Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Caring Economy

From Laurie

This morning I have been putting together the discussion topic for a small group of church members that I have been meeting with monthly for more than 10 years.
My topic relates to a couple of comments I have recently made here, so rather than link to a news article I am providing a link to a blog post by a Budhhist monk: 
Towards a Caring Economy 
My topic for the church group is Altruism based on a book written by Ricard.
My main question is can society become more altruistic in a relatively short time frame - my main concern is for the environment.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Democrats Should Go Further Left

This opinion piece reminds me of Paul, far Left commenter at MinnPost.  If you are interested in his views, see them at the bottom of this MinnPost piece.  Here is some of the discussion we had.

"My thing is that for decades someone says: "Let's do something liberal" and Democrats reply: "No, if we do that we'll lose elections". I mean at some point you just have to admit your're not dealing with liberals. Maybe in theory they could be liberals, but we don't need theoretical liberalism. 
Meanwhile Republicans aren't defeating liberals at the ballot box, they're defeating Democrats. Democrats always try to blame their losses on excessive liberalism but THAT'S a conservative mentality in-and-of itself, so we're back to an absence of liberalism. The more they move the the "middle" i.e. moderate republicanism, the more Democrats lose, yet they keep blaming liberals. Who does that? Conservatives do that, that;s who does that. 
The problem is we desperately need a liberal political Party in the United States because liberal initiatives are the only workable solutions to our most serious issues ranging from energy to education. Since we're stuck with a two party system that means we need the Democrats to a liberal party. THAT'S not going to happen until Democrats who think they're already liberal realize they're not, decide if they want to be, and act accordingly one way or the other." Paul 
"Seems to me that your Progressive / True Liberal is what many call a Democratic Socialist. I mean that is what Bernie calls himself. Is this correct? http://www.dsausa.org/" G2A 
"Yes and No. Sanders's calls himself a Democratic Socialist, but really he's just a "New Deal" Democrat. The distinction isn't really relevant, a liberal, simply put, is someone who supports liberal agendas and initiatives. Liberals can disagree regarding those initiatives but anyone who simply rejects them out of hand because they're liberal initiatives, isn't a liberal. So in theory liberals could disagree whether or not Obamacare or Medicare for All is the best health care system from a technical perspective, but anyone who rejects either proposal on the grounds that it's "too" liberal simply isn't a liberal. 
For decades whenever we say: "Let's do something liberal" Democrats respond:"No, that will cost us the election". And then they go out and lose elections trying to be something other than liberal. I'm not saying that no Democrats anywhere are liberal, but clearly the Party elite and too many primary voters are something other than liberal... I'd say they look like moderate conservatives who can be socially liberal, but politically and economically conservative. Whatever, I'm not actually interested in classifying them, people can be whatever they are, I don't care. I just want people to know what they are and act accordingly. Don't tell me you're a liberal but you don't believe liberals can win elections in a liberal democracy. Ether sign on to some other perspective or get liberal but don't act and vote like a moderate Republican and tell us you're a liberal Democrat." Paul 
"However the reality is that Bernie is the Far Left and Hillary is the Middle Left. Look at the graphs in these govtrack links for their scores.
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/hillary_clinton/300022
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/bernard_sanders/400357
As I often say, I hope you do succeed in convincing the Democratic party to go even further Left." G2A
 And though not directly related, I feel for Hiram's comment left at the end of that old piece...  Kind of like a tree falling in the woods.

"Democrats HAD a candidate that knew how to connect to rural voters and address the economic concerns that Mr. Foster claims to be so difficult.  
"Who was that? There is a lot of finger pointing going around. A recent book places just about all of the blame on Hillary. No doubt a lot of mistakes were made by a lot of people, but the real problem is that we didn't have the choice of candidates we needed, Hillary, with all her faults and with all her many virtues, was our party's version of Jeb Bush, a dynastic candidate, running when the era of dynasties is long past. Had Hillary been running in a more filled out field for the nomination, I doubt if she would have made it to the first primary. But the fact was, because of our failures in local election after local election, we simply did not have a viable alternative to Hillary in 2016, and that's why Trump's re-election, despite his extraordinary level of incompetence, is as much of a sure thing there can be in American politics." Hiram

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Liberals Love Refugees and Hate Really Helping

You will need to read the comments on G2A Put a Boot to get all the background, however in summary:
  • I think the USA as a super power has a responsibility to help people if they are down trodden and the USA has a national interest in the situation.  This does not mean that we take over their country and force our social values on them.  It does mean that we help them establish self rule  and some public safety. I compared it to a caring person staging an addiction intervention and paying for treatment. The point being that the country / person may fail to seize the gift they have been given to improve their lives, however the giving of the gift is still important and necessary.
  • Now Sean and Jerry seem to think that...  Well I think you will need to read their comments...
Then I heard Michael Moore by accident on "Indivisible" last night. The host asked him about Trump's Syria missile strike and it sounded a lot like this comment from Sean... 
"If you believe in the "Prime Directive", then you let the Syrian civil war play out, don't you? The reality is that all Donald Trump accomplished with his missile strike was winning a news cycle. The airfield that he struck was operational the next day. Bombing the Assad government went against his pre-existing policy of backing the Assad government as the most effective partner there to fight ISIS. And let's not also forget that while the pictures of the gassed Syrian children were awful, the pictures we don't see from Syria are far worse. The networks can't show us the pictures of the children who have limbs blown off due to mortar fire and other conventional weapons. "Putting a Boot Up Their Ass" may feel good for a moment, but it isn't a strategy."
The point apparently being that destroying 20% of Syria's airforce and kicking Assad in the ass was an insignificant accomplishment towards helping the innocent people of Syria...  And maybe it was depending on what Russia does.  

But if Syria did use banned weapons on their own people, then let's kick them until they stop... Our Prime Directive may not let us interfere too deeply in the self rule of other countries, but we sure can ensure that the players do not violate the Rules of War that that the people of earth have seemingly agreed to.

Well all that said, the following comments came up. 
"Of course the Liberal view seems to be that we should let all refugees come to the USA so they can be cared for here with tax payer dollars. Instead of helping them to stabilize and improve their own country." G2A 
"Let that straw man burn, baby, burn!" Sean 
"As for my view regarding refugees and Liberals... After listening to Liberals for the last year stomp, accuse people of xenophobia and gnash their teeth in opposition to:
  • reducing the number of refugees allowed
  • improving border security
  • deporting illegal workers
  • etc
I think my man is pretty solid. Liberals definitely want to help the world's down trodden by inviting them to come to the USA." G2A 
"Which explains why, under the Obama Administration, we accepted fewer Syrian refugees than Canada? Come off your ideological mountain and join us in the real world." Sean
My long time view is that Peace Loving Liberals want to encourage more poor people to move to America where they can be safer and wealthier.  Even though according to the Liberals we already have too many poor, under-educated, under-skilled, under-paid, etc legal citizens in America. Therefore the Liberals push for more taxes on the successful, more minimum wages, more free services, more cash payments, weaker borders, more refugees, etc.  

And I can understand why the Liberals love these policies.  They can feel good by providing sanctuary to the unfortunate of the world while not having to pay the bill.  I mean who wouldn't like that feeling.

The problem is that there are roughly 7 BILLION people on this earth and having half of them move to Europe and the USA because their region is unsettled is not a good long term plan.  It is a much better plan to help them eliminate their violent abusive Dictators, and then to help them stabilize their home region.  Helping the good responsible people of a region to flee their homeland will not help that region or it's people long term.

As for refugees allowed into the USA.  If language is any indicator, it looks like we have been resettling a lot of folks from the Middle East and Northern Africa here over the last 10 year. And remember you can blow up the image by tapping on it.
Refugees by Region

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Understanding Rural Resentment

This an interesting piece.  MP Understanding Rural Resentment.  Thoughts?

US and Paris Climate Pact

Since people here love to disagree about climate change and how the USA should proceed, here is some more fresh meat. CNN Paris Climate Pact Opinion Piece

And I seem to agree with Tillerson.
“It’s important that the US maintain its seat at the table,” Tillerson told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations during his confirmation hearing on 11 January. The threat of global warming is real and “requires a global response”, he added. “No one country is going to solve this on its own.”

When asked whether greenhouse-gas emissions from human activities cause climate change, Tillerson said that “the increase in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere [is] having effect”. But, he added, “our ability to predict that effect is very limited”.
I mean ExxonMobil certainly seems to believe.
"The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect. There is a broad scientific and policy consensus that action must be taken to further quantify and assess the risks.
It often amazes me how many people want to deny the potential catastrophic risks, defund the research and stop the measured improvements. The good news is that apparently the big business are driving change at the request of their customers. I just heard that report yesterday and found it interesting.

Monday, April 17, 2017

ACA: To Do or Not to Do

I moved these comments before they distracted us away from the violence and gore...
"Sean points out that "something" is rarely if ever a single action, and still more rarely the perfect solution to the problem. If Obamacare has taught us anything, it is that "doing something" that complex is highly unlikely to be the right thing.." Jerry

"Whereas doing nothing was demonstrably worse." Anonymoose
My view is that "doing nothing" or "doing ACA" would have both had consequences...  Both good and bad.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Put A Boot in Your Ass

Before proceeding, it may be useful to read these lyrics. They are very relevant to the discussion.  And this post was started at 5AM courtesy of my struggle now to get adjusted back to the Central Time Zone...  Which is probably the most challenging part of going to the other side of the world for a week...

And by the way, Happy Easter !!!  He is risen indeed !!!

Thankfully I finally noticed that my FB friend Shawn spells his name differently than our Sean... Well Shawn posted the following on FB. (not sure if you will all be able to see it, depends if it is set to public???)
"On Fox and Friends this morning, this happened:
I'm interested in knowing if this is a common sentiment on the right, and why...any thoughts?" Shawn
My responses were like this...
" I am curious what peace loving liberals would choose to do differently? The same people who march because male female equality is not perfect in America seem to have no problem turning a blind eye to the women of Afghanistan who were kept out of school, sold as child brides, killed, etc. It seems liberals would prefer that we pull all of our troops back to US and let others fend for themselves. I believe differently. (see link) And ever since lit my first firecracker... I have loved blowing things up. Especially if it helps protect powerless people from bullies. :-) G2A Protector of the Small" G2A

"When Dennis Quaid blew up the alien space ship in Independence Day, Did you cheer or ponder stoically the loss of the alien lives? When your team makes a good play, do you cheer or ponder the hurt feelings of the other players / fans? In this case the USA used a new tool effectively to end the lives of violent snakes who lived in the tunnels and came out to harm innocent people. I think some cheering is okay..." G2A
Now the commenters there are  a bit left of me so in summary, they replied with these types of notes:
  • Where was the USA pre-9/11 when lives were being lost?
  • Lives were lost during explosion, which is bad. People should be more solemn.
  • Independence Day was a movie, get real. "I love the smell of nepalm in the morning"...
  • We should focus on the bullies and down trodden here.
  • My demonizing the liberals is not contributing to solutions
After looking at the actual video, reviewing the google results and the FB comments... Here are my thoughts...
  • The Gerald and host comments were related to their playing an excellent Toby Keith song along with the clip.
  • Based on the google search for Geraldo and MOAB, I think it is the liberals who are working to blow this way out of proportion.
So what do you think about the MOAB drop and resultant cheering?  Here are some more relevant links

Friday, April 14, 2017

MASH in Real Life

Yesterday I took a ~4 hour drive across the upper half of South Korea.  It reminded me of watching an episode of MASH. This area of the country is all high rolling hills, rocks and trees...  And then in some valleys are nestled cities full of office and residential 30 story tall buildings.  This picture was at one of the wayside rests that provides food, shopping, restrooms, etc.  You can select the picture to make it bigger.

Remember the SK has to 10 times the population of MN, half the land area and much of that land is hills/mountains.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Liuzhou China

Since I actually have access to my blog and politics is boring right now, I thought I would share a little about where I am.  I am in Liuzhou China today.  My travelling companion was born and raised in Shanghai, so he thinks it is the best city.  However Spring in Liuzhou is beautiful.  I mean, that is when you can escape the sky scrapers and people...  Liuzhou may be a small city by my friends standards, but it still has over 4 million people in it.

Friday, April 7, 2017

America First... Except...

Well our non-intervention President just intervened big time in a civil war...  What are you thinking?


Here are some of my thoughts on the general topic. G2A Protector of the Small

Thursday, April 6, 2017

MN Retirees Coming Up Short

MP Retirees Coming Up Short My first comment over there...

"Why again would the State need to do any of this when Vanguard, Fidelity and other low cost firms have dozens of options. The big question is why aren't people saving and investing? Has the obsession with nice phones, nice vacations, nice houses, etc overwhelmed the self discipline needed to live below one's means and invest?" G2A

I remember my Uncle's "starter home" in Apple Valley ~40 years ago. It had ~2 bedrooms and a bathroom... I don't think it even had a garage at first... And then over the years they added on and improved it. I am not sure if there are developments like that anymore... Who would be willing to buy those homes in our time of higher expectations?

I am concerned that I can already hear the Liberal solution to this personal problem... 
  • Paul lived well and didn't save enough.
  • Peter scrimped, saved and invested.
  • It is unfair and I feel bad that Paul is struggling financially.
  • And I feel that Peter has more than he needs.
  • Let's raise the taxes on Peter.
  • Then Government can give Paul more money and services...
  • Problem solved !!!  Now I feel better !!! :-)
I mean this is what ACA does... I always wonder why I take on the tasks I do to save money...  My latest is replacing the rusty parts on my 2002 Suburban...Maybe I should just join the spenders and get a new shiny truck?  Nah...  I'll keep saving and investing and hope the government let's me keep some of it. :-)

Hope Pepsi Ad Worked

Of course I think it silly that some judgmental and prone to shaming people disliked the Pepsi ad that promoted peace / tolerance and featured Kendall Jenner.


And that Pepsi bowed to their outrage.  On the upside just look at the amount of free press that the word Pepsi has gotten over the last few days.  I am happily addicted to Diet Mountain Dew, but my cola is usually Diet Coke...  But maybe I will buy some more Diet Pepsi next time...

Dems Force Senate Change

I think it is unfortunate that the Senate Dems chose to filibuster a candidate who is within the judicial main stream. And I think it is unfortunate that the GOP Senators did not give Garland a hearing and a vote last year. I guess we keep getting the government we vote for... Oh well...


CNN Senate to Change Rules
MP Why Dems Should Take Stand Against Gorsuch
All Things SCOTUS

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Majority of Americans Support ACA

MinnPost Majority Supports ACA  I like Eric's first lines...
"In the category “You don’t miss the water till the well runs dry,” a pretty solid majority of Americans tell Gallup they approve of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). As recently as Election Day, disapprovers of the ACA outnumbered approvers by 53-42 percent, according the Gallup organization. The act has not improved in any way since then, nor have Republicans stopped calling it a disaster that is imploding or exploding or reploding. But this week, in the latest Gallup measure of the exact same question, approval of the act is up an impressive 13 points to 55 percent, the highest the ACA has ever scored, while disapproval fell 12 points to 41 percent, a new low. "
I was wondering what it would take to get the majority behind it?  I mean it raised taxes and costs significantly on many, but then it sprinkled that money around like pixie dust on the lower income folks...  What is not to like for many people?  It will be interesting if the GOP will see the change and adapt their plan or if they will keep fighting the ever warming water...