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The Cookiepus Conspiracy

Mindless ramblings, leading to perfect clarity.
Sunday, December 07, 2003

I should like to point out the reason why many feel that anti-Israeli criticism is anti-Semetic in origin.

If you consider the history of the troubles and violence in the region, you will find anti-Jewish violence predating the creation of Israel itself (while it was a British mandate, that is) and a history of Arab wars against Israel that occured prior to the occupation of Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza. That violence was not about camps and civil rights or walls or extra-legal assacinations. It was anti-Jewish violence for clearly anti-Jewish reasons, same as the expelling of Jews from many countries in the region at the same time period.

It is clear that the conflict began with anti-Jewish violence and the basic causes of it have not been solved. Now, nearly half a century later, people who discuss the conflict do not discuss the history of it, they just discuss the status quo. They say "X arabs died this year and Y jews." The origins of the trouble are neglected and instead they gladly say that violence against Jews is justified because of the Arab situation, neglecting that the Arab situation was brought about and IS CONTINUED due to Arab violence against Jews. This view, even when voiced by someone who doesn't dislike jews and merely has this opinion because this is the context in which he was presented with the issues, is anti-Jewish in nature. "it doesn't matter why you jews are in the situation you are in, but those poor Arabs... we gotta help 'em"

The same issue comes up when you compare casualties. You say this many arabs died, this many jews died. It doesn't matter to you that many of the Jews died because someone walked in onto a bus or into a cafe with the intention to murder innocent people, and that many Arabs died as part of an anti-terror operation where effort was made to minimize civilian casualties. You're basically saying that the intentional murder of a jew is on the same level of attrocity as an accidental killing of an Arab while in pursuit of fighting terrorism. This glossing over nuance (it's not a real subtle difference, either) can appear to come from an anti-jewish bias, even if it's not. It's easy to ask "why do you dismiss purposeful murder of a jew in order to compare the two sides of the conflict".

That's not insignificant. History of anti-jewish (and I would imagine a lot of other) violence stems from twisted history and facts becoming part of the cultural conscious. The pogroms and WW2 camps are good examples of that. Racial violence in the US was also fostered by consistant cultural representations of, for example, african Americans.

That being said, most people I know who are critics of Israel are not aware as anti-semites. Just like those who celebrate columbus day and thanksgiving are not consciously anti-native American biggots. but to anyone with a sense of history and the desire for context, those people appear to be anti-native americans as they are celebrating the negative things that happened to these people.

If you want to criticize Israel, that's fine. But you better make an argument that confronts the many truths about the anti-Jewish nature and history of the conflict if you wish to be genuinely innocent of relying on bias and twisted of history in your position.

She looks good but I know she after my cheddar, she trying to get in my pockets and I ain't gonna let her.
"The study is based on a series of tests performed on 30 white undergraduate volunteers from Dartmouth. Initially, the volunteers were administered the IAT (online tests) consisting of associating African American names with positive and negative attributes. Performance in this test was used as baseline for assessing prejudices. Next, the volunteers met with either a white or black experimenter and conversed about topics like racial profiling and college social groups (like fraternities). Immediately after the conversation, the volunteers participated in a Stroop task. The study found a statistically mediated relation between racial bias and Stroop interference. Specifically, volunteers who met a black experimenter, performed worse on the Stroop task. In a separate session two weeks later, a fMRI scan was performed on the same volunteers while they were shown unfamiliar white or black male faces (PDF). The scans indicated that areas of the brain associated with cognitive control flared into activity proportionate to each volunteer's level of racial bias as measured by the IAT while viewing a black face, showing that higher racial bias is correlated with higher deployment of mental resources towards cognitive control.

I am curious as to why the Stroop task was picked as the measure here (it may be explained in the article... sorry if it is) For those who don't know, a Stroop task is when you have a bunch of color names (GREEN YELLOW RED ORANGE) written in different colors (so the word GREEN may be writen with RED ink, etc). Your job is to read those words and very quickly say "RED" because that's what the color of the ink is and NOT say green because that's what the actual word that's written is.

The idea is that the first word that pops into your head is going to be the one you read and you have to control yourself into saying "no it's written in RED, don't say green"

So what I am curious about is whether it's the actual idea of the experimenters that racists would actually be confused about colors. Kinda like "Ok my first instinct is to say BLACK because this guy is black, my second instinct is to say ORANGE cuz the word I am reading is orange and finally the right answer is GREEN because the text is written in green ink"

Or was the Stroop task just picked arbitrarily from a set of standard tools available to the psychologists?
What we're discussing here is the cost of new drugs — ones that have hit the market recently enough that the patent still holds and the cheaper "me-too" alternatives are not available.

Therefore, it's not profit on medicines that we're discussing, but profit on NEW medicines.

Which leads us here: drugs would undoubtedly be developed anyway, whether the drug companies made obscene profits on them or not. But it's not unreasonable to accept that w/o the intensive financia push, the drugs would be developed slower than they currently are. Why would a company spend money to bring out a product faster where it won't make any more money off of it than it does by selling existing products.

For simplicity's sake, let's say that patents keep drugs from becoming affordable for one decade since introduction. Since drugs take a long time to develop, test, and get aproved, let's say that lesser financial incentive will delay product introduction by a decade (not unreasonable, actually).

If we're counting from 2003, under both systems a drug would become affordable in 2013. Except that in the first case, it will already have been out for a decade — side-effects observed studied, acceptance established, whereas in the second scenario it would just be coming out .

From the point of view of affordability, it's the same. From the point of view of making the drug available earlier at least to some, as well as for the sake of advancing the science by having 10 extra years of study of the drug's performance, I think I can live with the idea of some company making a lot of money.
the bottom 10 percent of American workers earn just 37 percent of our
median wage, according to Shulman, their counterparts in other
industrialized countries earn upwards of 60 percent.

I thought it's a given that the economic spread is much wider in
the U.S. than in europe. The gap between the "low" wage and the
"median" wage in the U.S. must be attributed not only to the low pays
that people on the bottom get but to the generally high salaries
overall which are responsible for the median salary being higher and
therefore further away from the low.

Which leads me to the question to which an answer should have been
proposed in the writeup before any discussion could take place: what do
you want to happen? Is this really worth a revolutionary change? For
example, it was mentioned that some earn 8.70 an hour. If you work a 40
hour week w/o taking vacations (for the sake of simple math) you make
18,096 a year, or 36.1k per anum if two people in the family are
working. IIRC the tax bracket this puts you in is negligeble, so let's
say you take home 30k at the end of the year after your local, state,
and federal. If you live in a not-so-good neighborhood in NYC, you can
probably have a place for under 800 a month. If you pay 800, you spend
9,600 a year on rent, leaving you w. 26.5k. Let's say you cook for
yourself and bargain-shop meaning you can feed your family of four for
$20 a day ($7,300 / year) you end up with 19.2k. Say you also live in
NYC so you do not own a car but spend 4 bucks a day (x2 working people)
on transit fares, comes out to 1,920, leaving you with 17.3. So you
have your 17 and a half thousand for clothing, misc. household
supplies, etc. If you are this poor, your children get health coverage
from the state (in NY, anyway) and free school lunch. You don't need to
worry about college for them, since at your income level they will
receive a lot of federal financial aid, and if that's not sufficient,
interest free loans. But you better not get sick!

That being said, I would hate to go back to being in a 36k/year
household (we were one, for a good chunk of the 1990's) but it's not
impossible to manage — and it's certainly not impossible for children
of such households to obtain education and go into the 70k+ household
Recently France and Germany went ahead with a larger-than-allowed-to-be-for-a-Euro-country debt (against protest from the rest of the Euro nations, I believe) for the sake of increasing their economies. Unless those governments are being reckless (which is not what we usually think of for those two nations since we like to contrast our own leadership to them), they are making a gamble that is justified.

I don't have my numbers here (but if requested will look for them — if someone else could post them it would be great) — it would be nice to compare the % OF GDP debt that US has vs. that which France and Germany are shooting for, and factor in the usual growth rate of the US economy vs. those two.

It could very well turn out that the cost of debt is well worth it thanks to the return it creates in stimulating the economy. Perhaps projections 10 years ahead (whatever they're worth) show that the US has more to lose by being in a stagnant economy for another, say, 5 years, than by incurring debt but getting the economy churning again — which it is)

If you think about it, companies go into debt for two reasons. One: they're broke and need capital to stay afloat. This makes people reluctant to buy their bonds, and very costly for these firms to borrow. Two: the firms are doing very well, making it, conversely, easy and cheap for them to borrow money, and they decide that they can profitably float bonds in order to raise capital for future expansion. For companies like that, you don't point to their debt and say it's a sinking ship.

One of the benefits of being the Federal Government of the United States is that you're considered the safest investment risk — which means you can borrow money very cheaply — cheaper than any company or foreign government. As such, you can afford to go into debt to spur on economic growth — and as highlighted by the Clinton admin's going from a deficit to a surplus, a prolonged economic boom can be sufficient to raise money to cover the debt.


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