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Comments by pk

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Posted on May 13 at 10:39 a.m.

I realize that the Independent doesn't have the resources to check the claims of every supposed healer or purveyor of wisdom, ancient or otherwise, but surely its readers deserve better than a credulous transcription of these people's self-aggrandizing revelations.

On The Gokhale Method

Posted on May 13 at 10:19 a.m.

An unsourced claim that this has been heralded as "one of the greatest contributions ever made to nonsurgical back-pain treatment"?

How could the Independent even consider publishing this as anything other than a paid advertisement?

Any editor there care to comment?

On The Gokhale Method

Posted on April 16 at 8:15 a.m.

Botany.

Asia (and Africa) have had high growth rates since the 1960s. This says absolutely nothing about some supposed causal connection between the tax policies of the European nations, their economic growth, the well-being of its citizens, including access to health care, higher education, and economic opportunities, and in turn the effects of those on economic growth.

In addition, according to your reasoning, lowering the top tax rates should lead to greater economic growth. And yet it doesn't. http://www.businessinsider.com/study-...

Attributing the economic problems of some of the European nations to this one supposed cause while ignoring the multiple factors behind the financial crisis and deep worldwide recession is nonsense.

And your bashing of France in this context is based on what exactly?
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013...

As to your general claim, well,
"There is, it turns out, a fair bit of variation among euro area countries in the amount of redistribution — and there is actually a positive correlation between redistribution and growth over the post-crisis period, significant at the 10 percent level."
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014...

Finally,
"On average, across countries and over time, the things that governments have typically done to redistribute do not seem to have led to bad growth outcomes, unless they were extreme. And the resulting narrowing of inequality helped support faster and more durable growth, apart from ethical, political, or broader social considerations."
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/s...

On A Fair American Flat Tax

Posted on April 15 at 9:09 p.m.

Botany. Which numbers do you think prove what?

On A Fair American Flat Tax

Posted on April 15 at 7:29 p.m.

Botany. I assume you have the relevant figures for all of the European economies, including the effects on the quality of life of their populations. Please provide them.

On A Fair American Flat Tax

Posted on April 15 at 2:07 p.m.

"This is social redistribution of wealth: Un-American and unfair."

Nope.

Here's Paul Krugman, referring to a recent book by Thomas Piketty:

The modern notion that redistribution and “penalizing success” is un- and anti-American is completely at odds with our country’s actual history. One subsection in Piketty’s book is titled 'Confiscatory Taxation of Excess Incomes: An American Invention'; he shows that America actually pioneered very high taxes on the rich:

"When we look at the history of progressive taxation in the twentieth century, it is striking to see how far out in front Britain and the United States were, especially the latter, which invented the confiscatory tax on “excessive” incomes and fortunes."

Why was this the case? Piketty points to the American egalitarian ideal, which went along with fear of creating a hereditary aristocracy. High taxes, especially on estates, were motivated in part by “fear of coming to resemble Old Europe.” Among those who called for high estate taxation on social and political grounds was the great economist Irving Fisher.

Just to reemphasize the point: during the Progressive Era, it was commonplace and widely accepted to support high taxes on the rich specifically in order to keep the rich from getting richer — a position that few people in politics today would dare espouse.

...many people nowadays imagine that redistribution and high taxes on the rich are antithetical to American ideals, indeed practically communism. They have no idea (and wouldn’t believe) that redistribution is in reality as American as apple pie.

On A Fair American Flat Tax

Posted on April 11 at 7:33 a.m.

Tam, although you might find the answers provided by what I suppose you would call "non-deep" science to be "increasingly dissatisfying and, frankly, depressing," many others in an increasingly secular and even atheistic age apparently do not. So perhaps the need isn't for "deeper" science but for deeper understanding that (to paraphrase Karl Krauss on psychoanalysis) the search for "meaningful meaning" is the disease for which it purports to be the cure.

On Finding Meaning in a Meaningless World

Posted on March 29 at 7:12 a.m.

In other words, as pointed out by people who actually know what they're talking about, Chopra's ignorance of quantum physics, molecular biology, religion and spirituality, and other fields hasn't kept him from making a rather good living from selling that ignorance to an eager audience. The only remaining question is whether he's a conscious fraud in addition to being a fool. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on that one and accept that he might actually believe the load of nonsense he dishes out in such vacuous abundance to his fellow miseducated seekers of New Age wisdom.

On Deepak Chopra

Posted on March 28 at 10:51 p.m.

salsipuedes: How about some details or at least a link to support your claim that the audience who will pay to hear Chopra is "respected and well educated"? Or some logic behind the astoundingly ridiculous notion that his "good reception" (please provide a link) in La Jolla is evidence that he's "one of the leading intellects of our time"? The arguments you present on his behalf are pretty good evidence of your own inability to distinguish sense from nonsense. You might want to start here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepak_C... or here http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/200... or here http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/20... or here http://www.catholic.com/magazine/arti...

On Deepak Chopra

Posted on March 22 at 9:03 a.m.

No Frank, it isn't about money spent or saved, and it's imbecilic to carry on as if that's what that this is about. If you're going to deny people their constitutional rights (which, by the way, do not include "the right to not feel uncomfortable at the presence or thought of dark-skinned youths"), you had better have a well-documented significant state interest in doing so. Crying out about Crime! Schoolchildren! Fear! isn't enough.

"How crass, how narrow-minded and short-sighted to hang the future of our young people on the red herring of money." Or the red herring of pretending that the only issue that needs to be addressed is that of money.

On Why I Support the Civil Gang Injunction

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