Sandbox (4)

Sometimes very active discussions about peripheral issues overwhelm a thread, so this is a permanent home for those conversations.

I’ve opened a new “Sandbox” thread as a post as the new “ignore commenter” plug-in only works on threads started as posts.

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2,921 thoughts on “Sandbox (4)

  1. Schizophora,

    True. I wouldn’t expect Trump to try that himself, but his campaign would wheel out a string of surrogates. Everybody on Wall Street hates the idea, obviously, although the best spokesperson would probably be a retired NFL player or Macauly Culkin: someone who is now stuck living off the money they earned previously.
    Roseanne Barr, perhaps? 😮
    But I am ignorant of the details of Warren’s plan — it always struck me as a non-starter: how did she intend to treat illiquid assets such as farms and closely held businesses? It’s a bit like Yang’s VAT plan, the devil really is in the details…

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  2. newton: phoodoo:
    newton,

    You don’t seem to understand, SHE has said it is unfair to have money you didn’t earn, that is why she won’t give it to her kids.

    I understand, she was married to Steve Jobs , half of all community property is her money, his half goes to her if he dies before her excluding any stipulations in his will.

    OHH! Is that what happens? I see. Why didn’t you say so. I thought she stole it from Jobs!

    I see what you are saying. Its not ridiculous for her to say its not fair for people to be given money they haven’t earned, and for people to have millions and millions more than others when they have done nothing for it, while at the same time spending money wildly that was given to her that she didn’t earn. That’s not ridiculous, because she was married to Steve Jobs, so he gave it to her. Gee, next time speak up earlier Newton! I hadn’t for a second realized how married property works. Heck Powell could have saved all of those journalists from confusion as well, if she would have explained how that works.

    The people she was talking about were not people who marry rich, its people who are born rich, THAT is the unfair part she was talking about. I get it now, thanks a lot Newton. I am sure her kids are as equally as unconfused as you.

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  3. Neil Rickert,

    Here, Newton has cleared up the confusion for us all. I hope you don’t need to scratch your head wondering why I was wondering why Steve Jobs wife said something that I thought made no sense whatsoever anymore. Because I hadn’t been aware that married people get all of their spouses property when they die. I was completely unaware of this complex little caveat of American life. That is where the confusion came in for myself and every other journalist who wrote about this seeming contradiction of Powell statements. Myself, and all the journalists I guess, we all didn’t understand how wills and property work. Newton thankfully has cleared it all up. So its confusing no longer.

    Whew! That’s a relief.

    Looking back now and reading Powell’s statement now it is crystal clear. When she said its not weird for her to say that while she is spending money as lavishly as pretty much anyone on the planet, I should have taken more note of the fact that she said Jobs never cared much about money, it wasn’t important to his life, so THAT explains her extravagant lifestyle. Its a tribute to him. That and Newton’s amazing unraveling of the issue.

    Clear now?

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  4. phoodoo:

    DNA_Jock:

    But I am ignorant of the details of Warren’s plan — how did she intend to treat illiquid assets such as farms and closely held businesses?

    No kidding?

    No kidding, indeed.
    It seems that Elizabeth herself is a little unclear on this particular aspect of her plan, writing:

    the IRS would be authorized to use cutting-edge retrospective and prospective formulaic valuation methods for certain harder-to-value assets like closely held business and non-owner-occupied real estate.

    Maybe you could be a doll and explain this to us both?
    Or not. Your call.

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  5. DNA_Jock,

    Why would I need to do that, all I am trying to figure out is why you think a plan that you say you clearly don’t understand can’t work.

    Perhaps we are seeing a patten to your analysis.

    I gave you something simpler to analyze but you have declined. If Gates loses all his money gambling on horses tomorrow, is that going to affect how much of his wealth you claim he gives to charity. I will give you a big hint, he still will not have given more than two percent per year for the past twenty years. Let me know which language you would prefer to make that easier for you to understand.

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  6. phoodoo: Yea, that is what he has said. And I am let’s says, a little skeptical. The real kind, not the skeptics kind.

    You can’t take it with you, it has to go somewhere.

    First off, he already has used some of his “charity” money to donate to his children’s private school. Ok Bill, now there is compassion! Lord knows they must need it. How do they eat?

    Yes, he went to the same school. He has a connection to the school.

    “The money is part of a campaign to raise $105 million so that greater financial aid can be available to students who can’t afford tuition at the school for grades 5 through 12. Funds raised by the “Living our Mission” campaign also will give teachers and staff salary raises.

    The money also will be used to bolster the school’s Global Service Learning program — students spending at least a month in developing countries to help refugees, improve environmental sustainability and help in other ways”

    Education is a good investment. The foundation spends money for less privileged schools as well.

    Secondly, other things that he says about money make me skeptical of him. he has often said he doesn’t spend much money on luxuries. That is demonstrably false.

    When you have a 100 billion dollars ,not much money is not insignificant.

    Unless you don’t count 30 million dollar paintings, original Davinci manuscripts, luxury yachts, dozens of sports cars, 100 million dollar homes, private jets, and Thoroughbred horses as luxuries.

    So the billions of dollars and the time he invests in promoting his foundation is negated by the fact he lives in a nice house, has nice cars, and invests in art, horses. He made the money. He deserves to enjoy it.

    if those don’t count, well then yea, ok, he doesn’t spend much on luxuries, other than importing sand from St.Lucia (they do have great sand, true) for his house in Washington, besides, he really has no taste for luxury.

    They count, Sounds like nice house, I expect they will make pretty good money when they sell it. Might make some money. Plus all the people who make an earning building and maintaining it. I expect they have families as well.

    Except maybe the Island. Some might call a private island a luxury, I could see how he might not. And the ranches. Horses have to live somewhere. But really, he hates luxury.

    Did he say he hated luxury? All those things ,I expect ,are gaining value, at some point they will be liquidated. If the money goes the foundation ,it will be dispersed. Seems like you are pissed at the wrong guy. He is spending a great deal of the most precious finite commodity of time generating awareness and additional funding of the foundation. Do you disagree that the foundation is lots doing good work?

    But then there is this, What sane person would ever allow this?:

    Because he earned his money legally. In his case , he has pledged to help people less fortunate and is encouraging other rich guys to do the same. That is allowable

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  7. newton: So the billions of dollars and the time he invests in promoting his foundation is negated by the fact he lives in a nice house, has nice cars, and invests in art, horses. He made the money. He deserves to enjoy it.

    I have little interest in the “its his money he can do with it what he wants” kind of stories. This is obvious, but its also not the point. People can do what they want with their money because its the law, but they also can be judged what kind of person they are by others. That’s the trade. He gets treated in the media, and by you, and by lots of other people, as some kind of hero for what he does. And I am questioning exactly how much of a hero he really is. It is my belief, that as the richest person in the world, and the richest person in the world for a VERY long time, ridiculously ridiculously rich, he is also clever enough to know that being so insanely rich he would be the target of the rest of society as being evil, if he didn’t do something to spin an image. So he plays the humble rich guy role, who is selfless, and just wants to help the world, and doesn’t really want the money for himself, so this is why society shouldn’t criticize him. And I am saying that is calculated.

    He knows the history of the term robber barons, so he wants to control his image to say this is not him. Maybe its partly true and maybe its not. But the world also judges the Carnegies, and the Vanderbilts, and the Rockefellers, and I think the world should judge them. We are a society after all, and as a society there needs to be consideration about how wealth is divided, whether you like that consideration or not. When one person owns 99% of the coconuts on the island, whether or not he owns them legally is not really the point. The question is, should one person own 99% of the resources, and give the others crumbs. So I am judging Gates, its a fair calculation to make.

    If one is the richest person in the world, one has obligations. Being the richest person gives you unheralded power to shape the world, politically, financially. Talking about how societies should deal with outrageous wealth gaps isn’t just for crazy lone theorists with nothing else to do, who are just jealous (that is the analysis of an idiot).

    So I say, when the richest person in the world, is only willing to part with on average, 2% of their wealth per year, societies should look at this problem even more closely. Societies can’t just say, its their money, let them do what they want. That is why we have government, and not feudal lords and bandits. And so virtually every country must study this problem, and consider how to deal with it. America’s choice of how to deal with it, it is turning out, is perhaps one of the worst, and getting more worse. Europe doesn’t do this. Japan doesn’t do this. Canada does better. Australia does better. China does better. Americas echo of “its their money, stop being jealous” bullshit is actually a very unhealthy dialogue. So take a look at your cities. You are supposedly one of the richest countries in the world, and look at you. You have homeless camps in virtually every metropolitan area. You have overcrowded jails. You are illiterate. Your healthcare is a mess. Your work-life balance is appalling. You have millions upon millions of angry, disaffected citizens. And if you don’t think the situation of wealth like the Gates, and the Bezos, and the Jobs and the Zuckerbergs have anything to do with that mess, you are delusional. I am not saying it is their fault, but until America finds a better way to deal with this exploding wealth gap, you are not going to fix your countries trouble. The unfettered capitalist experiment is not showing good results for your country. Too much money, too much power, in too few hands, who will do anything to keep their power, and grind up the working class to the bone.

    America loves to talk about its exceptionalism. Its exceptional, but not in a good way. And with all of its land mass, its geographic location, its resources, its education, its history, its tradition of fairness, it shouldn’t be that way. But the country got hijacked.

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  8. Schizophora:
    Kantian Naturalist,

    Karl Marx really was a brilliant economist, as much as the “Marxism bad” crowd wants to act like he was just a loon. And much of what Marx said has been misunderstood due to the fact that few people have actually read what he wrote and instead prefer to read what others write about his ideas. Marx didn’t so much advocate for the collapse of capitalism as just assert that it would happen on its own. As for what comes after, as far as I can tell he thought the void would be filled with a utopian society where no-one would ever be poor again. Clearly, he underestimated two fundamental points: the greed of humanity, and the ability of capitalism to disburse misinformation and distractions to convince the populace that capitalism is widely beneficial.

    That all seems pretty much right to me. I’m not sure I’d say that underestimated greed as much as he overestimated rationality: he seems to have thought that workers would organize and collectively overthrow the owners out of their own enlightened self-interest. And he certainly was overly confident about how easily the technical barriers to a fully automated society could be overcome.

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  9. phoodoo: When one person owns 99% of the coconuts on the island, whether or not he owns them legally is not really the point.

    People made choices that led up to that situation. Is it your position that those choices should be overridden? Choices have consequences. It’s quite likely that at the time the people losing access to the coconuts felt well compensated.

    phoodoo: So in your model, where is choice and consequences?

    Choices have consequences, as you note. People chose to allow 99% of the coconuts to be owned by a single person. They, in fact, voted for it. And they keep voting for it.

    phoodoo where is the choice, for a brain in a vat having 24 hour orgasms?

    Or, indeed, having coconuts on demand. An equitable coconut share for all removes the choice of the owner of 99% of them to keep them. And I know how keen you are on choice. Where would be the choice if you got a coconut every time you wanted one?

    phoodoo: Yes, people are not immortal. Does this also mean God doesn’t love you? If you say yes, that also means he doesn’t love people, then one of your demands for a loving God with choices is immortality. And then the list just continues from there. people shouldn’t be able to die. people shouldn’t be able to lose possessions. People shouldn’t have heartache. People shouldn’t have to work hard. People shouldn’t get hurt when they fall of a cliff. People should never feel sick.

    This is is the only way to satisfy the demands of those who claim that every time something unfortunate happens, it counts as more proof that there isn’t a God.

    People should own a coconut?
    It seems to me that your God is happy with a 99% coconut single person ownership. So I’m not sure on what basis you are complaining.

    But it seems odd to me, you complain about 99% coconut ownership as if it’s a bad thing but out of the other side of your mouth you complain about people complaining about how unfair things are.

    And yet, here you are, acting as if this is not the best of all possible worlds. What with the lack of permanent whipped cream and all. So suck up the fact that 99% of the coconuts are owned by a single person. It is, after all, your gods will that suffering and choice are intertwined.

    You’ll get your coconut in heaven phoodoo. Be content with that for now.

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  10. Kantian Naturalist,

    I recently heard Jack Dorsey talking about his disappointment that Andrew Yang had dropped out of the race for President. I think guys like Dorsey and Yang have a much better idea about what automation and wealth equality can do for the country, than much of the old guard. Unfortunately it looks like that is not going to happen anytime soon.

    I suspect Dorsey is a more authentic philanthropist than Gates, but time will tell.

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  11. phoodoo: I recently heard Jack Dorsey talking about his disappointment that Andrew Yang had dropped out of the race for President. I think guys like Dorsey and Yang have a much better idea about what automation and wealth equality can do for the country, than much of the old guard. Unfortunately it looks like that is not going to happen anytime soon.

    Yeah, my dream ticket would have been Sanders and Yang. Alas, we’re stuck with yet another neoliberal milquetoast centrist.

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  12. Schizophora:
    DNA_Jock,

    The idea that Trump would coherently explain an idea requiring attention to detail is laughable to me. I would see him as much more likely to lie about it and claim that a wealth tax will lead to the downfall of the American way of life.

    The turnip has been able to have nearly four years now of not explaining in detail a single idea of his. I don’t think anyone even knows what one of his ideas is. If it ended today, what would his presidential library look like? Could someone even write a coherent paragraph about what his beliefs were? About a single one of his policy objectives?

    Maybe they could write something about his theory that you could inject people with disinfectant to clean them.

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  13. phoodoo: The turnip has been able to have nearly four years now of not explaining in detail a single idea of his. I don’t think anyone even knows what one of his ideas is.

    Likewise after even longer then that I still don’t know what “Intelligent Design” means to you. What, when, how, all a mystery.

    So stop and think for a moment. Stop throwing stones as you live in the very same glass house.

    You, like Trump, don’t have ideas. You simply feel that other peoples’s ideas are wrong in your “gut”, science be dammed.

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  14. phoodoo,

    Yes, Yang’s ideas looked good to me. However, he has to sell those ideas to the voting public. And that’s hard to do. Perhaps the public will be a bit more receptive after COVID-19, but I think they still will not be ready to buy into Yang’s ideas.

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  15. phoodoo: Could someone even write a coherent paragraph about what his beliefs were?

    I can only write of your beliefs that misery is inescapable. Beyond that, some thing did some thing some when some how. But evolutioon is wrong, I tells ya, wrong!

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  16. phoodoo: I think guys like Dorsey and Yang have a much better idea about what automation and wealth equality can do for the country, than much of the old guard.

    And what happens when automation means that you don’t have to work unless you need to, when technology advances to the point where you don’t have to die unless you want to?

    Your whole position is based on the idea that it cannot be “whipped cream all the time” and yet that is what you are now advocating. Free money! Equality!

    When there is no misery left, how will your deity sustain itself?

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  17. Neil Rickert,

    I think the biggest detriment was not the general public, but more the establishment democratic political machine. They did everything they could to try to squelch the liberal wing of the party. They seem to be willing to chew off their own arms.

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  18. phoodoo: OHH! Is that what happens? I see. Why didn’t you say so. I thought she stole it from Jobs!

    You can’t steal what you legally own.

    I see what you are saying. Its not ridiculous for her to say its not fair for people to be given money they haven’t earned,

    Not saying that. She contributes large amounts to altruistic causes.

    Am saying she probably feels that way about her children, they have been given many advantages by the genetic lottery, they can earn their own money. Doesn’t sound too onerous.

    and for people to have millions and millions more than others when they have done nothing for it, while at the same time spending money wildly that was given to her that she didn’t earn.

    The money Steve left her is in his trust, the rest of her money is her half of the community property and anything she has earned since his death. Are you saying that community property is illegitimate somehow?

    That’s not ridiculous, because she was married to Steve Jobs, so he gave it to her.

    He bequeathed his Trust, the rest is not a gift. It is an legal obligation, they are equal partners to the assets and debts of the marriage. Some states are not.

    Gee, next time speak up earlier Newton! I hadn’t for a second realized how married property works.

    It seemed that way, and it is not universal. But that is how it works in California

    Heck Powell could have saved all of those journalists from confusion as well, if she would have explained how that works.

    Or they could research what she said

    “ The Emerson Collective founder and widow of Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a new interview with The New York Times’ David Gelles that she has dedicated her life to distributing Jobs’ fortune “effectively, in ways that lift up individuals and communities in a sustainable way,” and doesn’t plan on building a family dynasty.

    “I’m not interested in legacy wealth buildings, and my children know that,” Powell Jobs told The Times. “Steve wasn’t interested in that. If I live long enough, it ends with me.”

    Powell Jobs said she believes a massive accumulation of wealth is “dangerous for a society” and pointed to 19th- and 20th-century families like the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Mellons, and Fords as examples.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/laurene-powell-jobs-children-wont-inherit-billions-2020-2

    The people she was talking about were not people who marry rich, its people who are born rich, THAT is the unfair part she was talking about. I get it now, thanks a lot Newton. I am sure her kids are as equally as unconfused as you.

    Of course, what else could she be talking about? She is their mother. Marriage lasted twenty years, if she was gold digging she took her time.

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  19. phoodoo: I think the biggest detriment was not the general public, but more the establishment democratic political machine. They did everything they could to try to squelch the liberal wing of the party.

    I have not seen any evidence of that.

    Yes, that’s the complaint made by some of Sanders supporters. But, again, I do not see the evidence.

    I see “the establishment democratic political machine” (usually referred to a “the DNC”) as the poster child for organizational incompetence. They aren’t very good at anything that requires organization. To suggest that they could stop Sanders seems absurd.

    There’s a lot of natural conservatism as part of human psychology. People cling to what has worked in the past. The primary voters rejected Sanders because of this natural psychological response. Homo sapiens is not a species of rational agents. Tradition binds more strongly than rationality.

    The DNC were reluctant to support Sanders. But it was mainly because they thought Sanders could not win in a general election. And the primary voters agreed with that.

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  20. newton,

    Oh, please spare me any more explanations of her legal rights to the money.

    She lives like Imelda Marcos, her determination that her kids won’t doesn’t impress me in the slightest. Probably what she really means is she prefers to use it all herself.

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  21. Neil Rickert,

    Then why do you think Biden went from nearly last in Iowa, a poor finish in New Hampshire to suddenly leading the ticket? Primaries are almost meaningless. Its just a bunch of prognosticators and pollsters declaring who they think will be the best national candidate. They don’t know what they are talking about, and the people who are fashionable at any moment, can change in a heartbeat.

    The primaries are an outrageously poor indicated of who the public as a whole thinks should be president. I am willing to bet a very large sum that if Corey Booker or even Andrew Yang was running against Joe Biden for President right now, and you could only choose one or the other, both would easily beat Biden. Dark horses almost always show much better over time, primaries don’t really tell you much at all.

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  22. phoodoo: I am willing to bet a very large sum that if Corey Booker or even Andrew Yang was running against Joe Biden for President right now, and you could only choose one or the other, both would easily beat Biden.

    Shame you don’t have the same confidence in your other beliefs about evolution et al.

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  23. phoodoo: Then why do you think Biden went from nearly last in Iowa, a poor finish in New Hampshire to suddenly leading the ticket?

    Neither Iowa nor New Hampshire are very representative of the electorate as a whole.

    What changed, for Biden, was that he picked up the black vote in S. Carolina. Neither Sanders nor Warren were gaining much interest from black voters. The Democrats cannot win without the black vote.

    It’s my impression that primary voters were not all that happy with their choices. And when they saw what happened in S. Carolina, many of them switched their support to Biden.

    As to why Biden gets the black vote — that’s an interesting question. But I think it has a lot to do with Biden being VP to Obama. If it were not for that, I don’t think Biden would be so well received in the black community.

    I am willing to bet a very large sum that if Corey Booker or even Andrew Yang was running against Joe Biden for President right now, and you could only choose one or the other, both would easily beat Biden.

    That may be true of Booker. But I am doubtful with respect to Yang. And I think you are ignoring that support that Biden earned while being Obama’s VP.

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  24. phoodoo:
    newton,

    Oh, please spare me any more explanations of her legal rights to the money.

    Sorry to get all unemotional with you.

    She lives like Imelda Marcos, her determination that her kids won’t doesn’t impress me in the slightest.

    Richer than Imelda by far.

    Probably what she really means is she prefers to use it all herself.

    What do you mean “ probably”? You are just guessing?

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  25. What’s missing from this discussion is whether the democrats can put together a package of policies that will attract a majority of voters.

    And a candidate who is compos mentis.

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  26. petrushka,

    I think that policy should include not recommending that people try cleaning themselves from illness by injecting disinfectant.

    Also perhaps not building a wall that another country is not going to pay for and that is not going to do anything.

    Also maybe they can not plan on doing nothing to fix the medical insurance system. That would be a good contrast.

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  27. phoodoo:
    petrushka,

    I think that policy should include not recommending that people try cleaning themselves from illness by injecting disinfectant.

    Also perhaps not building a wall that another country is not going to pay for and that is not going to do anything.

    Also maybe they can not plan on doing nothing to fix the medical insurance system.That would be a good contrast.

    Another way of putting it is, policy proposals don’t really mean that much. People vote for candidates for the same reason they buy cars – they make an emotional selection, and rationalize it after the fact.

    Trump’s base is as solid as any voting base has ever been, and his numbers don’t go down no matter how ignorant he obviously is, no matter how corrupt he obviously is, no matter how much damage he is doing to our practices, our institutions, and our rule of law. Trump can violate the constitution in ways even Fox can’t spin, and it doesn’t matter. He is not supported for the value of his policies, he is worshiped for his character – as someone who is shaking things up, who is teaching those elite snobs a lesson, who is clearly a fighter and not a wimp (and simply ignore the evidence).

    These people didn’t dislike Obama’s policies (in fact, they are now happy with those policies), they despised Obama the person. If Fox ever let them know what Trump is actually doing, they might have to twist themselves into pretzels to justify it all, but they would because they LOVE Trump the person. He’s their kind of guy, and they don’t need (and won’t accept) any knowledge of his actions or his history, it doesn’t fit the narrative.

    For a democrat to defeat Trump, enough people must LIKE him and feel comfortable with him. And Trump understands that you don’t win by offering better policies or even any policies at all. You win by undermining public confidence in your opponent, by smearing him, lying about him, attacking his character. If he’s successful, you can ask any swing voter WHY he doesn’t vote for Biden, and he won’t be quite able to say, except he doesn’t TRUST Biden. But he doesn’t know why.

    1+
  28. Flint,

    I think this is true, I also think this is why the democrats didn’t need a Biden, they just needed anyone who was a solid, dependable democrat. It could be Booker, or Harris, or Beta O’Rourke, or Yang or any other articulate person who could be a counter to the insane dribbler. They don’t need to have precise policy details, this is one of the mistakes of many politicians, feeling they need to spell out every detail of their health care plan or tax plan, to counter what plan? There is zero plan on the other side. So they try to give a quick outline of their plan, which can then be criticized for every little detail, even though they are comparing it to nothing.

    30 percent will vote for a turnip. They just needed anyone who the rest of the country won’t hate.

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  29. petrushka:
    What’s missing from this discussion is whether the democrats can put together a package of policies that will attract a majority of voters.

    And a candidate who is compos mentis.

    Good question for both parties

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  30. phoodoo: Also maybe they can not plan on doing nothing to fix the medical insurance system. That would be a good contrast.

    It can’t be whipped cream all the time now can it?

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  31. newton: Good question for both parties

    The difference is that Trump is good at politics. In the same league as FDR, Bill Clinton, and Reagan. Voters understand the difference in speechifying between reading a teleprompter and speaking off the cuff.

    I understand that you hate Trump’s policies, but that should not cloud your reason. His policies are popular. Even immigration.

    His “stupid” statements have a way of moving in his favor. For example, the CV death toll is comparable to a bad flu season. The numbers are leveling off throughout the world, regardless of local policies.

    All this could change, but you need to be careful when assessing him as an opponent. He is a poker player and a pool hustler. It is to his advantage for you to think he is not very smart.

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  32. phoodoo: Just curious, is your name Guenter Parche?

    You think that being brought up on the things you’ve said in the past and comparing them to what you are saying now is stalking you?

    Are you making threats of physical violence against me?

    MOderatoooorrrrrr!!!!

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  33. phoodoo: Just curious, is your name Guenter Parche?

    It just strikes me as hypocritical that whenever people point out what’s ‘wrong’ with the world you cover for your deity – there must be a good reason, it’s better then the alternative of no-pain and therefore no learning etc etc.

    And yet when faced with the reality of it now it’s a problem that 99% of the coconuts are owned by a single person and people vote for leaders you think are idiots.

    So I say suck it up. You’ve literally no right to complain about anything in this world, mr Whipped Cream.

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  34. And anyway, I’d pick someone other than a talentless nobody to stalk, if such was my want.

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  35. instead of casting aspersions, phoodoo, perhaps you could simply explain how your apparently contradictory stances are not in fact massively hypocritical.

    `But I don’t expect you do to that. So, carry on….

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  36. petrushka: The difference is that Trump is good at politics.

    So was George Wallace in much the same way. And there is a difference between electoral politics and the political savvy to govern.

    In the same league as FDR, Bill Clinton, and Reagan.

    All four were charismatic, knew how to use the media. Three preached a doctrine of hope to attract others to their base,one preached division and the cult of his personal glory. Two were smart, the two were actors.

    Voters understand the difference in speechifying between reading a teleprompter and speaking off the cuff.

    True, Trump is completely inept at reading or doing anything other insult comedy. Remember to serious Trump in the Oval Office about the virus, it was horrific. Stock market tanked the next day. On the other hand all voters love the eloquent phrasing

    “I hope people enjoy the sun, and if it has an impact, that’s great. I’m just hearing this, not really for the first time. I mean, there’s been a rumor, a very nice rumor, that you go outside in the sun or you have heat, and it does have an effect on other viruses. But now we get it from one of the great laboratories of the world, I have to say. Covers a lot more territory than just this. This is probably an easy thing, relatively speaking, for you.

    “I would like you to speak to the medical doctors to see if there’s any way that you can apply light and heat to cure. You know? If you could? And maybe you can, maybe you can’t. Again, I say maybe you can, maybe you can’t. I’m not a doctor”

    Future generations will be memorizing that instead of the Gettysburg’s Address.

    I understand that you hate Trump’s policies, but that should not cloud your reason.

    My reason tells me he is a danger to the country.

    His policies are popular. Even immigration.

    “Notably, two-thirds of Americans who identify immigration as the most important problem still believe it is a good thing for the country.

    Democrats (87%) are much more likely than Republicans (62%) to say immigration is a good thing, with 78% of independents holding that view.

    Americans’ assessments of the effect of immigration on six aspects of U.S. society are mixed. In two areas — the economy and food, music, and the arts — more believe immigration has made the situation better than made it worse. The public is divided as to immigration’s effects on social and moral values and job opportunities for their family, but more evaluate immigration’s effect on crime and taxes negatively than positively.

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/259103/new-high-say-immigration-important-problem.aspx

    So popular with his base and those who fear.

    His “stupid” statements have a way of moving in his favor.

    Really, we have it under control?

    For example, the CV death toll is comparable to a bad flu season.

    In one case, we have shut down the country and 50,000 have died ,the other go about hugging and sneezing on each other and about the same die. The outcome might be the same but one requires isolation to reduce it to same the high levels, and we are only two months into it. Might be premature to declare victory

    The numbers are leveling off throughout the world, regardless of local policies.

    Not Brazil which went full Trump.

    All this could change, but you need to be careful when assessing him as an opponent.

    Totally agree, there will be a upswing in the charges that Biden harassed an employee , lots of money, and a willingness to do anything to win. I didn’t count him out in 2016. Didn’t even know about the Russian help, then.

    He is a poker player and a pool hustler. It is to his advantage for you to think he is not very smart.

    No, he is a bullshitter grifter who fucks over people, but since he is rich he gets away with it.

    He understands human frailties and can manipulate them, if that is smart.

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  37. OMagain:
    instead of casting aspersions, phoodoo, perhaps you could simply explain how your apparently contradictory stances are not in fact massively hypocritical.

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”

    RWE

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  38. newton: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”

    Pythagoras, Socrates, Jesus, Luther, Galileo, Newton, phoodoo

    nahhhhhhhh

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  39. petrushka: For example, the CV death toll is comparable to a bad flu season.

    There are numerous logical flaws in this statement. For one, if the # of deaths are comparable to those of a bad flu season, and the flu still exists, then we have double the # of deaths. That’s what we call “bad.”

    Second, Newton already pointed this out but it bears repeating: If the # of deaths is comparable to a bad flu season even WITH a nationwide and international quarantine, then it would be worse without those things. Keep in mind that we do not quarantine every flu season (i.e. every winter).

    Third, the number of deaths has been reduced drastically by governors, local officials, and citizens doing things in direct opposition to those things suggested by Trump. If literally the opposite of what Trump has said to do slows the spread of the virus, then it is reasonably likely that doing what he said to do would hasten the spread, relative to its current speed.

    Fourth, just for effect, let’s list some of the things that Donald Trump has publicly suggested in his official role as president: Ignoring the virus, providing too few respirators to states very much in need of those respirators if the governor of said state is not nice to him, take drugs which have not been proven to help fight the virus and which may be dangerous, consume household disinfectants (many of which would be deadlier than the virus to consume), allow those most vulnerable to die to boost his numbers going into the election. This only covers some of his statements. He has had to be frequently contradicted by doctors, including an instance in which he publicly posited the question of whether a “solid flu vaccine” would be enough to stop the spread of the virus. This was inbetween frequent claims of an almost unnatural understanding of medical science and virus transmission.

    It is only reasonable to say that these things are in his favor if you have literally no real understanding of the current situation and only listen to lies propagated by him and his allies. His handling of the crisis has been almost unfathomably bad; simply allowing doctors, scientists, and public health experts to handle this would have been infinitely better. He is now, as always, dragged down by his narcissism and inability to simply delegate.

    petrushka: t is to his advantage for you to think he is not very smart.

    The fact that it is in his advantage does not necessarily preclude the possibility of him being a highly unintelligent individual. It is to the benefit of a diabetic for doctors to believe they are diabetic.

    1+
  40. https://www.yahoo.com/news/heads-win-tails-lose-americas-090010695.html

    Never let a good crisis go to waste: as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the world, America’s 1% have taken profitable advantage of the old saying.

    Some of the richest people in the US have been at the front of the queue as the government has handed out trillions of dollars to prop up an economy it shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the billionaire class has added $308bn to its wealth in four weeks – even as a record 26 million people lost their jobs.

    According to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive thinktank, between 18 March and 22 April the wealth of America’s plutocrats grew 10.5%. After the last recession, it took over two years for total billionaire wealth to get back to the levels they enjoyed in 2007.

    Eight of those billionaires have seen their net worth surge by over $1bn each, including the Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos, and his ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos; Eric Yuan, founder of Zoom; the former Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer; and Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX technocrat.

    The billionaire bonanza comes as a flotilla of big businesses, millionaires and billionaires sail through loopholes in a $349bn bailout meant to save hard-hit small businesses. About 150 public companies managed to bag more than $600m in forgivable loans before the funds ran out. Among them was Shake Shack, a company with 6,000 employees valued at $2bn. It has since given the cash back but others have not.

    Fisher Island, a members-only location off the coast of Miami where the average income of residents is $2.2m and the beaches are made from imported Bahamian sand, has received $2m in aid.

    Its residents seemed to be doing fine even before the bailout. This month, the island purchased thousands of rapid Covid-19 blood test kits for all residents and workers. The rest of Florida is struggling. About 1% of Florida’s population has been tested for the coronavirus, behind the national figure of 4%. The state is also in the midst of an unemployment claims crisis, with its underfunded benefits system unable to cope with the volume of people filing.

    The banks that were the largest recipients of bailout cash in the last recession have also done well, raking in $10bn in fees from the government loans, according to an analysis by National Public Radio.

    “Heads we win, tails you lose,” said Chuck Collins, director of the program on inequality and the common good at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of the new report.

    Collins said the pandemic had further exposed fault lines in the US body politic that have been widening the gap between the really rich and the rest over decades.

    Sorry Americans, no one is there to save you. Make room for more homeless camps.

    “The rules of the economy have been tipped in favor of asset owners against everyone else,” said Collins.

    By 2016 – seven years after the end of the last recession – the bottom 90% of households in the US had still not recovered from the last downturn while the top 10% had more wealth than they had in 2007.

    Throughout the recovery, stock market gains disproportionately favored the wealthy. The top 1% of households own nearly 38% of all stock, according to research by the New York University economist Edward Wolff. Even before the coronavirus hit, homeownership in the US – a traditional source of wealth growth – was well below its 2004 peak.

    Nor did Americans earn more. Wage growth remained sluggish during the decade-long record-breaking growth in the jobs market that came after the last recession.

    For black and Latinx Americans, the situation is worse. The black-white wage gaps are larger today than they were in 1979.

    Meanwhile, billionaires have been unable to put a well-heeled foot wrong. Billionaire wealth soared 1,130% in 2020 dollars between 1990 and 2020, according to the Institute for Policy Studies. That increase is more than 200 times greater than the 5.37% growth of median wealth in the US over this same period. And the tax obligations of America’s billionaires, measured as a percentage of their wealth, decreased 79% between 1980 and 2018.

    So when the pandemic struck, those at the apex of the wealth pyramid were better positioned than ever to take advantage of the chaos. The rest, not so much.

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  41. An Irish View

    The Irish, and particularly Fintan O’Toole, have been a beacon of sanity over the last few years. Unfortunately it’s subscriber only. I have seen a text dump, but don’t wish to undermine copyright by posting it in full.

    It draws on a concoction of conspiracy theories, hatred of science, paranoia about the “deep state” and religious providentialism (God will protect the good folks) that is now very deeply infused in the mindset of the American right.

    Trump embodies and enacts this mindset, but he did not invent it. The US response to the coronavirus crisis has been paralysed by a contradiction that the Republicans have inserted into the heart of US democracy. On the one hand, they want to control all the levers of governmental power. On the other they have created a popular base by playing on the notion that government is innately evil and must not be trusted.

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  42. Allan Miller,

    I think this is true. The republicans have always sold themselves as protectors of freedom and limited government, and individual rights. They can sell this baloney because their base is mostly clueless saps. They love government control, they are the architects of the surveillance state.

    It is a lot easier to sell policies to people who are loathe to deep thought. They just like slogans.

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