Friday, June 23, 2017

ANS -- Crazy Marxists want to give homes to Grenfell survivors – but thankfully we live in a fair capitalist society

This is a sarcastic piece avbout what's happening in England, and the world.  

  1. Voices

Crazy Marxists want to give homes to Grenfell survivors – but thankfully we live in a fair capitalist society

It's the same with those communists who went down with blankets and food. They should have set up a pop-up bedding and hot chocolate store to tap into extensive market opportunities

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Crazy Marxists want to give homes to Grenfell survivors – thank God we live in a fair capitalist society

Sometimes the terms used in politics, such as Marxism and capitalism, can be confusing. So it was helpful for Tory MPs such as Andrew Bridgen to offer a simple explanation this week. He suggested the proposal of Jeremy Corbyn, that survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire should be housed in properties left empty by speculators, "fits in with his hard Marxist views".

It's always welcome when someone explains complex ideas in a way we can all understand. Now, when someone asks "what is a crazy Marxist?", all you have to say is, "it's someone silly enough to believe that if someone's house has burned down, they should be allowed to stay in an empty house."

Thankfully we live in a fair capitalist society, so if a Russian oligarch has gone to all the trouble of buying a flat in Kensington and leaving it empty, we won't let some sod enjoy that wealth when they've done nothing to earn it except run screaming in terror from a raging inferno.

It's the same with those irresponsible Marxists who went down with blankets and food, the communist bastards. They should have set up a pop-up bedding and hot chocolate store to tap into extensive market opportunities.  

Theresa May booed by residents after visiting scene of Grenfell disaster

If the Conservatives had seen the community in Manchester after the bomb, giving lifts home to strangers and looking for relatives, putting people up and looking after them, they'd have said, "oh my God, the place is overrun with communism, it's like North Korea".

So we should hand the rights to Costa Coffee to be first at a major incident, that way they can make money out of selling drinks rather than give in to the socialist menace of giving them away.

Here's a captive clientele, who probably won't know how much they're spending as they're in a state of deep trauma, and we're restricting business opportunities by handing the operation to volunteers who have no idea how to generate wealth. 

Someone should go on Dragon's Den to set up a company to help people out after catastrophes, charging £70 to contact panicking relatives and provide a choice of light snacks to calm you down after an explosion, in a van with "We get there faster when there's a disaster" on the side.

Confusingly, 40 per cent of Conservative voters are in favour of Jeremy Corbyn's proposal to requisition empty properties, which means we've reached an alarming state, in which almost half of Conservatives are Marxists.

Conservative garden parties in Surrey will soon raise funds by getting Iain Duncan-Smith to auction a signed photo of Fidel Castro, then they'll have a vote on whether to hand over the lawn to the peasants.

The comments about Marxism may have another cause, which is that the Conservatives have no idea what's just happened. For 35 years the consensus has been that nothing can work unless it's run by the rules of big business, and no one will vote for anyone who tries to restrict the laws of the free market.

That law is broken now, so they scream all the old insults against Corbyn and it no longer has an effect. Now the Tories suddenly look helpless, unable to sort out an arrangement with 10 people in the DUP, who they agree with on most things. Luckily Brexit will be with twenty-seven countries, half of which hate us, governing minor issues like what everything costs and where everyone lives, so that should be much easier for them.

Theresa May now looks so bewildered, this weekend the Queen will probably announce, "For God's sake, I'm asking him with the beard to take over. And he wants me abolished."

The Royal Family already appear to have held a meeting in which they've decided, "I don't want to be head of the place if this lot's still in."

But some people are sticking to the old values. The Guardian interviewed residents at the modern block in Kensington Row, where some survivors will be housed. One of the property owners, Nick, said: "I'm very sad that people have lost their homes, but there are a lot of people here who have bought flats and will now see the values drop. It will degrade things. And it opens up a can of worms in the housing market."

That's the spirit, Nick. There's a proper Conservative, not like these fairweather Tories who abandon their free market principles just because people were scorched in an entirely predictable and avoidable inferno.

What a shame that Nick wasn't around when the firefighters arrived. 

Instead of getting in the way with Marxist compassion, Nick could have restored order by yelling: "How much water are you wasting? I pay for that with my council tax you know, you should charge anyone who you rescue with that ladder, this isn't the Soviet Union."

The only thing to take issue with, is Nick shouldn't be sad, because if people aren't clever enough to live in gated communities where the builders are paid to cover the dwellings in materials that don't flare up at a moment's notice, they've only got themselves to blame.

And Nick probably thinks, "Surely these people have a second inflammable tower block in the country, where they could go and stay for a while until the work gets done."

Because at least he's not a Marxist.

ANS -- Republican administrations had been much more criminally corrupt

One of our readers sent this to me.  Read it!  It's about which party is more corrupt, as determined by criminal convictions, etc.  
I don't have a place to send you for the original.  

In case you're interested in sharing some actual facts for your conservative friends...
This from Stephen Alan Glassman:
"I made a comment recently where I claimed that Republican administrations had been much more criminally corrupt over the last 50 plus years than the Democrats. I was challenged (dared actually) to prove it. So I did a bit of research and when I say a bit I mean it didn't take long and there is no comparison. When comparing criminal indictments of those serving in the executive branch of presidential administrations it's so lopsided as to be ridiculous. Yet all I ever hear is how corrupt the Democrats are. So why don't we break it down by president and the numbers.
Obama - 8yrs in office. zero criminal indictments, zero convictions and zero prison sentences. so the next time somebody describes the Obama administration as "scandal free" they aren't speaking wishfully, they're simply telling the truth.
Bush, George W. - 8yrs in office. 16 criminal indictments. 16 convictions. 9 prison sentences.
Clinton - 8yrs in office. 2 criminal indictments. one conviction. one prison sentence. that's right nearly 8yrs of investigations. tens of millions spent and 30yrs of claiming them the most corrupt ever and there was exactly one person convicted of a crime.
Bush, George H. W. - 4yrs in office. one indictment. one conviction. one prison sentence.
Reagan - 8yrs in office. 26 criminal indictments. 16 convictions. 8 prison sentences.
Carter - 4yrs in office. one indictment. zero convictions and zero prison sentences.
Ford - 2 1/2 yrs in office. one indictment and one conviction. one prison sentence.
Nixon - 6yrs in office. 76 criminal indictments. 55 convictions. 15 prison sentences.
Johnson - 5yrs in office. zero indictments. zero convictions. zero prison sentences.
So, let's see where that leaves us. in the last 53 years Democrats have been in office for 25 of those years while Republicans held it for 28. in their 25yrs in office Democrats had a total of three executive branch officials indicted with one conviction and one prison sentence. that's one whole executive branch official convicted of a crime in two and a half decades of Democrat leadership.
In the 28yrs that Republicans have held office over the last 53yrs they have had a total of(a drum roll would be more than appropriate), 120 criminal indictments of executive branch officials. 89 criminal convictions and 34 prison sentences handed down. That's more prison sentences than years in office since 1968 for Republicans. If you want to count articles of impeachment as indictments (they aren't really but we can count them as an action), both sides get one more. However, Clinton wasn't found guilty while Nixon resigned and was pardoned by Ford. so those only serve to make Republicans look even worse.
With everything going on with Trump and his people right now, it's a safe bet Republicans are gonna be padding their numbers a bit real soon. So let's just go over the numbers one more time shall we. 120 indictments for Republicans. 89 convictions and 34 prison sentences. Those aren't "feelings" or "alternate facts" those are simply the stats by the numbers. Republicans are, and have been for my entire lifetime, the most criminally corrupt party to hold the office of the presidency."
Feel free to copy and paste so others can learn "non-alternative facts", i.e. the Truth.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

ANS -- Even Top Liberal Pundits Still Don’t Understand the Division in the Democratic Party

This article is great!   It really explains what happened and what the Dems need to do -- how they need to change-- to get back in the majority.  I wish they would pay attention.  Read it!


Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Even Top Liberal Pundits Still Don't Understand the Division in the Democratic Party

by Benjamin Studebaker

Today a friend of mine sent me a piece by Franklin Foer in The Atlantic. In the piece Foer gives some thought to what ails the Democratic Party, and he comes to a constructive conclusion–the party needs to reach out to the white working class. But the way Foer gets there troubles me. Too many liberal commentators don't quite understand the division within the Democratic Party, even the ones who are actively trying to understand that division. Let me show you what I mean.

Like many pundits these days, Foer sees the party as split between a wing which emphasises race and identity and a wing which emphasises economic issues:

Two of the party's largest concerns—race and class—reside in an increasing state of tension, a tension that will grow as the party turns toward the next presidential election.

He puts race and class up against each other, and he even says that this tension "will grow," as if it were necessarily the case that the interests of the white working class and people of color conflict. But this dichotomy is too reductive. The two factions in the party do not see themselves as only caring about race or class–they have more sophisticated ideological positions which produce a suite of policy views on both issues.

The fundamental divide in the Democratic Party is between neoliberalism–the movement which has dominated the party since at least the late 70s–and left egalitarianism, the movement which dominated the party from the 30s to the 70s and which has been revived in the last few years as a form of anti-establishment left wing politics.

In the late 70s, the country was wracked by stagflation, and there were two competing explanations for this fact:

  1. The Left Egalitarian Explanation: stagflation was primarily the product of the two oil shocks–the 73 OPEC embargo and the 79 Iranian revolution. It was a contingent condition and could be shrugged off if we relieved our dependence on foreign oil. If the economy didn't rely on oil, then rising oil prices would have less impact on inflation and the rate could come down without generating excess unemployment or making other fundamental changes to the economic system.
  2. The Neoliberal Explanation: stagflation was primarily the product of structural problems–the unions were too powerful, and the economy needed to be reformed to make labor markets more flexible, making work more precarious and most importantly limiting wage growth so as to bring down inflation. More wealth and income needed to go to investors, and then the gains would "trickle down".

Both the Democrats and the Republicans eventually embraced the neoliberal explanation. President Carter, who appeared to some like a champion of the left egalitarian view, appointed Paul Volcker to run the Federal Reserve. Volker immediately began raising interest rates to reduce the money supply, cutting inflation while at the same time leading to large-scale layoffs. The economic price we paid in 1980 for this policy helped Carter lose the election to Reagan, but Reagan also subscribed to the neoliberal explanation, and he intensified policies aimed at weakening labor. The 80s did not feature 70s-style oil shocks, and when Volcker and Reagan lowered the interest rate and raised spending in advance of the 1984 election, inflation did not return. Indeed by 1986 there was a global oil glut, with oil prices falling.

The effect of this was to solidify public confidence in neoliberalism, and the Democrats increasingly found they could not compete politically unless their candidates embraced it. So it became a firm tenet of the Democratic Party that left egalitarianism had to be repudiated, that economic growth was only possible if labor continued to weaken. The party's rhetoric doesn't always match this, but we've seen it again and again in the policy. Rising inequality has been produced by both Democratic and Republican administrations since the late 70s:

There are other ways to see this–inflation-adjusted wages are not much higher than in 1979:

And the "wage share" of economic output has fallen:

Nevertheless, for a while, median household income continued to rise, initially because women entered the workforce and later because of the subprime lending boom in the 00s:

As you can see, there hasn't been any lasting gain since the late 90s, and we are only just now catching up to where we were immediately before the crash in 2008. Neoliberalism had the public's confidence when it was continually producing increases in real median household income, but as those increases have become less reliable and more unstable, confidence in politicians who espouse neoliberalism has deteriorated, and this manifests, in both parties, as a reaction against those politicians who are seen as "status quo" or "establishment". Neoliberalism only works as long as the trickling down actually happens.

But for neoliberal politicians, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the distribution of wealth and income in the country–indeed, strengthening labor and the unions and heavily taxing the rich would violate their core belief that sustainable economic growth comes from flexible labor markets and trickle down. Many older pundits and commentators came of age politically in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s, and for them left egalitarianism sounds retrograde, because it contradicts what is, for them, the key lesson we learned in the 70s. You can see this in Clinton's reluctance to support the $15 minimum wage, in her reluctance to break up the big banks, in her support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in her opposition to the financial transaction tax, and so on down the line. Neoliberals in the Democratic Party generally only support leftist economic policies when it is politically necessary to do so. They rarely follow through when in office because they don't believe that distributive justice is a serious concern. For them, social justice is only about discrimination and status. The issue is not how many poor people there are or how many rich people there are, it is whether the cohort of poor people and the cohort of rich people look like the country as a whole, and whether the people in those cohorts who come from historically marginalised groups are treated with equal status and equal respect relative to the white men in those cohorts.

For neoliberal Democrats, justice looks something like this:

In the above chart, white men are the white bubbles, and the historically marginalised groups are the black bubbles. Roughly 1 in every 3 Americans is a white man. For neoliberal Democrats the problem is that the white men overly dominate the top end of the distribution. The answer, then, is to proportionalize the distribution of white space, and this means, in practice, moving some white men down the scale. In total, a little more than one full white bubble has moved down and a little more than one full black bubble has moved up. White men are likely to see that kind of politics as a threat to them, and at a time when everyone in the country is under economic stress and the economy feels like a zero sum game, it discourages them from supporting the Democrats. The Republican neoliberals think that it is every bubble's personal responsibility to do the very best it can to move to the right end of the distribution, and if it doesn't make it there then that's its own fault. So for them, the status quo is justice:

Justice for Neoliberals GOP

Since the 80s, the fight between the two parties has been primarily about these two distributions, and that's it. But the left egalitarians never completely disappeared. Some of them accepted that their preferred candidates couldn't win elections and opted for "lesser evil" voting, some gave up and stayed home, some continued to organize politically to defend the welfare programs, labor rights, regulations, and other policies put into place by folks like Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and even post-war Republicans like Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. They still believe it's possible to have strong economic growth with strong wage growth and with a fairer (though not necessarily strictly egalitarian) distribution, and in a political climate where neoliberalism is no longer trusted the way it once was, they have the opportunity to push something like this:

Here we have a proportionate distribution among the white and black bubbles, just like neoliberal Democrats have, but we have also eliminated the very richest and very poorest cohorts, instead opting to expand the middle class. There's still some level of inequality, but the society has markedly less stratification. One of the consequences of this is that we are not constantly moving the white men down–we are also moving some white men at the bottom of the distribution up. The only white men who are really targeted here are the white men in the wealthiest column. Notice that we also hit a small number of top-end people from historically marginalised groups–that second wealthiest bubble goes from all black to one-third white. In total, 1 white bubble has moved down, 1/3rd of a black bubble has moved down, but 2 black bubbles and 1 white bubble have moved up. The rich white men are worse off, but the poor white men are better off, and historically marginalized groups have made gains at the same time–indeed, they've made larger gains than they would have if we'd just eliminated discrimination, because eliminating the wealthiest cohort gives the state more wealth and income to redistribute.

So for the left egalitarians it's not class instead of race, it's both class and race together, while for the neoliberals in the Democratic Party it's race alone. Now, if the economy were booming and all people, even white men, were seeing their incomes increase, white men could get behind that, as they did in the 1990s. White men can support a party that increases their incomes in absolute terms, even if it increases the incomes of other groups at a faster rate. But because incomes are increasingly stagnant relative to the late 90s, the neoliberal Democrats appear to be attempting to expropriate white men as a bloc. When the pie doesn't grow, the only way to increase your income is by making relative gains at someone else's expense. At a time of weak economic growth, you need a redistributive scheme that has more winners and fewer losers. The way to get poor white men to support redistributing some of the rich white men's income to historically marginalized groups is to give the poor white men their share of the spoils.

There are two reasons neoliberal Democrats can't do that:

  1. They don't recognize that we have a distributive justice problem, so they can't expropriate the top bubble, limiting the amount of redistribution they can do in the first place.
  2. They don't recognize that we have a distributive justice problem, so they don't recognize poor whites as an oppressed group that is worthy of help.

The Democratic Party's problem isn't about race vs class. Everyone agrees that discrimination is unacceptable. The difference is that neoliberals think the economy can only grow well with a highly unequal distribution, and the left egalitarians think it grows better when the distribution is a bit fairer. As neoliberalism continues to fail to deliver results and as the 70s recede further into the mists of history, more people, especially more young people, will be inclined to reject it. If the Democrats don't offer an alternative, desperate and anxious people–especially white people–will continue to be pushed into the hands of Republican demagogues. The only way forward is left.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

ANS -- A Tesla Rival is Planning to Launch a $7,800 Electric Car in 2018

This is a very short article about a new, tiny, and inexpensive electric vehicle being developed in China.  

A Tesla Rival is Planning to Launch a $7,800 Electric Car in 2018

 CHJ Automotive
Chinese startup CHJ Automotive will be releasing its "ultra-compact" electric car in March of 2018. The model will run on changeable batteries so it will require little wait time to charge, and should run about $7,800.


CHJ Automotive, a Chinese startup and rival to Tesla, has become the latest entrant in the race to capture a piece of the electric vehicle (EV) market. CNBC reports, from Co-Founder Kevin Shen, that CHJ is planning to launch two vehicles which are now in development: a hybrid SUV and an ultra-compact car. The ultra-compact car, slated for a March 2018 release, is targeted for the Chinese market.
"In China, there are 340 million people (who) daily commute with e-scooters, but there is a strong demand for them to upgrade to something," Shen told CNBC. "But we cannot imagine all of them driving cars, so we want to give them something else, which is an ultra-compact car."
That diminutive size may seem odd in the U.S., but in urban areas all over the world, this kind of ultra-compact, electric vehicle is the ideal affordable solution to traffic, pollution, and parking problems.


CHJ has yet to release official images of the car, but did show preliminary designs of the ultra-compact vehicle to CNBC. The car's tiny size, at 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) long and 1 meter (3.3 feet) wide, makes it lighter and easier to power. It will run on two changeable batteries, which means that it can quickly stop for a battery swap and then keep going. It will come with Google's in-car operating system, Android Auto, and will cost between €7,000 ($7,824) and €8,000 ($8,911.04).
CHJ is targeting European markets as well, but for ride-sharing projects, not yet for consumers. CHJ just entered into a joint venture with Clem, a French car-sharing platform. Together the companies will trial a car-sharing service using the ultra-compact vehicles in Paris.
This kind of car is critical for China's goals under the Paris Accord — goals which the country sees as directly tied to its own public health concerns. Beijing is already moving to replace 70,000 taxis with electric cars, and the nation has relaxed its protectionist laws to encourage the use of EVs. The availability of an ultra-compact option that's both local and affordable, and charges without a wait, is going to do very well in China, and probably all over the world, to the benefit of our planet.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


This is a short article with a 17 minute TED Talk video.  It's about gay men and epigenetics.  I recommend it.  


Join us:


When James O'Keefe's 18-year-old son Jimmy came out as gay, James felt like he had failed him and regretted that Jimmy wouldn't have kids of his own. Though he now realizes that Jimmy might one day have kids, as a medical doctor O'Keefe still wondered about the genetic and evolutionary factors that made his son gay.

"Viewed in the light of evolution," O'Keefe said in a recent TED Talk (video below), "homosexuality seems to be a real self-defeating non-productive strategy. Gays have 80 percent fewer kids than heterosexuals. This is a trait that ought to go extinct in a few generations, yet down through recorded history in every culture and many animal species as well, homosexuality has been a small but distinct subgroup. If this were a genetic error, natural selection should have long ago culled this from the gene pool."

So what gives?

Most people use the "guncle theory" to explain the evolutionary benefit of homosexuality, the idea that, lacking kids of their own, gay uncles (guncles) contribute to their family's overall well-being by helping care for their siblings' offspring. O'Keefe more or less agrees with this, but takes it two steps further.

He points to two studies that suggest that if a mother gives birth to a high number of male offspring or experiences severe prenatal stress, the likelihood of her giving birth to a gay son increases. The underlying reason has something to do with an emerging science known as epigenetics.

Epigenetics basically states that similar genes can express themselves in different ways based on external circumstances. For example, epigenetic studies of ants have shown that if the colony is hungry, the queen will give birth to more worker ants, but if the colony is under attack, she'll give birth to more warrior ants. In both cases, ants' genetic makeup are exactly the same, the only difference is how they get expressed. Warrior ants will be bigger and more aggressive whereas worker ants will be smaller and better at finding food.

Thus, O'Keefe says, "If the [human]family is flush with plenty of kids and/or it's a stressful place in time, nature occasionally flips these epigenetic switches to turn on the gay genes. This alters brain development that changes sexual orientation."

"You probably have gay genes in your DNA," he told the audience, "but unless they were activated in your mother's womb, they remained coiled up and silent."

To him, homosexuality is nature's way of ensuring that the family won't have an unmanageable number of mouths to feed or a son who might fight with his brothers over female mates, two problems that can reduce a family's overall health and cohesion. Put another way, gay kids help reduce resource competition among family members.

gay, rainbow, people, genetics, population, 2 in 25, LGBT, lesbian, men, women, family

O'Keefe goes even further by saying that gay members positively contribute to a family's emotional health as well. As proof, he points to other studies that show lower levels of hostility and higher levels of emotional intelligence, compassion, and cooperation in gay men. He says that these 'specialized talents and usual qualities of personality' help increase a family's ability to relate to one another.

"An ability to love our family and bond with our group determines in many cases whether we survive or perish," O'Keefe says. "So it's survival of the fittest family, not the fittest individual."

And yet, O'Keefe ended his talk by pointing out the many countries around the world that punish homosexuality with death or imprisonment.

"In India," O'Keefe says, "the law states 14 years to life because homosexuality is 'against the order of nature'… except that it's not. Nature prescribes homosexuality at specific times and places. It endows these people with special traits to help the people around them flourish. What is against the order of nature is the ongoing persecution of the sexual minority. These are not confused or defective people that need to be cured or punished or ostracized. They need to be accepted for who they are and embraced. They make us better."