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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 11th, 2020, 6:47 pm

"I prefer flowers too, but taking WW II as an example, what is the right choice? " one Big flower dropped on the bad guy and the war is over!
 
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 11th, 2020, 6:58 pm

Well in that case, there were a number of strategies to drop a flower on the original individual bad guy, but it was too complicated. And he came to have Axis friends in other places too.

I have been looking at the list post WWII and a few categories pop out (not exhaustive, but to provide a framework):

1) Early Cold War 1950s-1960s - a lot going on in Asia, so-called domino theory. (Not making an excuse for it and definitely intervention, rather than a "just" war, if one can understand that term, with some reservations.)
2) African Wars 1960s-present - intervention in civil and regional wars, taking sides.
3) "Banana Republics" 1960s-1970s - also under Cold War and/or anti-dictator umbrella, but lots of intervention in South/Latin America/Caribbean nations.
4) Middle East 1980s-present - going back to Lebanon in 1958, then picking up momentum in 1980s and intensifying in 1990s, and then of course post 9/11 retaliation (not necessarily justifying, but again context.)
5) European Wars 1990s - e.g., Bosnia, Kosovo; civil and regional wars; NATO, also "peacekeeping" efforts - early post-Cold War dynamics.

It is tragic history for the civilian populations, but interesting and will look more at it later, and also who was President at the time. I actually think neither party has a better record on flowers vs. wars, but the reasons, durations, outcomes, and which party was dominant in Congress at the time also deserves analysis.
Last edited by trackstar on November 11th, 2020, 8:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 11th, 2020, 7:10 pm

It would be interesting to see a comparison of immigrants and, say the next two generations, between Africans and Asians. Anecdotally, Nigerian immigrants to the US on average outrank white people born here by almost any success metric, including income and education level attained. Maybe I’m just talking my own book, but people who choose to uproot themselves from their own country/culture/language and seek opportunities in the US are likely to have a little more initiative and drive than average. Special circumstances, like wars, famines, etc., may complicate this picture, but that does not cover the majority of Asian immigrants to the US over the last 2-3 generations. Whereas the Black people whose ancestors were brought here as slaves don’t fit this pattern at all, and have had to contend will all that systemic racism.

I certainly agree that immigrants, as a whole, exhibit above-average initiative and that is one of the reasons I support much higher immigration levels. The example of the successes of Nigerian-Americans argues against the "systematic racism" charge. I found an interesting blog post. While I don't agree with all of it,  the conclusion is worth highlighting:

The key to all these successes: the Nigerians’ hunger to do well in life; parental discipline and guidance and hard work

If you're a Nigerian thinking of emigrating to a more prosperous country, why choose the "systemically racist" America? Yet America is their destination of choice. According to Wikipedia, America is the choice of  "23% of all Nigerian migrants, the most of any destination country". Systemically racist or systemically welcoming?

OK - I think we’re making progress here. You are not at all denying the systemic oppression of the descendants of slaves brought to the Americas from Africa in centuries past, which make up the vast majority of Black Americans, merely insisting that this is not entirely (or perhaps even primarily) driven by their skin pigmentation.
 
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 11th, 2020, 8:37 pm

Adding a musical interlude - for peace, love, comfort, and safety for the world. 

3 - Aphex Twin Ambient Works Volume 2 (Rhubarb)

We can (and should) still pump iron and run triathlons too, not to get too soft wrapped up in our cashmere blankets and seeing through rose-colored glasses! 
Ha ha.  But still, a student of the Cold War and to be clear, anti-war. : )

Will be posting the President and Congress affiliations and correlations with the war list soon.
Last edited by trackstar on November 11th, 2020, 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 11th, 2020, 9:15 pm

This will be a three-step process: Presidents, Congress tilt (D/R), Wars

U.S. Presidents
Election won in:
 
1932                Franklin D. Roosevelt (D)
1936                Franklin D. Roosevelt (D)
1940                Franklin D. Roosevelt (D)
1944                Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) (died in office)
1945(*)             Harry S. Truman (D)
1948                Harry S. Truman (D)
1952                Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
1956                Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
1960                John F. Kennedy (D) (assassinated in 1963)
1963(*)             Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
1964                Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
1968                Richard M. Nixon (R) 
1972(*)             Richard M . Nixon (R) (resigned in 1974)
1974                Gerald R. Ford (R)
1976                James Carter (D)
1980                Ronald Reagan (R)
1984                Ronald Reagan (R)
1988                George H. W. Bush (R)
1992                William J. Clinton (D)
1996                William J. Clinton (D)
2000                George W. Bush (R)
2004                George W. Bush (R)
2008                Barack Obama (D)
2012                Barack Obama (D)
2016                Donald J. Trump (R)
2020                Joe Biden (D) (going out on a limb here!)

Note: as you can see, two terms is not unusual.
Last edited by trackstar on November 11th, 2020, 9:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 11th, 2020, 9:25 pm

Combined--Control_of_the_U.S._House_of_Representatives_-_Control_of_the_U.S._Senate.png
For reference. The Senate is shown above and the House of Representatives is shown below. 
Obviously some have you have caught on the red is Republican and blue is Democrat. You can see how often there has been alignment across both House and Senate and how often it has been divided.
Further commentary later - this goes all the way back to 1855, but if you start with the first broad blue section in the middle, looking from left to right, that starts in 1934-5.
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 11th, 2020, 9:48 pm

War list with links (1939-present):

World War II
(1939–1945)

Korean War
(1950–1953)

Laotian Civil War
(1953–1975)

Lebanon Crisis
(1958)

Bay of Pigs Invasion
(1961)

Simba rebellionOperation Dragon Rouge
(1964)

Vietnam War
(1955–1964[a], 1965–1973, 1974–1975[c])

Communist insurgency in Thailand
(1965–1983)

Korean DMZ Conflict
(1966–1969)

Dominican Civil War
(1965–1966)

Insurgency in Bolivia
(1966–1967)

Cambodian Civil War 
(1967–1975)

War in South Zaire
(1978)

Gulf of Sidra encounter
(1981)

Multinational Intervention in Lebanon
(1982–1984)

Invasion of Grenada
(1983)

Action in the Gulf of Sidra
(1986)

Bombing of Libya
(1986)

Tanker War
(1987–1988)

Tobruk encounter
(1989)

Invasion of Panama
(1989–1990)

Gulf War
(1990–1991)

Iraqi No-Fly Zone Enforcement Operations
(1991–2003)

First U.S. Intervention in the Somali Civil War
(1992–1995)

Bosnian War
(1992–1995)

Intervention in Haiti
(1994–1995)

Kosovo War
(1998–1999)

Operation Infinite Reach
(1998)

War in Afghanistan
(2001–present)

2003 invasion of Iraq
(2003)

Iraq War
(2003–2011)

War in North-West Pakistan
(2004–present)

Second U.S. Intervention in the Somali Civil War
(2007–present)

Operation Ocean Shield
(2009–2016)

International intervention in Libya
(2011)

Operation Observant Compass
(2011–2017)

American-led intervention in Iraq
(2014–present)

American-led intervention in Syria
(2014–present)

Yemeni Civil War
(2015–present)

American intervention in Libya
(2015–present)


Source: Wikipedia, for convenience, but we can do better over time.
So, useful for discussion maybe. I think the newer and emerging hot spots for the near to medium term will be around the Central Asian Republics, the Poles, and Outer Space. Hopefully it can be sorted out diplomatically.
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 12th, 2020, 3:13 am

I couldn't sleep, so I calculated the Jaccard dissimilarity index to assess the *dis*similarity between the set of Dem  and Rep presidents and the set of years in which the wars broke out (or ended).
Dem President & War break out: 0.71
Dem President & War end: 0.68
Rep President & War break out: 0.77
Rep President & War end: 0.84
Dem presidents definitely have the war ending effect. It probably makes no sense, but that's what everybody wants to hear now, so we can try to publish this result in Nature.

(I actually calculated every dissimilarity index I found in scipy and they gave similar results: Jaccard, Dice, Hamming, ... To think that someone put their name on such trivia. Oh, they were all men!)
 
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 12th, 2020, 3:47 am

I couldn't sleep, so I calculated the Jaccard dissimilarity index to assess the *dis*similarity between the set of Dem  and Rep presidents and the set of years in which the wars broke out (or ended).
Dem President & War break out: 0.71
Dem President & War end: 0.68
Rep President & War break out: 0.77
Rep President & War end: 0.84
Dem presidents definitely have the war ending effect. It probably makes no sense, but that's what everybody wants to hear now, so we can try to publish this result in Nature.

(I actually calculated every dissimilarity index I found in scipy and they gave similar results: Jaccard, Dice, Hamming, ... To think that someone put their name on such trivia. Oh, they were all men!)
Nice work. Two ideas to extend it:

1) calculate for Dem/Rep winning the election and stock market going up or down, and add magnitude of change as well.
2) calculate for war beginning or ending and same stock market effect.  This was discussed on another thread (Trump maybe?) and I think someone mentioned the issue of duration and no crystal ball to know if quick and decisive or long drawn out inconclusive battles.

Nothing positive about war profiteering, but taken all together, might be basis for a paper for W Mag.
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 12th, 2020, 3:56 am

ok, but you cook the data! :-)

We could also take margarine sales, divorces, birth rates, chalmydia statistics, ... - one thing to be sure of, we will eventually find a perfect correlation.
 
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 12th, 2020, 4:00 am

ok, but you cook the data! :-)

We could also take margarine sales, divorces, birth rates, chalmydia statistics, ... - one thing to be sure of, we will eventually find a perfect correlation.
Not at all - if there is something useful to see and explain, let it be transparent and legitimate!

I am not a fan of torturing the data until it speaks, but there is so much interesting information around elections, it could be put it to use.

What that dissimarilty calculation really shows is that they are pretty close actually, which is what one would guess looking at the regular swings back and forth between D and R and the flow of conflicts over the past 6-7 decades. No party stays on top for long here, but most candidates are pretty centrist too, so it hasn't been wild swings from far left to far right, at least until 2016.
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 13th, 2020, 2:22 am

The difference is more prominent when I included weights (the multiple war events in the same year):
Dem President & War break out: 0.69
Dem President & War end: 0.63
Rep President & War break out: 0.77
Rep President & War end: 0.85
 
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 13th, 2020, 3:48 am

The difference is more prominent when I included weights (the multiple war events in the same year):
Dem President & War break out: 0.69
Dem President & War end: 0.63
Rep President & War break out: 0.77
Rep President & War end: 0.85
so to compare with previous side by side:

I calculated the Jaccard dissimilarity index to assess the *dis*similarity between the set of Dem  and Rep presidents and the set of years in which the wars broke out (or ended).
Dem President & War break out: 0.71
Dem President & War end: 0.68
Rep President & War break out: 0.77
Rep President & War end: 0.84

besides weightings, it would also be interesting to look at ownership of start and end case by case.  It is more common that one party ends the wars joined by the other party or do they tend to end their own party's wars?

and also, how often are wars ended going into an election year? Give it say 18 months prior to November of that year.

This would suggest bragging rights. I also suspect that very few would start/join a war early in a new administration - say 3-6 months in unless really compelling circumstances. But I could be wrong.

Of course, you may get quite bored with US politics, but this is promising research.

I am watching news in Russia and vicinity now. 
The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images. - Guy Debord
 
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 13th, 2020, 3:02 pm

From today's wsj opinion (the editorial board):
Joe Biden's Lockdown Lobby


Did you enjoy the days at home from mid-March to May? The 22 million lost jobs, the shuttered storefronts, the neighborhood shops out of business, the kids unable to attend school, and the near economic depression? Well, congratulations, a reprise may be coming your way if Joe Biden heeds his Covid-19 advisory team.

We’ve told you about Ezekiel Emanuel, the advisory committee member who wanted new lockdowns during the summer flare-up in the Sunbelt states. Lucky for the country that his only power then was appearing on MSNBC.

Then there’s Michael Osterholm, also a member of the Biden Covid committee, who now wants a new nationwide lockdown for as many as six weeks. Dr. Osterholm is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. CNBC quoted him as suggesting that we are about to enter “Covid hell” and the government should lock everyone up as we await a vaccine.

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” Dr. Osterholm said, according to Yahoo Finance. “If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks.”

Lockdowns are the good doctor’s household remedy. In August he and Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari argued for harsher lockdowns. “The problem with the March-to-May lockdown was that it was not uniformly stringent across the country. For example, Minnesota deemed 78 percent of its workers essential,” the duo wrote in the New York Times. “To be effective, the lockdown has to be as comprehensive and strict as possible.”

Did they learn anything from the spring and events since? Lockdowns don’t crush the virus. They merely delay its spread until the lockdowns end. Targeted restrictions on people and businesses may be needed in an emergency in some locations to prevent hospitals from being overrun—though even then the government can surge medical resources, as is now happening in El Paso.


The costs of severe lockdowns are horrendous. The U.S. is still recovering from the spring catastrophe when the jobless rate surged in two months to 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression. Tens of thousands of businesses closed and many will never reopen.
The human cost is even worse. A quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds have reported suicidal thoughts and increased substance abuse. Half of them reported symptoms consistent with a depressive disorder, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey in June. Some 13% of Americans said they started or increased substance use to cope with the pandemic.


Dr. Osterholm seems to think all of this harm can be alleviated if the government writes another giant check. But the feds have already appropriated nearly $3 trillion, the Federal Reserve is adding hundreds of billions, and the federal debt is now 100% of GDP and rising. Will $3 trillion more do it, or will we need $10 trillion?


This awful advice arrives as the economy continues to recover from the first shutdowns. Third-quarter growth was a record 33.1% and the fourth quarter has started strong. Continuing jobless claims fell again in Thursday’s weekly report by another 436,000, and new claims by 48,000. The U.S. has recovered more than half of the jobs it lost, and the jobless rate has fallen to 6.9%. Where would we be now if we’d have taken Dr. Osterholm’s advice in August, or Dr. Emanuel’s in June?


Covid cases are accelerating, to a worrying degree in some places. Hospitalizations are rising, and deaths will follow, though many fewer per infection than in the spring thanks to clinical advances in treating the disease. But we should have learned by now that the best response to these surges is to protect the vulnerable, maintain social-distance protocols and wear masks when in close quarters indoors while getting on as much as possible with normal life, education and commerce.


The Biden team would have more credibility on lockdowns if they and Mr. Biden were more consistent in their Covid admonitions. But they stayed silent about last weekend’s public celebrations over Mr. Biden’s declaration of victory, and we don’t recall their warnings during the summer racial-justice protests. No wonder so many Americans ignore Covid warnings when they see this double standard.


The problem with Mr. Biden’s advisory committee is that its members are part of the conformist Covid clerisy who think that lockdowns dictated from on high are good for the little people. He ought to diversify his advice by calling in the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration on the alternative policy of “focused protection.”


On current trend Mr. Biden will inherit a recovering economy and a pipeline of better Covid therapies and likely vaccines. His job will be to extend this progress, not to send the country back into the despond of April. If he does return to lockdowns, he’ll own the economic and public-health consequences.
 
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Re: Biden and Harris - the first 100 days

November 13th, 2020, 3:24 pm

As you know, I have a lot of respect for your work on volatility, so let's try to shift the discussion in that direction and also handle approaches to risk and uncertainty.

Simplistically, here are my personal observations and principles:

1) Precautionary principle first - don't know about virus properties, mutations, modes of contagion, and my own vulnerabilities (seem robust, but could have hidden inherited weaknesses (or strengths - T1 gene!)).
2) So - a combination of staying home, wearing mask from the beginning, and wearing medical grade gloves for opening doors, grocery shopping etc.
3) Try to establish the "ground truth" - it takes time and careful observation. As objective as possible - do not let ideology enter here. 
4) Policy solutions - compensation for individuals and businesses affected - they have tried, but it is slow and there has been gamesmanship; again a work in progress.
5) Encourage adaptation and acknowledge that some people have a very hard time with social distancing/"lock down" (why use a prison term in the first place? sets the wrong tone). Others are thriving - there is not a uniform behavioral response and so try to understand and address those variations.
6) Shutting Disney World down is not the end of the world; a 3x increase in cases in just a few weeks, as we have seen here in my state since October, is much more of a concern.
7) Herd immunity? Virus has about 5 strains and is mutating. This seems highly speculative and reckless, especially given health care system capacity issues, rights of health care workers, and mixed messaging to a naive population.
8) Zoonotic? Yes, now seeing from humans to minks back to humans in Denmark - with horrific consequences for the minks. 

There is more, but let's see if this floats...

Adapt and Survive! : )
The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images. - Guy Debord
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