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  • On 22 Feb 2014 in The end of the gold bubble, msilenus said:

    komputodo says

    When you find a stable store of value, could you please let us know.

    I have no response to this. I just think it reads well after the chart showing gold tanking a ~33% bath for anyone who bought it between one and three years ago.

  • On 3 Nov 2013 in Do you know how the economy works?, msilenus said:

    Fair enough.

  • On 3 Nov 2013 in Do you know how the economy works?, msilenus said:

    marcus says

    msilenus says

    You've said my worldview is completely wrong

    Iwog is a pretty smart guy. MAybe he confused you with vaticanus or some other troll. He doesn't ignore many idiots, so I'm not surprised if he can't keep track of who people are.

    I'm not expecting him to remember who I am. I'm expecting to have some inkling of what he's responding to in this thread.

    I agree that he's not a fool. He sure as hell is acting one right now.

  • On 3 Nov 2013 in Do you know how the economy works?, msilenus said:

    iwog says

    msilenus says

    Link to proof. Second time I'm asking.

    Proof of what?

    Playing dumb? Here, I'll quote the post again:

    msilenus says

    iwog says

    You're an Austrian. You believe markets are self-regulating. You believe workers earn enough to live on because there is some inherent mechanism for them to get paid AND for there to be enough jobs so the majority don't starve to death without government oversight.

    Link to proof. Second time I'm asking.

    I don't know how much clearer I could have made that, but since you're acting confused, I'll try: you said I'm an Austrian. You've said I worship billionaires. You've said my worldview is completely wrong. Keep explaining my worldview to me, genius. Just as soon as you provide a link showing that you have the first fucking clue what it is. Most of what you've written to me is blathering idiocy at this point.

    Third ask: provide a link, or you're full of shit. You can't, you won't. You'll play dumb, more. You'll dodge, more. You won't face how absurd you're acting; you won't man up and apologize.

    What a piece of work.

  • On 3 Nov 2013 in Do you know how the economy works?, msilenus said:

    iwog says

    You're an Austrian. You believe markets are self-regulating. You believe workers earn enough to live on because there is some inherent mechanism for them to get paid AND for there to be enough jobs so the majority don't starve to death without government oversight.

    Link to proof. Second time I'm asking.

    You won't. You can't.

  • On 3 Nov 2013 in Do you know how the economy works?, msilenus said:

    iwog says

    msilenus says

    I think you are (and he is) right on the first point. My mistake. I'm pretty sure I can't be showing that labor participation ...

    None of this has anything to do with the point of the thread. ...
    How can you explain this when it runs contrary to every last word you've written and every last idea you believe in?????

    See the first sentence in the bit you quoted again, for starters.

    Since you want to make this thread about what I believe in (five question marks?), here goes: I think we need much higher marginal tax rates, and that all types of income should be taxed equally. That increased taxation, which would fall mostly on the rich, should be funneled into infrastructure and programs for increasing opportunity for all. In particular: vocational training and higher education should be footed almost entirely by the taxpayer, up to some reasonable limits. I think we need a higher minimum wage. Obamacare should have been single-payer, but I'm also reasonably happy with the basic structure of what we got. Taken together, I think these sensible policies should serve to retard or reverse the trend you're pointing out, and which I have at no point disagreed with the reality of.

    Since you think that what you've been saying here "runs contrary to everything I believe in," perhaps you can explain to me how it runs contrary to all that? And if you think I've written a single word contrary to any of this: link it, asshole.

  • On 3 Nov 2013 in Do you know how the economy works?, msilenus said:

    ThreeBays says

    msilenus says

    When you posted that graph, you were either honestly mistaken in thinking it was population-adjusted, or being a complete fool. Your graph goes up 5x since 1950. Population-adjusted, productivity was closer to 2x. Ergo, something like 75% of the increase in the graph you posted above was due to raw population increase.

    Incorrect conclusion.

    Iwog's graph shows Real Output / Total Hours Worked. Therefore it correctly shows that productivity per hour worked has increased 5x. It is not related to population increase at all.

    I think you are (and he is) right.

  • On 3 Nov 2013 in Do you know how the economy works?, msilenus said:

    iwog says

    Where did I state my graph was per capita? Link it.

    iwog says

    Please explain how dividing real output of all people in the United States by the number of people in the United States is making some kind of point. I'll give you a hint: It's not per capita output. You've simply divided by the denominator twice.

    Example: 10 bucks /2 people = 5 units (or real output per hour per population)

    But you did it again so 5 units /2 people = 2.5 units (which means absolutely nothing)

    If you think I'm dividing by the denominator twice, ie: that I made the graph per capita per capita, then you do and did think the original graph was per capita. (Or "per population" as you put in the bolded portion above.)

  • On 2 Nov 2013 in Do you know how the economy works?, msilenus said:

    iwog says

    Where did I state my graph was per capita? Link it

    Chill out, quacker. Where did I say you said that? I said you believed that the graph was population-adjusted. Do you deny that you believed that? That would be much worse, but I wouldn't believe it for a second.

    When you posted that graph, you were either honestly mistaken in thinking it was population-adjusted, or being a complete fool. Your graph goes up 5x since 1950. Population-adjusted, productivity was closer to 2x. Ergo, something like 75% of the increase in the graph you posted above was due to raw population increase.

    Now, go back and read your original post. Do you think posting a graph dominated by population growth supports even one of your enumerated theses? The only way most of those points make any sense is if you thought the graph was already inflation-adjusted. Especially the last.

    I know you're not a fucking fool, which is exactly why I said that you were mistaken. Don't be so snippy about it. Nothing wrong with being slightly off-base from time-to-time, especially when improving the data continues to support your point.

  • On 2 Nov 2013 in Do you know how the economy works?, msilenus said:

    iWog, I think your belief that the graph is per-capita is mistaken.

    Adjusting for population still tells a similar story:
    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=nZL

  • On 21 May 2013 in Selecting a good investment advisor, msilenus said:

    This is everything you need to know about investing for yourself. At least as far as stocks and bonds are concerned. It's short. I read it in a few hours.

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/investment-answer-daniel-c-goldie/1100384406?ean=9781455503292&itm=1&usri=9781455503292

  • On 1 May 2013 in Why Occupy Wall Street Failed, msilenus said:

    OWS did not fail. Liberals think that we live in some magical fairy land of instant radical political gratification. Political reality shifts so slowly in this country that most liberals cannot even perceive what actual victory feels like. In some ways OWS was more successful than the TEA movement.

    OWS was successful in precipitating a shift in popular perspective. Prior to OWS, all economic discourse centered around GDP growth. Today, disparity is routinely also discussed. OWS did nothing less than open up a new dimension in how we perceive the economy. The winning Presidential candidate in 2012 made wealth disparity ("strengthening the middle class") a major issue of his campaign. Creating a notion that wealth disparity is a thing that government should be worried about is a huge ideological coup for a country like this.

    Furthermore, OWS did nothing more than that. That is a virtue. Contrast that with TEAism, which attempts to coopt and extort the GOP into adopting its agenda by running radicals in primary elections. Without TEAism, there is simply no way the Democrats could possibly have held the Senate for the last four years. Karl Rove just founded an organization to combat the threat TEA poses to the GOP's Senate aspirations through open and organized infighting. Perhaps even more significantly: with real power has come real scrutiny on their batshit extremist ideology. If Mitt Romney hadn't been forced to cover himself in that stinking taint during the Republican primary, he might be President today.

    The wheels of politics turn slowly, but wealth disparity is a serious issue in national politics today, and OWS did nothing to sabotage its chances of leading to real policy changes. The only sense in which the movement was a failure is a simple artifact of the fact that liberals don't have the good sense to know when they're winning. Or, at least, not yet losing. See also: pretty much all liberal critiques of Barack Obama's first term.

  • On 28 Jan 2013 in How to Debate Paul Krugman "Ask Questions Like a Child", msilenus said:

    curious2 says

    Professor Krugman

    It took me an embarassingly long time to realize that this is "Professor" being employed as a pejorative.

  • On 28 Jan 2013 in Palin's Political Obituary, msilenus said:

    leo707 says

    In two years Palin will be the junior Senator from Alaska.

    Maybe further down the line, but I don't think this will happen in two years time.

    In 2008, Mark Begich (D) beat Ted Stevens (R) by a fairly narrow margin in Alaska. Narrow considering that Begich was riding Obama's coat tails, and Stevens was literally under indictment for corruption. Stevens was later cleared, but he not going to run next year. He is dead. If Pallin wants to have a chance of challenging a Democrat for Senate ever again, she would have to bet on Begich winning next year, and then wait six more. That is not be a good bet, and that is a long wait.

    If Palin were going to run, she would have to quit her day job right about now. She cannot lay the groundwork for a state-level campain in Alaska from the lower 48. It is simply too far to commute back and forth.

    She is running. She is going to win. You can count on it.

  • On 28 Jan 2013 in Palin's Political Obituary, msilenus said:

    In two years Palin will be the junior Senator from Alaska.

  • On 12 Jan 2013 in Profile of a Republican gun lunatic, msilenus said:

    David Losh says

    I agree, but he also cherry picked his quotes from the era.

    There are many quotes of citizens presenting military weapons for inspection. That wasn't the focus that he had.

    He also never addressed side arms.

    So I don't see in his opinion where he is banning guns, or taking guns away, he simply set parameters for having the guns.

    Being the author of a majority opinion in a supreme court case means you can cherry-pick all you want. The only checks and balances on your behavior are your fellow justices, and the right of the executive to appoint successors after a quorum of your co-signers die of old age. Cherry picking or no, this is what the second amendment means until the grim reaper weighs in.

    You're right that he's not taking away guns. He's actually overturning a law because it took away a particular kind of gun that he felt fell under the amendment. As CDon noted, a big part of what he's doing is saying where that protection ends. That means where on the weapon spectrum the government can start instituting bans, and what the government can do to regulate even protected weapons. He's obviously not legislating an AWB from the bench. But he's carving out enough room for Congress to write a new one, or to enact any number of other laws.

  • On 11 Jan 2013 in Profile of a Republican gun lunatic, msilenus said:

    ... and what Scalia is saying is that the militia is just folks, with whatever weapons they would keep around for hunting or defense. One implication of his reading is that there is not any special right for the militia to have access to a wider selection of weaponry than everyone else. In part, because it's hard to separate his notion of "militia" from any reasonable definition of "everyone else," absent a crisis.

    It really is an interesting point of view.

  • On 10 Jan 2013 in Profile of a Republican gun lunatic, msilenus said:

    Congratulations. You've removed enough context to make it appear to say the opposite of what it says.

  • On 10 Jan 2013 in Profile of a Republican gun lunatic, msilenus said:

    Well, shit.

    I'm sorry that the opinion is long, but when Antonin fucking Scalia disagrees with you about what the word "militia" meant to the framers, and what that implies about the meaning of the right, it's sure as hell relevant to the debate. That is, again: (because even the portion I quoted was long and you might not have read to the end)

    But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as
    effective is militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large.
    Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right. [ie: in a more expansive way that would allow "unusual weapons", which he had just said could be disallowed in concurrence with Miller]

    This shit matters. It's not talking about the plaintiff or the defendant --this is raw constitutional interpretation. Scalia is laying down the core principles he applies to second amendment issues, and it turns out that the pro-gun wing has a view of the word "militia" and the law that renders the prior completely obsolete in the context of the latter.

    It's doubly-relevant because Scalia's side won, and he is speaking for the victors.

  • On 10 Jan 2013 in Profile of a Republican gun lunatic, msilenus said:

    David Losh says

    Boy, do you pick the wrong opinion to run with, "today’s dissenting Justices believe that it protects only the right to possess and carry a firearm in connection with militia service."

    The point is that Heller implies a realm of consensus exists between the top legal minds of the right and left on what is permissible for the government, and that consensus lies far outside the fantasist constitutional interpretation that gun advocates advance. Obviously the dissenters say the government can go further, but pointing that out fails to utterly discredit the pro-gun interpretation of the second amendment.

    Per Antonin Scalia:

    The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast
    doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.
    We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.”...
    It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as
    effective is militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.

    So why did they strike down the hand gun ban?

    As we have said, the law totally bans handgun possession in the home. It also requires that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock at all times, rendering it inoperable. As the quotations earlier in this opinion demonstrate, the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right. The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of “arms” that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose.

    This is what constitutes a pro-gun interpretation of the second amendment in the Supreme Court. When gun nuts go prophesying the doom of any gun control legislation on second amendment grounds, they inevitably chase it with a reading of the second amendment that is far to the right of Antonin Scalia's. Such readings are the silliest pro-gun fantasies you'll find outside a screening of Red Dawn. There is nothing in the public dialogue around post-Sandy-Hook gun control that would fall outside of what Scalia explicitly labels constitutionally permissible.

  • On 10 Jan 2013 in Profile of a Republican gun lunatic, msilenus said:

    Anyone who thinks that the second amendment protects assault rifles needs to go out and read Scalia's opinion in Heller to find out where the pro-gun wing of the Supreme Court thinks the constitutional line is drawn.

    My only ask in return for this advice is that they do this with small vials strapped to their cheeks. I intend to open up an online business selling the tears of gun nuts to gun conrol advocates. I'll cut you in for a taste, of course.

    Scalia traces the underpinnings of the Second Amendment to a natural right of self defense, and explicitly rejects the interpretation that it guarantees the militia access to weapons that could serve to challenge the military of the state. He says the government has unfettered power to regulate "unusual" weapons, and explicitly names M16 rifles --the military designation for the AR 15-- in his list of examples of what constitutes "unusual," alongside bombers and tanks.

    It's also an interesting account of the history behind the Second Amendment in its own right.

  • On 9 Jan 2013 in Profile of a Republican gun lunatic, msilenus said:

    GraooGra says

    This is not a matter of free speech to me, this is the matter of the etiquette and sensitivity.

    You invite someone to your house, you try to be a nice host and he starts complaining about your uncomfortable sofa and fatty food you give him. What would you do with such a guest? I wouldn't tolerate that for sure.

    This reads like something that could come out of the Kremlin today.

  • On 9 Jan 2013 in Profile of a Republican gun lunatic, msilenus said:

    Bellingham Bill says

    $7000 per household. If you make $50k/yr, you've got to work 7 weeks to pay that expense alone.

    The ancient Egyptians got a better deal from their government, one month a year on the pyramids, tops.

    Under a flat tax, sure. But even families very near the median pay no income tax right now, and payroll taxes are earmarked for purposes other than funding the military.

    Our tax code is progressive enough that most of what our government does simply is not shouldered by median income families. That's not a complaint, mind you: as long as income disparity is increasing, and the bottom quintiles aren't getting any benefit from expansions in the economy, that is As It Should Be. But it renders your populist appeal flat wrong. The military is expensive, but the people who pay for it can afford to do so.

    Bellingham Bill says

    why am *I* paying for *their* benefits?

    Because you benefit. Global trade. Remember what the Japanese Tsunami did to the American manufacturing supply chain? Imagine what happens if South Korea disappears from the map. That is a very real possibility.

    And the little bonuses from advanced military R&D are nice, too. Do you like GPS? Communications satellites? I know you like the Internet. A hell of a lot the modern world is based on fundamental technologies that are developed at great expense for the purpose of fighting wars. It is no accident that the United States benefits disproportionately from those technologies.

  • On 9 Jan 2013 in Profile of a Republican gun lunatic, msilenus said:

    I do not believe FRED has a data series for size of the U.S. carrier fleet, but I assure you that you will not find it doubling from 2000-present.

    Overall defense spending is indeed very high right now, but it's hardly at an unprecedented --let alone unsustainable-- fraction of the U.S. economy. More importantly: defense spending is going to drop substantially as we draw down in Afghanistan, and make additional cuts. If those cuts impact the carrier fleet size at all, they will bring us down from eleven to ten.

    Finally, there is some real economic value in the security those carriers (and, more generally, our globally unique force projection capability) afford our oversea allies, and the opportunities they deny our adversaries. China cannot invade Taiwan. North Korea cannot invade the South. Neither can seriously threaten Japan. Iran cannot close the Straights of Hormuz. Nicaragua cannot invade Costa Rica. Geopolitical stability is valuable, we benefit immensely from it, and just because no one else is willing to step up to the plate doesn't mean it's in even our most mercenary best interests to shrink from providing it.

    Edit: I attempted to embed an image, but it's not rendering. You can find the graph about two-thirds the page below. It's the second one titled "U.S. National Defense Spending as % of GDP," the one going out to 2021:
    http://www.cfr.org/geoeconomics/trends-us-military-spending/p28855

  • On 9 Jan 2013 in Profile of a Republican gun lunatic, msilenus said:

    iwog says

    I don't think this has any basis in fact. While the world does exist in a type of Pax Americana, the premise that Great Britian couldn't defend itself is absurd. They could easily hold off any potential enemy with a single aircraft carrier.

    The UK does not have any aircraft carriers in the sense that we think of them. The closest is the HMS Illustrious, but with the Harrier retired, it is now effectively a helicopter carrier. The Illustrious is also diesel-powered, and is only about 1/5th the size of what we Americans are used to calling aircraft carriers. (The closest thing the U.S. has to a helicopter carrier are our "amphibious assault ships." They're about twice the size of the Illustrious, carry more helicopters, and also provide transport for about two thousand marines. The UKs "carriers" pale in comparison not only to our marquee supercarriers, but to our much smaller and less-known closest-equivalents.)

    As a rule: just because a country has what they style an "aircraft carrier" do not attribute to that anything we Americans come to associate with the term. When we say "carrier" what we really mean is "supercarrier." Those are all we build. We're the only nation on Earth building them.

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