Who Actually Earns $400,000 Per Year?

by Emily Guy Birken · 9,058 comments


Aside from the major hiccup the economy faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has been on a steady upward trajectory ever since years ago when we were talking about extending the Bush-era tax cuts. In case you don’t remember, we did end up keeping those cuts in place permanently for any individual making less than $400,000 per year, and for couples earning less than $450,000. Nowadays, those fortunate few who make more than that amount are paying a marginal rate of 35%.

But like I said, it’s been years since we passed the extension into law and I still don’t personally know anyone bringing home $400,000 per year. So who is actually paying that top tax rate these days? I decided to find out what kind of jobs command such high salaries:

how to earn a high salary

1. The President
Perhaps the most famous $400,000 per year job is the leader of the free world. The office of the president not only pays a $400,000 annual salary, but also provides the president with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and a $19,000 entertainment account.

There are some obvious downsides to this particular career, however. Besides being very difficult to get, the job is highly stressful, and advancement post-office can be considered somewhat iffy. And, of course, you can’t expect regular raises: the last salary increase for the commander-in-chief (from $200,000 to the current rate) was in 2001. Prior to that, the previous raise (from $100,000) occurred in 1969.

On the other hand, most presidents end up receiving so many requests for speaking engagements after they hold office that he or she will be set for life. They also get a pension equal to the salary of the head of an executive department (Executive Level I) would be paid. In 2020, that is $219,200.

2. Surgeons and specialists
Even a local general practitioner can expect to pull in over $100,000 per year, but the real money in medicine is reserved for those who specialize. Anesthesiologists, heart surgeons, and brain surgeons can all expect to make up to $400,000 per year at the height of their careers. Plastic surgeons can make up to twice that amount.

Most people are completely okay with that though. After all, these people do a very, very important job.

3. CEOs and Founders
The median salary of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a public company is over $700,000. These individuals are in charge of both short- and long-term profitability for their companies. CEOs generally have to know the industry inside and out (although there are certainly plenty of counter-examples), and need to have worked their way up over many years.

There are also plenty of CEOs from private companies who make quite a bit of money. The job can be stressful, but when you are the top dog, you reap the reward whenever your company does well.

4. Wall Street Bankers and Lawyers
If you work in either finance or finance law, the place to go for fat paychecks is Wall Street. According to an October 2012 report, “the average salary of financial industry employees in New York City rose to $362,950 in 2011.” While that still falls short of the mark required for the higher tax bracket, it’s important to remember that this figure represents the average (meaning some people are making more) and that there have almost certainly been raises in the past few years.

5. Mortgage Loan Officers
This may be surprising to you because not many people think of this group of individuals as ones who can earn the big bucks. However, there are some loan officers, riding the wave of historic low rates, who are raking in the dough right now. After all, their salary is directly tied to commissions they earn as a percentage of the total loan amount they get approved for their clients. They work hard, often seven days a week in many cases due to unprecedented loan volume these days, but they are definitely getting rewarded for their hard work.

6. Speakers in Public Events
Before the pandemic, the good speakers were booking speaking engagements left and right. Not only do they speak at conferences, but they also have opportunities to speak to employees in their offices as well. Some people even write books that tie into their brand. They travel all over the country (and some all over the world), so clients are plentiful.

The pandemic has slowed business to a trickle, but these people will bounce back because everything will eventually go back to normal.

7. YouTubers
Can you see why your son or daughter would want to be a YouTuber yet? The popular video creators not only make $400,000 a year, but they can have earnings in the millions every year. The vast majority of people who try to make it big fail to amass a following, but many dream of the life of recording themselves play video games and earning the big bucks all the time. What they don’t realize is that those who earn millions not only have talent, but they also work extremely hard. If not, then they have a team of people who are behind all the videos that get produced. An entertaining video takes hours and hours of editing, but most people just see someone talk, have fun, and collect cash.

The Top Percent of the Top Percent

These high-income earners are really rare. Consider the fact that most articles listing the highest paying jobs in America don’t even include any professions with median salaries of $400,000. Those individuals making $400,000 per year are in the top one percent of the top one percent — and often, they’re also public figures.

Thankfully, even though individuals in this bracket are few and far in between, the government estimates that raising the tax rate on this small group raise about $600 billion in new revenues a decade.

Not bad for a group that small.

What other professions that earn annual incomes of $400,000? 

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Stevendad says:

    See above. Re: novel ideas. I can read all your thoughts on the Dem platform BD. You vary about zero from them.

    • Steven H says:

      I’m glad the Democrats have agreed with my position. They’re smarter than I thought. 😉

      • Stevendad says:

        I’m glad Peter and I are finally breaking through to you. You are finally seeing duality in each issue. Let me give you an example from my experience and field. A blood sugar that is too low, say 20, will lead to decreased mental functioning seizures and eventually death. But blood sugar that is too high, say 900 will leave to nonketotic hyperosmolar coma in the insulin it was just a diabetic and ketoacidosis diabetic, both of which can lead to death. So this is the duality. The balance is finding the difference in the middle. You’re starting to see duality, now perhaps we can show you that there is achievable balance.

        • Stevendad says:

          I tried to dictate that and I got butchered: Nonketotic hyperosmolar coma in the insulin resistant and ketoacidosis in the insulin lacking diabetic

  • Stevendad says:

    Furthermore, re: closed minds, I’ve thrown out dozens of ideas I’ve not seen elsewhere as solutions to several problems. Could a truly closed mind do that? Hmmmmm….

    • Steven H says:

      As have I. And I don’t think your mind is completely closed, or I would not continue these conversations. But I find it incomprehensible that you, a doctor and scientist, would reject and/or misrepresent the overwhelming results of scientific study of experts on any subject, based primarily on superficial amateur study, seemingly tainted by political propaganda.
      ===
      This is not the forum for detailed exposition on global warming. But I must say that your portrayal of people believing “CO2 is the answer” is super-simplistic. Of course people are looking at methane and CO2 and other gases, and guess what: Humans have a lot to do with methane production too. A lot comes from cows, you say? Sure, and who raises the cows? Human choices about how cows are fed increases methane. Perhaps cattle diet is something people can change. Science is well aware of methane. I don’t know why you think it isn’t or why that would change the general nature of the climate change argument.

      • Peter says:

        An economist AND a scientist too? What makes you such an expert on all things? COULD you possibly not know what you are talking about?

        • Steven H says:

          And maybe Peter, incredible as it might seem, I DO know what I am talking about. Ever give that a thought for even a picosecond?

          • Peter says:

            I did until I read your discussions about economics a few years ago (which is my area of expertise). No point in me beating on you any more about this….you don’t realize your flaws and while your passion for your beliefs is admirable, your mind gets in the way sometimes.

  • Stevendad says:

    SonTrump set up a commission to loom at voter registrations sampling and to vet the voters. Why is that such a bad idea? It will tell us with dramatically better accuracy if there is an issue. I noticed this is already being decried by Dems. Are they afraid what will be found?

    Also comment on the NYT Clinton / Uranium One article. Another Right wing rag spouting tinfoil hat stuff?

    I’d rather wear a tinfoil hat than get duped by those who wish to control me like you….

    • Stevendad says:

      Ahhhhh!!!
      So Trump

      Look not loom

    • Steven H says:

      1) Trump is welcome to look for vote fraud.
      2) Non-political site Snopes pretty well dismissed the uranium one story.

      • Stevendad says:

        Re: fraud. Good, will you believe the results? Many Dems already shooting commission down without knowing its full staffing, methodology,etc.

  • Stevendad says:

    The conservative icon New York Times noted that the Clinton foundation and Bill Clinton received lots of money in the uranium one deal from the Russians. Did you look into that?

      • Stevendad says:

        So let’s see… either the always right NYT missed the boat or there was Clinton / Russian collision. Which of your idols should we take off its pedastal in this bicameral choice? Can you admit the NYT is sometimes wrong? Wow. Soon you’ll might say CNN says things that are exaggerated, distorted or just wrong.

        It might be nice to have an actual Conservative and / or Trump supporter in this blog to see how far away I am from them. Listen to Sean Hannity a bit and you’ll see…

        • Stevendad says:

          Autocorrect hates “collusion” and keeps changing it to collision. Clearly it is Left leaning????

        • Steven H says:

          Of course NYT or any newspaper or any individual will sometimes be wrong. I have never said that any paper is always rigt or wrong or that any party is always right or wrong. That sort of absolutism is what you and Peter keep misrepresenting as my position while you make statements about not being able to trust anything that media says or prints. I reject absolutism, the idea that any person or group or organization is 100% right or wrong, and so should you.

          • Peter says:

            But you don’t……

          • Steven H says:

            Of course I do, Peter, and I am offended that you misrepresent me that way. Yes, I distrust Republicans as a party. Their historic actions and some of their proclaimed principles are in opposition to what I believe. However, there are individual Republican leaders I respect, and I have no illusions as to some presumed monolithic wrongness to Republicans. YOU assume I am absolutist in beliefs and yet you would be wrong. In fact , in your proclamations about groups you distrust (media , intelligence agencies, “Believe all of it or none of it), you express an absolutism I find disturbing. Do I hold some beliefs strongly? Of course. As do you.
            ===
            We are all intelligent adults here. We should treat each other as adults, and with respect. I do not generally resort to impugning your intelligence as you do to me. (“You don’t understand how the world works. You are being fed propaganda. You should think for yourself.”) We all get passionate and snarky at times. Fine. But then calm down and move on.

          • Peter says:

            In five years and millions of words you have not once complimented a republican policy or leader or given any of them the benefit of the doubt. Meanwhile you have blindly and vehemently defended any criticism of the left, either individually (Hillary, Obama, etc) or ideologically. In your mind they cannot do wrong and the republicans can’t do right. No matter what you say now, your millions of words prior tell the story.

          • Steven H says:

            Don’t be silly. Just because i don’t list my opinions on every Republican in this forum, you think I hate all Republicans? Nixon was a despicable cuss, but the diplomacy with China was good, and he created the EPA which was a good thing. Kasich speaks like a reasonable fellow. I agree with McCain on some things. Happy, now?

          • Steven H says:

            Eisenhower created interstate system. Great idea. Reagan had enough sense to raise taxes multiple times when he saw tax cuts were creating too much debt. Too little too late but it was a good attempt. He also saw fit to raise gas taxes when needed for roads. George HW Bush was an honorable fighter in Ww2. Read Flyboys. Its awesome and he has a major role in the action described in the book. The National Review devoted an entire edition against Trump. That was good. See, I can praise Republicans.

        • Steven H says:

          Besides, I just referenced a non-political urban legend debunking site to clear up the uranium one story. I have not read the NYT article and I will trust you that it conflicts with the more objective myth-buster site. Just chalk all that up to indicate that NYT is not so perfectly pro-Hillary as you had assumed. Recall also that they beat her up a lot about emails, so again, not a purely liberal media source, and quite imperfect in their reporting.

  • Stevendad says:

    Nearly all of your proof is from “unnamed sources”. That’s really not prove to me.

    • Steven H says:

      Hmmm — unnamed sources like the Intelligence Services reports, Spicer press conferences and Trump TV interviews? There is enough damning evidence in those.

      • Stevendad says:

        Once again read the quotes of Comey, Brennan, Feinstein, Ryan, etc, etc. All say there is no evidence of collusion. Of course you and “unnamed sources” know more than those right in the middle of it. I don’t and don’t claim to. Just haven’t locked the door and thrown away the key of the possibility there is no conspiracy like you. Sure Trump & co not polished politicians (why they’re in by the way) and have made lots of mistakes. Still doesn’t PROVE any guilt. There is a reason the words “special counsel” were applied to Mueller rather than “special prosecutor”. So far there is no identified crime….

        Trust me I’m at best agnostic on Trump, just not blinded to the possibility of his innocence.

        • Steven H says:

          Not YET evidence or proof of collusion, I think is the way to read that.. But collusion is simply one of the potential unethical/ unsavory/ illegal /criminal offences that may be revealed.

          • Stevendad says:

            Already with you on unsavory and leaning towards unethical myself. However this again is not illegal and that’s all that really matters . And that is really the paradigm that everybody in the Dem leadership is pushing. Of course it’s all unethical and unsavory in my opinion. Like staring into the camera dozens of times and saying “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor if you like your plan.” Even though your operational people told me that that would not be the case… unfortunately, they all do it …

          • Stevendad says:

            So to use your previous example, no YET proof of alien mind control…

    • Steven H says:

      I should point out that I have not claimed ‘proof’ of collusion, but mountains of credible Evidence that some of Trumps folks were breaking rules and being deceptive about their behavior. Set aside your paranoia about liberal media for a minute, and answer an honest question. Does it make any sense to you that so many in Trumps campaign have made pro-Russia comments, and had monetary and personal Russian contacts beyond the norm?

      • Stevendad says:

        It’s not like Feinstein is a Repub plant and she is on record admitting there is no evidence. Interestingly, Alan Dershowitz said even if they colluded, it’s not a crime. It’s not any kind of fraud because they colluded to release the truth.

      • Steven H says:

        Again and again and again. I am concerned with the increasing evidence against Manafort and Flynn regarding deceptive and possibly criminal activity regarding foreign payments and backdoor communications. This is not a binary investigation of “proof of collusion” vs “nothing happened here”. Flynn was taking money from Russia and Turkey, failing to register as a foreign agent, and he was influencing Trump and policy decisions. That is bad. Really bad.

  • RSteven H says:

    Media bias: just heard a story.
    In first 100 days of Trump, about 80% of news on Trump was negative.
    In first 100 days of gw bush and clinton, news was about 60% negative. For Obama, a historical exception, first 100 days were 40% negative but 2nd 100 days were back to 60% negative.
    So maybe News is not so biased against republicans but just biased to the negative. Why is trump news more negative? Because Trump. Even Boehner says Trump is a disaster. Probably no liberal bias there.

  • Steven H says:

    Open vs Closed minds:
    Some people believe Vaccinations cause autism. This belief has caught hold despite the fact that the original quoted researcher falsified results, and no study since the original has proved this connection. Meanwhile vaccinations are shown to prevent dangerous childhood diseases. So many people’s minds are “closed” to the idea that vaccinations cause autism, while others are “open” to the idea that it might.
    ==
    Sometimes it is better to closed-minded in the sense that the mind should hold and retain only sound and established factual information, rather than leaving the mind open to hearsay and nonsense.

    • Peter says:

      If you had just one original, diverse thought then you would have a point.

      • RSteven H says:

        Testy today? How about offering an original diverse idea instead of insults?

        • Peter says:

          I have had plenty. Plenty of thoughts that run the gamut of conservative and liberal, from experience and from academia, and from all over the board. Thoughts I have come to by myself. You are like talking to s brick wall.

          • Peter says:

            I’m just commenting that the person you are asking for is not what you represent….that is all

          • Steven H says:

            You have brick walls that also do not budge. You won’t even discuss idea of paying down debt/gdp vs pure balance of budget. You won’t even consider that it might be a good idea to increase spending on infrastructure and raise taxes to pay for it. And I don’t think you have ever given credence to the reasonable concept that the richest Americans have benefitted disproportionately from the tax cuts that helped produce much of the current debt and should thus contributions should come primarily from their incomes and wealth to pay for these past debts and current infrastructure shortfalls. Should we improve schooling, increase training, encourage better lifestyles and money management and do many of those other wonderful ideas already discussed. Certainly. Meanwhile our debts and infrastructure need more immediate attention than those solutions can provide. But regarding any serious consideration of those more immediate solutions, you are also quite a solid example of a brick wall.

          • Peter says:

            I have done nothing but crow about paying down the debt! Are you kidding? Do you listen? You are right though that I do not agree with the idea of raising spending and taxes both to pay it down. Hasn’t worked before and our government is more dysfunctional than ever now. Why would it work this time? Also spoke at great length about increasing education, training, etc. IN fact that has been my main point! That the solution lies there, not in giving the government more money.

          • Steven H says:

            Of courcse you want to pay down debt. Do you listen? Read again. I said you won’t discuss the merits of (a) paying down debt/gdp vs (b) demanding pure balance of budget, which is different. Or for that matter (c) which is paying down raw dollar debt, which i believe has been your preference. These are 3 different levels of paying down debt. Are you willing to discuss the merits and shortfalls of each? You have refused in the past.

          • Steven H says:

            In fact, higher taxes to pay down debt/gdp is the ONLY policy that has consistently worked. Our current high end marginal tax rate of about 40% is at the LOWEST end of the range under which we have ever paid down debt/gdp in post WW2 economies. And most of the debt after WW2 was paid off with high end marginal rates of about 50, 70, or 90% (though these likely impacted only a small fraction of the upper 1%). Raising taxes works to pay down debt/gdp works. Cutting top marginal rate below 40% has never worked, post WW2.

        • Stevendad says:

          See above. Re: novel ideas. I can read all your thoughts on the Dem platform BD. You vary about zero from them.

    • Stevendad says:

      So you’re advocating closing our minds and believing Dem talking points only? Wow, Peter is right, there is no hope for you.

      • Steven H says:

        Not at all what I said, is it? Now, who is misrepresenting? I’m just trying to get you to think about what you are saying. Scientists in the specialty of climate science have researched and continue to research climate science. You don’t like what they say, so you close your mind to their conclusions and claim you have an open mind to other conclusions. If you apply your logic to any other complicated specialized subject — autism-vaccine connections, gene research, relativity, string theory, any of various lines of medical research, not to mention the old breakthroughs that led us to abandon notions of flat earth and newtonian physics, it would make no sense. “We should completely neglect inconvenient results of research we don’t like until we prove it 100%.” That is what you are saying about climate science. Sure there can be impacts of methane as well as CO2. Sure there are other cyclical rhythms that may impact climate beyond the ones already studied and understood. None of that is justification for ignoring what science tells us know: that we are part of the cause and that we can be part of a cost-effective solution, and that the threats and costs may increase dangerously if we do nothing. My counter-intuitive post on closed and open minds was simply trying to point out the folly of claiming to be open minded when you have in fact closed your mind to the predominant scientifically established theses. I also, along with any scientist, recognize that we never have all the answers, but that we must act on the best information that data and reason and scientific expertise can provide. And that best information, at this point in history, is that we have a problem with man’s activity impacting climate in a manner that may be economically costly and even threatening to mankind’s survival. Rather than being “open” to the possibility that ignorance and procrastination is an acceptable solution, perhaps we should act on the best information and knowledge we presently have. That’s all I am saying.

        • Stevendad says:

          “you have in fact closed your mind to the predominant scientifically established theses.” Is false. I like the way you say anyone who disagrees has closed their mind. Look hard in the mirror. I could accept CO2 more if the data actually fit the observed temp curve, but feel it is involved in a much less way than CH4. The real folly is that US CO2 production has dropped, especially per capita, since the late 1970’s. We’re not the problem. If we’re serious and fair we’d charge China and India a carbon tax on imports. We could be moving off the wrong track per your analogy and causing the poor to get poorer. I thought you were against that.

          Again, tax WEALTH not income if you want fairness. Us poor saps pay taxoin our largest asset. Bill Gates, Waren Buffett should pay on theirs. Say 2.5% over $1 billion in non real estate assets. Why do you think that’s a bad idea?

          And you’ve not answered why you think Washington is better for the individual than people they can much more easily speak to and actually live in the same place in state
          and local government. Each state could better set its own rules and people would vote with their feet as they have free movement. Hence the CA and NY emigration of native (little N) Americans. Perhaps they need a Wall to keep people in!!

          The Roosevelt / Johnson/Carter /Obama wing of the Dems has been a disaster IMO. This is an opinion, not fact, but I’m not sure how taking 20% of GDP to a place far away from its constituency has incentivized better spending. And of course we have to support massive government infrastructure. One
          look at Washington real estate prices will tell you that there is huge money in that.

          Perhaps the very rich have changed the rules for their favor, but the vast majority of tax payers have just succeeded using the rules set up prior to their working lives. You’re like the kid I grew up with who changed the rules in the game when he was losing.

          Again, explain where you and other Progressives have acquired the wisdom to take tell me how to spend 40% of my money, to have my daughter eat broccoli, to accept people moving here without any vetting, measure cos farts, to tell me what to drive, how to generate power, how my office practice should be run, etc. The Founders wrote
          The Constitution and Biil of Rights to avoid what we have now. I hope your business gets the crap regulated out of it like mine to only the detriment of its function and maybe you’ll understand. Remember the curse ” I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

          Again Obamacare only succeeded in adding Medicaid members and mostly pushed the working poor away from healthcare with ridiculous rates and copay s. It was a disaster in this way.

          It’sjust another reason it’s amazing how far the Dems have moved from the working man. Of course we can blame the Russiansfir their historically bad position and not deal with the fact many of their ideas are just bad. Hence Trump….

          • Steven H says:

            Tax wealth. Ok. Tricky to accomplish, but ok, its an idea even Piketty has proposed. It could be part of a solution.

        • Stevendad says:

          That’s precisely what you said BTW. You are 100% in line with Dem talking points as far as I can see. Any exceptions?

        • Steven H says:

          So 97% of experts proclaim one thing and stevendad proclaims something else and I am supposed to accept stevendads analysis over the career experts? And by the way, they are also looking at methane so you dont even represent their position well, much less have a grounding in the daya sufficient to contradict. How would you like some political blogger contradicting experts in medical science?

      • Steven H says:

        Climate science is not a Dem talking point by the way. It is just science.

      • Steven H says:

        Ok i should not have been so coarse. I know you are not advocating for ignorance (though you are proposing waiting which i would call procrastination). But i seriously hope you can see the point that it may not be wise to wait until we see the train before we start moving the house off the tracks.

        • Stevendad says:

          Interesting quote from environmental defense fund a right wing rasical group…

          Ilissa Ocko, a climate scientist at the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund. The quick warming in the short run catalyzed by methane can affect environmental processes, such as the flowering of plants, she said at the American Geophysical Union meeting last week.
          “The short-lived climate pollutants [like methane] that we emit from human activities are basically controlling how fast the warming occurs,” she said. “This is because they are very powerful at absorbing radiation.”

          But I suppose they have closed their minds too…

          • Stevendad says:

            Errata: cow farts
            Radical

          • Steven H says:

            OK human activities create methane. And CO2. I’m not objecting. I said years ago that methane was a contributor. So you win, I guess, in this non-disagreement. So we regulate methane and CO2. So now we put more regulation on oil AND natural gas. Happy? You and I may disagree about the percentage due to methane vs CO2. But it does not matter because we are not the experts. It’s not 100% for either and nobody said it was. I am willing to let experts figure it out. Let’s put that aside now, shall we?

        • Steven H says:

          Once again. I am not arguing methane vs CO2. Science, environmental groups are all looking at methane. Nobody is saying its just CO2. Proclaim victory and move on. Everybody knows about methane. But CO2 is still a major contributor. I am arguing science vs politics and I trust science. How about you?

          • Stevendad says:

            Wow, Ok. At least you’ve drifted a bit from a Dem talking point. Let’s do the cheap thing (40x cheaper) 100% of the time and then carefully and a bit more slowly approach the other. So if a person is having a heart attack and has a lung mass, we use the same approach. Take the immediate, low hanging fruit (MI) first and take care of the second (lung mass ) when the smoke clears a bit. We call this triage. Maybe we can triage the low hanging fruit and deal with the more expensive as we develop better understanding. So maybe we can leverage a whole lot less money into a whole lot more effect. Peter will tell you a 40:1 ROI is a quite good return.

  • Steven H says:

    Voter Fraud:
    https://thinkprogress.org/the-4-most-damning-revelations-in-wisconsins-voter-id-trial-8e71a37b0762
    Yes I know it’s ThinkProgress which is liberal. That doesn’t make the facts less factual.

    • Stevendad says:

      That proves nothing as to whether voter fraud exists. The Repubs are supporting their ideas and may be dead wrong. My point, again, is we DON’T KNOW either way.

      • Steven H says:

        And my point is that we must look to evidence to estimate the probability that a problem exists. We often do not KNOW anything 100%. But based on the fact that we have looked for voter fraud and find very little, the probability of it being rampant is small. Therefore it does not justify draconian steps to address it. As I said, if you want to strengthen security steps for voting, fine. But don’t impose politically biased bureaucratic hurdles and claim it is to prevent a problem which is not proved to be of any significant concern. You have no more evidence for extensive voter fraud than you have for a zombie invasion. Therefore you should spend equal amounts of time and capital on each of those problems.

      • Steven H says:

        And actually, we do know voter fraud exists. It exists in very small quantities. Just not enough to get excited about or to impose expensive bureaucratic processes to fix.

        • Stevendad says:

          I imagine Wisconsin is not the focal point for immigration voter fraud if ir exists as it has a very tiny illegal immigrant population

  • Stevendad says:

    Agree Peter. This situation is like Thelma (Repubs) and Louise (Dems) driving the car (the American populace) off the cliff. I fail to see a winner in that…But hey, if we give them more gasoline, now THAT will help!

    • Peter says:

      Now that is a funny analogy…..

    • Peter says:

      Everything is Thelma’s fault. If she would just do what Louise says, we would have eternal bliss.

      • Steven H says:

        Maybe with some infrastructure funding, the bridge would be there. 😉

        • Stevendad says:

          I’m all for infrastructure, but does it have to be Federal? Can’t cities and states decide their own priorities? Why does money have go to Washington to recirculate to the states with lots of controlling conditions? Do Fed employees in Washington know what matters in Gotebo,OK? Or Alaska? Or Florida? Or is this just another way to control and push political agendas?

  • Stevendad says:

    Re: science. You feel global warming by CO2 is “the answer” without question. A “fact” per Obama. Just like flat Earth, Newtonian physics were irrefutable facts. The latter had many orders of magnitude more proof and did not hold up on totality.
    NYT printed a lie directly refuted by the Rosenstein. Does it not bring you pause in everything they print? Was it just made up? “Unnamed sources” are more reliable than those in the room. Believing is seeing. Remember that. . My mind is open to all. Yours is not.
    Cashing in is cool with you, not me. Government should really be a service and not a path to enrichment IMO. OK with you I guess. Worse yet is claiming to be morallly superior while you do it

    • Steven H says:

      Ironic yhat you use examples of failed rejection of newer science of round earth and einsteinian physics as defense to reject new science of global warming. I dont think you actually reject science of global warming. So why are you defending the rejection?

    • Steven H says:

      What point are you trying to make other than attacking me? In the scheme of things, dont you find it more credible that 97% of climate scientists are right to assert that the melting glaciers and rising seas are a danger we should be concerned with. And when you are faced with the professional assertions of intelligence officers who warn about repeated and voluminous national security infractions by the administration vs the claims of a President who is unpredictable, erratic and generally untruthful, who do you believe. Can you just tell me what you think without attacking me personally?

      • Stevendad says:

        Re: global warming. I have just not closed my mind. Methane could be main issue, could be some natural rhythm we don’t understand (not likely, but you can’t PROVE it’s not true), or something likehydrogen sulfide we haven’t considered. That 97% quote is BS. About 20% are methaners and those who disagree with human causation are silenced. Look into it. These statements are both true.
        Again, recurring theme is my kind is open and yours is closed to Liberal talking points only.
        Summary of my thoughts on the recent subjects:
        Trump collusion with Russia: don’t know.
        Illegal immigrants voting: don’t know.
        CO2 as cause if global warming: don’t know.
        Radical Islamists are killing innocents, even women and children: do know.
        Government is spending money it doesn’t have: do know.
        Government (especially Congress) is horribly dysfunctional: do know.
        Government is getting larger in its size and scope of control: do know.
        Economy is not growing outside of govt borrowing and Fed QE: do know.
        I challenge you to give proof any of my positions are WRONG.
        Of course the government has things it has to do. Feds must protect borders, control immigration, deal with other countries by diplomacy, trade and if necessary military. We need to have common weights and measures, regulation of interstate commerce and interstate roads. Gee that all sounds like the Constitution. Why is local>state>Federal the wrong approach? At least the governed have more direct access the governing.

        • Steven H says:

          Summary of my thoughts on the recent subjects:
          Trump collusion with Russia: don’t know.
          Multiple Trump campaign officials with monetary and communication ties to Russia they have not disclosed and tried to hide: Do Know
          Trump obstructing justice by firing investigator into Trump-Russia ties: Do Know
          Trump and his own staff putting out contradictory stories (meaning somebody lied) about why Comey was fired: Do Know
          Illegal immigrants voting in sufficient numbers to account for Hillary’s majority over Trump: Know it’s incredibly unlikely.
          Voter fraud a rampant problem we need to correct with hasty legislation that disenfranchises voters: Know it’s very unlikely because well-funded GOP groups keep looking for proof they cannot find.
          Human activity significantly increasing greenhouse gases such as CO2 and Methane: Do Know
          Increased greenhouse gases warm the globe: Do Know
          Globe is warming at rate that could cause expensive and disrupting ocean rise by end of century: Do know it’s possible and more likely than not.
          Can we fix it?: Don’t know
          Should we try?: Yes
          Radical Islamists are killing innocents, even women and children: do know.
          Radical White people are attacking and even killing innocent brown people they think are Islamists: do know.
          US Drones are killing innocent citizens in other countries, even women and children: do know
          Government is spending money it doesn’t have: do know.
          Government spending per GDP is pretty much the same as it has been for 40 years: Do know.
          Rich are getting richer and the rest are not: Do know
          (Richest 1% have received 85% of all real income growth from 2009-2015, and while lower 99% have received some real income growth in that time of 3.9%, it does not counter the 11.6% decline in income of that lower group from 2007-2009.)
          Congress is horribly dysfunctional: do know.
          Solution is to defund government or not pay bills: Know that’s a bad idea.
          Government is getting larger in its size and scope of control: Not really.
          (Avg spending/GDP in last 4 years of Reagan, Bush1, Clinton, Bush2, Obama, and 2016 actual: 20.7, 21.0, 17.7, 20.7, 20.6, 20.7)
          Economy is not growing as fast as we’d like: do know
          Taking money from 99% and giving to 1% will make it worse: Do know
          Economic growth depends on returning wage and wealth growth to middle class: Do know
          Unfortunate side effect is that richest 1% won’t like that they are not receiving income growth at greater than national average: Do know
          Increasing taxes on wealthiest to help pay down debt will help the long-term economy: Do know
          Increasing infrastructure spending by 1 to 2 Trillion over 10 years is necessary and will help the long term economy: Do know
          Increasing government spending on higher education, and regulating out of control college tuitions will help the long term economy: Do know.
          Patching the Obamacare healthcare foundation will keep more Americans healthy: Do know
          Passing the Radical Republicanist House healthcare plan will push people off of healthcare, killing more Americans, including women and children, than do Islamic terrorists: Do know.

          • Steven H says:

            Avg spending numbers were in %, e.g. except for Clinton, all numbers were from 20.6% to 21% spending/GDP.

          • Stevendad says:

            All your “proof” is speculation. White terrorism is deplorable but rare. You are really not in your game here if that’s the best you can do. I have facts you opinions. That’s the difference.

          • Stevendad says:

            https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYONGDA188S Check the graph: Fed percent looks larger and larger, 5% 1930’s low 20’s now. 20>5 when I was in math.

          • Peter N says:

            “Taking money from 99% and giving to 1% will make it worse: Do know”
            You are delusional.
            How is this done?
            I don’t see any 1% robbing the lower 99%.
            Who is robbing you SH?
            Did you report the crime or are you just making this stuff up? We know the answer to that.
            All libtard propaganda.

          • Steven H says:

            Trump is trying to cut medicaid which is aid to the poor, and provide tax cuts primarily to the very richest. I thought you would have heard about that. Isnt that taking from the poor and giving it to the rich? Seems pretty straightforward to me.

          • Peter says:

            That is a political way of stating the truth. Trump is cutting federal funding to Medicaid (redirecting to state budgets) while cutting taxes across the board….among about 1000 more pages of cuts, line items, reworking of programs, elimination of others, etc. This is hardly a direct redistribution of wealth or income. You insult our intelligence.

          • Steven H says:

            Peter, that is a deceptive way of stating what the real effects are. Cutting federal funds to medicaid will cut medicaid. Along with the actual cuts, moving it as block grants to the states is a shell and ball game. It cuts funding to the poor for their health. Cutting taxes “for all” will again primarily help the most wealthy, who need that money not at all. Government has that tax income in their portfolio. It is needed to pay debts, to fund needed programs like health and infrastructure. But no. Give it to the rich! How about we don’t. Go ahead and schedule tax cuts if the economy needs a boost, but ONLY for incomes less than 200K. That would be responsible way to cut taxes.

        • Stevendad says:

          By the way, I think methane is the vast majority cause based on last 50 years and you argued vehemently for CO2. Although we don’t know what will happen in 200 yrs, for now methane fits much better for recent past(asymptotic CO2 rise and flattening (not flat) temp and CH4 rise). Also 40ish times easier to control. It won’t let Feds control huge portions of the economy though. Perhaps that’s the objection?

    • Steven H says:

      “NYT printed a lie directly refuted by the Rosenstein”
      Im not sure what you are talking about here. Elaborate, please.

      • Stevendad says:

        They stated that the reason Comey wa fired was because Comey requested more money for Trump Russia. Rosenstein specifically refuted this the next day in Congressional testimony.

      • Steven H says:

        NY Times: Days before he was fired as F.B.I. director, James B. Comey asked the Justice Department for more prosecutors and other personnel to accelerate the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election. …
        ****** His appeal, described on Wednesday by four congressional officials******, was made to Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, whose memo was used to justify Mr. Comey’s abrupt dismissal on Tuesday.
        ====
        So 4 Congressional officials describe an event, Rosenstein denies it, and you blame the NY Times because somebody in the story is lying? You see the media as a liar because you already believe it before you read. Believing is seeing. (I’m liking that phrase.)

        Meanwhile the real issue is that White House spokesfolks claimed Comey was fired due to a memo from Rosenstein, but Trump admitted on TV that he had already decided to fire Comey and he had the Russia probe in mind.

        Firing the person who is investigating you and your campaign is obstruction of justice. Even if you ignore or forget the MOUNTAINS of evidence of proved and suspicious payments, backdoor communications, and other questionable activities of Flynn and Manafort and other Trumpers regarding Russia, this one BOMBSHELL is more than 20 years of continual political fishing expeditions ever found against Hillary.

        • Stevendad says:

          This specific instance was a falsehood. It was retraced on page 26 I’m sure. Flynn has many issues and may have committed crimes, but the core assumption, Trump campaign collided with Tussia is unproven. If you have proof, you will be on front page of every newspaper in world. Fascinating there is so much on Hillary and you deny it all. Granted, mostly circumstantial , speculation and innuendo, but that’s ok when applied to Trump. It so far is just a lot of sore loser talk. Of course, those professional investigators are on the case and maybe we should wait for their conclusions. Of course you won’t believe them any way!

        • Stevendad says:

          I’m sure Hillary had many, many communications as well. That’s just responsible groundwork for an administration. Could be collusion, but don’t know. There is a huge string of quotes (Comey, Brennan, Feinstein, etc,etc ) who state there is no EVIDENCE. Perhaps they know more than you? One from a new party requires even more as you getting rid of old political appointees. With all the leaks now, back door pathways of communication may even be justifiable.

  • Stevendad says:

    Just another nod to my overarching theme in all of this. We don’t know the true motivations and truth behind political activity. You must admit that. So why would we make them more powerful by expanding there power base with ever increasing money to spend. Starting to see why Libertarians want local > state > Fed government instead of the direct opposite situation we have. And if course all should be as small as practical for the same reason

    • YSteven H says:

      And my overarching theme is that the government is not ‘them’ to most people. To most people, Government is not the enemy at the gates. To most people, the rich corporate interests and the economic hardships and inequalities they inflict on the country are the enemy. And irrespective of Reagan rhetoric, government is seen as the solution, if you can kick the rich corporate influence out of it and put the electorate back in control.

      As I have said before government is not them, it is us. The bills and debts to be paid are the purchases voted for by the people we voted for. They are our debts. When you buy stuff with your credit card, it makes no sense to say you wont payy off tbe credit card because you dont like the bank management. You bought stuff. You pay for it. And the richest folks have received the most benefit from the economic and political realm managed by our government so they should stop griping and pay out from their extraordinary good fortune.

      • Stevendad says:

        So you feel the House. Senate majority, President and SCOTUS all are Republican and not to be trusted. And yet the government should be. Hmmmm… interesting these two both live in your head. Not sure I can reconcile them.

        • Peter says:

          It is a circular argument that the rich have benefited the most from (fill in the blank). Being rich is the result. The rich have benefited the most from their hard work, for instance. Even though others may have worked hard, the rich benefited the most. As a result, they are rich.
          —-
          It doesn’t work to then retroactively take from the rich just because of the result. That doesn’t make any sense at all. Two people open restaurants, one succeeds and the other doesn’t. One person is rich and the other isn’t. Nothing wrong with the system. Only socialists think the two owners should share the profits in some sort of collective bargaining agreement.

          You continue to blame the government for the rich being rich. The irony is, outside of a few cases (like Hillary or Cheney) most of our rich are that way in spite of the government – through innovation, small business successes or hard work and risk taking.

        • Steven H says:

          Come on, your both smarter than your posts. Circular argument indeed. My argument is logically consistent. Whereas yourargument, ot at least the one you are defending, is only consistent in how it is self-fulfilling. My argument: government serves a function to manage aspects of our society and economy. This is a function we need to acknowledge and respect. This means that we need to pay for the functions we have purchased through our elected representatives. And while the distribution of the tax burden is always contentious, no one should ever argue it should not be paid, and those who can most readily shoulder the burden through their good fortune should not be such grumps about it.
          Your argument: government is dysfunctional and cannot really help society, and has inevitably created great national debts. Therefore we should elect and encourage representatives whose function is to hobble and defund government programs, this proving how dysfunctional and ineffective it is. And those representatives should also cut government revenue, increasing debt, thus proving how debt prone government is.
          Of course the other part of your argument is that society operates best with less government. And yet the advocates of that argument have done more under their party’s presidents to increase government spending, and debt, than Democrats. Even under Trump woth Republican president and congress, no one is really talking about reducing government. They are just talking about moving the money around. Once again, it is taking money from the poor and using it to enrich the wealthy and increase the military. And cut taxes. And pretend, through magic math that Republicans use to make themselves feel better, they claim it will balance the budget waaaaay down the road.
          My argument makes sense. Government can help to improve society. Unfortunately we have to go through these periods such as now in which failed political experimentations will demonstrate the paths we should not travel.

          • Peter says:

            First of all it is a myth that Republicans want to reduce the size of government. They haven’t done so in years.

            It’s amazing to me how little you listen. Your characterization of my argument is nothing like what I have articulated on here for 5 years now. That’s how YOU hear my argument. Because you hear everything as a direct challenge to Democrats and the liberal way being the right one. I have never voted for someone whose objective was to hobble the government. No clue where that even came from. All I’ve said about that is that the government is the most inefficiently run entity in our nation. And it’s not even close. That needs to be addressed at some point, and should be most concerning to the wealthy –
            the people that are paying the lion’s share of the bills.

          • Stevendad says:

            That is also a complete mischaracterization of what I am saying Stephen H. I’m just saying the government is pretty inefficient and we need to quit making it bigger and bigger. I agree with Peter that both parties largely believe in larger government. However, as just released Trump /Ryan budget shows, perhaps they do believe in making government smaller because it balances the budget in 10 years. That is not been a goal of Dems in any way. And again, let NYC and CA raise local taxes as high as they want to bring justice and fairness to their populace. Leave the rest of us alone.

          • Peter says:

            And I have never characterized government as the “enemy at the gates”. Nor is it our savior either.

          • Stevendad says:

            Hmmm so look at the growth after 1981,1986 and 2001 tax cuts. Seems higher. Guess I’m blind…http://cdn.tradingeconomics.com/charts/united-states-gdp-growth@2x.png?s=gdp+cqoq&v=201705041726u&d1=19170101&d2=20171231&type=column

          • Steven H says:

            Going into debt creates temporary growth. That is no surprise. It also lessens effect of recession as Obama stimulus did. But eventually we have to pay for what we purchase. Current budget proposal does not balance budget in 10 years or ever because it uses magical math that balances nothing. Rich get a bonus now, we all pay for it later, just as we are still paying debts of Reagan and Bushes and their destructive but temporarily feelgood taxcuts.

          • RSteven H says:

            Govt spending has been hovering around 20% of Gdp for decades. Federal govt is not getting bigger and bigger although maybe spending doez need to increase to invest in health education and infrastructure. This mythology that govt spending is growing and growing prevents us from addressing real spending needs and sufficient taxation to pay bills. This constant complaining that the upper 1% pay so much (40% of income taxes, but only 28% of all federal taxes while receiving 20 to 22% of all income by some accounts). The real issue is why most Americans are making no more than they made 40 or 50 years ago while millionaires and ceos are getting 5 to 10% increases year on year. You CANNOT grow the economy without investing in infrastructure, health, education, and wages of the middle class. Yet Yrump budget solution is to raid Medicaid and give more to the rich. Every single dollar added to incomes of the 1% is a dollar wasted. That should be obvious by now.

  • Stevendad says:

    Re: voter fraud. BD/SH you confindantly stated there was no voter fraud. I’ve just said we don’t know. Thank you for agreeing with me.

    • YSteven H says:

      I can confidently say there is statistically insignificant voter fraud. When i said there was one study, i meant there is only one study out of many investigatins which concludes, with disputable statistics, that there could maybe possibly be significant fraud. Everybody else sees virtually none.

      It seems important to me that we spend our societal and political effort fighting problems that matter. Voter fraud is not an issue to fight when in the process you disenfranchise many more legitimate votes than you prevent in fraud. Of course, this is the admitted GOP strategy. They clearly want to block poor and young from voting because encouraging those people to vote hurts them at the polls. You recognize that, right?

      • Stevendad says:

        Perhaps. But no proof it happens and no proof it doesn’t. Please quote the statistically derived studies, not interpretations if you have them. A Google search kept going back to pew references study. Democrats want all to vote, illegal, legal aliens as well as citizens. Obama was quoted as saying it was OK. Not the way thugs were written up. Amend the Constitution.

        • Stevendad says:

          Things not thugs

        • Steven H says:

          Democrats on the whole only want LEGAL voters to vote. I dont know or particularly care about the context of one Obama quote you reference. It does not represent the opinions of any Democrats I have ever known. GOP just want to win and the fight against ‘voter fraud’ is an admiited strategic ploy to keep in office, with very little real concern about fraud that does mot exist.
          As to concern about what we know and dont know. Dont you agree that we should use our eyes and minds yo identify actual problems before we spend money and effort to fight them? If tepeated efforts to uncover fraud fail to uncover any significant fraud, perhaps that is not a battle worth fighting and spending money on. It is the ultimate in foolishness to create mythical problems in our imaginations, with little to no evidence, and then spend large amounts of real money and effort to fight these mythical demons, especially when the concrete measurable result is to hurt people or, in this case, to disenfranchise their right to vote.

          • Peter says:

            Then apply this to both sides of the aisle. And how ridiculous to say that Democrats as a whole only want legal voters and Republicans as a whole don’t care. LOL. Your brain has been washed beyond repair…. how would you even claim to know such a thing? Don’t you see the BS in the political world?

          • Stevendad says:

            In an interview (below) with actress and rapper Gina Rodriguez — a Chicago-born American citizen whose parents are Puerto Rican — Obama discussed the supposed attempts by the Right to suppress voting rights and tried to encourage Latinos to get to the polls. The eyebrow-raising moment came when Rodriguez told the president that “millennials, Dreamers, undocumented citizens” are “fearful of voting,” then asked if some like her were to vote, would immigration authorities be able to track her down and “come for my family and deport us.”

            Obama answered emphatically that it’s “Not true” that voting could open up someone to being more easily tracked by the government.
            So not a smoking gun but…
            So where are the studies. You stated they existed. Produce them and I’ll agree.

          • Stevendad says:

            Oh I get it, like spending congressional and investigative time, money and political capital on and mythical problems like the Trump campaign / Russian collusion? One year of investigation, zero proof. Can you see my point?

          • Steven H says:

            I imagine that aliens are reading our minds and that the only way to protect ourselves from attack is to wear tinfoil hatswith a 6 inch brim to shield us. You cant say its not true. Where is the study? Why arent we passing laws to require tinfoil hats?

            Thete is no reasonable obligation to prove any more than has already been done that illegal immigrant voting is miniscule.
            http://www.factcheck.org/2017/01/trumps-bogus-voter-fraud-claims-revisited/
            And if, the big if here, we feel that voting systems are not protected, then we should FIRST enable universal voter registration as moter voter laws do, or based on social security registration, along with a fraud proof id card that everyone can obtain without hours of waiting in line at offices and without any fee whatsoever. Only then should requirements to use such an id be put in place. What we see instead is hasty rules put in place as elections approach to cut back on early voting to put expense time and bureaucratic hurdles in place that impact young and poor more than anyone. And yes, multiple Republican leaders have confessed that voter laws are a political strategy and not fraud reduction. And yes it is also a political,strategy for Democrats to encourage legal immigrants, poor, and young to vote because they are more likely to support Dems and their tirnout percentage is often low. But there is no ethical issue with turning out your own base. There is an ehical issue however with misleading some voters to disenfranchise others. Fraud to attack mythical fraud has no defence.

          • Steven H says:

            Stevendad your concept of zero proof boggles the mind. Well yes the muder suspect had motive, means, fingerprints in the house, dna on the body, and a diary detailing the plans for the murder. But we have zero proof that he actually did it.

          • Steven H says:

            Peter, regarding how would I know that Republican LEADERS advocate for voter restrictions as a political strategy?
            1) it is an effective, if unethical, strategy.
            2) multiple republican leaders have said so.

            Do I believe that common Republicans believe thete is voter fraud? Yes. Do I believe that many many Republican leaders promote the idea of voter fraud as a deceptive political strategy? Indubitably.

  • Peter says:

    News media bias is going beyond “cute” biases now….this is scary. Hadn’t watched the TV mega news channels in a while and was blown away by what I saw today. So much rhetoric and speculation. Based on a memo read over the phone by an associate of a fired employee. And we are already spending time talking impeachment on television? I have seen about 10 democratic reps and senators on TV who keep pumping the media’s brakes on a rush to judgment here – but the media won’t stop. The same thing happened to Hillary – and OJ for that matter. We had so much speculation and unsubstantiated claims during the investigation portion that by the time a hearing or formal accusations took place, people had made up their minds. And not based on facts…based on media delivered brainwashing. Not sure what we do about this though…..it’s not in the nation’s security interests to have all Hillary’s emails shared publicly or to play taped conversations with elected officials discussing classified info. Even if we did – nobody would change their minds because the media is so powerful. This is scarier than anything we have going on in our society right now…..a president who is an a-hole is manageable, a media who lies to its people creates such more severe problems.

    • Peter says:

      It’s to the point if I don’t hear it come out of someone’s mouth, I just can’t believe it. Gloria Bolger on CNN just quoted an “unnamed friend who is inside the Trump camp” who told her something in passing….. WHO CARES. This is not news.

      • Peter says:

        I mean…who in the Trump camp is “friends” with Gloria Bolger???? LOL

        • Stevendad says:

          Goebbels would be proud

          • Peter says:

            I am not a Trump fan at all, but honestly think what is happening with our media is even scarier than Trump himself. At least with Trump we can vote him out, impeach him, use checks and balances to stop him from passing things we don’t like….. what do we do about the media lying to the people and creating narratives? How can this be controlled without censorship? And it’s not about ‘the people getting more discerning’ – it is insidious. Even the smartest people are unable to sort the reality from the fiction. Especially with things like internal investigations or military operations where we do not have enough actual data or facts to make informed decisions or judgments.

          • Peter says:

            Most stories start with an unsubstantiated source saying something. Good example “Sources close to Trump say that…..xxxxxx”. Then, the media takes this as fact if it fits their narrative.

            The next step is to speculate on “if this is indeed the case, then here’s what happens next” or “what this could mean”. By the time they are hours deep in this conversation, the original story is accepted as fact by their viewers, even though it isn’t. The debate is now about what this all means going forward.

            Even worse, if another story (from another “unsubstantiated source” or sometimes even a TRUE source) comes out that contradicts the narrative, it is buried or minimized, as it undermines the entire last several days of speculative programming.

            It is all CRAP. And it is polarizing people and affecting our already bumbling and gridlocked government’s ability to govern. But again, what do we do about it?

    • Steven H says:

      First. Ignore stories from unsubstantiated sources. I do.
      Second. Pay attention to the historical outrageousness of what we KNOW. It is worse than expected, even from the most skeptical of us who thought Trump might be a disaster. Hounding the FBI director to drop investigations. Firing him when he doesnt. Asking for loyalty oaths. Blabbing top secret info to the Russians. Hiring security advisor known to be under investigation.
      Ok maybe you dont think we know those things.
      How about: the President was under investigation and he confessed on TV that he fired Comey to stop the investigation. That alone is impeachable and historically extraordinary. The only bias I am seeing here is your extraordinary bias in thinking the press should hold off as if its just another day in politics.

      • Stevendad says:

        SH. All your “facts” were spun substantially. McMaster was in the room. See what he said. We don’t know what Trump said to Trump or in what context. Please produce verifiable documents or recordings and I’m with you. See…Peter is right. You accept all there’s “faucets” due to repition and not basis in truth. Very scary indeed. Of course, if there’s not a smoking bazooka at the basis of all this then the Dems and MSM become even more irrelevant. They are all in on Trump Russia. Again Goebbels: “The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.”
        And: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. ”
        Of course I’m not SURE who is lying here. No proof either way is apparent. To paraphrase Clarence Thomas we may be witnessing a “hitech assasination”. Hopefully Mueller can find truth to everyone’s satisfaction. But I suspect those bunkered in on both sides will only impune his motives, methods and logic relather than admit defeat. It’s a good thing the ~20% in the middle actually swings elections are still open to both sides.

        • Stevendad says:

          Oops Trump to Comey

        • Stevendad says:

          Facts not faucets. Autocorrect and fat fingers strike again!!

        • Steven H says:

          How about: the President was under investigation and he confessed on TV that he fired Comey to stop the investigation. That alone is impeachable and historically extraordinary. 
          How is that just spin?

          • Stevendad says:

            Investigation is not guilt.
            Here’s why he was fire (per Trump):”He’s a showboat, he’s grandstander, the FBI has been in turmoil,” Trump said of Comey in his wide-ranging interview with Holt. “You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that.”
            Here’s what he said when directly asked : Asked by Holt if by firing Comey he was trying to send a “lay off” message to his successor, Trump said, “I’m not.”

            “If Russia did anything, I want to know that,” he said. Clearly a confession to you…not me

          • Peter says:

            Even Comey’s supporters will tell you he made the FBI Director’s office political, which was unprecedented…..

          • Steven H says:

            Even I think Comey did stupid things in the political arena. If Trump had fired him before an investigation was revealed, there would have been little to complain about. But of all the multiple semi-incoherent things Trump said, one of them was that he had the Russia probe in mind when he fired Comey. Here are the problems:
            1) The President should not fire the investigator who is investigating the President.
            2) The President should especially not do the first thing for reasonablens including the investigation.
            3) The President should probably, for his own sake, not publicly confess that one of the reasons for firing the investigator was the investigation.

            It doesn’t really matter what other reasons Trump fired Comey for, or even if they were well-founded. Trump was being investigated. He fired the investigator. Because of (among other reasons, perhaps) the investigation.

            This is not a difficult assessment here. “Investigation is not Guilt.” Well yeah, sure. But he is certainly guilty of looking guilty and acting guilty, and the investigation could find more. Collusion. Or just stupidity.Trump acting so guilty?

          • Steven H says:

            Errata: reasons, not reasoablens.
            And scratch the last 4 word sentence fragment.

  • Steven H says:

    Regarding healthcare. Im still slogging through this article, but it is informative re Obamacare struggles. You might want to read.
    https://www.google.com/amp/www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-obamacare-exchanges-20160805-snap-story,amp.html

    • Stevendad says:

      LA Times. Another unbiased source. Of course they did pick Trump to win. See below for my Obamacare synopsis.

      • Steven H says:

        The path to authoritarian rule is first to discredit the press. You need to stop ignoring every mainstream story because everything you didagree with is biased. Just read and learn.

        • Peter says:

          Huh? Lol

        • Stevendad says:

          The biggest path to authoritarianism is no longer questioning science (“global warming is a fact”), the media (“Comey was fired because he asked for more resources” NYT) (directly countered by asst AG in Congressional testimony) and the motives of politicians (anti Wall St Obama takes $400G speaking fee).

          • Steven H says:

            1) never said we should not question science. Just said we should pay attention to the answers.
            2) never said we should not question the media. But neither should we ignore all of it because some reporting is imperfect. Critical reading and thinking are important skills. Rejecting all mainstream media is quie literally being ignorant.
            3) thats not even a serious issue

          • Steven H says:

            Clarification. Yes you should question politicians. No you should not expect Obama to be the first president to refuse speaking fees. I hope he milks those fat cats for all he can get.

          • Peter says:

            Do you hope Trump “milks those fat cats for all he can get” too? The media is far worse than “making a few errors”. Reporting from unconfirmed sources is so haywire now….. (look at the Amanda Knox trial as a great example). Even in sports, 90% of the reporting on a daily basis is speculative.

            Just last night I was flipping between Don Lemon and Sean Hannity – two of the WORST on television – watching them cover the Manchester concert bombing with rhetoric and speculation. Hannity linking this to an entire religion and Lemon linking this to Trump’s foreign policy causing the attacks. Both were saying “50 injured and probably MUCH more”….with no evidence or reporting to back that up. Just hyperbole to generate an emotional response. Shameful.

  • Stevendad says:

    Looked at voter fraud: no clear cut evidence of illegal immigrants voting, but also no evidence there isn’t. There are few studies and there interpretations are often opposite based on the political view of the authors. The best study estimated 14% of illegal immigrants voted (about 3 million) voted illegally followed by another analysis by a Liberal view that it was “essentially zero”. Same numbers, all how you spin it. And that was based on people filling out a questionnaire that stated, essentially, “are you here illegally and did you commit a felony by voting illegally?” Can’t imagine why anyone might not answer that honestly….

    • Steven H says:

      What makes the study concluding millions of illegal immigrants voted as the “best” one? I have not heard of any credible study concluding anything close to that number.

      • Peter says:

        Yawn….

        • Steven H says:

          If that is indicating a tired argument, I agree. There were never millions of illegal immigrants voting, and el Presidente is just ranting without factual basis when he claims so. Which is getting to be a regular pattern.

          • Peter says:

            Obviously not what I meant but whatever….

          • Stevendad says:

            There’s almost nothing out there. I looked quite a bit. My point was more that almost everyone cites this study and the data was interpreted in exactly opposite ways but the analysts, based on their bias. We don’t know is the true interpretation.

          • Peter says:

            Agreed

          • YSteven H says:

            If there is only one study and the stats are so weak they can be interpreted opposite ways. I think you just figured out the truth right there. Its a junk study.

  • Stevendad says:

    I must add that I appreciate both of your opinions, agree or not. This ridiculously long thread still stays well in the “light” segment and much less the “heat” segment of arguments. I’m sure we’d all agree we’ve learned a ton even if we’ve accomplished very little. Still may write a book someday… One of my professor patients is teaching SWEAR now in his classes and thinking of writing a self help book with it as a central core. Never would have gotten there without you Steven. One last thing: I AM YOUR FATHER. Stevendad.

    • Peter says:

      This has been useful to me as well. Saw some different perspectives and definitely opened my eyes to many things. When we can peel away from the brainwashing of partisan politics, the human mind can solve problems and do amazing things. This will continue to be the challenge both for politicians and citizens as we progress through these particularly polarizing political times. The imaginary wedge has been driven between us and I don’t think it is even justified. People aren’t as polarized as the political engine is making them sound or act. It is my hope that somehow, someway we can move away from the archaic two-party system (which is truly a one-party system in disguise) to a more open one that invites shades of gray, true thinkers, and open non-judgmental dialogue. I won’t agree with everyone, and bring my own biases to any discussion, but I know I would enjoy being a part of something like that.

  • Stevendad says:

    Ok BD: re: gullibility: let me put in your quote “gullible working class “. Not sure why I thought your opinion was that they were gullible.
    Re: housing crisis: Clinton admin REQUIRED increases in subprime loans, at least 50% of loans in bottom half of credit risks. So lots of people to blame, but this was the critical last step.
    Re: Obamacare. It is failing. Article today pointed out 140,000 people in Iowa have NO access to insurance in 2018. And a third of counties only one. Mostly in flyover country so why should Dems care. Why aren’t the Dems being lambasted for the fact people actually don’t have insurance based on their golden healthcare answer? To use their hyperbole, couldn’t they die?
    I took a recent poll
    On political leanings. Interestingly, I was dead center on Lib Conservative axis on a recent questionnaire. (And 25% toward the Libertarian side on that axis). You’re so Blue you just make me look Conservative.
    https://www.politicalcompass.org/

    • Steven H says:

      CRA was enacted in the 70s and every president since then has promoted broad housing ownership and loose rules. In addition, financial deregulation goes back to 80s and has caused increasing series of financial crises. In addition, Congressional study of 2008 crash discounted housing policy as primary cause, and that is true for both the Dem and GOP reports. There are dissenters of course, and many identify CRA as a contributor. Your focus on Clinton for the 2008 collapse is just partisan complaining, however. It started much earlier.

      • Stevendad says:

        This is true, but specific goals of expanding subprime loans were pushed aggressively by Clinton and Frank. This was the basis of the fear of failure. As it turned out the failures were relatively fair. So, yes, I argued it was across all parties involved.
        You miss the point that all laws, including taxation, are ultimately enforced at the point of a gun. Try not paying your property taxes for several years. The sheriff WILL show up at your door armed if you don’t believe it.

        • Stevendad says:

          Rare, not fair. Oh, I looked it up and subprime loans were pushed to 57% in 2005 under Bush. There is that partisan? Last I looked he had an R by his name. It is still an example of the UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of massive government.

        • Steven H says:

          Laws are engorced. I still truly do not understand how that offends you or what your alternative is. Let everyone follow just the laws and pay just the taxes they agree with? You have echoed this rant many times and I have never understood it.
          I agree that certain policies such as civil forfeiture are applied in such a way as to be considered government theft from citizens, but I also consider them a gross violation of civil rights. If laws offend the populace, we have processes to change them, and many are trying to correct civil forfeiture. But the general complaint about laws being enforced is crazy to me.

          • Steven H says:

            … enforced …

          • Stevendad says:

            You really don’t get it. My point is some part of th populace picks some idea, builds a law around it and then it is ultimately enforced at gun point. Many of them are based on feelings and perceptions, not facts. We should do this as little as possible is my point, due to UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. Like Prohibition and the war on drugs on the Right and everyone should own a home by both sides and we should let people come here illegally without any system by the Left (a defacto law in many ways by parts of the country). Once we pass a just law, we should enforce it or eliminate by repeal or in the courts. Again, what if the 20% that pays almost all the taxes decides it’s not fair they should pay so much and quits? Not a completely unreasonable stance given our government’s inefficiency. Then what? Personally, I’m fine with paying reasonable taxes but find the waste and outright legal theft of the money appalling.

          • Steven H says:

            Enforcement means with force. No, I don’t get what your gripe is. Laws must be enforced. You are not, in your post, distinguishing very well between normal law enforcement and authoritarianism, which is where it seems you are trying to go in your complaint.
            ===
            Laws based on feelings, not facts … Well that is a valid complaint. Bathroom laws. (Men dressed as women going in the women’s bathroom to molest them ! No actually, molesters don’t generally bother with the disguise part. And the law wouldn’t help anyway. It just harasses Trans folk based on fearful feelings.) Religious liberty to not serve gays. (When did it become the right of religious folks to take rights of civil society away from others?) Laws applying right of employers to impose their religious beliefs on employees. (Where is that in the Constitution?) Laws to control whether a woman puts a scarf on her head that does not even hide her face. (You gotta be kidding me.) Laws to make citizens feel better that their money does not support a legal medical procedure that somebody else wants or even needs to save their life or health, but that they oppose based on feelings. (When did it become the business of government to legislate restrictions on the most personal, private, medical decisions, just to make others feel better?)

      • Stevendad says:

        I am a centrist. You missed my last bit on political leanings. I BLAMED EVERYONE. It all went OK until the subprime mortgages were forced on the banks. Read about it. HUD under Clinton mandated it. The road to perdition is paved with good intentions. I know you’ll never believe that, but the government has a very limited ability to make things better without simultaneously making other things worse. And AGAIN, who are Liberals to be so wise as to choose what path is best? Again, what if someone just doesn’t want to pay taxes because they don’t like the way they’re spent? Seems fair in the mind of some. Eventually they will get the knock of armed men on their door. Again, ultimately, government is rule by force, even if it is by a “majority”. Ultimately the debt will undo all their good intentions. You should hear how disdainful people are about the government where I live. I am definitely in the most Liberal quartile around here. Of course flyover country has no voice. Except at the ballot box : ergo Trump.

        • Steven H says:

          ” Again, what if someone just doesn’t want to pay taxes because they don’t like the way they’re spent? Seems fair in the mind of some. ”
          It sounds absolutely ridiculous and unworkable to most folks, though. If you want to stay in the club, you need to pay the dues. Even if you dont like or go to all the events.

          • Stevendad says:

            Right, but is it fair 1 in 100 people pay 40% of the taxes? And 5 in 100 pay 60%? And half pay nothing? Do they consume 40 and 12 times more services. And the half that don’t pay should get free benefits of society as well as actual cash and in kind benefits. My point is it is not unreasonable to say that you could feel this is “unfair” since ones feelings (“we’re a nation of immigrants “, “everyone should own a home”) are reasonable bases in law. Open you mind if possible to the other side of the argument and you begin to understand the Libertarian (or former moderate Democrat) view. As a Progressive OR a Conservative, you can take a feeling, project it on everyone else and pass laws to tell others how to live. Just not my cup of tea. I’m just not that smart despite a 155ish IQ and extensive study and / or experiences in almost everything, including being rich, poor and everything in between.

          • Peter says:

            Agreed. Opening the mind to all points of view is always smart….

          • Steven H says:

            Income taxes are not all the taxes.

          • Steven H says:

            According to tax policy center in 2015, upper 1% received 16.5% of all income but paid about 28% of all federal taxes, much less than 40%. I believe those numbers may exclude some capital gains income and also excludes state and local tax which are often regressive, and would bring the percentahes closer.

      • Stevendad says:

        Interesting how you completely avoided the failure of Obamacare. No comment on that?

        • Steven H says:

          I have wanted to go off and do some indepth research but have not had time. Here is my perception from more general reading.
          1) Obamacare is doing better in expanded medicaid states, because those people with medicaid funding are putting less strain on private doctors and hospitals.
          2) GOP attempts to blow up the rails on Obamacare, and so it is no surprise it struggles. Im not sure what the current state is of their attempts to defund the reimbursement pools for insurance companies, but just the ongoing threat of defunding and repealing Obamacare makes insurance companies less likely to participate. Obamacare is not perfect but could be improved and made more stable, something GOP will not do. Obamacare is not self-destructing. It is a decent system that the GOP are dismantling. It is being GOP-destructed. And their replacement plan is not likely to be better or cheaper for Americans. It will kill people and save a few tax dollars, and cut premiums for healthy people but will be a death blow for many sick people.

          • Stevendad says:

            I like your reference, the NYT. Now that’s a completely unbiased source. Obamacare was single payer light (via Medicaid) with a few other good ideas (26 year olds on parent plans). The exchange takeover of the private market was an unmitigated disaster. That’s it in a nutshell.

    • Steven H says:

      I did reference “some gullible working class” but I did not say all working class are gullible.That was your misreading. My point was tbat some in the working class were gillible to believe Trumps promises to raise taxes on rich and give healthcare to everyone.

      As to your assertion that working class decline is due to war on fossil fuels or large government, I think you are drawing false connections. How have either of those hurt anybody? Loss of coal jobs? That is due yo fracking and natural gas, another fossil fuel. Promotion of green energy is helping us all. And it is the promotion of so called small government resulting in tax cuts to rich and resulting national deficits and resulting strains to safety nets and healthcare that is harming and even killing the working class.

      • Stevendad says:

        Yes, loss of coal and other energy jobs, export of manufacturing. Fracking was a temporary reprieve but slowed as well. Globalization is a short term (a decade or two) loser for the working class, with a probable reward at the end. But who knows? A bird in the hand…. Besides who wants to wait a generation until those who are taking manufacturing jobs become customers?

      • Stevendad says:

        So, regarding green energy, wind energy is about three times more expensive than fossil fuels. It makes less and less sense at Northern (or Southern) latitudes. Where we are, the solar flux is fairly low, especially in Winter . This is best suited for isolated situations where it’s more expensive to take in electrical lines. It also works close to the Equator such as Hawaii. I also find it fascinating that people that worry so much about the way things look in the natural world, such as the classic left leaning person, have no problem with massive eyesores when there are all over the place. Drive through West Texas and see what you think. Do you think it’s a help the landscape? Of course they also kill lots of migratory birds as well. It’s interesting that California had a big part of their water problem over a smelt that it didn’t affect one way or the other and yet we’re OK with our national bird, the Bald Eagle being killed in windmills.

      • Stevendad says:

        Again, simple economics: the government borrowing $20T competes with business borrowing, regulations cost almost $2 trillion yearly, political interference leads to inefficient allocation of money, money is spent worldwide rather than here, money given as benefits is spent and not invested. All argue for smaller government, whether they are good ideas or not.

        • Peter says:

          And by the way, wouldn’t the right call people gullible who voted for another democrat after nothing improved for them under the last 8 years? To me, gullible is believing a politician is going to help improve your lot in life.

          • Steven H says:

            Some of us think Obama is largely responsible for lessening impact of great recession with temporary tax cuts and stimulus, salvaging us auto industry, restoring respect of US around the world, enacting sane and uplifting policies in every realm. I will be forever grateful for the oasis of the Obama presidency positioned between the moral deserts of Bush and Trump.

          • Steven H says:

            By the way, national money being spent worldwide describes the inequities of our trade policy, which gwnerally helps business and hurts workers. You were possibly referencing foreign aid which is a miniscule sum in the scheme of things.

          • Peter says:

            And some think otherwise.

        • Steven H says:

          All of your arguments above deal with effective use of money for businesses and businessmen, and do not necessarily reflect improvement of life for common citizens or society at large. Our nation is more than a means for businesses to grow. Some regulations protect citizen health and liberty. I know, for instance, that clean air and water regulations cost businesses money, but prevent or alleviate health problems. Efficient allocation of money for business is different than effective allocation of money for society and thus requires political “interference”. And spending of money on benefits – food, medical and housing, typically – is an investment too, usually far more profitable to the individual, and to society, than a stock fund.

          • Stevendad says:

            I see your point of view Steven H, but remember we had $9T in growth for $9.5T in borrowing plus throw in a couple of $T printed by the Fed with QE. That is not sustainable. Our economy is built to function on modest growth. Not sure what would happen if we stopped that for “fairness and justice”, but I will guarantee the poor would suffer the most, followed by the middle class. The rich would do just fine thank you, they already have money.
            Of course the government does good and necessary things, but they always go too far. For example expansion of Clean Air Act to CO2 was NEVER envisioned and overreaches its purpose. Just pass a new law through Congress if this is so great, not just use your “pen and your phone” to make new law.
            You ignored my #3 argument against Progressivism last month. It ignores natural laws and human nature. For example, some greed is needed to keep things going. The USSR and its satellites proved that. Another is “some pigs are more equal than others” as were the Politburo and Chavez, etc. Someone always uses their power to enrich themselves and their family in Socialism. And lastly, as a science supporter (you’ve made a million references to this) don’t forget evolution. It applies to business as well. The government must have some intervention, but survival of the fittest business makes for a stronger economy and benefits us all. I know you’ll come back to the Rockerfellers and poisoning the environment and all that, but to some extent that was controlled as it should be by government. Always puzzling to me why the Left lets the world’s most successful monopolist, bar none, off with a pass. I guess Bill Gates is OK because he agrees with “the Cause”. And Nancy Pelosi and the Clintons and Al Gore and Obama $400k more rich and… you get the point, all enriched themselves through government service and they’re OK. Perhaps they are “more equal” than the rest of us pigs. But ultimately it’s because they agree with “the Cause”.

          • Peter says:

            That’s true….the left doesn’t see that they are becoming the same corrupt ruling class they used to stand up against. (See: Animal Farm) They get in power on the backs of minorities, working class citizens and “everyday people”, then do nothing to help them. They try to pass universal health care to help the little guy, but then pander to the big insurance companies. They rail against pointless wars and international conflicts, then perpetuate them – sometimes even escalating them (Afghanistan). They complain about Wall Street fat cats and then cater laws to them to continue their opportunities to give $400k speeches on their behalf. People like Gates are given a free pass for monopolistic practices. People like Jobs/Cook are given a pass for shipping all of their jobs overseas. Look, I hate the right as much as I hate the left. But Steven H likes to think of the left as this virtuous group with a man on a horse coming to save the world. The blindness to the awfulness within his own party undermines every reasonable argument we try to have on here. Not everything politicians do is awful … but a lot of it is.

  • Peter says:

    The discussion about income disparity – the level to which it exists, possible causes for it and solutions we may consider – is quite interesting. The black hat / white hat Democrats vs Republicans crap is tiresome. Furthermore, it has no basis in reality or fact. That debate is full of conjecture, biased reporting and perspective. It is as big of a waste of time as you can get because, who is really going to change their minds? Is Steven H suddenly going to become a fan of a major Republican? It is unlikely if not an impossibility.

    After all these years, I have kind of bowed out of late because I realize very clearly that too many people are far more concerned with that debate than the real one – the debate about our economy and income disparity. And blind to the fact that our government is complicit in this – not just one party – but our entire governmental structure.

    • Stevendad says:

      Ive been trying to throw out ideas, but not sure how you just raise taxes and redistribute to get better income equality. Some ideas are global and some individual (SWEAR). Again, I.E. it’s the worst in NY / Chicago / CA etc. They have massive immigration in those areas and support even more. It must lower incomes for those in the areas based in simple supply/ demand. Similarly more money goes to people in benefits and infrastructure suffers. Not judging those choices, just pointing out what is obvious.

  • Steven H says:

    Stevendad,
    First part of reply ended up in wrong place. Find further below. Numbered 1 and 2 but really response to your #1 item.
    To continue with your numbering.
    2) Concentration of power. You think Dems are concentrating power. I think GOP is concentrating power. Strategically suppressing voter registration and creating arbitrary voter restrictions in the name of suppressing fraud but in reality to cut out votes of young and poor. Extraordinary propaganda and fraud via controlled press (FOX) to create distrust of mainline reporters, scientists, intellectuals, so the gullible can be bamboozled by politicians. Assertions that global warming is fake, voter fraud is rampant, low wages are due to immigrants, crime is way up, taxes are way too high, stimulus didnt work, are all extraordinary lies pushed off on the gullible who now distrust everone except their conservative propaganda mindstream.
    When we have no common social basis to establish trust in each other, in information, in logic and science, we fall apart. These attacks on mainstream free media, on science, and intellectual thought, are destroying us and are the means by which the oligarchs centralize control, not the Democrats.

    • Steven H says:

      Realize that concentration of money is ultimate concentration of power, and that is why income disparity puts us closer to the ills of communist countries than a few social service policies will ever do.

      • Stevendad says:

        Disagree with this as well. Force of arms more powerful than money. The French revolution demonstrated this completely. They aristocracy had lots of money. The general population ended up using force and negated this completely. The same was true in Russia at the Russian revolution.

        • Steven H says:

          Force of arms is desperation to repeal concentration of money. We dont want to get to that point. It would be better for the rich to release their stranglehold on the nations profits before the people rise up with arms to take it.

          Look around. Its not just the US population unhappy with the rich having too much. The protests in Europe, Middle East, and even Russia have the same origin. Sure, some of it is falsely blamed on immigrants, but the underlying distess is economic and the anger is being directed at governments who feed the rich and eat the poor. Argue all you want about how the poor and middle classes have all the ladders and opportunity they need and lack of success is their own fault. The world no longer is convinced.

          • Peter says:

            Agree that it has been too long with our government in bed with the ultra-rich. Time to end the two party system and have true campaign finance reform. But again, those of us making between about $250k and $2 million are not your enemy. We are not the ones “concentrating profits” and “controlling the government”. The attacks need to be targeted at the right people for anything to change. And even then, it is probably futile because too many politicians get rich from this as well.

          • Stevendad says:

            You may have misunderstood. Force of arms also includes the government, not just public uprisings. I don’t disagree with you about the concentration of money by the way. It’s just income taxes, even highly progressive ones are not the best way to deconcentrate (another neologism) wealth. I’ve beaten those ideas to death, but would be happy to restate.
            Peter is right. You blame the whole financial crisis on Reagan. This is clearly not the case. I entered complex nuanced arguments including everyone involved. You went for the Progressive speaking point.There’s no question the straw that broke the camels back was the Fed increasing rates. However, the next to last step and the key component was forcing the banks to lend to ever more risky borrowers. You’re clearly very intelligent and thought out. You’re still somewhat blinded by partisanism

          • Steven H says:

            Stevendad,
            So I am partisan and you are nuanced. Then what is this?
            Stevendad ——
            I have to go back to “setting the dial” more Socialist, which is where Dems are going.
            1. They decide what is “fair” and then pass legislation to support it. An excellent example is when Frank/Clinton decided everyone should own a house, directed loosening of lending standards and set in motion the 2008-9 debacle
            ————
            Nevermind that the CRA legislation you reference was passed before Clinton and even before Reagan. Nevermind that every president since the CRA was passed, including Reagan and both Bushes, actively promoted the legislation, actively promoted expanded home ownership, and helped loosen rules on lending standards. Nevermind that both the Democrat and Republican reports coming out of the Congressional committee that researched the causes of the 2008 economic crisis discounted the governmrnt housing policy as primary cause. Nevermind that my quote said that deregulation went back TO the time of Reagan, not that the whole crisis was responsibility of Reagan. None of that seems to matter to you.
            You have stated multiple causes of the economic crisis. But when you summarize in one sentence, you blame Democrat ignorance and assign primary responsibility to Clinton and Frank, despite the fact that they were neither the first nor most recent movers of that housing policy, and the housing policy is not widely credited with the primary cause of the crisis. I think you are mischaracterizing me as the extreme partisan here. Look in the mirror.

          • Steven H says:

            I do not understand your argument about government force of arms. You have alluded in the past to government collecting taxes,at point of gun, and government attempting to disarm citizens. Are those your arguments here? I have not understood your concern in either argument. In the first, are you arguing that government has no right to enforce tax collection? I would say that rule of law is omportant here and that tax law is legitimate. In the second, are you saying that government has no right to restrict military weaponry to citizens? Certainly I see no trend of government trying to take away all guns or to remove second amendment rights, but I do see paranoia in the NRA. We should recall that Hitler promoted armed citizenry and that militia mindset gives us terrorism and events like Oklahoma City bombing.

          • Steven H says:

            Peyer, I am glad we agree that government promoting interests of ultra-rich is damaging. We need to focus on rebuilding middle class and working class and it will be better for everyone IMO. Even if your taxes and mine go up some.

          • Steven H says:

            Peter, I am glad we agree that government promoting interests of ultra-rich is damaging. We need to focus on rebuilding middle class and working class and it will be better for everyone IMO. Even if your taxes and mine go up some.

          • Peter says:

            I don’t agree giving the government more money is the solution though. That’s where you and I differ. This just INCREASES the influence of the ultra rich.

    • Stevendad says:

      The Democratic Party at this point is far more divisive then the Republican Party. Their entire platform is based on identity politics. I disagree that Fox is a bigger source of falsehoods and midi nformation than CNN or MSNBC. I pointed out an exact complete falsehood on CNN that I saw with my own eyes. Of course you can say I’m a liar, but I am not and you could look it up if you wanted to. Regardless, distortion is going around everywhere in the media.

      • Stevendad says:

        Misinformation

      • Steven H says:

        Your example of incomplete quote by reporter is miniscule compared to the orchestrated assault of hundreds of hours of FOX news programming making up lies about Benghazi and emails. There is a difference between incomplete reporting and politically orchestrated propaganda.

        • Stevendad says:

          Oh come on now there are thousands of them. This was just a specific one. CNN is equally if not worse than FOXNews. Also Fox spends a lot of their time differentiating between who is a commentator and who is a reporter. CNN and MSNBC you do not. Reporters openly weeping during the Hillary Clinton lost really sure where their hearts are. It’s ridiculous to think that they can give fair and balanced assessments of the news.

          • Peter says:

            Agreed. There are very few people that would tell you that Fox News is an unbiased news source. They don’t present themselves that way – never have. CNN does present themselves that way, but clearly had leanings to the Democratic party all throughout the election and beyond. Nothing wrong with biased reporting as long as it is identified as such.

      • Steven H says:

        How is Dem identity politics different than GOP identity politics? I’ll answer that question. Dems are representing support of majority of population on issues like Planned parenthood, healthcare, the wall, LGBT rights. GOP is representing minority of population with majority of money and influence, along with some gullible working class who want a change, but not the change they are actually going to get. GOP repeatedly fights for policies that the majority of the population opposes, but a few vocal radicals in the base support.

        • Peter says:

          Like it or not those are not overwhelmingly majority opinions you listed….

          • Steven H says:

            Planned parenthood defunding- 31% for and 62% against
            Obamacare repeal and replace with AHCA -17% for and 56% against
            Deny LGBT equal marriage rights – 37%for 61% against
            Build border wall – 35% for, 62% against

            These are in fact majority opinions, bigly majorities, that oppose GOP Trump policy.

          • Peter says:

            Lots of gray in there and you know that…..particularly in health care.

        • Stevendad says:

          It is a classic Progressive arrogance to think that the working classes gullible. There are a lot smarter than you think they are.They’ve been destroyed by globalism and war on fossil fuels of Obama as well as the increased size of government by Obama and Bush. This will be the undoing of the democratic party trying to find little slivers of the American populace into a coalition. Again gerrypandering.

          • Steven H says:

            Stevendad,
            I am not saying the working class is gullible. I am saying everybody who is rejecting intellectual arguments for political mind control is gullible. YOU are putting words in my mouth. Stop it.
            The Republican party official who is still claiming Obamacare has death panels is gullible. The politicians who claim they are no scientist but they are still going to disbelieve all the scientists about global warming, and instead believe oil companies and bloggers, are gullible. The people who believed Trump when he claimed unemployment was ‘really’ over 30% and crime was skyrocketing, or that millions of illegal immigrants were being bussed into cities to vote were gullible. The people are gullible who believe what it is most convenient and profitable and simple to believe rather than what is real and complex and uncomfortable.
            ===
            And yes I am pointing out the gullibility of Republican and Trumpists. I’m sure that Democrats have their own gullibilities. However, it is most evident at this point in history that Republicans have been way too effective at lying not only to their base and their new working class followers, but to themselves. Their biggest gullibility has been in believing their own propaganda.
            ===
            It was an article of faith, not fact, that the ACA was widely hated for being too liberal and was ineffective and that most people wanted it repealed. They blindly ignored the polls that indicated many people opposed Obamacare because they wanted something MORE liberal, and that many others actually liked most of the components of Obamacare even as they railed against it as a political icon. Now that people realize that what the GOP is offering is likely to be much less care with much less government investment, and that fewer people will be covered not more; now that they realize that Obamacare is an imperfect policy that may be worth fixing rather than a kluge that is easily replaced; now that Trump has admitted that healthcare is actually hard and not easy, Obamacare is reaching its highest popularity ever.
            ===
            Republicans and Democrats have distinct ideologies which each have strengths and weaknesses. The biggest flaw in Republican ideology as practiced in the GOP Washington leaders , IMO, is their absolute commitment to the purest forms of their conservative faith. Most people really don’t want to repeal Obamacare, but the conservative purists do, so that is the path they take. Most people don’t want to defund Planned Parenthood, but the religious purists do, so that is the path to take. Evidence abounds that the rich are better off than ever and the middle class is struggling and THIS FACT PUT TRUMP IN POWER because he promised to help the middle class and drain the swamp. Instead he fills his cabinet with monied interests and goes along with the principle siphoning money out of health care to make the rich richer. Because this is the GOP purity line. There is no compromise. Why?
            ===
            What I hear, over and over is the other troubling characteristics of GOP leaders: Arrogant disdain. Witness the Republican who recently claimed that Americans who lived their life “the right way” would have lower premiums under Trump. Witness the Republican leader who claimed “nobody dies from lack of health insurance”. Over and over we hear how the poor and working class aren’t doing enough for themselves. If they want better healthcare, just get a better job. If they need better education, just go to a great school, and if you need money, borrow from your parents. It’s true that those platitudes work … if you already have money. Not so much when you don’t. It is not a cruel parody to say that today’s GOP leaders in Washington do not care about the poor or whether they live or die. They are in denial and they think being poor and sick in America is not so terrible a it is described. Nobody starves. Nobody dies. Nobody is in such great discomfort. The poor have hidden incomes. The poor are given everything they need by the generous government. Free meals, free healthcare, free education. They are all sitting at home in the figurative wheelbarrow watching big screen TVs as the job creators slave away and push the wheelbarrow around. That is not the real world. That’s not how life in America works. That has never been how it works.
            ===

          • Peter says:

            To boil it all down to Republicans in the black hats and Democrats in the white hats is idiocy and shows a lack of intellectual thought. Do you REALLY think it is that simple? If you don’t know why we think you are blinded by partisan politics, then reread the above post but flip it all the other direction. If you read a post like this with the hats reversed, what would you think?

  • Stevendad says:

    Steven H Awaiting the reply… And it is clear Obama holdovers are sabotaging Trump agenda, right or wrong in whoever’s view

    • Peter says:

      Same script, just flipped. And both sides think they are protecting “the will of the people” from a radical. Nonsense….

  • Peter N says:

    You guys are way off topic now.
    What is clear is that our government is corrupt. I doubt Trump can drain the swamp. The “deep state” is too deep.
    I don’t trust media. Usually some alternative media on YouTube gets the info before Fox or CNN. There is little investigative reporting.
    Too many YouTube alternate medias don’t do their own research but instead read from some other source. Sad. Now I have to find that source. The only thing I believe is interviews where I can hear the people themselves speak but now can I trust who is speaking?
    I watch Trey Gowdy on YouTube but congress doesn’t appear to have much power.

    • Steven H says:

      So you think Trump is not also corrupt? You think he had any real intent to drain the swamp?

    • Steven H says:

      And the “Deep State” is not a liberal conspiracy. It is a sanity self-defense of the populace at large. People are deeply concerned that the government has been taken over by a fascist incompetent. That’s the only deep state involved.

      • Stevendad says:

        You so flippantly ignore the legal results of the election. That is, the population at large

        • Stevendad says:

          I wasn’t the biggest Obama fan, as you know, but never doubted the legitimacy of his election. Somebody said “elections have consequences ” . Perhaps you remember who…

        • Steven H says:

          You may recall that the legal results of the election contradicted the will of the people at large.

          • Stevendad says:

            Last time I looked, the electoral college is part of the constitution. It would’ve been a completely different campaign run by Trump if it had been a popular vote. No one really knows what the result would’ve been. That’s a silly argument.

        • Steven H says:

          Stevendad,
          1) Bank deregulation harking back to Reagan and proliferation of moral hazard was THE major cause of housing crisis and 2008 crash. Housing policy was just a catalyst and an excuse for bankers and investors to rip off everybody else. Better govt oversight and enforcement would have helped but untegulated greed was the engine that drove us off a cliff. If it hadnt been housing it would have been some other financial skullduggery.
          2) As to your perception that politicians create bad policy based on arbitrary assessment of fairness, I fail to see how that is a uniquely Democrat quality. Republicans think it is fair to cut a trillion dollars out of health care for everybody and redistribute it to their wealthy friends as tax cuts and they are working hard to accomplish that goal. I think that is very unfair and very bad policy. Fortunately, moderates in GOP also recognize the folly. So far, anyway.

          • Stevendad says:

            Absolutely agree with you about the Republicans. Yes they make the same kind of pronouncements about “fairness” and then passed law to support it. Neither are correct in my opinion.

          • Stevendad says:

            Your stance and bank deregulation caused all of this is also incorrect in my opinio. However it was a part. There’s no question if there weren’t bad loans to insure that failed there wouldn’t of been the entire collapse. Ultimately, it wasn’t the exotic instruments that were created ,such as mortgage-backed security’s and credit default swaps, but the loans that they backed up that caused the collapse. Their loss in value only occurred because the underlying loans lost value. Clinton and Frank definitely were a party and in fact the main drivers behind that whole policy.

          • Steven H says:

            The history of economic panic is remarkably consistent. The common threads are excesses of debt, leverage, and confidence in markets. When you have high income disparity, the richest people, which include top bankers and investors, drive up markets. The average schmuck is typically either in debt because a commodity is getting overpriced, in desperation because his oncomes have been suppressed, or in denial because he thinks he can get a piece of the economic bubble before it bursts, or maybe all 3. You might think the problem is housing policy, or stock leveraging, or tulips, or savings and loan picy, or any individual catalyst that differs from onstance to instance. The real problem is unregulated greed and high income disparity. Put those two chemicals together and crashes will happen. The rest is just circumstance.

  • Peter says:

    Curious how a die-hard liberal is reconciling the Syrian attacks? The Trump-is-in-bed-with-Russia narrative is challenged by this is action, is it not? Regardless of political narrative I certainly wish we would stay out of conflicts like this. Unfortunately neither party agrees with me or I would probably be a member of one of them.

    • Peter says:

      I’m sure there is a way tie it all into an anti-Trump, pro Democrat narrative that continues with the Russia ties story but I can’t imagine how you would do it in this case.

      • Stevendad says:

        Just saw a Dem Congessman claim it was an elaborate cover for the TrumpRussia connection. Getting pretty obtuse. Seem orders of magnitude less believable than Susan Rice getting info on and unmasking of Trump associates for “non political” reasons. Possible, but highly unlikely, especially for a career liar.

        • Peter says:

          Media angle has all been that “Trump did a 180 on his positions”. Nothing else they can say lines up with the narrative. I’m not saying this because I like trump….I’m just sharing this point of view to call BS on the narrative that CNN And others were spinning.

          • Stevendad says:

            Of course he would be inflexible and rigid if he didn’t change according to circumstances. I’m not a Trumpist, but the wholesale condemnation of everything he does is tiresome. I guess Syria missile attack may be an exception for some at least.

          • Peter says:

            Yes – the ability to analyze him rationally has long been gone. It’s a shame…. not everything about him is bad. And not everything about Obama was good. Or vice versa.

    • Steven H says:

      First of all, it cannot be reconciled if you assume the world is simple and B/W. If the world was simple and B/W, then it would not be possible for Trump and his campaign people to treat Russia favorably and accept their assistance, and then turn around and attack Syria which is in opposition to Russia’s desires. But the world is not simple and B/W is it?
      ===
      Do I think that it was a good thing that we attacked Syria in response to their chemical attack? Yes and no. It FELT good on an emotional level. The fact that he did it while having a meal with the Chinese leader sent a message that we are tough. But it FELT good in the same way that it FELT good when we took revenge against Afghanistan and Libya. Or when Saddam Hussein was found. But were any of those things strategically correct? Is the world better because those things happened? It’s really hard to tell. You can argue the world is a mess because we did those things. You can also argue that it is possible the world might have been worse due to not taking one of those actions. I don’t have an answer. I don’t know what was right or wrong or the best answer. And I don’t know if we should have attacked Syria. But the evidence, the science, indicates Syria used a portion of their remaining chemical weapons. It’s a good thing that Obama negotiated to remove 95% to 98% of Syria’s chemical weapons. And maybe it’s a good thing that we responded against such a horrible act and show that even Russia-friendly Trump can hold a tough line against their lies. But maybe it’s not good. Maybe it just feels good.
      ===
      But does Trump defying Russia mean he could not have been friendly or cooperative with them during the campaign? No. Trump is mercurial. That is the only constant. His friends are only his friends while they suit his current whim. He favors reproductive choice then opposes it. He is for attacking Libya then against it. He is friends with Clintons and then attacks them personally and viciously. There is no real conflict to resolve here. The world is complicated, and Trump is complicated, and his whims are unpredictable. That’s all.

  • Steven H says:

    Peter, Im getting a bit confused and frustrated with your positions on some topics. You keep telling me I am defending all things Democratic, but you are actually being way more partisan to the right than I am to the left.
    Of the several stories we have been discussing you consistently attack the Democrats with absolutely no basis in evidence or investigative conclusion, and yet you keep denying there is any evidence or conclusion against the Republican that you dont even like. The FBI cleared Hillary of criminal wrongdoing in email, and multiple GOP investigations cleared her of the nefarious activity regarding Benghazi, but you still choose to believe she is guilty. All of our intelligence services found that Russia interfered in our elections, Flynn was found to have undermined a sitting President by using backchannel communication to Russia to indicate sanctions would be undone under Trump, and then he lied about it. Dozens of other real and concrete red flags exist regarding Russia and Trumps campaign, and while more needs to be investigated, you preemptively discard all of the actual findings and extraordinaey suspicious activity as just speculation. You seem to have completely different sets of standards for Dems And GOP. Why is that?

    • Peter says:

      You are defending only the Democrat side. I have made many points over the course of 5 years here and the only ones you take exception to are the ones that disagree with your liberal playbook. You are quite often the absolute example I give that keeps our country in gridlock. You just happen to be the left version of that. There are certainly counterparts on the right.

      • Steven H says:

        You have a big blind spot to anything that is true if it is also liberal. If any legitimate fact-based argument conflicts with your world view, you ignore the facts, refuse to engage in actual debate, and attribute the arguments to biased media, or impossible because it conflicts with your personal experience, or irrelevant because the person presenting the argument is liberal or just “doesn’t understand how the world works”. Have you ever been even willing to acknowledge the possibility that the best way to deal with national debt is reduce Debt/GDP rather than dollar debt? Have you ever considered seriously that economic mobility between quintiles or deciles or percentiles is less meaningful if most of those percentiles are in decline, because 90% of American incomes stagnate while the upper few percentiles receive most of the benefit of economic growth? You have opinions. Fine. Have you ever acknowledged that my opinions on those items might be worth considering? No. You have not. You are blind because such “liberal” ideas cannot possibly be correct and you will not accept the possibility even long enough to address the fact that many experts and many very sound and fact-based arguments agree with my views.
        ===
        I am not the most liberal person you will ever meet and the ideas I put forward are not wild ravings of the radical left. They are worth discussing. We have had some good discussions. But when it gets uncomfortable for you, you would do well to stop attacking the messenger and instead address the arguments.

        • Peter says:

          I totally disagree I have a liberal blind spot. My thoughts on drug legalization, improving the education system, less military conflicts (although that is more of a traditional liberal stance than a current one), etc. fall right in line with most liberals.

          I just don’t agree with the way YOU see the economy. Thinking we should reduce dollar debt over ratio debt is not in disagreement with a liberal agenda – it is disagreeing with YOU and Piketty/Sanz, etc.

          I do not have a blind spot politically because I do not support either party. My views are complex enough that they don’t line up at all with the two major parties, and the one major thing I am AGAINST is the two-party system, which has resulted in corruption and gridlock.

          The reason why I accuse you of being so liberal is your mindless defense of all things left (Hillary & Obama for example) and complete rejection of all things right – regardless of their merit or perspective. I don’t think you will find that in my posts. You will find both positive and negative comments about both parties if you look back. That is not the case in your posts.

          • Stevendad says:

            I have to go back to “setting the dial” more Socialist, which is where Dems are going.
            1. They decide what is “fair” and then pass legislation to support it. An excellent example is when Frank/Clinton decided everyone should own a house, directed loosening of lending standards and set in motion the 2008-9 debacle. Of course, Wall Street was involved and profited, but ultimately the middle class got screwed, the economy tanked and many of the rich got richer. It was an extremely well intentioned thought, but not very practical to think those who can’t keep a job, have cars repossessed, don’t make payments or whatever other reason they wouldn’t have gotten a house otherwise are good credit risks. UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. We just don’t know how it will turn out. A great line from “Body Heat” by Mickey Rourke character :” if you commit a crime there are 50 ways you can f*** up and if you can think of 25 of them you’re a genius…and you ain’t no genius “. The effects of these sweeping changes are just too complicated and one can’t ascertain what the effects will be. Obamacare INCREASED insurance and DECREASED healthcare access with huge deductibles and copays in my practice. Was that helpful or a success?
            2. CONCENTRATION OF POWER. Lists of Socialist/ Communist countries: Sweden/Denmark/Finland/Norway. All by and large successful. Common threads: tiny countries that have GDPs less than several US states, homogeneous populations with single language and culture, good economies, good benefits to all with level incomes. So far so good.
            China/USSR/Venezuela/Cuba/Nazi Germany/Viet Nam/Cambodia/N Korea : mostly poor economies, huge spread in incomes, oh , and 60-100 million of their own citizens killed by their governments, not to mention 10s of millions of those from other countries killed in WWII/Viet Nam/Korean War/etc. Certainly China and Viet Nam are doing better after moving much more Capitalistic.
            So you cannot underestimate how easy it is to take over a system when a few hundred people decide everything, even if given proxy to do so. The arrogance of the Left is its most dangerous attribute. I can pick and choose which laws to obey based on my feelings drawn from “truths”. So say a person feels only those who pay taxes should have a vote to decide how the money is spent. Not a totally unreasonable sentiment based on a rational feeling of “fairness” . How would that go over with the Left? Or taxes in general aren’t fair and I shouldn’t have to pay them. Neither based in law, but neither is denial of the Presidential right to control of immigration. Who is so wise to pick and choose?
            I also find it alarming (but clearly necessary for now) that over 20% of our population relies heavily on the government to eat. How easy is it to control the starving?
            3. A DENIAL OF BASIC HUMAN NATURE . Eliminating greed as a motivator is impossible and frankly not helpful for enlarging the pie for all. Of course there needs to be limits..but enough already. Or government assuming all people are organized enough in their lives to assume privileges that are earned in our system; like home ownership. Or Liberals failing to realize only the law abiding follow laws. Kind of a strange statement but a perfect example is the armed criminal seeing a No Guns Allowed sign disarming himself. Doubt that has ever happened. But laws CAN be used to disarm the populace to enhance the chances of tyranny.

            So yes we need some control and centralized government, but it needs to be less than now IMHO. The further government is from us, the less we can affect it. So guard the borders from enemies and control immigration, set weights and measures, interstate commerce, trade with other nations, etc. And of course at times there will be things that have to be done like Civil Rights and environmental protection, just less than we have now. The Feds micromanage us to the point of telling we must eat broccoli!! Wow, don’t remember seeing that in the Constitution. Can’t remember any vegetable being mentioned… emoji wink. (Emojis don’t seem to work on my system.)

          • Steven H says:

            I don’t defend all things left. I also have a mixed view on military stance (probably a little right to you, but more centrist actually). I’m for medical marijuana and for decriminalization of pot but skeptical of full legal recreational sales. But you do have a big blind spot regarding liberal economics. You are competent to understand the economics of reducing debt/GDP vs dollar debt but you have never discussed such economics on their mathematical merits, but only from an emotional standpoint. And regarding Hillary and Trump, you ASSUME Hillary is guilty despite no investigation finding that to be true, and you ASSUME all of the evidence of a Russia-Trump campaign connection is BS despite the daily accumulating evidence that indicates otherwise.
            ===
            The biggest problem in political discussion and divisiveness today is with people who KNOW the answer independent of any supporting evidence. They cannot be persuaded to change their opinion by any logical argument or by any evidentiary statements or facts or investigations. If evidence is presented they use arguments like:
            “That evidence or statement came from a liberal economist, or a liberal biased media so it is not trustworthy. You can’t really know anything because it’s all opinion. It’s all third-hand information. I think for myself and only trust what I see and observe directly. You are ignoring my expertise. You don’t understand how the world works but I do. I have experts that contradict your experts. Polls mean nothing. Majority opinion means nothing. Fact-checkers are irrelevant. You can’t trust the media. You can’t trust intelligence services. You can’t trust anything but your own experience and I don’t trust your experience. I only trust my experience.”

            You are not always quite so close-minded as the above quotes suggest, but you you use those arguments a lot. Consider: If you were balanced about examining evidence and expertise, you would consider the evidence against Hillary’s e-mail and recognize that there is NOTHING that indicates she violated law or put national secrets at risk. She violated bureaucratic policy. The crap about having marked classified info or big national secrets on her unclassified server or having violated the law in a way that is prosecutable was all disproved. And if you looked at actual evidence and investigation results you would know that. If you looked objectively at the Trump-Russia connection you would see that Manafort and Flynn were both taking money from Russia without reporting it, Trump campaign was manipulating GOP platform toward Russia, and Trump was openly friendly toward Russia and Russia’s violent dictatorial policy for no explainable reason. Just picture for a moment if things that were revealed about Trump’s campaign regarding foreign connections and interference had instead been revealed about Hillary’s campaign, and that Hillary had openly promoted her business interests on government websites, and that Hillary had a hotel on rented government land controlled by an underling in her own department, a hotel which she made money on every time a foreign dignitary stayed there, and that the only bad thing about Trump was that he had put a private e-mail server in Trump Tower to handle his Presidential correspondence. Does that shift the perspective a bit?

          • Steven H says:

            To be clear, above reply was to Peter. I will respond to stevendad later. Got to get back to other chores.

          • Steven H says:

            … Actually I have to correct something. Reducing Debt/GDP is not liberal economics. It is just economics. It is just math. The argument is like this.

            If you (A) reduce debt/gdp and gdp grows, you are reducing the percentage burden of debt on the economy, which is a good thing. If you go very much beyond this and insist on (B) reducing dollar debt, you do so by either (1) increasing taxes relative to (A) to increase revenue, which is likely to slow economic growth, or (2) cut spending relative to (A), which will have some kind of negative social effect depending on what you cut and may also slow the economy. Basically, option B is emotionally appealing to the frugal spender and the person who equates government economics with home economics (where living debt-free has some appeal), but option B is generally harmful to the economy and social structure relative to Option A.

  • Steven H says:

    More CNN coverage of the St Petersburg story that isnt being covered.
    Russia attack: Police defuse explosive device in St. Petersburg
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/06/europe/russia-attacks-st-petersburg/index.html

    • Peter says:

      Think you just proved my point. This story was nowhere to be found (links or headline) on CNNs front page for past few days. Nowhere. There is a difference between reporting something and creating narrative.

    • Steven H says:

      Its been a top story on the CNN mobile app. Not sure why its not on the web page. Probably under European edition.

    • Steven H says:

      On CNN webpage under World and then under Europe, there are stories on the St Petersburg attack. Not all that visible to American audience. But still, it was THE top story for awhile on front page CNN when it was fresh, and I saw it, so I have an objection to you claiming it was not covered. If it hadnt been covered, I would never have known about it.

      • Peter says:

        Ok then how about the Stockholm attack today?

      • Steven H says:

        9th headline item down on the front page top news on the,CNN app, us edition.

      • Steven H says:

        … and I think it was higher on the app earlier today. Oddly, the mobile website doesn’t show it on home page or World page, untilyou select Eorope … and then it is top story. You would think the Europe top story would be on their home page. The app seems to have a better mix of news. This implies to me that the omission on the web home page is an algorithmic fail on their story layout selector more than a human editorial choice.

      • Steven H says:

        Now its 4th headline under top stories on CNN homepage. Regarding man arrested on stockholm attack.

  • Peter says:

    “Every other network has given all their shows to liberals. We are the balance,” – Roger Ailes. There is one quote. And by the way, CNN’s embarrassing election coverage was all you needed to know about their bias. All this other stuff is just more fuel to the fire and meant to demonstrate how they are trying to shape people’s minds. Just go here…. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNN_controversies#Allegations_of_bias. Not seeing this is no more foolish than the ultra conservative thinking Fox is fair and balanced. Wake the hell up. We can disagree on ideology but how you are blind to this is worrisome.

    • Peter says:

      You won’t care, but I think you would have a stronger platform if you didn’t blindly defend all things Democrat. Just like the Republicans during the Bush/Reagan days, your party has been in power for a while and been victim to the same political pitfalls that prior administrations have. Mistakes, corruption, lies, policies that cater to lobbyists or big business, etc. It comes with the territory unfortunately and you should open your eyes to it – even on your home team. If both parties members would do this maybe we can weed out the scum (like our last two political candidates) and elect someone with some integrity for once.

      • Steven H says:

        How do you figure that Democrats have been in power for a while when Obamas 8 years were almost totally stymied by 6 years of Republican Congress, and now GOP has WH and Congress. Even in the two years Dems had Congress, GOP filibustered like crazy except for the few months Dems had super majority in Senate. Dems have hardly had a lot of control over last 12 years. And as you pointed out, there was actually very little scandal or corruption in Obama administration. Obama had lots of integrity.

        • Peter says:

          Some truth in that … but you still had bad actors like Hillary Clinton in positions of power. And as good of a dude as he was, he still catered to big business in a major way.

        • Steven H says:

          And none of the umpteen investigations actually indicated Hillary was a bad actor. Lots of smoke, no fire. But weve been over and over that.

          • Stevendad says:

            Perhaps, but all showed she was reckless and a repetitive liar.

          • Peter says:

            No fire with Trump either but I don’t see you defending him.

          • Steven H says:

            Hillary had a lot of smoke about how she had the appearance of benefitting from government connections while in office. Trump and his people are openly soliciting business for his daughter and trumpeting Mar-a-lago on government websites. He proposes tax cuts that will be a huge windfall for himself. He is using the government as an ATM. No fire? He’s a friggin inferno.

  • Stevendad says:

    Sorry Steven H, I looked the quote up and put it in VERBATIM. My reference was to a live, on the air interview a few days later about 9AM CST. It was not a website post. No bias, just TRUTH. So my quote of the day (original as far as I know): the fool seeks confirmation and not TRUTH from the media. Not naming any names…

    • Steven H says:

      Sorry that I mismatched the article. Couldn’t find your article interviewing the Congressman. Maybe a link?
      Still, Trump’s quote was not as you stated it. The preamble you listed was not said by Trump according to transcripts. And as I stated below, if a reporter shortens that Trump quote asking for a reaction, it is not a big indicator of CNN bias. The Congressman should have understood the context from knowledge of the widely reported statements several days before. I do agree that such shortening is a bit deceptive, but it seems an interview trick more than a reporting bias. Maybe if I see your link, I will understand your perspective better.

    • Stevendad says:

      After a moment of reflection, let me restate that: “The fool seeks affirmation rather than truth “

      • Steven H says:

        And I am saying you are seeking affirmation by finding word patterns in headlines going from little girls to Trump. This bias argument is unprovable and unwinnable. I think all we can agree on is that FOX is far right, MSNBC is far left, and CNN is somewhere in between, and that nobody is going to agree where the middle actually is.

        • Stevendad says:

          No I just see lying and agenda driven distortion all around. CNN is left of MSNBC in many ways now.

          • Stevendad says:

            BTW the affirmation line wasn’t aimed at you, just in general regarding all the cable and talk radio audiences. I don’t need affirmation, I need information. It is increasingly difficult to find.

          • Peter says:

            Very true…. affirmation is easy to find. It’s when you peel back the layers that you realize you aren’t getting “information”.

    • Steven H says:

      Agreed. Don’t do that.

  • D-Man says:

    Ya know… sometimes you just gotta say it… Time to attack the sacred cow. Susan Rice… ::smh::

    Based on the words that have I have actually heard come out of her mouth, she is not being truthful.

    First, on March 22 in her PBS interview she denied ever having unmasked people and claimed she had no idea what Nunes was even talking about; fast-forward to the Bloomberg story that fingers her for unmasking people… her story changed to ‘unmasking’ is ROUTINELY done by the National Security Advisor. Almost a complete 180. On top of that, it is alleged a spreadsheet was used to keep track of who was unmasked and who they were speaking to… If that is indeed true, that means that so many people were unmasked that they needed a spreadsheet to keep track of all the people. Wow! I’m not saying she actually leaked the info… but she def had a hand in getting Flynn’s(and possibly others’) info out there in the ether. This is NOT a good look for Susan Rice.

    CNN & Don Lemon to the rescue. After this story broke, Don Lemon goes on air and basically says, “nothing to see here… move along”. Now the media is spinning the story NOT to talk about the civil liberties being threatened by this type of behavior, but instead to attack the person who broke the story. He said that CNN ‘will not insult the intelligence of it’s viewers by covering the story… instead we will continue to focus on Russia…’ WTF?! Unbelievable! I am dumbfounded. Yet another case of shoot the messenger misdirection. Am I the only person who sees this?

    And don’t even get me started on Russia. It’s been roughly 5 months since this nonsense went into full swing; yet not one shred of evidence has been presented to the American people. On top of that, the DNC(which is NOT a govt entity) has not allowed the FBI to even look at it’s servers. Why is that?! Instead, they only allowed a 3rd party “security” firm, CrowdStrike, to look at their servers. Mind you, CrowdStrike has a shady past of misrepresenting their finding(Google CrowdStrike & Ukraine). Why are we spending countless hours and tax-payer money to chase our tail? WikiLeaks proved that the CIA has tools that mimic foreign state actors so even IF Russia did “hack our election”… there is literally no way to prove it wasn’t the CIA. This hysteria is mind-blowing…

    In my opinion, this is what seems to be happening… for whatever reason, some unknown entity REALLY wants us to go to war with Russia. The hacking narrative doesn’t seem to be working, so… there’s been a pivot to revisit the humanitarian crisis in Syria… Boom! A sarin gas attack(that is completely illogical and extremely non-strategic from Syria’s POV). Now, all of NATO is gearing up to “do something about Assad”…. who happens to have Russia’s backing. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but if you look at ALL the puzzle pieces, it’s the only thing that makes sense.

    May God help us all. ????

    • Stevendad says:

      Nice to hear a fresh voice. And yes this is VERY troubling. Maybe we should go for the gold / bullets / canned food option. (See earlier posts). The seed of WWII were a failing, militaristic European power with a strongman leader and a thriving Asian power starved for resources. Any of that sound familiar?!?!?

    • Steven H says:

      Rice: “on March 22 in her PBS interview she denied ever having unmasked people”. No, that’s not exactly what she said. Here is the quote:
      ===
      In the first question, PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff asked Rice about Nunes’ disclosure that Trump “and the people around him may have been caught up in surveillance of foreign individuals and that their identities may have been disclosed. Do you know anything about this?” Woodruff added.
      “I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today,” Rice answered.
      ===
      Now you can read this multiple ways (a) Rice was lying, or (b) she interpreted “disclosed” as being “made public” which is different than unmasking, or (c) Rice was following proper security practice in not confirming information that is still technically secret.
      The answer you choose is dependent on your politics.
      Regardless, she said nothing about unmasking or whether she had ever done it before.
      ===
      I use a spreadsheet to keep track of short lists too. Especially if it is something of great importance. There is no reason to think it is a large list just because it is a list worth recording.
      ===
      Russia and “not one shred of evidence”.
      Well there is more evidence of unusual and mysterious and suspicious ties between Trump campaign in Russia than there ever was of nefarious activity by Hillary regarding Benghazi or e-mails. And we haven’t even gotten to hear Flynn’s testimony yet. See http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/exhaustive-history-donald-trump-russia-scandal-timeline
      ===
      “Hacking narrative not working”
      If you mean that you personally are not convinced about Russia hacking when all of the professional non-partisan US Intelligence agencies say it happened … then why is that?. What do you mean not working? Not convincing? Not achieving some end? Is it a narrative, a fairy-tale story to cause some effect, or is it instead the reveal of foreign interference in our nation, of which we should all be very concerned?
      ===
      “A sarin gas attack(that is completely illogical and extremely non-strategic from Syria’s POV).”
      Nothing in Syria has been strategic, except in the sense the Assad govt will go to any length to destroy their own people to destroy enemies. This attack is stupidly consistent with all their past attacks. Only they have the chemical weapons. Who else would have done it?
      ===
      “for whatever reason, some unknown entity REALLY wants us to go to war with Russia”
      Doubtful. But Syria and Russia are testing limits, just as they do with their spy planes and ships, and now chemical weapons.
      ===

      • Peter says:

        It’s interesting watching Steven H defend his party and ideology to no end. They are simply never wrong. No smoke ever means fire. D-man’s post strikes alot of truth. Not all of agrees with the “Democrats are great, Republicans suck” BBS, but it all makes sense

        • Steven H says:

          With all due respect to D man, his facts are wrong, his logic is weak, and his post leans to conspiracy theorist. How is that striking anywhere close to truth?

          • Peter says:

            Lol…..his narrative is as valid and easy to support as the one you and CNN subscribe to.

          • Steven H says:

            His facts are wrong, his logic is weak, and the story leans to conspiracy theory. None of that is globally or even typically true for CNN.

        • Steven H says:

          Don’t put words in my mouth, Peter. It’s rude. My agenda here, is factual information. And there is no factual information indicating Susan Rice is guilty of a crime for doing her job. Nor that there is a vast conspiracy to incite a US-Russia war. Why is it that conspiracy strikes you as truth, but truth strikes you as a liberal agenda?

          • Peter says:

            You have used non factual information to connect Trump to Russia….. 95% of the crap we are talking about is speculation. We KNOW nothing.

          • Steven H says:

            Flynn talking to Russia and undermining Obama sanctions, Trumps people pushing GOP platform to ease language against Russia, a downright peculiar number of members of Trumps team with significant financial and political and personal ties to Russia, multiple members of his team who have either lied about, or conveniently forgotten about being paid by Russia or having spoken to Russian officials, … all of this is known. None of it concerns you?

      • Peter says:

        And this Attack is not consistent with Syria in recent years. Also – why hasn’t the media covered the terrorist attack in St Petersburg?

        • Steven H says:

          2013 chemical attacks are not that long ago. Nobody worldwide, not even pro-russia Trump, is convinced by Russias version of events. Its not my side or my agenda. There are 2 sides to every story, but Russia has a history of deceit that sullies their credibility.

          Why hasnt the media covered the attack in St Petersburg? Where have you been? It was all over the major news outlets 3 days ago when it happened. There is still an article in CNN World section, but 3 days is old news and it is out of the top news,section.

          • Peter says:

            Just because you can find stories doesn’t mean it was “covered”. It has gotten nowhere near the coverage of the attack in Paris for instance. Or Bill OReilly. Or Susan Rice. Or Benghazi.

          • Steven H says:

            It was the top story on cnn 3 days ago with live updates. All of the other stories had Americans involved.

          • Steven H says:

            And I didnt have to look up stories to know that the Russia bombing was covered. I saw it when it was a top story, I saw that they captured the presumed bomber. Story over. How did you miss it, and whyever would it still be a headline?

        • Steven H says:

          Also there are multiple attacks in Syria since 2013 believed to have been chemical attacks by Assad, even after he supposedly had no such weapons. Its not as unusual an act as you think.
          Of course, you and I dont know. But if I have to trust someone when I have incomplete information, Im not leaning toward Putin and Assad.

  • Peter says:

    The Susan Rice story is even more evidence of what we have been talking about. This is the equivalent of watching ABC Weather predicting 80 degree weather and NBC Weather predicting below-zero temperatures and two feet of snow. And the levels to which both sides will go to either “debunk” or try and support suspicion, rumors or accusations is more than just embarrassing – it is frightening. Don Lemon’s speech in particular the other night is horrifying. When did CNN become the Drudge Report?

    • Peter says:

      CNN has really become a rag….and I don’t get it. Another good example….these are the headlines today:

      BIG headline – “A 7-year-old asks why you can’t stop the war (with a picture of a sad, 7 year old Syrian girl)”
      The follow up stories are then:
      “Syrian girl makes a heartbreaking plea after deadly chemical attack”
      “WATCH LIVE UN Security Council meeting on Syria”
      “Russian explanation of Syria chemical attack is rejected”
      “What we know about Syria’s chemical weapons”
      “McCain rips Trump over Syria”

      Think how different this would read if the headlines looked like this:

      BIG headline – “A 7-year-old asks why you can’t stop the war (with a picture of a sad, 7 year old Syrian girl)”
      The follow up stories are then:
      “Syrian girl makes a heartbreaking plea after deadly chemical attack”
      “WATCH LIVE UN Security Council meeting on Syria”
      “UK rejects explanation of attacks by Russia and Assad”
      “What we know about Syria’s chemical weapons”
      “Trump blames Obama administration policies for Syrian attack”

      All of this is true. You start with a sad Syrian kid and graphic images of the devastation, then like a word ladder you connect the whole thing to Trump. Or Obama. Or the Russians. Or whomever you are against. Narrative building … and very subtle.

      • Peter says:

        Actually to be even more truthful, it shouldn’t read “UK rejects…” It should read “chemical weapons expert, Col. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon rejects….” And he has been interviewed by all the left-leaning narrative building news sites. The Russian military commander’s testimony dismissed by a retired British Colonel.

        Again, I’m not saying he isn’t right. Just pointing out how we can use narrative and subtle media tricks to make people think they are dealing with facts. If I were to say, “the Syrian gas attack was due to the fact that they were bombing a rebel site – and inadvertently hit the chemicals”, someone might tell me – “no, that was debunked – Assad gassed his people intentionally”. If I tell another group that Assad gassed his own people, they might tell me “that’s not true, military commanders involved in the conflict said it was collateral damage from a strike on a rebel compound”.

        The truth is quite elusive. But it doesn’t stop the media from trying to define it.

      • Steven H says:

        Too subtle. So subtle as to be meaningless. Stop seeing faces in the wallpaper.

    • Peter says:

      And look at the stupid spat between Lemon and O’Reilly. Two partisan shills accusing the other of selectively picking stories to cover. Difference is that I think most people realize O’Reilly is a right-wing partisan. Do we know that about Lemon? We do now, at least.

      • Stevendad says:

        The Middle East is why I came up with: “if you walk into a sh*tstorm EVERYBODY walks out smelling like sh*t”. The hate is so profound and has gone on for millennia. So many overlapping agendas and claims/ counterclaims…. no easy answers here. So I go back to our best answer is ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, so that our interests are solely political and humanitarian and NOT economic in the ME.

        • Stevendad says:

          CNN is pandering to an audience that only seeks confirmation and not truth. And ratings are up! If we could only have a good ol war! (Their thinking in my suspicious mind and not mine…)

      • Stevendad says:

        Oreilly identifies himself as an opinion pundit, Lemon does not. This is a very important distinction.

        • Peter says:

          Exactly my point. Very true. Wouldn’t have the issue if this was between OReilly and Maddow for instance.

          • Stevendad says:

            Agree Maddow states she is about opinion and tries to back up with her view of the facts. All fine with me.

    • Steven H says:

      Fox leads online site with Susan Rice earlier today (CRIMINAL ACTS?), and then listed about 10 “related” hack job articles and opinion pieces against her. All Actual News sites indicate that implications of criminality have no basis. And you see this as evidence of bias by Actual News?
      ===
      Fox: [Fox News reported Monday that Rice asked for Trump associates to be identified – or “unmasked”].
      What actually happened is that Rice asked for the unnamed persons incidentally caught up in contacts with foreigners to be unmasked … and they happened to be Trump campaign officials. Fox also indicates in a video that Rice should testify under oath about the unmasking and leaking of Trump officials’ identities … implying without evidence that she leaked the information and made it public. Unmasking, or identifying names of persons in legal surveillance in a classified context to appropriate govt personnel, is legal and normal. Leaking is something else. Trump and Fox and right-wing media are attempting to deflect from Trump by once again hyping completely unfounded accusations against a favorite Democrat punching bag. And of course she is especially suspicious because Republicans have lobbied unfounded and unproved accusations at her before. And if you lobby enough unfounded and unproved accusations against someone they become guilty, right?

  • Peter says:

    More nonsense narrative building on CNN.

    “Panel Explodes over Spicer’s comment”. Who cares what the CNN panel exploded to? To use Steven H’s sports analogy, it would be like going to ESPN’s front page and instead of scores and highlights, it says “Steven A Smith thinks LeBron James is overrated!” Who freaking cares…. but it builds more narrative to those that don’t like Trump….they have a community of people “exploding” with them.

    The Bill O’Reilly story is another non story. First of all, WHO CARES what Bill O’Reilly says? And in this case he made a joke about a congresswoman’s hair. Somehow this is racist and sexist (she is black). Good thing nobody makes fun of the POTUS appearance and hair. That would be sure to cause similar outrage. 🙂

    • Peter says:

      I thought of a good way to put this for Steven H. It is not news to report what politically motivated pundits say or how they reacted to events. It is not news to report “twitter outrage” either. Both are represented as the American people at large. Neither represents even a majority – and that disconnect is a big part of the reason for the Trump victory.

      Reporters digging for the truth is one thing. But when the stories are about the reporters/pundits/entertainers themselves (like O’Reilly) or when they loosely say “Outrage over latest health care bill” and then they quote random twitter people complaining – they send a dangerously fictitious message.

      Sadly, the majority of our “news” is this. And CNN is the worst offender of late because they don’t acknowledge this narrative bias.

      • Stevendad says:

        CNN acts likes they are a news network while being a political instrument. Just change your name to CIN Cable Ideology Network. Yes parts of Fox are ideological, but parts are not. And Hannity, OReilly straightforwardly label themselves as pundits unlike Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper who say they are newsmen. Nothing wrong with punditry, just label yourself as such.

        • Peter says:

          Agreed. Although I find most of Fox and MSNBC to be ideological too…. But agree on Cooper and Lemon. It’s shameful and hard to watch.

          • Peter says:

            A greater problem to ponder….you and I both are complaining that Lemon and Cooper act like newsmen but create narratives and are clearly ideological. We all certainly know what “side” they lean towards as well. Are there equivalents on the right? Straightforward newspeople who are have a right-wing agenda? Seems like this is a quality that the left leads the way in.

          • Peter says:

            To piggyback on this (as I know Steven H will take exception to what I said before) – In my opinion, this left-leaning mass media disguised as news creates a false impression that “everyone” thinks like the left. It is in fact what we see on TV every day (just the acceptance, integration and outright celebration of the homosexual community is a good example).

            While I tend to agree with the majority of the liberal agenda myself, I don’t like being tricked or brainwashed. And this creates a false impression of society – the election certainly showed us that not everyone is on the same page. People are much more complex than that – and if you create a mass-media narrative that doesn’t agree with what they believe, they are going to reject it and see through it. For better or worse, that is the rocket fuel that drives the Trump movement.

        • Steven H says:

          90% of Fox is ideological. A few facts slip in.

          • Peter says:

            This comment is the problem. Sure Fox is ideological – but at least overtly so. CNN isn’t representing themselves that way, but report in a similar ideological way. I have more of a problem with someone trying to trick the public than blatantly stating who they are and acting accordingly.
            ___
            And “facts” aren’t the issue. It is a fact for instance that there was a terrorist attack in St Petersburg. All these partisan slanted “scandals” have multiple facts and characteristics. Both sides report what helps their story. At least Fox admits to it most of the time.

          • Steven H says:

            Why is a known liar (Fox, Trump)somehow more respectable than media with dubious and mostly unintended bias? I really don’t get it. And name me one time when Fox has admitted their ideological bias.

      • Steven H says:

        Despite the rhetoric that paints them as liberal, NPR has some of the most balanced reporting and interviews. When conservatives or being interviewed, they always seem to get a respectful and balanced set of questions.

    • Steven H says:

      How much of your complaint is just confirmation bias? You expect CNN to be biased so you focus on each story that confirms it in your mind. There are a lot of crap and fluff stories on all sites. I just dont read them.

      The bit about CNN ‘not reporting’ on Comer saying that votes were not hacked is great example. Peter says it was not reported but it was, in a story ‘ 9 things we learned…’ And as I said, it was not headlined because it was old news.

      If you think liberals are just obsessing that Russia caused Trumps election, you might think it important to tell liberals otherwise. But most liberals are way past that point. Trump won the election legally, by the thin margin of a dozen circumstances. But it is still important to know if our elected officials were or are colluding with foreign governments. Indepentent of obsolete news that votes were not hacked.

      So Peter in this case, thinks CNN was failing to be objective, when it instead appears that Peter was failing to be objective.

    • Steven H says:

      Assessing an individual news source as liberal or conservative is so subjective as to almost be impossible. You can sort news sources by their relative political position, but even that is tricky. There are social and economic spectrums of left and right and subtopics of each. But assuming you could sort everybody from left to right, who is to say where the center lies? Peter would place it differently than I. Half of the country thinks they are the center but it is not the same center. Most people think they are the center of the political universe and everything is liberal or conservative relative to where they are.

      • Peter says:

        I am hardly stupid enough to call a website or media source partisan because of one simple article. I didn’t draw this conclusion quite that stupidly. Just one example of an obvious ongoing narrative.

        • Stevendad says:

          Come on SH / BD. The bias is overwhelming. Fox vs everyone else on TV. And nearly all talk radio is right leaning or completely to the right. Of course much broader and varied on the net, but most Silicon Valley company sites are very Left leaning (i.e. Facebook, Apple…).
          I’m just not aware of anyone that is real balanced, though folks like Chris Wallace seem to grill both sides equally. His debate mediation was the only one that was not extremely biased. I try to watch all, but CNN is almost unwatchable due to bias. For example, in the Trump press conference, he said “some of you will think (the greatest thing I could do to that ship that’s 30 miles offshore right out of the water.) Everyone will say “it’s so great, it’s so great. That’s not great.” The parentheses was placed because the part inside the parentheses because that is all that CNN quoted to a congressman from Massachusetts. He of course said that Trump is trying to start World War III. Clearly it was a complete lie because it was taken completely out of context, generating the OPPOSITE meaning. But some out there BELIEVE that lie. Pitiful “journalism”. Ratings are up, however. Of course that’s all that really matters.

          • Steven H says:

            “{some of you will think} [(The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles offshore right out of the water.) Everyone will say, “Oh, it’s so great, it’s so great. That’s not great.”]

            So I found the list of “Memorable lines”, a list of abbreviated Trump quotes published on Feb 16, 2017, by CNN, the day of Trump’s infamous crazy press conference. And above, denoted in braces {}, brackets [], and parentheses () are various portions. The actual quote from the article is in brackets []. The part that stevendad claims was the entirety quoted in the article is in (). And that part in braces {}? That’s the part that Trump did not say but that stevendad claimed he said, and that was part of what CNN supposedly left out.
            ===
            Full quote with context:
            “Hillary Clinton – that was the reset, remember it said reset? Now if I do that, oh, I’m a bad guy. If we could get along with Russia, that’s a positive thing. We have a very talented man, Rex Tillerson, who’s going to be meeting with them shortly and I told him. I said “I know politically it’s probably not good for me.” The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles off shore right out of the water.
            Everyone in this country’s going to say “oh, it’s so great.” That’s not great. That’s not great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia.
            ===
            Now with full context, Trump’s words take on a slightly different meaning. Granted. But come on. If you are going to complain about CNN cutting off quotes, don’t fall guilty to your own complaint by cutting off what CNN actually quoted and don’t make up stuff that was never said.
            ===
            So the most egregious examples of CNN bias that you and Peter have come up with are saying that CNN did not cover Comey saying that votes were not hacked, when it was indeed covered, and a complaint that CNN, in an article of abbreviated quotes, cut off some context that they actually included.
            ===
            You just proved my point. This is how confirmation bias works guys. You see what you want to see or expect to see rather than what is actually there.
            ===
            Now don’t run off and get me a big list of other examples. I’m sure some reporters at CNN are biased. I’m sure you can find legitimate examples and I’m sure they light up your eyes like a spotlight in the dark. And I’m sure you ignore a whole lot of accurate reporting you disagree with or see that as biased too. But don’t be so quick to assume the biases you find are part of a big liberal control scheme. Big city reporters have big city perspectives, and sometimes that comes across as if it is an intentional bias. Sometimes there can be intentional bias. But you NEED to recognize and confess your own biases before railing against others. Pots and kettles. You know the saying.

          • Steven H says:

            Now, stevendad, you said something about CNN quoting Trump to a Congressman from Massachusetts. So that sounds like possibly a different article. I can’t actually find it.
            And it sounds like the reporter must have been quoting Trump to get a reaction. In that context, I don’t actually like incomplete quotes and it sounds a bit dishonest. But until I see the article I can’t assess it fully. And on the other hand, any Congressman should have watched that news conference and known the context. So I still don’t see a huge CNN bias example here. Just a reporter trying to get a reaction.

          • Peter says:

            The difference is that I see the same mix of good reporting and biased crap on CNN as I do on Fox. You don’t. And Fox (and MSNBC for that matter) make no bones about what they are. CNN is pretending to be unbiased news. It is dangerous and it has gotten WAY worse since the election. And I’m not a conservative or liberal….. and I am not exactly the only person noticing this. Quit defending your home team for a minute and open your freaking eyes…

          • Steven H says:

            CNN is centrally between MSNBC and Fox. True center is subjective and MOST of CNN stories are pretty centrist and reflect median of American perspective.

        • Steven H says:

          Of course not. But still the Comey example so outstanding to you to prove your point instead contradicts it. Im just pointing out that the obvious liberal narrative from your perspective is a centrist narrative to others.

          • Steven H says:

            Last reply was to Peter.

          • Peter says:

            Silly counter argument. Reply to Stevendads post. Look….be liberal all you want, but don’t take us for fools. We know you don’t think CNN is unbiased, now do you?

          • Steven H says:

            Not silly at all. You claimed CNN was biased for leaving out information when the accusation was untrue. Admit your mistake please and dont call me silly for pointing it out.

            Second, lets be clear on definitions. There is reporting bias and editorial bias. Reporting bias has to do with whether articles fairly report a story. Editorial bias has to do with which stories are run. I think CNN generally is unbiased in reporting, and ic in the center relative to fox or msnbc. Editorial bias is much more subjective, and while CNN is toward the center, I will never convince you because it is to the left of where you sit.

          • Peter says:

            I understand the difference and suppose I will have to continue to point out example after example if I was going to demonstrate this. CNN is biased on both editorial and reporting levels as well as with their primary “newsmen” who continue to frame stories that fit their more liberal narrative. Sure, there is some confirmation bias here but at the same time, when an event happens that I want to hear about I can count on CNN for a story that is in the liberal narrative, but not on one that isn’t.

        • Peter says:

          Funny thing is – my conservative friends all think Fox is neutral … the only unbiased source for news. I know you don’t agree with that. When you are biased yourself, you can’t see it.

          I have an actual track record of neutrality. I have voted equally for Democrats, Republicans and third party candidates over my lifetime. That’s how come I can see it and you cannot.

          But the point is not for CNN to be more neutral. The point is that it is dangerous when we continue to position things as news when they are simply biased narrative building. They were obscenely biased during the election for instance. It was almost unwatchable and even worse than what Fox usually does (mainly because Fox didn’t love their candidate)

          • Stevendad says:

            BD/ Peter. You must admit that my example showed severe bias. I witnessed both on TV. Ridiculous. Just identify yourself as a pundit and separate from news. Fox, to their credit, does this with a separate segment for news vs opinion during the day.

          • Stevendad says:

            BTW does anyone but CNN really want WWIII or the second American Civil War? Not me. It seems to me they think it would help ratings. This is truly the beginning of the 4th turning. Look up Neil Howe and read his book if you need to know more about our future.

  • Steven H says:

    OK, I really don’t believe that because you can’t be certain of one thing, so you can’t be certain of anything. And I won’t be convinced that our government or any government or any group of humans can truly keep big secrets forever.

    Do I know that man landed on the moon? Absolutely! Was I there? How do I know that it wasn’t a big Hollywood sham to fool Russia? Because nobody keeps that good a secret. Nobody. The science was real, the developments of rocket science is real, the stories are all real, and every last bit of it fits. Nobody NOBODY makes up that good a story and gets tens or hundreds of thousands of people to participate and keep the secret. Can’t happen. It’s beyond any reasonable probability.

    We can see patterns. And from the patterns we learn truths which we attempt to assemble into larger truths. There are good people and bad people. Selfless saints and heartless bullies. There are honest altruistic people and self-serving cynics who believe in no one but themselves. And there are all the flavors of humanity in-between the extremes, including those who struggle to choose which extreme destiny to pursue and those who have changed direction mid-path and those who are just struggling as best they can to get to the next day and the next meal.

    We have all seen it. We all can tell a little bit about each of these people and yet never wholly know their hearts.

    Of these things, I am pretty sure. Regarding Benghazi: There did exist a video that caused riots at embassies around the world. It’s well documented and it’s existence was thoroughly reported on before the Benghazi attack. There was also some kind of planned attack at Benghazi that was probably independent of the video, or at least not a spontaneous uprising prompted by it. There was something odd going on at the compound outside of Benghazi and it was being kept secret. Maybe it involved smuggling weapons to anti-Assad forces, as some allege, or maybe it was something else. Whatever it was was probably something Republicans with clearance were aware of and that most Republicans would approve of, except that Democrats were responsible. This I’m pretty certain of: Everything possible was done to save the lives of Americans. There was no stand-down order, at least not in the sense that has been alleged, not in the sense that lives could have been saved without putting even more at greater risk. There was no live drone feed being watched by Hillary and Obama. If there was a cover-up, it was to hide military and intelligence secrets, not nefarious or unpatriotic behavior of Obama or Hillary. There were mistakes made in defending the compound, including security funding cuts traced to Republicans, but nothing worth all of the persecution GOP used against Hillary or all of the slanderous stories spread around. There were a lot of Benghazi lies put forth to politically tear down Hillary, and they had very little substance. Just political attacks. We’ve seen it before and will see it again.

    I’m really really sure of this, regarding Pizzagate: Stupid nonsense. I’m not going to say that every single person working in the Obama administration was above breaking a law or even doing something horrendously awful. I am saying it is stupid nonsense to think that Democratic or Republican leaders would pull such crap as a child molestation ring. Affairs, dalliances, hookers, sure. Buying and selling children? Nope. Didn’t happen. You want to think you live in such a world? Go ahead. That’s your hell, not mine.

    On lesser truths. I’m really sure that power and money corrupt and that bullies never recognize they are bullies. They just think they are competitive. They just think they are winners and others are losers. They think everybody else isn’t trying hard enough. And if they see somebody else trying hard enough, they might help them, or trip them up. Depends on the bully. They will help some people catch up. But they always have contempt for some class of losers. And often they have the most contempt for the loser they hide within themselves, the one they are running from, the one they keep hidden.

    I’m also pretty certain there exist a class of lazy people, people who slide through life taking advantage of others, expecting life and society to take care of them, refusing to earn their way. Sometimes these are the poor people begging on the street. Sometimes these are the rich people being begged from. Sometimes they are the same people as the bullies.

    And there are many many good people trying to get by, trying to live a good life, trying to raise their children, take care of their parents, earn a worthy living, learn a bit of profitable skill, learn to enjoy music and art or maybe even make just a bit of it, trying to learn about themselves. These are the vast majority and far outnumber the profoundly bully-ish or lazy. But they also strive, or they should strive, to avoid easing accidentally into those extremes.

    And finally, I firmly believe this, and even know it with all my mind and heart: that we have choices each day to improve the world we are in. And among those choices, we can choose to look upon those in the majority who struggle to live their ordinary lives and we can assess how best to help them; to give them a helping hand and prevent their fall backward, or to leave them to struggle on their own, that they may learn the strength of independence. Usually it is best to provide a balance of both. But if I were to very often fail in selecting the proper balance, I would much prefer to choose too much of the former than the latter. Because, if you give too much, you will most likely be forgiven. If you give too little, you risk becoming a bully and never even really understanding that is what you are.

    • Peter says:

      Your response to Pizzagate is an example though of what I’m talking about (and don’t get me wrong – I’m right there with you)….. I “don’t want to believe” that was the case either. This is the same mental path people go down to believe in God or religion. They can’t prove there is a god, they just don’t want to believe that there isn’t. We all have these “pulls” inside our minds, but that doesn’t mean we know for certain. These are still beliefs.

      And a lot of what you dismissed were details that could easily be true (like an erroneous stand down in Benghazi). I generally agree that the larger, greater conspiracies like faking a moon landing or attacking ourselves on 9-11 are quite ridiculous – must like I agree that a space deity that can read everyone’s minds on earth is a bit far fetched. But at the end of the day they are still beliefs and it would be inappropriate for me to be shaming and disrespectful of someone who believes otherwise.

        • Peter says:

          Uh…I agree with you. But it is still a belief that these kinds of things don’t exist. My point earlier was that if they did exist – on any level – we would NEVER hear about it. We do know these facts:

          Child sex trafficking is happening.
          If it is, it is likely happening with some level of underground organization.
          If powerful or wealthy people were involved, it could easily be covered up and we would never know of their involvement.

          That said, I do not believe this was all operated out of a pizza restaurant, nor do I want to believe that any big shot from either party would participate. But that last sentence is not fact, it is a belief. And confirmation bias plays a huge role here. No matter what your political leaning we certainly don’t want to believe that a Bush, Clinton, Trump, Obama, or whomever would be involved in ANY way in something so awful. So… I agree. But no amount of articles are going to do anything to change my belief to FACT.

        • Steven H says:

          There are infinite possibilities of things that might be true. I do not have the energy or desire to grant credibility to everything that i cannot DISprove. The onus is on the accuser or the purveyor of peculiar stories to make their case. I am an advocate of innocent until proven guilty. Also, untrue until proven true.
          There is such a thing as circumstantial evidence that can serve as clues and assign some credibilty to a story. But if the clues are followed diligently and the story cannot be proved, it is reasonable, and perhaps even necessarry to consider the story false.
          I believe pizzagate is false for these reasons. I believe the nefarious Benghazi claims are false. I believe that no crime was committed by Mrs. Clinton regarding email servers and classified info. I believe there was no significant hacking of votes nor massive voter fraud thst would have resulted in a significantly different electoral or popular vote margin. I believe that no phone survellance occurred targeting Trump or Trump tower. All of these situations have one thing in common. They have all been investigated and the clues either do not exist or do not lead to a path that proves the assertions true. Therefore, i must consider them false.
          ===
          I left out one news item. The TrumpRussia connection has many many clues still being pursued. No assertion can yet be proven true or false regarding that connection because it is still being investigated by the FBI and also clumsily and in a biased irresponsible fashion by the GOP.
          ===
          So it is useless to me to discuss things that might be true because they have not been proven false. I might be emperor of the universe. You might bedescended directly from Christ. The world may have been created twn minutes ago in its entirety, with all of our memories and all of the transient lightwaves seeming to come from distant stars and all of the notes in this forum placed by the capricious Creator. Bit until somebody proves any of those things are true, they are false.

          • Peter says:

            So for the record you believe none of the accusations against the Democratic candidate but believe the primary one levied against the Republican. Color me surprised! 🙂

          • Steven H says:

            Thats not what i said, is it? I believe that unproved accusations at the end of the investigations are false. I believe that investigations in progress are as yet uncertain. Completely non partisan. You however have indicated unproved accusations might still be true or are probably true even after thorough investigation fails to reach such conclusion. And you think investigations with mounting evidence are baseless?

          • Stevendad says:

            Wow! Agreement between us abounds…. 80% of us are busting our butts while 20% are screwing us. I think 18% on the bottom and 2% on the top. Ok maybe 15/5 or 12/8 or 8/12. Regardless, it’s a shame those who benefit take advantage of those who ACTUALLY WORK.

          • Steven H says:

            I would say more like 5% at the bottom and 0.5% at the top. But those at the top ate doing much more damage than those at bottom.

          • Peter says:

            One’s definition of “evidence” is different than someone else’s. Does the pizza place’s menu having a logo that is identical to sex trafficking rings count as evidence? (I don’t think it does by the way) Does an internal investigation saying “nothing to see here” count as evidence?

            And just because something is continuing to be investigated doesn’t mean anything either. I’m sure you would have said that during the Hillary email scandal or Benghazi.

          • Steven H says:

            Depends on who is investigating i suppose. When the official neverending govt and gop investigations ended though, it surely seems like we should stop beating the dead horse of Benghazi. Congress is investigating TrumpRussia, so that is ongoing, and there are a lot of legitimate questions to be answered, with interest from both parties and the American electprate at large. Should be investigayed by an idependent prosecutor, not a Trump insider IMHO. FBI came to conclusion on Hillary email. Twice. With nothing prosecutable. Pizzagate accusations and pictures have alot of false and/or specious “evidence”. Police found nothing worth pursuing. Closed case as far as I can yell.

          • Peter says:

            One could argue that we are likely going to beat the Trump/Russia thing like a dead horse too. Just like Hillary, there is a lot of smoke. And when a powerful candidate from one party has a lot of smoke, the other party will go on and on and on for years looking for fire.

        • Peter says:

          And I’m not being dismissive of your opinions (that all that Hillary was ever accused of was untrue, and that Trump was dealing with the Russians). I don’t agree with them all, but all I’m trying to say is that they are opinions – not facts. You are the one that is dismissive of others opinions. And no, a self-investigation of someone with immense power finding them innocent doesn’t exactly count as “proof”.

          • Steven H says:

            How are the repeated onvestigations of Hillary by GOP a self investigation? Or are you referring to the guy from Trumps transition team investigating Trumps campaign and transition team?

          • Steven H says:

            In the end, I suppose you could say, all we ever have is our opinions. What we think. What we presume to be true. But some opinions are ultimately wrong. Some sad starving people think they are too fat and it is desperately false but still it is their stoic opinion. But most would still say their unfortunate belief is not factual. Many “facts” are less provable, but we choose to call them facts, because, I suppose, the probabilities seem so high that the opposite is beyond imagination. Sometimes our ‘facts’ are proved false because the unimaginable becomes undeniable.

            Where am I going with this? Back to probabilities. Not all opinions are equally credible. You can certainly have any opinion you want and I welcome that you grant me mine. But ultimately, when we come here to discuss what is true and false, what IS vs what is NOT, we are trading in probabilities, trusts, likelihoods, credibilities. And philosophies. Not just the transient thoughts and opinions of the moment. We each have a certain faith in the philosophical foundations we have built for ourselves from the opinions that supposedly are built on facts. I am willing to explore outside of that foundation as long as the journey is constrained by certain rules. The following are written as if i am talking to you, but i am talking to myself also.
            ===
            Do not cling to slim possibilities, or even so-called tenets of “common knowledge” that have been thoroughly investigated yet remain unproved. Even if they are popular. Even if all your friends think so. Even if it fits with your philosophy. Demand that the things you believe to be true (or most likely true) are established by some credible source and a foundation of interwoven fact. And assess credibility by the thoroughness of logic and the precision of information. Highly biased sources are suspicious, but not necessarily false. Be willing to listen to a biased opinion if the foundations are secure in fact and logic. Keep the facts and logic and discard the opinion.
            ===
            I know you think I am hopelessly mired in some flawed thought process, some fantasy of missplaced logic fed by controlling overseers. Or maybe you don’t, because if you really thought that, I don’t think we would be having this conversation. I think you and I and Stevendad have built different foundations, and somewhere, somehow, there is a bridge across the divide at the center of which we can understand each other a bit better. It’s really hard to find that bridge though, isn’t it? Your foundation is built upon the principles of freedom and choices and ownership and individual responsibility and unlimited possibilities of personal achievement. My foundation is built upon the principles of liberty and friends and families and shared resources and civic responsibilities and the boundless possibilities of community progress. Both sound good but they emphasize different paths. I am more prone to think that individual achievement should be readily limited for community progress. You would probably think that is either unnecessary or plain wrong.
            ===
            I don’t ever intend to impugn your opinions. But I do think there are credible statements so thoroughly researched, so widely upheld, that they ought to be considered facts. And I will keep standing up for them. And I will keep rejecting the unfounded accusations of political convenience. For as some wag has said, we are each entitled to our opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts.

    • Peter says:

      Also, I totally agree with the whole last part of your post about giving when you have plenty and practicing kindness and empathy. I’m not sure how that all relates, but I completely agree.

      And nobody is doubting that there were screw-ups in Benghazi and that “these things happen” in the act of war/terrorism/intelligence. The greater problem though is that someone who is a power-monger like Hillary (and if it had been a Republican like Dick Cheney it would have been no different) is able to – and desires to – cover up things and lie to protect their own a** at the expense of integrity and the safety of the American people. Politicians do this all the time and it is to our detriment as a society. And not just Hillary…. although she has multiple cases of doing this over her career which makes it worse in my mind.

      • Steven H says:

        Kindness and empathy – just waxing philosophical.
        Hillary – and has anyone ever proved any of threally nasty assertions against her? Which ones? And if they are all unproved, is she not to be consideted innocent? Why not?

        • Steven H says:

          If you make up 100 lies against someone, prove none of them, base them on loose circumstantial clues that lead nowhere, and another observer determines each lie has about 1% probability of being true based on evidence, does that make the accused 10p% guilty of one of the assertions?

  • Peter .... says:

    Think my favorite biased media angle is articles that try to make the President (or Congress) look like they aren’t working. The right was all over Obama for “vacation days” and now the left is doing it to Trump. I guess it started with OJ but somehow playing golf is the most offensive way to tell the public you don’t give a crap. The media just doesn’t ever let up with this nonsense.

    • Peter says:

      AND….. headlines at the moment:

      CNN – Trump stock market rally in Jeopardy. Interesting considering that the market is down 0.2% for the day. (5o points on the Dow)

      • Stevendad says:

        This is what I call ratchet news. Move your agenda forward but ignoring what doesn’t fit with your beliefs and emphasizing what does. It’s a not that subtle form of lying.

        • Peter says:

          And now the market is up today (albeit slightly) so the headline is this (right at the top of their page)….

          “Dow at risk of longest losing streak since 1978”

          If the Dow were to be down today (which it isn’t), it would be 9 days in a row where the market dropped. Of course, this is a TOTAL decline of only 480 points – or 2% – which often happens in a day. This is completely insignificant news, and even with the Dow up 80 points as of noon EST, they still have this story as the lead.

          This may seem like no big deal to you Steven H, but it is part of the brainwashing, narrative-creating that our so-called “mainstream” media is doing. It’s one thing for this to be on Fox News or MSNBC. But CNN is trying to portray themselves as NEWS, not opinion. Very, very subtle. Not as overt as the ignorance of the Maryland rape story the POTUS has referenced, but effective and subtle.

          • Peter says:

            I meant to add – the point of the “fake news” story on CNN is that a 9 day losing streak would be the worst consecutive day streak since 1978. Boy that gives the impression something horrible is happening, doesn’t it?

          • Stevendad says:

            I’ve always viewed market drops as “stocks on sale”. If we really did have a catastrophic drop in the stock market we may need gold / canned food/ bullets more than money. Yes it’s a casino, but one where the house spread is -11% (so you’re + 11%) over time.

          • Peter says:

            Oh and now we are 10 minutes from the market closing with the dow up 158 points and the headline is STILL front and center on CNN’s website. They only have 10 more minutes to spin this non-story into an anti-Trump message!

          • Steven H says:

            Mountains out of molehills, Peter, Both CNNs story and your complaints against it. It’s like sports scores. Like those who obsess over most bases stolen in a season, or most yards gained or lost in a quarter, most fumbles in the last 10 minutes of a 4th quarter, most dribbles per distance traveled, and all such nonsense. Longest successive streak of down days. Yawn. Most people don’t really care. It’s just an economic sports statistic for the fans who like that sort of thing. Just means there wasn’t a new Russia revelation today.Don’t let it rile you.

          • Peter says:

            Completely disagree. This is a smaller, easier to see example. These “micro” examples happen every day on all the major news outlets and subtly form the minds of the readers. You can see it plainly on Fox News, I’m sure. (If not, watch Fox for about an hour today and see what you think) I’m just trying to open your eyes to the rest of the media doing the same thing. Between the government and the media, we are being brainwashed into believing narratives. So much so that people start calling the narratives “facts” and opposing narratives “alternative facts or falsehoods”.

    • Steven H says:

      The golf thing relates to hypocrisy. Trump was the most vocal attacker of Obama about golf, and claimed he would play less golf and only to meet with world leaders. He instead plays MUCH more golf than Obama and wont say who he is with. Additionally, his visits to his Maralago resort are costing federal AND local taxpayers a fortune in security, and damaging the economy of many businesses with the disruptions. This is not just a left/right thing. It is an arrogance and hypocrisy of the self centered and self righteous thing.

      • Peter says:

        Same thing different party. But another thing used to spin a narrative. I remember Fox going crazy about how much taxpayer money was wasted when Michelle and Barack went out to dinner. Or Obama’s publicity stunt where he went to Five Guys. (I remember that one first hand – roads were blocked, security was there the day before securing the area, etc.) It’s all nonsense.

  • Stevendad says:

    Just a brief comment: I learned in med school that believing is seeing (the opposite of the saying) based on several animal models. At that time I was skeptical, now it seems more reasonable than ever.
    It would seem so amateurish and SO boring to discard all you disagree with. Who learns from that?
    I appreciate we’ve all tried to focus on source data so much in our arguments on this humble thread.
    Let’s ask David to start a new website, maybe Middle Voice or something like that that tries to take in, analyze and balance both sides of arguments. BD point / myself and Peter counterpoint. We at least seem to keep things civil MOST of the time. If people learned nothing else at least they may learn a bit of civility, even if you disagree. People I talk to every day would value that and it seems incredibly absent in journalism. Ok, maybe not…
    The far Right and far Left have unprovable positions based on faith, be it religious arguments or “social norms” to quote Schumer. I think the fundamental absence of provable facts for so much of it on either side is what leads to the insults / riots and shouting down. Maybe if we could work on some of the common goals and drop some of the naked politicization of EVERYTHING….
    But I guess my hopeless optimism is showing up again.

    • Steven H says:

      Stevendad, Please explain what you mean by:
      I learned in med school that believing is seeing (the opposite of the saying) based on several animal models.

      It sounds interesting but I dont get how animal models relate to the saying.

      • Stevendad says:

        Animals actually interpreted their perceptive inputs to what they had previously learned. Sort of like we changed a square peg to round because it fit our preconceived round holes. Does that help any? That was almost 40 years ago so I would have to research more….

      • Steven H says:

        Yes that helps. My quick google did not uncover that precise research, but I did find some other interesting related articles. Here is one of them:
        http://www.cebm.net/seeing-is-believing-or-is-it/
        ===
        It basically notes that observational studies are unreliable. Why? Presumably because people see what they expect to see. Just as you noted. If people primarily see what they already believe, observational studies without strict scientific control will certainly be unreliable.
        ===
        I have heard of other such studies and ideas, like the idea of “relevance”. If you buy a new car, say a PT Cruiser, as I did a decade back or so, suddenly you notice a whole plethora of PT Cruisers on the road. I once read another article about how optimists reading through a newspaper noticed different information than pessimists did. Another related concept is “bias confirmation”. Basically, if you have a preconceived notion, you notice and retain information that confirms that notion, and you ignore or reject information that denies that notion. And this is not necessarily conscious. You just don’t SEE it. So, as you noted, believing is seeing. You only SEE what you already BELIEVE. Or stated more subtly, what you believe FILTERS what you see as you store it into your consciousness.
        ===
        If our minds are such unreliable observers and recorders of reality, then how do we ever hope to perceive truth? Peter indicated in an earlier post that we cannot, at least not in the political realm. We are always dependent on someone else telling us what is going on. And there is some truth in this. If observers such as reporters are inherently unreliable, and we are dependent on these third party observers, and then we further filter information by SELECTING which third party observers we read or listen to, how can we get at truth?
        ===
        Well first of all, I am going to stubbornly reject the notion that we CANNOT discern truth, but I must ACCEPT the notion that truth is DIFFICULT to discern. This is why it is so important to seek out multiple sources and to learn to distrust sources that speak with crystalline certainty, and to trust sources that confess to some skepticism. As you say, Stevendad, we must never reject information only because it conflicts with our preconceived beliefs.
        ===
        Life is a summation of probabilities. Even if we can never be certain of any truth in an absolute sense, we can at least assess what is probably true. And, because the human brain, as flawed as it may be in perception and retention, is a fantastic pattern recognizer and logical computer, we can at least attempt to recognize the patterns of our life and of the world to determine how we should live and behave and treat each other. We just have to be open to all ideas, to be prepared to hear and critique and possibly even accept the contradictory ideas of others, to use as large a dataset of observations as possible, and to always be prepared to question the observations from our own singular window on the world.
        ===
        So, yes, I agree with you Stevendad, that Believing is Seeing, and thus we must question and even be prepared to reject our own personal observations if we are to hope to ever find Truth.

        • Stevendad says:

          And again, rely on source data when possible. And some things just aren’t provable. To wit: I saw a Quora question about why Repubs hate Obamacare. What followed was a one sided tirade about Rebups hate people, esp poor people and Obama and Dems and… you get the picture. No balance. I went into great detail about my feelings re: health care, but I certainly see both sides. Dems (in general) believe all should have health care at a cost to the person that is reasonable or even free. Borrowing to pay for it or taxing the rich are perfectly reasonable ways to pay for care for someone who exists and therefore deserves. They feel the Feds should be the major player in this. Repubs believe that health care should be more locally decided, as close to revenue neutral as practicable and there are downsides to developing codepencies, even for the recipient. And no, they do not want to pay more taxes. Generally no one does. My point is neither side can PROVE they are right in their baseline assumptions. They can fall back on the Bible, their hearts, ethicists, etc, but no clear cut data set. My view is we have universal healthcare in the least efficient method possible (ER access point) and that’s not going away so we might as well try to find more efficient systems. No judgement, no speculation, no politicization, just facts in my view. So it will never even be heard.

          • Peter .... says:

            This is all excellent and why I responded that Steven H’s reply to me was “narrative”. There were plenty of things listed as facts that aren’t known. Facts are known to exist. It is a fact that cars exist. It is a fact that the sun comes up every day. Everything else is a belief. And beliefs can be debated – that’s fine. Beliefs are legitimate. Not as legitimate as facts, but still should not be treated dismissively initially. All this holier-than-thou “alternative facts” crap is partisan nonsense. 98% of what we read is “alternative facts” or “opinions” or “spin” or …. beliefs. Particularly when it comes to the government. They don’t tell us a lot of things – and they (by nature) lie to the people. This isn’t always nefarious. For instance, none of us have a clue about what happened in Benghazi for real. Or with 9-11. Or with the Saudis. Or with Osama Bin Laden. The very nature of clandestine intelligence is to be secretive and create a narrative for the public to both keep the peace and protect our nation’s security. Unfortunately, politics play a huge role in this as well – and that’s what scares me the most.

            For instance. I’m not sure I believe in all the details of Pizzagate (although there is definitely some sort of sex trafficking ring involving big shots that is out there)….but let’s say for fun that this did exist. Do we REALLY think that if a bunch of higher-up government officials from both parties were involved in a cover-up of this magnitude that it would EVER get out? All the “commissions” in the world and rogue reporters would never uncover this. They would be silenced in ways we don’t even want to imagine. So don’t kid yourself thinking you know the truth just because Fox News says so or mainstream media says so.

          • Steven H says:

            I disagree. Investigative reporters uncover govt or elite malfeasance all the time. That is why reporters, factcheckers, and the media are supremely important. They are our pipeline to factual information.

        • Peter says:

          Steven H – I completely agree with the emotion behind your post – that you are in search of the trust and do hope that it is out there. You do a lot of reading to find the truth but as you pointed out in your post, this doesn’t necessarily lead you to it because of your own biases.

          Generations ago our media did serve as this “BS meter” to try and call out stories that were spun. Now they do the spinning and in many ways are extended arms of the government. What I have enjoyed on here is learning from people who have no agenda who know about specific issues or industries. (Stevendad’s post about healthcare for example)

          This thread has been very rare as years ago, there were many people on here who seemed to have minds of reason (think one person even called themselves that). I find myself weary as the years go on – as we get so brainwashed by what we read and hear that it becomes confusing to discern reality. I can handle that differentiation when it comes to the financial industry, child-rearing, or other aspects of my life that I experience firsthand. But when it comes to things like the plight of the poor, international relations, credibility of our elected officials, etc. I am frustratingly at a loss in sorting these things out. What I’m looking for is a voice that is not partisan, and without agenda. They are hard to find if not impossible. You certainly won’t find that on the big stage. Just look at how Bill Maher gets skewered for his views on Islam which don’t align with his liberal audience. Or how Stacey Dash, Milo and others (Shepard Smith probably next) get squashed by the right when all of their views don’t line up with their agenda.

          We are all against an oligarchy of ruling elite. And they have a stranglehold on our government. Across the board. This is not partisan.

          • Peter says:

            Should read “in search of the truth”

          • Stevendad says:

            Yes, I like the way you crystallized this point. The media seems to spend a lot of time calling beliefs facts and berating those who disagree with their beliefs as purveyors of lies. For example, Trump said “Obama wire tapped me”. The Left takes this as he literally ordered (or even got a screwdriver out?) a tap on phones. They cannot parse that the Obama administration was involved in signal interception, which is essentially the same thing. So it’s a “lie”.
            Of course the Right pulls the same narrow minded strict parsing of words. It would benefit us all if politicians would get to running the country instead of constantly running for office. It would benefit us all if politicians would get to running the country instead of constantly running for office

          • Steven H says:

            Steven dad, I have to object to your assessment of how the “wiretap” story has played out.
            ===
            Trump made a specific assertion: ‘Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!’ and then ‘Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!’
            ===
            No one thinks he meant that somebody got out a screwdriver attached devices to the wires in Trump Tower. Your statement “[The left] cannot parse that the Obama administration was involved in signal interception, which is essentially the same thing.” is not a fair statement. Of course wiretapping means signal interception, but Trump asserts even more than that. Trump accused Obama of ordering that Trump should be a TARGET of signal interception. Trump’s accusations are serious and specific: (a) Obama ordered phone surveillance of Trump and/or his campaign. (b) The phone surveillance was at Trump Tower. (c) It was accomplished despite being turned down by legal authorities (court). (d) Nothing was learned from the surveillance.
            ===
            Those are 4 specific and discrete assertions. Walking back these hysterical tweets to mean only that “My staff phone conversations may have been inadvertently intercepted in the course of normal intelligence investigations of foreigners” is a bit of a stretch. The point of the outrage from the left and disdain on the right (see: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445929/donald-trump-obama-wiretap-allegation-self-inflicted-political-wound ) is not that anyone is misinterpreting Trump, but that Trump assertions have departed from reality. Again. There is NO evidence put forth by Trump, his surrogates, the left or right-wing media, the intelligence community, or anybody of any credibility that even HINTS that any one of the 4 Trump Wiretap Tweet assertions have any basis in reality. It is not just that evidence has not proved him right or wrong. There is just no evidence.
            ===
            This is just another wild statement by our President that has no basis in fact, and so yes, the media properly calls it a lie. Add it to the list:
            1) Obama was born in Kenya.
            2) Millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary.
            3) Climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese.
            4) Trump’s inauguration crowd was the biggest ever.
            5) Trump got biggest landslide of electoral votes since Reagan.
            6) Obama wiretapped (ordered phone surveillance of) Trump Tower.
            ===
            Have I missed one? I’m pretty sure I missed one. Or five. It’s crazy. Can you name any President who has put forth and PERSISTED in asserting and repeating and insisting on so many baseless statements and/or easily disproved lies?

          • Peter says:

            1. I did not have sexual relations with that woman.
            2. There were probably a few hundred emails on that server and none were classified.
            3. Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.

            There’s a few for you….. Politicians lie for their own agenda. Since when is that new? Why would we trust one party as telling the truth and think the other is lying?

          • Steven H says:

            1) Very deceptive, but attempting to CYA, by limited defining of terms. Wrong, still, I agree.
            2) there is still a good argument that nothing was classified on the server. The few things marked confidential were no longer confidential when sent. The dtone related “classified” mails had public knowledge info, that some but not all agencies consideted classified. Some emails were classified retroactively only due to fact that they were being released to public. And lastly SOS has classification authority. She had the right to define whether something was classified or not. The important question is whether there were any actual damaging secrets released from her server, or whether she egregiously mishandled classified info, not whether some agency bureaucrat thought some email was classified by technicality. And the answer was that there was nothing egregious, nothing prosecutable, nothing very different than anyone else except that she had unclass mail on her own server instead of govt server. And the govt server was probably hacked more than hers.
            3) Even I think this was less a lie than a poorly researched excuse to go into Iraq.

          • Steven H says:

            Nothing compares to Trumps lie that his inauguration crowd was biggest ever. Not because the impact of the lie was big, but because it was small. It revealed Trumps obsessive ego, his obstinate denial of easily proved fact, and complete lack of sense of proportion. No other President, to my knowledge, has ever has made and persisted in asserting a statement so clearly wrong, so clearly petty, and so clearly damaging to his own reputation, with no benefit except to feed his own ego. Other Presidents and leaders have lied for profit, for hiding of indescretions, or to advance their political agenda. I know of no other who lies so egregiously or so badly just to market himself.

          • Peter says:

            Then apply your “mountains of molehills” comment to what I was saying about CNN. I made the same argument making that point.

  • Peter .... says:

    I had long post that didn’t show….trying to split it up and repost….

    Steven H can never see through the liberal blinders. So maybe I’ll try a similar story that is more critical of the right wing, which I know he will appreciate:

    Yesterday, I saw Fox News had a headline about a rape in a local high school in my area yesterday. I hadn’t heard about this, and it is local – so I went to WTOP (my source for unbiased local news) to find the story rather than read about it on Fox. Weirdly, it wasn’t there. I then went to Google news and searched for the story. The only national media to cover it were Fox News and USA Today – and CNN had a small story linked to it. When I clicked on the CNN story, I couldn’t find any way to get to this story from their front pages – even the “US Crime” page didn’t have a link.

    How can something local be national front-page news on right-wing media and invisible to the left-wing media? When I finally read the facts of the story, I got it…..the HS girl was raped by an illegal immigrant. This story fits the right wing narrative but not the left wing. The left wing was busy with multiple sympathetic stories about Middle Easterners having to check their laptops and IPads, while Fox was covering the local press conference surrounding the rape nationally. This is a problem.

    • Peter .... says:

      An even bigger problem was when I found out that Spicer had actually discussed this rape case in his press briefing earlier yesterday. Like it or not, he is the spokesman for the White House. When he talks about something like this – the media should cover it. Yet, they don’t because they have their own counter-agenda.

      At the end of the day, this rape was an anecdotal story – and I always have a problem when ANY of these stories become national news. But to feed these stories through the minds of one group of people and hide them from another just furthers the differing worldview and divide we have as a nation. Lay the cards out on the table in all their glory and LET PEOPLE MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS!

      This correlates to all the crap you posted about Hillary and Trump/Russia. You have been fed a steady diet of narrative for your worldview, and others have been fed another. And neither of us (including you) have any real FACTUAL idea about any of this stuff. NONE of our information is firsthand – and all of it comes from increasingly unreliable BS sources. The simple analysis of the coverage of this local rape case illustrates my point even further. And to talk down to someone else for disagreeing with you just makes our country worse for it.

    • Peter .... says:

      Spicer’s comments were lengthy as well. I can post a transcript if you like. And still as of this hour, MSNBC has NOTHING on their website even referencing this. I don’t believe this should be “breaking national news”, but when one side has it as such and the other buries it completely, we have an enormous problem.

    • Peter .... says:

      Update….CNN now has a link to the story on the front page. Right below “Girl Meets Pope. Girl steals his hat”. Fox has it in 10 different places on their front page and was the lead story until the UK Parliament attack took its place.

    • Steven H says:

      Clearly, different news outlets have different audiences a d they cater to those,audoences with stories they choose to publish. As you noted, Fox and similar conservative sources trumpet the local rape story because it advances their anti immigrant agenda. But your implication that CNN or MSNBC are “hiding” this story by not also publishing it suggests that you think everybody is obliged to cover the same stories as the fringe media, just because they covered them. Is that what you are saying? Irrelevant news is not necessarily news just because a set of partisan outlets cover it. And thats true for both sides roght? The story was not hidden by other news outlets, but it was not consideted newsworthy.
      ===
      The same was true of the Comey news conference. Comey basically said 3 things. Trump and Russia are being investigated. There is no evidence of a wiretap on Trump. There is no proof that Russia changed the election or altered voting machine results. You were upset that the third item was not headlined. You thought it was being hidden through media bias. But as I showed by quoting the CNN December headline, the third item was old news. It was no longer new and not newsworthy.

    • Steven H says:

      And even if Spicer says something, that does not NECESSARILY make it newsworthy, even if he is the President’s mouthpiece. Trump, Conway, and Spicer have all shown themselves to be unabashed liars. Hats off to the media when they edit out Trump’s tweets, Conways blathering, or Spicer’s propaganda from the actual news feed. The only things newsworthy about most of their mouthing is how outrageously dishonest they are.

      • Peter says:

        That is a terrifying point of view indeed.

        • 8Steven H says:

          More than a bit cynical yes. I dont like thinking about our President that way, but our President is a historically remarkable liar.

          • Stevendad says:

            They are all liars….contemptible sure. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” was a preconceived bald faced lie. “I never had sexual relations with that woman” was a bald faced lie. Weapons of mass destruction was a lie that fit Bush’s agenda, Reagan built highway to nowhere to enrich himself…..and so on and so on, both parties, both sides of the political spectrum. SMH….

  • Peter says:

    Steven H can never see through the liberal blinders. So maybe I’ll try a similar story that is more critical of the right wing, which I know he will appreciate:

    Yesterday, I saw Fox News had a headline about a rape in a local high school in my area yesterday. I hadn’t heard about this, and it is local – so I went to WTOP (my source for unbiased local news) to find the story rather than read about it on Fox. Weirdly, it wasn’t there. I then went to Google news and searched for the story. The only national media to cover it were Fox News and USA Today – and CNN had a small story linked to it. When I clicked on the CNN story, I couldn’t find any way to get to this story from their front pages – even the “US Crime” page didn’t have a link.

    How can something local be national front-page news on right-wing media and invisible to the left-wing media? When I finally read the facts of the story, I got it…..the HS girl was raped by an illegal immigrant. This story fits the right wing narrative but not the left wing. The left wing was busy with multiple sympathetic stories about Middle Easterners having to check their laptops and IPads, while Fox was covering the local press conference surrounding the rape nationally. This is a problem.

    An even bigger problem was when I found out that Spicer had actually discussed this rape case in his press briefing earlier yesterday. Like it or not, he is the spokesman for the White House. When he talks about something like this – the media should cover it. Yet, they don’t because they have their own counter-agenda.

    At the end of the day, this rape was an anecdotal story – and I always have a problem when ANY of these stories become national news. But to feed these stories through the minds of one group of people and hide them from another just furthers the differing worldview and divide we have as a nation. Lay the cards out on the table in all their glory and LET PEOPLE MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS!

    This correlates to all the crap you posted about Hillary and Trump/Russia. You have been fed a steady diet of narrative for your worldview, and others have been fed another. And neither of us (including you) have any real FACTUAL idea about any of this stuff. NONE of our information is firsthand – and all of it comes from increasingly unreliable BS sources. The simple analysis of the coverage of this local rape case illustrates my point even further. And to talk down to someone else for disagreeing with you just makes our country worse for it.

    • Steven H says:

      I am not fed anything. I go out and investigate facts through multiple outlets. I had facts about Hillary and the emails and you only echoed that people you talk to thought it was serious. I have worked with classified data. I know how it works. Factcheckers back up my perspective. I dont know who feeds you your info but you need a new trough.

      • Peter says:

        Factcheckers don’t mean a thing…..if you aren’t operating in finite math, statistics or science – or things you have seen with your own eyes – everything else is an opinion.

  • Peter says:

    Our media at work again… At the Comey/NSA chief hearing today, they repeatedly said they have no evidence at this time that Obama was wiretapping Trump or that Russia was able to influence the election. CNN headline reads (in huge font):

    Trump-Russia inquiry: Yes.
    Trump wiretap claim: No proof.

    • Steven H says:

      There you go again.
      ===
      The difference:
      The intelligence community says there IS evidence that Russia hacked computer systems, communicated with Trump campaign operatives, and ATTEMPTED to influence the election. And there are open questions about why Trump campaign folks lied about talking to the Russian ambassador and why Trump is so affectionate toward Putin AND why he wont release tax returns. So there are mountains of cause for suspicion about Trump and Russia.
      ===
      Meanwhile there is not one shred of evidence for even a hint of an implication of an iota of a notion that Obama wiretapped Trump. It’s a complete and total fabrication.
      ===
      The media’s characterization is fair. Your equating of mountains of evidence to less than a molehill is inappropriate and disappointing.

      • Peter says:

        Not entirely true. There are two ‘macro’ questions….. was Trump under surveillance in any way by the US government and was Russia involved in any way in tampering with our election. Both of these are still up in the air and the investigation ongoing.

        The ‘micro’ questions….. did Obama place wiretaps in Trump tower (no evidence to indicate this was the case) or was anyone in the Trump organization working WITH Russia (also no evidence to indicate this was the case).

        Two different things. Regardless – when they repeatedly said that there was NO evidence that the Russians “changed votes” or tampered with the actual election, this wasn’t reported.

        No point arguing this though. If you can’t see the narrative bias on CNN and the major news networks, I’m not sure what to tell you.

        • Steven H says:

          “was Trump under surveillance in any way by the US government ?” That is a completely different question than Trump’s allegation. But even for that vague and suspicious allegation, there has NO evidence actually proffered.
          “was Russia involved in any way in tampering with our election?”
          The Office of the Director of National Intelligence does not say that question is up in the air. It says “Yes”. Two months ago it said “Yes”. It has not been up in the air for some time now.
          https://www.wired.com/2017/01/feds-damning-report-russian-election-hack-wont-convince-skeptics/

          The ODNI’s 25-page report from US intelligence agencies lays out a vast Russian intelligence operation that extends from hacking both Democratic and Republican targets to propaganda campaigns to troll-fueled social media disinformation. It re-asserts the intelligence community’s findings that the Kremlin is behind breaches of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and even state election board websites. And the express intention of those operations, the report states, was to not only disrupt the American electoral process, but to elect Donald Trump.

          “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency,” the report reads. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”

        • Steven H says:

          ==Regardless – when they repeatedly said that there was NO evidence that the Russians “changed votes” or tampered with the actual election, this wasn’t reported.
          ==
          Here was CNN’s headline in big bold letters:
          ===============
          Russia’s role is shocking but there’s no evidence the vote was hacked
          ===============
          Of course this was on December 12, 2016. It’s old news. Why would CNN need to rerun an old headline? Did you miss it? No one needs to see it again.

          • Peter says:

            Certainly doesn’t stop CNN to “rerun” old headlines when it helps their narrative.

          • Steven H says:

            CNN omitted from the news today that there is still no evidence that Obama was born in Kenya. Come on Peter. Omitting old or irrelevant news is not a bias.

          • Steven H says:

            CNN from Tuesday morning. Article about 9 things learned from Comey hearing.

            “Rogers and Comey both testified that despite the intense Russian hacking and propaganda effort aimed at public opinion, no actual votes in the election were compromised.”

            Doesn’t that make your complaint pretty much moot, Peter?

          • Steven H says:

            And that was under a big topic banner that said
            NO VOTES WERE CHANGED.

            Happy now?

      • Peter says:

        Also – a lot of your “evidence” to the Russia thing is conjecture. Trump being “so affectionate” to Putin is a media exaggeration for instance.

        Love how you easily connect the dots for Trump/Russia but not for Hillary/Benghazi or Hillary/email scandal or Hillary/Clinton Foundation or Hillary/Wall Street or Hillary/Whitewater.

        • Peter says:

          Even this:
          http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/03/politics/trump-putin-russia-timeline/

          CNN headline is 80 times Trump talked about Putin. And we know it is trying to slam Trump, so it likely includes every single comment they could find. When you read these comments, what do you find? 95% of the comments are two things – 1) praising him for his treatment when he had the Miss Universe pageant in Russia and 2) saying he is “eating Obama’s lunch” in foreign relations.

          He also makes many comments about making economic sanctions against Russia, standing up to them more and stopping their aggression in Ukraine. This doesn’t strike me as someone who is “affectionate” or working in cahoots with Putin. His comments were mostly in an anti-Obama vein.

          • Peter says:

            Just continues to exhaust me the increasingly narrow range of opinions one can have in the wake of this “safe space” society. Can we not compliment Trump or Putin without being flamed or viewed as a supporter? Just about everyone has positive and negative traits. People need to relax and get their heads out of the political party/mass media a**h***s and TRY to be somewhat objective. What does Trump say about Putin that you disagree with?

          • Steven H says:

            I don’t care about the 80 times Trump talked about Russia and how many times they were innocent irrelevant statements. I do care about this:
            ===
            President-elect Donald Trump on Friday lauded Russian President Vladimir Putin as “very smart” for not retaliating against the U.S. for new sanctions …

            “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart!” Trump tweeted Friday.
            ===
            “Putin has big plans for Russia. He wants to edge out its neighbors so that Russia can dominate oil supplies to all of Europe,” Trump said. “I respect Putin and Russians but cannot believe our leader (Obama) allows them to get away with so much…Hats off to the Russians.”
            ===
            “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so.”
            ===
            Dec. 18, 2015: Trump defends against allegations Putin has ordered the killings of journalists
            “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I think our country does plenty of killing also.”
            ===
            “I think he’s done really a great job of outsmarting our country,” Trump told Larry King after Putin successfully dissuaded the US from striking Syria by arranging with the US for the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons.

        • Steven H says:

          Peter, Again:
          Conjecture is not Evidence, but there IS Evidence and much CAUSE for Conjecture.
          Evidence of the following (according to the intelligence community, not CNN):
          — Russia hacked computer systems,
          — Russia communicated with Trump campaign operatives,
          — Russia ATTEMPTED to influence the election
          ===
          Open questions in the public domain, not just CNN reporting, that reasonably lead to suspicion:
          — Why did someone on Trump’s campaign, according to multiple people present in the room, have the GOP platform changed to be less aggressive toward Russia over the Ukraine conflict? And why did they lie about it?
          — Why have so many Trump campaign folks lied about talking to the Russian ambassador (especially Flynn and Sessions, not casual conversations of others)?
          — Why is there mounting evidence that Paul Manafort, Trump’s foreign campaign manager, accepted money from Russia?
          — Why are so many of Trump’s associates linked to Russia?
          — Why does Trump speak so favorably of Putin?
          — Why does Trump claim to have no financial ties to Russia when his own son has said (in 2008) Trump’s businesses “see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
          ===
          And according to Trump:
          — Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped.
          According to the intelligence community:
          — There is no evidence that Obama ordered wiretaps at Trump Tower or against the Trump campaign.
          ===
          Now Trump backtracks and says that by “wiretap” he meant some sort of surveilllance, and by “Trump Tower” he meant his campaign or his associates. This is classic Trump-talk. He can’t admit he is wrong, so he redefines and rewrites his own statements until they say something else more ambiguous. Trump provides his own fake news even about what he himself says.
          ===
          So CNN reports correctly that Comey stated
          — There is an ongoing investigation about Trump campaign and associates ties to Russia
          — There is no evidence of Trump’s claims that Obama ordered wiretaps against Trump
          ===
          And you want to claim bias because the headline was NOT: No evidence or proof that Russia changed the election?
          Why ever would that be a headline? That is not the question on people’s minds. At best that would be the conclusion of a long inquiry just now beginning, and would be very difficult to prove. The questions people care about are:
          — Is there a link between Russia and Trump and what is the link? The answer we learned is that an investigation is ongoing.
          — Is there any evidence to back up Trump’s repeated claim that Obama ordered wiretapping against Trump? The answer is no.
          ===
          CNN may have biases. There may be evidence to illustrate it. But not here. The fact that you could take such absolutely straightforward news reporting of the facts and twist it into something devious says much more about YOUR biases than about CNN.

        • Steven H says:

          Hillary/Benghazi — So many lies and fake stories and false allegations. Sop many dots were fake. Remove the fake ones and there is nothing left to connect.
          Hillary/email — More fake allegations and implications that never panned out. She sent out classified data that was marked classified. No. She ordered classified data to be transferred onto unclassified servers. No. Her missing emails were hiding the real Benghazi story. No. She personally deleted or ordered deletion of emails after a subpoena. No. There were no dots. Just GOP smoke.
          Hillary/ Clinton Foundation — Appearance of pay for play. Trump: More wide open and egregious ACTUAL Pay for Play than any other President in history.
          Hillary/Wall Street: Speeches and Connections
          Trump has Wall Street on his Cabinet.

  • Steven H says:

    == Peter
    Again, how I wish people would talk solutions rather than nonsense politics like “so-and-so doesn’t care if people die”.
    == Stevendad
    “Let poor people go away and die” is such a stereotypical cheap shot. Conservatives actually believe this should be taken care of more locally or on a state level.
    ======
    My comment was not just a caustic cheap shot. It is what I hear, and people like me hear, from conservative leaders and some of the electorate. When Paul Ryan admits he is giddy and excited about the prospect of taking money away from Medicaid (which will kill people), but he is unconcerned that the money which might have saved lives in Medicaid is given to further enrich the wealthy with tax cuts, when Jason Chaffetz has a “let them eat cake” moment by suggesting that the poorest people (most of whom do not have smartphones) should give up their iPhones for healthcare (and anyway an iPhone costs a lot less annually than healthcare), when Tea Party voters cheer the idea of letting an uninsured man in a coma die rather than give him care, when conservatives give idealistically caustic announcements that poor people are simply exercising their freedom in choosing to feed their families rather than buy the healthcare that might save Tiny Tim, then yes it really sounds like Conservatives are saying: Let ’em die. In theory, people can be uplifted by freedom of choices, hard work, and apple pie. In the real world, Conservative idealism kills people.

    • Steven H says:

      So I really appreciate Stevendad offering interesting solutions. I do not appreciate Ryan, Chaffetz, Trump, McConnell, offering BS solutions like block grants to states, buying insurance across state lines, cutting Medicaid to enrich the wealthy, undercutting and demonizing rather than fixing the ACA, cutting Meals On Wheels and Diplomacy in the State Department so that we can boost the military (plowshares to swords policy), etc, etc, etc. The Trump budget and the Trump/RyanCare are the most unpopular government proposals to come out of an administration in decades. That’s the good news. The bad news is that GOP leaders will try to push them through to law anyway. So much for doing what the people want. Apparently they only listen to the right people: the ones who will get the tax cuts and the military contracts.

      • Peter says:

        Same story, different party. Pushing through their agenda without compromise. Whole thing makes me sick.

        But get the story right…. Ryan has been giddy about sending Medicaid back to the states. Not about taking insurance from poor people. This is like saying that our military leaders are “giddy about getting American soldiers killed” when they talk about military action. Another case of inappropriate eye-grabbing headlines keeping us from the real debate.

        • Steven H says:

          But before Ryan sends money to states, tax cuts reduce the funding. And everybody knows states will not make up that funding. Medicaid will wither. Everyone knows this. Ryan knows this. And Ryan is unconcerned about how it sounds to the nation that he is excited about cutting federal funding for Medicaid. If a general said he is realy excited about the opportunity, it would be similarly offensive. Generals are smart enough and diplomatic enough to say they are fully prepared to fight for the nation. Ryan would be less offensive if he was excited at the prospect of improving health care and saving lives. But that is not what AHCA would do. It will, if passed, kill people. Lets hope it fails.

          • Steven H says:

            If ageneral said he was really excited about going to war …
            Part of sentence above got lost.

          • Peter .... says:

            Again, dots you are connecting. Not fair at all to say Ryan is giddy about taking money away from Medicaid and killing people. Stupid….

  • Middle Ground says:

    Why are legislators so determined to remove the ACA rather than just fixing it?

  • Stevendad says:

    So I dictated most of that so sorry for the errors. The website went a little weird right at the end too.
    So… pay complex primary care more…
    9) Set up “charter” health care systems or hospitals like “charter ” schools. The idea is outcomes, not micromanaging from afar like we have now. The Accountable Care Organization is a step in that direction.
    10) Oh yeah insurance reform… whatever, it’s not going to decrease costs.

    I have contacted Tom Price BTW and no word so far. Peter, if you know anyone…

    • Stevendad says:

      Also, regarding the complexity of medicine. I would challenge any IT person to work on 20 different computers with 20 different operating systems and try to solve 100 different problems with them. I was an engineer and built databases in college by the way. The bank may have 45 elements in it every day. For example, a few additions and subtractions, then multiplied by some interest payment in or out. A patient in the ICU has several hundreds if not thousands of individual data The bank may have 45 elements in it every day. For example, a few additions and subtractions, then multiplied by some interest payment. A patient in the ICU has several hundreds if not thousands of individual database points including vital signs, nurses observations, diet, medications, activity, room, laboratory and imaging. Telemetry records every beat which runs in the tens of thousands. Imaging runs into the tens of millions. So much for being as simple as banking.

      • Stevendad says:

        Errata: 4 to 5 not 45.
        For mysterious reasons it also duplicates sections?

      • Peter says:

        This is all very interesting….I really wish more info was out there about the complete logjam and confusing structure of our healthcare system….and the realities of the ineffectiveness or inefficiencies of the ACA.

        Again, how I wish people would talk solutions rather than nonsense politics like “so-and-so doesn’t care if people die”.

    • Steven H says:

      Some good ideas in there, stevendad. I’ll reply in detail when I get my computer working a little better.

    • Steven H says:

      OK, I wrote 3 long replies as Big Data last night, but nothing posted, and I can’t get the site to post anything from my Big Data account. Honestly, I was not being obnoxious. Occasionally I accidentally use characters that get interpreted as HTML code, and that might have screwed things up. (??)

      Moneyning, Big Data apologizes for whatever. Please unblock his posts …

      As for your ideas, stevendad, many are good. i don’t feel like recounting EVERYTHING I typed, but in general:
      1) Yes, but … you have to be careful. One person’s stupid regulation is another person’s lifesaver. You have to understand why the regulation is there and assess and balance the benefits/costs to all parties. Too often, the guy with the most money wins the arguments.
      2) Yes.
      3) Coke is already reacting to market and producing smaller containers and less sugar options. But don’t mess with original formula Coke. It’s a dessert, not a daily drink, and it should stay available in it’s PURE form, with all the sugar and caffeine it’s supposed to have. But there was a reason it originally came in 6.5 oz bottles, not 20 oz or half liter.
      3B) Yes
      4) Burn every fax machine but first get Apple to design a simple universal interface and GUI to replace the truly awful proprietary incompatible software systems in the medical field today. Every medical record should be in a universal interface, able to be saved to a USB stick, or an online dropbox. And nobody should have to fill out the same repetitive 10 pages of info with paper and pen every time they go to a new doctor or hospital. Just give them the USB stick or encrypted link. And get PGP or comparable experts to universally fix the encryption privacy. Use computers smartly, but use them. Don’t stay stuck in the past. Fix the future. It’s possible. And just kidding about burning the fax machines. They are an OK backup system.
      6) Bidding System. OK.
      7) Tort Reform. I’m sure this can be improved. And yes there is a whole lot of unnecessary CYA tests. On the other hand, 98.6 % sounds great, but what consequence do those 14 out of a thousand people suffer for wrong diagnosis? You have to take that into account. It’s like #1. You have to be careful. Recall the poster child of tort reform: the McDonalds coffee spill. When you hear it told in popular culture, McDonald’s was a hapless victim. When you learn all of the facts, McDonald’s seems egregiously at fault. You have to make sure tort law is reformed and not just purchased by the highest bidder.
      8) Pay gap. Yes.
      9) Charter Systems. Yes.
      10) Insurance Reform. By itself, it won’t lower costs, but it is still required. We also need to reform Big Pharma pricing, but good luck at battling that pile of money.

      • Stevendad says:

        BD: Steven H: Just a bit about #7. Remember 14 / 1000 might be delayed on dx. Odds are highly against it making any difference. If you have a brain tumor or large aneurysm you’ve got a bad problem likely leading to death. I asked a local oncologist how many times an earlier head CT or MRI would have mattered. Her answer: 3 in 25 years. Likely 10 s of thousands of tests to get 3. And likely all that imaging CAUSED (!) at least 3 brain tumors or serious dementia, etc. and > $20 million dollars. So is it worth it? Are we willing to spend over 1/5th of our money on health care? Are we willing to cause disease to try to find disease? Not if I were in charge. This discussion, by the way has more agreement between us than 4+ years altogether, I think.

  • Big Data says:

    So Ryancare propsal is out. It will likely cut about 10 million poor people out of healthcare, slash subsidies to poor and old, give tax breaks to rich, cuts the medicaod expansion, plan to eventually cut medicaid into block grants, and yet some conservatives think it is still not enough of a repeal. Chaffetz says a few poor people still have iPhones so I guess they need to be taken away so yhe poor are whipped a little further down the ladder. Good lord, how draconian a system are the conservatives trying to implement? What do they want? All the poor people to just go away and die? Seriously, is there any plan that provides any care to the poor that the conservatives will accept?

    • Stevendad says:

      Oh crap. My iPad died and wiped out 45 minutes of typing! ????????????????????
      “Let poor people go away and die” is such a stereotypical cheap shot. Conservatives actually believe this should be taken care of more locally or on a state level. Will liberals ever learn that this sort of caustic and accusatory tone will never lead to any sort of discourse and solutions?
      I’m actually realistic about this. We already have universal care, so we might as well try to make it more efficient . This was established by the Hill Burton Act in 1946. It was superseded by the EMTALA Act more recently. So we are already there, the access point is the highly inefficient emergency room however. Cost start easily 10 times more there than in the office, more like 100 times, frequently. For example, I had a patient that went to the ER for a sore throat and a headache. In the office this visit will cost about $75 and would probably be treated with a $10 antibiotic. No tests, just my judgment. This patient went to the ER. They had a headache so they got a CAT scan of the head, had a cough so they got a chest x-ray, had a complete lab work including your analysis. For some reason, they got an EKG too. Bill was over $4500. Same result: $10 antibiotic. I had a patient that went to the ER for sore throat and a headache. The biggest problem with Obamacare was that it gave us the illusion that there is an insurance solution to high cost of medicine. This is a complete error in my opinion. Medicine is a complex millieu of actual medical science, law, emotions, ethics and finance that is extremely difficult to solve with some paper and pencil numbers and simple legal solution.
      Here is my take: ( if I were king, and sometimes my narcissism makes me think that I am )
      1) reduce some stupid regulations. That sounds very Libertarian of me doesn’t it. For example, they were huge amounts of costs added in almost everything that we do. Simple superglue that is 14 was for a dollar at the dollar store cost over $15. This is used to close wounds instead of sutures. My hospital wanted to add lifts for lifting very heavy patients, sometimes over 600 pounds. You can imagine how many 125 pound nurses it takes to lift someone that size and how many injuries occur. So we checked it out, $45,000 a room. Brought me back to my engine rebuilding days when I was a kid. So off to Harbor Freight… A 1 ton capacity center point lift with moving gantry track and 2000 pounds hoist was $1200. Paint it white and it’ll do the same job. Of course JACHO or FDA or someone would fine us for that.
      2) Just give away care that save us all money in the long run. After all, we’re on the hook for everybody’s healthcare, like it or not. For example, treatment of diabetes, smoking cessation, statins all have negative cost to a health system.
      3) Do some population-based things, such as asking Coca-Cola to reduce their corn syrup or sugar in their products by 20%, 2% per year. Taste buds can only be so saturated by sugar . I’m not sure anybody would ever even notice. And of course they save on the cost of sugar. Of course, I think this would be voluntary and not required given my view of the world.
      3) Spend some federal money, yes I said that, to encourage the formation of adult sports leagues, walking tracks, gymnasiums, physical education in schools, you get the idea.
      4) drastically reduce the amount of computerization that has occurred. Once again, I was an engineer and data base builder in college. I’m not afraid of or opposed to computers. I’m just a opposed to bad software and poor systems. Computers are excellent for dealing with lab work results and x-ray reports. They are decent for pharmacy systems. They are nearly worthless for everything else. Still the quickest way to get information from another hospital is the fax paper records. Seems ridiculous that we use pre-Civil War technology still, but trust me it’s far and away better. Getting all the different systems to talk in a cyberspace Tower of Babel is almost impossible. Furthermore, the ridiculous computer charting that nurses do in the hospital take them away from their most important role, that is being by the bedside. And most importantly, 50% of their work is doing something that NO ONE ever reads! The only exception may be a three-piece suit that comes around six months later when all is done for better or worse. A recent study showed that 71% of physician time is spent on the computer in the office. It seems that the computer is he was getting a visit not the patient anymore. Computer people try to tell me that medicine is simple, like banking. Much more to come. Got to go for now.

      • Stevendad says:

        Errata: superglue that is four for a dollar

        • Stevendad says:

          And of course I said three twice.

          • Stevendad says:

            Now the big stuff:
            6) set up a bidding system. This could apply for pharmaceuticals nationally, or even internationally and four surgeries, visit locally and perhaps regionally. Some pharmacist in Michigan already has a patent for this by the way. This will inevitablyactually drive costs down over a period of time.
            7) Tort reform. Not payout limiting caps, but giving Doctors “safe harbors” for certain high-risk issues. For example, breast masses, lung nodules, chest pain, etc. So, if all the evidence-based steps are taken, they cannot be sued. It is estimated that between 10 and 20% of all cost is “CYA ” medicine. This leads to you when I like to call “test zombies”. These are test that the demand work up to keep from getting sued. So far in my nearly 30 year career, the yield of this is less than .1%. I want her to be a good neurologist give a talk about headaches. He stated he could be correct 98.6% of the time based on the history and physical exam. However, he still orders an imaging test because he doesn’t want to be sued. I haven’t done the math, but imagine if I was right 98.6% a time on Wall Street I would own the world in about five years . Furthermore, it leads to multiple extra tests, extra hospitalizations, etc. etc.
            8) remove the massive pay gap between primary care and specialty, procedure based care. For example, I frequently see a patient with 7 to 12 problem. It’s generally cost $85 plus a few follow-up tasks maybe $100. If the same patient went to five or six different specialists it would cost thousands. They should encourage people to take care of sick people. Like Willy Sutton said “that’s where the money is”. They’ve already got a system to identify the high-risk, high expense patients. They should pay those who take care of them from a primary care standpoint (mostly internal medicine Ie groupwas in once paid 50% more for this type of care.

  • Peter says:

    Not sure how legalizing and taxing marijuana and gambling and taxing churches is targeting the lower class…..

    By taxing and legalizing marijuana we save so much money – and frankly, help the lower class tremendously as they are the ones repeatedly being arrested and jailed for marijuana-related offenses. Drug dealing is killing their communities, not the upper class ones. Frankly the MAIN reason I think we should legalize marijuana (and consider other drugs as well) is to save our inner city communities from the ridiculous drug-dealing/police state cycle they are under now.

    As far as gambling goes…. nothing in the gambling world targets the poor like lotteries, bingo, slot machines and horse racing. All of these are legal in many places already. What I’m proposing is a legalization of all gambling – things like poker, sports betting, table games, etc. These do NOT target the poor at the rates that the already legal gambling does. These actually target the middle class and wealthy people even more and the tax revenue would be tremendous.

    I never suggested taxing offerings that citizens make to churchgoers. I’m talking about taxing the property and revenue of the churches themselves. Many churches are businesses, not charitable organizations. Scientology is the most extreme example, as is Joel Osteen’s ministry and other mega-churches. This doesn’t hurt the “little guy”.

    Also, I’m not sure what you mean by “micro taxes” on stock transactions. Plus we already have extra taxes on investment income above certain thresholds.

    • Big Data says:

      Peter,
      Re marijuana: I see your points and I certainly think decriminalizing marijuana, as Houston has just done, should be nationwide; certainly it should be off the federal DEA Schedule 1 list. I think medical marijuana has definite benefits and should be made available to those who need it. I have mixed feelings about legalizing pot. It does little harm to adults (probably less than alcohol) but I worry about the easier access for teens that legalization brings, even though it is not legal for them. Legalization does keep (as much) money from going to criminals, so that’s good, but encouraging and profiting on a vice is morally questionable. Mixed bag.
      ===
      I have similar aversion to wider legalization of gambling, especially casinos. It’s possibly worse than alcohol or pot regarding addiction and draining money from those who cannot afford it. In general, I think it is better for society that we have a a few states where gambling is legal, and more where it is not.
      ===
      Re religions: Scientology is a sham and it should not have tax exempt status. Unfortunately, it is difficult for IRS to define what is and is not a church. I agree that mega-church property holdings and million dollar incomes should be taxed, but probably not the property and parsonages and incomes of your average neighborhood church. The problem, again, is achieving a simple enforceable definition and set of rules. If you tax the property of your average neighborhood church, you ARE effectively taxing the churchgoers, because they have to donate more in offerings to keep the church in the black. That’s what I mean by objecting to taxing the churchgoers. And yes, taxes could hurt the little guy at the little church. Most churches ARE charitable organizations and ought not to be taxed. If you figure out how to separate the scammers from the saints, let the IRS know!
      ===
      The “micro tax” I referenced is more commonly called an FTT: Financial Transaction Tax. It is a small tax on stock trades to accomplish 2 goals: discourage the volatility that comes from high frequency trading, and make a little money for the government. Here is one pretty good article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/leesheppard/2012/10/16/a-tax-to-kill-high-frequency-trading/#1620a6ed6404
      ===
      So your suggestions are worth considering. I just have some aversion to government investing in vice as an income source (encouraging vice, effectively) or suppressing the many GOOD churches by oppressing them with taxes.

      • Peter says:

        I don’t think legalization or prohibition greatly affect keeping these drugs out of the hands of teens. Some would argue getting pot is easier than liquor due to the fact that liquor is controlled by the state.

        Regarding religious tax exemptions…. I don’t think you can pick and choose which religious organizations get treated differently based on your opinion of them. To call Scientology a sham but not Christianity or Mormonism or Islam is passing judgment that I wouldn’t do, but certainly don’t want our government doing. That said, there are simple mathematical formulas and laws that determine if an entity is a true charitable organization. If a church wants exemptions, act like a charity.

      • Peter says:

        Hadn’t heard about the idea of this micro tax before. But after reading up on it I must say I think it is a terrible idea. I’m not sure I see a lot of traction for it anywhere anyway.

        • Peter says:

          Profiting on a vice or something negative is bad? We already do this with cigarette and alcohol taxes….. Lotteries, taxing gas-guzzling cars, etc. …. the list goes on. Taxing vices is actually an older tax than taxing income. And I could argue that it is more ethical to tax vices than to steal directly from someone’s paycheck.

          • Stevendad says:

            So: yes pot and gambling legalization. I’m a Libertarian after all. And this sounds paradoxical, but when you go from a spottily enforced law to a taxed system you actually GAIN control by funding the absolute eradication of cheaters. So you can punish those who supply kids and illegally grow / import. Honestly, I know there is much less teenage drinking than when I was a kid and illicit alcohol production than in Prohibition since it is legal. Seen ANY moonshine in your life?

            Re: churches. So I have this fantasy about starting the Church of the NFL:
            Meet on Sundays.
            Have Hooters girl types (and hot guys for the ladies)as ushers.
            Listen to NFL today.
            Review a teaching from the erstwhile bible (NFL rule book).
            Watch football from noon until midnight while imbibing in the sacraments (beer / brats / ribs / pretzels).
            Retire to your home.
            I’m not sure it would pass muster with the IRS, but I bet there would be great attendance and active enthusiasm.

            The point of all of it is: who is the government to decide what or Who should be worshipped?

            Neologism I came up with to describe Dem political strategy:
            Gerrypandering: the modification of the political map whereby you pander to special interests in order to build a coalition to win elections.

            Thanks guys! Always interesting. I told someone tooday I think this ridiculously long thread is a modern example of the coffee shop or barbershop of the past.

          • Peter says:

            Very true. They deleted all the old stuff too when we used to have more people in here….. think it has been a good 5 years. And Big Data / Steven H starting to come around! 🙂

      • Stevendad says:

        I actually like this tax because it discourages the wild trading for tiny margins that increases volatility and gets away from what the stock market should be, IMHO, a way people can invest in the growth of companies. This is the answer to much of the problem of income inequality.

        • Peter says:

          And I will backtrack a little on this…..after researching a little bit more I see how the FTT could work.

  • Stevendad says:

    1. Of course there are many jobs that can’t be automated. But millions will.
    2. I agree on immigration reform by the way, but I am just being real on what will happen.
    3. So the towns die slowly rather than quickly.
    4. I’ve advocated better training in the past, rather than arbitrary wage increases. I’m just saying just increasing wages does not achieve this and in fact reduces the motivation to get training.

    Again, a more fair way to address is to make large corporations that get taxpayer subsidies to return the same to the treasury. Then they pay one way or the other. The small business is then allowed to compete on a more level field and Walmart et al will increase wages for families.

    • Peter says:

      It’s already happening. With just 5% wage inflation last year, it put the crunch on businesses – and motivated them to move to more automation where possible. Wendy’s is a good example….they just added self-serve kiosks in about 15% of their restaurants due to the rising cost of labor.

    • Peter says:

      As a real economist, Milton Friedman, famously said: “A minimum wage law a law that makes it illegal for an employer to hire a person with limited skills.”

    • Big Data says:

      It does no good to provide jobs for heads of household that pay sub living wage. No good whatsoever. If automation is cheaper than sub living wage labor, then automation is a better choice. Then, as a nation, as a society, we must provide training and different jobs for our citizens at a living wage.

      • Stevendad says:

        Just saw my first order kiosk in a McDonalds on Sunday. Ominous sign for the unskilled…. So, again, free community college , university and trade schools for the poor and the talented (like Oklahoma); all day kindergarten to try to level off the entry to first grade of children as far as language and counting ( like Oklahoma) and free pre K (like Oklahoma). Strange that it is considered such a conservative, backward state.

        Also, to me, we should substitute personal finance for plane geometry in math curriculum and grammar / writing over literature in language curriculum. And computer languages should be taught alongside English from the beginning of school. It is not so much money as new thinking that is needed, BD.

        • Peter says:

          Brilliant!!! Couldn’t agree more…. the greater question is – why isn’t such a reasonable solution like you detailed above even on the table? Too often politics block us from even discussing and exploring things that could help us all.

        • Big Data says:

          I generally agree. A few points:
          – The Oklahoma education programs you list are admirable and I would love to see more states enact them. Those programs do cost money, and other states will have to increase school funding and raise taxes to enact them. (TANSTAAFL).
          – I’m all for adding personal finance instruction, increasing emphasis on writing, and requiring early instruction in programming. You don’t need to cut literature or plane geometry to do that. You COULD cut things like the required 4th year of HS math (Texas rule). Not everyone needs calculus. You should NOT cut music or art. There is more to life than a business career.
          – Adding curriculum, changing teacher expertise, continual improvement and experimentation associated with new thinking, all costs money. TANSTAAFL. Oklahoma may be investing in education but many states have cut funding and will need new funds to get back on track. I’m pretty sure we need new thinking AND money.
          – Still, those are some good ideas and observations, stevendad.

          • Stevendad says:

            Thanx. As a band member through college, I agree completely about maintaining the arts. BAnd as a fellow engineer (undergrad), I hope at least you can support increases in efficiency in government.

  • Stevendad says:

    Gentleman: just throwing something out there: I read that the Obama yeas had had record years of job growth, albeit, as we know, stagnant wages. The growth over 2008 baseline of $14.54 T was just under $9T in 8 years. Debt went up just over $9T. Was there any real growth? Please comment, as usual, love to hear your thoughts.

    • 8Big Data says:

      Not ignoring you stevendad, but this question needs some research and historical context to reply thoroughly and adequately. Short answer is that there is real growth even when debt increases.
      ==
      Longer answer is that you have to address the debt when the economy is strong enough. There is currently $1.9 T in hoarded capital in us corporations, historically outsized incomes and wealth in wealthiest citizens. Meanwhile there is neglected infrastructure, and a population of middle and working class who are angry about getting cheated out of their fair share. By the way, this income disparity is also shown to slow the economy. So we have two choices. 1. Cut safety nets, trim spending, which generally has no impact on rich but hurts the already suffering middle and working class. It also increases income and wealth disparity and further slows the economy. 2. Raise taxes slightly on big corp and most wealthy to pay down debt, while you apply tax revenue to current needs and new necessary infrastructure spending. This will put idle capital to use and make a dent in the income disparity problem. And grow the economy faster than debt.
      ==
      As to your original question as to whether debt effectively cancels gdp growth, ill have to get back to you.

      • 8Big Data says:

        Clarification. The 1.9 trillion is just in hoarded capital of corporations. The wealth and income of wealthiest individuals is in addition to that amount.

        • Big Data says:

          2nd Clarification: Sometimes I am listed as 8BigData. That is not intentional. That 8 sometimes slips in when I fat-finger type on my phone and a character slips into the wrong field.

  • Stevendad says:

    BD: Re: income inequality in largely Dem voting districts: so they create most of the problem, harp on it the most and propose to solve it by taxing everyone else to pay for it? Sounds fair? Wow.

    • Big Data says:

      Your whole theory is sideways. Big business, bankers, and investors create income disparity by leveraging globalism and automation and government tax cuts to make and keep extraordinary profits, controlling government to weaken unions and get favorable trade laws and bank regulations to their advantage and they vote Republican because that is the party of business that enables the whole process. People who are victims of this scheme vote Democrat to oppose the Republicans but Democrats try to move to the middle to be inclusive. This pisses the most disadvantaged Democrats off, so they desperately vote for an outsider running as a Republican who swears he is an economic and negotiating genius who can help them. He then issues unconstitutional maxims, insults our trading partners, puts millionaires, billionaires and inexperienced incompetents in his cabinet, asks his national security advisor whether strong or weak dollars are good for the economy, and generally tears through government like bullsh*t through a perfume shop. Meanwhile Republicans are still out there trying to tear apart the safety nets and figure out how not to pay for a wall so they can get another big tax cut, and push income disparity to new heights.

      So, to be brief, Democrats did not cause and do not control high income disparity. Your theory is no more credible than Sarah Palin’s Death Panels.

      • Stevendad says:

        You’re just wrong IMO and neither can prove it. BUT they can tax and redistribute locally. Or better yet, just quit whining about it. The reality is most Libs don’t think anything exists more than 100 miles from the coasts (counting the Great Lakes). This and arrogance have destroyed their brand.

        • Big Data says:

          Traditional GOP leaders don’t think anybody matters outside of the upper quintile. (If kids don’t have money for college, they should borrow from their parents. Replace Obamacare with medical savings accounts. Because absolutely everybody has extra money or rich parents.) Traditional GOP brand (e.g. all of the non-Trump candidates) was destroyed by their own self-destructive self-interest and ego, and Trump is destroying the new GOP before it gets started.

          • Stevendad says:

            Perhaps, but a huge amount of Trump voters were clearly the disaffected middle / working class in Middle America. The Dems are trying to move more rather than less “coastal “. Will be a disaster if they don’t turn back to middle. Again, moderate Dems like myself will then get our chance to right the ship with ideas rather than pandering to build coalitions of “others”.

          • Big Data says:

            The progressive movement is still strong in the Dem party and it is less, not more, coastal. It is the working class.

    • Big Data says:

      OK, maybe I am being a overly-dismissive. Granted, I think the idea that “Liberals” have control over income disparity as a bit absurd. What have we been discussing all this time? From my last two long posts, which pretty much summarize my views and also express agreement with quite a few of yours, high income disparity comes from a combination of (1) changing economic conditions and (2) failure of government and society to adapt to those new conditions. These 2 broadly described concepts have allowed a small segment of society (the 1% generally, but it is a sliding scale without a sharp boundary at 1%) to take disproportionate advantage of change, all to the very significant disadvantage of everyone else. As we have repeatedly concluded, automation and globalism are the two driving motivators of economic change. Failure to match citizen skills and education to the new world, along with setting (or failing to change and update) trade and tax and labor incentives that provide outsize reward to those with investment capital, has all shifted money up from the low and middle to the already high earners.
      ==
      So with the above infrastructure, what can individuals or local governments do to reverse high income disparity? You can’t reverse the trend of automation. Globalism can be slowed down, but only by national trade policy, not local. Tax and labor policy can be changed (and in many places it has), but large disparities in policy between cities or states just drives companies off to the most favorable business locales with low taxes, low wages, and little labor protection. It is not generally a local problem.
      ===
      That said, local policy is important, and it needs to be detached from fantastical and fanatical idealism. We can’t raise minimum wages to $20/hr, nor lower taxes to zero. Conversely, you’d be foolish to eliminate the minimum wage or double the tax rates. Under any of those conditions, budgets don’t balance and economies collapse. You have to have sane policy. (Witness the economic disaster that is Kansas and you see what happens when too much faith is put in tax cuts. Businesses are flocking to the state for their favorable tax rates, but sales taxes have soared, and school and highway budgets are slashed for lack of funds. So they are destroying their own economy AND those of neighboring states from whom they siphon their new businesses.)
      ==
      Can Chicago, NYC, or California do more with local policy to alleviate high income disparity. Probably. Can they “control” and solve this problem on their own? No. They did not create it and they cannot solve it. Localities can help. Individuals may help. But high income disparity is a national problem which requires national solutions. You can even say it is a world-wide problem. But then it is even more important that the nation of the world’s largest economy works even harder to solve it.

      • Peter says:

        But again as things become more and more automated, we lose unskilled labor jobs (factories, retail, cab drivers, etc.). This has nothing to do with the 1% earning more than their perceived “fair share”, nor is the solution to pay the remaining retail workers we have more money.

        The solution must come from the ground up – a complete revamping of the education system to change how we prepare our youth for the job market of the new millennium. If we don’t do this – income disparity is going to become far scarier than it is now .

        • Big Data says:

          [nor is the solution to pay the remaining retail workers we have more money]
          Why not? Why is that not at least part of the solution?

          • Peter says:

            Why should we? If demand goes down, wages don’t rise.

          • Stevendad says:

            Wage price controls under Nixon were a disaster in the long run. I suspect a doubling of min wage would be too. Raising wages artificially are a problem due to:
            1) Replacement with machines
            2) Hiring more illegals that work off the books
            3) Killing almost all local businesses in small town America and likely the towns. You live in Texas I believe, go ask around in the local small towns how long they will survive with a $15 min wage. I suspect many of the owners don’t make that
            4) Ignoring the real issue, job / skill mismatch

          • Big Data says:

            But artificially suppressing wages are also a disaster. Real minimum wage is effectively smaller now than 40 years ago. Poverty wages supplemented by food stamps is unsustainable and a market distoetion … but the solution is mot just to cut off food stamps. It is in restoring and maintaining a living monimum wage.

          • Big Data says:

            1. Many retail and minimum wage jobs are still not easily replacsble by machines.
            2. Reform immigration rules, legalize current longtime resident immigrants, use citizen id, not a big climbable tunnelable wall, to enforce hiring rules and wages.
            3. You dont quantum jump wages to $15. You elevate it to 10 or 11 now and then tie to some formula like inflation plus .5 real gdp increase.
            4. Addressing the job skill mismatch must involve education/industry partnerships, tax and other economic incentives for local hiring, and investments in public education. This is impossible without strong societal and government involvement, investment, and tax increases. Sorry but industry wont fix it by itself.
            5. Trade policy and labor protections must also be fixed to protect and elevate American labor.

          • Peter says:

            BD – #1 means very little….the point is unskilled jobs are being lost rapidly. Nobody denying that there are some left that can’t be replaced by automation. Just less than before.

            #2, 5 make sense. What I’ve been saying all along.

            #3 would increase the pay of a few, but just speed up the move to automation and hurt the economy. Why pay people more when demand outstrips supply for these jobs? Makes no sense.

            #4 was on the right track until you snuck in raising taxes again. How about we just use some of the money we are spending on other things to accomplish this? I don’t think raising taxes on everyone makes sense here – and certainly don’t see any justification (or need) for going even deeper into the pockets of the rich for this. Plus when we involve government…..(you know the rest…)

            How about this? Legalize marijuana Federally, legalize online gambling and casino/poker rooms. Tax religious organizations on their income. This would generate about $100b annually in revenue. Plus we could change our education system without any additional funds.

          • Big Data says:

            Peter, you and I just disagree on how change in education can be financed. A high school government teacher taught me the TANSTAAFL principle. There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. You talk about making government and education more efficient as if it a new idea that has not been tried. The low hanging fruit has been picked. Change costs money. Education programs, like our infrastructure funding, has been cut for years. Yes I know costs per student are high compared to other countries. Everything in US is expensive. But you cant keep cutting and cutting from education, infrastructure, and domestic spending priorities, and the expect to get a free boost to those programs out of some hidden bundle of cash in yhe government coffers. You may have noticed that the government is out of money and the middle class is out of money and the working class is out of money and the corporations have a 1.9 trillion pile of cash and the richest 1% of citizens have 10% more of the nations income that used to belong to everybody else. Change costs money. And you have to get that money from where it exists. Not from where it does not. TANSTAAFL.

          • Big Data says:

            Legalizing marijuana and gambling and taxing the offerings of churchgoers are just additional ways to tax the lower classes. How about micro taxes on stock transactions, taxing investment income above certain levels like regular income and creating two more tax brackets at 45 and 50% for 500k and million earners? Why are all of your tax ideas for the lower classes? Why not tax the money where it exists … with the upper classes? We are both making somebody pay. I am just suggesting you get money from those who can afford the loss.

        • Stevendad says:

          Agree. Income inequality is the symptom: a poor training system and a lack of motivation/ discipline is the disease. As I have learned in my field, treating the former and ignoring the latter only delays and intensifies the long term consequences.

  • Steven says:

    I make over 400k a year and in my early 30s.
    I am in medical sales and bring very valuable, life saving services to remote areas.

    Confidently, I can say my services have saved lives and assured quality of life to people who will never know I existed.

  • Peter says:

    After my computer problems cluttered the board, I wanted to bump this for Big Data to see. This was from Stevendad:

    “I don’t so much disagree with your premise not as many make as much, but on I do on the CAUSES. You still haven’t proven the cause, only reported the results. You absolutely discount that this may be due to unwillingness to do “dirty jobs” or take difficult education (STEM vs ethnic studies/sociology/art appreciation, etc,etc) or sacrifice the now for the future. I see this all the time, even in my profession: punch a clock vs own the problem, do the bare minimum vs go the extra mile, live to work vs work to live. PROVE that those who do these difficult things fail and that those who are poor are there because of external forces and not repetitive mistakes, unwillingness to work hard and not sacrifice. I suspect both are at play, but it is clear I lean much more to the unwillingness to exploit vs absence of opportunities.”

    BD – The reason why I call you a close-minded liberal is because of your complete denial that these other causes COULD possibly be the case and that there is ANY possible solution other than government mandating higher pay for rank-and-file workers OR taking more taxes from the wealthy to “even” the playing field.

    Stevendad and I disagree with you on the causes for the income disparity, and also disagree with you on the solutions. And while we have learned a little perspective from you – it doesn’t seem like you have learned from us and are very dismissive of our years of real-world experience (including Ken and others in this from years ago).

    • Big Data says:

      Peter and Stevendad, Regarding:
      “I don’t so much disagree with your premise not as many make as much, but on I do on the CAUSES. You still haven’t proven the cause, only reported the results.” — Stevendad
      “The reason why I call you a close-minded liberal is because of your complete denial that these other causes COULD possibly be the case and that there is ANY possible solution other than government mandating higher pay for rank-and-file workers OR taking more taxes from the wealthy to “even” the playing field. … while we have learned a little perspective from you – it doesn’t seem like you have learned from us and are very dismissive of our years of real-world experience …” –Peter
      =========
      Acknowledging the premise is a start to some agreement. Let me similarly acknowledge your points that I agree with, and also specify where I differ.
      ===
      I agree that people can be, and often are lazy, lacking in persistence, and easily distracted by various fascinations and appetites. This has always been and always will be true.
      But that is not to say each generation is precisely constant. The world and its events have fashioned different characteristics into the WW2 generation (also known as Silent or Greatest Generation), or the Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Centennials … For instance, as Peter noted and the articles I posted reinforced, the Millennials (like many of the WW2 generation) are risk-averse and cautious. And sometimes events actively provoke a new focus: e.g. After Sputnik, the nation focussed more attention on math and science. But within each generation, you will always find a range of attitudes from low-effort to high-octane, a range of intelligences, a range of abilities, and across the span of our population these innate potentials are unlikely to change a lot over a lifetime or across generations. They will change a little but not a lot. The overall mood and tenor of the population may change, composite human knowledge and technical skills increase, but the *average* and overall range of potentials (attitudes, intelligences, abilities) don’t rapidly rise or decline.
      ===
      The degree to which that change is possible and what impact it may have may be part of where we disagree. Certainly, I understand individuals can dramatically change their lives and attitudes. I have seen it as well as you have: e.g. the C-student slacker who suddenly realizes that he doesn’t want to dig ditches for a living and transforms himself into a math statistics whiz (I knew this guy). And if anybody can, then everybody can, right? That is where I am less convinced (and I consider myself an optimist). From what I have seen of large populations, humans just don’t change, on average, very dramatically across time.
      ===
      Back to CAUSES. We have agreed on some of the causes of increased income disparity. Globalization, which has encouraged US companies to outsource work to countries with lower labor or manufacturing costs. Automation, which has reduced the need for various low and medium skill jobs. Skill mismatches, wherein the US education system has not promoted skill development to match changing industry and technology needs. Much of the above is beyond the control of the average worker, and to the degree that workers are subjected to change beyond their control, the challenges imparted by those forces cannot be blamed as their own failings. There is some responsibility for adapting to change, of course: choosing a worthy degree or skill to learn, adapting to new needs and learning new skills over time, and also applying prudent personal decisions, ethical conduct, and economic planning. I think you both will find plenty to agree with in this paragraph.
      ===
      Here is where my emphasis shifts, and I don’t know that you would disagree in substance so much as in proportion that the following is important. Societies and governments are also responsible for adapting to change. When threatened by war, we must learn quickly how to fight and build weapons of war. When soldiers return, we must figure out how to retrain and reabsorb the military population into society (GI Bill). When threatened by technology (Sputnik) we must learn how to quickly advance our own technology (science and math in schools, NASA, moonshot). None of the previous was left to individuals to struggle with on their own. All took societal and governmental group effort to react to national challenges. Similarly when SOMETHING (globalization and automation, mismatched skills, other) redistributes our wealth and incomes causing economic and job market instability, it seems logical to me that, just as with all of our other national challenges, there should be a societal and governmental response.
      ===
      So, in the framework I just described, when I say that government policy has caused high income disparity, I mean that government has neither planned for nor adapted to the changes that have been presented by the changing world economy. Globalization and automation are causes, yes. But if we sit back and throw up our hands rather than DOING something, that is also a cause. Adapt or die. We should never have let trade policy become SO imbalanced that it would damage our own employment rates. We should recognize the economic warning signs in a too-rapid rise in real estate prices and consumer debt. We should not allow the moral hazards unleashed by massive deregulation or under-regulation of savings and loans or financial institutions (Glass-Steagall repeal, shadow banking, credit default swaps, etc). When we have a loss of the types of jobs that large swaths of the population depended upon, we need to invest, as a society, in educational opportunities and guidance for the population, not just make it easier for families to go deep in debt with expensive college loans expended on unproductive paths. I see this as a problem that goes way beyond personal morals and ethics. Those are always important. But I just do not see how the wealth and income shift from low to high, which we all recognize and acknowledge exists, can be blamed SOLELY on personal actions. Nor do I see how it can be solved by personal actions alone. From my perspective, it is a big national statistic, and it requires a big national response.
      ===
      It’s late. I could ramble on longer, but I won’t tonight. I hope the above has clarified my perspective somewhat.

      • Peter says:

        That’s all fair….. However, I don’t see this as a Democrat/Republican issue. Nor do I see that raising taxes on the wealthy even further and giving the government more money is the solution either.

        In theory, the government having more funds to throw at the problem and more regulations on industries that can submarine the economy seems like a logical step to take. However, the devil is in the details – and in the execution of these programs. The government has proven time and time again that it cannot manage these things efficiently – and effectively solve the problem without waste, inefficiencies and political favoritism.

        There are a couple of ways out of this…. My hope is that we have more effective leadership in government than we have had the past few decades. Through campaign finance reform and greater restrictions on lobbyists, we may actually be able to pass policy that helps the people rather than big business or donors. I do think the election of Trump is a start … having an outsider who can shake up the traditional system may end up being a good thing. (Optimistic I know…)

        We can also incentivize private industry to do what we want them to do – to reinvest their available cash into jobs and bring job opportunities back to America. We can also incentivize training and apprenticeships.

        But these are mountains to move….to change the culture of Washington or corporate America requires such a sea change that at best will take generations to occur. Therefore, each individual in our nation must look in the mirror and start taking steps in their own lives to improve their situation. I continue to maintain that the pathways to success still exist. Anyone who is waiting for our government or big business to clear the path for them – or even improve it – will be quite disappointed. The largest immediate impact someone can have to improve “their own income disparity” is by working harder, smarter, practicing SWEAR, etc. – all the while continuing to speak out against lobbyists, politicians doing what big donors want rather than what is good for the people, inefficient policy and regulations, etc. That will help, but it will be a slow grind. And just giving the same organization that got us in this situation even more money seems very foolish.

      • Peter says:

        Excellent post by the way….very non-partisan way to state your concerns and perspective.

        • Big Data says:

          Thanks.

          • Stevendad says:

            BD: Wow, the first nonblaming post you’ve made in ages. Re: education: Again, when talking about pouring money down a rabbit hole for an art major and expecting economic reward is a personal choice and personal risk, reduce controlling regulation that raise student debt by increasing college costs, discouraging use of Federal funds for non research infrastructure and increasing benefits to students (again I received what are now Pell grants), free community college and state colleges for the poor (as it is in OK, income limit $50k for family w/ 2 dependents), limit nontaxable status on college endowments to something like $1 billion, encouraging money to go towards students. Sounds like Bernie! Re: government: I have over and over argued for efficient use of taxes rather than more income taxes: reward rather than punish efficiency in the bureaucracy, make agencies justify ALL their budgets rather than just increases, strengthen anti lobbying efforts, etc. Re: taxes. I’ve proposed several other taxes more fair (IMHO) such as: taxing those who pay NOTHING by working outside the system (and often get therefore undeserved benefits), ending Walmart/Starbucks/etc subsidies making up for govt benefits due to their low wages, taxing non-real estate business assets and financial instruments like us saps pay real estate taxes. Remove some impediments to small business: Dodd Frank safe harbors, reducing regulation in general on small business, expensing equipment at purchase, allowing inventory exclusions to build inventories without paying taxes until sold, etc. Re: debt. Reduce the govt deficit / then debt as possible to quit being the MAJOR competitor for capital against business, quit supporting in an outsized way all the militaries, world government, etc. Figure out some kind of immigration system and not the mass chaos we have now.

            And of course, for individuals, SWEAR and other forms of personal responsibility, participate in stockholder meetings and hold mutual funds, endowments and retirement administrators to,reduce excessive CEO compensation. I don’t see how the Snidley Whiplash characterization fits ANY of this.

    • Big Data says:

      P&S,
      Again, to start with things we agree on: Peter you mentioned incentives to business again, and I agree that is very important. I think we have been incentivizing businesses to harm the economy in various ways, and we need to change that. And of course we are on the same page about reforming lobbyists and campaign money, and getting big business and billionaire money away from buying influence. Stevendad, you mentioned a whole list of things, most of which I won’t comment on because I don’t have a strong opinion on or don’t have background to critique. I have a few nit-pick critiques I may address later… But for now, I will just say Oklahoma does seem to have a progressive community college program that other states could learn from. And it’s good that you are thinking about adding and restructuring ladders because it seems to me we have a shortage.
      ===
      Peter, you tried to hold back, but your anti-government rhetoric still slips through. […just giving the same organization that got us in this situation even more money seems very foolish.] That’s OK, but let me comment on that a bit.
      ===
      In addressing the future, and avoiding the pitfalls of the past, there are a couple of recurring and dominant perspectives to consider. One perspective is that government is the great Satan: incompetent, inefficient, wasting money and passing laws that make everything worse. If that is the case, then the solution is a smaller, constrained, weaker government that leaves everybody alone, allowing society and business and the markets to function in a less regulated environment. Another view is that big Business is the great Satan, and that they have infested and taken over government, buying the loyalties of legislators, passing laws which are for the benefit of business owners and investors but which put average workers and citizens at financial disadvantage. If that is the case, then we need a stronger, better funded, and more independent government which does not depend on business control and donations, and which will pass laws that constrain the worst impulses of business and finance, and incentivize practices more favorable to US workers and society.
      ===
      There are problems with both views. The problem with Government as Satan is that it demonizes a necessary institution that we claim to be proud of. How can you love our country and its historical origins without revering the unique and enduring institution which our founders built? Government may be messy, inefficient, and expensive, but it is necessary. How big or little it should be has always been a point of contention, but size alone is not a measure of its usefulness or effectiveness. The primary goal should not be to make it bigger or smaller, but better. And better means that it should serve the people, all of the people. It should look after the interests of business and workers, because we need both. It should concern itself with transportation and banking and infrastructure and clean air and water because infrastructure and basic resources tie the country together. It should concern itself with the health and education of the nation because the country is more than just a big resource for businesses to make money; it is the home of its citizens and thus the quality of life here should be protected and enriched. We can debate and disagree how those responsibilities are divided between national and state and city governments, but these broad areas of concern should be covered, regardless.
      ===
      If very small and weak government were the best answer, then we would find that unregulated, or lightly regulated, businesses and banks would tend to produce a universally prosperous society. Sadly, that has not proved to be the case. History has shown us that businesses, as a general rule, will seek to extract as much work for as little pay as possible from as many workers as possible. This is truer as businesses get bigger and the owners are more removed from customers and common workers. This should not surprise us. We should remember that 40 hour work weeks, overtime pay, restrictions on child labor, mandatory lunch breaks and paid 15 minute breaks (for “non-exempt” employees), minimum wage, and equal employment rules to avoid discrimination by gender, religion, or race, were NOT granted by generosity of the business community, but were each hard-fought victories that business opposed and that government enforces. Government that is too small and weak would not be able to enact and enforce such beneficial laws.
      ===
      But Business is not Satan either. The problem with portraying Business as Satan is that we need that institution also, and it is beneficial. Capitalism has been the economic partner of our Democratic Republic since its founding. At its best, it harnesses the negative impulses of humanity (greed, self-interest, envy) and transforms them into products, prosperity and satisfaction. If Business is attacked and minimized and over regulated and treated as an evil force, its profits and productivity suffer and we all suffer. Conversely, if Business is let loose to be virtually unregulated it seeks to fulfill its goal which is to maximize the bottom line and the profits going to investors, and it has no concerns for society. But we must always recognize that concern for society is not the function of Business and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes big businesses consciously give back to the community or individual business owners are also great community leaders. But, as a conservative friend of mine told me, Capitalism is not immoral, but it is amoral. Its goal is to maximize income within whatever laws and rules it is given and on the whole, it will always try to bend those rules to its advantage. We just need to recognize that in our expectations.
      ===
      So it is not very useful to be overly harsh in our views of Government or Business. We require both. However, in order to keep our country prosperous, we need to recognize the potential for harm in each.
      ===
      Government can become TOO bureaucratic, expansive, expensive, and intrusive. Inefficiency and corruption and outside influence are perpetual concerns. The solution is to elect the best people we can, demand accountability and honesty from our government, and alternate leadership between opposing parties so that the worst instincts of each do not dominate.
      ===
      Business, by its very nature is simultaneously constructive and destructive. The business produces a product or service which society presumably wants or needs, but it simultaneously seeks to destroy opposing businesses providing the same services. Our hope is that the competition yields the best and most efficient and desirable businesses as winners, though that is not always the case. Business’ biggest weakness is that it very often becomes a battleground between workers and management; a battle in which management has the natural advantage. And no matter how generous the business owner or manager believes himself to be, businesses are in competition to make money, and so businesses naturally and necessarily suppress employee pay to keep costs down and the bottom line strong. Self-interest of the owners and investors allows management pay and investor returns to rise however, as that expense is a smaller percentage of corporate income, no matter (almost) how high the pay or return. As such, it is the natural order of successful business, barring interfering forces like unions or imposed economic incentives, that income disparity in companies will increase as the profits rise and/or the overall size of the business grows. The solutions to counter this gravitational business force that pushes money to the top are many, but none of them easy, and no single solution is a silver bullet. Some involve new competition from fresh businesses (though this becomes more difficult as old businesses merge and grow). Most solutions involve government regulation or taxation or other intrusion. And Business will fight them all.
      ===
      So, after all of the above, let’s come back to the thought: “Just giving the same organization that got us in this situation even more money seems very foolish.” I guess that all depends on which organization you believe that to be. Did Business (and Finance) get us on into hot water by taking over government and bending rules to its advantage, ultimately driving up risk, depriving the majority of citizens of incoming profits and capital, and destabilizing the economy? If so, perhaps we should deprive Big Business and Finance (and their managers/investors) of such high percentages of our nation’s income and capital. Or did Government get us into hot water by spending tax revenues on unnecessary and inefficient projects? If so, perhaps we should cut those projects that are unnecessary or improve those that are inefficient.
      ===
      Perhaps the answer is all of the above. Then the disagreements arise from how much to cut and from what, how much to tax and of whom. I don’t think I want to jump into those details here. We all know each other’s views. I would only like to summarize my perspective in saying that IF our nation has suffered longterm economic upset and imbalance from which we need to recover, then we will need to make changes in our economy beyond individual improvements, and those national changes will be temporarily favorable to some and unfavorable to others, with the goal that they should be favorable and prosperous to us all in the long term. It does seem to me, that if there are some who must be temporarily inconvenienced with an increased economic burden in the short term, it should not be those classes and individuals who have already been the most economically disadvantaged and deprived over the last 35 years.

      • Peter says:

        I don’t think either are Satan. Just like you said earlier – nothing is all bad or all good. In fact like I have said many times – the reason I make so much money is largely due to our government. So it is good in that respect. :). But there are strengths and weaknesses to both, as I have pointed out. Government has gone further than its strengths in recent years in my opinion.

      • Peter says:

        And I think we are all going to be temporarily inconvenienced. The promises made to our poorest citizens are promises we just can’t keep. We owe it to them to replace, revise and reform these programs so they don’t go away completely.

        • Stevendad says:

          Well said BD. I agree on what you say that both have “Satanic ” (to use your metaphor) elements that need to be reined in. At this point I think government is further out of its reins is all. We must remember the duality of our world. The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are BOTH right in many ways. This feels like a real breakthrough BD. You have clearly seen both sides. I try to see both as well and often seem aligned to the right more than I am to counter your leanings. Regardless of all this, if we don’t turn back the debt curve we’re all screwed. So, I’m opposed to rolling back individual taxes and pro bringing corporate taxes in line with the rest of the world. We must remain competitive. And of course have my own pet taxes and cuts.

  • Henry says:

    Not sure why I posted as Henry.

  • Henry says:

    Just had to pop in here again to see if this whole thing was still going and not surprised to see big data here still clinging to his liberal views! And peter still here too. How many years have you all been trying to break through big data’s fort knox level closed mind? I had been thinking of this dialogue as I watch the news lately. More and more people like big Data digging in their heels everywhere you look. Not a good thing.

  • Stevendad says:

    BD each post you make becomes more separated from reality. So let’s see: here is the person who’s never been poor, has minimal ongoing or previous contact with the poor, has never owned his own business telling businessmen (via legislation) how to open up and bend their business plans to benefit the poor. Your thoughts are the height of arrogance. You need to quit reading all the liberal crap that you have put into your head and start thinking with your mind. My point, once again, which you don’t seem to get, is that there are plenty of paths for people to get wealth or at least to the middle-class. However they have to take them. I do not have a superior wisdom that you have to tell people how to live. Once again, many people choose either purposely because they don’t value money or through very poor decisions over and over and over again not to have these pathways. It is only through your superior wisdom that you have the ability to tell them how to live. You are so arrogant you don’t even know that you’re arrogant. I gave a very minimalistic example of how someone could achieve relative wealth working a minimum wage job and an extra job eight hours a week. Maybe that’s difficult, but it is doable. Hopefully, someone will actually advance at some point along the way so they do better than minimum wage. However, I don’t think it’s the responsibility of society to enable people who don’t plan, save or give effort to achieve middle class. You need to wrap your mind around the $70 grand a year assembly job is by and large a thing of the past. This is almost all due to the Globalism you Lefties Love so much. Lefties also have hurt through Dodd Frank, Obamacare and other anti small buy programs. Of course, you’re to blind to see this.

    Certainly we can forgive mistakes and you must admit this society is very generous and allowing this to happen. And of course again I have to defer to your superior wisdom as a liberal that this is not enough. I recently told my son the keys to having the good work career. It is three simple rules: 1. show up on time. 2. do what you’re told. 3. don’jt gripe. That’s really all it takes. Add that to SWEAR and you’ll do well. In my experience as an employer, I find these uncommon and extremely valuable and lead to advancementin position and power. But again I defer to your superior knowledge via Liberal tenets and slanted research.

    • Peter says:

      Like Gary Johnson (a fellow business owner) said during his fledgling presidential campaign….. “Having had my own business, having had a thousand employees at one point, we had to have people that showed up, wore clean clothes, and you know, on top of that, a few of them could add and subtract and a few of them could say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Those were people that had my job” It’s not nearly the horror show that the liberal propaganda has made you think it is. And you deny every ounce of evidence that disagrees with you.

      • Stevendad says:

        As I’ve said before, as an employer, when they met those 3 things (of course they had to have required training) I paid them 125 to 150% of market wages because it was GOOD FOR ME AND THEM.

        • Peter says:

          Right – and in my argument with BD about hiring apprentices, what he doesn’t realize is that when we do find the qualified candidate, we DO pay more than the entry level wage. My assistant that fits that mold has already seen a 50% pay raise in 18 months. It’s just that there aren’t enough willing, qualified candidates who see the big picture and are willing to work and be paid based on performance.

          • Stevendad says:

            My formula was hire at market wage, after about 6 weeks give a 20 % raise and make it hurt to quit if they do the “3 things” and fit in. If not, come to a mutual decision to move on. We ended up with a smaller, overall cheaper ( fewer employees at a higher wage), more efficient and team oriented work force that kicked a** in productivity.

          • Peter says:

            Sounds like a completely solid real world way to do things. And truly gives EVERYONE an opportunity while mitigating employer risk. In our business it is hard to fire someone after they have been employees for a while. TONS of regulations and such.

    • 8Big Data says:

      It amazes me that you work so hard to ignore simple facts. You blame me for trying to open your eyes. Im not telling anybody to do anything but I am encouraging you to think logically. You are saying people can improve themselves and reach the next platform of income and success. Fine. Thats true. I am saying that all of the platforms except the vey top have been lowered. That is also true. And THEREFORE we have made it harder THROUGH POLICY for MOST people to reach the same levels of success as past generations. Data supports this. All of your polls, personal observations, conversations, and speculations do not counter the data. Just face reality. High income didparity is bad for the country and there are things we can do about it that are more expedient and effective than preaching morality acronyms, even though those are good advice for individuals.
      ===
      And when did globalism stop being a right wing policy? And how have the extraordinary successes of Obamacare insuring more poor people hurt the poor? You are making things up out of thin air.

      • Peter says:

        There is ZERO proof that government policy has made it harder for people to reach the same levels of success as in the past. You have made that connection. Plus, I think you connect it with the wrong policies. I think the Common Core standards of care in our education system for instance have had a greater impact than taxation of the rich. The millions of experiences Stevendad and I and others have had do not counteract data – they counteract the cause-and-effect lines your liberal agenda has drawn.

        • Big Data says:

          I’m concerned about excessive standards testing and the resulting loss of freedom for teachers subjects more creatively and broadly. But I am also a little confused about the demonization of Common Core. I am neither strongly for or against it, but my understanding is that it began as a shared project between governors of several states to assure some commonality in curriculums. I can see how this would be helpful as students so frequently move across districts or across state lines as their parents move. It is not “ObamaCore” as some have branded it. It is not a national standard at all. So what do you find in it that is so offensive?

          • Big Data says:

            Typo correction:
            I’m concerned about excessive standards testing and the resulting loss of freedom for teachers TO TEACH subjects more creatively and broadly.

      • Stevendad says:

        Obamacare was specifically damaging to almost all small businesses. No question to any reasonable person. Not made up out of “thin air”. Still say most income inequality in Dem counties (Hillary voters). I’m not a statistician, but eye balling it at least a 75 % correlation. Check a few Gini maps side by side with Hillary county maps. Again, raise local / state taxes to 50% foes all I care. Leave the rest of us alone.

        • Stevendad says:

          Globalism is part of the rejection of the working class by Dem party that cost them this election. Trump embraced them and won. I still feel my party was sucked in by the charisma and consummate politics of BO, believing their policies won and not him. Now that he is gone they are left with only one choice: move Right or die. Unfortunately, they will move Left. That is when the Moderates like me try to pick up the ashes and reconstruct the Truman / JFK / Clinton (Bill not Hill) party.

          • Big Data says:

            Globalism was the Democrats attempt (left over from the 90’s) to shift to the RIGHT, and be more centrist. In this election, the traditional Democratic voters rejected that approach. The TPP was negotiated by Obama but the policy was the darling of the Congressional Right. It is one of the issues that kept Hillary out of office even after she renounced it. That does not make it a Democrat issue. It is a right wing issue that has now been rejected by Democrat and RepubliTrump voters.

        • Big Data says:

          Your implication that voting democratic, or providing democratic leadership, somehow causes high income disparity is false logic. Where is high income disparity most likely to occur? In regions of big business; i.e. cities. Where are the most workers who are harmed by high income disparity? In cities. Who will these voters generally vote for? Democrats. (Neglect the anomalous 2016 election for the moment.) Why don’t cities enact policies that heavily tax and regulate their businesses to bring down high income disparity? Because they are in competition with every other city for the tax revenue derived from that business and they don’t want the businesses to leave.
          ===
          Voting Democrat does not produce high income disparity any more than voting Democrat creates tall buildings. There is a correlation, but it is almost meaningless.

          • Stevendad says:

            Perhaps, but you must admit they have complete direct control over it. Of course, some will vote with their feet. More fair than making the rest of us pay for it.

          • Big Data says:

            I must NOT admit what is not so, because cities do NOT have direct control over local income disparity. Such illusion of control is a mirage. If they try to control it by being harsher on businesses than the next town, the business moves to the next town. Cities depend upon businesses over which they have very little control, because the businesses are mobile, and more so today than in the past.

      • Stevendad says:

        BD: I can agree that platforms are higher for those NOT WILLING to sacrifice, but hey, I would have worked 80 hours a week for $10/hr tying rebar as a kid (was making $2.35/ hr then, about $7.50 per hour in today’s money. Remember, we couldn’t find Millenials to do this job AT ALL 6 years ago. The jobs are there for those willing to sacrifice and pay dues IMO. So I don’t so much disagree with your premise not as many make as much, but on I do on the CAUSES. You still haven’t proven the cause, only reported the results. You absolutely discount that this may be due to unwillingness to do “dirty jobs” or take difficult education (STEM vs ethnic studies/sociology/art appreciation, etc,etc) or sacrifice the now for the future. I see this all the time, even in my profession: punch a clock vs own the problem, do the bare minimum vs go the extra mile, live to work vs work to live. PROVE that those who do these difficult things fail and that those who are poor are there because of external forces and not repetitive mistakes, unwillingness to work hard and not sacrifice. I suspect both are at play, but it is clear I lean much more to the unwillingness to exploit vs absence of opportunities. Not sure there is any data to “prove” that.

  • Stevendad says:

    A reprise because I DO respect and appreciate both your opinions:
    This is our legislative process: take a problem, spin it to suit your needs, get money from lobbyists and fund raise about it, pass laws that sound like they may help but often overlap or can even worsen a problem and ALWAYS have unintended consequences.
    A bit cynical or totally accurate (or both). Hard for me to tell any more….

    • Big Data says:

      Stevendad, I would say it’s a little too cynical, and that is not just a partisan response. Here is the test. If you take just about anything and say it is all good or all bad, you are probably wrong. [I’m trying to think of exceptions, but there are not very many.] You just made a statement that says nothing good about the legislative process. So I have to say it must be wrong.

      It is true that laws sometimes do less good than they intend, and it is true that unintended consequences almost always come into play. But it is also true that the BEST legislation, designed carefully and thoughtfully, can do more good than harm, and can improve society.

      After all, our Constitution is not mush more than a really remarkable and positive piece of legislation.

  • Big Data says:

    moneyning spam alert.
    Above is french language ad for poker software. Please delete.

  • Big Data says:

    Moving discussion of risk-averse millennial to top. This was not exactly the data I was looking for, but it is helpful, and I think Peter, for one, will like it (analysis with uplifting counseling advice for millennial and millennial employers), so here it is.
    https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/Management-Blog/2015/06/Millennials-the-Risk-Averse-Generation

    • Big Data says:

      Peter, This might also help explain why you can’t get millennial interested in your job. They are averse to investing, so it makes sense they would be averse to advising others in investments or learning about the business of financial services. I have also read thatt millennial, more than previous generations, want jobs that they believe in, that make a difference to the world. The financial industry is widely believed by this generation to be responsible for the great recession, and so it has little appeal as a positive social force and may even be considered villainous.
      ==== From article ===
      “This generation is extremely risk-averse when it comes to investing, the survey finds, with only 12% of Millennials saying they would invest money in the market, with 28% saying long-term investing is a pathway to success.

      “They have a Depression Era mindset largely because they experienced market volatility and job security issues very early in their careers, or watched their parents experience them, and it has had a significant impact on their attitudes and behaviors,” UBS said in a release.
      ===
      http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2014/01/29/millennials-most-risk-averse-generation-since-depression-era.html

      • Peter says:

        I agree. They are very risk averse. Children of today are maturing much later, far less rebellious and independent than before. Some of it has to do with our parenting culture – and some of it is good and some is bad. Kids are less likely to have sex as teenagers or use drugs or drink….but they are also more likely to remain at home into their 20’s. This all contributes to why we have a much lower entrepreneurial spirit in this generation as well.

        • Stevendad says:

          Living at home is the best opportunity to SWEAR by the way.

        • Big Data says:

          Parenting culture is a contributor, but the economic downturn, including costs of college loans, seems a more likely major cause. The economic squeeze on the middle class has lessened the ability of this generation to become independent, and has increased their own debt, and that all contributes to them staying at home and being more cautious.

          • Peter says:

            Yeah it certainly isn’t THEIR fault.

          • 8Big Data says:

            Typical right wing response. Explain to me how the economic meltdown and collapse of the job market just as they graduated high school or college was the millennials’ fault.

          • Peter says:

            LOL – I enjoy getting called right-wing every time I disagree with you. A rare thing to be called for an pro-choice atheist who wants legalized drugs and gambling. Or from someone who is very anti-war and wants us to reduce the size of the military and move out of the majority of conflicts we are involved in. I’m so right-wing it’s crazy! Maybe if you quit putting people in boxes – or got out of the ridiculously limiting box you yourself reside in – you might learn something.

            If you think what we have gone through in the last 10 years was an “economic meltdown” or a “job market collapse” then you are even more ignorant of economics and economic history than I thought.

          • Peter says:

            And before you correct me…. YES I know we went through a deep recession in 2008. And yes I know unemployment rates rose to over 10% at a point. But the superlatives you used are a bit much….and to blame an entire generation’s malaise on unemployment going from 4% to 10% or on something like college loan costs while ignoring cultural changes, our education system and a whole host of other factors is naive and politically convenient. I do however agree with the last part of your prior post – more millennials, particularly in metropolitan areas are living at home after college for affordability reasons. This is a good thing as Stevendad says, makes it easier to practice SWEAR.

          • 8Big Data says:

            Peter, you are a social liberal but clearly an economic and anti goverment right winger, whether you want to call yourself that or not.

          • Henry says:

            I suppose my economic philosophy more often lines up with the “right wing” but I definitely don’t agree with all of the spending that the right keeps doing – particularly on defense/military. I also would stop short of saying I am anti-government since I have been so intricately involved with government in my career and that it has been such a large part of my success. There are parts of government I have great respect and use for – and others that are largely useless or beyond the bounds of what I think government should do. I really don’t think this is right or left wing at all.

  • Peter says:

    Just to bring this to the top…. Media bias isn’t as transparent or banal as not giving fair time to “the earth is flat” people. It is refusing to cover Trump’s rallies with the cameras showing the crowds, then showing a rally from the other side with camera angles that exaggerate crowd size. It is mentioning Trump in a story about tennis players flaming each other online. It is the disrespect they show to dissenting opinions – and things like building the wall, repealing Obamacare, enforcing immigration, tax policies, etc. are not the equivalent of saying the earth is flat. The media has a strong power to create a narrative – and to say CNN/Anderson Cooper isn’t doing so is to have on blinders.

    I watched Cooper and Cuomo interview Hillary Clinton and Trump several times during the election and just the general demeanor of the interviewer and the way questions were framed made it completely obvious where they leaned. And this conclusion is coming from someone who is not part of either party.

    • Peter says:

      ANOTHER great example. CNN has a headline today that says “Most Americans Don’t Benefit From Dow 20,000”. The article then uses a gas station worker as an example to show how they aren’t participating in the stock market gains.

      I follow this closely, so I know – stock market gains have been covered over the last 8 years with a much different tone. Just look at this article: http://money.cnn.com/2014/12/23/investing/stocks-markets-dow-18000/

      This was when the Dow cracked 18,000 under Obama’s watch. There is even a picture of champagne glasses. Guess they didn’t feel the need to paint this as only for a select few then…..

      • Stevendad says:

        This headline is completely different from: “most people don’t save enough to invest and profit from our growing (could be better) economy”. I fully believe young people should be taught how to save, budget, invest, write a check, etc. Instead of personal finance my state requires plane geometry in high schools which I suspect <10% will use. This makes me wonder if there is a conspiracy by lenders to keep the people poor, but in starting to sound like BD!

        • Peter says:

          It could be….. do the politicians from either party really want to improve the lot of the poor? Or just keep them poor so they will rely on the government and be more likely to vote. Easier to control the masses. But yeah – we sounding a bit like conspiracy theorists here. Eventually people do realize that the government isn’t going to help you – that you have to do it yourself.

          • Stevendad says:

            Globalism is part of the rejection of the working class by Dem party that cost them this election. Trump embraced them and won. I still feel my party was sucked in by the charisma and consummate politics of BO, believing their policies won and not him. Now that he is gone they are left with only one choice: move Right or die. Unfortunately, they will move Left. That is when the Moderates like me try to pick up the ashes and reconstruct the Truman / JFK / Clinton (Bill not Hill) party.

    • Big Data says:

      There is some truth to your assertion that news organizations and individual newscasters exert a bias. In many cases the bias is “honest”, meaning the reporters think they are reporting fairly but their personal bias shows through. Some news organizations have shown flagrant bias, such as when Roger Ailes used to send down memos about precisely how certain news must be reported on Fox (e.g. “Any news story on global warming must include the statement that the conclusions of climate science are in dispute.”) I don’t know about the crowd size filming at Trump rallies since I never watched them, but reporters are people too, and Trump’s active disrespect of the media surely helped invoke disrespect and lack of cooperation from the other side. Reporters are just people after all. Did Fox show the crowd size?
      I think the biggest biases are city vs rural, which play into a left/right bias as politics seems to separate that way. Perhaps news organizations should attempt to understand the rural populations better?
      I have to note that the AP did no favors to Hillary regarding their dishonest and sensationalist-slanted tweet and story about Clinton Foundation donors she met with. By limiting the statistics of the 2500+ meetings she had while secretary of state (and often with multiple people per meeting) to a discussion of 85 of the 154 private citizens she met with who were donors, they inflated a minor statistic into something dramatic. And the reporting on this story typically failed to explain that Foundation donations never went to the Clintons themselves. The supposedly liberal media similarly allowed Al Gore and Bill Clinton to be pummeled in the news during their campaigns and time in office. If the media has a liberal agenda, they are pretty incompetent at carrying it out.

      • Peter says:

        A typical “through the eyes of a liberal” point of view. The same thing with conservatives who will tell you that Fox is the only channel reporting the “truth”. When reporting on candidates during an election cycle it is a little more overt….the Dow example I gave is an example of the more subliminal bias.

        • Big Data says:

          Or …
          When the economy was struggling, the rising stock market was a sign of recovery. Now that unemployment is low and the overall economy is stronger, but high income and wealth disparity are still present, the rising stock market is just a reminder that the wealthy are prospering while the rest are just getting by or in slow recovery, or even in decline. A conservative will see that change in reporting as subliminal bias. Others will see it as a fair shift of perspective played against the changing economic landscape.
          ===
          The problem is that I will see biases against liberal viewpoints that you will never even notice, and you will see biases against conservative viewpoints that I will never notice. So we both see biases against our own side and we are both correct.
          ===
          I have been having arguments and discussions about media bias with a conservative buddy of mine for years. We finally met in the middle. I conceded that there is a lot more unintentional liberal bias in major media than I had noticed before, and he conceded that there was a lot less intentional liberal bias overall than he had initially claimed. We both agree Fox is mostly crap.
          ===
          I am a lot less concerned as to whether there exists some honest bias or not. Everyone can search out there own favorite new analysts. I am a lot more concerned as to whether I am getting misinformation based on intentional bias, or even out and out lies. I can deal with bias. I am more interested in getting facts, accurate data, and insightful analysis. For instance: There are commentators on MSNBC I don’t like very much because they apply too much spin, but Rachel Maddow is great because she always is ACCURATE. She does research which provides deeper perspective. She has a clear bias and opinion. But she can interview people with differing perspectives and treat them respectfully, and she always asks the experts if she has gotten the facts right. There are also conservative writers who similarly have a clear right-wing perspective but provide facts and insightful analysis within that viewpoint.
          ===
          We can argue all day about media bias but it is really hard to analyze from within our own personal biases. I would rather focus on the facts that are out there and which are being reported by earnestly biased reporters on both political sides, and to winnow away the lies that the less honest or more lazy news sources coat their stories in.

          • Peter says:

            A rising stock market is a rising stock market. It means the same regardless. Any other additional “context” is 100% political spin.

            I’m not saying by the way that the media is lying. I’m just saying they report things in a way that is convenient for their political narrative. It is true that some Mexicans are sneaking under fences to get here illegally. That is a fact. But it is rampant? Is it a problem? That’s an opinion or judgment call. They also shape the narrative by the omission of stories entirely or by the way they frame the question. Asking Hillary Clinton “so, do you think this email issue is FINALLY going to be put to rest?” is a slanted question that confirms with the viewer at home that there is “nothing to see here” with her emails and we should all move on. Technically not a lie – but a way to ask the question to pass judgment on a situation. If then a Fox reporter says “Hillary Clinton, who has been bathed in scandal over the past few years…..” they are doing the same thing. Not technically a lie – but framing the discussion.

  • Big Data says:

    It keeps coming up, so let’s talk about the problem of the baker and the gay wedding. Yes of course I can see the possibility of conflicting rights. I can also see the parallels to civil rights of blacks. There used to be claims about people having religious beliefs regarding separation of races or inferiority of blacks. Should we permit bakers or taxicabs or hotels or restaurants to deny services to blacks because of such ‘religious’ beliefs? People used to think so. Some still do. Most in USA do not, anymore.
    How is that different than serving gay or LGBT people? It is hard to justify such discrimination against them if you also believe they are born gay, just as people are born with their skin color. But, to go beyond the usual discussion, even if you believe being gay is a moral choice and not genetic or psychological characteristic, do we generally approve of blocking societal services to people based on legal choices due to differences in faith or morality? Should we allow restaurants to block serviceto Catholics, or abortionists, or people who voted a way we dont like, or who look like they might be foreign? No, not generally. Again, stepping beyond the typical discussion, my personal belief is that people should not be expected to provide service in which they must participate directly and for an extended period of time in ceremonies or social situations which conflict with their religion. By my own standard, a baker still has to bake a cake for anyone who comes in his shop. A photographer or cab drivel or hotelier has to provide service to anyone. A caterer or wedding photographer, or wedding planner, however, should be able to decline providing their services to gay wedding because they become intimately involved in a ceremony to which they object. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, do not have the right to deny service to people seeking legal medicines such as birth control or legal medical treatment such as blood transfusions, or abortion solely on religious ground. This goes beyond social ceremony and moves to health care which is an essential service.
    I have not seen this specific balance of views expressed elsewhere and it may not be completely fleshed out, but it seems to me a reasonable compromise and accommodation.

    • Peter says:

      This is a gray area….doctors and bakers are two different things. Discriminating against religious beliefs starts to get very slippery. Even though I think ALL religion is nonsense, freedom of religion is a key part of our society. I generally agree with how you have separated this, but it is very, very difficult to enforce.

      For instance, let’s hypothetically say in my practice dealing with Indian people has constantly proven to be a waste of time. They are stereotypically and culturally high-maintenance clients who demand a lot from you and pay the least. As a small business owner, I am concerned about the capacity of my business so I only add about 10-15 new clients a year. If I have an Indian prospect, I may be less likely to pursue that relationship due to my prejudices. And I may be wrong – this particularly Indian couple might be fabulous and the exception.

      Where am I going with this? How can we ask the government to legislate this? If I just don’t return calls of any Indian looking for my services, should the Feds come lock me up? Practically speaking, how does this work? I don’t think you are going to arrest the baker, or hold a gun to his head making him make a gay wedding cake.

      • Peter says:

        And the larger point Stevendad was saying is that we must respect everyone’s rights. And the right to observe religious beliefs is part of the constitution even if we think their religion is discriminatory and stupid. This is a common theme in my posts – we can just dismiss and ignore people’s opinions because we don’t agree or think they are stupid (including Donald Trump). That’s what cost your team the election, by the way….

      • Big Data says:

        I’ve been thinking some more about this …
        I agree there is often difficulty in proving discrimination, but that, since freedom of religion is a bedrock principle of this country, we have to make an earnest effort to respect and accommodate all religious beliefs. It seems to me that this requires a certain amount of flexibility and compromise from everybody. If you are a baker, or accountant, or realtor, or cab driver, or run almost any kind of business, you should not be able to DECLARE discrimination based on religion, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. It may be hard to prove such discrimination if it is done silently, but the baker (for instance) should be willing, and required, to bake or sell a cake to anyone walking in the shop, and not be making ethical and moral judgements against customer behavior. It is no great burden for a baker to take a gay couple’s business, even if it involves putting two groom (or two bride) figurines on the cake and delivering the cake to the venue, and it seems to me a little ridiculous to claim a religious objection to refuse such business. Do they ask every couple if they had sex before marriage, and what type of sex, and would the baker refuse to bake a cake based on the answers and their alignment with the baker’s own religious mores?
        ===
        The one exception that seems valid is refusing to participate intimately (way beyond baking a cake or renting a tux) in planning or performing a ceremony such as a gay marriage which the business owner objects to for legitimate religious reasons. Even this is a slippery slope. Can a Christian wedding planner refuse to serve Muslims or Jews or Blacks? That doesn’t seem right.
        ===
        Also, while individuals MIGHT be able to have some limited religious objections, large companies and organizations generally should have no such right. Hobby Lobby should not be allowed to impose the religious mores of its owners on their employees. Pharmacy companies should have to guarantee that women can receive all their prescriptions promptly, even if the lone pharmacist on duty religiously objects to birth control pills. And while religious organizations (e.g. churches) should be free to practice their religious beliefs, I think that the community charities and organizations (like hospitals) they may establish that grow to a certain size, may need to compromise in serving the whole community over practicing religious purity. That means that even the religious hospitals may be required to have fully non-discriminatory hiring practices, perform medically necessary abortions, and allow their employees access to birth control via health plans. There are just some compromises we have to all make to live in the same community.

        • Stevendad says:

          I think we finally made some progress, at least you admit there’s more than one side to these issues. That’s all I’ve really been saying all along. I don’t pretend to be wise enough to decide whose rights are more important than others. By the way, religious-based hospitals are not required to do abortions.

          • Big Data says:

            I know that religious-based hospitals are not required to do abortions, even to the point that they endanger women’s lives when the miscarry begins naturally. This is wrong. Medical decisions should be medical and not religious. See example article:
            ===
            –Abortion ban linked to dangerous miscarriages at Catholic hospital, report claims–
            Five women suffered prolonged miscarriages, severe infections and emotional trauma at Mercy Health Partners when staff neglected patients’ health to uphold religious directives against inducing delivery, report reveals.

            The report squarely links these events to Mercy Health Partners’ Catholic sponsorship. In the US, hospitals that advertise themselves as Catholic must follow a set of medical directives written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All doctors working at the hospital must follow church teachings, regardless of their personal beliefs, and the hospital is responsible for instructing its staff on the directives.
            ===
            https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/18/michigan-catholic-hospital-women-miscarriage-abortion-mercy-health-partners
            ===
            I think this is gross miscarriage (sorry) of justice to have Catholic hospitals, which may be the ONLY medical facility locally available, enacting their religious constraints on an entire community. This is not freedom of religion. It is imposition of religion on others, and therefore is the OPPOSITE of freedom of religion.

  • Stevendad says:

    Sorry about the typos. Dictated this just before work and was a bit short on time…

  • Stevendad says:

    BD: I’ve thought it through and can say this more succinctly: I need to prove nothing to you because I don’t support taking anything more from you. You on the other hand have to prove everything because you (the Left) want to take things from me at gunpoint (ultimately).

    • Big Data says:

      That is the most nonsensical post you have made. Think again.

      • Stevendad says:

        You are completely full of “nonsense”. I am not telling you to do anything . Therefore you need to prove your point. You (the Left) were trying to take money out of my pocket and limit my freedom. I need a good reason for doing so. I am affecting you in no way whatsoever.
        These are facts:
        So if I refuse to pay taxes then eventually it leads to some with a gun showing up at my door. This is irrefutable. You are a a blind fool of you think otherwise. FACT
        Leaving the status quo costs you nothing more than now. FACT
        Paying for your foolishness costs me more. FACT
        That’s why the onus is on you to prove its worth. You’re still not there after almost 5 years.
        The more facts you hear that don’t fit your narratives the more you dig in your heels. Typical Lefty, bring out insults or false accusations when you can’t stand up to the truth.

        Your answer in the CA, NY and Chicago taxes question was really lameand not thought out by the way.

      • Big Data says:

        If you are in a discussion and make an assertion, you should defend it. The possibility that you have benefitted from past policy and may suffer slightly from proposed policy has nothing to do with whether assertions should be defended and truth should be sought.
        ===
        My taxes are unlikely to change very much one way or the other. I’m getting nothing from you. I’m sort of at the tax and income fulcrum where my taxes are unlikely to increase or decrease much. I’m just trying to advocate for a better economic balance and an improved society.
        ===
        If you refuse to pay taxes, you are breaking the law. You are unlikely to get a gun at your door, but you will have to pay fines. OK maybe a gun, and jail, if you were to continue to be a criminal and not pay the fines.
        ===
        Lately, you are sounding pretty haughty and unreasonable, possibly because something in my recent posts offended you. I imagine you didn’t like that I think your attacks on the poor were attacks on the poor especially after you asserted you were not attacking the poor. I actually don’t think you are a bad guy. I’m guessing that, in those interviews with 70,000 people, you were doing your best to help them in their difficult situations. And I bet you were witness to a lot of poor decisions. What I am saying is that it was not a controlled and statistical research study, and your opinions derived from all of these conversations, while I’m sure they were very interesting and insightful, are not a statistical proof or indication about the economy or how the nature of poverty has evolved over the last 35 years, or its causes, or whether individuals or economic policies are more responsible. I have no doubt that some of the people you met were content in their “poverty of money and wealth in free time” while others were in desperate straits from their own poor decisions. I’m pretty sure you will have encountered some tragic situations as well, where people tried their best but became victims of external circumstance. Unless you are extraordinarily meticulous and entered all this data in a spreadsheet, I doubt you could give an accurate statistical summary of those and other categories. And if your primary assertions from your interviews are that poor people make bad decisions and many don’t want to climb the ladders, which are all plentiful and available for the climbing, then yes, I see that as attacking the poor, no matter how much you simultaneously are generous to them with your help. So, I respect your opinion, and I accept the existence of these people, but it ultimately does not refute my assertion that the economic benefits of our society have moved primarily from the middle class and poor to the rich and that it is generally inappropriate to assign blame and responsibility (as you certainly seemed to be doing in your posts) for that shift to the poor.
        ===
        I am often blunt and in a hurry to post, so please excuse my occasionally ungracious prose. My intent is not to provoke, but I do sometimes succumb to hasty language when you start assigning views and perspectives to me which I do not have. And you’ve been doing that a lot in your last few posts.

        • Peter says:

          It’s more important than even in the information age that we don’t let our eyes deceive us. Real life experiences carry far more weight to me than polls or what the news media tells me.

          A good example…. during the Iraq/Afghanistan war I would meet with many clients who had spent extensive time over there and they would tell me that – without a doubt – the Iraqi people were happy that we were there and that Afghanistan was a giant unwinnable mess. The media told a different story, but not one person I spoke to who had actually been there corroborated the media’s point of view. It’s one thing if I heard varying stories of the Afghan/Iraqi experience from people – but when they all say the same thing….that they witnessed from their own eyes…..I’m more inclined to believe them than some entertainer like Anderson Cooper, Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow who only reports what fits the narrative of their channel.

          The fact that you would dismiss 70,000 interviews Stevendad has had speaks volumes to the Orwellian groupthink that has hijacked your brain.

          • Big Data says:

            I did not dismiss Stevendad’s conversations or his singular examples. I dismissed the conclusion that the poor are primarily (a) content to be poor (b) too incompetent (c) or too lazy to climb ladders which are as plentiful as they ever were. And yes, in slightly milder language, that was basically all he said about the poor.
            ===
            I am not relying on polls or opinions, but on data and analysis by experienced researchers. Big difference. I don’t need a poll to to tell me that the real per capita GDP has doubled while the real minimum wage is down 25% since my first high school job. Or that college costs have skyrocketed. Or that high income disparity has moved 10 to 15% of the economy from the average Americans to the extraordinarily wealthy. I don’t need conversations with 70,000 people to know that the poor, and the middle, and the upper middle classes are getting a raw economic deal while the prosperous are taking home all the new winnings. And this conversation about how today’s poor are content to be poor and how the millennials are not entrepreneurial enough for the economy is just not convincing. For one thing, it does not explain the 30, 40 and 50 somethings who are struggling from years or decades with little economic gain, rising bills, and debts from the economic collapse. These are not the poor or the millennials. How do we blame them?
            ===
            About millennials and entrepreneurs: I was never an entrepreneur, but my millennial daughter is one. I don’t know where she got it. She is a photographer, and quite good and gets pretty good pay for her gigs, but not enough for a living. She also has a day job, but the photo work keeps her happy. And for the millennials I have met, that is typical. They want to work and be productive, but they want to enjoy it. Not slave unhappily for 3 or 20 years to be rich later, maybe.

          • Big Data says:

            “Orwellian groupthink”. Pretty funny. So what is it that has hijacked your brain? “Ayn-Randian pigheadedness”?

          • Big Data says:

            Sorry, that last comment was uncalled for. But frankly, so was yours.

          • Big Data says:

            As for Iraq, maybe you just have hopelessly biased memory of what you read in the media. I remember reading how Iraqis initially welcomed us there and were happy we were there. Even now, I just read a 2013 article in the Atlantic about how many Iraqis were glad Saddam is gone and are mostly disappointed in the failures of their own leaders. And I remember stories of US soldiers giving out candy to happy children when we first arrived.
            ===
            Yet I also read about the big change in attitude toward America due to Abu Ghraib, and the arguably disastrous decision by Bush and Rumsfeld to dismantle the Iraq military and apply de-Baathification broadly. This left a lot of unemployed folks with military experience … a bad policy.
            ===
            Maybe most all of the stories, especially the superficial ones, did portray the Iraqis as unhappy we were there from the outset. Maybe I am the one remembering it wrong. Or maybe I self select better and more accurate news stories, and I just naturally disregard the crap. Hard to say. You and I seem to get different information from the media.

          • Peter says:

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/phillip-martin/why-so-many-iraqis-hate-u_b_96330.html

            Just one example from a site I’m sure you’re familiar with.

          • Big Data says:

            OK, so in this 2008 article, one of the statements is: “A new BBC poll finds that the presence of US troops is still roundly opposed by 72% of Iraqis, but that is down by seven points from six months ago.” But you say that all of the people you knew who had spent time in Iraq/Afghanistan (presumably in this time period) said the people “over there” all wanted us there. So there is a discrepancy And you attribute the fact that a BBC poll disagrees with your third hand sampling of the population as a biased media? Really? You think your pseudo-random unscientific polling of people who happen to know people whom you happen to know is superior information to a actual real-live poll? Could there be ANY other explanation? I’m just guessing, but maybe your clients were talking primarily to upper class or businessmen or a geographic area with a different opinion than the norm. Or maybe the Afghans/Iraquis were being very polite to their American acquaintances. Or maybe any number of things. But maybe, just maybe, probably even, the BBC poll is correct, and then the whole article also makes sense in context. Far from proving how personal experience is superior to polls and data, I think you just proved that it is not.

        • Stevendad says:

          Fair enough, give me a table or poll or whatever about how much people’s misery is due to the unfair external business / Right wing / religious persecution and how much due to their own choices. I don’t think such data exists in any real way. That’s why I rely on pretty extensive experience.

          And as an experiment, stop paying all your taxes and see what happens in a couple of years. Don’t kid yourself, all government is ultimately by force.

          Again, NOT attacking the poor, just respecting their freedom to make choices, good or bad. You do not respect their freedom. You (the Left) wish to impose your vision of the world on them whether they want it or not.

          • Big Data says:

            Really stevendad, just recognize that economic conditions for poor and middle class are a little worse than when you started your career. Minimum wage is lower, unions are weaker, well-paying low and middle class career jobs are fewer, millions lost money and homes in the economic crash, and the rich and powerful have more of an advantage, which they have parlayed into a big shift of money from poor to rich. Sure there are lazy and unmotivated and stupid people and there always have been and always will be. And you met some of them. And they are all the poorer and worse off for their faults today because now they also have less money than ever, as do all of their better off cousins except for the really rich uncle who won’t share squat.
            ===
            I’m not discounting your conversations. I’m just saying that even if every single memory of every single lazy or stupid or unmotivated person you met is correct, it still has absolutely nothing to do with how the economy has changed to make the poor poorer and the rich richer. You can preach SWEAR and what a heavenly nation it would be if everybody improved themselves, and its a nice fantasy, but in reality, some people will take good advice and some won’t and the proportions of those populations has probably not changed much over time. If we want to fix the economy, we have to reverse the conditions that broke it in the first place. And that has a lot more to do undoing some damaging government policy than it does with hoping for some miraculous improvement in human nature.

          • Big Data says:

            “Again, NOT attacking the poor, just respecting their freedom to make choices, good or bad.”
            This is the caption for a cartoon showing Snidely Whiplash throwing the widow out of her hovel. As such, it would be some wickedly amusing satire. As a serious statement in a serious discussion, it is possibly one of the most disgusting and self-serving sentences I have heard. Do not presume to tell me that I am disrespecting people’s freedom by wanting people to get paid a fair wage or to have affordable college and not fear medical bankruptcy. Do not lecture me about allowing people “freedom” to be poor. You have said some smart things and some dumb things, but that is the dumbest.

          • Peter says:

            There is nothing offensive or wrong in that statement. Not everyone wants to be rich – or wants to put in the work it takes to be middle class or above. Not everyone wants to be fit with chiseled abs either. Not everyone wants to learn as much math, science, literature as possible. People have choices which is what makes our country great.

          • Big Data says:

            There is nothing offensive in pointing out that a few people are happy living on the cheap. There is great offense in pretending there is no need to reduce poverty or improve economy for middle class because “those other people” all probably prefer to be poor and in debt and it would be interfering with their “freedom” to give them an economic break. That’s what I meant.

  • Stevendad says:

    BD: you missed my whole point about the negative things the Left says. I’m typically replying to you,so it seems that I’m espousing only the views on the Right to you. However, it’s absolutely absolutely clear thar negative and ridiculous things are said on both sides. I feel much of the left and you seem to fall into that group ignore the things that they don’t want to see your hear. I’m still a centrist in most ways, and see both sides. All of the things you said about Trump have at least kernels of truth. Let’s just change the spelling of the word to dicoarse as all discourse is so blinded and angry. We have really reached the “kingdom of the blind awhere the one eyed man is king”because a fairly small number of people in the middle actually swing all the National elections. The other two groups can’t see any rational truth anymore.

  • Peter says:

    By the way …. it appears Trump is going to delay the rollout of the stupid DOL fiduciary rule I was railing about a few months ago. This is great news for the industry and love the idea that they are looking at some of these foolish regulations and how they might improve them.

    This will likely be spun that he is cutting regulations on Wall Street fat cats and hurting the small investor, but this couldn’t be more untrue. The DOL regulations are unique in that the DOL doesn’t have any ability to enforce them. They can only be litigated. Secondly, they simply double up on the already-existing investment advisor and CFP regulations – which many advisors are legally obligated to adhere to. The problem with these laws is they were drawn up ambiguously and by political people that don’t understand how our industry runs on a day-to-day basis. They were implemented to win votes – to make the people who are protesting in the streets feel like their government is attacking Wall Street. And as I said before, the irony was that the end result industry-wide was that the rules were so cumbersome and expensive that they were dumping clients …. and it wasn’t the millionaire clients that were getting dumped. Another rule that looks like it helps the common man while screwing them.

    Ego aside, I do hope that Trump’s outsider and business approach will continue to look at these regulations with a skeptical eye and eliminate ones from many industries that do nothing but create more red tape and overhead, slow down our economic growth, and slow down hiring and job growth as well. This will have to be done in the face of the media and the public who will cry in protest any time something is unwound, cancelled or reworked (ACA, TPP, NATO, Dodd-Frank, Social Security, etc…..the list goes on….).

    I have said for years that I wanted a President who would come in and cut the fat from Washington, regardless of the reaction from the uninformed public or the media. We all know Trump has many giant flaws both as a person and as a leader, but hopefully we at least get more of this from him. Killing this stupid fiduciary rule is a good start.

    • Stevendad says:

      This is our legislative process: take a problem, spin it to suit your needs, get money from lobbyists and fund raise about it, pass laws that sound like they may help but often overlap or can even worsen a problem and ALWAYS have unintended consequences.

    • Stevendad says:

      There are SO many vested interests now that the only way to unwind this madness is to p*ss off everybody. So far, I think he’s succeeding!

  • Stevendad says:

    As far as your comment about limited observations, I’ve held over 70,000 interviews of at least 15 minutes and often up to an hour. This is at least 10,000 different people. This is about many aspects of your life not just their health, although the two are most often intertwined.So I don’t consider my experience all that limited. How many of have interviewed? It’s fascinating see the evolution of tree hugging social workers coming to the hospital and working as a discharge planner and come out and some of the most cynical people you’ve ever seen. It is astounding how many people game and take advantage of the system. You seem to completely disregard this as an issue.

    Some of this, I must’ve admit is my own opinion based on observation of human nature, but your I frankly haven’t seen you disprove anything that I’ve said. I’m not sure how you can tell if people want to work more or less than in the past. Again I agree that there should be safety nets and ladders to success. I just feel their adequate now. I do not feel they should be eroded but also do not feel they should be increased. Then you’ll come out with some stupid statement like doctors keep patient safe keep treating them. That is so ludicrous I can’t even begin to address it. People are plenty capable of making their own mistakes for us to try to fix. Of course in your view of the world, they would only have very limited choices of food allowed by or given by the government that would give them your goal to better health. Perhaps that’s not their goal. Of course it’s frustrating when people don’t do what they need to do for their own health. However, I steadfastly believe it is their right to do what they want and my duty to do the best I can to dig them out of their situations when the time comes.

    My beliefs are simple: freedom, accountability, self responsibility in a framework of government that protects us, allows for transport and trade and gives modest guarantees of health, shelter and nutrition. You feel we should sacrifice freedom for increases in what the government provides. I do not attempt to prove or disprove the unprovable, simply point out my research and observations as to why I feel as I do.

    • Peter says:

      Well said. This is similar to what I have seen in my industry for 25 years (the financial industry)….

      First, in ridiculous over-regulation to protect the little guy from getting screwed over or taken advantage of. The result – increased fees, less hiring, and higher barriers to entry for “the little guy”. More specifically, because some people chose the most idiotic mortgage option that they couldn’t afford, it is now much harder for a normal family to get a traditional mortgage. Secondly, due to insane layers of “feel-good” red tape to protect the little guy, now firms can’t operate at full capacity and are forced to fire the “little guy” client.

      The second way I have seen it is on the interview front, like you have Stevendad. I make 7 figures, but started here in a “mentoring” position that paid $20k/year. We could barely survive in this expensive area – but I did it for 4 1/2 years before my income rose at all. I didn’t get paid hourly either – I worked 40-80 hours a week (it varied) for a very meager salary with the promise of opportunity and potential to make much more on my own. It’s an even rosier path now – the entry pay is higher and the road to success is more guaranteed (MANY older advisors looking to retire and pass along their businesses). Yet, it is practically impossible to fill these positions. Those that I have seen take these jobs are all making 6 figures at least 7-8 years later – but many still sit unfilled.

      Listen, we all want to believe in the beautiful nature of human beings. But we can’t be idealistic about this. The left loves to talk about the bubble that the right is in (denying climate change for instance). The left’s version of the bubble is that the majority of the people are making the right choices and have the right attitude, but the “man” is keeping them down. That somehow government can boost these people. All the government does is get in the way, or create more avenues/programs/loopholes for people to take advantage of. Teach a man to fish…..

      • Big Data says:

        So all the societal protections like preventing banks from gambling with other peoples money or banking capital requirements or rules against predatory lending are just feel good red tape. And the problem with bad mortgages was stupid people making poor choices and not predatory practices wherein customers were lied to, coersced, and where crappy mortgages were presented and marketed as the best or only option available. I experienced a light version of predatory lending in 1984, before it really got deep, and I almost got trapped by the bait and switchexcept that I knew and understood the terms. A more desperate buyer would have been easily caught. Freedom for the powerful to oppress the weak is not freedom.

      • Big Data says:

        Market solutions, peter. If you cant fill the job, raise the salary offer. The problem is not with the applicants.

        • Peter says:

          It’s not a “job” like working on an assembly line. It is an apprenticeship. I’ve tried to explain this many times. Trust me when I say the problem is with the applicants! Nobody wants a low paying, long hour job with huge upside at the end. This generation won’t take the risk. I’m not going to speculate any further as to why but you will find this across the board if you talk to other business owners.

          • Peter says:

            I don’t want to live in a society where we overpay people for the opportunity to learn from a successful entrepreneur and eventually be handed their business that took decades to build. What would you rather have –

            Job A – pays $50k/year with COLA increases every year and a set 40-hour work week

            Job B – pays $20k/year, rising $5k/year for first 3 years. No set hours. Ability to earn bonuses. Starting after year 3, begin earning a percentage of team revenue. Starts at 5% (of current $2 million in revenue), increasing incrementally over 10-20 years, eventually resulting in 50% partnership.

          • Big Data says:

            You are offering mcdonalds pay for a smart fast learning worker with financial and people skills? If you are willing to take a higb school graduate and sell it as an opportunity to get training and avoid paying for college, you might find someone. Otherwise it seems like a tough sell. You dont want someone who is not college capable, but most anyone with college debt wont take $20K per year. Just my opinion.

          • Peter says:

            It was what was offered to me 22 years ago. I chose job B.

          • Peter says:

            My career ended up not following that exact path but did find myself making 7 figures at 40. That would have never happened had i chosen job A.

          • Big Data says:

            The economy per capita has about doubled in 22 years and the financial sector has done even better. So i imagine that 20k job 22 years ago should be about equivalent to a 40 to 50k job now.

          • Peter says:

            Right – which is what it would pay today…..around $35-40k to be exact.

          • Big Data says:

            Anything less than 40k is a pay cut from your start pay, based on economic and industry growth. 45k is probably closer to parity since the financial industry has ballooned and is unlikely to grow as fast in next 22 yrs compared to last 22 yrs. Just my opinion.

          • Peter says:

            LOL. Just don’t get it

          • Big Data says:

            Besides you should not be pre-setting the income. The market should set it. Raise start pay until you get the qualified applicants you want. You’ll be happier with who you get.

          • Big Data says:

            And yes, i do get it. You think people are stupid for not jumping at a path that you took and profited well from. Could it possibly be, however, that you are undersetting the initial reward and overstating the upside that is likely starting in todays dollars and economy? Why are you so adamant to control the financial gauntlet of this potential new employee that you “dont want to live in a world” where you perceive them to suffer less than you did? Why do you avoid the huge upside to your own business of simply offering a start salary that is 10k higher to get a superior candidate? That is still offering less than 5% of your own income and a difference of less than 1% between an offer that attracts no one and an offer that will likely attract a great candidate. I get it. Do you?

          • Peter says:

            Not true at all. My larger point is that I have seen a sea change in attitudes of the younger generation of workers. Whether my industry or another, they are anecdotally less likely to take a high-risk, high-reward career path than prior generations. There is an impatience in this generation – (I refuse to call it entitlement) and when I am gathered with business people this is a common thread in the discussion. Next time I am in this conversation I’ll let them know that a super-liberal poster on an internet thread told me that this isn’t the case.

          • Peter says:

            This illuminates our core difference. I have ZERO political agenda. I don’t care who is President or which party is right or in power. I am just sharing experiences, trying to enlighten your limited world view. Dismiss this if you like, but much like the example (which you accept) of discrimination against black people, the overwhelming anecdotal evidence bears consideration.

          • Big Data says:

            Your recent post is more explanatory and helpful:
            [My larger point is that I have seen a sea change in attitudes of the younger generation of workers. Whether my industry or another, they are anecdotally less likely to take a high-risk, high-reward career path than prior generations. There is an impatience in this generation – (I refuse to call it entitlement) and when I am gathered with business people this is a common thread in the discussion.]
            OK, I accept that this is at least a common perception. And maybe there does exist a higher reluctance to take such high-risk opportunities. I will speculate, in a second post, about why this MIGHT be, and I would be interested to hear your thoughts on such speculation. (I don’t know how to support, with data, either your anecdotal assertion or my speculations, so I’ll have do diverge from data temporarily.)
            ===
            But first, I want to clarify that I am NOT attempting to claim superior knowledge about your business, but that I AM attempting to apply common principles about business and markets to the situation as you described it. From the necessarily simplified version of your hiring conundrum discussed here, it seems to me to be equivalent to a businessman selling a product. If the customers are not buying the product, it seems to me that the businessman has fairly limited but straightforward options: (a) change the price (b) change the product (c) change the marketing (d) all of the above (e) none of the above and blame the customer for not buying such a great product.
            ===
            From my perspective, it seems like you have chosen (e), which looks like like the worst and least profitable choice. Even if the market truly has changed over time (generation less likely to take high-risk jobs), shouldn’t the businessman adapt to the market and pick (a) through (d), and not insist the market bend to the demands and whims of the businessman?

          • Peter says:

            Again you relate everything to a manufacturing labor economy or to selling products or commodities…..that is where your lack of understanding hurts your argument. That’s not how much of our economy works in 2017.

          • Big Data says:

            You completely miss the analogy. It has nothing to do with manufacturing and everything to do with basic business and salesmanship which is perpetually relevant. When the market, in this case the generational attitudes and psychology, as well as the economic landscape, has changed from 22 years ago, and you are trying to sell a product, which in this case is a job and career opportunity at your company, it certainly seems like a good idea to adapt the offerred career path and starting income to the current market and not an obsolete one from your personal history. That is my point, and even though you are an obstinate old cuss, I know you are smart enough to at least recognize the validity of the argument. You may have a valid counter argument but manufacturing analogies would not be it.

          • Big Data says:

            Everytime you hear an argument you disagree with you get on this kick that I have a basic lack of understanding, rather than actually listening and addressing the argument at hand. It is a tiresome, insulting, and lazy response. I can be quoting a nobel prize winning economist and you will tell me I have a basic lack of understanding. You and I have different expertise, to be sure, and I attempt to respect yours. In this particular exchange, I am quoting elementary principles and I acknowledge that reality is often much more complex. But your denial of elementary principle is still inappropriate. From my experience, the expert sometimes gets too wrapped up in analytical minutiae and can forget the big picture. That is what I am trying to address. You are selling something. The customers are not buying. Is it better to change the offer or just blame the customers and lament that new customers are not like customers from the good old days? Pretty simple question really and yes it does apply and it is relevant. The exceptional condition I see is that you need just a few exceptional applicants, customers, and not a horde of product buyers. Ok but the question still applies. Wouldn’t it be better to fashion your job opportunity to millennials rather than complain they are not like you?

          • Peter says:

            Because you don’t understand. Nor do I expect you to. There is no way I’m going to just hand over the multi-million dollar business I spent long hours building to somebody for free. Sure, I could find someone to come in and split our revenue 50/50 with me right away if I wanted to….but how would that make sense?

            I don’t think I should “adapt” to a marketplace that wants something for nothing. You forgot option (f) which is to just not take on an apprentice and keep all the revenues for myself. Not a good thing for the job market – and a microcosm of the income disparity argument that started this whole discussion. So right now, I make 7 figures and have two assistants making around $90k and $50k with increases each year. If I could find a young apprentice to start transitioning the business, 5 years from now they would likely be making $100k-150k and I would be making less. 15 years from now we would both be making the same. Instead, I’ll keep pressing on as is and watch my income skyrocket with nobody to share it with.

          • Big Data says:

            There is a huge gap between forcing someone to run the precise economic gauntlet you ran 22 years ago and giving them something for free. For instance, you could hire a savvy degreed economics whiz for 50 to 60k, maybe even less, whom you could train in half the time of a 35k novice and who would be likely to be able to take a higher percentage of your workload sooner. Nothing in the assessments I saw of millennials indicated they were inferior workers, just less risk averse. And maybe impatient, as you said. So instead of looking for someone who is content to get on a poverty rung of the ladder and stay there for 3 years, you could instead get someone who is impatient and ready for a higher rung. Im just saying you could be more flexible. But you are unlikely to listen to any advice from me, so this is moot. It is highly likely that your competitors will start snapping up the savvy millennials though, so watch out.

          • Peter says:

            I am not alone in looking for these “savvy, patient, hard-working millenials” you speak of. There are many people in my industry in my situation and when we get together we all lament the inability to find these sorts of people. And we all go at it from different approaches. The success stories exist, but the point I’m making is that is like find a needle in a haystack to find someone who is both qualified and willing to take on the task of doing what we do for a living.

            One of these hard-working savvy millennials is one of my assistants – so they do exist. What I’m saying is that they are VERY, VERY rare.

    • Big Data says:

      If I had interviewed 70,000 people, I would probably form opinions based upon categorizing and grouping those interviews as well. I cant dispute your conclusions, nor can I vouch for them. People have biases and the well known principles of selective observation and selective memory are hard to overcome. Would a different interviewer with different biases asking different questions and recalling different details yield a different portrait of those same people. I dont know. And neither do you. Your observations are valuable but they are not proof.
      Poor people game the system. Con men and prople of low ethics of all incomes game the system Rich people game the system most profusely – not all rich people but the percentage that do have higher monetary impact than
      poor individuals.
      Two more points here:
      1) You tell me you don’t disparage the poor, and then you immediately tell me that poor people largely make bad decisions, many dont want to improve their lot, and all the ladders necessary for advancement are already in place. The implication is that poor people are in their position due to their own refusal or inability to advance. And you know all this from personal interviews. Good lord, if that isn’t disparaging the poor, I don’t know what is. Have you ever once claimed that conditions have gotten harder, that economic and societal rules may have changed to make their situation worse? Nope. All the tools are there. All the ladders exist. Nothing more to do. Oh, except impose a regressive excise tax on the poor to capture all that income they are not reporting. Can’t let them keep that.
      2) i dont feel we should sacrifice freedom. I feel that society is obliged to keep the most powerful from taking freedom away from everbody else.
      3) the doctor story was a one-off true story and not a generality. Let it go.

      • Stevendad says:

        No you are disparaging the choices of the poor who find other things than money of value. “Pot man” is a perfect example of this. The point of the unreported income thing is if their incomes are in fact perhaps as much as double. They really aren’t all that poor. If you double the median income of the lowest quintile in this country it’s over $40,000.you absolutely want to curtail freedom. Remember government is choices made by others and forced ultimately at the point of a gun.

        • Stevendad says:

          Enforced not forced. Of course start government does good things, but even you could admit there are things that go to far. For example, at one point the government imprisoned people for being gay. Do you think that was too far? The point is not that all government is good or all government is bad the point is that we have enough where we are. Adding “free” subsidies for college and “free “” childcare etc. etc. are all going need to be cut when the debt balloon explodes. Just like we have with Obamacare, you suddenly create millions of victims when you create an expectation that should be continued in the future. Again, I think we have enough expectations from the Government, more likely way too many. You do not recognize the fundamental difference between you and me you believe the government should take away freedom enforce things on people. I think the government should maintain as a substrata on which pond to build your own success. It will never be equal for all, but there are very few that have no opportunity. If they do have no opportunity, still get a very reliable safety net of free, albeit inefficient health care, free food and obtainable shelter.

          • Peter says:

            Agree as well. Well stated. Once we put some new program in place, we had better be able to support it long term or we will have serious unrest…. Think that is some of what the vitriol towards Trump is (or at least should be) – it is going to be painful and unpopular to unwind some of these foolish regulations and impossible-to-fund government programs.

          • Big Data says:

            The inconvenient truth most conservatives omit about Obamacare is that it was effective at extending the economic viability of Medicare and Medicaid by slowing growth of medical costs and getting more people on insurance. Sure, some people pay more. Guess what? There ain’t no free lunch. As a nation, we either spend less on medical care, and pay less, or we get everybody the care they need and pay more. And it would help to cut profits of big pharma. Trump is looking for the magic health policy and it isn’t there. Obamacare, if it were to be repaired rather than gutted, is our best hope.

          • Peter says:

            The larger problem is that the policy (ACA) was never meant to stay as it is anyway. It just became so overwhelmingly expensive, forcing the next administration to revise or replace. This type of politic has been going on for years (Bush tax cuts for example) where they set policy that cannot last, forcing the other “side” to be the “bad guy”. If we would actually write good policy that could last through administrations we wouldn’t have this nonsense.

          • Big Data says:

            Regarding your statement that the ACA “just became so overwhelmingly expensive, forcing the next administration to revise or replace.”
            That is the partisan position of the GOP, but should not be taken as necessarily true. Healthcare has become more expensive for some and less for others. Medicare viability has been extended. Healthcare costs have slowed. The tax increases have been manageable. The larger premium increases this year were not seen as a trend by analysts. If anything, the GOP is currently enacting and likely to enact policies that will degrade the viability of Obamacare and then claim that it was falling apart on its own. Not unlike damaging the rails, derailing the train, and then blaming the train. It remains to be seen whether they will improve anything, or instead revoke a good but imperfect solution and replace it with an expensive catastrophe.

          • Big Data says:

            One article:
            https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/04/21/obamacare-unheralded-success/montTA45UvggSgwA0Myd8K/story.html
            === From the article ===
            Six years after the ACA took effect, it has, perhaps more than any law passed in the previous five decades, narrowed income inequality, saved lives, and reduced financial anxiety. Imagine if the help it provides could be reproduced with paid sick leave and family leave policies, a higher minimum wage, or affordable child care.

            It’s a reminder that the tools are within our grasp to narrow the gap between rich and poor. All that’s lacking is more than one major political party that shares that goal.
            ===

          • Big Data says:

            Another:
            http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/medicare-is-not-bankrupt
            ===
            Medicare’s financing challenges would be much greater without the health reform law (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), which substantially improved the program’s financial outlook. Repealing the ACA, a course of action promoted by some who simultaneously claim that the program is approaching “bankruptcy,” would worsen Medicare’s financial situation.

        • Big Data says:

          I do not believe pot man represents all poor people. I do not believe that the working poor are content to be poor. I do not believe that working poor are content to work at jobs that still leave them dependent on food stamps because of low pay. I do not believe that most poor folks have the money to invest in superior education, nor the ability to start their own business. I do not believe that the majority of working age adults in the lowest quintile have the same levels of opportunity or paths to succeed as their counterparts 20 or 30 years ago. I believe that the costs and challenges of being poor have increased. I believe the poor suffer from declines in economic protections that leave them targeted by high bank fees, predatory lenders and real estate brokers, and easy access to unmanageable and unforgiving debt. I do not believe human nature has significantly changed in 30 years, and so I to not believe today’s poor are any lazier or less capable than those of decades past. Therefore the problem must be with policy and the economic landscape. It is insufficient to throw the poor under the bus of globalization and spiraling profits to the wealthy, and pretend that it is all their fault, which is all you have been saying.

  • Stevendad says:

    BD: I admit I was generalizing to all Liberals about the $15 an hour and many of the other programs. Surely you’ve heard these over and over and over again. I think you missed the point completely. Some of the “pointless sarcasm” that you say you hear is in fact pointed truth. If you don’t think the liberal view is telling other people how to live economically and personally, you’re just not listening. The poignant example is that you cannot see the fact that the bakers that were fined and ultimately shut down because they wouldn’t bake a cake for the gay marriage is having a violation of the religious rights just as much as the personal rights as a gay couple being violated. You can’t even recognize it as a version of two people with competing rights. Open your eyes and open your mind.

    I still haven’t heard and answer why localities such as New York, California and Chicago won’t fix her own income inequality without having it to go across the entire country. I constantly hear the United States should be an example in global warming even though they had a relatively small and decreasing contribution of the same. Perhaps these localities should be shining examples of how to eliminate income inequality, dramatically raising local and state income taxes and distributing to the poor and working poor, giving free college education, childcare, early childhood education, free healthcare and all the other things that are cornerstones to the liberal agenda. There are no political bodies standing in their way. You have completely avoided answering this because you have no answer I suppose. Perhaps they’re just being incredibly hypocritical.

    • Peter says:

      The common denominator from both sides (Republicans after Obama won and Democrats after Trump won) is that they both think they are right. Why listen to opposing views? If you don’t agree with them, then you are wrong. Your character is questioned. Heard Joe Biden say this in an interview recently….you can have debates when you disagree with someone’s views or solutions to a problem. But you can’t have a debate when you disagree with their character.

      The baker making wedding cakes for gay weddings is a fabulous example. Many on the right view homosexuality as a loathsome, dirty sin and completely wrong. There is no open mind there for many. Many on the left view the refusal to bake the cake as discrimination, which is inherently wrong. There is no open mind there for many.

      My question remains….why is government involved in who people sleep with and who a local baker decides to bake a cake for?

      • Stevendad says:

        Agree. As I said I mentioned both have rights that are being curtailed in some way in the same sentence. Despite what you think BD, I am not some Right winger. I just want to point out how you have blinded yourself to the baker’s conflicting rights. We don’t have a consistent true right winger in this thread.

        • Peter says:

          I know I kind of wish we had a right wing point of view in here. Would be good for balance.

          • Big Data says:

            I think you and Stevendad defend the rightwing perspective very well. You claim to be centrist but you agree with almost every traditional Republican position. Anything more rightwing and we’ll have Limbaugh in here.

          • Peter says:

            If I am right wing I must keep screwing up at the ballot box. Been a long time since I voted republican.

    • ?Big Data says:

      First, let me address the issue about NY, California, and Chicago. The individual situations in each state are complicated. California’s economy with high tech salaries, high real estate values is particularly unique. Yet they do already have a very progressive tax system. Maybe that hasnt lessened income inequality much, but neither has it driven out all the millionaires. NY has high incomes and a regressive tax system. Chicago has a small wealthy population, lots of poverty, and a diminished middle class. For Chicago especially, but in NY and other cities as well, you know as well as I do that an excessive rise in tax rates on higb incomes will chase the high earners to lower tax cities. Is that true nationally as well? Less so, and California is a great example. If you have an exceptional environment for business, that overrides concerns about a higher tax rate. That is why so many businesses stay in California and why companies will not readily leave the US en masse (except for some false and virtual transfers of company headquarters for tax purposes only).

      The point is, you can’t make policy locally that just moves the mobile target population out of a local boundary. This is true for tax policy, gun laws, and insurance policies, and it explains the fallacy of your tax proposal, of complaints about high crime in high gun control areas (they just go out of state to get guns), and proposals to buy insurance across state lines (companies move to the state that legislates for least controls and most profits, raising costs for consumers instead of lowering them).

      • Peter says:

        How are you so expert on so many things? You just broke down the complicated economies of our three biggest population centers….

        And by the way the main reason I don’t move to California (we almost did) was because of the high tax rates. The bumbling state government didn’t excite me either. High tax rates do keep millionaires out if possible.

        • Big Data says:

          Im sure taxes keep some people away and cause some companies to move. Im amazed California’economy has not collapsed but there it is. The high real estate prices keep me away.

          Im not an expert. I just summarized some info from quick google searches to emphasize the obvious complexities and weakness in stevendads tax proposition, as well as the related gun and insurance fallacies that always bother me when put forth by some folks. I cant name the number of times some presumably smart person or political leader has claimed gun laws dont work and offered proof by associating high gun violence with cities that have strong gun laws. As if it isnt obvious that people just go out of town to buy guns to circumvent local laws. Same principle. You cant control a mobile problem with geographically localized laws. But you cant blame towns for trying.

          • Stevendad says:

            So they screwed up their local environment, and the rest of the country should pay for it? Just create a property tax on all those to multi million dollar houses of 10 or 20% and build low to medium income housing for all the people that make their beds, mow their lawns,serve them at restaurants, deliver their goods, etc., etc. What’s most fascinating and galling is that they’re the ones that are griping the most about The income inequality they havecreated. This is all ultimate hypocrisy!

          • Big Data says:

            California taxes are already quite high and progressive. So you have no problem with adding even more state taxes to California millionaires, but you object to increasing federal taxes on other millionaires? Interesting. California did not create income inequality on their own by the way. It truly is a national policy issue, and maybe even a global policy issue.

  • Peter says:

    Great example of our dangerous and completely ridiculous, biased media….. We all know about Fox and MSNBC and other places that paint all stories into a narrative, but the subtle reporting things are what bother me more.
    —-
    I was reading an article (linked below) about gambling in tennis causing the players to get death threats or flamed on social media. Multiple players report this abuse. It was this passage that struck me:

    “Three days after the election of Donald Trump in November, 128th-ranked American player Grace Min posted a screen shot of hateful comments aimed at her race, gender and body posted on her Instagram account while she played an ITF event in Waco, Texas.”

    Even if you hate Trump and are among the wildest conspiracy theorists alive, I think you would likely have a hard time connecting Trump’s election with the 128th ranked tennis player getting flamed on Twitter. This is the only mention of Trump and just a way to slowly and subversively associate him with all things negative – particularly hate related. We can certainly hold Trump accountable for his actions and statements, but connecting dots like this where they don’t need to be connected is something that happens all the time – right under our noses – and forms our opinions of people and issues in ways we don’t even truly appreciate.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/18/tennis/australian-open-tennis-trolls-social-media-hate-epidemic/index.html

    • Stevendad says:

      It is clear no one ever demeaned, slandered, made racist comments or had hateful thoughts “BT” before Trump. Yeah, that’s it. Still seeing more hate, intolerance, sexism and bigotry in the every day discourse on TV from the Left than the right. Of course there are and were and always will be idiot trolls on the net from both sides. At least they try to be anonymous and hide and aren’t so calloused as to lay out their hateful rhetoric on national TV.

      • Peter says:

        Yeah they weren’t trying to blame this on Trump to be fair….but it’s a very subliminal way to make an association.

        Maybe they should have said “Just two weeks after the Chicago Cubs won their first world series in 100 years…..”

      • Big Data says:

        [Still seeing more hate, intolerance, sexism and bigotry in the every day discourse on TV from the Left than the right.] — stevendad
        I think you are seeing what you look for. What intolerance and hate do see on the left, other than intolerance of intolerance, and hatred of those who hate?

        • Stevendad says:

          Let’s see “Trump’s speech was Hitlerian”, Chris Matthews; a white person can’t be the next Dem party chairman and beating up a white kid (in Chicago) is not a hate crime because it was about Trump, Symone Sanders (national spokesman for St. Bernie Sanders); prolife groups cannot be sponsors of women’s march; “I’ve thought a lot about bombing the White House”, Madonna. Just in the past few days. Hate, violence, sexism, racism. That was too easy. Open your EYES.

          • Stevendad says:

            Oh, and where was all the window smashing, beating up people in the streets and car burning by Trump supporters. I say, again, Trump is not my favorite in many ways but you have completely blinded yourself with ideology if you deny this.

          • Big Data says:

            Racial riots protesting police violence are not a left/ right liberal/ conservative issue. Individual celebrities trash talking Trump pale in comparison to the systemic and unearned attack and gross misrepresentation of fact waged by Republican leadership, think tanks, political organizations, news/propaganda sites, radio hosts, etc against Obama and then later against Hillary.
            Also, liberals never claimed Bush ran a child prostitution ring from a pizza parlor. Liberals would never believe such crap, nor take a gun into the pizza parlor to self-investigate. Nor would they fabricate or believe the rest of fake news stories invented by GOP and passed among the supporters. Death panels? Fake birth certificates? Clintons killing all their associates and friends? Who believes that crap?
            Russians helping Trump? Backed by our highest minds in intelligence agencies. Trump attacking women? A dozen women braved public criticism to share their stories and Trump admits it on tape. The critique of Trump is honest and well deserved.

          • Peter says:

            Draw the line however you want to make your side feel noble but it is the same sour grapes. You just think it is warranted with Trump and not with Obama. I don’t think either are warranted. Others may think different. I don’t see the protests as any different, and I liked Obama MUCH more than Trump. In fact, the only difference I see that bothers me is the fact that the media is on board with the whining and propaganda this time, where they weren’t when the Republicans were complaining and making up stuff about Obama.

          • Big Data says:

            Trump is not just another president among lines of presidents. Surely you see the historical significance. I am never for riots and violence. I thought the womens marches were great, however. The yuuge difference here is that rightwing propagandists, including Trump, made up crap about Obama,who was and is an honorable, honest man, and now it is the media reporting facts about Trump while he and his administration make up crap about crowd sizes and illegal voters to soothe his fragile ego. You are completely off base in trying to express these situations as just two sides of one coin.

        • Peter says:

          And intolerance of intolerance isn’t a justification. We have to be tolerant and lend an open ear to anyone – including (and maybe even especially) those whom we disagree with the most.

          • Big Data says:

            Of course we need to listen. But we also have to act against intolerant actions, protecting the vulnerable, and stopping injustices.

    • Big Data says:

      I am more troubled by the hundreds of reports from teachers across the country of increased bullying and racially hateful comments among school children that seem strongly related to Trump’s rhetoric. The rise of the alt right and the impact on society is real.

      • Stevendad says:

        Many were false but, regardless, stoking racial, religious and economic division is owned by both sides and helps fuel all of this…

      • Peter says:

        I was right there criticizing the right when they were the ones leading the way in obstructionist rhetoric, disruptive protests and disrespect of the Oval Office. The left is doing the same thing (actually “trumping” them with disrespect of the office) and just because you think they are right doesn’t make this any different empirically. Again, there are those that don’t agree – not that anyone wants to hear what they have to say.

        • Big Data says:

          Critiques of Trump are not a matter of disrepecting the Oval Office. Nor is it a matter of left vs right. I work in an office that is over half Republican and nobody I have talked to supports Trump. Trump waged a scorched earth campaign and he is reaping the fruit of the seeds he planted. It can be argued that the largest doses of disrepect to the oval office are being waged by the man now inhabiting it.
          You complain about dishonest media. The majority of mainstream media and reporters are after truth and they report it to the best of their ability and intention. During the campaign, one of Trumps surrogates claimed facts no longer exist. After the election, Trumps press secretary opened his first press conference with blatant, easily disproved lies, and his adviser Conway used the Orwellian term “alternate facts” as a pseudonym for the administration’s lies. The President was described by a fellow Republican as being unable to distinguish truth vs lie.
          You cared about Hillary’s appearance of conflict of interest and lack of transparency. Trump now breaks his promise of releasing tax returns because he says the people dont care, even though 75 % want them released. His DC hotel is in violation of law because its contract says it cannot be owned by an elected official. His businesses violate the emolument clause of the Constitution.
          The environment, the health care system, women’s rights, LGBT rights, immigrant families, are all under imminent attack by this administration and yhe people affected by these issues do not have time to kick bCk and wait to see what this volatle and dangerously unpredictable President will do. They are mobilized to defend themselves and their rights. That is not disrespect for the Oval Office. That is defending America and American ideals.

          • Peter says:

            You have never made a more incorrect statement than this: “The majority of mainstream media and reporters are after truth and they report it to the best of their ability and intention”

            I don’t even think media members would agree with you on this. The media’s goal is to be FIRST, not to spread the truth. There are a zillion examples of this not only with politics but with reporting on sports, national events, celebrity, etc. “A source told ESPN today that….” No story should start with this. This isn’t news. If they were in search of the truth they would never report these sorts of speculative “stories”. And that doesn’t even include the narrative-creating that all of the major news channels perpetrate. What if Trump went out tomorrow and donated $10 million of his own money to save an orphanage that was going to have to close its doors? Where would this story rank on CNN? Would it be reported? NO – because it doesn’t fit the narrative. People are complicated. The media dumbs it all down for human entertainment.

            The left criticizes the right all the time by manufacturing and exaggerating the “threat” that ISIS and North Korea, etc. pose to us. They do this to mobilize and control their base. I believe the same is true (I know you don’t, so don’t even bother responding as such) from the left. They are blowing out of proportion the threats to all the issues you listed – LGBT, immigrants, health care, the environment to mobilize and control their base. It’s a shame you can’t see this.

            Not saying these aren’t concerns (ISIS, gay rights, etc.) but the media is feeding us a heaping bowl of bull****.

          • Big Data says:

            Pretty cynical, Peter. Of course I agree that news outlets are constrained by deadlines and their market. I also recognize that individuals acquire biases based on their own upbringing, experience and environment. That said, I still contend that neslwspeople like Anderson Cooper, Fareed Z., Christian Amanpour, as well as most of NPR, work hard to present news that is accurate and truthful and newsworthy. The constant attacks against supposedly dishonest biased media are exaggerated and unfounded. Sure there are profound examples of yellow or propagandist journalism on both political sides, but attacks against major network or cnn or npr news are mostly from the propagandists themselves.

          • Peter says:

            Anderson Cooper and CNN are unbiased?????? Wow!!!!! I could not agree with you less.

          • Big Data says:

            I said accurate. Bias is in the eye of the beholder. The center looks leftist to those on the right, and rightwing from those on the left. It is truly hard to be unbiased and harder to prove it.

          • Peter says:

            I think it is VERY easy to prove. Just watching their debate/election coverage was a great example. 98% of the commentary was supportive of Clinton – they outright mocked Trump throughout the race. I have shown you in that tennis article….it is subtle. But during the election it wasn’t subtle at all. Jeffrey Lord was about the only person on CNN who was biased for the right. You see it as “reporting the facts” that Trump is a fool. Even if we all agree on that statement it still isn’t a fact. That is a key point – and if we let our media make our judgment calls then we truly aren’t thinking for ourselves.

          • Big Data says:

            You cannot use the medias criticism of Trump as being proof of bias. Not all issues are centrist. You can’t argue that scientists are biased for stating the world is round, the earth is old, or the globe is warming. All of those statements are backed by overwhelming evidence. It is not unbiased to claim that equal time and consideration should be given in science discussions to flat-earthers, biblical based earth age theories, or political climate conspiracists. Sometimes lack of bias means lack of stupidity and therefore demands one to state the truth plainly based on intelligent observation and analysis. Most college educated Americans, discriminating analysts, knowledgable newspaper and magazine editors, of all political stripes, disparaged and criticized Trump and considered him unfit for office.
            Criticism of Trump was biased, but not to the left or right because it was both by the left and right. Criticism of Trump was biased toward intelligence and against idiocy.

  • Big Data says:

    The thing that I find so frustrating about these discussions is that every single argument and point that Peter, stevendad, and others make with regard to the economy makes sense in isolation. Hard workin entrepreneurs do create wealth. They do deserve an expanded piece of the economic pie for their contributions. Economic conditions have changed in ways that hurt the poor and favor the rich, and which are largely not due to greed of the rich but as a consequence of globalization, automation, and a failure at many levels to keep the skills of the workforce matched to the needs of industry. The rich pay a higher share of taxes than in the past and rich wage earners pay more than rich investors. There exist unmotivated and lazy people who take unfair advantage of social programs and government handouts. Government programs are often inefficient and laden with cortuption and waste. Solutions include better education and more efficient government programs. All true. I don’t deny any of it.

    But all of these arguments and facts distract from, and fail to refute the eleohant in the room: 10 to 15% of income share has been shifted from the lower 90% to the upper 1%, and that shift is bad for the economy. It doesnt matter why it happened. It doesnt matter who deserves or does not deserve it. It doesnt matter if there is mobility between quintiles or in or out of the upper 1%. Ehat matters is that an economic shift has happened and it is bad for the economy, and the economy would be better if the shift was reversed. By any means necessary.

    • Big Data says:

      All that matters … not ehat matters …

      And yes, Peter, this is my usual rant, stated one more time in a slightly different set of sentences. I know you will be unconvinced, but it makes me feel better to shout my vision of truth occasionally … feel free to ignore it as always.

      • Peter says:

        No …. I found the last post to be refreshing and an accurate representation of both of our motivations and thoughts. And while you concede that you agree with all of the first paragraph (which I do also agree with)….I should also concede that I absolutely regret that the income situation is what it is for many people. I agree we should not fix it (we cant) but do what we can to reverse the trend and improve the lot of life for millions of people who deserve better. I do however think it important to understand how we got this way to better know how to help change things. Nonetheless I feel and respect your frustration – the emotional side of your posts.

        • Peter says:

          “10 to 15% of income share has been shifted from the lower 90% to the upper 1%, and that shift is bad for the economy. It doesnt matter why it happened. It doesnt matter who deserves or does not deserve it. It doesnt matter if there is mobility between quintiles or in or out of the upper 1%. Ehat matters is that an economic shift has happened and it is bad for the economy, and the economy would be better if the shift was reversed. ”

          This statement is the best thing you have posted so far. It expresses the genuine frustration and emotion that I actually agree with you on. (With the exception of the mobility comment – I think that matters A TON) But much like when post-9/11 emotions were running high and led us to poor solutions and emotional decision making (the Iraq War in particular), we can’t let this happen here either. We have to be careful not to attack the 1% and make them the enemy, because the overwhelming majority are not. We have to be careful to not attack the poor that don’t deserve it as well. I don’t think we disagree much about the core of this topic, which is why I’m still hanging around. What I disagree with is your approach (attacking the rich, making excuses for the poor) and your very partisan angle (defending Dems at every turn, blaming GOP repeatedly). Attacking individual groups or blaming political parties – when both have had an enormous hand in all of our problems – shuts down the conversation and keeps us further away from a solution. But the sentiment is still the same and I completely see your point of view and feel your frustration.

          • Big Data says:

            Wow. Never expected that would be the post that would break through to mutual understanding. Thanks for the feedback and reading my post with some empathy.

  • Big Data says:

    Peter, this is a minor issue so i dont want to spend a lot of time on it, but i feel compelled to point out that you are way too sensitive to criticism, to the point that you see attack and insult where none exists. You say I keep accusing you of blaming and shaming the poor. It is not true. I checked. On this page, which is more than 2 months of extensive conversation, the words shame or shaming were spoken 9 times, none by me. The words blame otr blaming were spoken 24 times, about 8 times by me, twice in my response saying i wasnt blaming you, other times referencing blaming politicians, parties or Trump, or quoting Franklin, and only twice referencing blaming the poor or blaming societal classes. Blaming the poor was mentioned in a response to stevendad, not you, and was a generalized “we”, and not a personal accusation in any case. The “blaming societal classes is insufficient” was a poke at myself, not you.

    Quit taking things so personally. I’m not trying to be rude, but it is really not all about you. Dont assume that it is.

    • Big Data says:

      I will point out that there is a fine almost indistinguishable line between claiming that people can always lift themselves up and blaming them if they don’t.

    • Big Data says:

      Obvious my 24 count of blame or blaming was before these last 3 posts.

      • Peter says:

        Well fair enough but there are only 3-4 of us in here. So yeah I do assume it is about me in the context you put it in.

      • Big Data says:

        Ok, but i do try to avoid prrsonal attack, at least since my moniker change. When I say WE should not kick down ladders or blame the poor, I am making that asserion as general philosophy and in no way implying that YOU personally are the guilty party. As always, if the shoe fits, wear it, but if not, let it slide. Ok?

        • Stevendad says:

          BD: I am not blaming the poor if you feel I am. You bemoan their poorness, I think they often make rational choices that lead to poorness. Remember my “yea dope” coworker? He was poor and chose to be because he wanted just enough money to eat, have shelter and smoke dope. And yet he was one of the most fulfilled and happy people I’ve ever met. I feel YOU are judging his decision to not try to climb up the income scale. I do not feel I am wise enough to do so.I agree there should be opportunies and paths to self improvement. In my opinion they exist. I think you massively discount that many of the poor choose not to pursue the path with some investment, work, temperance and planning. We had a hospital expansion and needed people would be paid $10 an hour to tie wire on the rebar (0 skill requirements). That pay of $10 an hour is equivalent to $20+ an hour in New York. No American born people were willing to do it. I hear over and over again for the roofers, remodelers, yardwork services, etc. that they can’t find anybody that was born in the United States to do these kind of work even when offering more than the equivalent of your “magic” $15 an hour wage. So, in your perfect scenario, should they be forced to take these jobs? Or would it be OK with you if they choose rationally or by behaviors to remain poor, live in their mother’s basement, play video games, smoke pot and do whatever other drugs, just hang out, sleep a lot, etc. I believe this is called freedom. It is a two edged sword that rewards those who pursue wealth and economically punish those who do not. Perhaps you will recall my friend from France who could not become a baker there because the government would not allow him to do so. I know that’s a perfect example of a socialist Nirvana to you. However this also removesthe other side of the “sword” allowing for personal choice and success. Like “dope man”, many of the poor may be perfectly happy where they are. A close relative of mine says “jobs are for little people” and lives off the state and family in monetary poverty and free time wealth. I choose to live in the opposite situation. I know to you these are victims of an economy that is designed to cheat them. A few are, but most make choices and sometimes mistakes. Seldom one, or a few, but many that are compounded over and over again. I feel nearly all “these horses have been led to water, but some choose not to drink”. YOU judge them, not me. The “ladders” exist for all but a very few. They are not AND NEVER WILL BE EQUAL in height and steepness. (Unless you feel that the state should remove all children from their families and put them in the domiciliaries where each gets the same education, feeding, nurturing etc.) I cannot think of another way to reach ultimate “fairness”.
          BTW, just crickets from you on NY, DC, CA and other Dem paradises on increasing their local taxes to level out earning. They CAN fix this in their own communities, why don’t they? Is they believe in politics over real core beliefs? I believe that’s the case in my opinion. Do you have the courage to answer this question?
          Once again, you completely ignore the fact that it is quite possible that these folks have doubled their income without paying a shred of taxes and at the same time getting benefits they would otherwise not deserve based on what they earn in the underground economy.do you think this is “fair” to the rest of us?. As a Liberal, I know that you have a keen eye for and a great judgment of “fairness”.
          I must say once again, I grew up with many of these people and still are around them frequently. How many of these have you met and talked to lately? And just out of curiosity, did you grow up poor? You seem to be able to pass off a lot of judgment on my comments without knowing any of these people for hours and hours a day like I did . Typical of a Liberal, you seem to know a lot about everything based on some deduction from global truisms in your mind. Examples of such truisms would be “white people are racist, rich people hate and want to abusethe poor or poor only because society has suppressed them.” You present a good deal of data about the situation of people, but also infer a huge amount of motivation where they may or may not exist amongst the poor, the rich, everyone. I guess is because you have the superior wisdom of Liberalism.

          • Peter says:

            Nice – and well said. Think about this….we certainly accept the fact that black people are treated with racism in their lives, regardless of status. Whether it be police or shopkeepers, they feel it all the time. We know this because practically any black person you know personally will tell you this has indeed been the case. The same thing goes for women – most any woman can report a story of being objectified or having some man say something offensive or stare at their chest.

            Where am I going with this? Almost any small business owner who is in need of unskilled labor (you mentioned a few of them in your post) will tell you that they can’t find Americans to take these jobs. And these jobs are already at pay scales above minimum wage. Why is it that when we hear these stories OVER and OVER again, people who think like BD can’t accept that the problem might at least in part lie with the workers and not with an unfair system?

            Stevendad also makes a great point that I hit on too a while back – not everyone cares to move up the income scale. And they should not be shamed. If you want to lay around, smoke weed and play Call of Duty all day – you won’t move up the ladder. But you might end up happy! To each their own and the beautiful thing about this country is that you have a choice. Nobody is making you mow grass or become a baker. You can do whatever you want – but you live with the consequences.

            It’s kind of like I say about someone who is 400 lbs. – at least they can eat cheesecake whenever they want. I know I sure can’t. Life is about choices and people shouldn’t be judged on the ones they make. But they have to accept the consequences.

          • Big Data says:

            Stevendad, most of the time you are a polite enough poster with some intelligent insights … and then you go off the rails repeatedly in this last post with catty insults. And Peter, you respond with “Well said”? After all the grief you give me for not being polite? Do you two think conversational insults are OK if they are only applied to attack the liberals? Or do the two of you not even recognize when such insults occur?

            Examples:
            [your “magic” $15 an hour wage] – False attribution. I never said that was a magic or even an appropriate national minimum wage.
            [As a Liberal, I know that you have a keen eye for and a great judgment of “fairness”.] – Pointless sarcasm.
            [Typical of a Liberal, you seem to know a lot about everything based on some deduction from global truisms in your mind.] – I might counter that that seems to be your approach: relying on mental extrapolations based on your own suppositions and extremely limited and biased personal observation instead of data. But I don’t generally say it so bluntly or attribute it so callously as a typical characteristic of your social or political group.
            [I guess is because you have the superior wisdom of Liberalism.] – Pointless sarcasm

            Were any of those statements really useful in advancing this conversation? I know you get frustrated and emotional, stevendad. We all do at some points in the conversation. But I hope you don’t mind me pointing out that the above statements are counterproductive and certainly misrepresent me in a rather insulting way.

          • Big Data says:

            Peter,
            I really appreciate the first paragraph in your response to stevendad. It’s good and helpful to clarify where we agree. Regarding your second paragraph:
            ===
            [Almost any small business owner who is in need of unskilled labor … will tell you that they can’t find Americans to take these jobs. And these jobs are already at pay scales above minimum wage. ]
            ===
            1) I can’t refute the conversations you have with people I don’t communicate with, indicating that able Americans were turning down low skill jobs paying over minimum wage. I can speculate that when unemployment was at 10%, the statement was probably less true, or not very true. I can also speculate that as unemployment has fallen, that it seems only logical that the issue is not people choosing “no work” over “moderately paid low skill job”, but that people are choosing better or higher paid jobs instead. This is how the market works, right? If you can’t get people to take your job, you offer more money until they do. The “magic” wage is not minimum wage or $15/hr, but whatever the market bears. But then again, this is where some research and statistics can benefit the conversation more than speculation. I am not denying that your assertion is true, but simply pointing out that your observations alone are not wholly convincing as proof that people are turning down jobs for no reason.
            2) Regarding [Why is it that when we hear these stories OVER and OVER again, people who think like BD can’t accept that the problem might at least in part lie with the workers and not with an unfair system?] If you are asking me whether I believe there exist lazy people who turn down job opportunities, I answer: Of course there are. I don’t happen to think that population has grown significantly, however, so i don’t see how it impacts the CHANGE in economic conditions we have witnessed. Sure it’s part of our economic problem, but not, IMHO, a very big part, and not even really a part of the problem I have been emphasizing. People turning down jobs, even if it was a growing phenomenon, might explain a large unemployment problem or a lack of national productivity, neither of which we are having right now. In my opinion, the Problem is that we have national productivity growth, but the vast majority of the people who ARE actually working are seeing little growth in their own incomes and fortunes. And that, I believe, has little relation to businesses not being able to find minimum skill workers at an offered wage. It may have a lot more to do with employers being stubbornly unwilling to apply the market solution: which is to raise the offered wage until they find a line of employees willing to take the job.

          • Peter says:

            Its a shame you didn’t follow the analogy from paragraph one to paragraph two. They are saying the same thing. Problem is paragraph 1 is from the liberal playbook and paragraph 2 is from the conservative playbook. Not surprised in the least by your reply.

          • Big Data says:

            Well peter, the difference in paragraph 1 and 2 is that 1 represents truths that were denied by conservatuves for years and are now well understood, based on overwhelming universal observation over time, by almost everyone to be true. Number 2 is an assertion conservatives apparently believe but for which I have seen no evidence. So the diffwrence is not liberal vs conservative. The difference is proven vs unproven.

          • Peter says:

            That is idiocy. Neither are truly proven. Both are anecdotal. And neither should be political.

  • Peter says:

    Another example of the disastrous political climate re: Obama/Obamacare. Just today he held a meeting with Democrats telling them not to help Republicans pass replacement measures for the ACA. Meanwhile, Pence met with Republicans to plot their strategy to repeal it and then replace it with something else. This is HORRIBLE. It will cost us a fortune (seen estimates of $300b) to repeal and replace. Even BD and I agree that revising, improving and fixing the flaws of the ACA is a great idea. Why can’t our politicians do this?

    Forget about all the other crap that we are arguing about – this partisan circus is going to ruin our nation. No wonder our debt is so out of control. It’s like two divorced parents who overspend and try and impress their kids with lavish gifts neither can afford. So mom gives the kids a bunch of fancy new clothes and the dad says “we can’t afford this and you don’t need it – get rid of it” and they sell it for 50 cents on the dollar. Then dad buys them something ridiculous and mom says the same thing. And round and round we go….. The kids don’t get to keep anything and the parents just keep wasting money.

    • Big Data says:

      Agreed. This is a consequence of fake news and propaganda. Repubs and their news sources have propagandized for years that Obamacare was unpopular (including those who wanted single payer as opponents of OC), and portrayed it as expensive and a disaster. It turns out that repealing OC is actually more unpopular, more expensive, and potentially more disastrous than keeping it. Do the GOP actually believe their own propaganda? Apparently. The closed news echo chamber of fear and disinformation from conservatives has no real counterpart on the liberal side (though liberals have different flaws) and if they act on these false needs and unpopular actions to dismantle OC, privatize Medicare and SS, remove reproductive rights, and raise debt by cutting taxes on rich, they will find the country will be most unhappy with them.

      • Peter says:

        LOL – don’t quite view in the partisan pro-Dem way you spun it. Honestly I don’t think it is propaganda that Obamacare is unpopular. Even the president himself has said that the system has major flaws and needs revision. Regardless of media, propaganda or the public – the system has some merit but is largely a poorly thought-out behemoth that needs major revisions. Most importantly we need a health care plan that doesn’t cater to big $$$ insurers the way this one does. That will bring the cost down.

        Check out obamacarefacts.com for all sorts of poll information. 37% want it repealed. Another 18% ‘dislike the plan’. 40% like it.

        You and I definitely share a different level of confidence in our government (blue or red) to run things efficiently. And it is even more likely to be a mess with no dialogue across the aisle from either side.

        • Big Data says:

          The site you linked is independent and has a lot of good info. Thanks.
          ===
          I could not find the poll info, but its a big site; I must have just missed it. The poll I did find elsewhere was the Nov 2016 Kaiser poll:

          Americans are divided on what they want to see lawmakers do to the ACA with one-fourth of Americans (26 percent) wanting to see President-elect Donald Trump and the next Congress repeal the entire law while an additional 17 percent want them to scale back what the law does. This is compared to 30 percent of the public who want to see the law expanded and 19 percent who want to see lawmakers move forward with implementing the law as it is. Among Trump voters, 50 percent want to see the law repealed and 29 percent want to see it scaled back.

          • Big Data says:

            Thanks. Both sets of stats are similar. From your link, just under 48% want it repealed, scaled back and/or replaced with private insurance system. Just over 48% approve or want it replaced with public insurance system.
            ===
            From Kaiser, 43% want OC repealed or scaled back, while 49% want it retained or expanded. In either case, it is not true that there is strong support for full repeal, especially when replacement is not ready. And in both cases there is slightly more support to keep or expand the law than repeal it, so it is hard to fairly describe it as very unpopular.

          • Big Data says:

            For anyone else searching Peter’s link, the data in question is at poll question number 8.

        • Stevendad says:

          One of my overwhelming gripes and consistent threads in all of my posts is that politics usurps all common sense and rationality in everything we’ve talked about. Obamacare is ultimate political football. It’s repeal will be a reward for those who supported not just Trump but the vast majority of Republicans in office now. It’s repeal will punish the liberals and Democrats who you forced it through. Trying to give arguments about whether this is a good idea or not is moot. In reality it all relates to politics just like everything else. It is fascinating to see the 180° turn around on “obstructionism” by both parties. This is just one of many, many examples of believing in political ideology not “truth” or principles.

          • Stevendad says:

            By the way, the coverage issues are far and away not the biggest problem with the ACA and the Obama administration’s dealing with healthcare my perspective where the rubber hits the road. There have been dozens of mandates from on high that are pointless and add huge amounts of cost and misery for those of us in the industry. Ironically, they worsen healthcare by lessening the physician patient interaction and removing nurses from the bedside in hospitals. This has been shown over and over and over again and studies. This only cheapens and worsens the product and leads to poor satisfaction. Of course, those few people in a room of 15 or so are so wise in their decision-making that they can tell us all what to do in the millions of interactions between patients and physicians and nurses every day. Of course, BD I’m sure you’re an expert on this like you arein everything else from your Liberal wisdom. For this reason alone, I would find it wonderful if whole thing was repealed. I am getting a little catty here, but I occasionally have to ask myself just who the heck do you think you are to judge everyone?

          • Peter says:

            Same thing with the politicians that try to do “what’s best” in the financial industries. They don’t know what they are talking about – and more importantly, don’t care. It’s too much about public perception, not actually helping people. Just like you are saying…. people find out what the political ideology is and then search out supporting truth – rather than thinking about prudent solutions to problems.

  • Big Data says:

    So we talk about the unskilled lower quintile. Lets set them aside and discuss the next two quintiles. Who are they, what do they earn, and how have they fared for the last 30 years? And why have they not fared better? And what should be done by them or by society to improve their lot (besides just having them strive to move to upper quintiles)?

    • Peter says:

      The last sentence is what happens though….you do realize that? Mobility. But some in the 2nd to last quintile probably still could benefit from the system changes I have proposed.

      • Henry says:

        I personally came from a very depressed economic area and saw people rise up over and over again. Like Steven Dad said – if you practice SWEAR….. most in those areas don’t – partially because of poor family situations and horrible role models.

    • Big Data says:

      Again mobility is not possible for all. Its great to escape the shallow pool. Its even nicer if everybody’s pool gets a little deeper, rather than all the fresh new water going to only the deepest pool.

  • Peter says:

    BD – not sure why I keep getting accused of blaming or “shaming” the poor. It is not offensive or wrong to say that the bottom quintile of any population will likely be made up of a lot of “losers” – people that make poor decisions in life and fail. Why is that unkind or wrong? Put 100 people in a room to do a timed puzzle and I bet you that at a certain number of them wouldn’t even try it – or half-a** it – or not have the mental capacity to do it. This is not blaming or shaming. It’s the truth. There will also be a handful that blow through the puzzle in record time – the more talented, motivated, aggressively competitive types. They shouldn’t be shamed either.

    Not sure why you can’t accept that a great deal of people lack motivation, competitive drive, talents or skills. And this is OK! I don’t mean in any way to imply that these people should be shamed, deported or put in cages to rot. But you also can’t just hand these people money either.

    We have been over multiple, productive reasons (with possible solutions) as to why the bottom 20% has seen their income rise slower. I can relist them all if you want. But the conversation won’t end there with you. You must see Democrats in power and the GOP stopped from “ruining everything” – and you must see taxes go up and money move from the wealthy to the poor. WHY? If we solve the problem with any number of the 15-20 odd solutions we have addressed, isn’t that OK?

    But please quit with the rhetoric that I am blaming or shaming the poor. Even though you have made some offensive comments about people in the 1% – I don’t truly believe you are blaming or shaming them either.

    • Big Data says:

      I’m not blaming you personally Peter. What I am saying is that it is inappropriate for society to take advantage of (or allow the unscrupulous to take advantage of) the mentally, or physically, or economically disadvantaged and just blame any resulting added hardship imposed, on personal responsibility of the victims.
      ===
      Of course there are less capable people in society. I am just saying that we do not need to keep pushing them lower and lower in lifestyle even as society and Gdp per capita advance overall.
      ===
      We all make stupid decisions at points in our lives and it is appropriate to suffer a consequence. But the consequence should be recoverable, and that is the critical difference. A pregnancy too early in life, a lack of attention to education in grade school, a teenage drug habit, are all poor decisions which will impact a persons life but should not doom an individual to a poverty forever. (I think that removing possibilities of scholarships from former drug offenders is a bad idea, for example. Where is the path to redemption?)
      ===
      I believe the overriding difference in your perspective and mine is that you see the misfortunes and situations of the poor as fully recoverable by their own efforts alone under current systems and policy, whereas I believe they need more help. An exception to the above may be that you and I agree that society should provide better education for current technical jobs and possibly more abundant domestic jobs. I think we also differ in how we believe pay for current jobs should be applied; I believe that higher minimum wage should be applied and that better wage and labor protections should be enacted while you might favor market competition alone and object to such govt ‘interference’ in the market. I think tax policy should be used to influence and reduce income disparity while you would object to such an approach on both principle and feasibility.
      ===
      The biggest difference between you and I is that I see our economy on a macro scale as an income distribution system. The economy will only grow a small amount each year and the total income of that year is distributed among the population by a curve which has changed over time. You keep calling this idea a zero sum game, a title I reject as it is technically inaccurate. But let me employ its use here in a limited sense. Given the predictably small range of expected variation of Gdp for 2017, the distribution of income for this year is so.ething akin to a zero sum game. Every business is like a small monarchy run either by a kingly ceo, a board of directors or a ruling voice of investors. These monarchies control the distribution of incomes within their kingdoms by setting pay policies and wage increase percentages. Markets and competition apply, but since all companies are wanting to keep wages low and since labor is generally plentiful, wage increases for low wage and unskilled labor stay low. Thus: the prime characteristic of a zero sum game is present – that the wage constraints and losses at the low end of the scale benefit the incomes of the management and investors at the high end of the scale.
      ===
      The nation is an income distribution system, and not just a wealth creation system, because it is best described as an amalgamation of little wealth creation systems (companies) that are also income distribution systems which each restrict low wage growth and accelerate high wage growth.
      ===
      You believe individuals at the low end can circumvent and overcome the inequities of this system. At least for the current economy, I disagree.

      • Big Data says:

        To clarify. Of course I believe a few individuals can climb out of the lower quintile. But the quintile as a group is stagnating or declining, even as the country advances.

        • Peter says:

          I think more than a few can climb out. The mobility stats show this to be the case. And the bottom quintile is stagnating/declining for all the reasons I stated several times in the last few posts. Not because of greedy billionaires or an unattentive government.

          • Big Data says:

            I imagine that if world economic conditions shifted while unions were strong and labor pay was high and companies were struggling to grow in the changing economy for those high labor costs, then business managers would demand that income curve should be shifted to restore a balanced economic system. But when worker pay is diminished and resulting shift slows the economy by reducing middle class purchasing power, but it benefits the wealthy managers and business leaders, businessmen such as yourself recommend prescriptions for the workers (SWEAR), and more education, and throw up your hands saying there is no point in changing worker pay. Its just economic conditions and nothing can be done but work people harder smarter and longer. It completely baffles me how you can ignore the way that income shifting from middle to rich is damaging the economy and harming workers. You incessantly complain if i duggezt taxes go up 5% or 10% of income for millionaires. But you are content that we underpay median icomes by 25%. Its crazy.

          • Big Data says:

            Typos … suggest not dugggezt … incomes not icomes …

      • Peter says:

        We are now back in the abyss of your incorrect perspective that the economy works as an “income distribution system”. Unfortunately I think all our debates will die here. A few other things from the last post….

        You are indeed accusing me of “blaming and shaming” the poor. Or at least that is in most replies to my posts.

        I fail to see how we are actively pushing the poor lower as a government. We increased the number of people on food stamps at a historic pace for instance – and have record numbers on unemployment, welfare and other government benefits. The changing economy, technology, immigration, etc. are pushing the unskilled non-SWEAR practicing people lower – not policy.

        And yes, I do see all the problems you mentioned as “recoverable”. Just about anything that happens in your teenage years is correctable – we even have laws to protect people against that. Beyond that, I just fail to EVER think that a problem or mistake someone makes should be supported, solved, or absolved by the government. I just don’t think like that and I don’t think it is healthy for a society to rely on government for these sorts of things. Just about any minor mistake you make in our society is recoverable though.

        • Big Data says:

          Of course, your company, the us economy, and the world economy is an income distribution system. Its as plain as the clear blue sky on a sunny summer day.

        • Big Data says:

          Perhaps i misunderstand what you perceive an income distrintion system to be. Explain how your company and the economy are NOT income distribution systems as you would define that term.

          • Big Data says:

            Sorry abou typos. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

          • Peter says:

            Let me try a simple example. In the traditional sense of manufacturing, you are correct. There is a set amount of profit and the company divides it up. Unions are important here.

            But that is not all there is to an economy. Some business create things where there was previously nothing. Technology is a great example of this. Someone develops some software with limited manufacturing requirements and sells it on a mass scale for instance. The creator of that software and the developers of future versions are going to make far more than anyone else. There is no union for the mail room or tech support, which makes far, far less. As they should.

            There is not a finite amount of income in an economy, distributed by a few. That is much like the “dividend” on a stock. You also make money on appreciation and creation. I might make a million dollars a year and my employee $100k, but my company is appreciating in value – creating wealth SOLELY for me. And it might manifest itself as income with stock options. Your view of economics does not account for wealth creation or appreciation – which VERY often doesn’t get distributed evenly. Nor should it.

            In a manufacturing economy your point of view does hold some merit.

  • Big Data says:

    For the occasional reader of this forum, if there are any, perhaps stevendad could remind us what SWEAR acronym stands for. Honestly, Ive forgotten the full expansion.

    • Stevendad says:

      Save 10% always.
      Work 40 to 50 hours a week.
      Educate to your maximum ability (includes trades).
      Avoid excessive alcohol and drugs.
      Reproduce responsibly. Have kids when your financial and work life are in order (seldom <25)

      All doable, all voluntary.

      • Peter says:

        I do know a few people that have done these things and just had bad luck, health or other misfortune slow them down. I must say that I don’t know ANY that can say yes to all of these components who haven’t eventually persevered. I completely reject that 40% of our population does these things and still can’t survive. Wish something like this would go viral – great advice.

        When I was making $20k/year for my first 4-5 years of work I must admit I made mistakes. I didn’t do #1 at all. Couldn’t afford to. But I worked 60-70 hours a week, went nuts with education – taking advantage of any free training I could get. (One cool thing is to work for a temp agency – they will hire ANYONE and give you free access to computer training like Excel, Word, etc. I did about 10-12 of these modules and put them on my resume). I also did not drink but occasionally and did no drugs for that period of time, including marijuana. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment and took no vacations for those years. Once my income started to rise, I had children.

        I do remember at times it would be difficult. A car repair or something unforseen would set us back big time. It was disheartening and frustrating. But we didn’t go get drunk to “seek more pleasure from our meager incomes”. We kept at it – knowing that hard work and training would pay off. I never felt “punished” for making no money. Just don’t understand that…. But with that said….. (continued next)

      • Peter says:

        …. I am an intelligent person with a good lower-middle-class upbringing. I have an advantage on that front in that I knew through training, education, hard work and sheer time I would be a success. I have talents and skills. The problem isn’t with most of society who shares in having some skills and talents – they are all fine regardless of this perceived rigged system. The problem is also not with the unmotivated non-SWEAR practicing group. They will always struggle and complain and be left behind. Even BD probably isn’t even talking about those people. We are talking about a group of people who try and do the right things (practice SWEAR) but have no skills, talents, or intellectual assets to capitalize on. The size of this portion of our population is debatable, but it isn’t 1% and it isn’t 40%. These are the people BD perceives getting screwed by the system, while I move that they are simply the victims of changing times, an antiquated education system, poorly designed social welfare programs, neglect of our poor neighborhoods and schools, technology, immigration, corrupt big-money politics and a whole host of other things. This is where the debate lies. In this part of our population that for the last century worked in factories or in agriculture/labor jobs. Many of these jobs have been replaced by robots or immigrants (or simply by more productive work) – and as supply outweighs demand – the wages have been depressed. Simple economics really.

        • Big Data says:

          A pretty good assessment, Peter, with some balance. Nicely done.
          ===
          But along with the unfortunates you identify in the lower quintile who have motivation but are short on abilities or skills, I am also concerned with people in the next 2 quintiles who have motivation, and moderate skills and education, but who are also getting left behind as the country advances. Many are making living wage, but are still struggling. I am talking about these people also. The shift of incomes, for whatever economic causes, also deprive these people of the quality of life and the advancement they expect from their hard work. If they already practice SWEAR and are just getting by, what are they supposed to do?
          Accept that they have to live cheaper than their parents while working as hard or harder, even as their bosses incomes have doubled, and wealthier people complain that it is THEY who should pay more taxes? Or should they demand that schools be improved, and labor policy be modified, and trade policy be balanced, and government programs should be more fully funded by those wealthier bosses? Isnt that a reasonable approach? Isnt that the protest that just happened in 2016?

          • Peter says:

            This is hard enough …don’t make it worse by arguing with someone other than me. I have never in a million years said that the poor should pay more taxes. And I would leave the judgment calls out of it as well such as “working hard or harder”. That may not be the case.

            This all comes back to the way you and I see the business world. Who is the people in the middle quintiles – making $50k or so let’s say- that can’t survive and meet their needs, has not seen their income increase in 20 years, where their bosses have seen giant increases, keeping all the money for themselves. Give me a few examples here.

          • Stevendad says:

            BD: A rehash from the Summer:One thing I keep pointing out and you ignore is that the 1% makes less from income 50% at $500k to $1M (compared with > 75% in upper half) and more from investment more so as you progress up and the upper 0.1% makes only 10% in salary. The bull market in stocks and bonds accounts for a huge proportion of “income inequality”. It also includes stock options as pay, a relatively new phenomenon that benefits the executives only if the company performs well. This effect is also the largest in Liberal enclaves like Chicago, CA and NY NY. So these places are trying to assuage their guilt by taxing the rest of America. My solution: double or triple local and state taxes to redistribute to their local populations if they wish, leave the rest of us alone.
            Furthermore, there is significant leveling with almost $1250 per month per PERSON in government benefits in lowest quintile, some means based (about $600) and some not. This significantly increase spending by household and does not include charitable giving or government mandates to private companies like cell phones and free internet. And of course ignores all underground income that is around $2.25 T overall and likely concentrated more in this quintile of “official” income. For perspective, “official” income in bottom 40% is $1.89T, approximately DOUBLING the income in these two quintiles. So to focus on income vs spending ignores the true measurement of poverty, the inability to buy what you need.

          • Stevendad says:

            Don’t forget the top 20% of earners already pay 84% of Fed income tax. How much is enough?

          • Stevendad says:

            I would also submit that those who consistently SWEAR are unlikely over time to NOT succeed. The data is overwhelming for education, work hours, drug use, alcohol use and reproductive responsibility as well as saving for emergencies which, I’m sure you would agree, helps avoid interest, overdraft fees, etc. The ONLY irreversible SWEAR choice is having a child, but this is often significantly offset by increased govt benefits that you will get.
            I would say don’t increase anyone’s income taxes on the Federal level. See above re: state and local. Try to slow the growth of bureaucracy and become more efficient and accountable by incentivizing the same in the way managers in Fed government are bonus. Try to capture lower long term bond rates to avoid spikes in interest payments in the future. Avoid stupid wars and entanglements and quit supporting wealthy nations militarily. And, again, add some highly targeted taxes that eliminate inherent unfairness like taxing financial instruments and business values yearly rather than just at sale, recouping govt benefits that indirectly profit employers, eliminate carried interest, etc as I have mentioned before.

          • Peter says:

            Agree on all fronts. Seems reasonable to me – and it would surprise me if BD didn’t agree with you on all of this, even in spite of the way he views the economy. Stock options, interest, deferred comp bonuses, etc. are a major part of income at the higher levels. The greeter at WalMart doesn’t have this as part of his/her income – nor should they.

  • Big Data says:

    There is,a troublesome medical insurance practice you should know about. Its called balance billing. You go to an in network hospital and then get bills from out of network physicians and anesthesiologists you never interviewed or hired.

    Read here, http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/20-things-to-know-about-balance-billing.html

    Far from wanting to prevent this egregious and bankrupting billing practice, Trumps nominee for HHS, Tom Price, is an advocate FOR
    balance billing, as well as for replacing Medicare with vouchers. That seems like a poor start as,far as helping the middle class and reducing medical costs.

    • Big Data says:

      I would be very interested in stevendads medical opinion on this issue.

      • Stevendad says:

        It comes up when there are page of the teams of doctors out of network. Even a fairly simple hospitalization may have 2 dozen doctors involved with consultants, coverage doctors, pathology, ER, radiology, anesthesia. It is neither immoral or illegal. No one should expect call coverages be constructed around insurance networks. Complexity would be off the charts. Accountable care organization’s and bundled payments will probably solve this as much is anything. If the insurance companies were reasonable in reimbursement and hassle free, everybody would be in network for everything, but they are not.

        • Stevendad says:

          Part not page

        • Big Data says:

          I think doctors shoul be paid fairly, but also that patients should not be shaken down for charges they have no ability to control or negotiate. If I go to a hospital that is in my insurance network, every doctor and professional providing my care should be charging as if in network. Period. Anything else is fraud.

          • Big Data says:

            My anger is not directed at you, stevendad. Thanks for your informational post.

          • Peter says:

            It would be nice if a politician would ignore the insurance lobby and come up with reasonable solutions to this, instead of the giant confusing maze that it is. Medicare is a great example. Easily one of the most confusing pieces of legislation ever created. Good luck figuring that out. I’ll let Stevendad reply to the giant logistical problems with your reply.

  • Big Data says:

    Regarding Peters linked CNN article on “9 last-minute Obama moves to stymie Trump’s agenda”.

    I want to distinguish between the moves listed in the article and North Carolina’s attempts to actually limit the next Governor’s power.

    The items listed in the article are:
    Russia sanctions.
    Arctic drilling ban.
    Middle East policy.
    Obamacare enrollment push.
    New national monuments.
    Closing national registry.
    Gitmo transfers.
    Pardons and commutations.
    Farewell address.

    Despite the article title, most of the items, while in conflict with Trump’s anticipated policy approach, are not really targeted to stymie Trump. 5 of the above items are simply typical actions at end of an administration (pardons, monuments), or continuations and extensions of current administration policy (drilling ban, Obamacare enrollment, Gitmo transfers).

    And the farewell address has not happened yet and its content is speculative.

    The Russia sanctions are a natural and necessary bipartisan response to Russian hacking. Even one of Trumps advisors thinks we should have done even more.

    All of the above might have occurred irrespective of the election results.

    The Middle East peace policy UN vote abstention on condemning settlements was unusual but not unprecedented. Kerry’s announcements are unusual and highlight the differences between the two administrations. But they hardly impact or stymie anything Trump wants to do.

    So only one item in the article is actually targeted to impact and slow down Trump policy, and that is shutting down and dismantling the inactive NSEERS program that might have been (and still could be) used as a basis for Trump’s Muslim Registry. This shutdown is a principled action that defends
    Constitutional principle and is not fairly characterized as juvenile, spiteful, or as an illegal limitation on the next President.

    None of Obama’s actions compare to the  violation of separation of powers attempted by the NC government which is trying to alter powers of the next governor simply based on party. You may disagree with Obama’s approach but his actions fall within norms of Presidential behavior. NC house/senate are operating way outside of norms and possibly outside of law.

    • Stevendad says:

      I disagree. It’s a lot like tearing up the house you are being evicted from for at least some of this.

      • Big Data says:

        To me, it seems more like strengthening the foundation before the hurricane hits. That is a matter of perspective. NC behavior is unprecedented by any perspective.

        • Stevendad says:

          It’s Obama refusing to recognize “elections have consequences” IMO

        • Big Data says:

          Elections have consequences. But Presidential powers also extend to last day of the term. Pardons, monuments, and policy continuations are pretty standard for all Presidents so I just dont see the issue.

          • Peter says:

            My problem is that it is such blatant disrespect for Trump. Remember when Trump wouldn’t say that he would accept the election results? The media went crazy (rightfully so) as the “peaceful transfer of power” is fundamental to our freedom and liberty as a nation. Now, we have a whole army of people – including the media and our President – who are openly being disrespectful to the new leader – acting like we are about to be led by either a crazed lunatic or an evil dictator. Just a quick scan of the media will give you that flavor….look out everyone! We don’t know what this crazy guy will do! Be afraid!!!! This is a slippery slope and I have never seen anything like it. And I don’t care if Kanye West or Jesse Ventura was elected president – we HAVE to respect the office!

  • Big Data says:

    Stevendad, I should add that I agree with the thrust of one of your recent posts. The country is very divided and part of it does arise from the lack of shared experiences, shared trusted figures and newscasters (We miss you Walter Cronkite), and shared heroes. The hyper-partisan rhetoric in Washington only helps increase that divide, and can list more quantity and extremity of examples on the GOP side, I do see offenses on the Dem side as well.

    I should mention that income inequality is also divisive, as are some of the authoritarian policies of policing and justice (or injustice) that oppress poorer communities (civil forfeiture, debtor prison, stop and frisk) and the corporate oppression of struggling workers (wage theft, high pressure sales policies bordering on illegal [Wells fargo, but they aren’t the only ones], excessive “free” overtime for underpaid “managers”) .

    I want to point out that one major turning point in society revolves around police actions. Until the prevalence of cameras revealed to all of us the extreme abuses within police departments, most of us (yours truly included) would not have believed the stories. When the suspect was roughed up, we would tend to believe the police report that the officer was first assaulted or was in fear for his life. And certainly those cases exist and far outnumber the cases of police misconduct. But camera evidence has revealed that police abuse, misconduct, and overzealous use of deadly force is more common and more egregious than we would have otherwise believed. When we did not see, we did not know. Lacking knowledge, we believed our imaginations. When we see, we understand.

    Other situations are less easily described in a few moments on film. I have tried to advocate for poor and working class here and have been ridiculed for my suggestions that it is not always possible for a family to work an extra 8 or 10 hours a week, take classes, or seek a better job. There are situations where people work really hard to support themselves and their families but circumstance intervenes and their finances and situations spiral out of control. And this is not a one in a million rarity but an all too common occurrence for many people in the lower 2 quintiles. I have no camera footage to capture the hardship of years, the difficulties of circumstance, the disappointments of unrealized dreams. But I have read and seen and empathized enough to realize that those of us in more fortunate circumstance do not fully know and cannot fully comprehend the extent of very real hardship and difficulty experienced by the workers left behind by globalization, wealth redistribution to the top, and high income disparity. many are working those extra hours, or attempting to. Many are facing heart-rending choices of food vs medicine, work vs sleep. Others make a few bad choices or stumbles, and circumstance and consequence slides them to depths from which they cannot recover, whereas a more well-placed citizen would hardly break his stride from such a stumble, because he has resource to bounce back.

    I want to suggest to you that the answer to tough times is not always work harder and longer and smarter and better. Those are good actions but they are not always enough. Sometimes, many times, people need help to rise up and be productive. Your glimpses into the worst examples of laziness and sloth do not describe all of the working poor. Yet all of the working poor have been abandoned and left behind. For many, many, many of these, we do not need to fill their heads and waste their time with lectures on personal responsibility and work ethic. They already know it. They already have it. They need ladders, not chutes. They need a raise, not an extra 10 hours of work. They don’t need talk and derision. They need help, and a fighting chance.

    • Stevendad says:

      Once again, I was one of those poor. I sacrificed a lot of sleep for work and save for the future. Again if people would SWEAR the rest would fall into place for all but a very few.

      • Stevendad says:

        And those are all things that one can control. You cannot control the government or the economy by yourself .So perhaps you should start with things you can control.

      • Big Data says:

        Only if you consider 40% of the population a very few. With all due respect, it seems that the answer you offer regarding your own personal experience is irrelevant to the statistical conundrum of most of the population. Make no mistake; your story and any story of struggle of rising from poverty to success is inspirational. But it proves nothing on larger statistical scales. As I have said before, many people CAN rise to upper incomes, but not everyone can. And anyone can improve their situation with hard work. But the limits of that improvement, for those whose innate abilities keep them in lower 2 quintiles, are set by the policies that structure how capitalism rewards upper vs lower income. Your suceess does not alter that economic reality.

        • Peter says:

          Completely ludicrous that 40% of the population is practicing SWEAR – doing everything right – and unable to make a living wage. Please….

        • Big Data says:

          Don’t straw man me Peter. Its ludicrous to expect people to do everything right only to get a barely living wage in return. The point is that many many in the lower 2 or 3 quintiles are doing as much as they can and still getting left behind. They achieve nominal living wage but are challenged by medical, child care, and education costs. They cant fully achieve SWEAR because they don’t have sufficient time or money to do so. And they dont have resources to pull in, so every financial hardship makes them more prone to financial potholes like credit card debt and payday lenders.

          My point above is that in your imagination, SWEAR is a magic bullet to success that everyone can achieve. The reality is that, despite the talks and workshops you may hold, and the successes you may help people with (all very worthy), you have no idea of the level of hardships that many many people encounter that prevent their success. And you will apparently never admit to the limits on success that our current unbalanced income distribution system places on 90% of Americans.

          • Peter says:

            No I have said a million times that there is a problem with unskilled untalented laborers in our society. There aren’t enough jobs for them for the reasons I stated over and over. But it isn’t 40% of the population. Most people can practice SWEAR and be just fine.

          • Big Data says:

            And i have said many many times that lack of suitable jobs and lack of education for available jobs are not the only problems. We also squeeze the medium skilled workers and prevent them from advancing at rates of the upper incomes. And just to forestall the usual criticisms, i am not saying plumbers and bank presidents should make the same salary or take home the same dollar raise. But 90% of Americans should not go 30 years with almost no raise IN THEIR INCOME CLASS, while financial elites absorb all of the nations annual profits.

          • Peter says:

            They aren’t the only problems but the are the primary ones. And the ones we can do something about.

          • Stevendad says:

            I have to point out, once again, that I was one of and grew up with these poor folks. Very few of them were just victims of bad luck. They nearly always made bad decisions (and usually many of them )involving spending money they didn’t have, having children they we’re not ready for, drug abuse, poor work ethic, blowing off education etc, etc.

            At what point, when are people responsible for their own actions? I have said over and over again that there should be a safety net. However, at some point you have to draw a line. Once again, I think where we are is reasonable. I do not think it should be expanded further. Once again many of the people I knew were working”off the books” and made lots of money that never was taxed.

            Since you’re so interested in fairness, BD, is that fair to those who do pay taxes? I feel like the only answer that you have is to just tax the rich more and redistribute it to those who make less money or don’t work at all. In your mind, everything would fall in line. Everyone would behave correctly. Everyone would have lots of money and no needs for anything.

            Nirvana does not exist. Most of the people I knew would take the extra money and blow it in the same ways they have had in the past. The effect of this might be to amplify their non-productive behaviors rather than improve their lot in life. For example, they may buy more things they can’t afford with even more leverage, drink more alcohol, do more drugs, party more, etc etc. Of course this is only for my personal experience.

            I should point out, that I’m a libertarian and if this is a choice they want to make I have no problem with it. However, don’t whine and expect me to pay for their bad behaviors.

            To me, NOTHING is more cruel than dependency.

          • Peter says:

            Fair doesn’t apply to high income earners. In his mind we all make too much money anyway (evidenced by the increases in income over past several decades) that nothing you do to us can be deemed unfair. Like reparations…..

            In all seriousness though, great last post.

          • Big Data says:

            Thanks for your post, stevendad. Helpful. Not so much for yours peter. Very petty and spiteful.

          • Big Data says:

            Stevendad, you hypothesize that more money might ampify bad behaviors. But what does less money and loss of hope offer? What happens when people are assaulted and punished, yes punished, for poverty? We as a society do not offer ladders, good educational opportunities, decent jobs with living wage, positive feedback to reward good behavior and discourage bad. Instead we populate poor neighborhood schools with police who jail children and give them criminal recotds for minor behavior issues. We exploit them with payday lenders and easy access to liquor. We rease them with promise of career opporunities at scam trade schools with high tuitions and expensive loans. The jobs that are available are dead end, underpaid, and offer few hours to bypass medical benefits. And then we lambast the poor for their bad choices. No wonder they drink and seek what pleasure they can from their neager incomes. We have removed their hope and motivation.

          • Big Data says:

            Also, when you and i were teenagers, stevendad, real minimum wage was higher than now, state school tuitions were affordable, more decent jobs were available, and cities invested more in local schools. Not to mention that income distributions were more balanced. My whole point is that we cannot expect the country to thrive if we keep kicking down the ladders for the lower quintiles and blame the people at the bottom.

          • Peter says:

            The country is so different than it was then both demographically and economically. Supply and demand…….

    • Big Data says:

      You are clearly in the upper half of the IQ curve, healthy, and presumably white. As such you have advantages that allow you to pull ahead of the pack.

      You clarified the argument well when you said, in an earlier post, that the real point is to get out of the working class. The point I make is that there will always be a working class, and they too deserve a decent life. The answer to societies ills is not just to have everyone struggle for the upper half or 10% or 1% and then pity the foolsw at the bottom the ladder. We need to recognize that there is always a bottom half and they do not need to be punished for their disadvantages in genetics, health, innate capabilities, or race.

      • Peter says:

        The biggest problem the working class has is automation and technology, immigration and an education system that doesn’t prepare them for modern employment. I don’t think the goal for everyone should be to “escape the working class”, nor is anyone on here suggesting “punishing” them. We are always going to have unskilled labor. We just need to find education/training/jobs for these people. To blame it on the government, the 1%, CEO pay, etc. is missing the point and avoiding any sort of permanent change to help those who need it most.

        • Big Data says:

          Agreed we need to establish a better education system to prepare our citizens for jobs, and better trade policy to keep jobs here four our own. Recognizing that automation and globalization are causes is not enough. Establishing blame on societal classes is also insufficient. Along with personal responsibility there also must be societal responsibility in establishing policirs, programs, training, and jobs. And we must also balance our income distribution policies. For government policy ultimately controls how capitalism distributes income, though I know you disagree on this point.

          • Peter says:

            Not blaming any class for this situation. It is neither the fault of the wealthy for hurting the working class nor the fault of the poorer people for being lazy. Those things may be anecdotally true on an individual basis. And I like that our country has the freedom to do both – and live with the results.

      • Stevendad says:

        Since when is being a white male in and of itself an advantage? When I graduated from college, the only engineers that got jobs were female. The rest were all unable to get jobs. This was solely because they were female not because of their abilities. When I was in medical school, nearly all of those who flunked out were white males. Meanwhile, there was a Native American female who took five years to finish the first two years of medical school because she flunked so many courses. Your white scan and make sex only gave you no opportunity at all to make any mistakes.

        My sons, a few years ago, went to college at the local university here, there were 78 non-need-based scholarship programs. The only ones for white males were two PFLAG scholarships for gays. I’m not sure where this idea of advantage totally based on race comes from.

        You should look more into your own data. Asians do much better than any race in nearly every educational and income measure. Is this all because they go to the country club and network to get their jobs and admission to college? In fact, there is high-level discrimination across the Ivy League against Asians They have to score over 500 points higher on the SAT in order to qualify! Look at recent data about this. Perhaps more it’s that they SWEAR better than anyone else does. The “data” that you love so much backs this up 100%. Give me an honest answer to that question. Please use data!

        • Stevendad says:

          Since when is being a white male in and of itself an advantage? When I graduated from college, the only engineers that got jobs were female. The rest were all unable to get jobs. This was solely because they were female not because of their abilities. When I was in medical school, nearly all of those who flunked out were white males. Meanwhile, there was a Native American female who took five years to finish the first two years of medical school because she flunked so many courses. Your white skin and male sex only gave you no opportunity at all to make any mistakes.

          My sons, a few years ago, went to college at the local university here, there were 78 non-need-based scholarship programs. The only ones for white males were two PFLAG scholarships for gays. I’m not sure where this idea of advantage totally based on race comes from.

          You should look more into your own data. Asians do much better than any race in nearly every educational and income measure. Is this all because they go to the country club and network to get their jobs and admission to college? In fact, there is high-level discrimination across the Ivy League against Asians They have to score over 500 points higher on the SAT in order to qualify! Look at recent data about this. Perhaps more it’s that they SWEAR better than anyone else does. The “data” that you love so much backs this up 100%. Give me an honest answer to that question. Please use data!

          • Peter says:

            Agreed. Being white isn’t the huge advantage you are making it out to be. My daughter just applied early decision to a prestigious school and got rejected. They accepted 500 people and 225 of them were minorities. A black kid from a neighboring school got in with a severely worse track record. I’m not saying we should change all of this – just like I’m not saying you should lower my taxes – but you want to tilt the scales even further. Enough.

        • Big Data says:

          I am white. I dont get pulled over by police because of my race. I dont get stopped and frisked or have extra security watch me in stores because of my race. I will never have uber drivers or Air BnB or mortgage companies deny me service for my race. I have never had to worry about companies not hiring me because of my ethnic name or appearance. All of these biases still happen today and happen a lot. If you are white you have advantages. If you dont recognize those advantages, you are blind.

          • Peter says:

            All of that is very true.

          • Big Data says:

            Glad we agree on that. To be clear, i am not pushing for more and ways to tilt scholarships etc to positively bias minorities. I do want to do whatever possible to remove systemic negative biases, and providing a few diversity helpers like scholarships, as is being done today, is okay too.

          • Peter says:

            On a side note, have you ever taken the Implicit Association Test this article references? Try it…. not exactly the most insightful tool to use for racial bias.

  • Big Data says:

    Stevendad, your last two posts were a bit garbled and posted out of order, so i will reply here.

    Your top 3 concerns are
    1. $20T debt
    2. Radical Islam.
    3. N Korean nukes

    Dors Trump have solutions for any of these?

    On the first, he is likely to cut taxes, and increase spending on military and infrastructure, all of which increases debt. On the next two, he has zero sense on diplomacy and will likely nake things worse. On one of your lower priorities, probabilities are high that dismantling Obamacare will drive more Americans off of insurance and increase costs for sick and working poor.

    Here are my predictions for Trump administration. Rich will do Ok, and most Americans will suffer, war will be more likely, crony capitalism and income disparity will increase, and the economy will ultimately slow or decline for 75% of Americans. Almost nothing on your list will improve.

    • Big Data says:

      Another possibility. Trump pushes through tax cuts and big spending, a la Reagan, and economy seems to improve for all at cost to driving up debt/gdp. This is a false success, just as it was for Reagan, and will be paid for by future generations, just as we are still paying dearly for Reagan/Bush tax cuts.

    • Big Data says:

      And regarding bathroom issues. NC Bathroom Bill was the ill-advised conceit of GOP. And it was more than bathrooms. It was about centralized control, attempting to prevent local government control of issues from minimum wage to workplace discrimination to policing bathrooms. All quite arrogant and unnecessary. And now NC GOP has the gall to pass restrictions on the next governor just because he is an opposing party. This is unprecedented and the height of authoritarian arrogance and conceit. No surprise that NC government has recently been rated no higher than Cuba regarding functionality as a democracy. People are worried about Sharia law. They should be worried about authoritarian law a la NC.

    • Big Data says:

      Also, I have to mention that a concern about ~$2oT debt is possibly misplaced. The concern IMHO should be that Debt/GDP ought to be reduced. Dollar Debt will no doubt continue to increase as it has almost infallibly with inflation, economy growth and population growth since WW2. But if we can avoid irresponsible tax cuts where they are not needed, and thus replicate the decline in Debt/GDP that occurred from 1950 to 1982, we will do fine, irrespective of growth in Dollar Debt.

      • Stevendad says:

        To reprise, here’s my list: Here’s my PROBLEM rating most to least, which I expect BD won’t agree at all on: $20T debt, radical Islam, N Korean nukes, bloated and inefficient government, anemic growth at ZERO interest rates, uncontrolled immigration and its economic & security issues, healthcare finance mess , ascendency of Iran, income inequality and rise of “two Americas”……..skip many,many things……..bath. Peter and BD can you do a top ten, just curious…

        • Peter says:

          1. Changing political fundraising/campaigning rules. While the rest of the list isn’t ranked – this would be my #1 for sure. Nothing else matters in government until we do this.

          2. Reduction of government spending.
          3. Allowing artificial low rates to rise without burying our economy. Then possibly either auditing or eliminating/restructuring the Fed.
          4. Adapting our education system to a modern age to better train unskilled workers.
          5. Analyzing “vice” prohibition and taxing and regulating properly. Audit and tax religious organizations as charities.
          6. Reducing the suffocating, politically motivated over-regulation of industry. (Financial and medical above all)
          7. Completely revamping our inefficient and underfunded social welfare programs – SS, Medicare and ACA.
          8. Take a more isolationist approach to the Middle East. Expect Israel to defend itself. Stop getting involved in regime change overseas.

          Just off the top of my head…. these are my primary concerns.

        • Big Data says:

          Top eleven, imperfectly ranked. Might have missed something …

          1) Campaign Finance Reform/ Legislative or Judicial reversal of Peoples United Decision
          2) Education Reform (Three parts: improved grade school teaching policies with less emphasis on standards testing; availability of lower tuition higher education at state schools and community colleges; incorporate planning and cooperation with business to allow better career planning and training for students and to better support existing and future industries.)
          3) Infrastructure/ Jobs program to rebuild roads, schools, plumbing, and to boost employment.
          4) Tax policy reform to (a) bring in more revenue to bring down deficits and pay down debt/gdp, (b) shift tax burden more heavily to large investment incomes
          5) Business tax reform to shift tax burden to big corporations and less on small businesses
          6) Financial regulation reform to reinstate Glass-Steagall, enforce sufficient capital requirements on banks, remove most identifiable forms of moral hazard, retain independent consumer financial protection agency, and apply financial tax on high volume short term stock and investment transactions, to make stock market less volatile and risk-prone.
          7) Improve healthcare system. In short term, remove the stupid 30 hour/wk step function for benefits and make it a sliding scale. Move toward universal care but without the relentless downward pressure on primary care physician incomes. Restrict/regulate balance billing. The rise of efficient clinics (Prima-Care, CareNow), and physician assistants is a good thing. I always go to these in evenings and on weekends and it saves a lot of time otherwise pulled from work. Our medical school training for doctors seems overly expensive and drawn-out over too many years. Not sure how to fix that. We need to discourage the relentless repackaging of drugs and drug delivery systems just to make them more expensive and profitable. Big pharma needs to be regulated. Life-saving drugs that are inexpensive to produce should not be priced high for outrageous profit and ransomed out to the fortunate few who can afford it. Accept that cutting medical costs means a slower pace of research and some restrictions on surgery-on-demand. TAANSTAFL
          8) Improve VA system and fully fund it. We need to stop short-changing our veterans. This also means we need to reinstate medical and psych care benefits for those who have been kicked out due to mental traumas caused by battle. That’s the social cost of war. Soldiers pay too heavily with lives and health. We need to pony up the money for their care.
          9) Improve/Reform/Fund Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Don’t privatize. Profiteering on people’s health and retirement sets up too many moral conflicts.
          10) Fix policing and justice policies to eliminate civil forfeiture, eliminate policies that are effectively debtor’s prison, stop-and-frisk based on economic and racial profiling, prevent community budgets funded by excessive and punitive fees, fines, and tickets that encourage policing for profit rather than for justice.
          11) Figure out how to streamline business start-ups, including simplifying regulations for small business (under 50, 100, or 200 employees, with some complexity and burden added with growth). Franchises are not the same as a small business unless wage and price and employee policy control is truly independent from the larger organization. Make startups competitive with large companies by allowing the small companies to be more flexible adaptive and nimble.

      • Stevendad says:

        Sorry, you are just wrong about this IMHO. The debt is a ticking time bomb.

        • Big Data says:

          Debt/GDP is a ticking time bomb. Rising dollar debt is meaningless if Debt/GDP is falling. Trying too hard to reduce dollar debt will actually damage the economy, because money for investment will be overly restricted.

          • Peter says:

            Rising dollar debt is hardly meaningless even as it relates to GDP. Unless printing money and devaluing the dollar even further is on the table.

    • Stevendad says:

      I’m not sure we have any idea what Trump will do. Hopefully as I’ve said before we will not Cut taxes at the expense of the debt. My hope is Paul Ryan who is a debt realist will not let this go through.

  • Stevendad says:

    BD: just wondered if you saw this: Again, as a former Democrat,The party is likely heading into the abyss if they don’t realized that the plans and strategies they have created are not winners. The party is in complete disarray due to the Left and they are wanting to go more Left yet! I think it needs to be pointed out that once the immigration mess is figured out, Latinos are more likely to be conservative as their background is both capitalistic and Catholic by and large. Counting on them to vote Democratic forever is a pipe dream. I think even the African-American community is starting to wake up to how they have been taken for granted by Democrats.

    • Big Data says:

      It looks like you intended to include a link?

    • Big Data says:

      Oh, i see. You were just reposting entry from further down. I did miss it. Here is a reply.

      How long will it be before blacks and white working class figure out Trump will break his campaign promises to them? If Trump is as tough as he promised on immigration, Latinos will be severely impacted and will be very unhappy with him. If he breaks that promise, his new white working class voters will be unhappy with him. If he supports blacks with infrastructure spending, he will offend the small gov GOP, but if he doesnt, his credibility with everyone suffers.

      • Stevendad says:

        We ALL must compromise to move forward in the best way, as an adult knows. If only our politicians were adults…

        • Big Data says:

          They are adults, but power-hungry and obstinate. I don’t know the solution to return our government to a culture of compromise and to legislation for national rather than party interests. The Hastert rule is a particularly nasty philosophy and I wish the GOP would abandon it. On the Dem side, i disagree with the idea that they should take up the mantle as the party of NO. They should support positive ideas like infrastructure spending while rejecting harmful policies like tax cuts that make it impossible to pay for that needed spending. They should support any idea that will advance the country and be willing to make honest compromises to balance the interests of the two parties. Unfortunately, the GOP has been most unwilling to participate in such compromise as the minority, and will be even less likely as the majority. That is not partisan rhetoric, but a stark and honest statement of fact. The GOP has been the party of NO and are now moving to “My way or the highway”. The only good news is that the fragmentation within the GOP makes it harder for them to figure out which way they actually want to go. And again, I know that SOUNDS like team-cheering, but it is not. Consider: If the GOP are fragmented, it makes compromises between the parties, and progress for the country, more likely. And that’s a GOOD thing. For all of us.

          • Stevendad says:

            My children, at least when they were young just wanted what they wanted despite anybody else’s wishes or needs. They either had a temper tantrum or whined if they didn’t get it. (Of note, this didn’t last very long.) But this sounds familiar doesn’t it? In this way, I feel like politicians do not act as adults. Adults see both sides of issues and make a measured decision between the two options. This group just seems to start whining and complaining when they don’t get their way. I don’t consider that adult behavior.

          • Peter says:

            Agreed. The political climate has become toxic in the last 16 years – more than ever. Nothing will improve or have any lasting impact until this changes. Everything else we talk about is fodder.

          • Big Data says:

            I am in agreement on this. And a big BIG part of the problem is the Hastert Rule, both as it applies in Congress, and how the principle is applied in elections. A party wins an election and therefore push all of their most radical ideas as if they have a mandate.

            Witness: About 26% of Americans want to completely dismantle Obamacare. The poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 26 percent of the country wants to repeal the entire law. Meanwhile, 30 percent want to expand the law, 19 percent want to keep it as is and 17 percent want to scale it back.

            So what are Republicans scrambling to do in first 100 days? Repeal Obamacare with no replacement in sight.

          • Peter says:

            Give us an example of Democrats doing this.

  • Big Data says:

    Peter:
    “No policy will ever be any good (or last) if one party crams it through in spite of the other.”

    I agree on this one. Many forget now, but Obama campaigned on US unity over party loyalism, but was then greeted with a vow of obstructionism by GOP leaders on his inauguration day. As Obama sought to fulfill his campaign promise of more universal healthcare, he went out of his way to reach out across the isle to make it bipartisan, even basing the structure of Obamacare on plans from a right-wing think tank, and a plan already implemented by governor Romney. Furthermore, it had many items advocated on Boehner’s own website. Still, GOP was more interested in the idea that government does not work than helping the President with healthcare for all Americans, and so they stood together against any plans that Dems might put forward. They put out a lot of lies like “death panels” and “government takeover of healthcare” (despite it being based on private insurance with some subsidies). When Kennedy died, and Scott Brown (R) took his place, Dems unexpectedly lost their 60% hold in the Senate, and barely got healthcare done at all. Many on right like to proclaim that Obamacare was rammed down the country’s throat, but it is instead better describes as a popular idea that GOP blocked and diminished at every opportunity. For years, GOP proclaimed that most people were against Obamacare without noting that about half of those “against” it wanted something even more liberal, like a single-payer system. A relative few wanted it dismantled. Of course, with continued battle to remove adequate funding and reluctance to fix its flaws (because they did’t want Dems to get any credit), the GOP succeeded in making the program flounder and lose favor.

    So I find some flaw in the idea stated by Henry that Obama was 50% of the cause of government dysfunction. And really, this is not just a case of team-cheering. Even those on the right will acknowledge that the right believes in less government and thus has a vested interest in assuring that government programs fail. The last thing that the small gov wing on the right wants is a successful government-subsidied healthcare program. As Ryan and his supporters keep proposing, they want to repeal and replace Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid with vouchers, private enterprise, and block grants to the states. I don’t believe they want to harm the American people, but I do believe they aren’t terribly interested in helping the people will will inevitably suffer and/or die under their programs. It’s not their responsibility and is out of their hands. It’s a matter of personal responsibility and survival of the fittest. Anyway, it’s not the GOP voters who are most likely to die, and many of the GOP voters clearly do not care. It was the GOP voters at a debate in 2012 cheered the idea to “Let ’em die,” regarding their dislike of government subsidied healthcare.
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/09/tea-party-debate-audience-cheered-idea-of-letting-uninsured-patients-die/

    My frustration with the left and the right, is that the left is too timid to act, even when they have the mandate of the majority, and the right is anxious to overpower when they have the opportunity to advance their own interests of the monied and powerful, and the passions of the radical minority, even with whole and complete disregard to the true will of the majority on individual issues.

    • Peter says:

      Neither of us know, but my opinion is that they are equally culpable. Like a bad marriage. Obama wouldn’t even entertain the Republicans’ contributions to the stimulus package, which set the tone. Then when he moved the goalposts on the debt ceiling vote – by listening to another proposal after one was agreed to – he further damaged the relationship. He tried to be a firm leader early on (a sound strategy to some degree) and it backfired. He was not a negotiator. And Congress of course played a giant role in all this as well – but I’m sure you know that is the case.

      • Peter says:

        And by the way – what happens behind the scenes isn’t really the point….. the point is that if any policy passes with no support from the opposing party then it is doomed to be repealed/rescinded/revised at a later date. There isn’t much evidence that disagrees with this. EITHER PARTY

        • Stevendad says:

          A camera was on Obama during the Repub input hearing for Obamacare. As Tom Coburn spoke he shook his head and rolled his eyes. So much for seeking input. It was a pure political ploy to appear he was listening. Obamacare just shifted the lack of access away from the very poor to the working poor who could not begin to afford $6000 deductibles.

          • Stevendad says:

            Sorry, last comment sort of autofiled. Look at TV viewership or record sales in past. Much, much higher. The only thing nearly everyone is interested in is the NFL. Here’s my PROBLEM rating most to least, which I expect BD won’t agree at all on: $20T debt, radical Islam, N Korean nukes, bloated and inefficient government, anemic growth at ZERO interest rates, uncontrolled immigration and its economic & security issues, healthcare finance mess , ascendency of Iran, income inequality and rise of “two Americas”……..skip many,many things……..bathrooms. So if we can’t even agree on which problems matter, how can we ever arrive at solutions?

          • Big Data says:

            I don’t know about eye-rolling on camera. I do know that Obama and Democrats attempted to engage the Republicans on both the stimulus and Obamacare, but it wads a strategic decision of McConnell and the GOP to stonewall and be hyper-partisan. GOP was never really interested in participating in either process.

            http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/the-real-story-of-obamacares-birth/397742/

          • Peter says:

            Stevendad – True. And he didn’t put in any of the suggestions that were brought to the table. I think he viewed it as “setting the tone” – showing he was going to be strong and principled. Not a bad strategy, but it started a chain of events that set the tone for his presidency.

          • Peter says:

            Oh and BD – what Stevendad and I were talking about was the stimulus – which was put in the first few weeks of his presidency. By the time Obamacare rolled around the marriage was already broken.

          • Big Data says:

            Obama put over a third of stimulus into tax cuts … to appease the GOP. GOP wanted a cost-free approach or one based solely on tax cuts. It’s not true that Dems did not appease the GOP. The stimulus was smaller and had more tax cuts solely to appease GOP. But when GOP doesn’t get their complete way, they take their ball and go home.

          • Peter says:

            You have your facts wrong on this one.

          • Big Data says:

            My facts are correct. If you have contradicting information, please provide it.

          • Big Data says:

            http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jan/06/nation/na-obama-economy6

            WASHINGTON — Despite Barack Obama’s decision to include as much as $100 billion in business tax breaks to his economic stimulus package to woo reluctant Republicans, obstacles to speedy, bipartisan passage remain.

            The president-elect began working Monday in pursuit of twin goals — reviving the economy and transforming the political climate in Washington — by including GOP leaders in his first round of Capitol Hill meetings since the election. He pitched the need to act fast and with a broad consensus.

        • Stevendad says:

          We as a society are fragmented in so many ways compared to the past. No one listens to the same music, watches the same TV shows, believes in the same solutions or even sees problems with the same weight (i.e. relatively huge emphasis on bathrooms…) This may be leading to a so much more heterogenous America. Look at show viewership comparAdd this to partisanship as an end and not a means and we get the nondirectional back and forth

        • Big Data says:

          Peter, my point is that a party can credibly pass policy that the other party dislikes IF the first party has majority backing from population. GOP seems unwisely willing to push policy that majority object to just because their most passionate “majority of the majority” (ie 30 to 35% of voters) supports it.

          • Peter says:

            I don’t agree with that. Obamacare and the Iraq War are two of the most obvious recent examples. The backlash is just too great when the execution isn’t perceived as effective.

            And of course, I don’t see the GOP as the big bad wolf in this the way you do. I see very little difference between the two parties – both fragmented, both dogmatic, neither willing to compromise, both with extremist arms wagging the dog, etc. But no point debating that part of this. Can we take “GOP” and “Democrats” out of the discussion and just call them politicians?

          • Big Data says:

            Peter, you see both parties as equivalent because neither actually work toward your preferred goals: smaller government with less spending, less policing on world stage, etc. I mention the parties with respect to their clear differences.
            For instance, if you would be more objective and less determined to arbitrarily assign everybody equal blame for everything, you would see that GOP has been the more obstructive and less-compromising party. They have self-proclaimed that as their policy and intention while the Dems have not. It is documented in the Congressional records and their voting policy. It is disingenuous of you to deny simple observable facts for the sake of false equivalence.

            And Obamacare is indeed a prime example. Demi attempted to compromise and bring in GOP ideas but GOP’s only goal was to oppose the whole of the legislation. They blatantly misrepresented parts of the legislation to slander it, and overplayed public objection to it as well as its every inevitable flaw. Even now, when it has brought uninsured rate to historic low, and has had some success over last 2 years in slowing overall medical cost increases, GOP portrays the hiccup in some of this years rate increases as a disaster requiring complete dismantling of the program.

            So when only 26% of the country wants to actually distantle Obamacare and 49% want to retain or expand it, GOP blindly wants to destroy a program that is largely effective, for partisan political ends, despite many dangers inherent in destroying it.

            The parties are different, and we need to examine those differentces. Dems also have flaws. We need to examine flaws of both parties and not just portray all politicians as equivalent and bad. For that matter capitalism and business also have flaws, but I seldom se you address them. We must examine all flaws in society and in our economy in order to fix what is broken and keep what is not, not just oversimplify the arguments as “Government Bad, Capitalists Good.”

          • Big Data says:

            dismantle … not distantle …

          • Peter says:

            Missing the point again…..I don’t CARE which party is more to blame. Who cares? I just sound like I’m deflecting you because you blame everything on Republicans. With my far right closed minded friends they call me “Obama lover” incidentally……because I refuse to accept that with two corrupt largely identical political behemoths, paid for by big money and lobbyists, that ONE of them is more to blame than the other. And if it is 70/30 or 60/40 who gives a crap? They both have the blood on their hands and neither has done squat to MEANINGFULLY improve the plight of the poor or the income disparity you rail against in a lasting long term fashion. It just doesn’t interest me to waste time playing home team partisan political crap – we never get to the heart of the issues when we do that. That, sir, is what is different about you and those that came before you on this forum. And why you drive me and everyone else so insane.

            But don’t get me wrong. I have just as much disgust for Republicans as I do Democrats.

  • Big Data says:

    Peter:
    “I’m still not interested in going head to head with your unflappably immune-to-criticism Democratic platform, …”

    There you again. Please stay away from the conversation killing partisan speak, and attack the message, not the messenger. I made some points to be addressed, and your dismissal of everything you disagree with as a partisan platform is tiresome.

    I did not mischaracterize you. I ascribed the vote for change by the working class as a vote for government help. Yes i drew that line of connection, not you. But it seems to me an obvious and credible line. No need to get snarky about it.

  • Big Data says:

    It’s interesting how even Peter and Stevendad disagree as to the message of this election. Peter says it was a change election with the economically disadvantaged looking for a new approach. Stevendad says that “a reduction in the size and scope of government … was the overriding mandate of the electorate”. There is no doubt that both types of voters voted for Trump, but these are conflicting electorates. The former wants more government spending and the latter wants less. The former wants the rich to get less and the latter want the rich to get tax cuts. No mandate for either. Pretty sure who will get the bounty though, and it won’t be the middle and working class. Hillary won’t get locked up (not that she ever should have been), the big wall won’t get built, whatever smaller wall might happen will not be paid for by Mexico, coal jobs are not coming back, and the ghettos are not getting a makeover. I’m pretty sure the rich will get a tax cut though.

    • Peter says:

      I’m still not interested in going head to head with your unflappably immune-to-criticism Democratic platform, but must (as usual) contradict the way I am characterized.

      I don’t think that saying this was a “change election for the economically disadvantaged looking for a new approach” means more spending, or the rich getting less. You drew that line, not me.

      • Big Data says:

        Ok, Peter, but the working class folks who flocked to Trump pretty clearly were drawn to the promises of infrastructure spending, spending on the Mexican Great Wall, spending to reduce immigration, spending to establish a better health care system, and cutting taxes for middle class while cutting out tax breaks for hedge fund managers. You can’t credibly recognize this as a change election for the middle and working class without also recognizing that change was supposed to come from spending by the govt to help the middle classes. None of those rural Trump voters want to lose their promised perks to tax cuts for the rich. That is not what Trump promised.

        The fact that he promised balanced budgets, tax cuts AND big spending is a comundrum he will never be able to solve. It will be interesting to see which promises he will keep and how he will spin blame for his own failure to act on his impossible and conflicting agendas.

        • Peter says:

          I don’t know that it isn’t just as simple as a rejection of the last 8 years. The same way Obama was a sea change rejection of the prior 8 years. Yet, the world keeps spinning, the wars keep happening and the debt keeps rising….. and people that wait for the government to help them or solve their problems remain frustrated.

          • Big Data says:

            The problem is that people are projecting their own interests on the blank slate that is Trump. Just seeing reporting that many people who like Obamacare voted for Trump for other reasons and hope he was just kidding about Obamacare.

            This is how GOP is building their party. They get people who are passionate about single issues and get them all riled up. A few abortion haters, small gov enthusiasts, racists, business elites, and now some working class voters are promised that their interests will be promoted. That doesnt mean that a majority support any one of those ideas, but a coalition of disparate interests have had their passions inflamed and are promised the moon. So no, all Trump voters are not racists. Neither are they all small gov enthusiasts or all anti abortionists or tax cut fans or all rejecting the last 8 years. They are a mix of disparate desires and still only make up 46% of the voting electorate all told.

          • Big Data says:

            And by the way, obama i currently more popular than either Trump or Hillary were in the whole election cycle. That does not jibe with the idea that voters were voting to reject the last eight years.

          • Henry says:

            Most people are dissatisfied with our government and its ineffectiveness. That’s why only about 40-50 percent vote. Not a rejection of Obama as a person. Just a rejection of the partisan gridlock he was 50% of. Same reason incumbents getting voted out of congress the last few times around. (Both from your team and the bad guys team as well)

      • Big Data says:

        And what was Democrat about my post? I am merely pointing out the obvious contradictions in Trumps platform and promises.

        • Henry says:

          Obvious to you….with your facts and perspective. It’s obvious to some that Hillary is dishonest. It’s obvious to some that Obamacare is a disaster. But I bet those things aren’t obvious to you. You been bamboozled too….

          • Big Data says:

            We could attempt an honest discussion of Obamacare here, but it is difficult to get past the propaganda. Facts remain that more people are insured (good), premiums for some folks are high (bad) and that it has a lot of good and bad points. Portraying it as a disaster is simplistic, and for that reason alone, is an inadequate and false description. The disaster and tragedy will come if Trump dismantles this program before a credible replacement is ready. Obamacare has saved lives and enabled entrepreneurs to start businesses of their own because they could finally get insurance without being a hired hand at a corporation. The GOP would be wise to fix, rebrand, and adjust Obamacare, rather than applying false labels for political reasons.

          • Peter says:

            Hopefully the Federal Government will repeal, revise and improve. Could care less what the “GOP” does. If we had more bipartisan joint efforts in our government in the first place, Obamacare possibly wouldn’t be the mess that it is. No policy will ever be any good (or last) if one party crams it through in spite of the other.

  • Big Data says:

    PETER:”…The tough thing for people that identify as liberals or democrats is the reconciliation that their party is the party of Wall Street, war and crony capitalism now. ”

    How do you figure that? Trump and his cabinet ARE Wall Street. Hillary just talked to them. Obama attempted to end the wars that GOP started and Trump wants to bomb the L out of ISIS and proliferate and use nuclear weapons. I think that Trumps GOP still has WallStreet, crony capitalism and war mongering pretty firmly in their platform and practice.

  • Big Data says:

    Regarding Trump being who he says he is.

    I think Trump is how he acts and what he says. He is an egomaniacal, self-serving, thin-skinned, flip-flopping businessman. I don’t need media to interpret him, and it is not the media’s fault if people think badly of him. There is really no comparing him to Obama. Obama was lambasted at the beginning of his Presidency for having no experience (despite 10 years as state or US senator), and was accused of being a secret Muslim, a non-citizen, someone who hated white people and wanted to destroy America, a food stamp president, an advocate of death panels for old people, etc, etc. There was so much fake news and smoke being blown by the right that had no basis in fact. Meanwhile, after Hillary was persecuted for the mere appearance of conflicts of interest and for talking to Wall Street, we are supposed to ignore the unprecedented mountain of conflicts of interest represented by a president-elect who IS Wall Street, and who puts mostly billionaires on his cabinet.

    As for Trump being racist, I just think he is racially insensitive to the point if being ignorant. And while he is possibly more empathetic to LGBT than some in GOP, the LGBT community is rightfully concerned by the gay haters he puts in his cabinet and team of advisors. And lastly, there is an undisputed national rise in racist and anti-gay sentiment and actions in schools and public places that is attributable to Trump voters. Not all Trump supporters are racist, but i would venture that most racists are Trump supporters.

    Is there a silver lining to Trump? Not much, but there are 2 things. If he can push GOP to pass a half trillion or more package in infrastructure and construction, it will help working people and the economy. If he tries out some things on trade policy that dont work, it will be on GOP head and not Dems, and if he finds something that works to help the country, then good for him. The GOP will at least be forced to ATTEMPT governance and not just obstruction, and maybe something good will come of that. If not, Dems are back in 4 years and maybe GOP will be ready to be more conciliatory. Doubtful, but it could happen.

    • Henry says:

      Lol GO TEAM Democrats!!!!

      • Big Data says:

        Last 4 sentences were stated in terms of me being a Democrat. The rest were spoken in terms of being a neutral intelligent observer.

        • Henry says:

          Even funnier. And more subtext in there that implies that we should not trust or like billionaires – but be sympathetic to the LGBT community. I’m just shocked at what a home team fan you are. Part of the problem with Democrats – they can’t even see the image they project or self-critique their VERY flawed candidate.

          • Big Data says:

            The irony, Henry, is that for every flaw criticized in Hillary, Trump has the same flaw magnified by 10, PLUS a horde of new ones all his own. But he’s a by god spellbinder and has bamboozled the masses.

          • Stevendad says:

            Again, as a former Democrat,The party is likely heading into the abyss if they don’t realized that the plans and strategies they have created are not winners. The party is in complete disarray due to the Left and they are wanting to go more Left yet! I think it needs to be pointed out that once the immigration mess is figured out, Latinos are more likely to be conservative as their background is both capitalistic and Catholic by and large. Counting on them to vote Democratic forever is a pipe dream. I think even an African-American community is starting to wake up to how they have been taken for granted by Democrats.

          • Big Data says:

            Then GOP should drop their partisan cries of amnesty and grant a path to citizenship for hardworking undocumented immigrants who have been here for years. This is policy that 2/3 of Americans and a majority of Republicans favor in recent polls. Why do GOP leadership oppose it?

        • Big Data says:

          And no subtext about disliking billionaires is there. You are extrapolating beyond what i am saying. Trump lied, thats my point. He riled up the working class about Hillary talking, just TALKING to Wall Street, promised to drain the swamp of lifetime politicians and big money, promised to take away tax benefits of hedge fund managers, says he’s going to hire and appoint the best people, but then his actions disavow almost all of his promises. He is filling his swamp with more alligators who have wealth and/or party loyalty as their only resume bullet, are largely inexperienced in the realm in which they are expected to work, and are the opposite of what was promised.

          • Peter says:

            Just because someone is a billionaire doesn’t discredit their abilities. In fact, in many ways I think it is more likely to be that they are quite qualified than not. Appointing successful people doesn’t disavow taking away tax benefits of hedge fund managers. Of course you and I won’t agree on what “qualified” means. I think in the totally partisan dysfunctional government we have now, having political experience could actually be a bad thing.

            But honestly, with all due respect what is the point of this debate with you? You applaud just about everything Obama has done – and blame the GOP for everything he didn’t do. You have a completely glass half-full view of Hillary Clinton even beyond what I’ve seen from MSNBC and the New York Times. And so far you have not said one good thing about Donald Trump – trashing almost every move that he has made. This is why you are accused of being partisan. There is no depth to your thinking – and no open-mindedness that the Democrats vs Republicans debate might be more nuanced. Like I’ve said before, part of the reason I stick around is that you remind me of the very thing that is terribly wrong with our political climate. Don’t you see that we can’t go forward with one “team” forcing policy on the other? Then, the following elections will be mini-revolutions where everyone who didn’t want the policies vote out the incumbents (i.e. the Tea Party). Now we are doing it all over again with liberals raging against the Trump machine. In 2,4,6 or 8 years there will be an uprising against this and Dems will take over the Capitol and White House and erase what Trump did. This is horrible, horrible government and people like you feed into this. If you really want to help the country, take off your Democrat jersey and open your mind.

          • Peter says:

            And BS that there is no subtext about billionaires. If there wasn’t, then why even mention that there are billionaires in his cabinet. (Especially when most of them aren’t) DeVos, McMahon and Ross are actually the only billionaires he has appointed. Tillerson, Zinke, Perry, Puzder, Pruitt, Kelly, Mattis, Mnuchin, Chao, Price, Ross, Haley, Carson, Pompeo, Sessions, Bannon, Priebus, Flynn and McGahn are not.

          • Big Data says:

            Ome good thing about Trump: He, like Obama, recognizes the need and the benefit of a half trillion to trillion dollar infrastructure program. Todays hyperpartisan GOP Congress would never let a Democrat President get credit for such a needed effort however. Perhaps they will get it done with Republicans running the show. Perhaps authoritarian Trump will make them.

    • Stevendad says:

      That most racists are Trump supporters means Trump is a racist is a complete fallacy. That’s like saying most cop killers are Obama supporters. Does that mean Obama likes and agrees with cop killers?

      • Big Data says:

        And i did not promote that fallacy. I am not saying Trump is racist. But it is concerning that Trump falsely denied knowing who David Duke was, and willingly accepts the support of racists. Trump may not be actively racist, but he does not seem to give a hoot about understanding what racism is, how it is important, or how to fight it. He seems to diminish the idea as inconsequential political correctness, and that is alarming.

  • Big Data says:

    Regarding conversation -killing partisan speak:

    Stevendad and Peter, you realize that your posts are full of conversation-killing partisan speak, right? You may only recognize it in others (me, mostly), but you are as guilty, or perhaps more so. I got to thinking about this, and it seems to me that the difference between such “partisan-speak” that should rightfully be avoided, and having an intellectual position that is backed by logical argument, is precisely the logical argument. Partisan-speak is almost any (and the “almost” is an important word here) statement that expresses divisive ideas in terms of “always” or “never”, or that are merely repetitions of popular mantras that are echoed, or are opinions based on extrapolations of limited personal observation. Intellectual positions are conclusions derived from data, logic and calculation, backed by both observation and research. An intellectual position/opinion might be “I believe government programs are often inefficient and would benefit from competition.” Partisan-speak is an unbending absolute like “The government makes everything less efficacious and more expensive.” An intellectual position or opinion might be “I believe that we can balance the budget effectively without raising taxes.” Partisan-speak is saying “you are simply determined to raise the taxes on the rich. I still don’t think that you really are doing much problem solving in your thinking. You have one outcome you want to happen and we can’t talk about anything else without you bringing it back to this. And the problem with your solution is – it is never enough.” or using terms like “huge ill-conceived programs like [Medicare]”.

    As for that 2nd quote back, it was particularly offensive as it once again turned the discussion to personal insult and disrespect. That is really uncalled for.

    What I actually said, in brief in my post, was that it appears disingenuous and as bad marketing for GOP to begin their cost-saving push by (once again) arguing for cutting costs in social programs while SIMULTANEOUSLY planning a big tax cut for big corporations and the most wealthy. How is that statement partisan? And how is it that such a plain and forthright statement merits another personal attack against me rather than addressing my intellectual position?

    By the way, I did not “miss” Stevendad’s points, and my “one outcome” of raising taxes is not the only outcome I argue for, but is the point most likely to get a knee-jerk partisan reaction from this audience. To the degree that I believe that it is intellectually logical and most likely necessary to raise taxes on the most wealthy in order to address budget deficits, it is not a partisan issue, any more than you, Peter and Stevendad, believe that your positions on reducing the size of government and avoiding tax increases are blindly partisan. You believe you have good arguments backing those positions, and to the degree that you back up those positions, you have an intellectual position. If you simply assume that the necessity of shrinking government and never increasing taxes is self-evident, you are being partisan.

    How would you feel if I said “you are simply determined to cut size of government despite any negative impacts to the poor. I still don’t think that you really are doing much problem solving in your thinking. You have one outcome you want to happen and we can’t talk about anything else without you bringing it back to this. And the problem with your solution is – it is never enough.”?

    • Stevendad says:

      Good to see you back and in fighting form. I am NOT partisan. I am a moderate Dem whose party Left him behind. I am an American and I argue only for what in the long run is best for all Americans IMHO. I’m sorry, but “The government makes everything less efficacious and more expensive” is true based on 3 family career Feds and at least a hundred discussions with Fed employees. You just choose to ignore the disincentives for efficiency, near total lack of accountability and reward for bloat system we have wrought is a disastrous way to run any large enterprise.

      • Peter says:

        I’ll second this. I live in the Washington DC area and work closely with hundreds if not thousands of Federal employees. Much of my opinions of government inefficiencies come from them – not from the papers or political angles. Anyone who thinks we need more government bureaucracy is likely not on the “inside”.

        For full disclosure I have voted in all presidential elections and voted for Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Libertarians.

  • Peter says:

    Another example of our jacked-up media (as if the election coverage wasn’t bad enough) is the stories reporting on Trump. I am not a fan of Trump’s in any capacity, by the way – I think he is an egomaniac and a questionable business man. The left-leaning media is creating this narrative that the President-Elect wasn’t who he says he is – that he is a racist and that KKK rallies and hate crimes are on the rise now and that the election was a vote for “hate”. Eight years ago, the right was creating a narrative that we had elected a president who wasn’t who he said he was – that he was possibly even a Muslim, not born in the US and secretly plotting to ruin our nation from within. Both angles create nice home-team furor and passion but unfortunately have two awful side-effects.

    1) They miss the point of why the election went as it did. In both cases, people were voting for change. This falls in line of the income disparity argument we have had on here for years – if you feel like you are getting a raw deal, you don’t vote for the party that has been in power for the last 8 years of your misery. You don’t vote for the party that is giving speeches at Goldman Sachs and in bed with Wall Street (in 2008 this was Republicans, in 2016 it is Democrats). You vote for someone to shake up the system. Right or wrong, Obama and Trump ran on the same message – shaking up the system and dramatic change.

    2) They kill all productive dialogue. Just like I pointed out in the Medicare chat below, when someone starts to believe the partisan rhetoric, they get emotional, illogical and quit listening to rational thought or opposing views. You can’t even have a conversation anymore – as evidenced by the awful marriage of Obama and Congress.

    Turns out, 8 years later – Obama was neither a catalyst for impactful change nor an America-hating Muslim. Sure we had some small changes and certainly adopted a more globalist foreign policy approach. But all in all the reality of the Obama administration was well in the middle of the ridiculous extreme narratives. Keep that in mind as we try and watch the Trump administration objectively – it will continue to be increasingly difficult to filter through the partisan spin on everything – in both directions. The more we can avoid the mind control groupthink, the more we can solve complicated problems like Medicare, the budget, taxes, foreign policy, poverty, health care and income disparity.

    • Stevendad says:

      There is a great deal more credit or blame given to the President than he (so far he) deserves. The whole multi trillion dollar enterprise of Federal government has a momentum that can only be shifted modestly by one person. However, when the planets align, and all are of one party, then “progress” can be made. Thus Obamacare was born and a trillion dollar “stimulus” passed. Hopefully the present alignment will lead to a reduction in all of this “progress” and a reduction in the size and scope of government, as was the overriding mandate of the electorate. Despite the media’s insistence it was all about misogyny, racism, xenophobia, etc, this was the real message. Obama blew it for his party by doubling down on “same” rather than real “change”. Think about it: Dems went from both houses of Congress and the Presidency to none of them. The Democratic Party is at an historic low, perhaps a nadir or perhaps portent of things to come. Unfortunately, we are careening towards the abyss and need real leadership and real solutions. The Dems offered neither, just a lot of “not him “. I have to hope Trump can produce some solutions. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

      • Stevendad says:

        Ok Peter, BD must FINALLY realize there is no countering our superior logic. Just crickets the past few days…????

        • Peter says:

          I doubt that is the case. Hopefully though….the tough thing for people that identify as liberals or democrats is the reconciliation that their party is the party of Wall Street, war and crony capitalism now. And their party is the one that is not accepting election results (or at least complaining). If I was a liberal, I would have hoped that we would have taken the high ground during the last 8 years. They have to be disappointed or at least concerned with these facts. Even Obamacare wasn’t really what the liberals wanted – it still greases the palms of insurance companies, making it too expensive for many (and rising).

  • Stevendad says:

    BD: I have to ask if: “The true will of the people supports addressing climate change, keeping the iran deal, fixing not destroying obamacare, keeping medicare and medicaid, funding Planned Parenthood, providing reasonable access to abortion, and Dems should fight hard against GOP attempts to overrun the will of the people.” is true, then why are House / Senate / state houses and governors some if not overwhelmingly Republican, who clearly oppose these things?
    And the “get rid of Medicare/aid” is just Liberal nonsense. Surely you don’t believe their political BS? I think that’s a huge problem with the Dems, seeing only what they believe, not believing what they see: i.e. their party in the worst shape since Reconstruction, 150 years ago. If only we can import enough voters, we will win! How about importing some good ideas and good candidates?