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Europe Circling the Drain

If it's news, but not politics, then it goes here.

Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby rrnate » Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:51 pm

gargantua wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Whatever, Ned...

Heck, can anyone explain to me why anyone listens to any think tank? What kind of track record for these organizations justifies our continued reliance on their supposed wisdom?


They listen to them only when they confirm whatever idea or prejudice the listener already had. The track record doesn't matter. It doesn't even have to make sense as long as it validates the view of said listener, or can be used in an attack ad.


Look under "Confirmation Bias" and see a web shot of Flanders posting on here.
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:51 pm

wack wack wrote:As you are the sad, sorry face of the American conservative around here, it's safe to say that the collapse of European finance is entirely YOUR fault, Flanders.
Are you serious? The impending collapse of the EU should be blamed on American conservatives? It should be blamed on capitalism?
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby rabble » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:01 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:
wack wack wrote:As you are the sad, sorry face of the American conservative around here, it's safe to say that the collapse of European finance is entirely YOUR fault, Flanders.
Are you serious? The impending collapse of the EU should be blamed on American conservatives? It should be blamed on capitalism?

Actually yeah. There's a pretty good case to be made that the situation that caused our housing bubble burst and the subsequent bailout had global repercussions that are still rippling around the world.

While it might be debatable, dismissing the entire possibility out of hand is disingenuous.
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:11 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Can anyone explain to me why anyone ever listens to The Cato Institute? Not only are they run by untrustworthy douchebags but have they ever been right about anything they've predicted? (Remember: These are the guys who argued there was no evidence smoking causes cancer and who advocate privatizing social security, to name but two of their most ridiculous positions.) Heck, can anyone explain to me why anyone listens to any think tank? What kind of track record for these organizations justifies our continued reliance on their supposed wisdom?
What specific criticisms do you have of any of those douchebags, other than Koch? Or is this a case of guilty by association?
I don't know about Cato denying the smoking-cancer link, but they have other positions that are commendable (from your link):
Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato's Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, criticized many of the arguments offered to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In 2003, Cato filed an amicus brief in support of the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down the few remaining state laws that made private, non-commercial homosexual relations between consenting adults illegal.
Domestically, Cato scholars have been sharp critics of current U.S. drug policy
Cato scholars have also been critical of the Bush administration's views on energy policy. In 2003, Cato scholars Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren blasted the Republican Energy Bill as "hundreds of pages of corporate welfare, symbolic gestures, empty promises, and pork-barrel projects". They also spoke out against the former president's calls for larger ethanol subsidies.
Right, what a bunch of assholes.

Think tanks are valuable sources of information precisely because they are unabashedly biased. They don't hide their bias, they put it in their lede. I find this better than a news organization that feigns neutrality, or one that is so paranoid about appearing biased that their finished product is devoid of actual thoughts.
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby rrnate » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:13 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:
wack wack wrote:As you are the sad, sorry face of the American conservative around here, it's safe to say that the collapse of European finance is entirely YOUR fault, Flanders.
***heart attack***?


Let's calm down here Arturo.
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:16 pm

rabble wrote:Actually yeah. There's a pretty good case to be made that the situation that caused our housing bubble burst and the subsequent bailout had global repercussions that are still rippling around the world.

While it might be debatable, dismissing the entire possibility out of hand is disingenuous.
OK, what is that "pretty good case"? And don't start at just the housing bubble burst - what caused the housing bubble to inflate?

On the Europe side - I am pretty confident in saying that imprudent spending on social programs in Euro nations has caused them more problems than have the downstream effects of the American housing bubble. And anyway investment is a two-way street - if their pension funds had exposure to our major banks, whose fault is that?
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:18 pm

rrnate wrote:Let's calm down here Arturo.
(Arturo nods, pushes 4th cup of coffee to far side of table)
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:29 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:(Remember: These are the guys who argued there was no evidence smoking causes cancer..)
Cato douchebags on this matter:
None of this is to suggest that the attack against cigarettes is entirely dishonest. Without question, the evidence is that cigarettes substantially increase the risk of lung cancer, bronchitis, and emphysema. But most deaths from those diseases occur at an advanced age.
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby rrnate » Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:17 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:(Remember: These are the guys who argued there was no evidence smoking causes cancer..)
Cato douchebags on this matter:
None of this is to suggest that the attack against cigarettes is entirely dishonest. Without question, the evidence is that cigarettes substantially increase the risk of lung cancer, bronchitis, and emphysema. But most deaths from those diseases occur at an advanced age.


Yes, but Wags is still right and you're quoting the piece of the article that comes with big "but really, tobacco ain't so bad" disclaimers on either side of it. It's like me saying

rrnate wrote:"While Arturo does indeed quote a segment of the article, he is changing the meaning of the statement by quoting a small part out of context"


...and then you going on to quote me like this...

ArturoBandini wrote:
rrnate wrote:Arturo does indeed quote a segment of the article
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:35 pm

Gee, anyone else stunned that Arturo would defend The Cato Institute, a Libertarian think tank?

ArturoBandini wrote:What specific criticisms do you have of any of those douchebags, other than Koch? Or is this a case of guilty by association?

Guilt by association is good enough in this case. We're talking about the Kochs here, after all. But I really don't want to debate with you the relative douchiness of such deep thinkers as Howard Rich because what's the point? Just opinions, right?
But then, that's my point -- that's all think tanks do. They write opinions. Nothing inherently wrong or bad about that, of course, but the issue is that people (and let me be clear here, folks of ALL political stripes do it) treat what they say as if they'd actually conducted some sort of valid scientific research, but the reality is they're basically just writing editorials with more math and footnotes.

I don't give a rat's ass how many "good" or "bad" things Cato (or any other think tank) has sided with over the years. The fact is, they've routinely distorted the truth, misrepresented facts, gotten their math wrong, and issued blatantly biased "studies" which are then commented on and cited as if they were actually scientific. But they aren't, and they should not be treated as such or given even close to the same weight (and it's why I won't waste time responding to your link wherein they refer to the work of others as "junk science", as nothing they've ever published suggests to me they're qualified to make such an assessment.)
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:56 pm

rrnate wrote:Yes, but Wags is still right and you're quoting the piece of the article that comes with big "but really, tobacco ain't so bad" disclaimers on either side of it. It's like me saying
No, Wags is not still right. In the article, Cato was acknowledging a link between tobacco and cancer, but also arguing for limits on how far anti-tobacco/cancer hysteria should be taken. Here is my one sentence synopsis of the article: Oft-quoted statistics that tobacco kills 400,000 people annually should be quoted carefully in light of the fact that the majority of those people are 70+ years old at the time of death.

Wagstaff - as long as you are taking all think tanks' publications with a grain of salt, I have no problem with your perspective - I'll be curious to watch as you blast liberal think tanks for the same reasons the next time one is quoted here at TDPF. I think otherwise though - I think that speakers who offer their bias upfront offer a different sort of information product that can be as valuable as other 'non-biased' or 'bias-lite' news products, depending on the context.
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby pjbogart » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:33 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:They write opinions. Nothing inherently wrong or bad about that, of course, but the issue is that people (and let me be clear here, folks of ALL political stripes do it) treat what they say as if they'd actually conducted some sort of valid scientific research, but the reality is they're basically just writing editorials with more math and footnotes.


Sorry to differ with you but the Cato Institute doesn't really write opinions either. To say that something is an opinion implies that you thought about something and formulated ideas around those thoughts. The Cato Institute is a propaganda wing for Republicans and corporate America. Their conclusions are pre-ordained. Calling them "opinions" is sort of like considering an ad for Honey Nut Cheerios an opinion piece on Honey Nut Cheerios. It's not. In the marketing world we call this an advertisement. In politics it's called propaganda.

Truth is not an objective. Educating the public is not an objective. Selling a product or idea is the objective and when doing so you only use those facts that benefit your objective. No one forms an "opinion" by intentionally ignoring the facts.
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby rrnate » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:45 am

ArturoBandini wrote:Here is my one sentence synopsis of the article: Oft-quoted statistics that tobacco kills 400,000 people annually should be quoted carefully in light of the fact that the majority of those people are 70+ years old at the time of death.


OK, here is my one sentence synopsis of the article: Discounting dubious inclusions such as pediatric disease and burn victims, smoking only kills 170,709 people each year in the United States under the age of 70, so what's the big deal?
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby Ned Flanders » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:15 am

Cigarettes are legal, no? How many deaths result from overeating, a sedentary lifestyle, auto accidents, drugs, alcohol? Combinations of all?
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Re: Europe Circling the Drain

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:21 am

Ned Flanders wrote:Cigarettes are legal, no? How many deaths result from overeating, a sedentary lifestyle, auto accidents, drugs, alcohol? Combinations of all?

From the CDC:
More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.
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