Friday, July 25, 2014

Socialists Are Cheaters, Says New Study

Socialists Are Cheaters, Says New Study

"The longer individuals were exposed to socialism, the more likely they were to cheat on our task," according to a new study, "The (True) Legacy of Two Really Existing Economic Systems," from Duke University and the University of Munich. The team of researchers concluded this after working with 259 participants from Berlin who grew up on opposite sides of the infamous wall.
When playing a dice game that could earn them €6 ($8), subjects originally from the East, which was for four decades under socialist rule, were more likely than their market economy counterparts in West to lie about how they fared. The Economist explains the task:
The game was simple enough. Each participant was asked to throw a die 40 times and record each roll on a piece of paper. A higher overall tally earned a bigger payoff. Before each roll, players had to commit themselves to write down the number that was on either the top or the bottom side of the die. However, they did not have to tell anyone which side they had chosen, which made it easy to cheat by rolling the die first and then pretending that they had selected the side with the highest number. If they picked the top and then rolled a two, for example, they would have an incentive to claim—falsely—that they had chosen the bottom, which would be a five.
The results were that "East Germans cheated twice as much as West Germans overall," leaving the researchers to conclude the "the political regime of socialism has a lasting impact on citizens' basic morality."
The paper discusses some potentially related reasons for the outcome, such as the fact that
socialist systems have been characterized by extensive scarcity, which ultimately led to the collapse of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in East Germany. In many instances, socialism pressured or forced people to work around official laws. For instance, in East Germany stealing a load of building materials in order to trade it for a television set might have been the only way for a driver of gravel loads to connect to the outside world. Moreover, socialist systems have been characterized by a high degree of infiltration by the intelligence apparatus.
The Duke-Munich team positions their work against a 2013 study, "Of Morals, Markets and Mice," which concluded "that market economies decay morals" but "compared decisions in bilateral and multilateral market settings to individual decisions rather than an alternative economic allocation mechanism." The new research finds that "political and economic regimes such as socialism might have an even more detrimental effect on individuals’ behavior."
In another aspect of the study, the researchers note that "we did not observe an overall difference between East and West Germans in pro-social behavior," such as donating to hospitals, the capitalist-influenced demographic does, in fact, donate marginally more.

Klamath River Basin Dam Removal Whistle Blower, Dr. Paul R. Houser PhD



PLEASE HELP US STOP THE REMOVAL OF THE KLAMATH RIVER DAMS AND RESERVOIRS!!
...
Water Bonds are being created for California's November election to DESTROY THE KLAMATH RIVER DAMS while "saving" the San Joaquin Valley. These bonds pit one agricultural community against the other … while only a few will WIN in the bitter end. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNNECESSARY. The government is creating in-fighting by exacerbating issues into crises instead of creating a WIN WIN for all.

The public is being told that Four CLEAN GREEN RENEWABLE HYDRO ENERGY dams on the Klamath River (and their water storage reservoirs behind the dams used for eco-systems, recreation, flood control, fire suppression, agriculture, and burial grounds for the Shasta Tribe) need to be destroyed to save a fish that is only "endangered" in California but swims in plethora throughout colder areas of the world. 
 
This destroy-the-dams-plan is a scam. Federal scientists have been fired for speaking out against the "science" used to push forward this agenda.

The destruction of these California dams and reservoirs will devastate tens of thousands who live in the Klamath River basin including the farming and ranching community of Siskiyou County - everyone in California will be impacted…especially as MORE stored water is needed during droughts and fire season and less water should be wasted out to sea. Furthermore, Southern California receives water from the North…as SoCal continues to water lawns, fountains, swimming pools and more…we fight for our lives in Siskiyou County.

PLEASE HELP US STOP THE REMOVAL OF THE KLAMATH RIVER DAMS AND RESERVOIRS!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The 'spinning' of Marin's commute numbers

Marin Voice: The 'spinning' of Marin's commute numbers

By Randy Warren




Controversy surrounds "in-commuters." The League of Women Voters of Marin County, admitting it wears two hats, advocates that 60,000 workers commute here daily.
Other sources say 40,000.

Both numbers come from competing government methodologies.

League leaders insists their number is the reliable one, as stated in their own report. But like the NRA and other groups, the league's advocacy hat spins data beyond credibility.
Its report, "Dispelling the Myths Surrounding Affordable Housing," twists data to the point of creating, rather than dispelling, myths.

By example, the report claims a Washington, D.C. report found non-profit managed properties cause no increase in crime. But that report actually doesn't mention nonprofits; it only addresses big buildings vs. small buildings.

The league can spin it all it wants, but cannot reasonably say this is proof that affordable housing does not increase crime.

My point, however, is not crime, but reliability of league advocacy.

Among "myths" it claims to dispel is that affordable housing lowers property values. The league cites yet another report. Problem again: The cited report expanded the radius until home values flattened out. Specifically, 90 percent of houses surveyed were not even within a quarter-mile of the project. 
 
Nor did that report break out the impacts on just the ground zero homeowners.
Making this property value survey even more irrelevant (if possible), it covered home sales only between 1987 and 1992. Homeowner data was so old that Ronald Reagan was president and few people had heard of something called e-mail.

The league's report that fails to disclose "myths" was largely authored by the chairperson of a $1 billion nonprofit housing company. That clear conflict of interest should have been disclosed in the report.


With "Myths" full of pratfalls, do we hear retractions? Apologies? No, perhaps like the NRA would do, the league doubles down, claiming its report is golden and that 60,000 workers really commute into Marin daily.

I tend to doubt it. 
 
The Longitudinal Employment and Housing Dynamics numbers the league relies heavily on unemployment benefits claims. That is data of employees who lost their jobs, rather than present commuters. By implication, it overlooks the self-employed, contract employees and those who don't change jobs. 
 
Even if 60,000 workers commute into Marin, a philosophy of "Build, Baby, Build" will not work here. We have only 100,000 residences and little water. To house even half these claimed commuters, 20,000 to 30,000 more homes need to be built in Marin. 
Not going to happen.

To distract us, housing advocates say building will be much smaller.

Well here is the news: On a smaller scale, you don't fix the problem you claim exists.
The recent Larkspur plan was 920 units. If 20 percent were affordable and commuters had moved in those units, that gargantuan project would have fixed a tiny 0.3 percent of the problem.

Symbolic gestures solve nothing but guilt.

There are people who will commute for the right opportunity. Move them to San Rafael or Larkspur, they may take San Francisco jobs now that they live closer. Legally, we can't force them to work here.

Further, when someone commutes to Marin, it is because equivalent employment is unavailable near their home. 

If we move them into Marin, their old homes get new residents. Why would those new residents not also take jobs in Marin for the very same reasons?

Meet the new commuter, same as the old commuter.

Randy Warren is a San Rafael lawyer who has been involved in the debate over local housing plans. He ran for San Rafael City Council in 2013.

Richard Hall objects to Supervisor's use of misleading Statistics, Distortions and Lack of Civic Engagement with the Voters.




Supervisors,

I wanted to follow up my comments from this morning with some factual references, and comments I did not have time to cover.

SPENDING MONEY TO SHIFT DRIVERS TO CYCLING DURING COMMUTE

We need an honest conversation about transportation. Supervisor Adams spoke today of bike paths as reducing commute traffic, together this and the argument of reducing greenhouse gases is also frequently used to justify spending millions, but the facts do not support these arguments. 

The NTPP Congressional Report appendix notes that $28m was spent on Marin's bike paths, but the bike counts clearly show usage is not just in the weeds (tiny compared to freeway counts of 15,000 cars per hour with 1.67 occupants per vehicle)


Look at table 2 in this US Census data specific to Marin commuting, this clarifies that there has not been any "significant change" in terms of switching from car to bike commuting:

The walk-bike Marin counts show tiny figures, see the weekday bike counts on page 23:
 

It is important that while you are frequently engaged by the bicycle coalition, who are well funded with professional paid attendees who meet with you and speak at events, that you maintain balance by understanding the facts and the needs of people. Many (most) of those people simply cannot reasonably switch their commute from cars to bikes for practical reasons (distance, traveling with kids, physical health, available time...)

SUPERVISOR KINSEY

Please engage with us more. While you have especially strong influence as an MTC Commissioner, you are not being observed to engage as effectively as many would like. You are seen to leave meetings immediately after they adjourn. You do not respond to emails or invitations to meet. At a town hall meeting last year where many shared concerns you supported a vocal crowd outside who were accusing those with valid concerns of being "racists". Many are starting to conclude that your tactic to deal with any opposing your views is to antagonize - if so I would ask that you reconsider the effectiveness of such an approach.
 
Please help support preserving and improving the quality of life for those who use the Richmond San Rafael Bridge everyday. While the accomplishment of completing a bike route may appeal, it is far more important that you maintain perspective that adding a third lane during commute will help save many combined lifetimes for drivers both crossing the bridge, or simply affected by the 101 backups. Tens of thousands cross that bridge each day or are affected indirectly by the backups, each could save minutes each day with appropriate traffic alleviation. By comparison during commute one might at best see perhaps 0.1% of that volume commute across the bridge by bike.

When I say "we", I refer to others like myself who seek an honest dialog to preserve the quality of life in Marin, to base this on facts, and the representation of residents. I believe the election has helped make it clear just how many are concerned by quality of life issues that are exacerbated through a policy of "high density, transit oriented development". 

SUPERVISOR ARNOLD
 
We both found the letter by Dr Robert Frankel objectionable that you read out at a prior supervisors meeting. You used this objectionable letter (a nice "straw man" that made it easy to shoot down and suggest opponents are unreasonable) and then spoke of "tea party and extremist infiltration". Please can you help restore engagement to the conversation - this speech did not help. 

Reasonable people, many like myself who are registered Democrats, were just a little shocked by your speech. We don't want to be - we want a supervisor who does not seek to polarize issues - that can potentially log-jam engagement, allowing railroading through of a desired agenda.

SUPERVISOR RICE

Thank you for representing residents concerns to the town council of Larkspur regarding the Larkspur Station Area Plan. We encourage this and further engagement. 

COMMENTS AT TAM MEETING REGARDING COUNCILLOR EKLUND OF NOVATO

I am concerned by some of the negative comments made regarding councillor Eklund's attempts to engage on the matter of Plan Bay Area at a recent TAM meeting with Steve Kinsey and Dan Hillmer present. Pat Eklund is to be applauded and upheld as an example. She is making genuine efforts to engage in dialog about this Plan and its successor with a large number of people who hold concerns. She is listening, and genuinely seeking out the facts in a fair and balanced manner. 

The comments at these meetings served to dismiss and characterize her actions as negative when they should instead be embraced by Marin's elected representatives as a model for better engagement.

PEOPLE SUPPORT AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Finally please let go of the disingenuous straw man that Marinites oppose affordable housing. The vast majority have these concerns:

- we want to preserve quality of life, this should be a top priority in planning (but is either diminished or missing)

- we want to understand genuine impact on traffic, parking, schools and especially the environment

- we don't want buildings that are out of character to our beautiful county (aesthetically, out of scale, too high...)

- we recognize that highway 101 is a vital resource that could easily be pushed beyond capacity; Sonoma County has PDAs with 24,010 housing units planned; this will clearly have significant impact on 101. We cannot presume that the new residents will take SMART or burden those with no alternative but to use 101 by turning it into a parking lot by adding too many housing units. 

We can embrace the continued slow growth of our county with new buildings that are in character, that ensure 20% of new units are affordable, that do not concentrate undue burdens on specific neighborhoods, that reuse or convert existing buildings and/or by encouraging second units. 

Thank you for listening. I do sincerely hope that engagement can be improved for the benefit of all residents of Marin including our elected representatives,

Richard Hall

San Rafael

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Separate Entrance for Poor People ... Coming soon to a luxury development near you.

NYC Approves Apartment Building With Separate Entrance for Poor People


NYC Approves Apartment Building With Separate Entrance for Poor PeopleEXPAND
It would be difficult to come with a more on-the-nose metaphor for New York City's income inequality problem than the new high-rise apartment building coming to 40 Riverside Boulevard, which will feature separate doors for regular, wealthy humans and whatever you call the scum that rents affordable housing.
Extell Development Company, the firm behind the new building, announced its intentions to segregate the rich and poor to much outrage last year. Fifty-five of the luxury complex's 219 units would be marked for low-income renters—netting some valuable tax breaks for Extell—with the caveat that the less fortunate tenants would stick to their own entrance.

The city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development approved Extell's Inclusionary Housing Program application for the 33-story tower this week, the New York Post reports. The status grants Extell the aforementioned tax breaks and the right to construct a larger building than would ordinarily be allowed. According to the Daily Mail, affordable housing tenants will enter through a door situated on a "back alley."
Any of the unwashed folk who complain about such a convenient arrangement, of course, are just being ungrateful. As the Mail points out, fellow poor-door developer David Von Spreckelsenexplained as much last year:
"No one ever said that the goal was full integration of these populations," said David Von Spreckelsen, senior vice president at Toll Brothers. "So now you have politicians talking about that, saying how horrible those back doors are. I think it's unfair to expect very high-income homeowners who paid a fortune to live in their building to have to be in the same boat as low-income renters, who are very fortunate to live in a new building in a great neighborhood."
In these economically fraught times, it's easy to forget that the super rich earned their right to never see you, hear you, smell you, or consider your pitiful existence. Expecting them to share an entrance would be unfair.

Two views on Cap and Trade (but both agree it is a total scam)

 

 I have another objection to cap and trade. Suppose I live next to a polluter and have to breathe the foul air. I pay the "cost" of pollution. Next, the government sells (blackmails) the polluter permission to continue to pollute. The politician then distributes proceeds for his friends. I get nothing. Cap and trade is bad public policy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rituparna Basu - ObamaCare: Sacrifice Of The Millennials


You could substitute "Millennials" with "Middle Class" and "Obamacare" with "Plan Bay Area" and you'd have a good analysis why Plan Bay Area is so wrong.   Plan Bay Area shifts costs to the middle class suburban homeowner who must pay enormous new costs for transportation, support taxpayer subsidized housing, and new fees.  It is a radical restructuring of our economy and democracy.

I agree that healthcare needed reform. It is just that there were 1001 better, freer ways to do it than create a massive bureaucracy.

The great lesson of the 20th Century was that central planning leads to  shortages, inefficiencies, loss of freedoms and bureaucratic tyranny.  Plan Bay Area must be stopped.

We will Save Marin Again and we must also save the Millennials from exploitation.

Ordinary people outnumber targeted foreigners in NSA data: Washington Post




Ordinary people outnumber targeted foreigners in NSA data: Washington Post

nsa logo
nsa logo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Post said on Saturday a study of a large collection of communications intercepted by the U.S. National Security Agency showed that ordinary Internet users, including Americans, far outnumbered legally targeted foreigners caught in the surveillance.
"Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else," the Post said.

Nearly half of the files "contained names, email addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents," it said.

The paper said the files also contained discoveries of considerable intelligence value, including "fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks."

Tracking the communications led to the capture of some terrorism suspects, including Umar Patek, a suspect in a 2002 bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali, it said.
Many other files were retained although, described as useless by analysts, they were about intimate issues such as love, illicit sexual relations, political and religious conversions and financial anxieties, the Post said.

The paper said it reviewed about 160,000 emails and instant-message conversations and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts, collected between 2009 and 2012.
U.S. intelligence officials declined to confirm or deny in general terms the authenticity of the intercepted content provided by Snowden to the Post.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fable: THE HARES AND THE FROGS

THE HARES AND THE FROGS

HARES, as you know, are very timid. The least shadow, sends them scurrying in fright to a hiding place.

Once they decided to die rather than live in such misery. But while they were debating how best to meet death, they thought they heard a noise and in a flash were scampering off to the warren.

On the way they passed a pond where a family of Frogs was sitting among the reeds on the bank. In an instant the startled Frogs were seeking safety in the mud.
 
"Look," cried a Hare, "things are not so bad after all, for here are creatures who are even afraid of us!"

However unfortunate we may think we are there is always someone worse off than ourselves.


[Illustration]

TAM meeting 7/14/2014 Steve Kinsey/Dan Hillmer criticize opponents to Plan Bay Area



Steve Kinsey (Marin Supervisor) and Dan Hillmer (Larkspur City Council) on TAM criticize Marin's ABAG representative, Pat Ecklund (Novato Council) and the public who oppose the urbanization of Marin. 

Kinsey,  who has refused to engage the general public on the issue of housing sharply criticize Pat Ecklund who for offering criticism of Plan Bay Area.  Dan Hillmer, furthers the criticism in sharp contrast from his opposition to Larkspur Station Area Plan meeting.  Is this the same Dan Hillmer?

All present seem to dismiss the concerns of any of the opponents of Plan Bay Area and misrepresent the position of Citizen Marin which functions as a coalition of neighborhood groups. 

Clearly, Steve Kinsey seems determined to urbanize Marin despite the widespread opposition.  Citizen Marin is over 10,000 members and is the largest grassroots organization in Marin. 

We will Save Marin Again!

Judy Arnold's Wacky World of Politics.



   
Judy Arnold is on the hunt for Marin's invisible Tea Party.  oh my!