We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, March 1. 2018
Frustrated Dad At Restaurant Just Wants A Normal Burger
Nearly Half the Country Wants Universal Basic Income
I'm surprised any adult would admit to wanting that
The real problem is the millions of people around the world who are too stupid to realize how stupid they are.
Go Ahead and Print Your Emails — the Forests Are Just Fine. Despite what the alarmists say, most forests aren't in any danger.
When Piers Morgan is the reasonable one in the conversation
THREE MUSLIM WOMEN RECEIVE $60,000 EACH AFTER BEING FORCED TO REMOVE HIJAB FOR POLICE MUGSHOTS
Now That’s What We Need: “A Kinder And More Generative Masculinity”
THIS UNIVERSITY IS GOING TO PAY BIG MONEY FOR IGNORING A STUDENT’S RIGHTS
Athens, Jerusalem, Gettysburg: Leon Kass on Politics as Moral Endeavor
“Our mission is to deliver the world’s best healthcare experiences for Apple employees.”
Gallup Warning: Are You One Of Those People With Too Much Money?
Dem Changing Stances on Guns and Immigration Reflect a Cultural-Political Shift
No, School Shootings Are Not An ‘Epidemic,’ Not More Common, Schools Actually Safer Than They Were In 90s
Supreme Court Janus case is bigger than unions. Upward mobility is at stake.
Labor Watchdogs Optimistic After Forced Dues High Court Hearing. 'Being forced to fund union speech violates a fundamental right'
Trump’s Spending Splurge Is a Long-Run Recipe for Higher Taxes and Less Prosperity
Donald Trump’s achievements won’t last if Congress does not act
REPORT: Uranium One Informant Reveals Russians “Bragged About Bribing Clintons”
Trump to #TheResistance and Mueller: I’m not going anywhere, and here’s my 2020 Campaign Manager
GLIMPSING THE “NEW EUROPE” IN PRAGUE - What might have been.
“Black People Unite!” After Proposal by Black Racist – South Africa Votes to Confiscate Land from White Farmers
The Iranian Threat and the Eternal Meaning of Purim - The Jews of Persia saw the universe’s great whimsy. Grief turned into joy, mourning into celebration.
A New Realism: America & Israel in the Trump Era
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Trump has zero chance in 2020 if he signs an "assault weapon" ban. He ought to ask HW Bush about it if he has doubts.
I think he's dangling bait in front of them - and they don't see the trap behind it.
Midterm elections are coming up. The political left is committing very loudly and publicly to a massive increase in gun control - which is NOT going to play well outside of small areas on the coasts. Dems in rural states are likely going "Oh, hell - what do those idiots think they're doing? They make any progress towards passing this and we're toast!"
It plays well to their committed constituency, but outside it? Not so much...
The Dem leadership sees the chance to enact 'reasonable' gun laws - ignoring that the laws in question already exist and failed in the Parkland case because the authorities basically said 'Screw enforcement of the law, we've got to keep arrest numbers down to keep that sweet fed money coming in'. A law that isn't enforced... well, what laws can you pass to fix an organizational structure that's so broken they'd rather see crimes and felonies than prosecute the people committing them?
Trump's dangling the bait - but it's poison and they don't see the trap. They're going to screw themselves over big-time.
They can't help themselves. Just like with the Dreamer debate, their base is so anti-Trump that they can't just agree with him and take the win. It is not sufficient for them to get what they want, they have to be seen as sticking it to Trump and the Republicans.
JLawson: I think he's dangling bait in front of them - and they don't see the trap behind it.
The President advocated suspending due process and having the government confiscate guns.
In a round table discussion, which - last I heard - was not legally binding or an indication of anything except sharing ideas.
YMMV, of course.
JLawson: an indication of anything except sharing ideas
That's right. And Trump's idea was to suspend due process and have the government confiscate guns.
A gun violence restraining order is issued the same way any other restraining order is issued. An application is made to a judge who examines the evidence presented with the request and determines whether it meets the criteria for issuing the order. The target of the restraining order or their representative is not present during this review. Hearings to determine if the order should be extended or ended provide an opportunity for the target to present evidence in support of their case.
Hence, 'take the gun' comes before 'due process'.
Christopher B: An application is made to a judge who examines the evidence presented with the request and determines whether it meets the criteria for issuing the order.
Getting a warrant is part of due process. A preliminary ruling by a judge is part of due process. But just to make it very clear, Trump said, "I think they should have taken them away, whether they had the right or not."
Tell the truth, you really downloaded half of today's blog from the Onion, now didn't you?
And nearly half the country wants Universal Basic Income because nearly half the country is probably already getting it, one way or another - in the combined form of zero Income Taxes, a check for "earned" tax credits, and/or welfare, and/or SNAP, and/or subsidized housing, and/or long term disability (disabled or not)........
Easy. Finland is running the experiment of a Basic Income, in a population with a strong work ethic and a strong social unity, where everyone looks like second-cousins and they are allowing only a trickle of immigration. If this attempt at simplifying the safety net doesn't work there, it won't work anywhere. If by some odd chance it actually does simplify things and save money, we can consider imitating it then.
Let's table this for five years. Maybe ten.
This is the right web site for everyone who really wants to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic which has been discussed for decades. Wonderful stuff, just great!
Re: No, School Shootings Are Not An ‘Epidemic'
I think the real question is why we are having this gun violence problem now but not in the '50s when anyone could buy a gun at a hardware store or Sears without a background check. Most firearm deaths are from people who use pistols and they haven't really changed since then so it must have something to do with the person who pulls the trigger.
The left has ruined our (and every other) society and gun violence is just one of many symptoms of our sick societies.
Guns and immigration.
More than half of the mass shooters were immigrants. It is an interesting juxtaposition to be in favor of unvetted and massive immigration and then whine about the violennce of unvetted and massive immigration.
A more interesting discussion would be about the speed and scope of the MSM and activists actions to oppose guns after the shooting. In fact if you listen to the unreported news some of that action began to ramp up just before the shooting. There is reliable data to prove that mass shooting deaths are not increasing and in fact have been decreasing since 1994. There is statistical evidence to shoow that America is safer than most European countries in homicides and violent crime. There is something underhanded going on here and it isn't about safety for school children or all Americans.
This is the first attempt under Trump to get their issues passed.
It hasn't escaped notice that even though EVERY SINGLE STEP that has been taken so far failed completely - with the FBI ignoring the issue, with the Sheriff's office ignoring student crime in the area, and the police in the area visiting this little shitstain well over 20 times, yet somehow he NEVER got on a watchlist or did anything that rose to the level of an arrest - which would have flagged him as a possible problem.
And if he'd been convicted of a felony, he never would have passed the background check.
The utility of a background check database is ONLY as good as the data put into it. And the database was supposed to PREVENT things like this.
So - there's some serious questions here. Something's REALLY hinky about how quickly there was a media organized circus about this... like they've been expecting it and mobilized to take advantage.
Trump’s Spending Splurge Is a Long-Run Recipe for Higher Taxes and Less Prosperity
U.S. federal debt is denominated in dollars, so a more likely scenario is inflation.
In other words, if we stay on this path, we’ll eventually become Greece. Not a good idea, to put it mildly.
Greek debt is denominated in Euros. They have to earn Euros to make their debt payments.
Trump and his allies in Congress recently agreed on a big-spending budget deal that lavishes more money on both the Pentagon and domestic programs, and that was only a few weeks after agreeing on a tax reform plan that lower taxes
Cutting taxes and increasing spending when the economy is working near capacity is the wrong point of the market cycle. Infrastructure spending, when the economy was at its low point, when there were idle workers and factories, would have been a reasonable policy. Then, with the infrastructure improvements in place, the U.S. economy would now be poised to move to the next level.
GeeZ, the kiddieZ misunderstanding of basic economics rivals only their misunderstanding of the basic physics of heat flow.
Back to the sandbox with y'all.
Keyensian economics is wrong. You always go to the flawed ideas to make your points. That makes me laugh. At you.
DrTorch: Keyensian economics is wrong.
It's as old as the Bible:
Genesis 41: Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river. Suddenly there came up out of the river seven cows, fine looking and fat; and they fed in the meadow. Then behold, seven other cows came up after them out of the river, ugly and gaunt, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the river. And the ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven fine looking and fat cows. So Pharaoh awoke.
Save while times are good, and use those savings during times of want.
When the economy is already working near capacity, then cutting taxes while increasing spending will not increase production. Rather, government borrowing will compete against private borrowing, and government spending will compete against private investment. The result is to drive up interest rates and prices, and lead to the formation of market bubbles, as we saw during the Bush Administration.
When the economy is working below capacity, then government borrowing will not be competing against the private sector, because there is available capital and productive capability.
It's also rather obvious that if infrastructure had been improved several years ago, then the economy would be benefiting from it now that it is nearing capacity.
Those ugly gaunt cows were Marxist/Democrats. Don't forget this lesson. If those "fine looking and fat cows" had the right to own guns they would have survived. Pay attention! The Democrat party today is full of ugly gaunt cows...
Z: ... when the economy is working near capacity...
Still drinking the Obama kool-aid that his economy is as good as it gets, eh? The latest read on capacity utilization was 77.74%. It's on an upswing but in the '90s, it was bumping against 85% and in the late '60s, it was almost 90%. We are nowhere near full capacity. (https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/TCU/)
mudbug: It's on an upswing but in the '90s, it was bumping against 85% and in the late '60s, it was almost 90%. We are nowhere near full capacity.
Capacity utilization at 85% leads to inflation. Average utilization is about 80%. You will also note utilization has been dropping generally over time.
There is still some slack in the U.S. economy, but it is nearing capacity, as we said. By the way, the sluggish capacity utilization argues against tax cuts as a spur to investment.
mudbug: his economy is as good as it gets, eh?
Whoever said that?
mudbug: It's on an upswing
Yes. If you look at your graph, the trend suddenly changed for the better in 2009. What else happened that year?
Z: Capacity utilization at 85% leads to inflation.
More fake economics. There is no relation between capacity utilization and inflation. Compare the capacity utilization chart to this inflation chart (https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/inflation-cpi).
Z: You will also note utilization has been dropping generally over time.
Correct, so there is a lot of potential for increased capacity.
Z: There is still some slack in the U.S. economy, but it is nearing capacity, as we said. By the way, the sluggish capacity utilization argues against tax cuts as a spur to investment.
That seems contradictory: the economy is nearing capacity but the capacity utilization is sluggish. I've already shown how we are not near full capacity and taking that metric as a reason to alter tax policy is another argument for tax cuts. In fact, manufacturing utilization is gaining speed (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-01/manufacturing-in-u-s-expands-at-fastest-pace-since-may-2004).
Z: (WRT to the economy being as good as it gets) Whoever said that?
Democrats laughed when Trump said he could get GDP growth to average 3+%, Obama pooh-poohed Trump's suggestion that he could boost employment (his no magic wand comments), and you said, "the economy is working near capacity." Do you have another definition of "capacity" than to imply an upper limit?
Z: Yes. If you look at your graph, the trend suddenly changed for the better in 2009. What else happened that year?
The uptrend I mentioned was in reference to the change in direction since May 2016 but your point about the change of direction in 2009 is taken. Interest rates were slashed, the Fed started buying bonds and later MBSs. These and other actions by the Fed were HUGE tailwinds to the economy.
mudbug: There is no relation between capacity utilization and inflation.
While not the only factor, from your own charts you can see the relationship. Note the twin peaks in the 1970s. After that, utilization never exceeded 85%. You might also note the deflation in 2008-2009 coinciding with a dramatic drop in utilization.
mudbug: Correct, so there is a lot of potential for increased capacity.
Some. However, significant long-term growth will require increased productivity, not just putting the remaining capacity to work.
mudbug: he economy is nearing capacity but the capacity utilization is sluggish.
Nearing capacity means there is still some excess capacity. Not sure why you consider that contradictory.
mudbug: Democrats laughed when Trump said he could get GDP growth to average 3+%
Last quarter was about 2.5% real GDP growth. So? The U.S. can probably grow around 3%, but there are significant challenges. The cut in the corporate rate will tend to predate on other developed economies, but at the expense of deficits, which will put pressure on interest rates.
"Infrastructure spending, when the economy was at its low point, when there were idle workers and factories, would have been a reasonable policy. "
We tried that crap with a $787 billion stimulus package. And got bupkis. In fact, people like you cried that package wasn't big ENOUGH. We also tried it during the Great Depression and all that did was extend the misery.
Keynesian economics don't work. Never have. Never will.
jimg: We tried that crap with a $787 billion stimulus package.
A large portion of the ARRA was for tax cuts, with only a small portion designated for infrastructure. Nor was the $0.8 trillion package nearly sufficient to fill the $10 trillion hole the financial meltdown left in the economy. Obama proposed an infrastructure plan, but Republicans shouted "Deficits!" Of course, now deficits don't matter.
jimg: And got bupkis.
In fact, the ARRA had a significant impact on GDP.
jimg: We also tried it during the Great Depression and all that did was extend the misery.
Real GDP grew at an annual rate of about 7% during the New Deal, even faster during the Great Stimulus of WWII.
BD, just look at the internals on that basic income poll. It's those who identified as Democrats... and the 18-35's that pushed that poll to those numbers. Also very popular with women. Independents and Republicans were against, in every category.
This is the brain-washing of the young at Universities at work. IMO. I dive into every poll or survey I see reported now, because the media are driving stories for clicks and to set up ideas, when you look, most of the time, the headlines don't really match the data... or really,
" Survey says, most Americans reject the idea of Universal Income; Young Democrats and Women more likely to support"...
"5 Easy Ways to Ruin Your Life" ... now there's a bucket list.
Creating more divisiveness under the guise of inclusiveness??
Some NBA teams played 'negro national anthem' at games
re Black People Unite!” After Proposal by Black Racist – South Africa Votes to Confiscate Land from White Farmers
Yeah. That will work just as well for South Africa as it did for Zimbabwe.
"That will work just as well for South Africa as it did for Zimbabwe."
Zimbabwe is a great success. After they got rid of the evil white colonial exploiters, everybody in Zimbabwe became a millionaire. If you would like to be a millionaire you can buy a Zimbabwe ten trillion dollar note on the internet for about 20 US dollars.
The article on wealth saturation is somewhat tongue-in-cheek but I've always thought that there truly is such a thing (purely as a mental exercise. I'll never have to worry about it). I suspect there comes a point at which you can have everything you can imagine without thinking about your bottom line. That would, I suspect vary with the individual, but it would seem logical that there is a satiation point. For me, I'll bet it is somewhere south of 10's of millions. For someone more used to wealth, perhaps in the 100's of millions or even low billions.
What one does with the excess, I can't guess. Good works perhaps.
I think the elites have been caught flatfooted that the peons aren't rolling over as usual. The rabble even sent Rubio's head back in a box (to quote the Zblog). This election cycle isn't about vertical fractures between Rep and Dem, left and right, constitutionalist/judicial activist; this is a horizontal crack between the regular every day folks (incl Main Street and working people) and those people who are insulated from the consequences of globalization, open borders, and other iffy policies of the managerial class (The Donor Class).
So now you have blue collar Dems, middle class minorities, Indies, and wage earners, small business and tradesmen pushing back in the person of Donald J Trump.
The idea that they are trashy, toothless illiterates is preposterous, BTW. They have been ready to jump ship for at least a decade, without anywhere to go. So, why now, why Trump? It takes money, honey. The billionaires, Davos caste, International Chamber of Commerce types aren't interested in funding the agenda for regular folks, or even in their well being, unless you are a well organized special interest. I don't have an answer for the Constitution purists, but I wouldn't look to the International Chamber of Commerce or the Davos Caste to be your allies.