what's been floating my boat lately:

"How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think."
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
-Albert Einstein-

10/22/19 (21:09)

  • Guess this Oakland rapper didn't get the memo that you're not supposed to say "Frisco."
  • I forgot to upload some old updates...below.
  • What's the societal purpose of the news and does the reporting that most of the news does fulfill it? The reason they have constitutional protections is probably because of their unwritten mandate to check those in power (4th estate). There's a lot of other stuff they do, though, that's just about keeping people up to date on what's going on in the country/community. Overall I think their function isn't well defined within the newsroom and, as a result, they end up chasing a lot of things that aren't all that valuable to society. Shock stories, over-reacting to tweets, over-reporting on Trump, etc. Education remains my number one issue and the media aren't holding up their end of the bargain very well (overall).
  • Something that seems to be lost in the discussion about gender equality is that men make up not only the top of the income bracket, but also the bottom. They're more likely to be CEOs than women, and also more likely to be homeless or in jail. And it's not even really close. Of course the easy retort to that is that they commit more crime than women, which is true. But it's odd that if you used that comment when talking about the higher rate of incarceration of black men, then you would instantly get push back and equivocation. I think the average "woke" person would easily fall into thinking that men are naturally more prone to criminal behavior (biological essentialism) and they would justify the unequal rate of incarceration of men in this way. But if you were to apply the same reason to black people then any discussion of biological essentialism would be clearly racist.
  • I bring this up not to show that race is so important, and I don't even bring it up to question the biological essentialism argument that finds men vastly over-represented in prisons. I bring it up to point out that there are naturally going to be times when certain groups are over-represented in certain areas. As a man, I could say that it's a societal failure that 90%+ of federal prison inmates are men. "This could only be the result of a sexist society!" But I think this is largely incorrect. I think men commit more crimes and deserve to be in prison at a greater rate than women. Now, you could envision some theoretical world where crimes of manipulation are prosecuted or where holding out sex for money is considered a crime or and perhaps that would close the gender gap. But this is mostly ridiculous and would never bring the gender gap in incarceration to 0. I could complain that men are over-represented as bad guys in movies and point to that as a problem. "Shouldn't we aspire to bring equity to our prison population? Perhaps we should encourage a 50/50 representation of men and women as villains in movies. If men see that being a bad guy isn't just a male pattern, then maybe young men will change their thinking." If I think long enough about this I could probably come up with all sorts of wacky ideas.
  • No matter how I work the gender and race stuff around in my head I can't get over the fact that the most important thing is the individual. That's one advantage of the individual-centered mindset over the collectivist one. It's a lot easier to judge people based upon their behavior as an individual when you think of society as a group of individuals. When you think about groups as the predominate organizing unit, though, then you're probably much more likely to get swept into thinking about those groups - whether it be race, gender, caste, or whatever your society is fixated on. It matters very little to a white guy in West Virginia who makes $7/hr that he has the genital and melanin makeup of 90% (?) of Fortune 500 CEOs. It conveys no extra pep in his step or money in his wallet. And yet, to the group thinking person, this is a defining characteristic. It's a very odd way of thinking, imo.
  • So Trump is pulling troops out of Syria and the Kurds are feeling left behind. I don't fully understand the situation, but from what I can gather...Turkey is going nuts and all the right thinking intelligencia is pissed off about this. To me this is a really baffling turn of events. For 40 years I've heard from the intellgencia folks...all the elites and right thinking people, that America is a colonial power spreading its imperialism wherever it goes. The American military is evil and shouldn't be allowed anywhere. "US out of North America" as the bumper sticker says. The implication being that the US is so evil and imperialistic it should leave its own land because the US doesn't even have any rightful land. Okay, so that's been the story my entire life from the likes of the NYT and its ilk - American military bad.
  • Then Trump pulls troops out and the NYT podcast "The Daily" says "It's almost impossible to understand unless bringing troops home is the highest good." They went on to say that it was entirely baffling and bad for the region in every way (that was the gist). I just don't understand how these people make sense of the world. Now all of a sudden there's some gradations in their thinking on the American military. The liberals who were disappointed by Obama's failure to adequately retreat from Afghanistan and Iraq are now seemingly coming to Jesus on the usefulness of the American military. This stuff is just crazy to me.
  • For my part I would rather have the world's best military than have another country have it so I don't get too bent out of shape by the spending we do in that arena. It's probably twice what it should be, but it's not a huge issue for me. However, I would like to see us pull out of military entanglements. Keeping strategic bases in Germany, Korea, etc. seems to make sense. I would also like the countries that benefit from our presence to pay us since we're doing unpaid security for them. As far as Syria or other situations like that go...if the international community (with an emphasis on countries in the region) can agree that American muscle should be used to stabilize a situation AND if it's in our interests (peacekeeping, direct security interests, etc.) then I'm fine with us using our muscle in that way. But if other countries aren't on board or don't have skin in the game (they have to pony up some troops or hardware or money), then we don't need to be there. Since I don't think Syria fits those criteria, I don't have a problem with us pulling out. If things change and Germany and Iraq and a majority of other UN nations say we should have some peacekeeping troops in Syria to help the Kurds (or diminish the regional power of Russia, if that's what you're thinking), then I'm fine with it.

  • 9/26/19 (21:38)

  • The older I get the more I see the benefits of organized religion. It's certainly not for me and I used to be pretty against it. I thought it a stupid thing to think of a man in the sky. I thought of the multiple down sides like the crusades or the Catholic Church's pedophilia problems. I thought it was an easy way to control the masses and provide simple answers for simple people. I still agree with all of that, at least to a great extent, but I also now see some of the benefits. Controlling the simple masses is actually a benefit as well as a negative. But I see a lot of problems with today's society like those discussed in "Bowling Alone" - the loss of community, the isolation of individuals (especially in today's technological society). These things are discussed by left and right alike and yet only some on the right are aware of the role that church once played in helping develop community. Of course this can be a double edged sword if misapplied (southern baptists looking down their nose at Catholics or whatever), but the problem there doesn't need to be religion, per se, it could be the misapplication thereof. Does religion necessarily lead to tribalism and is the cost of a low level of tribalism bearable because the benefit of increased community outweighs it?
  • The church community has also long been a social safety net that has been largely supplanted by government. It used to be that the church would step up and help out the members of the church. Today government and family are largely the ones who bear that burden. Of course government doesn't discriminate (a church might only help Christians, for example).
  • Then there's the obvious moral code that comes with religions. Typically they set forth some decent moral codes that have the extra benefit of being enforced by an omnipotent being (as opposed to the State, which only puts you in jail if you're caught). God always knows if you've sinned so there's extra incentive to stay true to the moral code.
  • Another recent-ish fad is meditation and there's an increased emphasis on setting your intentions for the day, mindfulness, quiet reflection, etc. All these things were probably once fulfilled through daily prayer. Thinking about your day, your desires for the future, the desires of your loved ones, etc....all that is what prayer is/was.
  • All this is to say that religion isn't all bad. It'll never be for me, but it's probably good that it's for some people and hopefully they can improve upon it and retain its positive attributes and lose the tribal aspects, the power structures (in the case of the Catholic church in particular), and some of the other detrimental elements.
  • If you remember the debate about the confederate flag you'll remember that the nut jobs on the right claimed that the confederate flag wasn't about slavery - it was about culture. And that the civil war itself wasn't about slavery - it was about state sovereignty. This was derrided by all on the left. But recently I heard an interview on the Ezra Klein with race writer and leftist media darling Nikole Hannah-Jones who was talking about the 1619 project that she put together for the NYT, she claimed that the civil war wasn't about slavery - "the truth is this war was about power and representation and disproportionate power the south got, it ws about whether we were going to keep expanding slavery at the cost of free white labor into the west, about wanting the west to be free white man's country...and to some degree about the immorality of the system of slavery, but not, not really." Of course her spin on this was to point out how racist the country is. The North was also super racist and they weren't fighting the civil war because of slavery, because they didn't really care about it that much anyway (including Lincoln, according to her). This is the kind of nutty bullshit that you get from the extremes and it's why the "horse shoe" theory of the political spectrum exists. If you visualize a horse shoe the ends of the shoe are actually closer together than the middle is - and thus it is sometimes true with politics as well. If you go far enough to the right you get nuts saying the civil war was about states rights. If you go far enough left you get Nikole Hannah-Jones being unquestioned by Ezra Klein and getting the NYT to put out her 1619 project wherein she apparently claims that the civil war wasn't about slavery. Listen to the podcast with a critical ear. Plenty of interesting stuff in there.
  • Another thing she said, and this has been said plenty before, is that if the natural outcome of a thing is that it negatively affects black people then you don't need to prove that a person intended to be racist - if the end result is predictably going to affect blacks negatively then the person is racist. This is a compelling argument in some ways. It looks solely at results instead of relying on what people claim they intended. I like results oriented stuff in general so it appeals to me. The only trouble comes when you start applying this kind of logic evenly. This is always an interesting exercise and one that I think is somehow often forgotten. People apply logic to a particular case because it benefits their view and they don't look much past it. So, if a policy of perpetual war inevitably and predictably leads to the mass slaughter of young men, then obviously this policy is anti-man...right? This kind of policy can only come from a government that hates young men, especially lower class young white men. Just think about any policy that consistently cuts one way and I guess you have to figure that the people applying that policy are pro or anti whatever group it positively or negatively affects.



    9/17/19 (21:24)

  • Not a lot of bands that could do as something as rawkus and rock and roll as "From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah" while also pulling off a total classic unplugged album like "Unplugged in New York." Both are live albums and Nirvana had 4 years (3 albums from 1989-93) where they were probably the best rock band on the planet in part because they had the range of a legit punk album like From the Muddy Banks and a somber and pensive album like Unplugged in New York.
  • I've also recently been revisiting Alice in Chains. Couple good albums.
  • How many people a year die from medical accidents? 250k a year. It's the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. Homicide by gun is about 15k and flu is about 55k, just for some perspective.
  • It sure would be nice if the coverage of issues matched the actual level of the problem. Terrorism would barely get any coverage and we'd probably be more scared of sitting at our desks all day than school shootings. Doesn't exactly sell newspapers.
  • It's amazing how much Bill Maher and others talk about Fox News. They think it's an existential threat to the country. Fox has 2.4 million viewers. What's the big deal? Fact check them and move on. They're idiots and you're wasting your time worrying about it.
  • Interest rates in some Euro countries are now negative and have been for a while. This is just crazy to me. What this means is that they will charge you to save your money. So, what do you do? You either keep it under your mattress or invest it somewhere or spend it. They don't want money sitting in the banks anymore. Totally crazy. I remember growing up and being taught that you should save you rmoney for a rainy day. That paradigm has been completely overturned. Spend it while you have it. Leverage your house so you can spend even more. Spend money on a house and get bailed out. Spend money on your education and get bailed out. Don't save for retirement because the government will take care of you. Meanwhile, the government (under Modern Monetary Theory) basically doesn't care about deficits or debt anymore. We could be $100T in debt and it wouldn't matter to them. On the one hand I think this whole thing has to collapse at some point. On the other hand I think I should just join in and spend it while I have it and join the masses and hope the government will help me out if there's any kind of recession or collapse.
  • MMT allows the government to print money without regard to debt. It makes money and spends it however it wants and to whatever extent it wants. This only becomes a problem if inflation gets out of control. Since inflation seems to be fixed at 2% no matter what we do, this means that we can spend infinitely. I don't think it really makes sense, at the very least because I don't really believe the official inflation numbers. It's like the Groucho Marx line "who are you going to believe - me or your own eyes?" G says inflation is 2% (or close) and has been for a while. Yet everyone looks around and sees prices of big things like housing and healthcare increasing at a great rate.
  • Regardless of what you think about MMT, it looks like it's probably here to stay unless it proves to be incorrect (likely, imo). Republicans have proven that they don't actually care about deficits and Democrats have always wanted to spend money on their pet projects, so MMT will probably be a good excuse for both parties to spend on whatever they want.



    9/16/19 (21:11)

  • The Epstein thing is kinda interesting. Haven't done much research, but, just on its face, it looks really shady. The guy is accused of trafficking young women and has flown all sorts of celebrity types all over the world on his private jet. He gets busted and decides to kill himself. There's a serious incentive to a lot of powerful people for him to be permanently silenced, so it really does reek of a hit job.
  • Climate refugees are another example of global warming being used to sell another agenda.
  • Jane Coaston (who I find to be really annoying on a variety of topics) explicitly said that the best way to get action on global warming is to relate it to various other issues. This is exactly what I was talking about in my previous post, and what I naively missed 10 years ago. Global warming is a great way for people to shoehorn in a variety of agendas (agendum?).
  • Republicans really are holding the country back in so many ways. They don't even present a reasonable reaction or counterpoint to the Democrats. The Dems are so loopy on some issues that it would be nice to have some reasonable alternative, but there really isn't one. So, we get Bernie who just doesn't even care about math and he's one of the top 4 Dems in the presidential race. Even honest left-leaning pundits will tell you that Bernie basically is just all about writing the biggest possible checks for any pet cause the left comes across. Global warming? Let's do the most ambitious state-run thing possible. Healthcare? Let's get rid of the private sector altogether and pay for everyone to get everything. "College debt"?  Let's forgive it all.
  • The college debt issue is interesting as well. On the one hand it's an easy argument to say "hey you bailed out the banks, why can't you bail out lower and middle class college students who are being crushed by trillions in college debt?" On the other hand, it's kind of a middle finger to anyone who played by the rules, saved their money, went to a community college and then transferred to a good school to save money, worked while studying, etc. Ryan went to a community college, transferred to Cal after a couple years, and got a degree from Cal. This is way smarter than the way most people do it. People should do this a lot more if they want to save money, or aren't sure what they want to study, or can't get into the school they really want to go to, or probably lots of other reasons. But the people who do that are basically suckers under any bail out.
  • The other issue is that college debt isn't just tuition debt - it's the debt incurred while in college. I don't see a great reason why rent should be paid for by the taxpayers.
  • Lastly, much of the college debt issue is thanks to the government. Just look into the causes of this. The rollback of grants and scholarships in favor of loans. The exemption of college debt from bankruptcy. The subsidization of college tuition (which drove prices up). And probably a lot more. Of course the schools are to blame as well. Malcolm Gladwell has made this a pet cause of his...excessive spending on food, buildings, athletics, etc. They claims it's because they need to compete for students, but I'm not so sure.
  • On a local note, OUSD (oakland unified school district) has decided in their infinite wisdom to close even more schools. I don't remember the exact numbers, but they've lost like half their students in the last 10 years or so. It's basically a shit show. They've been under state receivership because they can't manage their money. An independent audit concluded that it was because of the gross mismanagement of the board that the district hasn't been able to balance its books. Now they have decided to close the elementary school that Zoe goes to. So, next year Zoe will have to find a new school. It's totally fucked.
  • This is a classic example of all that is wrong with government, and a good example of why I've grown less and less "liberal" (as in predisposed to wanting government to solve problems) over the last few years. I'd have to be insane to expect different results from the same inputs, right? OUSD has had chronic and deeply systemic problems for at least the last decade. I wish I kept some of my research on this, but you can do your own. Suffice it to say that enrollment has gone to shit, charter schools have increased a lot (but this isn't really the scapegoat that people make it to be), teacher retention is shit, and quality is in the shitter in all but a few schools at the elementary level and maybe one or two middle and high schools. They lose a lot of enrollment to private schools because parents can afford it and because the public options are such shit.
  • I've gone to a few of the board meetings and it shows they really don't have a grasp on common sense. They don't even understand the rationale for their own plans. Or they do and they're just feeding us lies in place of their actual rationale. Because the reasons they give don't add up to the decisions they make....and this isn't only an observation made by me.
  • There's a common refrain you will see if you follow the link above. That's the video where they start talking about closing Zoe's school. A good deal of the discussion revolves around demographics. This might be the most depressing part of the whole thing. So many people talk about black students, gay students, etc. Each side thinks they're helping black students by voting their way they're voting. It's amazing how much race and identity has become front and center in every political debate we have now. It really seems like we've gone so far backwards. To be clear, the question of whether or not to close a school is talked about like this: "This school is a mostly black school that doesn't get proper funding. This school is the 5th most diverse school in Oakland so you shouldn't close it. Why aren't you talking about closing this other school that's mostly white?"
  • Beyond the race stuff (check out Hodge talking around 5:14 into the linked video, for example), the board is just completely inept and untrustworthy. Jumoke Hinton Hodge was caught on tape choking a teacher and yet she's still on the board. President Eng lied a few times during the meeting - even about simple things like not being able to control the fans in the room or the length of a recess. The entire board and superintendent lied consistently throughout the process. Hinton Hodge is legitimately nuts.
  • What you miss in the video is after the vote (about 5:58 in) the crowd went nuts and started yelling at the board and basically losing their shit. It was interesting to observe. More race talk, more yelling, more anger. The whole thing was such a shit show. It's interesting because I think the President Eng knew where things were going and so she called the meeting into recess knowing that the cameras would go off at that point. It's interesting to see these tactics employed at the local level by women and men of color. There's not a single white man on the board and yet the same tactics you see from our presidents are being employed by the local school board. It's evidence to me that this isn't an issue of Trump or Bush or Republicans. It's an issue with people in power. Here we have women and people of color who are crafting a narrative, lying about their intentions, making up alternative facts, playing to the cameras, playing to the most base emotions, etc. I don't know how you can see a bunch of people who want more government in charge of the government and doing a shitty job and think this is the way to run anything. Republicans don't believe in government and basically want it to fail on the federal level. Democrats love government and suck at making it work at every level (other than a few basic low level things and writing checks).
  • The other thing I've noted is that the teachers, and their union, are really insistent that we all fall in line with them and are in solidarity with them. Understandable on some level, but it's really transparent that they want to control the narrative, the information, and the response to the closing. The way each entity seeks to control everything is super transparent to me, but I think I probably have an above average radar on this kind of thing since I've been following politics for so long.
  • The whole debacle was a really depressing exercise in local politics. Check back in 5 years and we'll see how things go. I'm guessing nothing will change.
  • Oakland needs some diversity of managing style because it's really gone off the reservation. Need a couple people in there who care about financial stability and aren't race-obsessed to help clean things up. This city's government is shit.



    9/4/19 (21:44)

  • heavy cannabis use has been linked to psychosis according to psychiatrists at UCB and Yale. this comes as no surprise to me. I remember being at Venice Beach when I was a teenager and the pro-pot crowd was out there all the time arguing for legalization and talking about how it's just a plant and all that. This seems to be a common argument. It's natural so it's fine. Then again so is dog shit and tobacco and opium, but not many people are interested in smoking those things. So there's that. Then there's the common sense approach that says all things in moderation. The studies are finding that heavy or consistent use is the problem. Though, if you listen to the podcast I linked, you'll find that the doctors would like more study on where the line should be drawn. Lastly, we have to take into account that today's pot just isn't "natural" in the usual sense of the word. It's been so modified and bred for potency that the majority of it doesn't resemble the pot that was growing in the wild 100 years ago.
  • Berkeley has voted to eliminate all natural gas in new buildings. This is a classic Berkeley move. Not a carrot approach of incentivizing electric only buildings or solar panels. Not requiring more stringent leak testing or any number of other ways of mitigating the effects of natural gas on the envirornment...just outright banning. They have a hammer so everything looks like a nail and they don't care about choice. As dumb a choice as this is for residential buildings, it's even worse for restaurants. Proponents will bring up induction cooking, which is nice enough in my experience, but it doesn't work on copper pans or aluminum cookware and I can't imagine it works well on a wok or other oddly shaped cookware. Berkeley is anti-Chinese restaurant it would appear. This kind of knee jerk closing off of options/freedom is something I hate more and more every year.
  • Cypress Mandela training center is a vocational training place in Oakland that supposedly takes young people and trains them for the trades. I'm looking to hire so I tried going to their website to look into getting someone from their program. They have a page that says "hire our graduates" and it talks about how they train people, but doesn't give any link for actually contacting them about hiring their grads. So, I went to the contact us part of the page and told them I'm interested in hiring someone for the building trades. Never heard back from them. I've done the same at Laney college carpentry program. I've done the same at Civic Corps. I've also had two cold calls (emails, actually) from people looking for work. In both cases I responded within an hour with follow up questions about the type of work they want and what their skills are. In every single case I've listed I haven't heard back from these people. What conclusion should a person reach after all this? That these training programs are serious about helping their students succeed at the next level? That people who apply for work are actually interested in working and finding a career?
  • These experiences are the kinds of experiences that harden a person. My general outlook is that we should give people a chance and that if you give people a chance they will seize the opportunity and make their lives better. It's a liberal inclination, I think; and it's a good one. However, when life experience teaches you otherwise you either have to bury your head in the sand or change your worldview. In my case my worldview has changed. Some people want opportunity and some people are willing to work hard when given the opportunity to better their lives. But the percentage of people who are willing to do that is a lot lower than I thought before, and a lot lower than I would like. It's also a lot lower than a society would need in order to sustain any kind of socialism or communism.
  • I really underestimated the power of an issue like global warming for people to argue for grabbing power in all sorts of ways. on 2/2/7 I wrote about a local radio station talking about global warming as a leftist plot to grab power and make money on solar panels or something. It seemed ridiculous at the time, but the power grab element is an actual possibility. Global warming is being used as a cudgel to attack all sorts of things and argue for even more. The green new deal comes with all sorts of race related elements. "Environmental racism" is a buzzy term that is being thrown around a lot lately. Global warming is a threat to the entire human race and so it carries with it a lot of weight with the people who agree that it could mean an apocalypse. I'm not saying that global warming is a hoax. I'm not saying that most of these responses to it are pure power grabs. However, it has surprised me quite a bit how much people can use it to argue for all sorts of things they want. And I definitely see the potential for it to be used to argue for some really radical things in the future....
  • For example, the Amazon is burning now and people are talking about how awful that is for the global environment. If there's a leftist version of Trump I could easily see them seizing on this moment to take some sovereignty away from Brazil since their inaction on the fire or deforestation in general, is a threat to us all. Of course in this case Europe would be in support of the president (instead of opposing them as they do Trump - which thankfully keeps him in check a bit) which would make it all the more powerful. There are just so many examples of how global warming can be used as justification for sweeping changes. I didn't believe it 12 years ago, but, if you keep your eyes open, you'll see how often the apocalyptic threat of global warming is invoked to argue for the curtailment of someone's freedom. It's the left-wing equivalent of terrorism under Bush.
  • "The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth."
  • There's a consistent theme amongst the liberal intelligencia and that is that whites lack culture. The Daily (NY Times) podcast had a story the other day about music on the campaign trail and they basically derided the music of Trump as just blaring Americana whereas everyone else has this really cultured and interesting music that embraced the struggle of being a woman or being a POC. I used to buy into this canard as well that white people don't really have culture. Salt Lake City would be a perfect example of a place that would get sneered at by the coastal elites as being devoid of culture. The truth is that white people have as much culture as everyone else. Same with Mormons. It may not be as interesting to you and you might not like parts of it as much, but it's really off-putting to say that a place like SLC or white people in general "lack culture." This is the kind of thing that a lot of smart media people just don't get and it's the kind of thing that slowly eats away at whites to the point where they feel under attack and it makes way for Trump.
  • Liberal elites only understand the rest of the country in as much as JD Vance has explained it to them. They all seem to have read his book and that's their only touchstone for understanding white rural culture. It would be like me reading Invisible Man and referring to black people only in terms of that single book. It's pathetic. There needs to be a lot more understanding going around or we're not going to get out of this shit.



    9/2/19 (21:39)

  • it would be interesting to see if the media is more likely to report on the race of a shooter if he (usually a man) is white or other. for example, the shooting at a high school football game in AL was by a black guy, but NPR didn't specify his race. but, on the same date, there was a story on the Odessa shooting and they specified the shooter as a white male. two stories within 3 hours of each other and the race is inconsistently mentioned or not. i don't think this is just and innocent inconsistency. i think the media is reluctant to mention the race of perpetrators nowadays. perhaps that's a welcome reprieve from the times when the news reported black crime more than white crime. that may actually still be the case in local news, but it definitely doesn't seem like it's the case in national news. i suspect there's also a difference between local TV and local newspapers, with the TV probably being more racist against blacks than newspapers. and national left of center outlets like NPR being the most unlikely to call out non-whites. just guesses based upon my observations, though. no data.
  • good read about how amazon patented taking pictures on a white background. gotta love our system.
  • now that the Mueller report attacks have proven to be fruitless (i.e., lacking traction with the average voter), the new anti-Trump narrative that has cropped up is calling him out on his trade war with China. i guess it's as good a strategy as any. it's funny how transparently the media attacks politicians on the same issues all at once. it's called pack journalism and it's alive and well in the mainstream press. what the elites don't understand about this is that the average American doesn't really care about prices of plastic shit going up in the abstract as a result of the tariffs. just like they don't care about the fact that they benefit in the abstract from low trade barriers that supposedly help the entire country. if joe bob loses his job to a Mexican factory worker he's just not all that interested in the fact that his neighbors are creating more jobs with the lower cost of goods as a result of NAFTA. average people care that China is pulling one over on us. even the Europeans know this and i think they are secretly happy with some of the hard nosed tactics Trump is employing. overall they definitely disagree with his tactics, but everyone pretty much acknowledges that China needs to be knocked down a peg or two. that's what the average Americans understand with regards to China and trade. beyond that it's a lot of elite talk about stuff they don't get or don't care about. China isn't dealing straight, they're being smarter and tougher, and we don't like it. as smart as the elites are, it's always funny to me that they don't understand the simplest of arguments.
  • all that isn't to say that i endorse the position of anyone involved, but i do understand the position the average American holds. i also understand that the Europeans are going to hurt more than we are because of this trade war. i also think it's time to play hardball instead of tip toeing around the tulips with China.
  • i'm calling "pimple popper MD" on firefighters. while i have a great deal of respect for the hard work they do, i also think they're overrated. the chicks all love them and society in general is all over their nut sack. most of the time they're polishing the chrome on the fire trucks, not saving lives. they make EMT calls and that's nice, but actual fire fighting is few and far between. when you take into account the fact that they're consistently among the highest paid city employees making in the mid-six figures in cities like Oakland, it really pushes them into the realm of the overrated. total compensation for a lot of these fire chief types is $400k+ which is just crazy when you consider that you could get 4 teachers for that price. just not worth it.

  • the latest example of the stupid Democrat party trying to socially engineer outcomes to stupid results is in the way they made the candidates get a minimum number of donations in order to be on the debate stage. each candidate needed to get at least 65,000 unique donors in order to appear on the second debate. in some cases, this meant spending as much as $35 through advertising to get a $1 donation. the idea was that they wanted the candidates to have broad support. the reality is that candidates have been wasting Democratic dollars on reaching this arbitrary threshold. it's the law of unintended consequences and it's a law that every technocrat and social engineer thinks they can think their way out of. they never can. this doesn't mean you shouldn't ever try to engineer things, but it does mean you should be very selective. "am i engineering something that is worth the inevitable and unforeseeable unintended consequences?" or is this just something i'm trying to do to make our party look like we care about the little people?

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