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Surly Newz / Re: Who They Are...
« Last post by K-Dog on January 23, 2020, 09:55:48 PM »

I want one.

Heavy Weight Metal/Wood Construction
Post Globe Front Sight; Adjustable Rear Sight
750FPS with lead .177 pellet
Fixed Barrel w/Cocking Lever
.177 Caliber Pellets
Marathon Man Newz / Re: You Knew This Was Coming --- Another Middle Class Tax Cut
« Last post by K-Dog on January 23, 2020, 09:00:18 PM »
You should work for the government. They need people like you to figure out how to snow the public using statistics.

LOL.  I could do many kinds of work Eddie.  I don't do them because I don't want to "snow the public".  That's why I walked away from Wall Street 30 years ago.  Well, that and I couldn't stand dressing up in the Monkey Suit every day and having my Italian Leather Shoes Shined twice a week and cleaning my Brooks Brothers Suits at the Chinese Laundry every week! lol.

Now, I just do the Math, and nobody pays me for it.  It is totally honest Math.


Economics / Re: How Do The Wealthy Get Wealthy?
« Last post by RE on January 23, 2020, 07:47:21 PM »
Generally speaaking, by borrowing big and leveraging.  As Steve wrote on numerous occasions, Tycoons are the biggest Debtors. Two perfect examples of this on either side of the Pond are "Sir" Dick Branson in Jolly Old England and Donalditry Trumpovetsky here in the FSoA.  Of course, to GET these huge loans and float the Corporate Paper, you have to be well connected and rich to begin with, as both these guys were.

Marathon Man Newz / Re: Nadler Is Nailing It
« Last post by knarf on January 23, 2020, 07:14:19 PM »
1:39 p.m. Nadler speaks of the 'ABCs of impeachment'

Nadler boils down the Democratic case to the "ABCs of impeachment."

"Abuse: We will show that President Trump abused his power when he used his office to solicit and pressure Ukraine to meddle in our elections for his personal gain. Betrayal: We will show that he betrayed vital national interests, specifically our national security, by withholding diplomatic support and military aid from Ukraine even as it faced armed Russian aggression. Corruption: President Trump's intent was to corrupt our elections to his personal political benefit. He put his personal interest in retaining power above free and fair elections and above the principle that Americans must govern themselves without interference from abroad.

"Article One thus charges a high crime and misdemeanor that blends abuse of power, betrayal of the nation, and corruption in elections into a single unforgiveable scheme. That is why this president must be removed from office, especially before he continues his effort to corrupt our next election," Nadler says.

Citing legal scholars who agree with the House case, Nadler cites the former Harvard Law School professor who will argue for Trump on the Senate floor that the Constitution does not support that a president can be impeached for abuse of power.

"Another who comes to mind is professor Alan Dershowitz. At least Alan Dershowitz in 1998. Back then here is what he had to say about impeachment for abuse of power," Nadler says before showing a video clip of Dershowitz from 1988.

"It certainly doesn't have to be a crime. If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime," Dershowitz says in the clip.

"But we need not look to 1998 to find one of President Trump's key allies espousing this view. Consider the comments of our current Attorney General William Barr, a man known for his extraordinarily expansive view of executive power. In Attorney General Barr's view, as expressed about 18 months ago, presidents cannot be indicted or criminally investigated, but that's okay because they can impeached. That's the safeguard," Nadler says as a memo written by Barr in June 2018 appears in exhibits.

"And in an impeachment, Attorney General Barr added, the president is answerable for any abuses of discretion and may be held accountable under law for misdeeds in office. In other words, Attorney General Barr, who believes along with the office of legal counsel that a president may not be indicted believes that that's okay, we don't need that safeguard against a president who would commit abuses of power. It's okay because he can be impeached. That's the safeguard for abuses of discretion and for his misdeeds in office," Nadler quotes Barr as writing.

"When the president betrays our national security and foreign policy interests for his own personal gain, he is unquestionably subject to impeachment and removal," Nadler continues. "The same is true of a different concern raised by the framers, the use of presidential power to corrupt the elections and the office of the presidency. As Madison emphasized, because the presidency was to be administered by a single man, his corruption might be fatal to the republic."

Anticipating another of the arguments from Trump's defense team --- that no specific crime is alleged-- Nadler says, "In a last ditch legal defense of their client, the president's lawyers argue that impeachment and removal are subject to statutory crimes or to offenses against established law, that the president cannot be impeached because he has not committed a crime. This view is completely wrong. It has no support in constitutional text and structure, original meeting, congressional presence, common sense or the consensus of credible experts. In other words, it conflicts with every relevant consideration."

Then, he uses a video clip of GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, who had left the chamber.

"I might say the same thing of then House manager Lindsey Graham who in President Clinton's trial flatly rejected the notion that impeachable offenses are limited to violation of established law," Nadler says before playing a clip from Graham on the Senate floor in Clinton's 1999 impeachment trail.

"What's a high crime? How about if an important person hurts somebody of low means? It's not very scholarly, but I think it's the truth. I think that's what they meant by high crimes. Doesn't even have to be a crime. It's just when you start using your office and you're acting in a way that hurts people, you have committed a high crime," Graham says in the clip.
Knarfs Knewz / US general says troop surge in Middle East may not end soon
« Last post by knarf on January 23, 2020, 06:05:05 PM »
ABOARD THE USS BATAAN (AP) — Over the past eight months, the United States has poured more than 20,000 additional troops into the Middle East to counter the escalating threat from Iran that peaked with the recent missile attack on American forces in Iraq.

Despite President Donald Trump’s pledge to bring troops home, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East on Thursday said the most recent forces to enter the region could be there for “quite a while.”

“You’re here because I requested that you come,” Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie told sailors and Marines aboard the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship, his voice booming over the ship’s loudspeaker. “I’m not sure how long you’re going to stay in the theater. We’ll work that out as we go ahead. Could be quite a while, could be less than that, just don’t know right now.”

The Bataan and two other U.S. warships moved into the Middle East on Jan. 11. By Thursday, they were in the north Red Sea, roughly 50 miles south of the Sinai Peninsula. They are the latest additions to America’s troop presence in the region. Since May, their numbers have grown from about 60,000 to more than 80,000.

Those increased deployments came despite two significant hurdles: Trump’s persistent pledge to end the wars and bring troops home, and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s insistence that U.S. forces be shifted to the Asia-Pacific as a bulwark against threats from China.

In making its case for troops in the Middle East, the U.S. military points to Iran’s Jan. 8 launch of as many as two dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases where U.S. troops were stationed. The attack was in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general.

“Iran continues to pose a very real threat,” McKenzie told reporters traveling with him to the Bataan. “I do believe that they are deterred right now, at least from state-on-state actions by our response. And so I think that while that threat remains, I think we’re in a period where they’re certainly not seeking to escalate anything.”

He added, however, that Iranian proxy forces, who may strike with or without direction from Iranian leaders, still present a threat. He noted that Iranian attacks against Saudi Arabia last fall came as a surprise.

“Iran is very hard to read,” McKenzie said. “So I would say the fact that things are quiet for a while does not mean that necessarily things are getting better.”

To help deter additional Iranian attacks, McKenzie asked to have the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, which includes two other ships and a Marine Expeditionary Unit, divert from their original mission in Europe and go through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea. There are about 2,500 Marines and 1,500 sailors on the three ships.

That decision is the latest move since May to bolster the American presence in the region, including the deployment of the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne division, to Kuwait and Iraq after the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was attacked. The U.S. also moved an aircraft carrier into the region last year. It has left and was replaced the USS Harry S. Truman. The Pentagon has sent additional fighter jets, bomber aircraft, and Patriot missile batteries to Middle East to provide additional security for U.S. troops and allies and as a show of force to deter attacks by Iran.

Those moves have increased the U.S. troop strength in the region to more than 83,000, based on numbers from several U.S. officials and other government agencies that track military movements.

Asked about the increase, McKenzie said he understands the demand for troops in other parts of the world, and he has had discussions with Esper about the level of risk in the Middle East.

Esper, who has approved the moves, is looking closely at worldwide deployments in a broader effort to meet the needs of the national defense strategy that identified China and Russia as the key future threats. Even as McKenzie was traveling to the Bataan, Esper was in Florida telling reporters that Russia and China are “mission number one.”

“There’s only a finite number of dollars, a finite number of troops, so I’ve got to figure out, where is the best place to put them? I’ve articulated in the past that I want to either return forces to the States to improve their readiness, or redeploy others” to the IndoPacific, Esper said.

Trump has argued that the U.S. must get out of the “endless wars” in the Middle East. But he has also singled out Iran as a malign influence in the region, and after the Iranian missile strikes, was quick to threaten revenge.

After hundreds of Iranian-supported militiamen breached the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in early January, Trump tweeted, “They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!” Trump also approved the airstrike on Soleimani, which triggered the Iranian reprisal. Some U.S. troops were flown out of Iraq for evaluation of concussion-like symptom after the missile strikes.

Senior U.S. officials have noted the relative calm after the Iranian strikes, saying both the U.S. and Iran want to deescalate tensions.

But McKenzie said that while the U.S. wants to be “coolheaded,” he worries that cooler heads may not prevail in Iran.

So when he went to the microphone on the Bataan, where Marine Harrier jets intermittently roared down the ship’s deck into the air, he issued a warning.

“You need to be ready because I may need to employ you on very short notice and on some very difficult missions,” he said.
In a wide-ranging speech to the General Assembly, the UN chief outlined strategies to address what he called the “four horsemen in our midst”, and he urged countries to take advantage of the UN’s 75th anniversary year to secure a peaceful future for all people.

“These four horsemen…can jeopardize every aspect of our shared future”, Mr. Guterres warned.

“That is why commemorating the 75th anniversary with nice speeches won’t do.  We must address these four 21st-century challenges with four 21st-century solutions.”

Global tensions mounting
For the Secretary-General, global tensions are at their highest level in years, making the risk of fracture real.

Although developments such as the formation of the Constitutional Committee in Syria and the recent Berlin conference on Libya are signs of hope, he stressed that “we have our work cut out for us”.

Mr. Guterres underlined the central role of prevention in UN engagement in the peace and security dimension, and emphasized the need to focus on the root causes of crisis and upheaval.

“We must strengthen our mediation capacity and our tools for sustaining peace, leading to long-term development”, he added.

“We need to create the conditions for effective peace enforcement and counter-terrorism operations by our regional partners, under chapter VII of the Charter and with predictable funding. This is especially true in Africa, from the Sahel to Lake Chad.”

Our planet is burning
On climate change, the science is clear, Mr. Guterres stated. 

“Rising temperatures continue to melt records.  The past decade was the hottest on record.  Scientists tell us that ocean temperatures are now rising at the equivalent of five Hiroshima bombs a second.  One million species are in near-term danger of extinction. Our planet is burning”, he told ambassadors.

Yet, in the midst of the crisis, some leaders “continue to fiddle”, he said, as evidenced by the outcome of the last UN climate conference, known as COP25, held in Madrid in December.

But the Secretary-General is adamant that the climate battle can be won as people everywhere “get it”, while the overwhelming majority of scientists are clear there is still time to act.

“At the next climate conference - COP26 in Glasgow - governments must deliver the transformational change our world needs and that people demand, with much stronger ambition – ambition on mitigation, ambition on adaptation, and ambition on finance,” he stated.

A call for fair globalization
The third horseman—deep and growing global mistrust—can be defeated through fair globalization, boosting economic growth and preventing conflict.

Back in 2015, world leaders adopted an agenda to bring about a more just and fair planet for all.  This year, the UN has launched a Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 2030 deadline.

“Throughout the Decade of Action, we must invest in the eradication of poverty, in social protection, in health and fighting pandemics, in education, energy, water and sanitation, in sustainable transport and infrastructure and in internet access”, said the Secretary-General.

“We must improve governance, tackle illicit financial flows, stamp out corruption and develop effective, common sense and fair taxation systems. We must build economies for the future and ensure decent work for all, especially young people. And we must put a special focus on women and girls because it benefits us all.”

The Secretary-General also encouraged leaders to work to rebuild trust, including through listening to their citizens and harnessing ideas for change and other constructive solutions put forward by youth.

Taming the ‘Wild West of cyberspace’

Bringing light to the dark side of the digital world will require action on several fronts, including in the labour market as automation will displace tens of millions of jobs in the next decade.

The UN chief recommended that education systems be redesigned to address this reality by teaching people how to learn across the course of their entire lives.

“We also must usher in order to the Wild West of cyberspace,” he said.

“Terrorists, white supremacists and others who sow hate are exploiting the internet and social media. Bots are spreading disinformation, fueling polarization and undermining democracies. Next year, cybercrime will cost $6 trillion.”

Mr. Guterres highlighted the UN as the platform to bring together governments, the private sector, civil society and others to counter what he called “digital fragmentation” through global cooperation.

The “alarming possibilities” of artificial intelligence also must be addressed, and he appealed to countries to immediately ban lethal autonomous weapons, also known as killer robots.

“Lethal autonomous weapons - machines with the power to kill on their own, without human judgement and accountability - are bringing us into unacceptable moral and political territory”, he warned.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg hit back at Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for saying she should not call for countries to divest from fossil fuels until she “goes and studies economics in college.”

“My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up,” Thunberg tweeted, including a video of a chart illustrating the rise in carbon emissions.

“So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments,” she added.

Mnuchin made the comment on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying in a press conference “is she the chief economist? Who is she, I’m confused."

“After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us,” he added.

Thunberg, while participating in a climate forum in Davos on Tuesday, said world leaders’ inaction on climate issues is “fueling the flames” of climate change.

“You might think we’re naive but if you won’t do it, you must explain to your children why you’ve given up on the Paris agreement goals and knowingly created a climate crisis,” she said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also defended Thunberg, tweeting "If you don’t have an economics degree like Greta, they’ll mock you for not having one. If you DO have one, as I do, they’ll claim it’s illegitimate." The two met in a video conversation last summer.
Marathon Man Newz / Re: You Knew This Was Coming --- Another Middle Class Tax Cut
« Last post by Eddie on January 23, 2020, 02:22:30 PM »
Quote from: Eddie
But most people are stunningly ignorant about both money and wealth...but I'm not, and I am perfectly capable of explaining  it to anyone who really wishes to understand.

I will actually look forward to this, because in this instance I'm one of "most people."

Quote from: Eddie
You do NOT wish to understand, because the fake explanation suits your purpose, which is to turn poor people (which is your primary audience here) against capitalism, and to sow discord between the poor and the slightly better-off people like me.

If one reads and is aware of what is really going on, how can one FAIL to turn against capitalism, particularly in its extract-at-all-costs late stage crony flavor, which is mining all of us for profit even as we speak? IMO, capitalism indicts itself. The problem is that most people are too busy or self-absorbed to connect the dots.

I also fell over a data point last week that brought me up short, that only a third of the country has a four year college degree. My first reaction was surprise and astonishment, thinking that it had fallen precipitously from when I attended. Not so. The current rate of college -educated is the highest of all time, student loans and all.

So whatever they are learning, it's not about economic self interest.

First, I'm no cheerleader for the kind of crony capitalism that exists in this day and time. Corporatism is a plague.I believe in taking care of the planet so it will take care of us. I believe we should beat our nukes into plowshares. I think we should socialize some things like healthcare....but not the bad debts of bankers.

But all of us were born into this system and we get to deal with it the way it is.

 I do drive a car. So do several million other people. I like electricity. I like to eat meat.  I'm part of the problem and I'm not wanting to give up my creature comforts and little luxuries.

My goal is to finish out what's left of my life in relative comfort, if I can.. I don't see a human solution to all the things wrong with the planet or the inequality that exists.It's gonna get worse. It'd take some kind of miracle to turn this around. I'm not opposed to that, but I don't expect it.

And the thing I believe is that collective ownership and socialism have their own set of problems, and that it takes more than just a change of  the takes better leadership in general, something I'm not looking for in a world this complex and filled with people who don't belong to the same tribe.
Marathon Man Newz / Re: You Knew This Was Coming --- Another Middle Class Tax Cut
« Last post by AJ on January 23, 2020, 01:34:55 PM »
I also fell over a data point last week that brought me up short, that only a third of the country has a four year college degree. My first reaction was surprise and astonishment, thinking that it had fallen precipitously from when I attended. Not so. The current rate of college -educated is the highest of all time, student loans and all.

So whatever they are learning, it's not about economic self interest.

What they are "learning" is a lot of stuff that won't get them a better job than a Barrista at Starbucks.  You know, stuff like IT, Engineering,Chemistry, History, etc, etc, etc.  ::)

Or they can go on to Law Skule, pile on more debt and end up on the UE line with a JD Sheepskin. etc, etc, etc.

God, I couldn't agree with you more RE.
Law School is one of the biggest scams on the planet. Only the top 10% from say the top 20 law schools in the country get jobs at big law firms and then the true winnowing begins. In most of the Big Law firms you have 7 years to make partner or you're out. AND unless your big law firm is connected to big finance or silicon valley your chances of million dollar paydays are few and far between.
Most law school grads don't make much. I remember a few years back the "average" attorney was making $70K a year (not exactly something to ever get you into the top 5%). And what of all the others who went to law school and didn't pass the bar (had one friend from law school commit suicide because she could never pass the bar)? Wasted time and money. My feeling is that unless you are a genius lawyer or very lucky and got that right client (be it a victim where you get them a huge recovery or your friend happens to be the next Bill Gates) and milk it for everything you can you will be disappointed. BUT being an attorney is one of the avenues for an individual to hit the lottery and that will keep fools going to law school forever.
AND Eddie is right. You can make good money like my wife (10 years ago she was making $250K/year) by servicing the truly wealthy (like the founders of silicon valley) because they always need attorneys to help them hold on to all their hard earned money :laugh: :laugh:.  And then you end up like my wife and myself who were very conservative with our money and invested a lot in real estate AND got very lucky and now are comfortably well off (until it all disappears in a collapse of the financial system).
The current crony capitalist system of rigged markets has to be replaced. Maybe not by socialism but by something that is more equitable - like anarchy :icon_scratch:?
Marathon Man Newz / Nadler Is Nailing It
« Last post by Eddie on January 23, 2020, 12:11:40 PM »
I'm not that into politics and I really wasn't that tuned into Jerrold Nadler until today.

 But I started listening to him lay out the history and and the  ground rules and precedents for Presidential impeachment on my lunch hour today.......and I will have to say that he completely gets it. What impeachment is all about. What Trump did that is clearly impeachable, and why it's important that he NOT get away with it.

He was very clear, concise, articulate and even what I'd call statesman-like .......(a term I once used for Obama until he proved me wrong).

I don't think Trump will be convicted of impeachment. It will be a party line vote, which will prove our system is more oriented toward political expediency than justice....but Nadler was speaking straight to  the historians today in his remarks. I had to go back to work, but he was killing it, and I hated to be dragged away.

It should be required reading for every American to have to read the  text of Nadler's speech today or watch a recording of it. It was a decent lecture on the American form of government, and how it's supposed to work.
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