Friday, October 27, 2017

Prospects for DEMs in 2018

Eric does some detail discussion here. MP Prospects for DEMS in 2018

My comment was "I guess I am curious what platform Democrats will run on???

Will they stick with their tired old... regulate more, tax more, grow government, grow public employees unions, redistribute more, hold people accountable less, protect more people, handout more "fish", etc Or will they change it up some?"

Ray left a long well thought out comment, however I found this part most interesting. "I'm waiting, as are many others, for the Democrats to devise a coherent message that speaks to fairness for, if not everyone, then as many as possible. So far, I'm not seeing or hearing that. It's not a case of "Obama's legacy," at least not for me. I thought Obama, while president, was an articulate and principled moderate Republican, in the guise of a mainstream Democrat. The current GOP's right wing strikes me as neofascist, so I can't support most of what it advocates, and I'm reasonably well informed. I'm not impressed (that's as politely as I can phrase it) with either the Republican Congress or the Current Occupant, but there's plenty of room for improvement on both their parts."

I mean David Brooks explained it well on PBS tonight. In essence he said that the DEMs should win a lot of seats in 2018 given how unpopular Trump and his supporters are.  However as the DEMs go further Left, people like me may have to continue to choose the party that supports capitalism, not democratic socialism.  Thoughts?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ready to Give Up State Tax Deduction?

Well to me this seems fair... I mean why should people living in high tax states pay less in Federal taxes? And it seems to me that raising the standard deduction and eliminating this "loop hole" would help many of the working class folks.  Thoughts?

CNN Money State and Local Tax Deduction

Rational Gun Control

Jerry and I have been arguing about gun control over here.  I have proposed what I think are some sensible control actions that would focus on:
  • semi automatic rifles
  • large clips
  • bump fire stocks
  • holding owners accountable for keeping their weapons secure
  • registering these very dangerous weapons
It's not like people use these for personal or household defense. That is unless you are out on a ranch trying to hold off a small army.

Well in the midst of this I came across a couple of links that had the very interesting charts shown below.
NYT How to Reduce Mass Shootings
WP Shooting Incidents are getting More Deadly

Now I own multiple guns and I can even understand arguments for conceal / carry.  And I have no problem with semi-automatic handguns with ~15 round magazines.  However the idea that citizens be able to buy and keep semi-automatic rifles with few checks, records and/or responsibilities astounds me.  Thankfully my gun collector friends have big heavy gun safes that no one is going to breach or walk away with. This should be the expectation for anyone who owns these incredibly dangerous weapons. 

I am not sure why folks fight these simple requirements. We have to register and insure our cars, and maintain a valid driver's license. And yet apparently they think anyone is capable to keep and use guns responsibly.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Importance of Early Nurturing

A gift that Jerry posted on G2A The Guessing Game.  By the way, something about that post has made it the most accessed link on G2A during the last month...
"I am going to post something that actually supports your argument. But I would hate for that to absolve the schools of their responsibility. YN These two brains both belong to three-year-olds, so why is one so much bigger?
On an unrelated note, Jerry and I have been continuing our gun control difference of opinion.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Trump's Voter Fraud Witch Hunt

I thought this was an interesting piece.  AP Commission's Lack of Transparency  Apparently Trump has his own witch hunt operating in "stealth mode".

I think it is telling that a supposedly conservative committee tried to obtain so much "State Maintained" personal information about their citizens.  It seems that these supposed "small government conservatives" are actually "Big Brother / Fed Loving" folks at heart. Thankfully even Conservative States have the back bone to turn down this request from the people running the President's personal witch hunt. (see below)  BI States Refusing to Share Data
"Arkansas says it's received the letter and will provide publicly available information but not Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers or information about felony convictions or military status
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he recommended the secretary of state not release all the information, calling the panel's request too broad."
I sure hope us tax payers are not paying too much for this impossible attempt to prove our inaccurate Presidents wild speculation

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Is US Business Friendly?

Over here, Sean insists that the USA is business friendly because we are ranked number 8. 

I say the USA has too many taxes, rules and regulations given the large number of categories where we do not even place in the top 20.  In fact we only place in the Top 20 in 3 questionable areas: Getting Credit, Enforcing Contracts and Resolving Insolvency.  Thoughts?

Ranking of Doing Business  Click Graphic to Make Bigger

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Trump with a DEM Congress?

Now I know it is too early for the DEMs to start counting their eggs, however with Trump annoying and energizing so many people.  One never knows...

CNN GOP may be in Trouble in 2018
CNN 2018 may Mean Impeachment

Of course the good news is that the DEMs seem to have no limits to how socialistic they want to make the country... So the GOP folks may still have a chance of getting elected.
CNN DEMs can Lose it by being Too Liberal

Monday, October 16, 2017

Symptom of Anxiety

Well here is an interesting link from one of my FB Friends. OM Anxiety Makes You Look Like an Asshole  Now these weren't my symptoms before treatment, however I can understand the reality of this piece. People who are unaware of what is going on in the head of a person with anxiety or depression could easily misread the situation.

The reality is that people with anxiety / depression are expending so much energy to cope, and they are trying to avoid any triggers that may make it worse...  So of course they don't necessarily seem warm, approachable, at ease, etc.

Before I got things back under control I still remember laying on my bed shaking at the idea of going out to the country to visit mu parents. Now as you know I go out there often and usually have a great time, so this was not a rational fear. This was simply too little serotonin in my brain which led to my brain's electronic pulses not communicating correctly between neurons.  Build up my serotonin and the problem goes away. Poof !!!

Of course the amusing thing is that most people who have not experienced anxiety / depression don't realize how a tiny change in the chemical balance in their brain could drop them into it tomorrow.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Emperor Trump

I find this kind of humorous after having to listen to Conservatives complain about Obama's Executive Actions.  How he was terrible and over stepping his authority because he wanted to rule the country...  MSN Trump Writes More Executive Orders Than

Here is Trump with a GOP government and he is stymied to the point of using "Decrees from the Emperor".  Where is that great negotiator?
"Obama goes around signing executive orders," Trump said in February 2016. "He can't even get along with the Democrats. He goes around signing all these executive orders. It's a basic disaster. You can't do it.
Trump said that same sort of thing regularly on the 2016 campaign trail. It was a perfect way to make the case that Obama was an out-of-control executive, trying to push his liberal agenda on the country via fiat."
And I must say that I don't remember Obama ever threatening to censor our national media. Maybe Trump thinks he is the President of Russia, China or North Korea? :-)

The Hill - Hypocrite in Chief
BI 7 Trump Complaints about Obama
USA Today Orders
WAPO Trump's Past EO Comments

Thursday, October 12, 2017

EPA Changes and Fear Mongering?

One of my FB friends linked to the following. BI Before EPA Photos To which my first comment was:
"So turning back Obama regs is going to take us back to 1970? Do you distrust the State regulators and modern businesses that little? On the upside maybe the wealth gap will lessen back to 1970 levels..."
It just frustrates me to no end when people on both side make mountains out of mole hills, and try to use fear to get people to support their view.  In this case Trump is backing out some Obama era regulations and we are showing pictures of 1970 as if they are relevant...

Of course my Liberal friends do think the sky is falling and were resistant to considering some complicating factors and questions. Here is a taste of the discussion:
  • If 1970 was bad and 2000 was much better, exactly how far do we take this environmental protection and regulatory burden effort?  Are the 2000 regs that bad?  I don't know of anyone who wants to go back to 1970.
  • How has the regulatory burden contributed to loss of higher paying manufacturing, mining and other jobs in the USA? Income inequality? Those jobs that supported low academic /lower skill families before they were stuck working for Starbucks, Kohls, etc...
  • If we continue to make it harder and more expensive for domestic and foreign firms to operate in the USA. (ie more regs, higher taxes, more mandated benefits, etc)  Will the American consumer stop buying high foreign content products and services in order to support our American companies and workers?  Even if the cost to them is more? Value less? (see below)
  • Please remember that investors like myself and everyone with IRAs, 401Ks, pensions, etc make money no matter where the product is made and no matter who the customers choose to support.  This is because most diversified portfolios include international investments and US companies who do business globally. The only people who suffer when American consumers buy low domestic content products and services are the US workers and the US Tax Revenues.
Here is an important exchange that I want to emphasize:
"I don’t buy based on the lowest cost, there are stores I will not go to and products I will not buy even though they may be the lowest priced. I am not alone in that philosophy either. Just because you operate that way does not mean everyone does" FB1

"Very few people do buy "lowest cost"... They buy "best value" to maximize their personal benefit. Instead of paying more to support American workers, people rationalize that they deserve better quality, better features, better performance, lower cost, etc." G2A
Often people equate buying foreign to "buying cheap" and that is not quite correct. The reality is that many things we purchase are priced by what the market will pay. So if a foreign firm:
  • can build a good product for a lower cost
  • sell it in the USA at a higher USA price
  • they can use those additional profits to invest in more R&D, feature development, performance improvement, quality improvement, etc
  • and in time their product and market share eclipse the domestic product and domestic companies/ manufacturers go bankrupt. 
In summary: if we want better US jobs for more people, we need to minimize regulatory burdens, taxes, etc to what is an optimal trade off point.  And to do this we also need to get all healthy Americans to be smart, skilled, and independent.  

Related Links

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

SCOTUS and Gerrymandering

One of our favorite topics is in the news again.  I sure hope SCOTUS puts an end to this wasteful practice.  It seems a simple computer program could do a much better job and take a lot less time and money.

VOX Might Yield Blow to Gerrymandering
NR SCOTUS Should Not Strike down Gerrymandering
USA Today Gerrymandering

WAPO What Districts Could Look Like
Isthmus Slaying the Gerrymander

Monday, October 9, 2017

Executive Actions and Health Insurance

It absolutely fascinates me how much latitude a President has to work around the laws that are on the books.  No wonder they keep getting sued for over stepping their authority.

The irony of course is that the Conservatives vilified Obama and accused him of playing emperor when he took these types of actions, while the Liberals cheered Obama.  Now the shoe is on the other foot and the Conservatives are cheering on Emperor Trump while the Liberal gnash their teeth.

The first and second links discuss potential actions that Trump may take to allow people to buy less inclusive, and likely less expensive plans.  This sounds great until one understands the likely negative impacts it will have on the rest of the system.

The 3rd link discusses Trump's effort to make it harder for poor women to get and stay on birth control.  I of course think this is the height of stupidity since unintended pregnancies and the costs of/to the children are one of our country's biggest problems and shames.  Long term reversible birth control should be free to every man and woman in the USA.


VOX How Trump is Planning to Gut ACA
CNN Association Health Plans
Hill Trump Weakens Birth Control Mandate
Vice What Trump Has Signed

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Are You Brain Washing Yourself?

This discussion is continued from GOP and DEMs See Things Differently The summary of the discussion is that Laurie believes that...

"most liberals rely on sources like wapo and regional newspapers while conservatives are getting their news from Breitbart." 
"the left and the right are not equivalent in terms of information / misinformation they get from the news sources they use." 
My argument is that people who truly are on both the far Left and far Right tend to read sources that support their perspective of reality, thereby reinforcing it. (in essence brain washing themselves) And though Breitbart is somewhat relevant and it did trigger other outlets to react, overall few Conservatives read it.

I think that Laurie is standing on her high horse and looking down on the irredeemable lying deplorables just as Hillary did. The sad part of this is that for every Laurie there is a far right Conservative looking down on a Liberal as an irrational naive socialist seeking to destroy our country. Hopefully someday we can start respecting those who have different views from our own. 

Ironically I was asked earlier how I know I am somewhat of a moderate?  I explained to the individual that as long as my Father calls me a socialist and Laurie says I am too Conservative...  I will know I am somewhere in the middle.  :-)

One more thought... If many of Trump's voters are old white folks and irredeemable deplorables, how many of them even know how to retweet?  Or is the CJR info just noting that the Trump twitter followers are more active?  There are a lot of questions in the links below.

Relevant Links
WAPO Political Polarization Is Mainly A Right-Wing Phenomenon
CJR Breitbart led right wing media ecosystem altered broader media agenda
PEW Voters Divided on News Source
All Sides Bias Ratings
Most Trusted News Outlets
Breitbart Bleeding Readers and Advertisers
CJR Info

PEW Info

Thursday, October 5, 2017

GOP and DEMs See Things VERY Differently

This links below should not be very surprising since:
  • the Liberals focus on Liberal news sources and communicate more regularly with Liberal friends
  • the Conservatives focus on Conservative news sources and communicate more regularly with  Conservative Friends
Just think of your own Facebook page...  What links and conversations do you pay attention to, how many of your friends have similar views, who have you unfriended because you could not handle seeing their links / comments anymore, etc.
PEW Partisan Divide Grows
CNN New Poll

If anything scares me with regard to Our Nation is Dying, it is what the modern technologies have done to enable citizens to stay in and reinforce their personal perspectives.  The folks on the Far Left keep drinking their kool aid and those on the Far Right keep drinking theirs, and the situation just keeps getting more volatile. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Our Nation is Dying?

A an uplifting guest post from Hiram.
"As I have said, our nation is dying. And our attitude toward gun violence is just more evidence of that."
Now Hiram has made these cynical comments before and I think it time we discuss the topic:
  • Is our nation dying?
  • What does dying mean to you?
  • How does this differ from the challenges of the last 241 years?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • What are the root causes?
  • What are the cures?
My belief is that people have likely had their doubts regarding our country's long term viability for 250 years...  And yet we have persevered... However in the past:
  • we did not have social media and belief oriented news casts that enable people to continually reinforce their world views while vilifying others. 
  • people paid severely for making bad personal choices, where as today many of them are cushioned by our social programs
  • these are a fiscal drain on the other citizens and the country, and absorbing the pain lessens the motivation of people to make good personal choices.
  • foreign competition was not as intense because global transport and communication costs were much larger and more time consuming. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Presidential Approval Ratings

Okay I had to steal this from CNN One Graph.  Just look at how historically low Trump's approval rating is...  And it is quite literally only being held up by the Republicans.  In essence he has done nothing to broaden his base of support.  He is so far below Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, etc that it is laughable.  That must greatly frustrate Trump, no wonder he submerges himself in his rallies often. That way he can deny this reality.

Gun Control

Back here I said.
"Though I am against laws that would further restrict the types of guns and magazines one can buy/own, I am actually a big supporter of strong, consistent and thorough background checks. And even better yet, enforcing the current laws and prosecuting those that break the laws."
After Denver, Sandy Hook, Orlando and now Las Vegas, I now think we should limit clip sizes to less than 20 bullets and stop the sale of guns that can be easily modified to "bump fire operation".

There is no real rational reason for this to be legal in the USA, but unfortunately it looks like our more whacko gun rights folks are still not convinced.