of europe.

      Because of minimum wage laws, entry level employment is reduced dramatically and low skill low wage workers have by far the highest unemployment.

      BTW this was not always true. It was not true at all before MW laws.

      Not only that but MW has increase minority and your unemployment.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 15, 2017 6:34 pm

      It does not matter what you think.
      The real world data demonstrates that you are wrong.

  32. April 14, 2017 1:06 pm

    I find the comments that have recently been posted very interesting in that everyone seems to agree (without actually saying it) that we have a problem with income in America and especially for the poor. But no one can agree on the casue.

    Roby made the comment that Europe has done a much better job at identifying at an earlier time those that go to college and those that get trade training.

    Dave has said many times your life is in your own hands and you make of it what you put into it.

    Priscilla has talked about personal responsibility.

    And Moogie has mentioned government mandated living wage numerous times.

    And I am going to go off on my tangent again and say government is the problem, not the solution. We are all born with an innate ability. Some have very artistic abilities, while others are lucky to draw a straight line. Some are very good at figures, while others are lucky to add 2+2. Some good with science and then some able to do things with wood, metal, plastics and other natural resources that the artist, scientist and mathematician could only dream of doing.

    We had an educational system until sometime in the 70’s that nurtured all of these innate abilities. There were a number of college prep course tracks that prepared students that were going to college. Then there was the tracks that provided students with a basic education along with training with metals, wood, engines, auto body repair, etc. Every student that graduated had something they could use to prepare for the future. College prep students went to college. The others came out and had basic training to become apprentices in a field of their choice. A handful of students compared to the thousands of graduates did not graduate and they were the ones that ended up working at a restaurant, hotel cleaning rooms or other menial jobs requiring no education. They either made that choice themselves as they had some useful training for all in high school or they had some mental deficiency making learning difficult.

    Fast forward to today and for the past 40+ years and EVERYONE is going to college. In NC everyone has to take the SAT exams regardless. Many other states require this also. So here are the hundreds of kids that are sitting in algebra, biology, and whatever other college prep class that have no desire to go to college and they are bored to death. They have no outlet to voice their frustration with a system that is letting them down. They see how their friends turned out, jobless, selling drugs, etc because they had no hope for the future, all because the educational system was not answering their needs.Preparing them for a job that paid good money when they graduated from high school.

    Now Dave is going to say this individual makes his own way. It is up to him to find the training. It is up to him/her to get the motivation to move out of the ghetto and find work that pays a good wage. Moogie is going to say that these individuals working at McDonalds or at the Hilton cleaning rooms need to make twice what they are making and government needs to dictate that living wage.

    And the cycle continues because we are not training the kids with innate abilities working with their hands. What we hear today is more technical training for computer programming, website development, etc. THAT IS BS. We need to reach all kids with all abilities and provide an education for all of them, not just those the elite have designed education to reach.

    • April 14, 2017 3:08 pm

      You will get no argument from me about education. I was a teacher in urban, suburban and rural high schools. I have 2 college educated parents and went to a high school where everyone not only went to college but graduated from college & I wonder how many got advanced degrees. I never thought much about NOT going…even tho in looking back I would have done better at a technical trade. I love to take things apart and put them back together. Now I can’t find any handymen to fix stuff, and the youngest one I know is 43.

      But here’s the rub; wages are down so much that those people are not making a middle class living anymore. The low bottom is pulling everyone else down. I know plenty of mechanics, electricians, plumbers, construction workers, welders, I’d say even police, firemen and definitely teachers are barely getting by. I also taught GED for awhile to older adults…but the jobs they can get are still low wage.

      I’m sorry but conservatives whole premise – is that the USA is just filled with huge numbers of lazy people living off the government. This is the huge lie perpetuated by the right. And they mostly mean POC, although that is never said outloud. This is how they keep working people divided and voting against their best economic interest. There are huge numbers of discouraged people like me that cannot make a basic living, much less a middle class living, because wages are so low. But there are absolutely NO huge numbers of lazy people out there. Never has been. Because conservatives live, work, read and breathe nothing but privilege, they stay misinformed. They don’t mingle among people like my neighbors.

      When people stay so misinformed as to the condition of most of this nation, we cannot have an intelligent conversation about fixing the problems. Conservatives deny there is wealth inequality, deny that more than half the population is not making enough to live on, deny that many people are not given even a fighting chance to be successful in this world. He keeps going back to the “personal responsibility” BS that is always used to justify cheating people. The only single way to get back to prosperity is to force corporate American to go back to being moral – that is paying a living wage. The reason we saw the strongest middle class ever after WWII was they partially were more moral and partially because we had laws to distribute the wealth more fairly. It always makes me laugh that when working people want more pay that conservatives cry that its wealth “re-distribution”. But unfortunately many suckers fall for that explanation.

      If the people at the top were not hogging all the money, we wouldn’t have so many problems. Pay well and people can afford all their own food, all their own medical care, all their own housing. Government handouts don’t cause a “permanent underclass” lack of good pay does.

      • April 14, 2017 7:18 pm

        Moogie you are stuck on government intervention and bad moral positions of corporations.

        “The reason we saw the strongest middle class ever after WWII was they partially were more moral and partially because we had laws to distribute the wealth more fairly. ”

        I offer a different perspective which is documented in many articles. During the depression people could not afford to buy much other than to keep themselves alive. During WW2 people could not buy much because everything was going to the war effort. My dad was “frozen” in his job at an appliance manufacturer (GE) during WW2. That plant had made small appliances and during the war was shifted to producing weapons. There were no cars built in America from about late 1941 to late 45 or early 46. The government not only controlled prices, what could be produced, they also controlled where millions of Americans worked.

        When WW2 ended, all the plants that had been shifted to the military effort shifted back to producing consumer goods. Demand was at an all time high since people had not been able to buy much for over 15 years due to the depression and the war. The need for labor was at a high due to the demand that was created and that began to drive up wages, along with the unions demand for better wages and better benefits. The unions were strong since so much of the products sold in America where made in America and labor was hard to get in many cases. Government had a very small role in that economic increase. The demand for houses did increase due to the VA backing loans for the solders that had returned and the small tract homes became a fixture in Americas suburban neighborhoods. Nice 2 bedroom, one bath homes with an attached garage for one car on small lots with fenced in yards. What could be better than that. Try selling that to the current generation!

        Now we have the government sign trade agreements where China can tack on high tariffs on American goods and we have open borders with no tariffs. Harley Davidson motorcycles face a 30% tariff. Electronic devices 30% and even Raisins 35%. Cadillacs face a 22% tariff and Jeeps a 18% tariff. Even diapers have a 2% tariff added. So is that fair to the American worker? I don’t think so and that is why there is so many people in lower paid jobs because the good jobs have left!!!!!!!!

        It’s simple!!!!!!!! Supply and demand!!!!!!!! If there is a large supply (labor) and low demand (job openings) the price goes down. And when corporations are producing revenues at an all time high and their overseas cost are at an all time low, then they will be making all time profits. So how do we fairly distribute income when the income comes from overseas employment and production????

        So you keep talking about how unfair corporations are to the American manufacturing worker (what few there are left compared to many years ago) and I will keep harping on the piss poor government policies that so many are enamored with that have been a significant contributor to the economic decline of the middle class worker.

        And the plumbers, electricians, welders, teachers and others you mention about low wages. Are they employed by the mutli-national corporations that are making billions in profits? I suspect most of them are working for small mom and pop businesses that are barely making a profit themselves due to high regulations and taxes on their businesses.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 8:00 pm

        profits have been relatively high since 2009 because there is very very little reinvestment.
        Adjust for that and profits are actually at an all time low – not high.

        In fact we have been in the midst of a capital strike for nearly a decade.
        Government policies have made investment unattractive. This has funneled money towards government bonds – lowering interest rates – making investment even less attractive.

        We are actually in a very dangerous trap of governments making.
        Should the economy actually get started – investment will increase – profits will decrease – because more money will be invested for the future, and interest rates will rise.
        And that will rapidly put government in an incredible bind, a few percent increase in the rates for government bonds would double our deficit.

        BTW profits as percent of revenues or as a percent of GDP are not high.

        That BTW should not be that surprising.

        As I have said before, any business making a profit beyond what is justified by risk will draw competition and investment like flies until the balance is restored.

        The laws of supply and demand are immutable, they apply to profits and investment just lake wages and all other prices.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 12:23 pm

        If you beleive that the people who run business are either inherently evil or atleast prone to evil – why would those in government be inherently better ?

        “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

        To whatever extent each of us beleives that businesses are motivated by evil. that same problem must be true to the same of greater extent in government.

        I am concerned about what an evil business person might do.

        I am terrified by what evil can and is done through government.

        I am also shocked that when government is caught doing vile things those on the left either dismiss it. blame it on the right, or push the idiocy that all would be fine if we just had better leaders.

        Whether it is flipping burgers at McD’s, Managing a multinational company or governing, we must make do with people as they are.

        McD’s must make its franchises work with the people that it can actually hire – not mythically perfect people who are high skilled, punctual, polite, and low wage.

        Whatever the skills necessary to get elected to office or hired as a bureaucrat in this country – competence and trustworthyness are not among those.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 12:26 pm

        The profits of mom and pop organizations are far higher as a percentage than multinationals.
        The risk of mom and pops is far higher and as I keep saying the rate of return on an investment must be proportional to risk.

      • April 14, 2017 11:33 pm

        Ron, your comment makes me think of the sacrifices that our parents made, and how the concept of sacrifice has been degraded.

        “Having it all” is the greater value in Western society today.

      • April 15, 2017 8:11 am

        “I suspect most of them are working for small mom and pop businesses that are barely making a profit themselves due to high regulations and taxes on their businesses.” Poppycock. They are not making the money they would because over half the population does not have enough money to spend. When more is spent, more can be made.

        “Having it all” is the greater value in Western society today. – Working class people would like enough money just to pay the basic bills at this point. I know I would. That too is nonsense.

        Do government regulation need to change? They sure as hell do. But they will never change under conservatives. Conservatives WANT high unemployment, which leads to low pay. They are quite content with the economy the way it is. They want the money to stay at the top, where they can control things.

        There are comments all the time in this thread about the laziness of today’s younger people, and how they are not sacrificing enough. What rot. Those of us born in the 60s are among the “older” of the young people you are talking about. I made sacrifices, along with my parents for a degree that hasn’t paid off. I’ve worked hard and stayed broke. And not for the stupid reasons conservatives always give – I’ve never owned a fancy car, never taken a vacation abroad (or anywhere fancy – limited to going where I know people already to save on hotel rooms.) The last 6 years I’ve been limited to overnight camping for the most part. I’ve had cable tv for 4 years of my adult life. I just got a smartphone this year, more for work than because I wanted one. I’ve only collected retirement during the years I taught full time (and one other job) so a total of about 13 years. The interest paid has never been what my parents & grandparents got.

        And you have to remember our children are the Millennials you love to disparage. They have been watching what happened to their parents. What reason have we given them to work hard? The only people it pays off for are those at the top.

        And because working class people keep listening to conservative “media” and their constant BS, I’m afraid we are stuck for many years to come. “Left” ideas that help the working class simply cannot afford the media that would reach enough people. The country has been gerrymander so badly that we may never get to vote in people who would fight for us again in my life time. Those under 30 that listen to me are always surprised that my ideas are sensible…because out here they hear only lock step conservative extremism. “Abortion must be outlawed!” instead of “Prevention!” “Millennials are lazy!” instead of “wages have gone down for 40 years”. Sadly, they talk about their own generation as badly as adults do.

        It is one thing to work hard and get ahead. It is quite another to work hard and still have a bare minimum existence. I’ve been doing it for 15 years now.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 1:42 pm

        You have really bizarre ideas. I am not a conservative.
        But I do not see any evidence that conservatives want what you claim.

        Unemployment was nearly 11% at the end of Carters presidency.
        It was below 6 at the end of Reagan’s
        Black unemployment was above 20%, and ended below 10%.
        If Reagan and conservatives wanted high unemployment – he failed
        At the start of Reagan’s presidency Labor force participation was 64% at the end it was 66.5%
        The economy we have now is the economy the left wants.
        Trump – if you are identifying him as conservative – clearly wants and promised a different one.
        We will see whether he can deliver.
        If he does not – maybe you have a point.
        But if he does, then you need to explain why Trump was able to do what Obama was not.

        I think you are completely wrong regarding the economy.
        It is progressives that want the economy we have now.
        The left wants the rich to have less – even if that means all of us are poorer.
        The left wants all of us to be equal in our misery.
        I do not care much if some of us are way more prosperous than others – so long as nearly all of us prosper.

        I do not recall claiming anyone was lazy – not kids, not the poor.
        Frankly I do not care whether people work to get ahead or not.
        Freedom means the freedom to be what others might call “lazy”.

        I do think and have argued that people get – byt whatever measure you wish, what they pursue. If what you value is money and you chase after money doggedly, you will get it.
        That BTW does not mean those who do not have as much money as you are lazy.
        It means they valued other things and did not work so hard specifically for money.

        What I have a problem with is people whining that they or others are entitled to something they will not bother to make an effort to get.

        You are free to choose whatever values you want. Getting them is your job.
        Whining is not an answer.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 1:49 pm

        You have already said you threw away two teaching jobs over football.

        That is a choice you are free to make – but you are not free to have a world where your choices have no consequences.

        If money is what you value – there are plenty fo ways to do better than you have.
        I have shown you some – but there are many more.

        But I do not think that money is actually what you value.
        I think that is self evident from the fact that you do not take the opportunities to get it.
        That does not make you lazy. But it does make the fact that you do not have much money a natural consequence of your relatively low value of it compared to other things.
        What I see you as whining about is that you have freely made your own choices form those that were available to you, and you wish there had been a different result.
        Where you could magically have more money without having to strive for it.

        Regardless, please note who here has called any others lazy ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 1:50 pm

        Conservative media !? – right. And the moon is made of green cheese.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 2:12 pm

        Oh, god not the stupid gerrymandering argument.

        Here is a map of US counties and how they voted.

        Absent a forced relocation program moving democrats to suburban and rural communities how exactly is it that you play on creating political districts that do not result in republicans controlling things.

        There are 52 republican senators and 48 democrats. Any Senate “gerrymandering” was done by our founders two centuries ago.

        According to Gallop 11 states are solid democrat, 3 lean democrat. 8 lean GOP and 12 are solid GOP for a GOP net of +6 – that should result in 44 democratic senators and 56 republicans.

        States have elected 34 republican governors, and 1 independent and 15 democrats.
        Again any gerrymandering was done two centuries ago.
        Republicans control 31 state senates and 1 unicameral legislature. There is 1 tie, and 3 coalition senates. with 14 democratic Senates.
        There are 31 GOP state houses. and 17 Democratic.
        There is only one state where democrats control most of the rest of the state offices but republics control the House of representatives for that state. That would be colorado were republicans have a one seat advantage.

        Wisconsin is the only state where republicans control much of the state and federal government positions, but the population leans (very very slightly) democratic.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 1:24 pm

        For generations each generation is getting slightly more narcissistic than the previous generation.

        I think it was true of my parents compared to their parents, it was true of mine compared to my parents – even if I hope it was not true of myself, it is true of my own children in comparison to their parents – and it is much worse in their peers.

        Social scientists have observed the same trend.

        I beleive it has been ongoing even further back than I have described.

        I beleive it is a consequence of the fact that each generation is better off than the last.
        That each generation sees things the prior generation had to fight for as rights.

      • April 15, 2017 9:37 am

        Moogie, what do you think will happen when left wing politicians that you favor, and who use the rhetoric that you prefer, are back in power? We don’t have to go too far back to see what it might be like, since the last time there was a progressive president with a progressive Congress was 2009-2010. And what did they do?

        Did they enact the “living wage” so favored by Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren (both very rich, by the way, and not through “working hard”)?
        Nope. They spent an entire year and a half enacting a government takeover of the healthcare system ( which largely benefited big insurance and big pharma and raised taxes) that is now imploding, and an economic “stimulus” that was, in reality, a bailout for big unions. Did they help people like you? Did they

        We go back and forth between GOP and Dems and still nothing important gets solved. It’s time to look at the two parties as fundamentally the same, only with different rhetoric. Did Bernie run third party, after he was cheated out of the Democrat nomination? No, he was bought off with a $600,000 new vacation home (his 3rd home, btw) and we haven’t heard a peep from him.
        Has Trump drained the swamp? Hardly. I’m giving him more time, but, increasingly, it seems as if he’s being “moderated” by more establishment voices in his administration, and that means that his populist economic agenda will likely be sidelined.

        Government doesn’t care about you. It doesn’t care about me. The more government tries to “help” the more it mucks things up. Reagan was right when he said that “the most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 2:45 pm

        alot to agree with.

      • Roby permalink
        April 15, 2017 9:45 am

        “And because working class people keep listening to conservative “media” and their constant BS, I’m afraid we are stuck for many years to come. “Left” ideas that help the working class simply cannot afford the media that would reach enough people.”

        Ah the media, now its too conservative, there is another big group of people who think its liberal.

        Moogie you are Dave’s mirror image. Dave bitterly rants about liberals and the left and you bitterly rant about conservatives.

        I don’t see that either of you have any realistic answers and you both have highly distorted views of the problems, their causes and their solutions. Listening to you and Dave debate is remarkable. You are both so passionately wrong.

        There is no 50% of the population that can’t buy anything. If so, Walmart would close. THey are doing bang up business. Armed with a badly described problem you will find only bad solutions.

        Now if you wanted to say that there is a part of the population that can’t buy a house and is trapped all life renting and never accumulates any wealth (savings, etc.) you would have something worth talking about, thinking about.

        You and Dave both give me an enormous headache.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 3:01 pm

        I rant about the left at the moment because they are the most dangerous threat to the country.

        I would not call Trump “conservative” though alot of people do.
        I think I have been clear that several of his policies are stupid and offend me deeply.

        Frankly, I am not sure exactly what conservative means anymore.

        The culture wars appear to be over – and though the left was wrong on the solutions, they are right on the problem, while the right was just wrong.

        Should things turn and issues like actual equal rights for various minorities become a real serious problem again – you will find me attacking the right.

        I am deeply opposed to Sessions and what he is doing in DOJ regarding policing.

        Though I am disppointed in Obama and the left because there was a real opportunity for reform and Obama wasted it on temporary racial nonsense rather than striving for real and permanent change.

        Now Sessions is undoing what Obama did, which fixated on intent rather than action.

        Roby If you think I am wrong about something I would be happy to debate it – with facts, logic and reason.

        Home ownership in the US has historically been about 64%.
        It spiked to 65% in the 70’s before interest rates drove it back down.

        Starting in the 90’s both parties conspired and drove it up to 69% in 2006
        that would be the “housing bubble”
        That bursting lead to the great recession.

        I am not opposed to seeing higher rates of home ownership in the US – particularly for the working class. I think little makes us more responsible that figuring out how to hold onto a home.

        But I am vigorously opposed to government trying to foster home ownership.
        As I am opposed to government trying to nudge us into changing our minds about anything we might want.

        If the free market – without outside tinkering figures out how to persuade more people to own homes – that will be a sustainable change.
        If it is done from the outside it is dangerous and fragile and ultimately destructive.

        Regardless at the moment home ownership is about 65% – that is above the historical average.

      • Roby permalink
        April 15, 2017 9:58 am

        Boy, you two think you have it rough. Try being a moderate. All the political energy in the country is found in the warring right and left fanatics selling their distorted problems and dumb answers, throwing dung at each other. That’s what a moderate has to listen to, day in and day out. I could be very bitter too, but its a waste of my life. Its a beautiful day, I’m going out and enjoy it and leave Moogie and Dave, two broken records, to expound their ideological war to each other!

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 7:29 pm

        If handymen are in actual demand – then there wages will be high – unless supply is also very high.

        Anything there is a shortage of that we actually value will comand a high price – until there is no longer a shortage.

        That is the law of supply and demand. It is immutable.

        contra your claims, it has not failed, but it does punish the stupidity of the left when it arrogantly thinks it can circumvent it.

        BTW I have very little trouble finding “handymen”.
        I have trouble affording them.

        If you know mechanics, plumbers etc – barely getting by – you have not hired a plumber recently.

        Police and firemen are unbeleivably well paid for a job that does nto require a college education.

        Teachers are well paid for a job that does not come close to requiring the 2200 hours per year that most of us work and the almost 3000 that most actual professionals work.

        The average welder makes 40K/year The top 10% of welders make 61K/year that is again pretty good for a job that requires no college.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 7:34 pm

        You keep trying to tell everyone else what they think.

        While I am not conservative – you still think that the right media is my source for everything.

        You also seem to think that I think anyone who is not middle class is lazy.

        I would suggest rereading my remarks.

        There is an enormous difference between people tend to get what they choose and they are lazy.

        I do not as an example know whether you are “lazy” or not – and I do not really care.

        I do know that if your objective is more money – you have lots of options.
        But I have zero problem with your choosing not to pursue them
        But I have big problems with your whining that you are not better off when if that is what you want that choice is available to you.

        What I really beleive specifically related to you, is that you are unhappy – and that you choose to be unhappy. I grasp that can be an appealing rut to be in. I have been there myself.
        But you do not get to blame everyone else for it.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 7:47 pm

        You still do not understand money.

        I would sugest another book to you.

        Hernado De Soto’s “The mystery of Capitalism:Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere else”

        A clue. I keep saying again and again,

        standard of living rises when we produce more value with less human effort.

        Is the word “money” in that sentence anywhere ?

        Not only doesn’t it matter how much “money’ the super rich accumulate, in general the rest of us are better off the more money the super rich have.

        Money is acquire by exchanging actual wealth for it.
        There is no means for the uber rich to accumulate silo’s of money – without creating far greater value for the rest of us.

        The more money the uber rich have – the more actual wealth the rest of us have.

        I would also refer you to Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations.

        250 years ago Smith figured the same thing out.

        In that era “gold” was the penultimate money.

        Over the course of 3 centuries Spain accumulated vast amounts of gold and silver.
        And while doing so went from the worlds only super power to a minor eurpoean nation.

        The more gold and silver they accumulated the WORSE off they got.
        One of the premises of WON is that the accumulation of gold and silver was the CAUSE of spains decline. Why ? Because money is not wealth. It has value because it can be converted to wealth – but the objective is still wealth, not money.
        Adn again the means of accumulating gobs and gobs of money is to create actual wealth for others.

        For every $ that Warren Buffett or Bill Gates possesses someone else has atleast a $ worth of actual wealth.

        This is also why government fails. Because it is NOT true that for every $ that govenrment has someone else must have atleast a $ of actual wealth.
        Government confiscates money. It does not have to produce value to acquire it.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 15, 2017 7:51 pm

        here is how peoples ability to afford things has changed over the past 50, 100 years.
        Again please tell me why this is not exactly what we would want to happen over time ?
        Please tell me why this does not mean that we are better off rather than worse.
        Or would you rather go back to spending nearly 50% of what you earn for housing that is far crappier than today.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 15, 2017 7:00 pm

      To be clear the only problem I see that we have with income regarding the poor – is that stupid laws like minimum wage laws decrease the employment of the least skilled.

      That is it. The free market – left actually free, will always seek to make the best use – and that means the best paid use of whatever labor is available.

      All available labor will always be free to work to increase its skill level – and therefore the price it can command.

      Freedom does NOT mean that everyone will get the maximum wages they possibly can.
      People will always be free to choose less than their highest paid use.
      And that is a GOOD thing not a bad.

      I choose to make less by living where and how I do.
      I am conscious of that. but it is a choice not something forced on me.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 15, 2017 7:11 pm

      While individuals are responsible for their own lives – the free market is not made solely of individuals seeking employment.

      Those who need labor are the other side of the market.
      Contra what you claimed I would say – much training is done by or through employers – not employees.

      There are myriads of companies like Catepilar that are short on welders, or milling machine operators or ….

      These fund programs to produce people with the skills they need.

      Businesses do not depend on magic to assure that people will choose to pursue the skills they need. They rely on incentives – higher wages or subsidizing training programs.

      I have said people are free to make their own choices – and others are free to offer them incentives to choose in the way they would prefer.

      I am doing more architectural work today than I was in the past decade.
      I do not enjoy it as much. It does not pay quite as well, but it is easier for me to get the contract work that I want in that area than in embedded software.

      So I am responding to incentives.
      Because among other things I like going to dinner and theater with my wife, or being able to fix my car when it breaks down, or being able to pay my mortgage.

      So I sometimes do things that I would prefer less because they get me other things I prefer more.

      That works both ways. Unless I am bankrupt – the next time a tenant leaves me an apartment full of bags full of used baby diapers – I will pay someone else to dispose of them.

      Further there are lots of tasks around my home that I do not like, if I can get enough work – and if someone else will do them at a price I will choose to afford – I will pay them rather than do those myself.

      And that is what we want. Each of us should be seeking to do as much o what we love the most, and pays the most as possible, and hiring others to do what we dislike.

      We can not always acheive that. Government interference makes that worse not better.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 15, 2017 7:20 pm

      We here more technical training because that is what business needs.

      I have no problems with people wanting to work with their hands.

      But the jobs we will have are those producing the things people want and need.

      If you want more jobs for people making custom furniture – you need to change what people want.

      The changes over time are quite interesting. I deliberately chose embedded software over web development about 10 years ago – I am very good at software of anykind – just as there are other things – like human languages that I suck at.
      But I found myself competing with web developers from the Ukraine and India for work at a couple of dollars a day. I figured that embedded software developement would be harder,. better paying and less competive. Mostly that has proved true.
      But over the same time period – web development has shifted back to the US.
      Starting salaried for people who are not very good are in the upper 5 figures.
      People with talent are very commonly in six figures.
      While there are far fewer people who can do embedded development, there is actually far more jobs for web developers – as a result pay is high for work I consider relatively easy.

      Regardless – left alone the market will strive to find the highest use for ALL labor – regardless of what its skills are.

      That does not means everyone will get the job they want. It does not even mean they will get the one they are personally best at.

      The big problem with government interference in the job market is that it makes it harder for no skill and low skill workers to get started so that they can build their value and skill.

  33. Roby permalink
    April 15, 2017 10:07 am

    “Government doesn’t care about you. It doesn’t care about me. The more government tries to “help” the more it mucks things up.”

    And you too Priscilla. Not moderate. That just Dave’s basic views stated less fanatically. I protest. The CETA program Helped me and many others! Lots of government does work no matter what you and Dave believe. Take away foods stamps, the quintessential government trying to help and you will soon learn that it makes life possible for both many elderly and many military families. Being able to say that Nobody starves in America is worth feeding some moochers as well.

    • April 15, 2017 11:42 am

      Fair enough. I’m not advocating the end of government, and I absolutely believe in safety nets for those who are in dire straits (not the rock group, though).

      What I am against is the continued growth of government. And the interference of government into the private sector, not to mention the dangerous intrusion into the private lives of private citizens. (This is a whole other topic, but I’ll say, for the record, that I have nothing to hide, and I am not against the collection of meta data for national security purposes, provided that a warrant is obtained).

      Prior to the passage of Obamacare, studies showed that about 85% of Americans were generally satisfied with the healthcare system. But rather than address the concerns of the 15% for whom it was not working, the government chose a massive overhaul of the entire system, and that decision has caused havoc, not only in the healthcare sector, but throughout the political world. That’s what I’m talking about.

      The Constitution was written specifically to restrict and limit the power of the federal government. In certain areas, the President and Congress have broad powers. Controlling access to healthcare is not one of them. Nor is mandating living wages.

      • April 15, 2017 11:53 am

        And, government does not care about individuals. It’s not meant to care ~ individuals have to care for themselves. And try their damndest to make sure that they care for their fellow citizens in the best way that they can ~ even if that just means driving safely, being charitable, etc. That’s what I meant in my response to Moogie.

        Voting for Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders may change some things. But it won’t change the essential truth that more government will generally muck things up. If that makes me immoderate, well, I guess the whole definition of moderate has changed……..

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 3:15 pm

        I am hard pressed to say I beleive in government safetynets at all.
        The evidence – despite Robbies assertion is that the do not work.
        That the losers significantly outnumber the winners.
        And by losers I do not mean rich people with less money.

        Regardless, the body of people in “dire straites” in the US today is tiny to the point of non-existance.

        Finally, I have no problem with helping people.
        I am opposed to GOVERNMENT helping people.
        It is not its job. It is not something it is good at.
        I do nto think private charity does it well – though private charity is perfectly fine with me.
        But government does charity abysmally.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 16, 2017 3:11 pm

      Roby, I do not doubt that CETA helped you. Nor that it helped some others.

      As I have noted before if you spend $4T some good must come of it.
      But an awful lot of bad comes too.

      Must we continue to fund every single govenrment program that has ever benefited a handful of people regardless of the cost ?

      There have been myriads of studies of job training programs over the years – even the Danes studied their programs.

      I do not beleive a single study has ever found a net benefit.

      The Danes as an example discovered that increased spending on training in one region resulted in people in that region getting more jobs – but it found that there were losses in the other regions exactly equal to the gains.
      All that really changed was who got the jobs. Not how many jobs there were.

      The US studies have nearly unequivocally found that govenrment job training programs on the WHOLE make those participating in the LESS able to get a job.

      Clearly there are individual exceptions.

      We had something similar with Section 8.

      The original section 8 Experiment was carried out at Cabrini Green.
      The federal govenrment brought in the best administrators, the best social workers, the best psychologists and they studied applicants and picked those they thought would benefit the most.

      And the pilot program was an unbeleivable success.

      Then they applied it nationwide.

      Now ordinary administrators, and ordinary social workers were working with ordinary poor people and what we are finding is Section 8 is destroying the communities of the working poor.

      It is litterally relocating drug dealers and gangs from housing projects into successful working class minority neighborhoods and destroying them.

  34. April 15, 2017 8:10 pm

    “Moogie is unhappy with her life.”

    Typical conservative hogwash. Because I fight to right the wrongs of society/government, I am unhappy with my life. What baloney.

    I am angry at what has been done to the working class since 1980 when Reagan took over and insisted on the “trickle down theory” which has failed to trickle down … destroying the working/middle class. That is what has happened – the working class is no longer middle class. And conservative policies of “cheap labor” are what got us here. There can be no such thing as cheap labor – for you cannot have a robust economy with most people not earning good wages. Again, that is why we had such a huge middle class after WWII. Yes, everyone was ready to buy goods…but they had money to buy them!!! If they hadn’t, the economy wouldn’t have flourished!

    The lies that you tell in this thread are ungodly, and I just thank GOD you don’t claim to be a “Christian” like so many conservatives. You deny Income Inequality. You deny that some people come from more fortunate circumstances than others. You deny some are more talented/gifted than others. You quote news sources that perpetuate these lies. I’m sure you deny that racism, sexism, classism have anything to do with a person’s status in life. And although we have not discussed it, I’m sure you would claim there is no such thing as “luck”.

    You are one of those hypocritical people that no matter what happens, it is the individuals fault that they don’t “succeed”. No matter how many advantages you have other others, it is always you amazing character that got you where you are. I’ve lost count of the number of arrogant conservatives like you I have met, and it still never ceases to flabbergast me that you can be so oblivious to the real world. Clueless, not matter how hard it beats at your door.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 16, 2017 4:21 pm

      My appraisal of your happiness is based on your own posts.

      Regardless, how would you interpret “I worked hard all my life and have nothing to show” ?

      Since 1980 the wealth of every quintile has doubled – your angry about that ?

      Technically you can not destroy a quintile – 20% of us will always be in the bottom quintile.
      20% in the next, …

      What has happened is that all the quintiles have gotten wider.
      That means the range from the bottom income to the top income is greater in each quintile.
      Which means the average income for each quintile is higher.

      The curve is also overall flatter and longer.

      I can not conceive that there is something different you would want had you deliberately chosen.

      Regardless you continue to fixate on money.

      It is not the wage you are paid that matters, but what you can buy for that wage.

      Someone earning the minimum wage can buy more than double what they could in 1980.

      Therefore if the MW was liveable in 1980 it is even more liveable today.

      Raising the MW will not accomplish what you want.
      But it will result in a long chain of economic adjustments that will likely leave the very people you are trying to help worse off than before.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 16, 2017 4:27 pm

      If you are going to call someone a liar you had better be prepared to back it up.

      When you call someone else a liar – you commit to “one” of the two of you being of low moral character.

      You are making the accusation. The burden of proof is on you.

      Please identify any fact I have asserted that is false.
      I will be happy to prove otherwise.

      I go to a great deal of effort to get my facts right.

      If those on the left would only do the same there would be no argument.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 16, 2017 4:44 pm

      I do not “deny income inequality” I reject the stupid claims the left makes regarding income that they call “income inequality”.

      I do nto deny that we are not equal.
      I have quite strongly asserted it repeatedly.
      Our society would not work if we were.
      Regardless, it is what it is and we must accept it.

      I do not deny that some get a better start than others.

      I do deny that I or my children have any consequential advantage as a consequence of our parents.

      I do not deny that they are not “equal”. No one is equal.
      I doubt your daughter as as good at all things medical as mine,
      or your son is as good at all things musical.

      I could be wrong, but I would be surprised.

      I have constantly asserted that some people are smarter, some people are more handsome, some people are more talented, some people are more ambitious.

      But that is mostly genetics.

      Are you trying to claim I gave my adopted kids better genes than you gave your foster kids ?
      Isn’t that a kind of lunatic claim ?

      I do not recall citing “news sources”, most of what I link to are economic papers, or charts and graphs usually of govenrment data.

      Myriads of factors effect status.

      I did a long post on how we divide the world into our tribe and others.
      We do so by race, by nationality, by income, by religion.
      It is a human trait as old as homosapiens.

      Of course there is such a thing as luck.

      How is that relevant ?

      “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
      Attributed to Thomas Jefferson.

      Regardless, lightening strikes.

      It is not governments role to fix our relative luck, that is not a possible task.

      At the end this all seems to be about your unhappiness.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 16, 2017 4:49 pm

      The only one seeking to lay blame is you.

      I have said over and over. I have no problem with people making whatever choices they wish.
      But those choices come with consequences.

      I absolutely know that choices I have made mean that my income is much lower.
      I am not whining that I should be as well paid out in the country on the east coast, as I would be in SF or Seattle.

      I have a house that I did not pay much for. I would have had to pay 3 times as much for a hovel in SF.

      I have a fantastic view of the woods from my office.
      I would not have that in a cubicle in Seattle.

      But I would have more income.

      That is life. I made my choices. Sure having everything – whatever that is would be nice.
      But I am happy.

      You do not seem to be in a much different position – except you are not happy.
      I am sorry, but no one but you can fix that.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 16, 2017 4:53 pm

      I have two criticisms of you:

      You immorally wish to use force to impose your will on the rest of us.
      That thread runs through most all your ideology.

      I likely share most of your values, just not your willingness to impose them by force.

      The other is that you keep saying that you want to make more, but you can’t,
      and I have pointed out that you can.

      You are not obligated to do so.
      But I am not interested in whining about something in your life you can change.

      Accept things as they are or change them. Those are your choices.

      I guess you can whine and blame others.
      But I am not taking the blame for what you are free to change.

  35. dduck12 permalink
    April 15, 2017 9:37 pm

    Priscilla: No need to waste a lot of pixels on what a “moderate” is, we have hashed it out many times, with nice short and concise comments, BTW (sigh).
    https://newmoderate.com/2009/10/23/moderate-centrist-middle-of-the-road-whats-in-a-name/
    and on numerous other TNM threads. It is still like nailing Jello to the wall.

    Roby, I think there are more splits than lefties, righties and we sanctimonious “moderates”. Things (politics, economy, foreign policy, environment, and more) are too complicated (and FU) to have three simple philosophies; we are dealing with three dimensional chess, at least I feel that way (age).
    I agree with you that Moogie vs dhlii are mirror images of each other, but do these debates start out with softer positions and then the verbal trenches get dug and gas attacks begin, so they talk right past each other (just like in politics).

    • April 16, 2017 9:27 am

      I find it humorous that ya’ll seem to think I’m communist (or actually today its socialist). It shows how far right this country leans. I read somewhere that compared to European countries, even our lefties are righties. Seems true to me. Maybe I should explain why my positions are moderate.

      Minimum wage: When you are bidding on something, you don’t start with what you want – you start higher. So start at $15, we’ll be lucky to get $10. I will be very surprised if we even get $9. This is the second longest period in the history of the minimum wage to go without being raised, and prices of everything else has risen dramatically in the last 8 years. The longest period was from 1981-1990 another time of great conservative rule when it sucked to be a working person.

      https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/chart.htm

      It is true what Roby says, every time we write laws the rich come up with a way to circumvent them. That is how greedy they are. There should be punishment for circumventing the intent of the law. Or laws to encourage moral behavior. Remember the list of working condition changes I wrote about, brought on by “liberals”? Business owners have fought every single one of them. They worked adults & children 12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. They paid worse starvation wages than today. We have been pounded by the conservative (business owner) mantras since 1980, because they wanted to return to those earlier times of Robber Barons. This is exactly what they have done to the US; returned us to those days. But I give them credit they smartly brought in abortion, racism, gays – anything to keep working class people voting against their own economic interests. This was deliberate, no doubt about it.

      Poor Republicans around here are so brainwashed you even mention raising the minimum wage they start crying that prices will go up, as they have been conditioned to do. Nevermind prices have already been going up drastically since ’07, without a corresponding rise in the minimum wage. If conservatives hear that you’ve said there should be a raise in the MW, they start shouting “you want money redistribution” which they equate to not working/ or not working hard, and the suckers fall for it. Nevermind that the US production has more than doubled in the last 40 years, without wages doubling. Nevermind that CEO are paid obscenely. These crazy folks keep right on saying they are “conservatives” and voting likewise. Nevermind economic books are written by the wealthy for the wealthy and don’t even mention working class people.

      Face it, the far right has had us over a barrel since 1986 when they repealed the Fairness Doctrine. Far right “media”, which will always have more money than left media because it is owned by wealthy business interests has been brain washing working class folks for 30 years. If the election of Trump does nothing more than finally get these people to see how badly they have been screwed by far right policies…then it will be worth it.

      Good grief people, I’ve never said people should all be paid the same, or that I don’t require people to work (you should have heard my students & foster kids complain), or that the state should run everything, or we should send everyone to live in a kibbutz. But the big lies on the right about everyone being lazy, or anything that helps working people is “socialism” and therefore evil, and that income is just fine – must stop. These lies are swallowed by the people they are hurting the most and have killed our economy.

      • Roby permalink
        April 16, 2017 10:56 am

        “ya’ll seem to think I’m communist (or actually today its socialist.”

        Only no one said that. You seem to live in a world of exaggerations.

        “It is true what Roby says, every time we write laws the rich come up with a way to circumvent them. That is how greedy they are. There should be punishment for circumventing the intent of the law. Or laws to encourage moral behavior.”

        Only no such laws are possible. That is not how law works. In writing law you have an intention. You try to put it into words so that your intention is carried out. For anything more than very simple intentions its very difficult. You wind up affecting many people you weren’t trying to affect and not affecting many people you were trying to effect. You cannot write into the law that people can’t do perfectly legal things to evade it or they will be punished. That is a fantasy. Just wasting your words venting your anger with the rich.

        What you are invoking is fairy dust, that an ideal law can be written to exactly and only capture the greedy rich and they will have no escape, no going overseas, no robots, no closing the business. Of course these laws will capture just business owners period, whether they are the “greedy rich” or not. Not everyone by a long shot who owns a business is rich. Not all are ungenerous. If you actually owned a business you’d have an entirely different perspective. Business can actually fail in the real world.

        Raise the Minimum wage to 9, fine, it may help some people, but its not going to carry out the idea of the left that every job will pay a person enough to live comfortably. Raise it to 12 and the problem won’t be prices rising, it will be millions of jobs lost. My wife’s job, which she actually loves, providing “life enrichment” in a nursing home, might well be among those lost jobs.

        I am sure that you will be sure that all those jobs are perfectly safe and I have simply been brainwashed by conservative propaganda. And I think that really don’t understand economics.

        If gave you a practical task that you did not have the knowledge to carry out you would know that you could not do it. Here is a car, the engine needs a camshaft, replace it. You’d know that you don’t know how. But give you ( and tens of millions of other people on the right and left) a gigantic economic problem whose solution has eluded the world in hundreds of different societies forever, how to have an egalitarian society with as few rich as possible and no truly poor, and you guys are sure you know the simple answer, just defeat the evil conservative (liberals) and society will be wonderfully improved.

        Its naive. You (and tens of millions) are putting tremendous energy into pursuing the philosophers stone, which does not exist.

        Personally I have more moderate goals, stopping conservatives from dismantling my world, and stopping liberals from putting their elaborate fantasies that would bankrupt us far more quickly than they would save us, into being.

        trump has not been able to do what he said he was going to do so easily as his followers imagined, and if Bernie or Liz or someone similar gets elected, the same would occur.

        Our political life revolves around the fantasies of naive activists.

      • April 16, 2017 3:26 pm

        All I know for sure is 2 things – 1) in this country when working people were paid well, the economy worked far far far better, even for the rich. They were still rich, just not AS rich.
        2) Other countries who do not have the Income Inequality we do have a healthier economy, they are not severely divided as we are, the have better healthcare than we do and many other indicators that show the USA is no longer number one in many areas. When you stop listening to the conservative “media” that lies to you to keep the power in the hands of conservatives.

        “Cheap Labor” the mantra of conservatives, was the death of the middle class. We must give up that idea.

      • April 16, 2017 3:52 pm

        MOOGIEMOOGIE>>>HELLO MOOGIE.

        Can you let me know what your thoughts are on the diatribe I have been posting about unfair trade and tax policy.

        You stated:
        ” Other countries who do not have the Income Inequality we do have a healthier economy, ”

        DAMN RIGHT they don’t have the income inequality we have. A couple reasons. CHECK OUT THE TARIFFS GERMANS apply to import goods!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somewhere around 15%. Somewhere on average for most countries. I already posted info on China’s tariffs.

        HOW ABOUT THE Corporate tax rates.
        Canada 15% to 26%
        Denmark 22%
        Finland 20%
        Germany 29%
        Ireland 12.5%
        United Kingdom 19.5%

        I know you will not respond, but maybe you are reading some of what I post and not just Dave’s arguments he post.

        Or is it you don’t have a response for F’ed up government trade agreements and tax policies that have resulted in most of the economic difficulties we face. Is that because both the democrats you support and the conservatives in congress, as well as presidents, have supported the trade agreements and tax policies that have made it so clear that to maximize corporate income you are so against, they’ve been moved overseas.

        Do you think for just one moment if we lowered that tax rate and put tariffs on imported goods that just maybe other “friendly” countries would decide that tariffs on American goods was bad and then we could remove them from their imports to America? Would that not help increase production in America again?

      • April 16, 2017 5:55 pm

        What is our corporate tax rate…as if any of them pay it…

        Dave writes more than all the rest of us put together…and yes I have gotten so I don’t read much of what he writes. So I probably do overlook other posts when I don’t mean too. Believe it or not I am not around all the time because I do WORK, and May 15 I start back to college to renew my teaching certificate. I have one husband, 5 cats, 3 dogs, one elderly mother, adult kids and grandkids, and friends all over the US, and they all drive me crazy, lol.

        I am all for raising tariffs, taxes, whatever if it will bring jobs back. But looking at the big picture, I believe it is immoral to pay anyone that works a 40 week a wage they can’t live on. As long as we allow corporations to screw working people in any country, corporations will just pack up and move to the next piss-poor country that is desperate. My understanding is they are moving from China to Vietnam now.

        I’m just throwing numbers out here – but I suspect during the years the middle class was at its best corporations only kept 50% of the profits. The rest was wisely spent on good wages, benefits, training, taxes for infrastructure ect. We were a much healthier and smarter and richer country then.

        The key to world wide prosperity is good wages. Henry Ford proved that. We proved that in this country after WWII. Yes, were starving to buy goods, but we had the money to buy them!! As long as you keep listening to the the conservative mantras working people will continue to suffer, and so will the economy. I did not say to go to the other extreme…which seems so natural in this country. Is this a human problem or an American problem? (going to extremes that is)

      • April 16, 2017 8:41 pm

        Our effective tax rate is 35%, but like you say, none of them pay that much.

        I tried to find any web site that showed what percent of total revenues after direct expenses corporations generate are actually taxed. I could not find one.

        One of the main reasons is so much of the revenues generated by US corporations are generated by their foreign subsidiaries where they are taxed at that countries tax rate. Those funds are reported on the parent corporations income statement, but they never come back into the USA. For instance, Microsoft has $108 billion off shore from foreign revenues and Apple has $91.5 billion. In total there is an estimated 2.5 to 3 trillion dollars held by US corporations overseas due to the tax rates in the US.

        And again, these are there due in large part because taxes are lower and trade agreements make if very profitable to move to a foreign country. Even moving an auto manufacturer a few miles north from Michigan into Ontario Canada where wages are comparable to the US, their corporate tax rate is 26.5% (as reported by Tradingeconomics.com) compared to our 35%. So that saves almost 10% in taxes.

      • April 17, 2017 5:10 am

        I’ve read that in the past when our middle class was the strongest, tax rates were far far higher, esp when we needed to pay for WWII expenses. But if no one pays it anyway, what difference does it make?

        Change the law – you can’t sell your good here until your taxes are paid. Or your business is based here. Whatever.

        Why can other countries find a way to get companies to pay most people enough for living a fruitful, productive life, without living in fear of bankruptcy caused by healthcare, and we can’t?? The greed at the top is just unfathomable. There are no mass numbers of lazy people out there. Just horridly underpaid ones. There is no way Trump would have won without many many many desperate people out there. And I am luckier than most. Until people like Dave see that, we are up a creek. Of course since they were dumb enough to elect so many Republicans based on racist fear, we are screwed for a long time now. This country is so badly gerrymandered, the voters rights so screwed, we are stuck.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 5:52 pm

        More of this rot about the past.

        What is your definition of “strongest” middle class ?

        The size of each class is fixed by definition at 20%.

        During the period you think the middle class was “strongest”
        They were inarguably better than they had been under FDR.

        But they were inarguably much worse off than today.

        Also true was that the income curve was very bell shaped. It had a big hump in the middle.
        Today it is MUCH flatter.

        Unless you are a complete idiot you want the latter not the former.

        Yes there was a correlation between high income tax rates and the BADLY shaped income distribution of the time period you idolize.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 6:04 pm

        In the period that you seem to think was utopia – few of us had health insurance.
        Those that did had “major medical” i.e. insurance that would pay if something really really bad happened to them.
        Healthcare was affordable. US life expectance was 70

        The US bankruptcy rate is inextricably linked to consumer credit – the more easy it has been to get credit, the higher the personal bankruptcy rate has been

        When you say the bankruptcy rate was lower in the past – all that means is that credit was harder to get therefore it was impossible for people to get in over their heads.
        No one would lend them money.

        Actually other companies do not do all that much better than the US at wages.

        The middle class in Europe is 20-30% POORER than in the US. Only one or two small european countries have higher standards of living.

        If the “greed at the top” is the problem – why is it that those other countries you keep idolizing are worse off ?

        You are right Trump would not have won had there not been a large mass of blue collar democrats who beleive that over the past decade they have been screwed by the LEFT.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 6:15 pm

        What I see Moogie is facts – over and over throughtout the world we have tried your nonsense.

        Class warriors of various forms have tried all kinds of permutations of your approach.

        UNIVERSALLY they have failed.

        Did the USSR bury us ? Is it still arround ?
        Cuba ? North Korea ?

        China has gone capitalist, and as a consequence its standard of living skyrocketed

        Socialists in Venezeula have trashed the richest country in south america.

        I know you do not wish to admit that the Nazi’s were socialists.
        But regardless of what you wish to call them they were a WORKERS party.
        All forms of fascism are just another permutation of your nonsense.

        Get a clue – your rot does not work. It makes people worse off not better.

        Another reading (or viewing) recomendation for you
        This is a BBC/PBS special

        You keep pushing this lazy rant.

        Who is calling you or anyone else lazy ?

        I have called you whiny. I have said that you seem to feel entitled to things that you are unwilling to go after.
        Those are not the same as lazy.

        Ah, yes, the racist nonsense.

        I am almost 59. I remember MLK, the race riots. I remember George Wallace.
        I went to college in Georgia in the 70’s .

        No this nation is not perfect on race.
        But we have come a long long way.

        And accusing everyone who does nto share your extremely stupid and destructive ideas of racsism is vile.

        You keep trying to sell MW increases – that is REAL racism.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 7:20 pm

        Absolutely this country is “up a creek”
        We have a regulatory state doing atleast $1T in economic harm each year – compound that and you can double standard of living very quickly.

        We have an entitlement system that is going to bankrupt the country.

        The most serious problems we face are entirely failures of government, and no one on either side is prepared to confront them, and they will only get worse with time.

        We have as a nation – and particularly those on the left lied to people.

        We are not “entitled” to anything.

        We are not “entitled” to a “living wage” or “healthcare” or any of myriads of other promises the left makes.

        Whatever we want we must produce ourselves. If we do not do so ultimately we will not have it. There is no magic that turns a wish into a right.

        When we tell people otherwise – we lie.

        Moogie – you read that and apparently hear “lazy, lazy, lazy”.

        What I wrote is “the left and government lie, lie, lie, and people are seriously harmed by relying on that lie”.

        When a private party makes a promise – particularly a promise to do something in exchange for something else, they can be forced to live up to that promise.

        What do we do when government lies in our name ?

        We have promised people social security that inarguably they can not get.
        We have promised them medicare that inarguably will be impossible to provide.
        PPACA is a similarly failing promise. Fortunately it has died before the scale of the problem it could cause gets to large.

        Regardless, I am not far from receiving benefits I have paid taxes for my entire life.
        I am smart enough to know that had government actually invested what it took from me – it would have no trouble living up to its obligations. I also know that is not going to happen.

        So what is the answer – do I get screwed because people like you have lied ?
        Or do my children get burdened with keeping a promise that never should have been made ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 5:15 pm

        Ron the entire concept of corporate taxes is nonsense.

        One of the reasons I argue for a consumption tax is that ultimately all taxation is a tax on consumption – it is merely a question of how a tax levied elsewhere trickles down to consumption.

        Fundimentally there are only two sane ways to tax:

        Production and consumption.

        They are very very nearly identical.

        Taxes on profit are just plain idiocy.

        You tax things you want less of. In the real world there is little we should want less of, but top among those is profits.

        Profits are what drives the entire economy, that is what assures us that we will forever have more value for less human effort.

      • April 17, 2017 8:45 pm

        Dave I agree with you concerning our tax system. I am in full agreement with a consumption tax on everything and that would eliminate every last stinking exemption, deduction and any other loophole that people and corporations use to get out of paying taxes.

        It should be one anything and everything and that would mean anyone with or without a job (using savings to buy stuff) would pay something. People working for cash in the underground economy would pay. And if you had a W-2 from an employer and you made below some set amount by the government, then they would have a predefined schedule on how much refund you would get at the end of each year. I won’t even go into numbers as that is so far from reality there is no reason to debate numbers.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 18, 2017 2:27 pm

        A pure consumption tax system would entirely eliminate underground employment.
        There would be no W2’s. There would be no reporting of income.

        All there would be was the equivalent of a national sales tax collection system.
        States would still be free to do as they pleased.

        There would be only one significant vehicle for tax evasion – that is “underground sales”.

        We would have to decide how we were going to handle things like craigslist, or direct sales between individuals. there would be a tiny bit of mud, but it would NOT for the most part be something that big companies and the rich could easily take advantage of.

        We tax only the final sale. Though if we wanted we could tax intermediate sales, and then credit that tax back when they were resold – that is the most common way of eliminate the fraud of claiming something is not a final sale. But usually that is a very minor issue, and again not usually the type of tax avoidance the wealthy and big business get into.

        In fact that is one of the big benefits to this type of scheme.
        All or nearly all the tax evasion occurs at the BOTTOM.

        If you sell your lawn mower on craigslist you might be able to avoid taxes.

        First – arguably you paid taxes on it when you bought it and the rule is still supposed to be everything produced is taxed ONCE – that would mean that we do not tax used goods.
        That would eliminate alot of complications and potential tax fraud.

        Further if we are going to have tax fraud – we want it to be individuals at the bottom – who might get away with it, but who do not have the resources to spend thousands to find the loopholes or get the laws changed.

        I suggest dealing with the bottom by exempting the first $X of consumption for each family from taxes.

        That is equivalent to having a zero first tax bracket for the first say $15K of income.

        You impliment this by deciding what the yearly sales tax exemption is.
        If as an example you decide it is 20K/year/family that means you send every family in the country a check from the government of about 300 as their sales tax rebate for the month.
        Everybody gets it – rich, poor, just like the first $x of income is tax exempt.

        Or if you want since FICA is the most regressive tax we have – you provide no rebate – or a smaller rebate and you say the entirety of that sales tax on the first 20K is to fund SS/HI.

        I am going further here, but that means we can change SS.
        We can slowly turn it into a fixed benefit. Everyone gets the same amount – rich/poor whatever. Regardless, you need to destroy the presumption that it is an ordinary retirement plan. That is a significant part of what makes it unsustainable. Because we beleive that we “earned” SS, resistance to adjusting SS is enormous. Further because we beleive SS is a real retirement plan rather than a safetynet – we do not save as much for our own retirement.

        SS is really so wrong in so many ways. It is a horribly economically destructive scheme.

      • April 18, 2017 11:34 pm

        And there would be no IRS as we know it today. Never happen, too many people out of a job. Then more people could complain about the shrinking middle class some more.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 20, 2017 1:24 pm

        There would be no IRS.

        But we could shrink the IRS trivially.
        50% of taxpayers pay about 2% of government revenue – we could completely eliminate taxes on those and shrink the IRS 50%.

      • April 20, 2017 5:13 pm

        Never happen. Same reason. No one ever loses a government job, not ever for incompetence (VA). IRS is here to stay!

      • April 20, 2017 5:14 pm

        Sorry, “not even for incompetence (VA)

      • dhlii permalink
        April 20, 2017 1:25 pm

        I think that unemploying much of the IRS would not cause any political uproar.
        Very very few people look at the IRS positively. Regardless of income or ideology.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 5:25 pm

        I beleive the US is the only country in the world that actually taxes the foreign profits of domestic companies.

        Why don’t other countries – because it is an incredibly stupid thing to do.

        You pay taxes where you produce and sell goods.

        Taxing foreign profits encourages countries to “invert”,
        it also encourages them to keep their money outside the US,
        their is about 2.6T in corporate profits outside the US that is waiting to come back.
        That would be a tremendous economic boost – right now it is a subsidy our country is stupidly giving the rest of the world.

        Sorry Ron this has nothing to do with trade agreements, nor does it have anything to do with off shoring.

        These are profits made by US companies in foreign countries – that is the OPPOSITE of offshoring. That is US companies selling goods and services to other countries.

        There are some small movements to shift some manufacturing to Canada and Mexico.

        But the big movements are back the the US.
        Just about every major car manufacturer in the world has plants in the US.
        I have addressed this before – we are the largest market. We have the best transportation system, the lowest energy costs, the largest pool of skilled labor …..

        What we are NOT doing is building autoplants in the rust belt.
        US manufacturing is booming in places that are more favorable to it.
        Particularly in the south today.

        Boeing is livid – they were foreclosed by the US government from opening plants in the south – but AirBus is free to build new plants there.

        All things like that demonstrate is that it is NEVER possible to “manage” the economy the way the left wants. There will always be something you forgot to take account for.

      • April 17, 2017 8:48 pm

        Boeing built their plant in SC. Was there another that the government stopped?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 18, 2017 2:29 pm

        As I recall not until AFTER Airbus moved to LA.
        After that the politics were untenable.

        Further I beleive Boeing had to scale back its SC plans.

        Regardless, the Federal government interfered – and that should not happen.
        The federal government has no business deciding where a business chooses to locate or grow.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 12:44 pm

        Much of what we are discussing regarding taxes is practical not ideological.

        There is no “conservative” “progressive” or libertarian position on income vs consumption taxes.

        Consumption taxes are less economically disruptive and less prone to government stupidity – but they are not perfect.

        Raising taxes is a STUPID idea. Read Obama’s cheif economis Christine Romer.
        Since you do not want to listen to me.

        She has done work that comes fairly close to demonstrating that US income and corporate taxes are just past the “revenue optimizing maximum” i.e. there is absolutely no way that increasing taxes at this time will increase government revenue.

        But they will harm the economy.
        Again that is not conservative or progressive – though more progressives seem to beleive economic stupidity.

        Further though tax rates are close to the revenue optimizing maximum they are far above the economy optimizing maximum.

        BTW Ford did not “prove” that. The Ford claim is nonsense that is trivially disprovable.

        Ford paid high wages because assembly line work was demanding and turnover was high.
        He paid the rate he had to to keep production up. It has nothing to do with whether his employees could afford his cars.
        No business can survive on sales to its own employees. Only an idiot would propose such nonsense.

        Ford strove to lower the price of his cars – for the same reason the JD Rockefeller who the left hates constantly strove to lower the price of keroscene and the same reason that Walmart sells goods at a 1.5% margin – because higher sales on lower profit margins is higher total profits.

        The key to prosperity has absolutely nothing to do with wages.
        Ultimately we may eliminate human labor entirely – though that is a long way off.

        The ONLY way to prosperity is to produce more value with less human effort.
        That is a tautology.

        You should not be listening to conservatives or progressives.

        You should be getting a clue economically.
        The economy just does not work as you claim.
        And we actually know that.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 12:45 pm

        Something you might find interesting.

        https://www.city-journal.org/html/profit-anti-poverty-15120.html

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 12:03 pm

        Countries with low income inequality (GINI indexes).
        Ukraine
        Slovenia
        Belarus
        Czeck Republic.
        Slovakia
        Khazakstan
        Romania
        Kyrgistan
        Afghanistan
        Moldova
        Albaina
        Iraq
        Pakistan
        Serbia.

        Each of these has lower GINI numbers than Germany – or nearly the entirety of europe.

        GINI index’s are complete and total nonsense.

        You can not meaningfully represent income distribution in a country with a single number.

        I would also note that if you examined graphically the income distribution in the US and compared it to other nations – you would near universally prefer that of the US.

        Moogie might want to take from the top 1%, but she would not want to transform our income curve into that of other nations while doing so – and they come together.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 12:23 pm

        What is terrifying to me is that Trump represents the GOP coopting the idiotic trade ideas of the left on steriods. He is a throw back to the very stupid trade concepts of Pat Buchanon

        There is near universal agreement among economists that Trade is good.
        That is ultimately a major thesis of Adam Smith’s the Wealth of Nations 250 years ago.

        Trade is good even when it is bad. Free trade is such a tremndously good economic idea that it is in any nations interests to drop its trade barriers UNILATERALLY.

        What is wrong with most of our “free trade agreements” is that they are not free trade – they are managed trade. They are usually better than what preceded them but they are never as good as actual free trade.

        I honestly do not know why Trade is so hard for people to get.

        California produces movies and computer software – Nebraska produces grain.
        Should we have tarrifs between the two – do we even look at the “trade surplus or defficits” between states ?

        A trade deficit is ALWAYS balanced by a capital accounts surplus – that is an immutable economic equality. What that means is that nations we have a trade deficit with must invest in our nation. They must buy our bonds, or stocks, or factories.

        The Chinese finance minister was recently asked why they buy US bonds, and why they do not use those as a threat. His answer was that he absolutely hates buying US bonds with China’s trade surplus. But he really has little choice. There is no better investment and regardless our economies are so intrinsically tied that any effort to use our debt to harm the US will harm china exponentially more.
        Even if China did NOT invest its US trade surplus as investment in the US – if it invested in in Europe instead, ultimately the excess US money that flows to China MUST return to the US as investment. It is completely unavoidable. The alternative is that China is giving the US a gift equal to our trade deficit.

        These same things hold true with other trade nonsense such as “dumping”

        If China sells steel to the US below cost – it is giving the citizens of the US a gift equal to the difference between the selling price of the steel and the actual price.
        There is absolutely no reason for anti-dumping laws – unfair trade practices harm the nation with the highest barriers or the greatest subsidies.
        There is no reason for international laws or organizations like WTO to stop stupid nations from harming themselves.

        The same goes for offshoring, or immigration.

        There are only small economic differences between making a product with cheaper foriegn labor or doing so with cheaper immigrant labor. Generally the latter is better for the country as a whole but both are good.

        What people keep missing is that we WANT to shed low value jobs. They hold our standard of living down.

        The ONLY route to a higher standard of living is
        producing greater value with less human effort.

        Anything that does that is largely NET positive.

      • April 17, 2017 1:14 pm

        Why am I having such a hard time getting my point across??????????????

        I never said trade was bad. I said unfair trade agreements are bad!!!!!!!!!!!!

        You say “California produces movies and computer software – Nebraska produces grain.
        Should we have tarrifs between the two – do we even look at the “trade surplus or defficits” between states ?”

        So it is fine that the Chinese can tack on a 30% import fee on Harley Davidson Motorcycles and electronic movies and software, but we allow their cheap ass piss poor quality products sold at Walmart free of any import fees?

        That to me is NOT free trade! I don’t care what the “expert economist” say. Free trade is you send something here free of tariffs, I send something to you free of tariffs. That increases production in both countries. Limiting what we can send to China does not increase to our full potential what we can produce.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 10:04 pm

        The fundimental problem with “bad trade aggrements” is that OUR trade negotiators use US trade agreements as the means to circumvent our normal legislative process.

        Trade agreements are considered treaties and do not need house approval.
        Further “fast track” authority means they get an up-down vote – i.e. they can not be ammended or modified by the senate.

        Further the supreme court treats treaty infringements on rights and on other constitutional provisions more liberally than ordinary legislation.

        This is how we ended up with nearly infinite copyrights.

        Our founders had a very dim view of intellectual property – they thought it a necescary evil. They understood it was NOT real property.

        Trade agreements have turned IP into real property – which it is not.
        Making a disasterous mess.

        Outside of bypassing our normal legislative process – a bad trade agreement is better than no trade agreement.
        But the best trade agreement is to UNILATERALLY drop all trade barriers.

      • April 18, 2017 1:17 pm

        So you keep thinking sending cheap Chinese Sh^1 without tariffs that last 1/2 as long as American made lasted is OK when we can not get our stuff into China under the same rules.

        I will never accept the fact that we are not playing by the same rules. If they want to send their crap over here free from fees, then our cars, motorcycles, makeup and other products should be accepted into their country without fees.

        Buick is shipping the Chinese made Envision SUV and Cadillac is shipping the CT6 back to the USA without duties attached all while china puts such high tariffs on imported cars we can not sell them there.

        http://www.breitbart.com/economics/2016/04/06/bailout-outrage-new-chinese-built-cadillac-coming-gm-showroom-near/

        If Moogie needs a better example of why we are losing high paying jobs and income inequality is growing (from her standpoint) there is no better example than the above article. We bail out an auto company with taxpayer money and then Government Motors sends the jobs to China.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 18, 2017 8:17 pm

        If you do not wish to buy some product for whatever reason – because it is a cheap chinese peice of shit or just because you do not like the store.
        You are free to do so.

        You are not free to decide that others may not buy it.
        You are not free to decide that others must pay more for it because of your assessment of its value.

        The fact that the chinese or others might be stupid enough to harm their own people, does not mean we should reciprocate.

        If your neighbor steals from you the correct response is not to steal from him.

        If you are outraged over buick and Cadillac – don’t buy Buick’s or Cadillac’s or encourage others not to.

        As to you and moogie and examples. I have no interest in a Chinese made cadillac or Buick – or an american made one either.

        But I buy lots of things from china all the time. Often something similar is available from the US, usually for 4-20 times as much. Rarely is the chinese product superior. But it is always a better value – or I would not buy it.

        As an example I work in embedded software. One device I work with frequently is Orange Pi One’s – these are made in China. They are more powerful than the Raspbery Pi – made in the UK, most everything is inferior to the BeagleBone Black or Hummingboard – made in the US. But the oPi1 costs about 11 including shipping. the rPi about 40, the BBB 60 and the HB 120. I can buy 10 opi1’s for the cost of a HB.
        The opi1 had a serious flaw – its documentation is very very poor. It is a very capable product, but without good documentation. Over the past several years the linux community has remedied that, so that orange pi boards now have as good a linux support and pretty much anything else.

        The ability to develop products arround a $11 device that runs linux – and runs it fast and well,
        makes it possible to do things – that I could not do it I had to pay $120 for the device.

        At $11 each I can contemplate having a dozen opi1’s in a house working together to control it. At $120 each for the HB – that is not happening.

        The $11 price also means I can be “wasteful” as a software developer. I do nto have to program as efficiently, I can work faster and less carefully. I do not have to put multiple functions on a single device – that means my clients pay less for my work – and get more value at the same time.

        Regardless, I am not trying to sell you chinese SBC’s – you have to make your own purchasing decisions on your own.

        But I would remind you that we increase standard of living by
        producing more value for lower human effort.

        That sometimes means a cheap product from china.

        So why is it that you seek to deprive people of a higher standard of living ?

        An article I linked to recently noted that Walmart saves the average US family about 2300/year. Walmart makes all of us about $250B better off each year – because we get the same value for less.

        China is now being priced out of the textiles market – several years ago the media was ranting about fires in clothing factories in bangladesh – where they have moved because chinese labor costs are too high. Americans are not saving even more on their jeans and clothing, because china has become too expensive to manufacture them and production moved elsewhere.

        But the consequence of this is US standard of living rising AND chinese standard of living rising AND that in Bangladesh rising.

        Why are you ranting about something good ?

        The US workers who lost there present jobs are available to do something else.

        Or economy continues to grow – that means we continue to produce more value with less human effort.

        If we keep those jobs producing low value goods – the economy does not grow – and we do not get better off.

        One of the reasons for the stagnation in Japan is their standard of living and cost of production rose very near to that of the US. When that happened Japanese car companies found it wise to move production to the US.
        While we passed stupid laws trying to force that. The primary factor was:
        The US is the worlds largest market. All other things being equal – and most of them are not equal, mostly the advantage is to US manufacturing – then it makes sense to build things here.

        Honda and Toyota may continue to build cars in the US even after they almost entirely eliminate humans from their production.
        Because it makes more sense to build in the US even if you completely eliminate politics and jobs.

      • April 19, 2017 12:00 am

        OK Dave I am going to say this one time again and that will be it as if you do not understand what I say this time, you never will.

        You say “If you do not wish to buy some product for whatever reason – because it is a cheap chinese piece of shit or just because you do not like the store.
        You are free to do so.

        You are not free to decide that others may not buy it.
        You are not free to decide that others must pay more for it because of your assessment of its value.”

        First, I do try to find something that is made in some part of the world other than China. At least, as an example, electric tools from Mexico last much longer and replacement parts can be purchased.

        With that point made, it is not a matter of peoples choice of purchasing a product made in China or any other country. Everyone can make that decision themselves, just as you have said. So concentrate on this statement!!!!

        If we produce an automobile in this country and want to send it to China and if China imposes a 20% import fee on that car, then FAIR TRADE is one where the car that is produced in China has a 20% import fee tacked on it coming into this country. And if it makes the Chinese made CT6 or Envision too expensive, then Government Motors can produce it here. The issue is they can produce it in China, have a 20% import fee tacked onto the manufacturing cost and probably make the same profit on a car that is made here.

        With the current trade, they are making much more profit on the cars sent to the US than they would if they made them here, and it is costing jobs because we can not send our models to China.

        Fair Trade, open commerce, whatever you call it is equal in the rules of trade. One country with protectionist tariffs dealing with a country with open commerce like we have is not FAIR TRADE.

        Is that clear enough to understand my position on FAIR TRADE????

      • dhlii permalink
        April 20, 2017 1:55 pm

        Ron, I understand you completely.

        I do not agree. nor do I think you understand facts.

        First, you can assume that any argument that involves the word “fair” I am going to shred.
        Fair does not exist. No one agree’s on what it means. Fair is a myth, it is rooted in the same egalitarian nonsense that resulted in blood in the french revolution and every egalitarian effort since.

        Egalitarianism is the enemy of liberty.

        Do I care if china imposes a tariff on imports ? Sure – it is a stupid move on their part, and harms the chinese people depriving them of products that they would likely buy at lower cost.

        Do I think there is some need for a government remedy ? NO!!!

        Regardless, of what China does, our government should not interfere in the price of imports (or our own exports). We do so at cost to our own people.

        If china wishes to be stupid – that should not cause us to match them in stupidity.

        The economics of trade are very well understood and have changed little since Adam Smith.

        As I noted even Paul Krugman was a free trader – and got his Nobel on that, when he was a real economist.

        As to the actual relative merits of producing in China – right now the NET competitive manufaturing advantage that china has is running below 15% – not anywhere near 20.
        Now that is an agregate measure so maybe it is not true of cars, but I doubt that.

        BTW that 15% figure is the lowest it has been – and a part of why manufacturing is shifting back to the US.

        First the 15% advantage – is at the factory loading dock – and the loading docks in china are 10,000 miles from the US market.

        Next, that does nto include supply chain issues. The chinese supply chain is horrible, they have a very poor record for ontime delivery and overall poor quality control level.

        The US is getting extremely good at lowering costs through “just in time” manufacturing and delivery. That is much much harder to do with chinese sourced products.

        Finally the chinese are very bad at custom orders.
        If you wish to understand the importance of that check out the cereal aisle of your grocery store. Why do we have litterally hundreds of breakfast cereals.

        Bernie demonstrated his own economic stupidity by asking the same relative to deoderant during the election.
        But that should not surprise – commisars think that everyone should want exactly the same thing and that we are better off if we force people to buy what we produce, instead of producing what people want.

        Anyway I have pointed out reasons to expect US manufacturing to increase – and it is.

        But it is not a reason to expect a return of US blue collar jobs.

        As manufaturing returns to the US – it will be very high skill and highly automated manufacturing, producing few very well paid jobs.

        But that is exactly what we want.

        And if we can not do that – they what leaves china will go to bangeledesch instead.

        Regardless Moogie and the left keep constantly claiming man is a social animal.

        That is FALSE and the root of the problem.
        We are a species of individuals that values social interactions.

        If you kill the queen in a colony of ants – the remaining ants die.

        If Trump is killed – the US will go on.

        Humans CHOOSE to socialize, WHEN it is in their interests.

        Human social arrangements are abstractions. Individuals are real.
        Justice is individual, rights are individual.

        There are not real social gains, no real social harms. All gains and harms occur to individuals.

        Because china has been stupid enough to try to punish its own citizens by thwarting they individual choices for some fallacious public good, does not mean we should trump them in stupidity.

        So to be clear, I do not beleive there is such a thing as “FAIR TRADE”.

        We are free as individuals to decide our own purchasing choices.
        We are not free to force people to buy – not even the chinese.

        There is not right to buy, nor a right to sell. There is at most a right to not have your own government interfere in your buying and selling. Countering foreign countries tarrifs is interferance.

        The implicity presumption in your argument is that our government can attempt to counter the chinese harming us (and their own people) as individual buyers and sellors, but compounding the error and harming us more.

      • April 20, 2017 5:27 pm

        “Sure – it is a stupid move on their part, and harms the chinese people depriving them of products that they would likely buy at lower cost.”

        NO DAVE it did not deprive them. GM built the damn plants in China. Now they are sending those models back to the USA.

        NO IMPORT FEE!!!!! JOB LOST TO CHINA!!!!! Those models are NOT made in America!!! If we don’t produce them, there are no jobs making that product!!!!!

        “Finally the Chinese are very bad at custom orders”

        When was the last f’in time most people bought a custom ordered Envision or CT6 Caddi. Cars are not made like that. Dealers buy preplaned cars and trucks, put them on their lot and people buy what is available. So the Chinese inability to custom order anything does not impact a car 1 iota.

        Last comment. Fair can be defined in the trade agreement on anything. You make a car and it is sent to this country without tariffs, fees or any other cost added on, sold using the MSIP = we make a car and send it to your country without tariffs, fees or any other cost added on, sold using the MSIP. (MSIP= Manufacturers suggested invoice price).

        Total Mental Deficiency is when we allow theirs to come here free of duties and fees and ours go there with 20% top 30% added on.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 21, 2017 12:57 am

        There is not issue with americans buying chinese made GM cars – if they choose.

        The only issue where force – and therefore a possible moral issue is involved, is the chinese preventing their own people from buying US products – like motorcylces without tarrif.

        And my response STILL is just because the government of china is punishing its own people we should retaliate by punishing our people too ?

        I do nto take “jobs lost” arguments even slightly seriously. They are poor arguments.

        You can not improve standard of living without producing more value with less human effort – that means “job losses” – except what it really means is people losing one job and most of them moving to a better one.

        It does not matter where produce X is made.
        It only matters that those people in this country produce something of ever greater value.
        Precisely what they produce does not matter.

        Further no there are NOT job losses if the chinese make cars that are bought by americans.
        Even if americans can not sell motorcycles to the chinese.

        Any money the US spends in china MUST return to the US ultimately.
        And it must return in a form that involves increasing the wealth in the US.

        Either the Chinese invest in the US – which is good for us.
        Or they buy products from the US which is what you want.

        What they do not do is burn all of our money.

        There is still nothing that the chinese can do with the money americans pay for chinese goods, that does not ultimately have the same or better effect in the US as buying US products.

        There are very few economists who ever care about balance of Trade. It is a purely political issue only raised by people with little understanding of economics.
        Certainly not by anyone who has read and understood Adam Smith.
        And if you are an economist and have not read and understood smith – then you should be laughed out of the profession.

        With respect to custom made cars – I am not in detail familiar with the auto production market – but it is my understanding that a significant portion of cars are essentially made to order, or very close to it. Some of that US supply chain management means dealers order what they think their customers will buy and then replace what is sold based on their new understanding of what customers are buying. Regardless, we do not sell identical cars or anything even close. And US manufacturing – including auto manufacturing can rapidly adpat to changes in demand.

        Amazon as an example is extremely good at guessing what you are going to buy in the future from what you have bought in the past and they have what they think you are going to buy in a warehouse near you, and they have it there very close to the time you are going to choose to buy it – something even you do not know.

        American manufacturers can do this, and when they guess wrong they can adapt extremely rapidly. All you need to do is add a cross ocean boat trip and you have already F’d that up.

        The longer a product sits anywhere before being sold the greater the delivered cost of that product. US manfacturers are trying to come as close as possible to eliminating inventory.

        They are trying to get to knowing that you are going to want a dishwasher and order it 9 months before you know you do and have it arrive at costco or home depot on the very day you decide to buy it. Do they get this prefect ? No. But we have gotten extremely good ar turning goods fast. They do not sit in stores, they do not sit in warehouses – because all of those increase the cost of the product.
        Doing that means being able to make alterations to production in real time.
        No other nation in the world can do that as we can.

        Nor is this the only advantage we have, it is merely one of many.

        As I noted the chinese have a 15% price advantage at the loading dock of the factory today.
        That advantage gets quickly erroded by every other disadvantage they have.
        Such as inflexible supply lines and shiping and unreliable energy, transportation and raw materials.

        I am not looking to piss all over the chinese – they have come a long way in a short time.
        and they are improving – but so are we.

        I would note that Japan has been in a long funk – why ? Atleast in part because they bet that their advantage over US manufacturers would be infinite.
        Japan did well when their standard of living was lower than ours. They stretched that advantage out because even when their standard of living nearly caught up, their quality was higher. But eventually their standard of living was the same, and our quality caught up, and then their products had to be transported accross the ocean to the US.
        So they moved their factories.

        Japan has not gone to hell, but it can not raise its standard of living above the US,
        China is in the same boat. The higher their standard of living rises the less competitive they are. And US manufacturers got taught by the Japanese to bring their quality up.

      • April 21, 2017 1:09 pm

        You and I will just have to agree to disagree and move on. Just like politicians in Washington, we are both so set in our ways that we can not comes to some position of understanding the other thinking.

        You see nothing wrong with the way things are. You see the Chinese punishing their population with tariffs on American goods.

        I see it the exact opposite. I see jobs being lost in America since the Chinese can not afford our products due to their protectionist policies while we allow anything to come in from Chinese made labor without penalty.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 21, 2017 1:18 pm

        The is no right to sell something or a right to buy something.
        But there is a right not to have government interfere in free exchange.

        In the instance of Cars being made in china and sold int he US – there is little government interferance.

        And that is the end of that matter.
        We can not and should not be so stupid as to screw ourselves in that, because of something else we do not like.

        We agree that the chinese should not tarrif their imports.
        But that primarily harms them.
        And again the remedy is not to do something stupid our self.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 21, 2017 1:02 am

        Any word can be defined to mean anything “fair” can be defined as “peanut”

        I can say the arrangment between China and the US that you do nto like is “fair”.

        But if you expect to have moral authority behind your trade agreement rather than brute force bullying, then you better be able to define “fair” in a way that justifies the use of force.

        I can not think of a moral justification for the use of force that is not a response to an infringement on freedom.

        Our understanding of fair is connected to egalitarian ideas, and equality is NOT a justification for the use of force.

        Efforts to acheive equality are not merely not moral, they are actually immoral.
        They always require the use of force to infringe on liberty.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 21, 2017 1:07 am

        Once again tarriffs on US goods sold in china punish the chinese not the US.

        It is the chinese who are losing something that was theirs – the ability to purchase a good they choose at the price offered – not a higher one.
        It is the chinese who are either depreived of the good or must pay a higher price for it.
        It is the chinese standard of living that is LOWERED by this.

        There is no sane reason for us to punish our people, because the chbinese were stupid and punished theirs.

        Standard of living rises when more value is produced at lower human cost.
        Tarrifs make the country imposing them POORER.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 21, 2017 9:25 am

        Please read what I wrote.

        “Sure – it is a stupid move on their part, and harms the chinese people depriving them of products that they would likely buy at lower cost.”

        First that sentence applied tot he chinese people who were blocked by their government from buying motorcycles at a lower cost in your example.

        There are no jobs involved.

        And infact Jobs are not a particularly important part of economics.

        If we produced everything using robots and there were no jobs at all – we would still have a very high standard of living. While that is a reductio ad absurdem that is not going to happen – it is also not one that fails. Reducing jobs infinitely will increasing value produced infinitely still continuously raises standard of living.

        But back to the scenario you were improperly connecting to the motor cycle sales.

        PRESUMING that the cars made in China are of equal value and lower cost, then buying them is a net positive for US consumers PERIOD. End of story.
        If they are not of equal value – then consumers will adjust their purchases accordingly.

        But so long as they are of equal value and lower cost, whatever is displaced in the US economy – such as the jobs you are fixated on, will be more than made up by the increased investment or consumption that must result because those purchasing chinese cars will consume or invest more because they saved on the car purchase.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 21, 2017 9:30 am

        Total Mental deficiency is when we decide something that obviously raises standard of living – by providing greater value for less human effort is somehow bad.

        The side effects of EVERYTHING that increases standard of living ALWAYS include idled resources – ALWAYS. that is not a harm. It is part of the net gain.

        The scenario you are concocting – which is not reality, is we buy a car from china for less money, idling some US labor and then burn the savings.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 10:09 pm

        “So it is fine that the Chinese can tack on a 30% import fee on Harley Davidson Motorcycles and electronic movies and software, but we allow their cheap ass piss poor quality products sold at Walmart free of any import fees?”

        Yes, if china wished to make its own people poorer – twice, by making them have to pay too much for motorcycles, and by subsidizing US consumers, that is fine with me.

        Though Paul Krugman has gone full bull moose loon in the past decade, once uppon a time he was a nobel proze winning economist – I used to read his column, his nobel was in trade and even he understood The tremendous benefits of free trade.

        In the scenerio you present – no, that deal is not fair. But what you miss is that it is the chinese people who are the losers and the american people who are the winners.

        You fixate on employment.

        AGAIN
        Standard of living increases when we produce more value for less human effort.

        Where in that is there something about jobs ?

        Jobs are a means, and not that important a one, not an end.

        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
        April 17, 2017 10:17 pm

        Any economist that does nto say the winner of any trade arrangement is the nation with the lowest trade barriers – REGARDLESS of the barriers of the other nation, should not be called an expert.

        The basic economics of Trade date to Adam Smith. They have not fundimentally changed since.

        I am not saying that china should have trade barriers.

        I am saying that those barriers harm china.

        AGAIN, any trade imbalance MUST be exactly matched by an equal and oposite capital accounts balance.

        If China refuses to buy matching US goods to the value they sell to us, one of two things MUST occur.

        They can take their surplus US green slips of paper called dollars and burn them.
        Harming themselves and helping us.

        Or they can do any of myriads of things that ALL result in their being spent in the US in one way or another.

        One way or another things must balance.

        Smith figured that out 250 years ago.
        No “expert” economist since has dared defy Smith on that.

        Frankly, there is very very little of Smith that has not held up to the test of time.

        Freud published 100 years later and has held up for worse.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 11:40 am

        There is no definition for “paid well”. therefore your entire premise and argument is crap.

        Like most on the left you wish to constantly elevate nebulous values as principles.
        There is no principle of “fairness” as 10 people and you will get 11 definitions.

        When you engage in free exchange – you are ALWAYS by definition “paid well”.
        If you were not you would not have completed the exchange.

        What you appear to be arguing/demanding – is some third party (government) to step in and tip the scales in your favor so that you get more. And you are presuming miraculously that when that happens – the other party to the exchange – now getting a worse deal will still complete the trade – or you are demanding they be forced to.

        It is not your business to decide how well two OTHER people should fare in their exchange.
        It is not your right to determine who should win and who should not.
        It is not your right to decide that someone should get less for what the offer and another should get more – except when you are one of the parties to the exchange.
        There is no principle that establishes that your choice on that is superior to those participating in the exchange themselves.

        It should be obvious why those on the left see the world as populated by children.
        Because free adults do not need the intervention of people who think they are their betters to manage their ordinary lives.

        When you through government interfere in free exchange by tiliting the playing field.
        by limiting one parties freedom – you are also telling one party that they are weak and unable to manage their own life, and that they must ceed their rights and liberty to you, and you will care for them.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 11:49 am

        Still on this income inequality nonsense.

        The standard of living in europe as a whole is about 30% LOWER than that of the US.
        There is no country with a population over 30M people with a higher standard of living than the US – there is none within 20% of the US.
        The few countries in the world with higher standards of living that the US are either:
        Tiny nations with long term commitments to economic freedom – Hong Kong and Singapore.
        Tiny nations with vast oil wealth – Norway which despite massive oil wealth barely exceeds the US, and tiny banking nations – luxemborg.
        Most of these BTW have higher income inequality – whatever that means, than the US.

        And that is the other point “what does income inequality even mean”
        I keep asking you and you refuse to answer.

        You keep saying that sometime in the past was better – but I have provided you with actual data, that shows that over time we have flattened and elongated the bell curve that used to be income. The result is the median income in each quintile is HIGHER than ever.

        You keep saying you want to go back to the past – but anyone not an idiot looking at the current income distribution relative to that of the past – would prefer today.
        It is better for all, and better for each class.

        So you are arguing that we should revert to something bad because some idiotic single number coefficient that is supposed to tell us something about the shape of income distribution, But of course can not, because you can not mathenmatically represent any curve with a single number.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 11:53 am

        Trumps entire compaign is based on your assertion that the US is no longer #1 in many areas and that we should get back to that.

        At best he only differs in how.

        Further your presumption that we should lead the world in everything – implicitly accepts free markets and competition and pretty much all the things you reject and the last administration stood against/

        Absolutely we have slipped relative to the rest of the world – though there really is no large nation anywhere that is close to comparable, but yes some small nations have managed to eak ahead of us in a few areas.

        Of course this all occurred during a time when the US absorbed 45M dirt poor immigrants.

        Please identify a single nation that has increased its population by 15% – almost all dirt poor, AND raised standard of living significantly at the same time.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 11:54 am

        Can I presume by you “cheap labor” rant that you are opposed to immigration ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 8:43 pm

        Roby,
        I do not think Moogie has a clue what communism, or socialism actually are.
        Her positions eclectically vacillate between them and occasional remarks that could come from Rush Limbaugh.

        I have repeatedly told you that the left is internally inconsistent.
        Moogie demonstrates that very effectively.

        Yes, she has actually made arguments that are communist,
        as well as ones that are socialist,
        and then as I noted drifted into ones that Rush Limbaugh would have no problem with.

        Her ideology is whatever she feels at the moment. There is no effort at consistency.

        And yet somehow I purportedly am lying ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 16, 2017 9:30 pm

        Amazing, you are practically channeling me.
        I might have to retract my assertion that you are progressive.

        My comments are intended to amplify – not disagree with yours.

        The MW is just a number. There is no such thing as the correct number of the MW.

        It is supposed to be a floor for wages, it is actually a ceiling.
        It defines the minimum level of skill or value necescary to get a job.
        If you can not produce value greater than the current MW – you will not be employed.

        We have decades of data on the effects of MW. That data demonstrates that MW increases do not always have exactly the same effects. Card and Krueger found that very small changes in the MW did not effect unemployment rates. That does NOT mean they do not effect employment.

        The one absolutely universal effect of MW increases are increases in the unemployment rate for teens and minorities – and those effects are large and take 18months to 5 years to recover.
        But one should not that large increases in the unemployment rate for teens and minorities need not significantly increase overall unemployment rates.
        Typically employed low skill labor gets replaced by slightly smaller numbers of unemployed higher skilled labor.

        You correctly note that a high enough MW will threaten your Wife’s job.
        But EVERY level of MW costs some jobs.

        A 7.25 MW means no one will get hired to do jobs that are not worth 7.25/hr.

        I can think of many many tasks I would pay someone to do, but for two things:
        The job is not worth 7.25/hr and actually employing someone usually is far more costly than their wages. I have been an employer in the past.
        I hate payroll, I hate quarterly reports, I hate yearly reports.
        I hate the entire mess that government puts people through to employ someone.

        So what does this mean ?
        It means that there is a huge step for me to move from a small business with only me, to employing other people.
        The higher the MW, and the higher the burden that government places on people for hiring people the bigger the hurdle you have to get over to go from a single person to a job creator.

        I think every person should be forced to do a years worth of payroll so they understand what a huge step it is for a small business to become a job creator.
        There is a reason many many mom & pops remain mom & pop – or mom & pop and family – usually all the rules about employment are waived for family.

        I hate everything associated with payroll so much I have only two choices to grow.
        Hire a bookkeeper to do the payroll FIRST – and that means I have to generate more business FIRST without having more people to do it.
        Or hire people as “consultants” – basically uber style. That has been going on forever – but government hates it and it is risky. It is so risky that the people who hire me – I have a real business, and I have been in business since 1981 worry that the IRS or Department of labor will come in an call me an employee and they will get fined out the whazzo.

        This was actually made worse in 1989 when a stupid rule was passed at the behest of staffing companies that defaults the treatment of professional consultants – particularly in software to employee. The result has been an explosion in staffing companies. and the destruction of small software houses.

        It also harms my prefered way of working. I work like a real consultant – because I am.
        I have my own office – in my home. That is where I do my work.
        I will travel to clients to meet with them. But I do my work from my own office.
        That makes it damn near impossible to get work.
        Staffing companies are completely uninterested in that model,
        and companies that need software consultants are terrified by the IRS.

        As a result most of my work comes from other small companies that would never hire a staffing company and do not know what the law is.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 10:54 am

        “how to have an egalitarian society with as few rich as possible and no truly poor”

        Why is that the objective ?

        What is wrong with the highest standard of living for the greatest number of people ?

        Or better still what is wrong with NOT deciding that we must have these enormous societal goals that require the use to impose on all of us ?

        What is wrong with Roby persuing in his own life what he thinks is important – whatever that might be.
        Moogie doing the same in hers.
        I doing the same in mine.

        With all of us agreeing to use persuasion rather than force as the means of accomplishing our goal.

        What is “extreme” about that ?

        Why isn’t anyone with any view that is seeking to impose it on all of us by force “extreme” ?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 11:04 am

        What constitutes “stopping conservatives from dismantling my world” ?

        As a rule of thumb I pretty much support Trump’s draining the swamp, deconstructing the federal government, dismantling idiocy that was imposed on us by force and is not the business of the government.

        I do not support everything Trump is doing or has promised to do.

        But I can find little common ground with the left on Trump as they seem to oppose anything if it can be connected to Trump.

        I am primarily concerned about Trump’s authoritarian streak. But thus far it has primarily manifest itself in efforts to reduce government. That is ANTI-Authoritarian.

        I have no problem with criticism of Trump. Whether I agree, disagree, or do not know.

        I would specifically note the last option.

        I beleive it is Scott Adam’s that has argued that when we see something Trump says or does as stupid – we are missing the bigger picture. That Trump’s aparent stupidity is actually quite smart.

        I do not know. What I do know, is that if he is actually as stupid as his detractor’s claim then he is unbeleivably lucky.

        I am more inclined to beleive he is very successfully playing a permutation of rope-a-dope with the left.

      • April 16, 2017 12:11 pm

        Great post, Roby.

        I’m constantly struck these days with the different contexts in which words are used by liberals and conservatives in political discourse. Words like “choice,” “freedom,” “inequality,” “rights,” “responsibility,” etc. Even words like “corrupt” and “environment,” which should have less political context, have become politicized. You~ correctly~ often refer to some of our differences as being the result of living in different political universes. I must say, though, that our two universes have ~ for the most part, anyway ~ a common language.

        Increasingly, I think, the problem of left and right has become one of language, and how it shapes worldview, often without our even noticing it. This is why I think that PC culture is so dangerous. Words may “never hurt you,” but they can be used in a context of morality that hardens political discourse in a way that makes it impossible for the two sides to debate at all.

        I’ve drifted pretty far afield from your point, but you got me thinking….

        Happy Easter.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 11:15 am

        Then lets use words – outside of poetry and fiction, and particularly in the context of politics and law, according to their most ordinary plain meaning.

        The meaning of words is incredibly important.
        Words are not only how we communicate and mangling word meaning F’s up communication, but for most of us they are how we think. And twisting the meaning of words alters how we think.

        The left in particular is engaged in pushing a 1984 form of Newspeak. With the same effect.
        Control the meaning of words and you control speach and thought.

        One should always be deeply suspicious when powerful words with important implications are being used in smaller contexts.

        Aggression as an example means something – aggression is the use of force.

        And force is the legitimate domain of government.

        A micro-aggression would be a small use of force, and the legitimate domain of govenrment.

        But apparently a micro-aggression is offensive speach. That would NOT be force and not the domain of government.

        The intent of those concocting “micro-aggression” was to justify society constraining it.
        Which if it is not force government may not do.

        Regardless, if you are careful about your use of words – the ideologies of the left and right, tend to fail and become self contradictory.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 17, 2017 11:16 am

        You make an excellent point of your own.

      • dduck12 permalink
        April 16, 2017 3:05 pm

        Moogie: The right says the left is lazy. The left says the right is greedy. Although there are plenty of greedy people on the left, even “poor” people, and plenty of lazy people, even “rich” people, on the right. And then there are moderates that look down from Mt. Olympus and think they are all lazy and greedy. Oh, and bloggers, they just love to talk about it. Cool- me too.
        Happy Easter and Passover to all.