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Posts posted by bascule

  1. Thank you Padren. You do get it. The Republicans are simultaneously complaining about the deficit AND opposing Democratic legislation that would lower the deficit AND flat out refusing any compromise on the matter. I could've jumped straight to the Republican stereotype that they're shilling for the rich and oppose Obama's plan to make the Bush tax cuts permanent only for the lower and middle classes simply because they want to keep taxes extremely low for the rich as compared to the past half century. But I didn't do that. Instead I merely attacked Republicans because they are refusing to compromise.


    And Pangloss totally ignores all of the ridiculous things that are coming out of this guy's mouth and jumps on me for "making hay"...

  2. You're making hay out of standard political starting positions. We don't know where they'll end up. The President hasn't offered a compromise on this issue, he's offered an extension. That's not middle ground, it's just putting off another fight. That's his starting position, Cantor's is "make them permanent".


    Good lord, you're defending this guy? And not even compromising with me that his position is, shall we say, just a little bit misinformed and completely uncompromising? Meanwhile you chastise the Democrats for a failure to compromise when they have tried to compromise.


    I'm certainly feeling the purposelessness of posting here again, both here in the politics forum and in the climate science forum.

  3. I think it's indicative of -- the election result reflected the fact that people get Washington does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem




    deficit = spending - revenue


    This guy is a Congressman?


    Our country has a budget deficit problem. Spending and revenue both contribute. The national debt started going up again when Bush cut taxes and tax revenue fell. So yes' date=' our country does indeed have a revenue problem.


    I really want to see that we can come together and agree upon the notion that Washington doesn't need more revenues right now. And to sit here and say we're just going to go about half way, or we're going to send a signal that it's going to be uncertain for job-creators and investors to put capital to work, that's exactly what we don't need right now.


    He wants Democrats and Republicans to "come together and agree" on the Republican opinion that increasing taxes on the rich is bad. Great. And he won't accept a compromise like temporarily extending the tax cuts. Must be permanent!


    Good lord...

  4. But it does bring us to a great question for discussion: What should we cut?


    Defense is the low hanging fruit in my mind. I don't have any other answers but defense. Defense spending is an accounting black hole. We don't know where the money is going. True, there are human consequences to cutting defense spending, but there are human consequences to cutting any spending. Until you can tell me exactly what my defense dollars are being spent on, even if one of the line items is "SECRET PROJECT X", defense spending is an unaccountable black hole and for that I feel it does not deserve my money.

  5. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/07/eric-cantor-compromise-tax-cuts-obama_n_780029.html


    Yes I'm linking a Huffpost article. Please evaluate it based on substance. If you make an ad hominem argument against the Huffpost, please realize your argument is predicated on a logical fallacy. Thanks.


    So yes, this is one Republican, and equating his opinion to the party as a whole would be a composition fallacy, but based on my anecdotal experience with Republicans (yes, I'm admitting I'm using a logical fallacy here) it's pretty telling. This Republican doesn't want to compromise, and is making a general statement about his party that the rest of them don't want to compromise either. If Mohammed won't come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed, or rather, if the Republicans aren't willing to compromise with the Democrats (which is basically what he's stating), the Democrats MUST compromise with the Republicans to get anything done, and by compromise, I mean the Democrats MUST bend to Republican will, or the Republicans aren't going to go along with anything.


    This has pretty much been the case for the past 4 years. The Republicans are simply unwilling to compromise. The Democrats really want to compromise, because unlike the Republicans they aren't totally irrational and stupid. And yes, I'm calling the Republicans out for that. The Republicans are uncompromising crybabies who got creamed in the last election, and the only reason they're being elected now is because there are a bunch of ill-informed, irrational voters who simply want to vote out the party in power so long as things aren't going their way. There is honestly no reason for anyone who voted Democrat in the past to switch gears and vote Republican now except if you feel that constantly shifting gears between two parties is a good policy, which is in no way rational.


    Anyway, this speaks volumes to me, and conforms my previous assumptions. Even when Democrats do things that the Republicans should by their purported platforms agree with, they oppose it, until they can shit all over it and make it theirs and thus claim victory. The Republicans do not want what's best for America. The Republicans want what's best for Republicans, even if it's something they philosophically should agree with.


    Republicans are harmful to America. They can't compromise. They won't even vote for things they agree with. To bring up a recent event from the past which was totally overshadowed by a bunch of Republican grandstanding, Republicans voted against benefits for 9/11 first responders, because they disagreed with the way the Democrats created a bill. That would've been a great place for Republicans to compromise and give 9/11 first responders the benefits they reserve. Instead, they made a big hubbub about the bill in an attempt to mitigate the fact that Republicans were voting against the best interests of 9/11 first responders. That's DEPLORABLE.


    I don't know what else to conclude from this except that Republicans are so unwilling to compromise that they'd purposefully deny 9/11 first responders benefits. I'm not sure what term is exactly fitting for this, but I think "assholes" is a fairly fitting description


    But please, let's see the conservatives of the forum jump to the Republicans' defense like they always do. Perhaps it's a problem with conservatives in general that they're unwilling to compromise with liberals. The very fact I have to include so much pre-emptive defense of my thoughts and hand-holding through basic logical fallacies should serve as an indicator of the general treatment liberals receive from conservatives. We can't be evaluated on merit, because conservatives have so many canned responses to anything we say that the nuances are completely lost.

  6. addressing defense spending cannot resolve the budget deficit. It can help a little bit, but not as much as people will want to see. Not enough to matter.




    Cutting defense just isn't going to... cut it. Opponents just aren't going to get the cuts they want, and even if they do it's not going to make enough of a difference.


    To quote Depeche Mode, everything counts in large amounts, and that's what we're talking about with defense spending, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. Cutting defense spending, consolidating overlap between branches, and requiring the DoD account for its spending are all positive steps we can take to reduce overall government spending. Spending on defense is practically neck-and-neck with Social Security for the most expensive item in the federal budget.


    The DoD is perhaps the quintessential example of excessive, inefficient government bureaucracy which wastes money and should be more streamlined. As a systems architect I look at the DoD as suffering from unnecessary program overlaps to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.


    we probably cannot significantly reduce defense spending without causing potentially millions of layoffs, either directly or indirectly. There are something like 2 million people employed directly by the military


    So here you're admitting that government-created jobs such as the ones made by Obama's Stimulus do have an effect on the economy as a whole, right?

  7. To a degree it might. One of the problems I have is with the assumption that climate reacts only to external forcings.


    To my knowledge GCMs incorporate a lot of modeling of the relationships between air, water, and ice. That said I don't know offhand how good of a job they do at modeling large systemic changes where ocean currents are redirected, for example the Medieval Warm Period. It would not surprise me if those sort of things were model inputs in paleoclimactic reconstructions.


    Bascule, you failed to answer my question to you regarding the null hypothesis.


    The null hypothesis being that man has no effect on the climate system? Semi-skillful reconstruction of the historical climate necessarily includes anthropgenic forcings. Excluding them does not lead to a successful reconstruction.


    GCM's have been modified for the purpose of confirming what the designers presuppose about radiative forcing


    What you patronizingly refer to as the "designers presupposing" radiative forcings is typically known in science as a "hypothesis"


    just one aspect of the energy budget without incorporating other known causal channels. Then they pretend they are on to something significant all the while still unable to account for the overall energy budget.


    They have a model of it, albeit an inaccurate one. The radiative imbalances are model inputs, to be certain, and they don't compute to an "energy budget", but they can compare the model outputs to satellite data and see if they sync up, and see if the radiative imbalances as predicted by the model measure empirical satellite data. And for the most part, they do! I actually worked with two climate research groups, one measuring sea surface temperatures via satellite and another which was comparing the empirical SST measurements to their GCM outputs. And believe it or not, for the most part they match up!


    That you say I am half right and have things backwards are opinions you hold that cannot be demonstrated until the models are free of these errors. I can't think of a better way to describe a model that fails to reproduce actual behavior than to say it is invalid.


    No model is "free of errors". That's what makes it a model. Models aren't perfect. The standard model isn't perfect. It's a simplification of a complex underlying system based on the best available evidence. The standard model cannot explain what particles will do under relativistic conditions. Does that make it wrong, or not useful? No, it just means that relativity hasn't yet been incorporated into our picture of quantum mechanics. And please don't bandy around the term "red herring" when I make analogies to quantum mechanics. Both climate science and quantum mechanics work off of models which are incomplete pictures of the physical systems they are trying to model. Just because the picture is incomplete does not undermine the usefulness of the models these sciences have respectively created.


    Thus far, there has not been a funding source identified to allow a group of skeptics to construct a proper Global Circulation Model. Furthermore it is likely not possible since it is currently not possible to develop a proper energy budget.


    Excuses excuses. There are many people with a lot of money who would like to see real scientific evidence that the scientific perspective on climate change is wrong. The energy lobby has a vested interest in undermining the scientific consensus and the money to put forth towards true science which undermines the consensus viewpoint on climate change, much like the cigarette lobby had a lot of money to fund scientific research into how cigarettes don't cause lung cancer. However, in the case of climate change they haven't even managed to do that. As a complex nonlinear dynamical system, if you are able to reproduce the historical record based on temperature proxies, that pretty much tells you you're on to something.


    That said, I'm done with this thread. My time is valuable and I can't really spend it forum whoring and explaining climate science 101 to people over and over again. My suggestion is to truly research the issue, abandon your confirmation bias that climate scientists are wrong and truly dig into the scientific case for anthropogenically-forced climate change.

  8. Says Tea Party whack job Rand Paul:




    Wow, imagine that. Sensible things can come out of his mouth! The DoD remains the only federal department which is exempt from auditing. There's endless waste that can't be accounted for, massive overlap, and that's not to mention that our military budget is larger than that of every other country on earth combined.


    Will the GOP do it and actually cut spending in the single most obvious place we could massively do it? Judging from past history, probably not, even while whining that spending is too high. For whatever reason incomprehensibly massive military spending is exempt in the minds of Republicans.

  9. Well I guess you've answered my question, if you interpret that question as asking how voting Democrat 100% of the time will advance one of the two equally viable economic theories over the other one.


    "Two equally viable economic theories" is a false dichotomy. In fact offhand I can't even tell what two economic theories you're referring to. That said I want to speak specifically to Greenspan's monetarism.


    The financial crisis empirically proved Brooksley Born right and proved Greenspan wrong. Greenspan even admitted as much. Monetarism is predicated on the idea that corporations are completely rational and will always act in their own self-interest. The financial crisis proved that, like people, corporations can get too greedy, take too much risk, and may not even know how much risk they're taking. The Republicans don't seem to care and are happy with business as usual on Wall Street. The Democrats believe more regulation of Wall Street is needed to prevent another financial crisis.


    One of these parties learned from past mistakes. The other did not. That said, I am somewhat unhappy with the Democrats for ramming through healthcare reform before addressing increased Wall Street regulation, or rather, undoing detrimental deregulation. Entities like Citigroup should not be allowed to exist, and at the very least, they should not be allowed to trade in risky and hard-to-comprehend derivatives like CDOs.


    Okay. So how are you different from other Americans looking at their own candidates? Why are you making an informed decision to vote for a Republican over a Democrat, but they are being mislead by Fox News?


    I made an informed decision. There are people who make informed decision when voting predominantly for Republicans too. Those people are generally quite rich and selfish and are acting in their own self-interest. I believe the majority of people who vote Republican are uninformed and vote against their own self-interest while convincing themselves they're doing the opposite.

  10. Keith Olbermann jumped the shark when he failed to learn the lessons of the Rally to Restore Sanity. It's cool he got rid of the "Worst Person in the World" segment, and it was even cooler when he responded to previous Daily Show criticism of him with a "mea culpa", but by panning the Rally to Restore Sanity he's ignoring the fact he's part of the problem.


    Keith Olbermann claims if he stops shouting "the right" will only get louder. Jon Stewart claims "if we amplify everything, we hear nothing." I'm with Jon Stewart on this one.


    All that said, I'm against his suspension by MSNBC. However, we're talking about a guy who in the past refused to vote because he saw himself in the same light as an Edward R. Murrow. Donating money to a political party seems almost uncharacteristic of Olbermann's previous sentiments.

  11. And how does voting Democrat 100% of the time fix that?


    The Democrats are interested in passing Wall Street reform and the Republicans are not. The Democrats are actually concerned about preventing a financial crisis from happening again. The Republicans are not.


    Also as I noted before, I voted for a Republican candidate this election because I liked him more than his Democratic counterpart.

  12. I did. My comment was an "and", not an "or".


    Now ask yourself who's primarily responsible. I contend there are three individuals who are primarily responsible: Greenspan, Clinton, Bush

  13. The options were so specific that I didn't feel there was a particularly good one. I vote for "attempt to compromise with Republicans, who will refuse to compromise then turn around and blame the lack of compromise on the Democrats, resulting in a political logjam"

  14. ... Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid...


    Democrat Barney Frank, the soon-to-be-former head of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the Federal Reserve, Treasury, the SEC, Fannie and Freddie, and all financial services regulation. Frank headed that committee from 2007 to present.


    Democrat Chuck Rangel, the former head of the House Ways and Means Committee, arguably the second or third most powerful political position in the entire world, oversaw that committee from 2007 to early this year, and now awaits trial on 13 counts of violating federal laws and house regulations.


    Democrat Max Baucus, the head of the Senate Finance Committee, was in that position from 2001-2003 and again from 2007 to present. During his tenure he oversaw every piece of tax legislation, and every issue brought before the committee regarding revenues and expenditures, including the new health care law.


    I'm not saying Republicans are better. I'm saying this is who you expected the American people to uphold in power, the ones you can't understand why people are upset about. Even though the only tool they have is to throw people out of office.


    There's a meme going around Facebook right now that I think is really appropriate here. It says "Congratulations to Republicans on winning the right to be blamed for everything again!" IMO people do understand what's going on.


    Did you have any intention of addressing my post at all, or do you just want to blame the Democrats for the financial crisis? If so, you should blame the right one: Clinton

  15. Thinking that Democrats are more fiscally responsible is the same flaw, IMO. The debt climbed something like $5 trillion on Pelosi's four-year watch.


    The increase in debt under "Pelosi's watch" was largely due to two factors: expensive foreign wars started before she became speaker, and the financial crisis, which was caused by years of a "hands off" approach to Wall Street, for which there are several people to blame, most notably Greenspan, Bush, and Clinton. Given the Democrats couldn't even push through Wall Street reform after the financial crisis when they had a supermajority, to even insinuate that the debt is in some way due to the Democrats being too fiscal liberal in comparison to the Republicans is completely disingenuous. If there's a Democrat you want to blame, blame Clinton. The seeds of the financial crisis were sown years before Pelosi became speaker.


    That said, the deficit is moving in the right direction. That's progress.

  16. If a member of this forum were to say that the terms "moderate" and "liberal" were interchangeable, and that the only difference between them was the difference between "liberal" and "extremely liberal", I think there would be a mountain of outrage from the members and a rush to declare that person extremely conservative and pounce on his or her every opinion.


    I think the term "moderate" is meaningless without a "moderate liberal" or "moderate conservative" qualifier. At least in America, people who self identify as "moderates" (such as yourself) are generally moderate conservatives.

  17. All I want is for expenditures to match receipts, and for their to be a fair debate (as there has been) when an increase in expenditures is requested. You want a trillion dollar spending program? Fine with me -- just fund it without adding to the deficit, and get the people's elected representatives to fairly agree. That's it.


    Call me crazy, but I don't think it's too much to ask.


    No BS about how Poor Ol' Thelma, a working mother with three children and two part times jobs, is suffering. No BS about how poor Afghan women need an intervention. No BS about weapons of mass destruction. No BS about how a handful of violent middle eastern terrorists are so threatening that we have to upset our entire way of life from top to bottom. No BS from the left, no BS from the right.


    Either we can pay for it, or we cannot. That's it.


    And your problem with PAYGO is...? I seem to remember the Republicans getting rid of it and the Democrats bringing it back, and yet the conservative furor over Obama's spending has been huge whereas there was virtually no attention paid by conservatives to the massive spending increases that took place under Bush.

  18. Models do a poor job of establishing causal factors because the output is too heavily influenced by the biases and beliefs of the designers. There are better ways of identifying causation.


    Yes, clearly the standard model of particle physics is influenced by the biases and beliefs of its designers


    No, it is true because climate scientists have been unable to construct an accurate global energy balance


    What? GCMs are designed for the purpose of identifying radiative imbalances. That's like saying physicists are unable to construct a model of what particles do.


    Climate scientists are aware of long term ocean oscillations and yet they are not incorporated into the models at this time.


    You've got things backwards here, but you're half right. Things like the PDO aren't "incorporated" into the model, but rather, if a model is truly skillful a multi-decadal climate simulation should reproduce it. At the present time they don't, which yes, indicates an error in the model. That doesn't invalidate the model itself or undermine its usefulness.



    When I say "model", I'm talking about something similar to a GCM. There are many, many GCMs and they all give similar results. Where are the "skeptic" GCMs, or for that matter, any GCMs that give dissimilar results to other GCMs:



  19. Studies of historical proxies have established that the earth’s climate is not fixed. It has been both warmer and cooler in the recent past than the temperatures experienced during the period of past 200 years.


    Yes, the earth has had a varied climate, but in the totality of Earth's history humans have only been around for an infinitesimal amount of time. The types of climates that are hospitable to humans and can afford a population of over 6 billion humans access to adequate water for drinking and cultivating crops is extremely limited.


    There are numerous causes for climate variations.


    Yes, there are!




    (yes this graph is a bit dated, I only throw it out there in response to strawman claims that modern climate science purports one radiative forcing)


    Changes in GHG concentrations are some of perhaps hundreds of influencers to climate changes.


    Not all climate forcing are equal. All significant radiative forcings need to be studied and accounted for in a proper model of the climate system. That's exactly what climate scientists are doing.


    Climate science is unable to accurately predict the influence human sourced GHG may have on future climate.


    Yes, that's true, but largely because the amount of AGGs humans will emit into the atmosphere in the future is hard to predict. Perhaps humanity will create practical fusion reactors which completely mitigate the need for any other power source. Perhaps future physics will give us new ways of producing energy we can't even conceive of now. Models now use present trends of carbon consumption to extrapolate the future. Of course this is inaccurate, because no model can account for human innovation that might drastically reduce the emission of AGGs in the future.


    Models that fail to incorporate natural factors which historically drove past climate variation cannot be expected to accurately predict future climate variations.


    Fortunately modern GCMs incorporate as many factors as known to modern climate science as are deemed significant enough to incorporate into the model. They work very well:




    "Climate skeptics" don't have any models or any actual alternative theories, they just try to poke holes at modern climate science

  20. I think there is fundamental ignorance about the ideology of fiscal conservatism


    No, especially not on these forums. True fiscal conservatism is politically impossible in America. The Democrats like to spend. The Republicans like to spend while chastising the Democrats for spending. The only people who would actually cut spending are either completely unelectable, unable to convince the rest of the government to do it, or were they actually able to bring it about would spell political disaster.


    I'm all for a sundown date on Social Security. I'll happily pay into it, knowing I'll never get money, just to actually have a timetable for winding down the program. I'd like to see more comprehensive healthcare reform in this country, which would be a great way to save money that would've otherwise been wasted in programs like Medicare.


    Talking about fiscal conservatism in America is just waxing philosophical. While it'd be great, it isn't going to happen, certainly not now when our economy is trying to recover from one of the worst recessions/depressions in the past 50 years. Obama has been working hard on cutting spending where he can, although (fiscal) conservatives don't seem to care, or realize that the Republicans aren't really going to do anything different.

  21. What do you all think?


    That the words "moderate" and "conservative" are interchangeable in US politics. If there's any difference between them, it's "conservative" and "extremely conservative"

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