Saturday, November 19, 2016

Cab Thoughts 11/19/16

More than anything else, wealth results from a state of mind and a set of values.  Government is not a source of wealth.  Governments, including ours, are essentially parasitic; they consume and dispose of wealth produced by private individuals.--Williams

According to a new article in The Atlantic, there are three to four million habitual gamblers in the United States and the entire gambling industry is geared to them specifically. 20% of these people attempt suicide.

Clinton was Secretary of State during the Obama administration's decision to undermine and help destroy the governments of two nations -- Egypt and Libya -- that were no threat whatever to Americans or to America's interests. The net result was that two Middle East nations that were at least neutral toward the United States, in contrast to others who are hostile and belligerent, were turned into countries where Islamic extremists created turmoil, and one in which Islamic terrorists killed the American ambassador and those who came to his aid.
President Obama and Secretary Clinton inherited an Iraq where terrorists had been soundly defeated, thanks to General David Petraeus' "surge" campaign, which both had opposed when they were in the Senate.
But the Obama administration turned victory into defeat by pulling American troops out of Iraq, against the advice of top military leaders, setting the stage for the emergence of ISIS and its triumphant barbarism that attracted adherents who began waging a terrorist war inside Western nations, including the United States. (from Sowell)

A great and famous story about people.  Jennie Jerome was Winston Churchill's mother. A very beautiful woman, she is said to have dined with two of England’s premier leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and his rival, William Gladstone, in the same week.  When a journalist asked her to relate her first impressions of the two men, Ms. Jerome replied:
"When I left the dining room after sitting next to Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But when I sat next to Disraeli I left feeling that I was the cleverest woman."

A little over half of the households in the bottom 20 percent have nobody working. Nobody. In 2010, there were more people working full-time in the top 5 percent of households than in the bottom 20 percent. 
The true statement that, from our understanding of causal connections between facts alone, we can derive no conclusions about the validity of values, has been extended into the false belief that science has nothing to do with values. This awkward phrase is from Hayek, meaning that values, although crucial to a social structure, have become suspect because science demands to be objective and has inadvertently infected society with its open-mindedness. 

What is....Laurentine Ice Sheet?

But the main thing missing from English’s response is any sense that there might be something intrinsically wrong in deliberately killing and maiming innocent civilians as a means to bring about even a desirable outcome. That is what people find morally revolting about terrorism, not just the death and suffering it causes. The sense that there are limits on what may be done to people is a crucial part of the morality most of us share. Contempt for such moral boundaries is the defining mark of both state and non-state campaigns of terror. In spite of his acknowledgment of what he calls the ‘terrible human costs’ of terrorism, English seems clueless about this essential aspect of the phenomenon, and of the normal reaction to it. ‘The casualness with which we all tend to be comfortable with other people’s suffering lies at the heart of the problem of terrorism,’ he says. Note that ‘all’. To assimilate terrorism to a universal human failing is morally obtuse. It is something much more radical than that. (from Thomas Nagel's review of Does Terrorism Work? A History by Richard English)
Golden oldie:
World production of CO2 reached 31.6 gigatonnes in 2011, the highest ever. But the IEA report also notes that American CO2 production is d...

Allen Bloom wrote about some popular writers. On Steven King, about the best Bloom can say is that Anne Rice, "whose fictions are profoundly unhealthy, and whose style is even more tedious than King's," is worse. Lumping him with television, movies and computers, Bloom says that "King will be remembered as a sociological phenomenon, an image of the death of the Literate Reader."

Between 1825 and 1905, the tsars executed 191 people for political reasons—not for mere “suspicion” as under the Soviets but for actual assassinations, including that of Tsar Alexander II. In The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn remarked that between 1905 and 1908 the regime executed as many as 2,200 people—forty-five a month!—“calling forth tears from Tolstoy and indignation from Korolenko and many, many others.” By comparison, conservative estimates of executions under Lenin and Stalin—say, twenty million from 1917 to 1953—yield an average of over ten thousand per week. That’s a tsarist century every few days.
Brown University's student body president will be hand-delivering menstrual products to all nonresidential bathrooms on campus, including men’s rooms, with the help of 20 other students. Viet Nguyen, President of the Undergraduate Council of Students, announced the initiative in a campus-wide email Tuesday, saying he wants to communicate the message that not all people who menstruate are women. (Newsweek) 
This raises an interesting question: Is law ever necessary to enforce the truth?
The Phoenix City Council banned churches from feeding the homeless in an area not zoned for restaurants.  Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights banned special deals on drinks and cover charges for women – no more ladies night, it discriminates against  men!  Some states want to ban baggy pants and the Los Angeles City Council forbids people dressed as super heroes who take pictures with tourists on Hollywood Boulevard.  California banned trans fats.  Some want to regulate salt intake, sodas, and school bake sales.

Why was it, Solzhenitsyn asks, that Macbeth and other Shakespearean villains killed only a few people, while Lenin and Stalin murdered millions? The answer is that Shakespeare’s villains “had no ideology”:
"Ideology—that is what gives . . . the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses and will receive praises and honors."

There are any number of ways one can view the organization of this country.  One interesting approach emphasizes "We the People" as the nation's founding element. it’s not so much that We the People govern.  That’s not what popular sovereignty means.  Popular sovereignty means that it’s the rights of the individual person that needs to be protected by government and then the people control or they limit government, but government is not the same as us.  They’re a small subset of us.  They’re the governors and the reason we have a Constitution is to provide the law that governs them. So the Constitution is a constraint on the organization that protects us. (after Barnett)

According to The Associated Press, France has become the first country in the world to ban disposable, plastic cups and dishes. Under the new law, which passed last month, all single-use cups, plates and other dishware sold in the country will need to be compostable and made at least partly of bio-sourced materials. Businesses have been given until Jan. 1, 2020 to comply with the measure. If everyone lights just one little candle.........

Premium costs in the Obamacare exchanges increased about 12 percent nationwide from 2015 to 2016. Current rates are being finalized, but it looks as if the increase from 2016 to 2017 will be double that.

The Laurentine Ice Sheet covered millions of North American square miles starting around 95,000 years ago. It advanced and retreated over the continent multiple times. Its grand finale was 22,000 years ago with its final push, the Wisconsin Glacial Episode. This episode covered most of Canada, New England, and all of New York with New York City marking the southernmost boundary. At least one mile of ice thick! Eventually, the climate warmed and ice cover disappeared entirely from New York around 11,000 years ago.

Nobel Prize-winner Angus Deaton and his co-author, Anne Case documented an astonishing rise in death rates among lower-class whites, from diseases related to addiction and substance abuse. This trend is also an indirect indicator of a huge cultural change for the worse in working-class America.

30 year bond returns are 2.4%. if long-term rates rise from 2.4% to 3.4%, the value of the long bond will decline by about 21%. If rates rise by 2% the bond price will decline by 35-40%  
"First, if you look at those people who are out of the labour force – what I call the ‘new lower class’ – they are no longer participating in the major institutions of American society. To put it crudely, I think they look upon Trump as sticking it to the man in a way they find gratifying. But I think they also look upon this as entertainment. I’m exaggerating to some extent, but there’s a sentiment of ‘well, this is a really interesting reality show, look at what this guy is getting away with, with all his outrageous stuff – let’s see what happens next’.... Then you have other people in the white working class who are getting married, holding jobs, playing by the rules – and they are pissed as hell. They see all of these shenanigans among the elites, the Wall Street types, for instance, with their 20,000-square-foot mansions. And most aggravating of all, they have to suffer the cognitive elite’s incredible smugness and condescension. The elites don’t even bother to hide this condescension towards the white working class. They are constantly making fun of rednecks, of evangelical Christians. And they talk about ‘flyover country’, as if nothing between the East Coast and West Coast really makes any difference. Indeed, cognitive elites are contemptuous of the working class."--Murray ad:

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