Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

Notes 23 May 2016

Views about meeting on Katahdin-area national monument. Pointless meeting, says Pine Tree Politics (PTP),  a feature of Bangor Daily News that describes itself as:

The initial focus of PTP was to offer quality coverage, analysis, reporting and commentary with a distinctly center-right point of view.  What began as only superficial regurgitations of the daily news quickly grew into its own as a center for breaking news, biting commentary, and detailed analysis.

A while back I wrote a post recommending Reddit, here on BL and here on my personal blog.

I’ve been reading several of these subs, and find them informative. Kind of Beyond Labels for the rest of the week.

For example, from: /r/PoliticalDiscussion

..the reality is if the GOP put up a half-dead monkey and the Dems put up a ham sandwich, both should poll over 40%.

The Daily Kos has actually proposed that the Dems should run a  Ham Sandwich for President.

The sandwich has a facebook page Ham Sandwich for President

And its own website:

So fine, the Dems have the ham sandwich. Where’s the half-dead monkey? Oh, I guess it’s Trump.

Other reddit subs that are interesting (have not browsed them all):

/r/Neutral Politics

Al Franken for Vice President.  Former Senator, and author of the best selling book: “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot” and a guy who can go head-to-head with Trump.

How do we deal with cited authority? Some of us think that the Democrats do a better job of making their arguments. I think liberals do a crappy job, because the terms of discussion already tilt to the right. Debate “entitlements” and the debate is already lost. Or “right to work” laws.  George Lakoff is the guy who as made the argument about Framing  in his book “Don’t think of an elephant.”  NY times article on Lakoff and the framing wars. The problem is that too many people are caught up in the framing theory, and not enough in making good arguents.

A better argument from a non-academic is: “The Ass is a Poor Receptacle for the Head” which takes apart the Democrats for using crappy, weak terminology. He says Democrats should have referred to the Iraq war as “The Bush War” and the “Great Recession” as “The Bush Recession” and hammered the point home, again and again. It may not be entirely true, but it sure as hell would have been effective.

Warren Buffett’s says his tax rate is lower than his Secretary.  Not he pays less taxes, but that his rate is lower.  Disagreement from Forbes which argues that Employment Taxes shouldn’t count. Why? And “assuming a conservative corporate federal tax rate of 25%, Berkshire will ultimately pay $4.76 billion in federal corporate income taxes on this taxable income. ” Well, not quite.  According to the GAO:

However, the average corporate tax rate in 2011 dipped to 12.1%, its lowest level since before World War I

This from the firebrand left-leaning Wall Street Journal

Author of Pipi Longstocking had a marginal rate of 102%.

Stackexchange and do this. Author here.

Can elections be bought? Candidates who outspent opponents won 95% of elections according to “Lets free Congress” This may be correlation rather than causation. If you know a guy is going to win, it might worthwhile giving him or her some money to spend. Why? Soros: Money can’t buy elections. It can buy influence

Open secrets on influence.

Stanislav Petrov and Vasily Arkapov are two Russians we should all be grateful to. Each of them took action that probably prevented nuclear war.  Five close calls.

Could this have happened in the US?

Story of John Bordne, and refutation in Stars and Stripes. So who knows.


“From 1962, when John F Kennedy instituted PAL encoding on nuclear weapons, until 1977, the combination to fire the devastating missiles at the height of the Cold War was just 00000000.

Student loan forgiveness Dangers of from Forbes.

Robocalling arms race. It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to make marketing calls.  So why not AI? And it doesn’t take a lot to create something that will foil people making marketing calls. So why not AI?

On the consumer’s side: Jolly Roger Telephone Company is a simpleminded AI that wastes telemarketers time. Here’s a YouTube video (audio, really) of his program at work.

On the enemy side: Samantha West is an AI that claims to be a person, and does a pretty good job.

Conversica is an AI that sends out email and handles initial interaction.

More analysis of the rise of AI in marketing here. And some examples here on AI in marketing  “Will artificial intelligence/robots eventually eliminate company call centers with human representatives?

Outbound robocalls

Action Solutions, interactive calls.

Latest Predictit odds on Republicans winning the election.



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