Tuesday, June 20, 2017

American Intelligence Test: Gerrymandering - Would You Trust A Political Party With Your Freedom?

The Supreme Court of the United States has decided to hear another case on Gerrymandering. The case has the potential to be important if for no other reason than it deals with a fundamental pillar of our democratic system: the equality of every vote. I am sure that it will come as no surprise that one of the most corruptive and unethical elements of our political process has attempted to use their office to abuse, deny and erode our freedoms: Yes, the political parties.
While it is neither unexpected nor unreasonable for political parties to seek to maintain their influence and power; it is nonetheless a vile, dishonorable, immoral, and ignoble means to place their interests above America’s principle of freedom and democracy. Power may corrupt the good, but imagine what power does to those who start out floating in the cess-pool.
On the issue of gerrymandering that will be before the Court, the question and decision may turn on how the Justices understand and view the fundamental rights of citizens when challenged by the interests of political parties. One dimension of this issue will surely focus on the “states’ rights” versus individual’s rights and an insistence of this being a federal government over-reach interfering with those “state’s rights”.

How would you judge? Well before you answer, you might want to see how you’d answer the following questions. [You may also want to consider the arguments that will be made by both sides on the case when argued before the Supreme Court.] Determining what principle(s) are paramount to other conflicting principles will depend upon how you understand and value the respective factors. How the Justices do, we will have to wait and see. Let’s hope that they have principles and values that illuminate our freedoms.
Question A:   What is the objective of gerrymandering?
(1). To group voting districts by income levels
(2). To insure a balanced distribution of population with geographic area within a state
(3). To protect incumbent politicians’ reelection chances
(4). To create voting districts that allow one political party to dominate votes
(5). To create voting districts that dilute one or more groups’ influence in election outcomes
(6). To create voting districts that aggregate areas with shared/common interests
Question B:   Who engages in gerrymandering?
(1). Politicians
(2). Voters
(3). Federal Election Commission
(4). The political party currently in the majority in a state after a census
(5). Congress
(6). State legislatures
(7). Federal and Supreme Courts
(8). Commissions that perform redistricting tasks for a given state
Question C:   Do you live in a state were districts are gerrymandered?
(1). Yes
(2). No
(3). I don’t know
Question D:   What factors do you believe are appropriate to use in creating voting districts?
(1). Income level
(2). Race / Ethnicity
(3). Political party
(4). Religious affiliation
(5). Educational level
(6). Economic interests
(7). Business interests
(8). Geography
(9). Population density
(10). None
Question E:    Is gerrymandering legal or illegal in the US?
(1). Legal
(2). Illegal
(3). I don’t know
Question F:    Should there be a penalty for states or their politicians where a court finds them guilty of political gerrymandering?
(1). Yes
(2). No
Question G:   Is it possible to create voting districts that are free from gerrymandering?
(1). Yes
(2). No
Question H:   What prevents political parties from engaging in gerrymandering?
(1). It’s illegal
(2). Nothing
(3). Federal and Supreme Courts
(4). Federal Election Commission
(5). Voting Rights Act
(6). Congress
(7). States’ judiciaries
(8). Access to Information (the ‘light of day’)

Answers:
Answer - A:  3, 4 and/or 5
Rationale - A:      Gerrymandering is the process of creating an electoral advantage for one political party over another/others. Items 3, 4 and 5 represent conditions or instances of what would constitute the purpose of gerrymandering.

2 is a requirement of establishing voting districts that are equally apportioned by the state’s population. This constrains or limits what can be done in creating voting districts whether gerrymandering is being attempted or not.

6 is a dimension/factor that is used to explain situations that appear to have no other rational justification for deviating from other rules/guidelines used in redistricting processes.

Whether 1 is used in redistricting is possible but may not be driven by a gerrymandering objective or may be, it would require additional information to make any assessment of its purpose.
Answer - B:  1, 4, 6
Rationale - B:      Given the objectives of gerrymandering in Question A, the state politicians and political entities are the agents of gerrymandering. The extent to which they engage varies by how overtly, covertly, or casually these individuals and groups feel they can get by with it and that they need it to achieve their objectives.

Commissions (8) may or may not engage in gerrymandering. Just because a commission was established doesn’t mean that it isn’t in service to the dominate political group in the state.

Voters (2) are the objects of gerrymandering and not directly involved in it. Of course some voters may be pleased with the results of gerrymandering to the extent that it unequally serves their interests at the expense of other voters.

The FEC (3) is basically a political entity that serves the interests of the political parties, so they don’t interfere with what the parties do.

Congress is a primary beneficiary of gerrymandering, so they don’t get in the way.

The courts (federal level) hold gerrymandering as illegal; however, the identification of when a redistricting plan is gerrymandered versus when it is not, is not a determination that comes without difficulty.
Answer - C:  43 states have more than one congressional district and thus provide the opportunity for gerrymandering. Since politicians are involved directly or indirectly in these states’ redistricting efforts, the probability for gerrymandering abuse increases with every state that has more than 2 districts (that is, 38).
Rationale - C:      Thirty-seven states establish voting districts through their legislatures.

There are seven (7) states only have one voting district and thus cannot engage in gerrymandering. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t just that they can’t, and must use other means to influence the voting process.

Five (5) states use commissions to perform redistricting. This doesn’t mean that politics and politicians are unable to accomplish gerrymandering via those commissions but they have to do it more indirectly.

One (1) states uses non-partisan staff to perform the task which the legislature votes on. Does this mean they do or don’t gerrymander? No, an evaluation of the process would be necessary to determine if it is just accomplished via a different mechanism than most states.
Answer - D:  8 is the best answer. 6 and 7 have some validity. 9 may play some role.
Rationale - D:      By their very nature districts have to be geographically (8) defined. It stands to reason that there are aspects of geography that may provide a reasonable and logical basis for justifying their alignment with one regional district over another. Of course, this requires that an opposite adjustment/alignment is required to off-set that division.

Tied to geography may be economic or business considerations that would be the basis for an alignment decisions above (8) with its corresponding offset/trade in population representation.

Race and ethnicity are factors that present problems since one of the goals of gerrymandering may be focused on negating or diluting the voting influence of groups based on race or ethnicity, which means that these factors are relevant but how to accommodate them is one of the dimensions of the redistricting process that has to be understood and justified.

1, 4 and 5 are not appropriate factors to drive districting decisions.
Answer - E:  2
Rationale - E:      Gerrymandering is illegal. This is contingent upon a redistricting effort as having been conducted with the intention of providing a political advantage to one party over others. The politicians of course in states where they work to gerrymander the districts will insist that they had such intentions. Given the level of trust we all have in politicians, we would thus expect few to no cases of gerrymandering in the US.

If you don’t know, perhaps you might want to consider if you are an informed voter and whether you should thus vote.
Answer - F:  Yes
Rationale - F:      The reason for a penalty for the politicians is that a basic principle in our form of government is that if you break the law, you should pay a price for doing so. If there is no real penalty for engaging in gerrymandering then there is no reason not to do it.
Answer - G:  Yes
Rationale - G:     With today’s knowledge, technology, and information there is no reason that the states’ districting processes cannot be open, well-defined, democratic, verifiable, and following the principles and values of our nation and its people. The fact that our political leaders cannot find it in their personal honor, integrity and fealty of office is simply emblematic of the corruptive nature of our political parties.
Answer - H:  2

Rationale - H:      The ongoing, recurring and persistent implementation of gerrymandered districts, of defeats in court cases, and in the self-evident topography of their plans is empirical evidence that our parties and politicians are addicted to gerrymandering.

Despite being illegal, the courts (3) are the only entities that will intervene when cases are brought forward; but this requires a responsive approach as opposed to a preventative one. Gerrymandering is permitted unless an after the fact charge is made that voters rights were violated. The concept of preventing the violation at the beginning is absent from our current environment.

It’s not hard to fix the process or to prevent the illegality; but there must be a reason to make engaging in gerrymandering more unpalatable than abiding by our democratic principles and values.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

American Intelligence Test: The Economy Is To Benefit Whom? Wall Street and Regulation

Congress is moving to deregulate the financial industry on the premise that it will unleash the economy and spur investment, growth and jobs. The justification for doing this is that the regulations (Dodd-Frank) are stifling our economy, jobs growth, business investment, harming consumers, trade, and American competitiveness. Certainly, there is nothing undesirable in hoping to achieve a better and stronger economy, creating more and better paying jobs, strengthening the private sector, securing more wealth for our citizens, increasing our domestic side of trade performance, and being more competitive in the global arena. But just because the aspirational justification for Congress’ decisions are aligned with a goal that every American would want, doesn’t mean that those decisions are necessarily correct or appropriate to achieving those ends. So, it’s not as ‘simple’ as how our politicians operate, that is, wishing for what they want because they have ideological principles that they ‘believe’ bring about the type of results that they want. If their ideology delivered what they wanted, you will have to explain why following them in the past has been erratic, contradictory (sometimes a success, sometimes a failure), differing by who’s in control politically, and changing as non-politicians demonstrate that the politicians were completely wrong and/or incompetent.

This leaves us with the obvious issue regarding the forthcoming deregulation: Is it informed and based on reality (laws of physics, principles of economics, and societal values) or is it an instance of following ideological views that are not informed by reality? Now if the ideology is informed that would be promising but only if our understanding of what’s real is accurate. Since there are multiple ideologies, they can’t all be correct; in fact, there is no guarantee that any of them are. The most likely is that some will be better than others, and parts of those are reliable and parts are just wishful. Finding the parts that really work is smart, and finding the parts that don’t and discarding them is even smarter. This explains why politicians never question their ideologies. It imposes a requirement on them that they cannot provide. It’s why we rely upon those who pursue scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematics skills to create the advances that deliver the things that constitute our society and its economy.

So, what do our politicians’ ideological views and their financial regulatory reform tell us about what they think versus what they know? How about you?
Question A:   Which measures determine how well/poor the economy is doing?
(1). Stock Market value
(2). Gross Domestic Product
(3). Trade Balance/In-Balance
(4). Jobs: Employment / Unemployment
(5). Interest Rates
(6). Tax Rates
(7). Inflation Rates
(8). Infrastructure
(9). National Defense Budget
(10). National Debt
(11). Broadening Distribution of Wealth in Population
Question B:   How would you rate the present US economy?
(1). Excellent
(2). Very Good
(3). Good
(4). Average
(5). Poor
(6). Very Poor
(7). Abysmal
Question C:   The number of banks in the nation has declined. Does that indicate that the economy is being harmed by current regulations?
(1). Yes
(2). No
Question D:   Is the risk to the US economy accounted for in the regulatory reform?
(1). Yes
(2). No
Question E:    Is the risk to consumers / investors accounted for in the regulatory reform?
(1). Yes
(2). No
Question F:    Do the new regulations provide for accountability or consequence-based requirements on the financial industry companies?
(1). Yes
(2). No
Question G:   Who pays the price if the reformed regulation turns out to not improve the economy but harms it with another Great Recession or worse?
(1). Financial firms and banks
(2). Non-Financial businesses
(3). Government
(4). Public
(5). Tax-payers
(6). High income: top 1% earners
(7). Upper income: top 10% earners
(8). Middle income: 40% to 80% earners
(9). Lower income: 20% to 40% earners
(10). Poverty level income: bottom 10% earners
Question H:   Is there a better approach for reforming the financial regulatory environment than what the politicians are proposing?
(1). Yes
(2). No
Question I:      Is Government regulation bad for business?
(1). Yes
(2). No
Question J:    Does capitalism guarantee a free-market, a living wage, and a strong economy?
(1). Yes
(2). No

ANSWERS:
Answer - A:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11
Rationale - A:      All these items, except 6 and 9, provide a measure of the US’s economic condition. Stock Market is at all-time high, GDP is at all-time high, Trade In-Balance is still negative for US on goods but positive for services, the net is negative. Current trade deficits are lower than when it peaked in 2006. Employment is at an all-time high and unemployment is near the low nominal level. Prime Interest rates are at historically low. Inflation rates are at historic lows for last 10 years.  Infrastructure is severely underfunded and deteriorating for decades. The National Debt is at an historic high causally linked to 2008 fiscal economic crisis. The demographics of wealth in the US is contracting with a further concentration to the highest earners.

Tax rates are not a measure of the economy but have some influence on how the overall economy responds. The Defense budget is similarly an influencing factor but is not a direct measure of how well or poorly the economy is performing.
Answer - B:  3
Rationale - B:      The US’s economy is generally doing well. It has more than recovered from the “Great Recession”. It’s most significant issues are the National Debt, Trade In-Balance, and Infrastructure. The challenge is to sustain the economy’s growth while effectively managing to reduce the negative drag that these issues have on that growth.

While the overall economy is doing well, there are some areas where locally there are problems. An issue for those localities that are doing less-well or poorly will be whether the nation’s economic growth will directly translate to factors that will improve their situation. There is no guarantee that a rising tide in one area will lift a boat in another.
Answer - C:  No
Rationale - C:      Before the regulation there was an economic trend for the consolidation and acquisition of banking entities by larger banks and financial institutions. This would likely be an indication of how the economic value of consolidation was driving that activity. It more likely that for the executives and shareholders of the acquiring banks there was a more positive economic value than there was for the smaller or local banks to remain independent. The long-term implications may be good or bad, but the immediate value was and appears to continue to be in consolidation. That may not be good for you, but when did what’s good for you drive investments by others?
Answer - D:  No
Rationale - D:      Congress is playing the ‘wishful’ think card. They have a view that less regulation will improve the economy and thus are serving the interests of the banks/financial industry who want to see less regulation. Congress is choosing to believe that ‘no one will be stupid enough to make the same mistakes again’.  I suspect that Congress isn’t considering the evidence that voters return them to office over and over again; which would argue that ‘doing stupid again’ is pretty usual.
Answer - E:  No
Rationale - E:      The deregulation efforts encompass an initiative to eradicate regulations that were intended to protect consumers. From that perspective, the new rules will increase the risks not curtail them. There are no efforts to account for that risk, and certainly nothing to respond to negative outcomes if their deregulation were to result in greater harm than good. This is the usual manner for Congress to operate. One could argue that the reason that they are ‘fixing’ the regulations is that they failed to account for or even understand how to identify what would constitute ‘harm’ in the current regulation. It’s a vicious cycle for Congress: Screw up, Fix it, Screw up, Fix it, Screw up, …
Answer - F:  No
Rationale - F:      The new deregulated environment doesn’t establish any goals or objectives for the financial industry to achieve in order to warrant the deregulation; rather, Congress is ‘hoping’ that this will make things ‘better’. Now if you were to ask Congress how will it be ‘better’ and can they guarantee it, Congress will look at you as if you had asked them: Can you tell me exactly how to cure every form of cancer, and guarantee the cure?
Answer - G:  4, which leads to the following being encompassed: 2, 5, 8, 9, 10
Rationale - G:     In an economy, there is ultimately only one group; it’s the public, the tax payers. They are the only entities that can pay, or more accurately that can be held to account. This is as true for our capitalistic system as it is for a communistic system, or any other.

Businesses are impacted but they are owned by members of the public, so it’s only a level of indirection that confuses how much some individuals are effected versus others.

Across the income levels, the groups most significantly impacted by severe economic downturns are the lower earners. This is mostly due to the greater dependence of these earners to their wages to live in the near-term. This is less true of the higher earners, and almost irrelevant to the top.
Answer - H:  Yes
Rationale - H:      Congress will choose to reform based on ideology or based on the special interests that provide campaign funding. There is no necessary connection between either the ideological perspective or the interests of a select group, and that approaches an ability to produce a desired economic result. The proposal doesn’t say what it will do and how that will be measured, only that ‘magic’ will happen.
Answer - I:  No
Rationale - I:        Bad regulation is probably bad for business, but then some bad regulation is good for business. Good regulation is good for business unless it is bad for business. The problem is that it’s not a question of “all or none”. You can’t find many, maybe even one, politician who will claim that ‘all’ regulations are bad. Is preventing employers from exposing employees to toxic materials a ‘bad’ regulation? Assuming you agree that this is one regulation that is good for business, it may be that there is another. There are also bad regulations, which many people seem to accept as undisputed and thus don’t appear to require further discussion.
Answer - J:  No

Rationale - J:       Capitalism concerns who owns and controls assets that are used to produce income, value, wealth. It doesn’t guarantee a free-market, in fact capitalism could as easily create a monopoly-market (which it has) as easily. Capitalism would be prone to providing a subsistence wage left to its own devices, which would be disadvantageous to the overall benefit of the economy but requires a sufficient understanding of the principle of economics and the laws of physics. Capitalism does produce a strong economy when it is well managed, but can be disastrous if left to the skill set of those without sufficient knowledge, like politicians. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Logic of the US and North Korea. Has Anyone Done the Math?

As North Korea has become a hot national security and foreign affairs issue of late the politicians, press and public confront the dilemma of what to think and do. It always seems that there is a general consensus which varies by degree upon how much someone is a hawk, a moderate, a liberal, or even a bleeding heart. The US consensus is that North Korea can’t be allowed to acquire the missile and nuclear technology that would provide them with the capability to launch a nuclear attack against the American homeland. This has been the basic strategy for decades and by Administrations of every stripe.

North Korea, of course, has their own positional policy regarding missile and nuclear technology, albeit there is less variation in its perspective as there have been fewer ‘leaders’ over the same time interval than has been the case for the US. I suspect the lack of difference views available within North Korea regarding their strategy is somewhat related to the consequences of not following the ‘company line’. But their objective is the antithesis of US policy.

The situation is a perfect case study for geopolitical conflict. There are two primary players, a host of secondary parties interested in supporting one side or the other for their own reasons, and then there is the rest of the world that is inextricably involved because whatever the primary players do affects them if things go wrong.

So as always, the intelligence underlying the strategies might be worth an assessment. To the extent that there is intelligence at the heart of each side’s policy, it renders the issue a suitable topic for an intelligence test.

How you score on this test, would indicate how much your judgement would place you and the rest of us in a quantum physics future state.

Question A:  What is American position toward North Korea?  Select all that apply.
(1). North Korea must have regime change
(2). North Korea cannot have nuclear weapons
(3). North Korea will not be allowed to have missiles with the range to target US domestic territories with nuclear warheads
(4). North Korea must eliminate its nuclear weapon capabilities
(5). North Korea must abide by the UN’s non-proliferation treaty
(6). If North Korea reaches a point where they have the ability to threaten US territory the US would use a preemptive strike to remove the threat
(7). The US’s position on North Korea is vague and unclear

Question B:  What is North Korea’s position regarding its nuclear and missiles program? Select all that apply.
(1). North Korea will develop nuclear weapons to defend itself
(2). North Korea will develop missile technology to defend itself
(3). North Korea will use preemptive strikes if provoked by military actions
(4). North Korea will only respond with nuclear weapons if invaded
(5). North Korea’s position is constantly changing and is unclear
(6). North Korea’s position is unreliable since it’s leader is unreliable

Question C:  What strategies are being used by the US to achieve its objectives with respect to North Korea?
Select all that apply.
(1). Negotiations with North Korea to end their nuclear weapons program
(2). American military deployments in South Korea as deterrent to the North’s military
(3). Economic sanctions imposed upon North Korea and/or other nations that aid their nuclear weapons program
(4).  Engage member nations of the UN to support sanctions against North Korea in support of the UN’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation policy
(5). Intelligence operations on North Korean activities
(6). Negotiations with other nations, particularly China, to use their influence with North Korea to help end North Korea’s nuclear weapons program
(7). Covert operations to interfere with North Korea’s nuclear program

Question D:  What is the basic logic of the US’s policy?
(1). The US will use any and all means to completely annihilate North Korea if they use nuclear weapons against America or an American ally
(2). Before, or if, North Korea acquires a nuclear weapons capability to threaten the US, the US will use force to eliminate those capabilities
(3). The US will continue sanctions against North Korea until they agree to eliminate the weapons
(4). The US will keep all options on the table in determining how it will respond to the state of North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities

Question E:  What is the basic logic of North Korea’s policy?
(1). If they have nuclear weapons, no one will threaten them
(2). Only if they have nuclear weapons are they safe
(3). With nuclear weapons, they will be able to regain control over South Korea
(4). A ‘first-use’ nuclear strategy will prevent military action against them

Question F:   If you concurrently apply the US policy’s logic and North Korean policy’s logic, what is the resulting conclusion?
(1). A stand-off will result
(2). The US will win the contest
(3). North Korea will win the contest
(4). Logically the US and North Korean policies lead to each side reaching the necessity of having to use their nuclear weapons against the other
(5). The situation is too complex for which one can derive a logical conclusion
Question G:  What are the other consequences to the logic?
(1). The other regional nations will be dragged over the brink regardless of which side they were aligned with.
(2). If one nation ‘blinks’ then it increases the likelihood that the ‘winning?’ strategy will be applied to other situations which are ‘viewed’ as similar. This of course creates more opportunities to approach new ‘brinks’.
(3). Yet another war.
(4). Projecting the consequences are really the problematic area because the mutually assured conflict result of current policy logic converges, the consequences that follow diverge along multiple independent factors. Consequences are an exponential space and are thus intractable.
(5). Across the world, the outcome will be viewed through the lens of each nation’s interests and values, and by each groups’ objectives.
(6). No, it’s simply between the US and North Korea


Answers:
Answer - A:  3
Rationale - A:    3 - The basic US policy is that North Korea will not be allowed to become a threat to the US mainland with nuclear ICBMs. This is the core policy.

All the other statements depict ways that that primary requirement could be achieved or is indicative of what more we know about the US policy’s implications; but they are not policy. 1, 4 and 5 are states that would conform to a removal of the threat, but are not the US’s policy position. 2 is a statement of desire but since North Korea has nuclear weapons, it is hardly a rational policy.

6 describes an option that the US could take if North Korea were to achieve or be near achieving the state that defies the stated US policy position.

7 would only be true if item 3 is not the US policy, or the policy is changing.

Answer - B:  1, 2, 3
Rationale - B: North Korea’s policy (1, 2 and 3) is couched in terms of its own defense. In believing that it will be attacked by its enemies (the US being chief among them), it therefore must have the means to protect itself. Thus, North Korea’s policy stems from a ‘belief’ system that need not have facts, or logic, or any rationality; and the ‘belief’ system justifies the necessity of their policy.

4 and 5 are not consistent with observed and stated positions.

6 isn’t a policy position but a factor that increases the risks from the policy that the ‘belief’ system justifies.

Answer - C:  2, 3, 4, 5, and 6
Rationale - C:    The US has and is using items 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 to attempt to dissuade North Korea from continuing to pursue its headlong rush to defend itself with nuclear ICBMs.

Item 1 has been attempted several times in the past, but no agreement has been reached or achieved that resolves the basic points of contention.

Item 7 is by its very nature not a known item, otherwise it wouldn’t be covert.

Answer - D:  2
Rationale - D:    The US policy can be reduced to an “If A then B” policy, which is what item 2 is (See question A).

1 is not the US’s North Korean, since it is dependent upon an actual attack by North Korea. That would be an “If C then B” policy where ‘C’ is an unprovoked attack by North Korea.

3 is one element of the current US strategy and is not the policy.

4 is a statement that as conditions change the reaction could change. This is a political statement that doesn’t actually mean anything.

Answer - E:  4
Rationale - E:     4 - The fear of nuclear weapons is viewed as the ultimate threat by the North Korean and thus its best defense. It is the modern equivalent of the Colt-45 in the America west, i.e., the great equalizer; which is a na├»ve concept when you consider that the other side doesn’t have a Colt but has a Gaitlin gun. Unfortunately, the logic simplifies to a North Korean version of “If A then B”.

1 is an insufficient policy since its current existence invalidates its internal logic. 2 is basically a reiteration of item 1 and if it were true than the US policy would be invalid since the current state doesn’t constitute the “If A then B” state which is what US policy is attempting to prevent.

3 may be a long-term aspiration of North Korea but it isn’t their policy for acquiring nuclear weapons.


Answer - F:  4
Rationale - F:     The problem with the two polices is that they are mirror-imaged reflections of each other. But this doesn’t simply put them in opposition to each other; instead it creates the very situation that each side intends its logic to prevent. We are thus left with the result that “If A happens then B will result, and because B will result it is imperative for A to happen.”

I suppose that this is the logical equivalent of “brinksmanship”, but the current policies don’t account for the condition where neither side ‘blinks’.

Item 1 is more characteristic of the current state of affairs with each side ‘standing’ its ground.

2 and 3 are outcomes, but which one results is unclear if the result is 4 where the measure of the impact is more of which side is damaged the least.

Item 5 may be true for most of those involved in the conflict of wills. This is not necessarily a good thing, but it may be a true thing. It’s also possible that the logical result is understood and considered acceptable.

Answer - G:  4 is the over-arching answer.

Rationale - G:    All the items except 6 are consequences. 4 is the generalized consequence that once the rock is dropped into the pond, the ripples expand outward into the future. The laws of physics don’t allow for an action without resulting effects.