Log in:  

Register

U.S. Politics

Grab a short black and come join in the non-cycling discussion. Favourite books, movies, holiday destinations, other sports - chat about it all in the cafe.

Moderators: Eshnar, Irondan, King Boonen, Red Rick, Pricey_sky

Re: Re:

17 May 2018 18:11

Scott SoCal wrote:
GraftPunk wrote:I'm pretty sure the violent crimes of immigrants (legal and non) against citizens is far less than citizen on citizen violent crime (I'll check stats tonight after work, and report back with the sauce). Trump is just shilling to his ignorant, racist base as usual.




This is a walking/chewing gum at the same time issue. Any crime committed by somebody here illegally is addressable first by immigration policy. If illegal entry isn't permitted then there is no crime by illegals. Conversely your argument could be to simply open the borders to reduce crime.


That's a bit of a red herring, and in no way have I ever supported open borders. The point I'm driving at is that US citizens cause quite a bit more trouble than immigrants from down south --- so why isn't trump cleaning up his own house in terms of the "animals" who are citizens with the same fervor that he goes after non-natives? The answer isn't difficult to see. He is a nativist, alt-right nationalist, isolationist bigot. He's not overly educated or even remotely empathetic to others, and sadly that's the base he attracts.
The poster formerly known as yespatterns.
User avatar GraftPunk
Member
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 21 Feb 2017 21:15
Location: High Desert Steppe

Re: Re:

17 May 2018 18:14

Scott SoCal wrote:
aphronesis wrote:I would, but that’s arrogant and I try not to be except when people act like playground thugs.

The (a) difference between you and I is that I try to approach most people as if they know everything I do and more. Not as if they’re stupid and don’t know, say civics or economics as I do. Sometimes I’m disappointed. Some people want to wallow in their bitterness and cynicism or need to be told what to do and/or start lashing out personally when they can’t make sense of something according to their cliches. Some people run with it and that’s exciting to watch.


It’s cool. I can handle it either way.


Completely obvious from your posts.

It’s cool. I can handle it either way.


Clearly.


As we discussed sometime ago. People make a choice to be stupid. In the present, it’s become a political stance. No reason to accomodate it. One can also take the philosophical position of not talking down. Oblique and heuristic are not the same as condescending.
aphronesis
Veteran
 
Posts: 6,631
Joined: 30 Jul 2011 16:47
Location: Bed-Stuy

17 May 2018 18:25

As a side-note: Heuristics demands motivation, not something trump promotes in terms of knowledge-gathering for the masses.
The poster formerly known as yespatterns.
User avatar GraftPunk
Member
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 21 Feb 2017 21:15
Location: High Desert Steppe

Re: Re:

17 May 2018 18:29

GraftPunk wrote:
Scott SoCal wrote:
GraftPunk wrote:I'm pretty sure the violent crimes of immigrants (legal and non) against citizens is far less than citizen on citizen violent crime (I'll check stats tonight after work, and report back with the sauce). Trump is just shilling to his ignorant, racist base as usual.




This is a walking/chewing gum at the same time issue. Any crime committed by somebody here illegally is addressable first by immigration policy. If illegal entry isn't permitted then there is no crime by illegals. Conversely your argument could be to simply open the borders to reduce crime.


That's a bit of a red herring, and in no way have I ever supported open borders. The point I'm driving at is that US citizens cause quite a bit more trouble than immigrants from down south --- so why isn't trump cleaning up his own house in terms of the "animals" who are citizens with the same fervor that he goes after non-natives? The answer isn't difficult to see. He is a nativist, alt-right nationalist, isolationist bigot. He's not overly educated or even remotely empathetic to others, and sadly that's the base he attracts.


Who says he's not... AND they are separate issues. Not really sure why any prez would show empathy to MS 13, which is what was being discussed.

Sadly you are conflating issues then attacking him for your mistake.

Citizens have a right to be here. That is a very big difference.

DOJ Tells Prosecutors to Crack Down on Firearm-Buying Crimes, Calls for Better Enforcing Other Gun Laws

http://ktla.com/2018/03/12/doj-tells-prosecutors-to-crack-down-on-firearm-buying-crimes-calls-for-better-enforcing-other-gun-laws/

Trump administration to crack down on securities, tax fraud

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-justice-fraud/trump-administration-to-crack-down-on-securities-tax-fraud-idUSKCN1GE2L3

Jeff Sessions;

In 2017, we brought cases against more violent criminals than in any year in decades. We charged the most federal firearm prosecutions in a decade. We convicted nearly 500 human traffickers and 1,200 gang members, and helped our international allies arrest about 4,000 MS-13 members. We also arrested and charged hundreds of people suspected with contributing to the ongoing opioid crisis.

Morale is up among our law enforcement community. Any loss of life is one too many, but it is encouraging that the number of officers killed in the line of duty declined for the first time since 2013, reaching its second lowest level in more than half a century. And we are empowering and supporting our critically important state, local and tribal law enforcement partners as we work together to protect communities from crime.

In the first six months of last year, the increase in the murder rate slowed and violent crime actually went down. Publicly available data for the rest of the year suggest further progress. For the first time in the past few years, the American people can have hope for a safer future.

Our strategy at this department of concentrating on the most violent criminals, taking down violent gang networks, prioritizing gun prosecutions, and supporting our state, local and tribal law enforcement partners has proven to work.

Of course, our work is not done. Crime is still far too high — especially in the most vulnerable neighborhoods.


https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/01/23/trump-promised-end-american-carnage-has-come-true-jeff-sessions-column/1057630001/

Trump issues new executive orders on violent crime

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2017/02/09/president-trump-signs-executive-orders-crack-down-violent-crime/5LKriYDWuCzwlP6CzPWBRK/story.html
Instigating profanity laced tirades since 2009
User avatar Scott SoCal
Veteran
 
Posts: 11,640
Joined: 08 Nov 2012 16:47
Location: Southern California

17 May 2018 18:52

Still missing the point I think. He ran his campaign on american's insecurities about immigrants, and has consistently painted them with the same broad (negative) brush since elected. His admin platform is basically a combination of bullying, hyperbole, and fear-mongering. His "poorly educated" base laps it up, yet when he rants about criminals it's focused on immigration, which is also lapped up.
The poster formerly known as yespatterns.
User avatar GraftPunk
Member
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 21 Feb 2017 21:15
Location: High Desert Steppe

Re: Re:

17 May 2018 18:59

aphronesis wrote:
Scott SoCal wrote:
aphronesis wrote:I would, but that’s arrogant and I try not to be except when people act like playground thugs.

The (a) difference between you and I is that I try to approach most people as if they know everything I do and more. Not as if they’re stupid and don’t know, say civics or economics as I do. Sometimes I’m disappointed. Some people want to wallow in their bitterness and cynicism or need to be told what to do and/or start lashing out personally when they can’t make sense of something according to their cliches. Some people run with it and that’s exciting to watch.


It’s cool. I can handle it either way.


Completely obvious from your posts.

It’s cool. I can handle it either way.


Clearly.


As we discussed sometime ago. People make a choice to be stupid. In the present, it’s become a political stance. No reason to accomodate it. One can also take the philosophical position of not talking down. Oblique and heuristic are not the same as condescending.


People make a choice to be stupid. In the present, it’s become a political stance.


Yep. Seattle's head tax is a great example.

One can also take the philosophical position of not talking down.



Uh, yeah.
Instigating profanity laced tirades since 2009
User avatar Scott SoCal
Veteran
 
Posts: 11,640
Joined: 08 Nov 2012 16:47
Location: Southern California

17 May 2018 19:09

I do wonder how many of the alleged MS-13 people arrested were actually MS-13. It is not out of character for 'law and order' types to label people as gang members without proof.

Mark Joseph Stern
‏@mjs_DC
ICE agents tried to extract a false confession from Ramirez, demanding that he "admit" he was in a gang. When he refused, ICE pointed to his tattoo, which said "La Paz—BCS," his birthplace in Baja California Sur. That, ICE said, proves you're “definitely a gang member.”
A judge tore into ICE for lying, ordering the government to restore Ramirez's DACA status and barring it from claiming that he was "gang-affiliated." He slammed ICE's case as

•“completely contradictory"
•based on "no evidence"
•"most troubling"
•"arbitrary and capricious"


https://twitter.com/mjs_DC/status/997113187282677760
Donald Trump: “If you go back to the Civil War, it was the Republicans who did the thing.”
djpbaltimore
Senior Member
 
Posts: 3,279
Joined: 09 Jun 2014 13:41
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re:

17 May 2018 19:45

GraftPunk wrote:Still missing the point I think. He ran his campaign on american's insecurities about immigrants, and has consistently painted them with the same broad (negative) brush since elected. His admin platform is basically a combination of bullying, hyperbole, and fear-mongering. His "poorly educated" base laps it up, yet when he rants about criminals it's focused on immigration, which is also lapped up.


He ran his campaign on american's insecurities about immigrants, and has consistently painted them with the same broad (negative) brush since elected.


Nope. His take on immigration is to vet who's coming and secure the border. It's not even radical. The difference, of course, is he's going to keep his promise. That's why both sides are pushing back.

Beyond that there were more components to his campaign than immigration.

His "poorly educated" base laps it up


I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this. The biggest beneficiaries of his immigration policy has been Blacks and Hispanics (see record low unemployment).
Last edited by Scott SoCal on 17 May 2018 21:39, edited 1 time in total.
Instigating profanity laced tirades since 2009
User avatar Scott SoCal
Veteran
 
Posts: 11,640
Joined: 08 Nov 2012 16:47
Location: Southern California

Re:

17 May 2018 19:46

djpbaltimore wrote:I do wonder how many of the alleged MS-13 people arrested were actually MS-13. It is not out of character for 'law and order' types to label people as gang members without proof.

Mark Joseph Stern
‏@mjs_DC
ICE agents tried to extract a false confession from Ramirez, demanding that he "admit" he was in a gang. When he refused, ICE pointed to his tattoo, which said "La Paz—BCS," his birthplace in Baja California Sur. That, ICE said, proves you're “definitely a gang member.”
A judge tore into ICE for lying, ordering the government to restore Ramirez's DACA status and barring it from claiming that he was "gang-affiliated." He slammed ICE's case as

•“completely contradictory"
•based on "no evidence"
•"most troubling"
•"arbitrary and capricious"


https://twitter.com/mjs_DC/status/997113187282677760


Bad cops need to be dealt with. That said I doubt those kids in NY hacked themselves to death.
Instigating profanity laced tirades since 2009
User avatar Scott SoCal
Veteran
 
Posts: 11,640
Joined: 08 Nov 2012 16:47
Location: Southern California

17 May 2018 20:02

@SSC - when I said "poorly educated" it was trump's actual words in terms of loving them. Also, he recently he has expressed interest in shutting down the country until he gets his imaginary wall.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/385364-trump-threatens-to-close-down-the-country-over-funding-for-border

http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-brexit-austria-french-presidential-election-national-front-525281
The poster formerly known as yespatterns.
User avatar GraftPunk
Member
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 21 Feb 2017 21:15
Location: High Desert Steppe

17 May 2018 20:09

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Gina Haspel as CIA director, making her the first woman to lead the spy agency despite the controversy surrounding her role in the waterboarding program.

The Senate vote of 54-45 in favor of Haspel came mostly, but not entirely, along party lines. She needed support from several Democratic senators to win confirmation.


More winning.

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/17/612030652/senate-confirms-gina-haspel-as-cia-director
Instigating profanity laced tirades since 2009
User avatar Scott SoCal
Veteran
 
Posts: 11,640
Joined: 08 Nov 2012 16:47
Location: Southern California

Re: Re:

17 May 2018 20:26

GraftPunk wrote:That's a bit of a red herring, and in no way have I ever supported open borders. The point I'm driving at is that US citizens cause quite a bit more trouble than immigrants from down south --- so why isn't trump cleaning up his own house in terms of the "animals" who are citizens with the same fervor that he goes after non-natives? The answer isn't difficult to see. He is a nativist, alt-right nationalist, isolationist bigot. He's not overly educated or even remotely empathetic to others, and sadly that's the base he attracts.
It is difficult to do so when they are often singing off the same hymn sheets. Especially relevant in light of the recent allegations that the LV shooter ranted against 'FEMA camps' and gun confiscation shortly before he went on his killing spree. Trump thought he was... <squints at notes>.... 'smart'.
Donald Trump: “If you go back to the Civil War, it was the Republicans who did the thing.”
djpbaltimore
Senior Member
 
Posts: 3,279
Joined: 09 Jun 2014 13:41
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Re:

17 May 2018 20:50

Scott SoCal wrote:
Robert5091 wrote:Back to 2008 ...
https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/is-the-36-year-bond-bull-market-finally-coming-to-an-end-20180517-p4zfv6.html
Overnight, the US 10-year bond yield reached 3.096 per cent, its highest level since August 2008, just ahead of the global financial crisis and nearly 80 basis points higher than a year ago.
...
If the trends of rising US rates continues, the US dollar will appreciate, currencies like the Australian dollar and euro will depreciate, global bond market yields will rise regardless of what other central banks do and stockmarkets whose valuations have been stretched to breaking point by the ever-intensifying post-crisis search for returns will be under real pressure.

It has taken us nearly a decade to get to the point where a real normalisation of the post-crisis settings is in sight, if not yet in place. Exactly what that might look like is anyone’s guess but, in a world with abnormal risk-taking baked in by the post-crisis incentives – a world awash with debt and inflated asset prices – normal may not be quite what you’d wish for.


Knowing Trump's "business acumen" (Trump Casinos, steaks, vodka, limos, ice water etc etc) Lord help us.


It’s always funny when somebody posts an article they either didnt read or didn’t understand.


I read it and understood it. I assume you're talking in general terms.
"Are you going to believe me or what you see with your own eyes?"

“It doesn’t matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”
User avatar Robert5091
Senior Member
 
Posts: 2,664
Joined: 29 Mar 2016 08:56
Location: stockholm, sweden

17 May 2018 21:06

After a serious dead water period it would appear the US Politics thread has been resuscitated. Now if Alpe came back the quality would further increase...
Dazed and Confused
Veteran
 
Posts: 11,586
Joined: 27 Jan 2012 23:14

Re: Re:

17 May 2018 21:35

Robert5091 wrote:
Scott SoCal wrote:
Robert5091 wrote:Back to 2008 ...
https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/is-the-36-year-bond-bull-market-finally-coming-to-an-end-20180517-p4zfv6.html
Overnight, the US 10-year bond yield reached 3.096 per cent, its highest level since August 2008, just ahead of the global financial crisis and nearly 80 basis points higher than a year ago.
...
If the trends of rising US rates continues, the US dollar will appreciate, currencies like the Australian dollar and euro will depreciate, global bond market yields will rise regardless of what other central banks do and stockmarkets whose valuations have been stretched to breaking point by the ever-intensifying post-crisis search for returns will be under real pressure.

It has taken us nearly a decade to get to the point where a real normalisation of the post-crisis settings is in sight, if not yet in place. Exactly what that might look like is anyone’s guess but, in a world with abnormal risk-taking baked in by the post-crisis incentives – a world awash with debt and inflated asset prices – normal may not be quite what you’d wish for.


Knowing Trump's "business acumen" (Trump Casinos, steaks, vodka, limos, ice water etc etc) Lord help us.


It’s always funny when somebody posts an article they either didnt read or didn’t understand.


I read it and understood it. I assume you're talking in general terms.


because, nearly a decade ago, the US Federal Reserve and subsequently other central banks drove interest rates down and then embarked on unconventional monetary policies – quantitative easing, or the purchases of government bonds and mortgages – to encourage/coerce investors out of safe, low and eventually even negative-yielding securities and into riskier but higher-returning investments.
They did so to try to provide fuel for a faltering global economy and financial system; to provide some stimulus and generate some wealth effects to try to regenerate economic growth
. It took a long time but, finally, most of the developed world is experiencing synchronised growth – some, like the US, more than others – for the first time since the crisis.

That strategy of driving bond yields and the returns on other interest-bearing securities down had a punishing impact on conservative savings like bank deposits but drove stock and property prices in developed economies to record levels. It also triggered a massive increase in global debt, at all levels – government, corporate and household – because debt was so cheap. According to the International Monetary Fund, worldwide debt is now about $US164 trillion, or 225 per cent of global GDP. Leading into the financial crisis, global debt was at then-record levels – 213 per cent of global GDP.

With the US economy in growth mode and at near full-capacity, the US Federal Reserve board started unwinding its purchases of bonds and mortgages last year in a program that has been accelerated through this year, cashing out maturing bonds rather than reinvesting them.
In effect, it is tightening monetary policy in the US using two levers. One is a steady increase in its policy rate, the federal funds rate, which has now risen by six increments of 25 basis points since its nadir, with another two or three in prospect this year, and the other is by reducing its purchases of bonds and mortgages. That will amount to a withdrawal of buying support for US treasuries of about $US230 billion this year.


The kicker..

Despite – or perhaps because of – the uncertainty and perceived risks to global economic and political stability being generated by an erratic and very unpredictable US administration, the higher rates on US bonds are pulling in capital from elsewhere.


I'll leave you to it.
Instigating profanity laced tirades since 2009
User avatar Scott SoCal
Veteran
 
Posts: 11,640
Joined: 08 Nov 2012 16:47
Location: Southern California

17 May 2018 21:38

Hmmmm. Maybe trump's sad plea for praise today from the NATO CDS might liven things up? The guy is obviously insecure and seems to have some weird daddy issues (not talking about his sexual attraction to his own daughter on this one).
The poster formerly known as yespatterns.
User avatar GraftPunk
Member
 
Posts: 756
Joined: 21 Feb 2017 21:15
Location: High Desert Steppe

17 May 2018 21:47

John Harwood

@JohnJHarwood
however repugnant their actions, MS-13 gang members are human beings IMHO

3:57 AM - May 17, 2018


Eloquent. Sophisticated. Noble.
Instigating profanity laced tirades since 2009
User avatar Scott SoCal
Veteran
 
Posts: 11,640
Joined: 08 Nov 2012 16:47
Location: Southern California

17 May 2018 23:23

The quick take on the 4,100-word opus is that the Gray Lady “buried the lede.” Fair enough: You have to dig pretty deep to find that the FBI ran “at least one government informant” against the Trump campaign — and to note that the Times learned this because “current and former officials” leaked to reporters the same classified information about which, just days ago, the Justice Department shrieked “Extortion!” when Congress asked about it.

But that’s not even the most important of the buried ledes. What the Times story makes explicit, with studious understatement, is that the Obama administration used its counterintelligence powers to investigate the opposition party’s presidential campaign.


That is, there was no criminal predicate to justify an investigation of any Trump-campaign official. So, the FBI did not open a criminal investigation. Instead, the bureau opened a counterintelligence investigation and hoped that evidence of crimes committed by Trump officials would emerge. But it is an abuse of power to use counterintelligence powers, including spying and electronic surveillance, to conduct what is actually a criminal investigation.


In the scheme of things, though, the problem is not that the FBI honored its confidentiality obligations in the Trump case while violating them in the Clinton case. The scandal is that the FBI, lacking the incriminating evidence needed to justify opening a criminal investigation of the Trump campaign, decided to open a counterintelligence investigation. With the blessing of the Obama White House, they took the powers that enable our government to spy on foreign adversaries and used them to spy on Americans — Americans who just happened to be their political adversaries.


Yes, kids, that would involve Obama himself.

Under federal law, to establish that an American is acting as an agent of a foreign power, the government must show that the American is purposefully engaging in clandestine activities on behalf of a foreign power, and that it is probable that these activities violate federal criminal law. (See FISA, Title 50, U.S. Code, Section 1801(b)(2), further explained in the last six paragraphs of my Dec. 17 column.)

But of course, if the FBI had had that kind of evidence, they would not have had to open a counterintelligence investigation. They would not have had to use the Clinton campaign’s opposition research — the Steele dossier — to get FISA-court warrants. They would instead have opened a criminal investigation, just as they did on Clinton when there was evidence that she committed felonies.

To the contrary, the bureau opened a counterintelligence investigation in the absence of any (a) incriminating evidence, or (b) evidence implicating the Trump campaign in Russian espionage. At the height of the 2016 presidential race, the FBI collaborated with the CIA to probe an American political campaign. They used foreign-intelligence surveillance and informants.


https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/05/crossfire-hurricane-new-york-times-report-buries-lede/


Nothing to see here.
Instigating profanity laced tirades since 2009
User avatar Scott SoCal
Veteran
 
Posts: 11,640
Joined: 08 Nov 2012 16:47
Location: Southern California

Re: Re:

18 May 2018 02:26

Scott SoCal wrote:
aphronesis wrote:
Scott SoCal wrote:
aphronesis wrote:I would, but that’s arrogant and I try not to be except when people act like playground thugs.

The (a) difference between you and I is that I try to approach most people as if they know everything I do and more. Not as if they’re stupid and don’t know, say civics or economics as I do. Sometimes I’m disappointed. Some people want to wallow in their bitterness and cynicism or need to be told what to do and/or start lashing out personally when they can’t make sense of something according to their cliches. Some people run with it and that’s exciting to watch.


It’s cool. I can handle it either way.


Completely obvious from your posts.

It’s cool. I can handle it either way.


Clearly.


As we discussed sometime ago. People make a choice to be stupid. In the present, it’s become a political stance. No reason to accomodate it. One can also take the philosophical position of not talking down. Oblique and heuristic are not the same as condescending.


People make a choice to be stupid. In the present, it’s become a political stance.


Yep. Seattle's head tax is a great example.

One can also take the philosophical position of not talking down.



Uh, yeah.


I get that you disagree with Seattle’s decision and it’s true that going back to my high school days they could have handled both their homeless and business influx differently , but the fact that you don’t agree with their stance, let alone the possibility that other cities could do similaly doesn’t make it stupid. More that’s on you for not even being able to think the other positions. Lots of people can think business and materialism but still choose to go different directions. You’ve never shown the capacity the workshop the reverse. The world got by just fine w/o Amazon or Starbucks, it could again.

Again there’s a difference between talking down and reveling and catering to anti-intellectualism so people can feel secure in their laziness. You seem to have mastered all the attributes of right identity politics, while, off coures, naturalizing them.

@graft, true, Trump is riding the wave of the above.
aphronesis
Veteran
 
Posts: 6,631
Joined: 30 Jul 2011 16:47
Location: Bed-Stuy

18 May 2018 03:38

A strong critique of Steven Pinker's book Enlightenment Now from a progressive point of view. This is one of the best discussions of the flaws in capitalism/neoliberalism I've seen:

Having read his book carefully, I believe it’s crucially important to take Pinker to task for some dangerously erroneous arguments he makes. Pinker is, after all, an intellectual darling of the most powerful echelons of global society. He spoke to the world’s elite this year at the World’s Economic Forum in Davos on the perils of what he calls “political correctness,” and has been named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” Since his work offers an intellectual rationale for many in the elite to continue practices that imperil humanity, it needs to be met with a detailed and rigorous response.

Besides, I agree with much of what Pinker has to say. His book is stocked with seventy-five charts and graphs that provide incontrovertible evidence for centuries of progress on many fronts that should matter to all of us: an inexorable decline in violence of all sorts along with equally impressive increases in health, longevity, education, and human rights. It’s precisely because of the validity of much of Pinker’s narrative that the flaws in his argument are so dangerous. They’re concealed under such a smooth layer of data and eloquence that they need to be carefully unraveled. That’s why my response to Pinker is to meet him on his own turf: in each section, like him, I rest my case on hard data exemplified in a graph.

This discussion is particularly needed because progress is, in my view, one of the most important concepts of our time. I see myself, in common parlance, as a progressive. Progress is what I, and others I’m close to, care about passionately. Rather than ceding this idea to the coterie of neoliberal technocrats who constitute Pinker’s primary audience, I believe we should hold it in our steady gaze, celebrate it where it exists, understand its true causes, and most importantly, ensure that it continues in a form that future generations on this earth can enjoy. I hope this piece helps to do just that.


Pinker claims to respect science, yet he blithely ignores fifteen thousand scientists’ desperate warning to humanity. Instead, he uses the blatant rhetorical technique of ridicule to paint those concerned about overshoot as part of a “quasi-religious ideology… laced with misanthropy, including an indifference to starvation, an indulgence in ghoulish fantasies of a depopulated planet, and Nazi-like comparisons of human beings to vermin, pathogens, and cancer.”...

When Pinker does get serious on the topic, he promotes Ecomodernism as the solution: a neoliberal, technocratic belief that a combination of market-based solutions and technological fixes will magically resolve all ecological problems. This approach fails, however, to take into account the structural drivers of overshoot: a growth-based global economy reliant on ever-increasing monetization of natural resources and human activity.


human progress in material consumption has come at the cost of a 58% decline in vertebrates, including a shocking 81% reduction of animal populations in freshwater systems. For every five birds or fish that inhabited a river or lake in 1970, there is now just one...

[Pinker] is pleased to tell us that “racist violence against African Americans… plummeted in the 20th century, and has fallen further since.” What he declines to report is the drastic increase in incarceration rates for African Americans during that same period


The “Elephant Graph” elegantly conceals the fact that the wealthiest 1% experienced nearly 65 times the absolute income growth as the poorest half of the world’s population. Inequality isn’t, in fact, decreasing at all, but going extremely rapidly the other way.


Pinker is aware of the crudeness of GDP as a measure, but uses it repeatedly throughout his book because, he claims, “it correlates with every indicator of human flourishing.” This is not, however, what has been discovered when economists have adjusted GDP to incorporate other major factors that affect human flourishing. One prominent alternative measure, the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), reduces GDP for negative environmental factors such as the cost of pollution, loss of primary forest and soil quality, and social factors such as the cost of crime and commuting. It increases the measure for positive factors missing from GDP such as housework, volunteer work, and higher education. Sixty years of historical GPI for many countries around the world have been measured, and the results resoundingly refute Pinker’s claim of GDP’s correlation with wellbeing. In fact, as shown by the purple line in Figure 5 (right), it turns out that the world’s Genuine Progress peaked in 1978 and has been steadily falling ever since.


Lutz and Kebede, however, used sophisticated multi-level regression models to analyze how closely education correlated with life expectancy compared with GDP. They found that a country’s average level of educational attainment explained rising life expectancy much better than GDP, and eliminated the anomaly in Preston’s Curve (Figure 6, right). The correlation with GDP was spurious. In fact, their model suggests that both GDP and health are ultimately driven by the amount of schooling children receive. This finding has enormous implications for development priorities in national and global policy. For decades, the neoliberal mantra, based on Preston’s Curve, has dominated mainstream thinking—raise a country’s GDP and health benefits will follow. Lutz and Kebede show that a more effective policy would be to invest in schooling for children, with all the ensuing benefits in quality of life that will bring.


Implicit in Pinker’s political model is the belief that progress can only arise from the brand of centrist politics espoused by many in the mainstream Democratic Party.


Looking back into history, Pinker recognizes that changes in moral norms came about because progressive minds broke out of their society’s normative frames and applied new ethics based on a higher level of morality, dragging the mainstream reluctantly in their wake, until the next generation grew up adopting a new moral baseline. “Global shaming campaigns,” he explains, “even when they start out as purely aspirational, have in the past led to dramatic reductions in slavery, dueling, whaling, foot-binding, piracy, privateering, chemical warfare, apartheid, and atmospheric nuclear testing.”

It is hard to comprehend how the same person who wrote these words can then turn around and hurl invectives against what he decries as “political correctness police, and social justice warriors” caught up in “identity politics,” not to mention his loathing for an environmental movement that “subordinates human interests to a transcendent entity, the ecosystem.” Pinker seems to view all ethical development from prehistory to the present day as “progress,” but any pressure to shift society further along its moral arc as anathema.


https://patternsofmeaning.com/2018/05/17/steven-pinkers-ideas-about-progress-are-fatally-flawed-these-eight-graphs-show-why/
Merckx index
Senior Member
 
Posts: 3,746
Joined: 27 Jul 2010 19:19

PreviousNext

Return to General

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests

Back to top