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DirkGently

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Orlando
Home country: USA
Current location: Holistically detecting
Member since: Wed Jan 27, 2010, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 11,035

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We can only gain by talking about it.

As it stands, we have millions of Americans who will scream "socialist" as an epithet, while threatening to shoot anyone who touches their SOCIAL Security or Medicare, without a moment's concern as to the yawning contradiction in values there.

People get away with a lot of name calling in politics, and a lot of weird, giant blindspots that we don't discuss.

America was not founded on the principle of unregulated capitalism, nor is that in the Bible anywhere, so far as I know.

But living here, you'd think that was the case much of the time.

Just having a high-profile candidate willing to espouse FDR-style economic reforms is a great benefit to everyone. With a bit of luck, policies and programs won't be dismissible by someone just burping out "Socialismmmmmmm!" at it going forward.

Wouldn't that be nice?

"You fell for our lie, and therefore share blame."


People like to talk about "entitlement" and "privilege?" Here it is. The Bush administration actively lied about Iraq, made up stories and leaked them to the press, then quoted the press reports as evidence. Interfered with CIA reports. Continued citing evidence OUR PEOPLE had discredited for months.

And their spin is that because they lied, tricked, and strong-armed various others to go along, we are all equally culpable.

Their argument is literally that the lying doesn't count BECAUSE THEY GOT AWAY WITH IT.

Our election cycle is too long.


All of "this" strikes me as the respective Dem and Republican bases shaking their collective ids.

Bernie's "longshot" status is vastly more realistic than Trump's. He is, after all, a career political leader with detailed (incredibly detailed) thoughts on policy and so forth, whereas Trump just kind of yells stuff.

But Bernie's still a longshot.

Trump is something else. I don't contest the idea that America is in fact dumb enough to elect an obnoxious New York real estate developer who calls Mexican immigrants "rapists" and is best known publicly for saying nasty things about Rosie O'Donnell to the White House.

But it's highly, highly unlikely. I'm not even entirely convinced Trump wants to be President. His entire strength lies in the fact he has utter contempt for the Republican Party and politics in general. He is doing weird things like giving out Lindsey Graham's cell phone number and leaving Democrats largely alone.

I think he is the embodiment of the Republican base yelling at the Republican establishment. They had one "revolution" in the Tea Party, and didn't like where that went. But they did like the anger and the anti-establishment rhetoric. So they want him out there, yelling all the things they yell at their television, out loud.

For now.

But if the election were tomorrow, I don't think there would be a Donald Trump candidacy. I think it will evaporate at some point, although it's already gone on longer than most would have guessed.

The U.K. only allows much less time -- a few weeks? of campaigning. Imagine how much less bullshit we would be subjected to if people had to focus on electing a viable leader in a short period of time.

We'd have no time for "The Donald."

Religion in politics is cognitively dissonant.

If we thought someone literally believed a supernatural being was giving them instructions that superseded everything else: law, reason; science, we'd be crazy to put them in office.

If it was some other deity besides Yahweh -- his same-but-not-entirely-the-same cousin Allah -- or Xenu or Baal or Zeus or Horus, they would be laughed off the stage -- or booed.

I remember, not more than two years ago, some sober speaker on NPR explaining how some group or another wasn't irrational or silly, "like people who believe in aliens" and therefore should be taken seriously.

But people who believe in the aliens in the Bible are fine, of course.

I read somewhere that people were less likely to vote for an atheist, or found them less trustworthy or something, than any group against which people typically have irrational prejudices. Race, nationality, gender. No one skeeves Americans out more than people who don't say they go to church and believe in God.

But we don't really want true believers either, do we? Most of us. Obama demonstrated the kind of "religion" we trust -- went to church, made passing reference to religion here and there. But had he said, "Jesus came to me last night and told me what to do about the Middle East!" we would have been rightfully panicked.

We don't believe, most of us, but we feel uncomfortable with people not sort of pretending to believe. It is a lie agreed upon. We don't trust that in the absence of magical stories about right and wrong, we can figure it out for ourselves.

My take is that we worry that people relying on their own moral compass and careful reasoning will just go off the rails. Decide that "anything goes," which is something I've heard actual religious people claim would be the result if we cast religion aside. Running naked in the streets eating human flesh and so forth.

But I think the opposite is true. In continuing to pretend, we encourage cognitive dissonance, and that's the bigger threat. We suppose that religion imparts humility, but look at Mike Huckabee. He is certain that "God" is a jowly Southern man who thinks women need birth control because "liberals have convinced them they can't control their libido." He thinks he IS God. That the nasty, small, angry voice in his mind has supernatural authority. And people inclined to agree with him tell themselves the same.

We have elected a black man President, and celebrated that. We stand poised to perhaps elect a woman, and if we do we will celebrate that.

I look forward to our first election of a national leader who declines to swear an oath to a mythological being. Someone who rejects cognitive dissonance and the Lie Agreed Upon.

I am increasingly amused by the Trump "candidacy!"

Trump is

a) Not going to be President

b) A continuing problem for the Republicans, far more than he is for Dems.

Look at what he's doing here.

He's pointing out that he's a "donor," who has actually written checks to these people (and "our" people). So Republicans have a philosophical problem right off the bat. In GOP-world, the rich are *supposed* to make all the decisions. They are our betters. Witness the group boot-lick when Jamie Dimon went to Congress to explain Chase's crimes. Witness the ludicrously inflated "$10 billion net worth." He's a rockstar to mid-low information Republican voter.

So how can they attack him as illegitimate? Under-qualified? He is everything the Republicans aspire to be: Brash, irrational, dismissive; smug.

They can't come after him. Not hard anyway. Not yet.

Look at his "policy" views as well. He says nasty things, sure. But they're playground taunts, and they play to other problems Republicans have.

On immigration:
The most egregious thing he's said (since being a "birther," anyway) was his attack on Mexican immigrants, calling them "rapists." Horrible, to be sure, but also so gross as to be dismissed by most. AND, what can the Republicans do? They can't attack him too hard, because they all need the base that believes that garbage. And YET, at some point, the big business people can't have illegal immigration restricted *too much,* because they know it actually makes them money.

And we're not building a gigantic wall, or having a business meeting with Mexico or whatever Trump's supposed solution is. It's kiddie talk. Exactly the kind of thing Republicans like to imply, but would never implement. Who would provide the cheap labor on their factory farms?

They're TRAPPED. Trapped with this guy, in a little bitty phonebooth of their own premises and talking points. Did you see their pale, quivering faces at the debate? They're terrified to even criticize him. Lindsey Graham did, and Lindsey's basically gone now.

The man is an idiot, but he's not stupid, if you know what I mean. So the net is that he's throwing out things that make conservatives look moronic, which the business class cannot (but must) refute, that the base loves, but which will NEVER HAPPEN.

On women:
Yes, he says all kinds of nasty names. But did you notice his support of Planned Parenthood? He pointed out abortions are a fraction of what they do in the process. What the hell do Republicans do with that?

Or the fact that he's a relatively recent convert to "Pro-life," who never weighs in on all the insane propositions the Republicans have to actually destroy the right to abortion? When Huckabee and Walker and Rubio start talking their grotesque theories about fetal Constitutional rights being superior to the life of women ... NOTHING from this guy.

He doesn't believe it.

On religion:
I heard a clip yesterday, in which someone brought a copy of Trump's book, "The Art of the Deal" to one of his events. He was thrilled, and started to say something typically smarmy about it being the best book or whatever. Then he stopped himself, and very carefully said it was his "second favorite book." Besides the Bible. (waits for applause). "Because, yeah, nuthin's better n' the Bible. Yeah." (or awkward words to that effect).

Have you ever heard this man quote the Bible?

He is PLAYING THEM. I don't want to speculate as to whether Trump's ego would lead him to actually accept the nomination, although I think it's highly unlikely it gets that far. If he did, though -- yay for us? I've got my eye on Rubio and (blerg) Bush as the likely GOP nominees. Either of them could conceivably be a problem for whoever we nominate.

But Trump? I think every second he is in the spotlight is a win for Dems. He is swinging the Republican base at its nominees like a wrecking ball. He's not even bothering Hillary (She came to my wedding?) or Bernie.

Yes, the man presents himself as an ass. And that part frankly is probably not an act. But "Republican candidate for President?"

He's hurting their brand, mocking their candidates, and taking up nearly all the media coverage, without advancing their cause AT ALL.

As Dems, we could wish for a lot worse.


Oh please. No one ever said it was ONLY Glass-Steagall.

That's a straw man argument. It's not the point either Warren or Sanders are making. No one has said Glass-Steagall was the primary cause of the market bubble and the collapse. But it wasn't irrelevant either. The primary cause was widespread de-regulation and consolidation, combined with the utter lack of concern on the part of the financial houses as to what would happen when they inflated yet another speculative bubble and allowed it to explode all over the world's economy.

This is rather silly:

It has been the result of banks making loans to individuals and businesses who can’t pay them back.


Talk about half-truths and peddling myths. The gigantic, world-destroying market bubble didn't happen because people just suddenly couldn't remember how to pay off loans. The banks and financial houses, free of regulation and oversight after decades of whining that the bad old government was holding them back, and with full confidence the American taxpayers would bail their sorry behinds out when they blew it, CREATED THEIR OWN MYTHS, deciding that "real estate prices never go down everywhere at once" and that therefore any mortgage, good, bad, or otherwise, could be chopped up and sold as a highly-rated mortgage-backed security.

The lenders had ZERO CONCERN as to the quality of the loans, and yet they were the ones in the best position to ensure the loans they were making weren't imaginary.

When even the crappy loans ran thin, JP Morgan Chase sent around its infamous "Zippy Cheats & Tricks" memo, helpfully advising its underwriters as to how to circumvent Chase's own underwriting software by falsifying personal income until the loan got through.

3) If you do not get Stated/Stated, try resubmitting with slightly higher income.
Inch it up $500 to see if you can get the findings you want. Do the same for assets.

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tammy.d.lish@chase.com


http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2008/03/chase_mortgage_memo_pushes_che.html

The result of all this deliberate self-deceit was that real estate prices skyrocketed. Anyone could get any loan, for any amount, because the lenders ceased caring about anything but shoving them out the door. The result was that even the most careful, considerate home borrowers imaginable were presented with a market based entirely on the theory that prices would continue to go up and up and up. People making far too little to afford a given property were being given gigantic loans and told they could re-finance, so who cares?

Borrowers weren't in a position to tell people making $20k a year they couldn't afford a $400,000 house. The lenders created the reality for everyone, and then took the profits and left, billing tax payers for whatever damage they did to themselves in the process.

It's a bit rich for the lenders to be blaming the borrowers they lured and snookered and lied to and about for the disaster they foisted on everyone.

A hedge-fund manager, writing on Forbes:

It was Glass-Steagall that prevented the banks from using insured depositories to underwrite private securities and dump them on their own customers. This ability along with financing provided to all the other players was what kept the bubble-machine going for so long.

Now, when memories are fresh, is the time to reinstate Glass-Steagall to prevent a third cycle of fraud on customers. Without the separation of banking and underwriting, it's just a matter of time before banks repeat their well-honed practice of originating garbage loans and stuffing them down customers' throats. Congress had the answer in 1933. Congress lost its way in 1999. Now is the chance to get back to the garden.

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2012/08/27/repeal-of-glass-steagall-caused-the-financial-crisis

The Washington Post allowing that the repeal was not "the proxmimate cause" but was a factor:

The repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999 was part of a broad deregulatory push, championed by the likes of Fed chief Alan Greenspan, Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, that eliminated much of the oversight on Wall Street. Freed from onerous regulation, the banks could “innovate” and grow.

● After the repeal, banks merged into more complex and more leveraged institutions.

● These banks, which were customers of nonbank firms such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, in turn contributed to these firms bulking up their subprime holdings as well. This turned out to be speculative and dangerous.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/repeal-of-glass-steagall-not-a-cause-but-a-multiplier/2012/08/02/gJQAuvvRXX_story.html

There is nothing even remotely "fringe left" about the rather unassailable observation that BANKING DE-REGULATION CAUSED THE MARKET CRASH. Glass-Steagall, the failure to regulate derivatives, giant mergers, and on and on and on.

No one in the world honestly thinks it was just some kind of $4 trillion fluke of irresponsible borrowers, descending on the poor banks and forcing them to create a gajillion bad loans and selling them as B-rated securities when everyone knew they weren't. That is not a thing that "business and financial experts" think. It is a really weak lie they tell, because they want to go and on, sucking the country dry with one greedy scheme after the other, because so far, no one has stopped them.

One of the studies ...

Behold, the Pettiness of Man:

A study by researchers at the University of Warwick and Cardiff University has found that money only makes people happier if it improves their social rank. The researchers found that simply being highly paid wasn't enough -- to be happy, people must perceive themselves as being more highly paid than their friends and work colleagues.


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322092057.htm

(Emphasis mine)

I don't even think this is the one I was thinking about.

So there are probably more like this.



Right! Only corporations are right when they're greedy!


They’re not for education for our children, they’re for greater membership, greater benefits, greater pay for their members.”


I love this line of reasoning. Greed is good when it comes to ownership paying labor as little as possible, because that's some kind of immutable natural law we should all celebrate. Money demanding money is A-OK.

But people -- phew, no way. If you represent actual human beings seeking their own self-interest, that is COMMUNISMS! Or possibly witchcraft, or something.

Remember when the OWS people were supposed to be hypocrites because they had computers? Because you can't be against inequality and also own anything yourself. Just like you can't receive public assistance and also be able to afford a cell phone, or a pair of shoes.

Why do we -- more importantly, why does anyone -- listen to this horse apple nonsense -- for a millisecond?

Christy, if he shouldn't be in jail for for the "Bridgegate" scandal, or the Sandy money shenanigans -- and that seems wildly unlikely -- should at least be laughed off the national stage.

The fact that he hasn't been yet is what is wrong with basically everything.

Fascinating look into human stupidity.

Look at the bizarre illogic, even in the comments here.

1. He's hurting people who make more than $70k, by not giving them a bump.

The article implies he DID give higher-salaried employees a bump, in that an unhappy employee felt they didn't get "enough" of a bump.

And by the way, so what? Do you suddenly make less if someone else makes more? This is the core illogic here.

2. He shouldn't have made it public.

Why? He wanted to show it could be done, and apparently it could be done. Why wouldn't a company want to advertise raises? It's a sign of financial strength, which is supposed to be a good thing.

Unless, the fear is that the "lie agreed upon" would be revealed, which is that you can pay people more than the average, and the damn world will not explode. Well apparently you can.

Sorry?

3. Now crappy employees will be motivated to stay crappy, and good employees will be motivated to become crappy, because there is less pay differential between them.

Well, no. Low pay doesn't motivate people to work harder, just as high pay doesn't motivate people to work less. That is simply ridiculous.

The actual "logic" going on here is a bit of bad human psychological wiring that's been documented before. People gauge their success not simply by how well they're doing, but by how much "better" they're doing than other people. Asked if they would prefer to live in a world where they made $50,000, and everyone made $25,000, or $100,000 where everyone made $100,000, people often pick the $50,000.

In other words, some people prioritize having more than others over the absolute value of whatever they have themselves.

Stupid.

That's a drive not for fairness, but for POWER. And no, you don't deserve more power because you have a degree, or you think you work harder, or are smarter, or whatever. No one is affirmatively entitled to have "more than" others, if you're already getting what you've earned or deserve.

We are sometimes some dumb little monkeys, obsessed with having more bananas than our neighbors, when we could do a lot better for ourselves worrying about our own little bunch of bananas, and not craning our necks to the next tree over and worrying about what all the other monkeys have.

Calling a woman in need of an abortion a "murderer" is demonizing.

That is a false and insanely slanderous premise than cannot come from an honest place.

And yes, every one of the people who would call a woman in that position a murderer would save the hat. And all of them hate women to say or think or claim to believe that. It is not possible to equate this thing that women have dealt with, by necessity, forever, with killing someone.

It is not possible to suggest women should be forced to give birth under any circumstances, or placed under criminal investigation, trial, or imprisonment over whether their miscarriage might be have been "on purpose" without an utter disregard for the humanity of women.

They may tell themselves differently, but if it were their child pregnant by a molesting relative; their wife or mother or daughter about to die like that woman in Ireland, they would turn on a dime. They would insist on the abortion and think nothing of their stunning hypocrisy. They take the fake moral stance they claim only because they assume they will never be in a position in which it really matters.

I give pregnant women the benefit of the doubt. I think when they and their doctors determine they need this procedure, they should have it, and no one else has a single thing to say about it, period.

To any who suggest we should strap women to gurneys and force them to give birth, or throw them in jail for dealing with their own bodies as they see fit, I give none.

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