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Pholus's Journal - Archives
Posted by Pholus in General Discussion
Fri Sep 16th 2011, 07:52 AM

I find that phrase arrogant, egotistical, wrongheaded, and pretty much the source of all the friction with the "hippies" on the "professional left" who keep getting punched by the WH to please the bullies. How can you be the "only adult in the room" and an actual real and functioning member of the Democratic Party at the same time? Every time we had "closed door negotiations" with the Tea-ror-rists where our own leadership had been shut out, I kept hearing that phrase in my head.

The hardest thing about being a bit unhappy is that, left alone, I'd probably get over it. Overall the President did okay, much better than he could have, but still not as good as the campaign hype. But then you get the Blue Link Brigade out there. They still won't accept that the guy is actually human. Every act has to be interpreted as a "MAJOR VICTORY!!!!!," every failure has to be reinterpreted through a funhouse mirror so it becomes some "GRAND STRATEGIC MOVE!!!!" whose consequences are merely obscured because we aren't enlightened enough to understand the masterful depths of the maneuver.
There was a greatest post yesterday called "2.8 years of pictures" or something like that. I scanned through the pictures and there are some real wins in there, but I also am aware of the fine print in there as well, the little qualifiers that make the victories a little less sweeping than the one sentence capsules which proclaimed "WINNING" kind of like Charlie Sheen. It makes the "signature photo" on each category something that grates on you like a little blackboard scratch each time.

Sorry guys, I get it all right. I saw parts of our social safety net placed on the block as a desperate incentive to get some kind of "deal" moving during the debt battle. The *first* time I saw the President call out the Republicans with any real anger at all, it was because they HADN'T taken his deal, not because they have this destructive vision of where America should be going. That deal was not a benefit for me and mine and I'm glad it failed. Now I was told on DU that the offer was part of some great strategy because the President KNEW the deal would not be made. Great, BUT WHAT IF THEY HAD AGREED? Would we have seen that football taken away from them in that case? Don't make me laugh. In contrast, his anger with his own party has a longer history, as the phrase "professional left" shows.

Anyway, I find that the Blue Link propoganda continually hardens my unhappiness with the President and it isn't actually his fault -- after all I identify with the Democrats because we're realistic and clear headed and *not* prone to hero-worship -- and it has been consistently getting harder to separate my opinion of him from my opinion of them.

So, I think I'm taking a break from DU for a while, probably until next year. The less I have the Blue Linkers trying to convince me that those occasional yellow sprays running down my leg are rain, the more enthusiasm I might have in 2012. I am actually VERY enthused about the local level, but in my case the President is riding on the Democratic downstream coattails this time instead of the other way around.

Until next year, take care guys. I hope we win in 2012, I hope the President wins in 2012, but I've had enough of the apologists for a few months.
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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion
Thu Aug 04th 2011, 07:14 AM

It's how the establishment won on everything else lately.

1) Tons of astroturfed posts and opinions picking at the system
2) a media driven disinformation campaign which exaggerates risks and downplays successes
3) a manufactured "crisis" which includes some kind of gridlock where a "compromise" is needed
4) As a result, bipartisan "reforms" get crammed down our throats at the last minute in the dead of night with no discussion
5) Protests are attacked by a bunch of apologists as being divisive within the party
6) TPTB relax as yet another part of the social safety net that worked well for over 70 years gets dismantled as part of a campaign to create a brave new world where our working conditions are such that in terms of costs its competitive with overseas.

We seem to be at stage 1 here.

By all means, let's discuss SS "private accounts" if only to realize what a cracking bad idea they are.

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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion
Wed Aug 03rd 2011, 09:21 AM
What was it that his advisor said to that reporter: You don't get it: We CREATE reality... That's what seemed so unreal about living under those nutballs - they could CREATE those positions regardless of the law, or of tradition, or of common sense. And darnit, it worked for them.

So here we are with a guy that won't play a card in a way that looks like he's an actual politician. The 14th amendment? WHY IN F'S NAME WOULD YOU SHOOT IT DOWN YOURSELF PRE-EMPTIVELY EVEN IF YOU REALLY FELT IT WAS NOT LEGAL AND WEREN'T PLANNING TO USE IT?

Every message to the 'thugs should have included: "If the congress does not act responsibly or in good faith in these negotiations, holding the required outcome hostage to an unrealistic position regarding revenue increases I will be forced to enter into the uncharted legal territory of the 14th Amendment to avoid this default. I do not wish to do so, I don't feel that it is the most appropriate method and I would do so reluctantly. However, my oath to the country demands that I defend her and I take that responsibility seriously even though there are obviously those in congress who have chosen their ideology over reality and who have broken their oaths."

It was clear that nobody really knew how the 14th amendment would apply -- it would be tossed into the courts -- so that's a hard bluff to call up front.
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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion: Presidency
Tue Aug 02nd 2011, 07:21 AM
Initially it looked bad that it was going to be 4:1 cuts to revenue increases. What happened makes me pine for that loss instead of the one we got.

It ended INFINITY to ZERO on the same metric. Sorry, while the Boner is a lying sack he's telling it like it is. He could NOT have done better since his core constituency pays NOTHING on this deal.

What you people CONSISTENTLY MISS is that the other side has their list of goals and then their list of crazy demands.

They know how to negotiate -- you MOST CERTAINLY do not. You have lost the game every round and you can't seem to figure that out. You think that the compromise was impossible and you squeeked it out -- you're just being a chump.

See it works like this:

You start MUCH higher than you actually want and you fight like a demon possessed. That way, when you get bargained down a bit to some compromise you still got what you wanted.

And the way you guys have been acting, they've been getting MORE than they wanted because we're STARTING on their desired end right-leaning position and then we're giving them even more to compromise.

Stop playing their game cause it's rigged.
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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion
Wed Jul 20th 2011, 09:14 PM
We started with the ball 30 yards towards our own goal and now we're negotiating away the last 20 yards. You want this to sound like we're being unrealistic. We're not.

We WANTED a starting position of: 100% tax increases (actually we wanted the Bush tax cuts expired too, but that got "held hostage" as well in exactly the same manner, complete with last minute deadline).

Unreasonable? Hell yes! Unrealistic? Absolutely. But then again the other side stuck to their 100% unreasonable demands and guess what, they're going to get them too. Basically because we started with 80% cuts and 20% taxes and the compromise will be higher than 80% cuts and lower than 20% taxes. And we'll sit around and pathetically talk about the "art of the possible" and pat ourselves on the back with a deal that simply institutionalizes the ongoing creation of a mega-elite.

But you know how you would get around that? The President has a bully pulpit. Get out there, make your case, sell the American people. Make the money guys squirm a bit. Call them on their BS. Roosevelt did fireside chats. Why can't the President get his word out there a few minutes a week? I hear he's a bang-up speaker when he needs to be.

Instead, we fall into this crisis. For crying out loud we were predicting this very event back in January at the State of the Union. Are we really that much smarter at predicting crises than the White House?

Or is it easier to give away the store when your back is against the wall?

So my PLAN Joe, is about a year to eighteen months ago OUR PEOPLE (who should have been smart enough to see this coming) start crying about taxes being too low compared to historical trends. We repeat it every chance we get. Every Sunday Gasbag show, every question gets used as a way to segue off onto how taxes are too low. Once in a while we highlight some Cayman-island based company, especially ones who wave the flag a lot and show how we're paying higher taxes or going into debt for their bottom line. We pass some "made by USA taxpayer" bonuses or back a law that gives preferential awarding of contracts based on taxes paid TO THE US TREASURY last year. Call anyone who questions it the enemy of Joe Sixpack or a member of the GLOBAL FINANCIAL ELITE bent on destroying the citizens' ownership of the US through debt. Schmaltzy? Yup, but it would grab the media's attention.

For too long we've let the right wing meme stand that Government is the problem. The counter message is that this government is, and always has been, owned by the people. Yes, we're rugged individualists -- but we're rugged individualists who built a country together. Those words are also best said with a flag flapping in the background and a group humming God Bless America but as cheesy as that sounds that is also the way I feel about it and honestly the way most people feel. Our country is great because we own it. Our country is great BECAUSE we don't let the social Darwinists have their way! In America, our less fortunate are cared for. That's WHY we're number one.

Every failure gets explained away by saying -- look there would have been this reserve of money if the tax rates were fair but now we're paying the price for it. Warren Buffett's words are a great counter to cries of "Class Warfare."

In other words, Joe, my plan would have been to do EXACTLY what the Republicans did to us. And guess what? They won so my plan is a good one.

Edit: Any evil plan needs refinement. Added some details.
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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion
Mon Jul 11th 2011, 08:17 AM

It's still early and I still believe the cuts were too high a stake to gamble with but the outcome over the weekend was worthwhile to see.

"Itís amazing how closely events in Washington D.C. and Minnesota are tracking each other these days. And in both cases, the source of the deadlock is clear: The Republicansí isistence that you and I must sacrifice so the rich donít have to."

It's time to get that message out there.
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Posted by Pholus in Guns
Thu May 26th 2011, 06:18 AM
The 17 million dollars estimate comes from DeLisi etal (2010), Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology.
12632 murders from your post.

So a 1 billion dollar per year industry stimulates public spending more than 200 times that per year. I think Mr. Robertson's dad didn't anticipate that in 1937 and my pocketbook doesn't deserve it.

200 billion dollars from about 200 million guns = $1000 cost per gun per year. Pay up.

Actually I think this USERS PAY FOR THE ACTUAL SOCIAL COST analysis works for bongs too, so yes I agree.

The right to own and use should be protected, as long as the rest of us see this as cost neutral. It's only fair.

Edit. Remember that the $1000/gun is an ANNUAL, not one time, cost.
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Posted by Pholus in Guns
Wed May 25th 2011, 12:41 PM
1) Examination of table 10 places gun deaths at 30873 from all causes, not 30000. Then again, one common misuse of
statistics is to round the numbers in your favor before giving them.

2) "Billions of dollars in gun buy backs" -- Source please. Sounds like we can make a big chunk in balancing the
budget with so much money.

3) Numbers look much less favorable when you only include non-disease related deaths in Table 10

Of the top 15 causes of death, only 3 are non-disease connected -- Accidents, Suicide and Homicide.

From Table 10:

Accidents: 123706 (613 from firearms)
Suicide: 34598 (17352 from firearms)
Homicide: 18361 (12632 from firearms)
Undetermined Intent: 5381 (276 from firearms)

Totals: 182046 (30873 from firearms)

So in terms of non-disease related deaths, guns are involved in more than 16.9% of the cases.

4) Considering that transportation is regulated quite closely and heavily insured with a fatality rate only slightly
more than three times larger, one could conclude this from a public safety perspective this a good argument
for manditory registration of guns, required annual training for owners and a re-evaluation of the amount
of insurance premiums AND taxes charged to gun owners considering the impact on society as a whole -- after
all, as taxpayers and insurance customers we're all paying to clean up these bullet-induced messes.

5) The actual point of this post is that you can throw a lot of numbers behind what you feel in your gut
is true, but sometimes counterarguments exist in the same data set.

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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion
Thu Apr 28th 2011, 09:43 AM
SEVEN PAGES of text and the "November Conspiracy" boils down to.

1) The "junk" guy said in an online forum he should act up the month before he did. He apologized to people who felt duped saying he was merely shooting his mouth off and hadn't planned the incident.

2) Some libertarian operative was involved in an unclear manner and he has a history that definitely looks unwholesome.

3) Drudge ran a video and it got traction in the MSM echo chamber.

Yup, the Koch's fingerprints are all over this one, all right. Too bad they were soooooo good
that we have no evidence.

The main allegations occupy about one of the seven pages.

The other six deal with the history, republican anti-union bashing, and descriptions of low morale at a tossed together, overfunded and politicized organization where employees are placed in a situation where they have power over others while being at the whim of those with power over them.

Sorry, charlie, but that wasn't enough (any?) evidence to indicate why I've been a tool for expressing my discomfort with invasive searches. You simply indicate the event follows the pattern. Perhaps, but then your headline was too strong for what you were saying.

When you can get some SOLID evidence there was some planning or conspiracy why don't you get back to me.

Edit: Typos and removed repeated "it seems" from subject
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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion: Presidency
Tue Apr 19th 2011, 08:17 PM
So, your first reply didn't mean anything?
"You know, the ones for whom any deviation from the one true politics is anathema."
So your definition of "fundamentalism" relied on the phrase "one true politics" which you later claim does not exist. Does that mean that you agree that there is no "fundamentalist left?"

Anyway, funny how similar we are in background with very different perspectives. What I've seen in 30 years since my first vote is that the left is destroying itself in trying to hew towards a fictitious center DEFINED by the RW noise machine.

I'm sick of the center left abandoning the core principles we held for 60 years because they think that a move to the center will strengthen the people's love for us. It isn't happening because we have the nutball right who at least defines some kind of vision while our side cuts our own throats in order to compromise and appear centrist. Well guess what, I guess the GOP IS the party of business after all -- after all we come out like chumps in every negotiation we make.

Can't you SEE how they do it? They make the demand they need, a demand they would love but think they can't get and then they make three insane demands that they know damn well would destroy the f'n country. Then our pushover mushboy centrists decide to compromise and give them the first two items. Guess what? That's more than the minimum they were looking for in the first place! So, buoyed by success they do it again. And amazingly they win again! And so it happens again, and again and again!

Why isn't the center flocking to us then? Well, they see the nutballs get what they want and the mushboys who gave it to them and what they think is "well heck, at least the nutballs have the courage of their convictions -- they stand for something" No wonder we got our teeth kicked in in 2010. We couldn't even articulate what we did *right* for fear of offending the GOP. So spare me your comments about "fundamentalist" ideology because the couple times we actually stood our ground we saw the other side cave pretty quickly. I personally am sick of centrist fundamentalists who have forgotten how to win.

Finally, your last paragraph is not disputed by me. Except that my "get real" is said probably more in exasperation than an exhortation to shut up and accept the status quo.
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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion
Sun Apr 03rd 2011, 04:07 PM
I always love seeing that the principles that made me a Democrat in the first place being described as "unrealistic."

So here is the core credibility problem the apologists have, expressed simply:

1) They tell me that my values are unrealistic, making me question where in fact theirs lie.

2) Negotiations are somehow made behind closed doors by people whose values I don't seem to share by examination of their backgrounds, and a faulted plan with a few good points and more than a few bad points is launched "by compromise." It does sail through to approval by people who previously swore that they would never let it pass. It seems counterintuitive they'd vote against their own interests so what happened? We can't tell because it was behind closed doors.

3) All declare victory and I am told any reservations I have are "unrealistic" expectations.

4) I get confused: is it really "N-dimensional chess" or just plain old "Good cop, bad cop."

Edit -> Subject "that that" changed to "to that"
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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion
Mon Mar 28th 2011, 06:02 AM
I was all like "how does cognitive dissonance have anything to do with this," but you actually are more right than you seemed.

See, the cognitive dissonance is that I expected the national level of politicians to support the ideals they advertised during the campaign season. So the version of cognitive dissonance I seem to have is BUYER'S REMORSE. Unlike the end of the world cultists studied by Festinger, when I see evidence running counter to what my idealization of the situation I am not doubling down by buying even more strongly into the my own hype. So I think you'll have to psychoanalyse me a bit more thoroughly here.

Now I'm pretty pro-labor. It's the way I was raised. And remember that I talked about Wisconsin. What REALLY REALLY disappointed me is that President specifically STAYED AWAY from that issue, despite lots of encouraging promises back in 2007. I voted for the guy who said he'd stand up with labor, yet when it came time for the rubber to meet the road he was absent without leave. The most we got from him was that it "seemed like" an assault on labor. Really? Dissolution of collective bargaining "seemed like" an assault? I guess that's kind of like saying that a knife through the chest SEEMS like something might be trying to convey an unfriendly message. But I've already tried to think through his reasons, and I come up with that it was a fight he didn't think would get him reelected or that would lose influence with the people truly in charge through money and influence. It's also possible that he's just slammed with other problems. I'm not harshing on him and those are probably valid reasons when you're privy to all the details of the high-powered world of the villagers, but pardon my disappointment and general lack of enthusiasm as a result. Some rhetorical bones tossed my way would have done wonders here.

So everything that happened in Wisconsin happened without help from the national party. The other side, however, managed to get out their support. I saw Gov. Walker on nearly every Sunday talk show every week. Few high profile Dems contradicted him. So please explain exactly what would the greater of two evils have looked like there? Really, I'm asking you to please share with me. What I saw is that without a check on them, the right's power overreaching turned off a lot of GOP supporters. Perhaps that would work on larger scales. So I disagree with your logic trap from it's first premise. What I *am* saying is that I have reason to not let you trap me with the lesser of two evils argument because there is some evidence that letting the greater of two evils play for a while snaps people out of their "boiling frog phenomenon" They don't write off small losses incrementally because something radical happens and they are forced out of their malaise.

Now the version of cognitive dissonance YOU seem to be displaying is rationalization. Many replies to my prior posts are starting to make sense. This started back with TSA and airline screening. Something I didn't think had boo to do with the president had MANY MANY posters here trying to anxiously trying to squash my opinion because they felt it might reflect poorly on the president. I didn't like the nude-o-scopes and I was a GOP stooge, a mole a plant. It seemed strange since I thought the president and the TSA were not directly dependent and that we were looking at a continuation of Bush policies that was easily changed from the top. But it makes perfect sense if these posters actually believed very very strongly that they had voted for the right person and were anxiously trying to squash any hints that they were seeing a bit of conflict between actions and ideals.

Thank you! I think this line of reasoning was illuminating.

Edit: By way of furthering this. McCarthy was not stopped by his colleagues on either side of the aisle. He was stopped when he looked to have a blank check and he started being more honest about what he really wanted. At that point people had to face directly what they were standing for if they stood behind him. And an endemic, toxic situation changed overnight.

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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion
Sun Mar 27th 2011, 09:09 PM
This is a reply to the folks stating that no matter how unhappy I am about the way things have been going that I'm going to have to crawl back in 2012 and vote Dem because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. As a "15%'er" I have been told alternately that my vote is not that important because "most Democrats highly approve of what's happening" while the losses in 2010 are my fault because while I voted but didn't have good feelings about doing so.

I want to thank you guys because you challenged me to really start thinking this through -- is it a good idea TO vote for the lesser of two evils right now? Perhaps the only sane thing to do is to not vote or to vote for the craziest teabaggers I can find. Switch my registration to GOP, do their primaries, and vote up every one of their crazies.

You're probably thinking this is counterintuitive but hear me out because it's your fault I even started thinking this through.

First off, it gives me NO pleasure to advance this idea. I've never been a fan of destroying the village to save it. But don't make a mistake about this: the right WANTS the village of status quo destroyed and replaced with a system whose rules they wrote. That's what "taking their country back" really seems to mean. Now we all are on this website because we believe that the Democrats have the plans that will actually move the country forward. But I am reaching the conclusion that we are NOT generally succeeding with the "incremental change" approach and I no longer believe that the "lesser evil" is necessarily the tack to make. Every compromised decision seems to move the goalposts right. "America is a center-right country" I'm told. Well they may think so and have been told so repeatedly, but they aren't. And even if they are, perhaps they deserve to discover exactly what that means. In any case, any progress we've been making is usually healthily cancelled by a even bigger regressive shifts.

And this is happening despite 8 years of Bush disasters, despite the economy inherited by the President that he turned around despite savage opposition, despite every fight and every compromise and every bitter last stand we've taken, win or lose. The average American still isn't getting what's wrong and things are simply getting worse.

"Pres Obama's a Mooslim, our policies are Socialist, regulation is bad, taxes are bad, unions are bad." It's endless and uncorrectable and demoralizing.

You know why? Because every policy, every compromise, everything we do in a bipartisan manner is run through a big money media operation that gives the righties the credit for what works and the lefties the blame for what doesn't. And we can't sort it out to anyone's satisfaction, because we're forced into hairsplitting debates about details. It's simply too easy to muddy the waters and point fingers.

The policies of the right will ruin us. It's obvious to me but it isn't to many of my friends and neighbors. But until the GOP successfully be forced to take ownership of them, warts and all, we are going to continue to lose and continue to slide.

I've usually been a strong advocate of our leaders making the arguments and calling bullshit on the national stage, but it isn't working and frankly for one reason or another they seem to be not that interested in doing it anyway. Perhaps they are too aware the media game is rigged against them, and their best personal strategy is to avoid sticking their necks out too far. But while that might keep them in office, it doesn't fix the problem or the country in the long term.

Wisconsin started me thinking that it took a naked GOP power grab for people to wake up and realize that what goes on a capitol can hit them really hard where they live and work. Now I wanted the President to get out in front on this issue and wear those shoes like he said he would and take worker's rights to the national stage, but it didn't happen. Lots of folks here made apologies for that by saying that he shouldn't get involved, that it would just complicate the issue and make it "about him." I disagreed but realize that perhaps I was wrong.

I observed something interesting happen: Wisconsin was the first issue in 20 years that actually made a large inroads in changing opinions among conservative people I personally know. Not a lot, but any change in attitudes these days is dramatic. And once the implications about the legislation and the legislators were made public, a lot of people suddenly didn't like what they were seeing.

So, my question is this: Many posters here have told me that I'll come crawling back in 2012 because the alternative is worse. But is it? Sure it would suck for a few years, but if the righties are forced to come right out and try to get their agendas out there, with the teabaggers loudly yelling at their backs to "jump" perhaps that would be the shock required to get people to wake up and reject the whole package.

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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion
Sun Dec 26th 2010, 11:20 PM
A very nice basic scientific calculator -- does everything a student needs though the end an undergraduate math degree.

Cost: $1.00

The box was months old but none had sold yet. I bought one and studied it. It was obviously not built with *American* students in mind. It merely is functional instead of flashy. Lord knows it doesn't surf the web or text so why would a the current generation of American students even be interested in it?

A pity too.

Wonder which country WILL fill our shoes as the idea source for the world once we're through sabotaging ourselves through our fear of having to apply ourselves and appreciate the discoveries that took centuries to develop.

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Posted by Pholus in General Discussion
Fri Dec 24th 2010, 08:19 AM
Most of my complaints about the nude-o-scopes/freedom gropes revolve around intense, privacy invasive passenger scrutiny set against nearly criminally negligent security for everything else at the airport. But I guess we shouldn't be pointing this out.

The money quote (from the writer, not the pilot) asks a question that can be read in multiple ways, including as a warning of what the new normal is supposed to be:

"In the age of WikiLeaks, where divulging sensitive information
can be so controversial, why did this pilot decide to share his
videos so publicly?"

So, instead of going through the actual work of fixing a problem it appears that an acceptable tactic is now to declare the problem "secret" so that when everything blows up there is a scapegoat (anyone who tried to warn that there was a problem).

Welcome to the age of accountability nullification through secrecy!

It reminds me of the early days of the no fly list where the TSA was unresponsive to a concerned citizen who showed them how with photoshop you could fly even if you were on the no fly list. After a period of nothing happening, the citizen publicized the hole and the TSA went after *him* instead of fixing their big old glaring, gaping hole. It is there to this day.

It makes me feel *oh* so safe...

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays!
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