Sunday, August 14, 2011

Miscellaneous 93

1) I've said it before but I'll say it again. I have no permanent allegiance to the Democratic party - nada! In fact, if the Republicans ever nominated a reasonable, pro-choice moderate candidate for President, I would be more than happy to consider voting for him/her. But, I'm telling you here, right now, the individuals that I personally saw on that stage the other night...were bad! Damn it, I might even go as far as to say that they were the bottom of the barrel Republicans; Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, some dufus who used to run a pizza outfit (I surely hope that the dude's pizza goes down better than his bromides). I mean, come on, folks, the party of Honest Abe, T.R. Ike, and Rocky has degenerated into this? Surely, the grand old party do better (or at the minimum least, they can try).............2) My conservative colleagues continue to say that we shouldn't raise taxes...PERIOD....I just wish that they could show me how you can possibly bridge a 1.5 trillion dollar budget shortfall WITHOUT some form of revenue increase. And, besides, Mr. Bush and his Republican colleagues rammed through two humongous tax cuts, waged two very expensive wars, and passed a brand new expensive drug entitlement program, and they didn't frigging pay for one single iota of any of it. Wouldn't it be a nice change of pace to actually pay for something once in a while? I mean, I know that it's a radical thought and all but...................3) There are two popular conceptions of George W. Bush amongst progressives these days. One conception of Mr. Bush is that he's this evil and sinister mastermind who tried to bitch-slap the rest of the world into submission. The other conception is that he's this utterly buffoonish and incompetent boob whose negligent actions as commander in chief have set this country back considerably. Which of these conceptions will ultimately win out amongst the progressive movement is anybody's guess. We'll just have to wait and see, I'm thinking....I mean, he certainly couldn't be both, now could he?

38 comments:

Jerry Critter said...

Take out the word "mastermind" and he can be both.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I think that in order to be really sinister, you pretty much need a mastermind (an ability for forethought, etc.).

Beach Bum said...

he certainly couldn't be both, now could he?

But Will, misdirection is what makes him so stupid/brillant.

w-dervish said...

bush didn't tackle the presidency by himself...he had an ADMINISTRATION. Look to his administration... that is where you will find the "masterminds". bush WAS a buffoonish and incompetent boob.

Geez Will, I woulda thought a smart guy like you could have figured that out. I suspect you did, but ignored the obvious in favor of bashing Progressives by accusing them of cognitive dissonance (another lie from your "Concepts Foreign to the Extremes" post).

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I vote buffoonish and incompetent boob, too, wd.............As for the post that you're referencing here, I accused extremists of NOT utilizing cognitive dissonance. Extremists see everything through a prism, and no matter what it is that they're perceiving, they see it as reinforcing their already preordained theories. They're unconvincable, in other words.............Double b, that's an interesting theory. I suppose that one could utilize it with Mrs. Palin, too, no?

w-dervish said...

Will: I accused extremists of NOT utilizing cognitive dissonance.

Would that not anger the gods of consistency?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I was referring to moral consistency, having the same level of outrage no mater who's doing the transgressing.

w-dervish said...

So you're being inconsistent in your desire for consistency.

Also, I declare your point 3 totally knocked down. Because bush COULD be both an evil and sinister mastermind AND an utterly buffoonish and incompetent boob (under the rules of cognitive dissonance), but "extremists" wouldn't be able to comprehend that possibility (according your prior post).

Extremists can be capable of cognitive dissonance or they can't. You can't have it both ways.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Name me one incompetent mastermind. A mastermind involves intense genius. An incompetent boob de facto isn't that.......And I'm not trying to have it both ways. Extremists are psychologically incapable of rearranging the furniture - period. Just because they slovenly try to merge mutually exclusive concepts to force-feed their comedic absolutist ideology doesn't mean that they're engaging in any sort of mental accommodation. It just means that they're hunkering down even more, pathetically.

Jerry Critter said...

I think what you find is The Mastermind directing The Incompetent. An incompetent mastermind is a oxymoron.

w-dervish said...

Will: I'm not trying to have it both ways.

You said "there are two popular conceptions of George W. Bush amongst progressives these days".

After explaining what you thought the two popular conceptions were you said, "he certainly couldn't be both, now could he?"

What you were implying is that some Progressives think he is/was both (or, that is how I read what you wrote, at least).

I then pointed out that these Progressives (if they exist) are suffering from cognitive dissonance (by believing he is/was both at the same time).

Then you said, "I accused extremists of NOT utilizing cognitive dissonance".

So first you said they didn't "utilize" cognitive dissonance (in your "Concepts Foreign to the Extremes" post), but then you said they are suffering from CD (in this post).

How could I not conclude that you ARE trying to have it both ways?

Jerry: I think what you find is The Mastermind directing The Incompetent.

Exactly. Cheney and Rove directed the incompetent bush. Remember that Rove (in addition to being nicknamed "turd blossom") was also nicknamed "bush's brain".

w-dervish said...

Will: [bush & company] rammed through two humongous tax cuts, waged two very expensive wars, and passed a brand new expensive drug entitlement program, and they didn't frigging pay...

Voltron and Rusty (along with the rest of the teabaggers) think the middle class & poor should pay. It's despicable.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Cognitive dissonance and illogical thinking aren't the same. You're totally mixing up the concepts and basically talking nonsense. And, yes, Jerry's theory IS plausible. The incompetent one can clearly be led by the mastermind. Kind of like you and Keith Olbermann, wd.

w-dervish said...

definition, Cognitive dissonance: "an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding CONFLICTING IDEAS simultaneously".

You accused progressives of holding two conflicting ideas simultaneously - that bush is a mastermind AND a buffoon.

I say YOU are basically talking nonsense Will.

One of the definitions of "incompetent" is, "a mentally deficient person". In my opinion that is a perfect description of anyone who supports free trade.

The Heathen Republican said...

I'm diappointed Will, I really thought I might get your vote.

Rational Nation USA said...

First, lets just dismiss Bush. Or use him an an example as to why not to support Perry.

Second, We can cut enough from the MIC,eliminate duplicative spending, chop a couple {or more} federal departments, reform entitlements, simplify the tax code and close loopholes, evaluate and them eliminate regulations that indeed hurt competitiveness, eliminate federal subsidies to all business and public sector enterprises, end foreign welfare, and place Americans first by leveling the trading field. IE: Tariffs.

3) Pass a balanced budget amendment that can only be overridden during times of national crises and a two thirds vote by congress to do so.

4) Then maybe consider raining taxes.

Barring the above the middle class will in the end get hit with the lion's share of a tax ncrnease.t is certain to happen.

w-dervish said...

We do NOT "maybe" need to "consider" raising taxes... they need to be raised, and NOW.

The middle class would not get hit with the lion's share of a tax increase, unless the Republicans protected the wealthy to the exclusion of all others.

"Chop" federal departments? I'd probably be against it, but since RN doesn't say which ones I can't be certain. Eliminating the EPA, for example, would be a very bad idea.

I'm vehemently opposed to "simplifying" the tax code... because that is code for an unfair regressive flat tax that favors the wealthy.

I'm vehemently opposed to deregulation. It's what caused the financial crisis. I'd support doing away with the odd regulation that is genuinely bad, but am otherwise very supportive of regulations. I'd say we probably need to add a lot more regulations then we do away with.

This balanced budget amendment is an extremely bad idea. I would vehemently oppose it. Balanced budgets are something we need to work our way to gradually.

Foreign aid builds goodwill throughout the world and would be an infinitely better tool to ending terrorism then killing people. I support massively expanding all non-military foreign aid.

Eliminate federal subsidies to all business and public sector enterprises? In some cases I'd be in favor of doing that (big oil) and in others I'd oppose it (green energy). We need to consider what we support carefully. An across the board mandate of no federal subsidies would be a bad idea.

Talking about balancing the budget via massive cuts during a recession is an idiotically stupid idea... unless your goal is to prolong the recession... which I strongly suspect IS the Republican's goal.

Rational Nation USA said...

WD - "Talking about balancing the budget via massive cuts during a recession is an idiotically stupid idea..."

There will likely never be tim when it is right to balance the budget vi cuts. Statics like yourself see only taxes, taxes, taxes, and more as the answer...

Preferably on the wealthy and business.

Well dude that ain't gonna work either.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I know what cognitive dissonance is, wd. But, BECAUSE THEY CREATE DISCOMFORT, you don't CONTINUE to hold these conflicting views. They either get incorporated into one coherent view or one of the views gets rejected. a) A lot of the progressives who hold these conflicting views don't particularly see them as conflicting and b) they aren't at all discomforted by them.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

HR, your views on abortion and civil unions seem moderate enough. I suppose that I could do a lot worse than you for a candidate.............I hate to say it, Les, but I kinda of agree in measure with wd here. Too many cuts too early could in fact stymie recovery. But I am for a systemic reform of entitlements that will save gobs of money down the road. That, and majorly scale back our foreign policy objectives. Foreign aid - that's a little bit trickier here. While, yes, we want to help the developing world, we certainly don't want the money to line the pockets of corrupt individuals (like it apparently did with Yasser Arafat).

w-dervish said...

Will: But I am for a systemic reform of entitlements that will save gobs of money down the road.

Me too. I think we need to reform SS by lowering the retirement age and increasing benefits. We could save gobs of money by switching to a single payer national health care system, and pay for the SS changes by eliminating the cap on the SS tax.

RN: Statists like yourself see only taxes, taxes, taxes, and more as the answer... Preferably on the wealthy and business.

Yes, that taxes haven't been raised is a big part of the problem. I believe an economic recovery won't happen until the government starts spending more on the things we need (I'd prefer increase spending because we've increased taxes, but more borrowing would work too).

I predict we will stay in recession until this happens.

The Heathen Republican said...

Dervish, exactly how far left are you? Raise taxes, don't simplify the tax code, regulate business more, add more foreign aid, let politicians choose industrial winners (green energy) and losers (oil) instead of the market, increase government spending, increase Social Security benefits, and borrow more.

That's your prescription for America? I'd like to see Obama run on that platform and see how far he gets.

Voltron said...

Heathen, WD is one small step away from falling off the planet...

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

He wouldn't borrow the money, HR. He'd power tax the wealthy to get it. It's basically his prescription for everything.......And I'll answer your question here. He's the farthest left individual that this blogger has ever encountered.

Jerry Critter said...

His solution is not that far left. Except for raising taxes, it is pretty much what we are doing now. I call it pretty mainstream.

dmarks said...

We need to avoid "single-payer". Healthcare choices are too important to concentrate in the hands of unaccountable ruling elites.

We need to decentralize healthcare; break up monopolies, and have more competition. Not less.

Jerry Critter said...

I will agree with breaking up monopolies. It is time to start enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act...again.

The Heathen Republican said...

Hold on a second, can anyone here actually name a single monopoly in the U.S. that isn't a government monopoly? Anti-trust laws are still enforced and there simply aren't any.

In fact, I'd argue that they are over-enforced when people clamor for an investigation of Google purchasing Motorola, as though there are no other cell phone manufacturers or search engines out there.

Seriously, name a single monopoly in the U.S.

w-dervish said...

Heathen Rep: Seriously, name a single monopoly in the U.S.

I can name a lot more than one...

AT&T, Chevron, Comcast, Disney, eBay, ExxonMobil, Facebook, GE, Google, Health Insurance Companies (there are only about 35 private health insurance companies in the US), Intel, iTunes, Microsoft, Netflix, NewsCorp, Paypal, Sirius XM Radio, Time Warner, etc...

Granted, most of these are actually oligopolies, but it isn't as if that is much better. We should look into breaking them all up.

dmarks said...

WD named monopolies: "AT&T, Chevron, Comcast, Disney, eBay, ExxonMobil, Facebook, GE, Google, Health Insurance Companies (there are only about 35 private health insurance companies in the US), Intel, iTunes, Microsoft, Netflix, NewsCorp, Paypal, Sirius XM Radio, Time Warner, etc.."

Actually, AT&T is just one of many phone companies. Chevron is just one of many oil companies. Comcast is just one of many cable companies. Etc etc etc. It's this case with almost all of them that you name. The only one you named that is anything like a monopoly is Sirius XM.

Some inclusions on the list are laughable, like iTunes. I've only ever gotten a song from iTunes once ever. I've used many far better music services. The list was made without any attention given to the meaning of "monopoly".

Or Google. How can anyone informed about the Internet call this a monopoly at all?

Also, there's far more than 35 health insurance companies. When I last checked, there were 2000. I can't find this reference now. But even the lists I can find are FAR larger than 35.

w-dervish said...

Check out the links dmarks -- they explain why each company is on the list. According to the article I linked to for iTunes.... iTunes controls 70 percent of the market and, "Reuters has reported that the Justice Department is conducting an antitrust investigation of iTunes".

Apparently people at the Justice Department are not laughing.

Also, there are only 35 health insurance companies... check out the link. The article I linked to to back up my claim that the Health Insurance industry has a monopoly is titled, "Health Insurance A Near-Monopoly, Study Finds".

According to Wikipedia, "An oligopoly is a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers (oligopolists). ...the four-firm concentration ratio is often utilized. This measure expresses the market share of the four largest firms in an industry as a percentage. For example, as of fourth quarter 2008, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Nextel, and T-Mobile together control 89% of the US cellular phone market".

In some situations, the firms may employ restrictive trade practices (collusion, market sharing etc.) to raise prices and restrict production in much the same way as a monopoly".

CONCLUSION: the companies I listed may not be monopolies using a strict definition of the word (one firm with zero competitors), but they function much the same as monopolies.

What difference does it make to the consumer if prices are artifically high because of an monopoly versus oligopoly?

Jerry Critter said...

Rather than market share, maybe we should put a limit on the size of the company, say 1 billion dollars or 10 billion dollars. No company should be too big to fail, a phrase we heard a lot during the financial business meltdown, and the resulting Federal Reserve 16 TRILLION dollar gift to the world financial institutions.

The Heathen Republican said...

Dervish, are you incapable of admitting you're wrong or misspoke? You look silly trying to defend yourself. I asked for one example of a monopoly, and you couldn't do it. The best you can offer are companies who are successful at winning market share, which isn't a crime.

dmarks said...

WD said: "iTunes controls 70 percent of the market and.."

PArt of the problem is including successful companies as monopolies. iTunes has a large market share because it is successful and satisfies more people than anyone. It is nothing like a monopoly, as it is just one of many many choices. I happen to be able to ignore them easily, because of the complete lack of the coercive situations you hint at.

One choice out of many being popular does not make a monopoly. It's the lack of the other choices that does it.

WD said: "Also, there are only 35 health insurance companies"

This is so flat out wrong. Check out this link. It shows 37, but only the major ones. There are hundreds of others. The two health insurance plans/HMO's I've had for many years DO exist and are both not on the list.

dmarks said...

Jerry: How about we let companies get as big as they naturally get (provided they are not actual monopolies), and when they fail, just don't bail them out? Much better solution.

Jerry Critter said...

And let the world economies crash instead? At least that was the argument for being too big to fail. Seems like the Fed bought it, 16 trillion dollars worth. What are you willing to risk, as opposed to putting some controls in place and avoiding the problem in the first place?

w-dervish said...

Heathen Republican, are you incapable of admitting you're wrong or misspoke? You look silly trying to defend your asertion that there are no monopolies in the US. I gave multiple examples and you simply choose to ignore them?

dmarks, a list that consists of 37 entries proves your assertion that there are more than 2000 health insurance companies??

The two health insurance plans/HMO's you've had for many years are most likely not on the list because they are subsidiaries of ones that are.

dmarks: iTunes has a large market share because it is successful and satisfies more people than anyone.

iTunes engages in monopolistic behavior. "In [a] class-action lawsuit, a group of consumers say Apple created a music-downloading monopoly with its iPod player and iTunes store. At issue is a piece of software called Fairplay that allowed only music bought on iTunes to be played on the iPod...

One competitor, RealNetworks Inc, responded in 2004 by introducing a new technology that would allow customers to play music downloaded from its site on their iPods. Apple quickly announced a software upgrade to iTunes that once more blocked music from RealNetworks..."

Is this the kind of customer satisfying behavior you were talking about?

dmarks said...

WD said: ""In [a] class-action lawsuit, a group of consumers say Apple created a music-downloading monopoly"

Anyone filing such a lawsuit would be engaging in a frivolous lawsuit. iTunes is not a monopoly. The group of consumers would be lying, and no ethical attorney would take the case.

"allowed only music bought on iTunes to be played on the iPod..."

A ridiculous non-issue. The iPod is just one of many many examples of MP3 players out there.

"Is this the kind of customer satisfying behavior you were talking about?"

They satisfy a lot of consumers, but not me. And since Apple is nothing like a monopoly, I have purchased non-iPod mp3 players and non iTunes music for YEARS.

Antitrust should be used for actual monopolies, not easily-avoidable "one choice among many" that no where comes close to the definition.

And courts should completely block frivolous lawsuits from companies like Real that produce inferior products, and attempt to deal with this not by producing something better, but by having lawyers lie in the courtroom in an attempt to clobber those who are good at what they do.
As for the health insurance companies, can you tell me which one Priority is owned by? I can't find that.