Cellar Door Skeptics 169: Budgeting for a Crisis

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This episode brings an analysis of the Trump budget. The duo looks at the differences between last year’s budget, this years budget and how it compares to other administrations budgets. They also look at the history of the deficit VS GDP and if Trump’s claim that Obama was worse fiscally than him is true or not. If that was not enough they also look into a conservative analysis of the federal deficit for a unique perspective.

The show ends as usual with Tanner and Hanna’s quick saves of the week.

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Links
——–
Segment: Trump’s budget plan
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_of_the_United_States
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_United_States_public_debt
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/trump-proposes-47-trillion-budget-with-domestic-cuts-86-billion-in-wall-funding/2019/03/11/de11cfa4-43fe-11e9-90f0-0ccfeec87a61_story.html?utm_term=.95ef101bd788&noredirect=on
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-releases-budget-seeks-billions-more-for-border-wall-and-work-requirements-for-welfare
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/11/us/politics/trump-budget.html
https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/budget-fy2019.pdf
https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/budget-fy2020.pdf
https://www.thebalance.com/us-deficit-by-year-3306306
https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2018/nov/02/five-charts-about-debt/
https://www.pgpf.org/chart-archive/0023_federal-deficit-surplus
——–
Quick Saves
Tanner: Death Metal doesn’t breed violence
https://to.pbs.org/2VZnJlb
Hanna: The Next Step in Human Evolution
https://youtu.be/_ZpVSgclw2M
https://www.npr.org/2019/03/08/701632247/love-sex-and-robots

Cellar Door Skeptics 167: Will the Real Israel Please Stand Up

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During this episode we head back to warmer waters of our podcast by bringing back some of our traditional segments. This week the team talks about Cohen and his little quips he threw out every few minutes. Also they talk through a new proposed Michigan Road Tax that Tanner asks the honest question of how to pay for the roads if the people do not want more taxes. The show continues to the final segment with a discussion on the current state of Israel, the corruption of the current government, and what the future will hold if the Prime Minister is convicted and removed from office.

The show ends on the usual note talking about their Quick Saves of the week.

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Intro
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/27/us/politics/cohen-documents-testimony.html
Segment: discussion on tax increases in Michigan
http://via.wxmi.com/FRzfV
https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/03/04/gretchen-whitmer-proposes-45-cent-gas-tax-hike-to-fix-roads/3057483002/
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/budget/FY19_Exec_Budget_613184_7.pdf
https://www.bridgemi.com/special-report/michigan-gives-more-tax-breaks-it-collects-schools-government
Segment on science:
https://www.sciencealert.com/a-2d-material-can-purify-10-litres-of-water-in-under-an-hour-using-only-light
https://www.cell.com/chem/fulltext/S2451-9294(18)30572-2
Segment on Israeli Prime Minister’s potential indictment.
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2019/03/04/the-end-is-nigh-for-netanyahu/
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/netanyahus-corruption-charges-have-republicans-preparing-for-life-after-bibi
https://www.apnews.com/78b9a30dc13743158aca5dd90c35dbac
https://www.apnews.com/42d795e65dc14376ad6301aa99275987

Quicksaves
Hanna: Welcome to the millennial political machine, new and improved with extra atheists.
https://youtu.be/6Yg9MfgdbRg?t=1226
Tanner: Space X Finally comes through.
https://www.businessinsider.com/spacex-crew-dragon-capsule-nasa-demo1-mission-iss-docking-2019-3?r=US&IR=T

Cellar Door Skeptics 166: Black History Month & More with The Triple C’s

This show’s guest for the night is Christopher Banks, whom is currently running for the State House in Michigan in 2020. He joins us tonight to discuss Black History Month, share his stories, and help give credit to the minorities who have helped shape this country. Without Minorities, we would not be the nation we are today. We discuss the origins of Black History Month, experiences with helping others learn about black culture and contributions, all while enjoying each other’s company. The show is almost like the trifecta of Christopher’s as there are three on this episode. The team even gets Mr. Banks to throw out a Quick Save as they look at what they learned for the week.

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Intro Music: http://aloststateofmind.com/

Local Charity of the Week: The Book Industry Charitable Foundation
https://greatnonprofits.org/org/book-industry-charitable-foundation
https://www.bincfoundation.org/
Segment: Black History Month with Christopher Banks
https://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/
https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/
https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/celebrate-black-history-month/
https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/blog/black-history-month-for-white-people
https://blavity.com/why-there-is-no-white-history-month
Quicksave
Hanna: Chris Hanna is a half red
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ezv38a/why-do-so-many-men-have-red-beards-but-not-red-hair?utm_source=reddit.com
Tanner: The only border wall i support.
https://www.facebook.com/priley01/posts/10218036494479329
Banks: Pyramids of Power
https://phys.org/news/2018-07-reveals-great-pyramid-giza-focus.html

Cellar Door Skeptics 163: Tanner Goes to Jesus Camp

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This week has been a long week for the team. This episode comes a day late as the team is trying to catch up on work and home life. But do not fear they managed to put together a thoughtful episode this week. It begins with a discussion on the Super Bowl, The Ads, and Trump’s State of the Union Address. They continue the show with a look at the charity of the week, Camp Quest Michigan. They tell stories about their camp experiences and how it affected their lives. The show ends with a discussion about Jesus Camp, how it related to Tanner’s upbring and camp experiences, and a look into what Hanna may encounter when his children grow up and want to go to camp.

“Democrats Want Open Borders and Hate Walls!” Or Do They…?

Just to be clear, dear conservatives, I have been seeing posts and videos about the supposed “HYPOCRISY” of Democrats and their leadership over border wall spending; just to be sure you are talking about the how they voted for Comprehensive Immigration bills in October 2006 and April 2013 and the passage of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 right? You know, three times where Democrats voted for walls and security and fences and patrols!… Wonder why they did that if they want open borders? Hypocrisy, or at least its definition, more accurately resembles how you are able to make both these claims at the same time… But I digress…

Well, I’ve pulled 4 bills that are relevant here and they are listed below. For the first House Bill I did not include an analysis because its extreme nature made it a non starter even for many Republicans, but it is a reason why the Secure Fence Act passed so it is necessary to include herein.

So, here we go.

  • H.R.4437 – Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005
    • Extreme yuck, you go look it up.
  • S.2611 – Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (Schumer, Biden, Clinton, Obama Yea Votes) 5/25/2006
    • The major difference between H.R. 4437 and S. 2611 was the proposed legalization for illegal immigrants in S. 2611. The Senate legislation allowed illegal immigrants who have been in the country for more than five years, estimated to be 7 million in number, to apply for citizenship by paying fines and back taxes. Illegal immigrants who have been in the country for 2 to 5 years, numbering around 3 million, would be allowed to stay in the country without fear of deportation, but after 3 years would have to leave the U.S. and could apply for citizenship abroad. Those in the country for under 2 years would be required to return to their original nations. Thus, with some waiting, 10 million illegal immigrants could be eligible to become citizens. The fine is around $2000, but some sources say it could have been higher.
    • The Bill also introduces a H-2C visa, or “blue card.” This visa allows employers to bring in outside workers for up to 6 years, after which the employee must spend one year in their original country. The Bill proposes 370 miles (600 km) of fencing along highly populated areas near the border; H.R. 4437 proposes 700 miles (1,100 km) of fencing.
    • The Bill does not mention any expanded role for local law enforcement for border enforcement tasks (primarily for interior enforcement) the way that H.R. 4437 does. There is an added clause, the Inhofe Amendment, an English-only proposal that makes English the “national language” of the United States aiming at discouraging services in any other language than English (YUCK but an obvious compromise to get a vote and one that should not have been made…).
    • The bill would also increase the annual cap for H-1B work visas from 65,000 to 115,000, with an automatic 20% increase year on year, thus increasing the number of information technology and other professionals from foreign countries eligible to work in the U.S. It also would lower the standard by which judges determine who is eligible for refugee status from “clear and convincing evidence” to “substantial evidence.”
    • It would allow illegal immigrants who later become legal to collect Social Security benefits based on social security credits earned while they were illegal. Also, the United States federal government would have to consult with Mexican officials before commencement of any fence construction on the U.S. side of the border.
    • This bill has been compared to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
  • H.R.6061 – Secure Fence Act of 2006 9/14/06
    • Democrats normally in favor of looser immigration laws saw the Secure Fence Act of 2006 as the lesser of two evils, according to a Boston Globe report that detailed the legislative process. Around that same time, the House passed legislation that would make any undocumented immigrant a felon.
    • “It didn’t have anywhere near the gravity of harm,” Angela Kelley, who in 2006 was the legislative director for the National Immigration Forum, told the Boston Globe. “It was hard to vote against it because who is going to vote against a secure fence? And it was benign compared with what was out there.” (H.R.4437…)
  • S.744 – Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act 2013 (Schumer, Sanders Yea Votes)
    • The bill dealt with immigration reform. It proposed to increase some security along the southern US border with Mexico, allow long-term illegal immigrants to gain legal status, and to increase the number of guest workers over and above those already present in the U.S. through a new “blue card” visa program.
    • The sponsor of the Bill, Senator Arlen Specter, introduced it on April 7, 2006. It was passed on May 25, 2006, by a vote of 62-36. Cloture was invoked, which limited debate to a 30-hour period. The parallel House Bill H.R. 4437 would have dealt with immigration differently. Neither bill became law because the two Houses were not able to reach an agreement to go to a conference committee. The end of the 109th Congress (January 3, 2007) marked the defeat of both bills.
    • The bill was voted out of Committee on May 21, 2013 and was placed on the Senate calendar. On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed the bill on 68-32 margin. The bill was not considered by THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY HELD United States House of Representatives and died in the 113th Congress.
    • If enacted, the bill would have made it possible for many undocumented immigrants to GAIN LEGAL STATUS AND EVENTUALLY CITIZENSHIP. It would have increased border security by adding up to 40,000 border patrol agents. It also would have advanced TALENT BASED immigration through a points-based immigration system (you know like Trumpy and the Republicans say they want).
    • New visas had been proposed in this legislation, including a visa for entrepreneurs and a W visa for lower skilled workers. It also proposed new restrictions on H1B visa program to PREVENT ITS ABUSE and additional visas/green-cards for students with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees from U.S. institutions. The bill also included a $1.5 billion youth jobs program and repealed the Diversity Visa Lottery in favor of prospective legal immigrants who are already in the United States.
    • The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated this reform bill would have reduced the U.S. fiscal deficit by US $197 billion over the next ten years and by $700 billion by 2033. Its report also states that, if the bill had been passed, U.S. wages would have been 0.1 percent lower in 2023 and 0.5 percent higher in 2033 than under current law. The Social Security Administration said that it would help add $276 billion in revenue over the next 10 years while costing only $33 billion.

So yeah, in 2006 with a 1/3 legislative minority the Democrats took a lesser of two evils strategic step and in 2013 supported a comprehensive moderate immigration bill that added border security but also made immigration safe, legal, and fair. One that was not even considered by House Leader John Boehner. Sure, Sanders and Obama and Hillary and Schumer and Pelosi have a history of voting for border security, just like you forgot to read what was actually in the bills.

In conclusion, #Maga Men and Women, your criticisms and smoking guns are generally a bad argument since the Democrat’s bills had much of what you and your president have recently demanded but you wouldn’t vote for it when Obama was in office. Its not my fault you chose to be obstructionists instead of politicians, but you need to at least read something before you say it proves that you are winning.

GOP Fat Tax Plan Cash Windfall for the Few and $39 for Grandpa and Grandma…

The government has increased the social security rate for retirees to account for increases in cost of living. The value? $39 a month or $468 per year.

Just for contextual reference that’s $468 for the approximately 61 million monthly recipients. Totaling $28.548 billion. Man, that’s a lot of cheddar.

So let’s compare the tax reform costs too!Taxpayers in the top 1% — defined as those making over $730,000 — would receive 20% of the total tax cut from the bill. They’d get an average cut of $37,000, which translates to about 2.4% of their after-tax income. That’s $3,083 a month folks.

The IRS publishes some data but they don’t have a $730,000 cut off. For people above $500,000, there were 1,245,279 tax returns in 2014 that had $500,000 or more. So with a quick cutoff of 250k people I will assume 1 million $730k plus returns.

So… $37,000 * 1,000,000 top earners = $3.7 billion as the cost to the government to give people who almost make a million dollars a year $37,000 more but 61 times more people who are retired are only given $468 more. Thanks GOP, you are almost helping.

https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-individual-statistical-tables-by-size-of-adjusted-gross-income

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-tax-plan-rich-people-benefits-2017-11

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/11/your-social-security-check-will-get-a-2point8percent-boost-in-2019.html

Cellar Door Skeptics 140: Death of a Military Parade

Special Guest: Boyce L of Mindful Skeptics Podcast

Trump is at it again blaming others for the failings of his team and the governments unwillingness to support his military parade. The parade has been called off by Trump and we have the latest discussion on why Trump thinks it is ridiculous he had to cancel his military parade.

If that put you in too much of a sad clown mood, the team decided to cover the top 100 horror stories ever written. NPR categorized the top 100 horror stories and the team decides to talk through all the nostalgia of their youth growing up reading some amazing stories.

They transition into talking about a new wear resistant alloy metal that could revolutionize how often parts break down. A new discovery has happened where a team has discovered platinum gold alloy that does not have as much wear and tear as other metals. This could change how we make things and how we can reduce the amount of waste in our environment.

Lastly Chris Squared talk about Manafort and the charges that he could be facing. While this is nothing new, they look at what it would mean for Trump to pardon him, if Trump will pardon him, and what that means for other countries.

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Links
——
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-cancels-military-parade-blames-dc-officials-high-cost-n901576
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/08/19/mulvaney-money-not-only-factor-trump-military-parade-delay/1036602002/
https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/17/politics/trump-cancels-military-parade/index.html
https://www.npr.org/2018/08/16/632779706/click-if-you-dare-100-favorite-horror-stories
https://share-ng.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/resistant_alloy/
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/19/trump-ukraine-manafort-trial-788028
https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/manafort-trial/index.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/us/politics/manafort-trial-trump.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/31/us/politics/paul-manafort-trial.html

Cellar Door Skeptics 135: The Darkest Timeline – This week in American Politics

Cellar Door Skeptics returns with a more serious episode. Tanner and Hanna talk about how America has entered the darkest timeline. Society seems to continue to feel like we live in Bizarro World as Trump creates a denaturalization taskforce. This is not as funny as space force was because it is setup to start deporting citizens. To help ease some of the bad news this week, the duo talk about their love of the local art museum,what it was like to see a dragon exhibit, and how even as skeptics we love some of the romanticised ideas of the past. They close the show out by talk about Trump’s new pick and how maybe he is the new Forest Gump of republican politics.

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Links
——
https://www.theroot.com/trump-creates-denaturalization-task-force-to-pursue-d-1827372139
https://www.npr.org/2018/07/04/625980910/white-house-launches-effort-to-take-citizenship-from-those-who-lied-to-get-it
https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-updates-notice-appear-policy-guidance-support-dhs-enforcement-priorities
https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Laws/Memoranda/Static_Files_Memoranda/NTA%20PM%20%28Approved%20as%20final%2011-7-11%29.pdf
https://www.npr.org/2018/07/09/626773440/u-s-army-is-discharging-immigrant-recruits-who-were-promised-citizenship?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20180710
——
https://www.grpm.org/dragons/
——
https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/09/politics/trump-supreme-court-pick/index.html
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/10/brett-kavanaugh-presidential-investigations-708705
https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/09/politics/kavanaugh-on-the-issues/index.html
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/09/brett-kavanaugh-trumps-supreme-court-nominee-helped-write-starr-report.html
http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/396223-hundreds-protest-kavanaughs-nomination-outside-supreme-court
https://www.npr.org/2018/07/10/627504728/brett-kavanaugh-supported-broad-leeway-for-presidents-under-investigation
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/7/9/17537808/supreme-court-brett-kavanaugh-right-cartoon
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/10/brett-kavanaugh-donald-trumps-supreme-court-nominee/

The Blind Facebook Algorithm is Eating Anti-Racism

An old post where I was disparaging racism and white nationalists was flagged on Facebook and I was banned for a day today and tomorrow… The following is a paraphrase of what was in the post…

 

Tucker Carlson recently espoused something frighteningly close to blatant white nationalism; he said: “Their goal is to change your country forever and they are succeeding by the way.”

 

That statement — “Their goal is to change your country forever” — is hideously close to the 14 words white supremacists and little Nazis like Stephen Miller like to spout.

 

14 words: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

 

If this is the country they want, I would agree with Tucker. My goal is to change this country forever to one where bitter old men don’t decide it’s fine to abuse brown people and children. If that’s what he means, then fine. And let’s consign Fox News to the garbage bin of history while we’re at it too.

 

Credit to the following site for the great thoughts.

https://crooksandliars.com/2018/06/tucker-carlson-goes-full-kkk-their-goal

 

So the zuckerberg algorithm just assumes that if those words are in a group that its racism? The AI apocalypse is hardly in danger if simple context is simply impossible…

 

Just another reason I don’t see a long future with Facebook for me.

-Chris Hanna

Focus on the Family is Spreading HIV for the Lord

The Trump administration has teamed up with Focus on the Family to fight the HIV and AIDS epidemic happening in South Africa and we are going to break down the numbers RIGHT NOW.

An affiliate of Focus on the Family (FOTF) received a $49,505 grant under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

A 200 piece Bulk Ultra Thin Large Quantity Super Tough Latex Condom package costs = $35.63 *giggle

So using the whole grant: $49,505 / $35.63 = we get 1389.42 packages

And in total 1389 packages x 200 condoms = 277,800 condoms for just under $50,000

That could allow us to do the following:
277,800 condoms / 7000 students = 39 condoms for each student. This would also leave over 4600 condoms left over ’cause rounding.

So what do we have for $49,505? 7,000 students would get 39 condoms (think back to how many condoms YOU used when you were still in school or does this just prove that I was a nerd…) which could make a serious difference in the safe sexual exploration of budding young adults. But why the 7,000 number? What is the relevance? Ask, and ye shall receive…

“Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family is tasked with using these funds to prevent HIV and AIDS by implementing its global abstinence-only purity pledge program, called ‘No Apologies,’ to 7,000 ‘learners’ in 90 schools in South Africa between October 2017 and September 2018.”

So yeah, that money goes into a salary, for an evangelical, to tell children: Don’t have sex ’cause evil demon fire. To which I assume, the children said “suuuuuuure old white western person”, then promptly did whatever the hell they wanted as soon as the bell rang (I know I would have).

But there is also this: a quick search online shows a box of 12 condoms is 479 Rands or roughly $40 US Dollars

South Africa falls somewhere in the middle of the industrialized world, with a median salary at the dollar equivalent of US $36,180, adjusted for purchasing power parity. So how often with a salary of under 40K would you buy $40 condoms? Remember, that salary value has to trickle down to the kids and asking for condom money is probably one of the LAST things teens are willing to do. So a teen, in a country with a equalized median income of roughly 61% of the US median income, has to pay 4 times what we do here for the same quantity of HIV preventing “Devil Socks”.

But even better, studies have shown that if you teach ACTUAL SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION the unwanted pregnancy rate, STD rate, and general sexual stupidity quotient of a region is drastically reduced.

So spend that money on condoms or education if you really want to help, because the numbers clearly show that if you use Focus on the Family’s godly word you will spread disease and pestilence in what I can only say is a very Biblical way.