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Final Debate Recap: Obama vs. the Land Shark

October 24, 2012

Most reasonably objective viewers (and even a few conservative ones) scored the third and final presidential debate as a solid win for Obama. After his widely panned performance in the first debate, the president rallied to take the best-of-three series. But presidential politics isn’t as simple as a baseball playoff, as we’ll see.

In that third debate, Obama never looked better: relaxed yet authoritative, appropriately serious yet animated by a mischievous wit. His “horses and bayonets” retort to Romney’s irrelevant lament about the shrinking size of our navy was sheer comedic inspiration:

You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go under water, nuclear submarines.

Romney, for his part, played it safe and low to the ground. This was a foreign affairs debate, after all — and if the former chief of Bain Capital has an Achilles heel, this is it. His gaffe-a-minute overseas tour this past summer is still fresh in our memories. But Romney watched his words, committed no bloopers, smiled frequently (if a little nervously) and practically endorsed his opponent’s foreign policy.

Some observers noted that the Republican nominee was sweating in the time-honored tradition of Richard Nixon. I didn’t discern any telltale droplets myself, even on my high-def TV, but Romney looked as uncomfortable as the president looked assertive and commanding. It was the polar opposite of the first debate.

So shouldn’t the Republican faithful be panicking right now? Shouldn’t they be alarmed that their nominee gave the kind of passive, milquetoast performance that earned Obama such opprobrium in the first debate?

Of course not. It was all part of the plan, you see. Romney needed to boost his credibility among undecided moderates — and especially female undecided moderates. What better way to say “Vote for me, ladies” than to present yourself as a mild, peace-loving guy… a “safe” Republican, not one of those strident and bellicose apostles of American exceptionalism (not to mention unfettered capitalism and upward mobility for the already-rich). We were looking at a Mitt Romney who wouldn’t have been out of place talking to a women’s book group or chatting it up with Oprah (if Oprah were still chatting it up with anyone).

This carefully manufactured “safe” Romney,one of his many incarnations over the past year, reminds me of a classic skit from the early glory days of “Saturday Night Live.”  There would be a knock at the door, followed by a garbled voice (SNL veteran Chevy Chase) asking incoherently for a Mrs. Somebody-or-Other.

Gilda is a little suspicious of the mumbling voice outside her door, but she’s easily persuaded.

Gilda Radner, stretched out on her couch, asks him what he wants. “Plumber,” comes the faint reply.

When Gilda tells him she hasn’t called for a plumber, the voice changes his story. “Telegram,” he mumbles. So Gilda rises from her couch, opens the door and is promptly devoured by the voracious “land shark.”

Later, in the forensics lab, a rattled John Belushi tells his associate (played by Dan Aykroyd) that the land shark is “the cleverest species of them all.”

In the next scene, Laraine Newman is lounging on her sofa when she hears the knock at the door. There’s the same mumbling, incoherent voice: “Flowers… plumber, ma’am.” But Laraine is on to him.

Laraine is even more skeptical, but she succumbs to the land shark anyway.

“I don’t need a plumber,” she retorts. “You’re that clever shark, aren’t you?”

“Candygram,” comes the faint reply.

“Candygram my foot!” says Laraine. “You’re the shark and you know it.”

“I’m only a dolphin, ma’am.”

That does the trick. “A dolphin? Well, OK.” Laraine lets him in and gets devoured on the spot.

Is Romney really a land shark? I don’t know… and that’s the problem.

Does anybody know who this guy is?  All we know is that he’s been claiming to be the Candygram man lately — and frankly, I wouldn’t advise anyone to open that door.

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301 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob Anderson permalink
    October 24, 2012 2:52 pm

    Romney, if elected, will govern from the hard right. Go look at his speech upon dropping out of the ’08 primary race. It’s fucking scary. In this year’s primaries he signalled to his party (not the “base” – the entire Republican Party is now hard-right) exactly what he’d do. Since the convention, he’s been vearing all over the place to confuse and thus placate swing voters, and hopefully encourage Democrat voters to stay home. I don’t care how he governed Massachusetts – that was Kennedy Country, a solidly Democratic state, and he knew he had to be flexible. But if and when he gets the Presidency, look out!

    • October 24, 2012 4:02 pm

      Sure, because there is so much fun is spitting in the wind. Wake up, the man is as he says he is and will focus on job creation. Oh, you say, but Barry has been doing that, right? Well, not really.

    • October 24, 2012 11:41 pm

      Rob: I hope you’re wrong, but all your observations are right. I suspect that, like nearly all our recent presidents (other than Reagan) who had right- or left-leaning tendencies, Mitt would move slightly toward the center. But Ryan would be his Agnew, his Cheney, his pit bull, his liaison to the base.

      Rich: I have a feeling that the “small businesses” Romney favors are hedge funds and the like. He’s still a bit mysterious about how he’d create those jobs. If he can cut taxes on business, that would be fine — as long as he also eliminates subsidies and tax shelters (the kind that allow behemoths like GE to get away without paying any taxes at all).

      • October 26, 2012 8:45 am

        Rick;
        Reagan was the most conservative president elected since Coolidge. It is not an accident that the two most limited government presidents presided over the two longest periods of sustained prosperity in our history.

      • October 26, 2012 8:54 am

        if you are worried about an all too cozy relationship with Wall Street then you need to evict the current occupant of the oval office.

        I can not grasp those of you who want to end corporate political influence continue to elect those with the most intimate relationship with big business.

        With few exceptions democrats know next to nothing about business – except how to extort money from it and grant favors. Overwhelmingly the most significant beneficiary of the political largess of big business is the democratic party.

        I keep telling you the point of government regulation is to protect big business from small business – not to protect us. but you do not seem to understand.

        The current economic environment for big business is actually pretty good. They are profitable and well protected. Dodd-Frank was a gift to the financial industry that the rest of us must pay for. GDP has returned to pre-recession levels.

        Yet millions of people are still out of jobs. Our labor force has shrunk.
        Why ? Because Big Business has never had a consequential role in any economic recovery.

      • October 28, 2012 10:36 pm

        Dave: The Wall Street crash occurred a mere 6 or 7 months after Coolidge left office; I have a feeling the die had already been cast by speculators under Silent Cal’s laissez-faire watch. Other than that, I like Coolidge.

        Yes, Obama is too intimate with big business. So you suggest we vote for somebody who IS big business? I dunno… doesn’t seem wise.

    • Kent permalink
      October 26, 2012 3:16 am

      Rob, Romney isn’t going to do a thing unless his backers want him to. He isn’t going to do anything without his staff telling him what his party backers want and when they want it.

      You all think that Obama or Romney is going to make things happen. They are not dictators. They will be informed by the Senators or House Reps via their party lines on what they want to focus on. The lobbyists are pushing the agendas on Congress and the President gets word via his staffers.

      Romney caters to the right and it will be him paying back his supporters. Just like Obama has in the past four years.

      Wake up! Nothing is changing and if it is then it will be at a “snails pace”. The next party will get four more years to push our problems out onto the next generation.

      These people are not serious. It is all talk. They are like car salesmen. It is sad that Americans are dumb enough to vote for the majority parties when they are the ones who are creating the mess we are in.

      Another thing they are working to keep minority political parties from being allowed to vote in OK (Romney country), PA and MI (Obama Country). Now is this truly AMERICAN?
      It sounds like corruption to me and I don’t want any part of this idiocy.

      The Libertarian Party is running a Centrist as President. Ron Paul is out.

      Gary Johnson is more left than Obama and more right than Romney and talks about the issues and ideas.

      So vote left/right and separate the 50% American winners from the 50% American losers. If that is what you want then so be it. I want no part of splitting America up.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        October 26, 2012 9:56 am

        Not that I have any intention of voting Libertarian, but this is in many ways a great post. I do disagree in one place and its important. Its easy to call all of our politicians clowns and say they are not serious. Its easy to focus on the clowns, the Bachmans or that comedian Senator from Minnesota, but in truth problems get pushed out to the next generation most of all because the problems are almost impossibly difficult. On top of that we have a disgusting political process that is the worst system except for all the rest and it produces a rather mixed group of electees. Would that more of them were Doles and Lugars rather than today’s tea party radicals.

        If I were designing an ideal form of government I would not have the same rather small group of people, the president and his cabinet and advisers and then congress in charge of the hundreds of incredibly difficult problems, I would separate out many agencies/areas and leave them to people who don’t live in an electoral chaos, such as the Fed. The same administration is supposed to bring peace in the middle east , make the economy run perfectly, stop global warming, balance the budget, improve education, stop terrorism, coordinate with Europe, stop the Russians and Chinese from spreading their totalitarian principles…… Its impossible. You would have to be superhuman to solve one of these problems. As well, most, if they ever will be solved will be solved on a 20, 50 or 100 year time scale.

    • October 26, 2012 9:03 am

      Rob;

      What world do you live in ?

      66% of Republicans support laws banning workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians.

      41% of christian conservatives – the real hard right support some form of legal unions for gay couples.

      59% of republicans and 53% of the Tea Party support either gay marraige or civil unions.

      47% of Republicans support Marijuana legalization in some form.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 26, 2012 11:02 am

        Thee are all Libertarian platform positions. Why are they not voting Libertarian instead of Republican whose platform either flatly opposes these issues or does not have any statement at all in support.

        Why do Libertarians have to accept being the compromiser and vote for someone who only supports a fraction of their beleifs when there is a party that supports much more of their convictions.

        The numbers you quote are a significant percentage of the moderate right that are voting for against Obama instead of voting for their beliefs.

  2. lovetheocean permalink
    October 24, 2012 2:57 pm

    Excellent!!

    • lovetheocean permalink
      October 24, 2012 3:21 pm

      I meant, excellent analogy and take.

      • October 24, 2012 11:41 pm

        Yes, I had a feeling you meant the article and not Romney. :)

  3. October 24, 2012 3:29 pm

    Good heavens, Rick. I get that you have an intense dislike of the man, but it’s not as if Romney is some mysterious, unknown quantity. He was a moderately conservative governor of a blue state, took on an extremely high profile turnaround of the collapsing 2002 Olympics, struggling in the shadow of the post 9-11 world, was considered the conservative to McCain’s moderate in the 2008 primaries, then the moderate to Gingrich/Santorum et.al’s conservative in the 2012 primaries……… he’s a pragmatic politician, who has consistently touted his experience as a smart, competent executive, with reach-across-the-aisle turnaround skill. In short, he is a politician who has never made ideology the centerpiece of his campaign, despite the hue and cry of partisans on both sides for him to do so.

    I did not see the shaky Romney, drenched in flop sweat, that excited Obama partisans described. No doubt, the man came in with a strategy to foil Obama’s attempts to draw him into a major blunder, and to drag the debate (kicking and screaming, if necessary, back to his 5-point economic plan). The debate was pretty boring as a result. But, while more entertaining, Obama was as unpresidential and snarky as I have ever seen him. “The 80’s called and wants its foreing policy back”? Pretty lame for a stand-up. Pathetic for a president – he demeaned himself in order to get a laugh, IMO.

    Anyway, I liked the whole SNL /land shark thing, nonetheless – you are really a terrific writer, and a good read is a good read.

    • October 24, 2012 10:32 pm

      PR: I thought Obama toed a fine line between snarkiness and affable humor. He didn’t come across mean-spirited… just got a few laughs at Romney’s expense. He gave Romney credit where credit was due (admittedly, most of it was for agreeing with Obama), and overall the tone of the debate didn’t strike me as insulting or rancorous. Toward the end, it was almost like a mutual admiration society.

      I know Romney isn’t an ideologue, but he’s gone too far in courting the right wing of his party. He even signed the Norquist pledge, which I didn’t realize until recently. (I know that Huntsman refused to sign it.)

      Now Romney is courting the centrists, independents and women… so he has to shift again, this time to make himself look like a benevolent protector of the middle class (even though his policies favor the elite) and a proponent of peace (even though he wants to pour even more tax money into the military). He started out as a practical “plumber” who would fix things… now he’s the Candygram man… but who is he REALLY?

      Glad you enjoyed the piece — and that you’re open-minded enough to enjoy my writing even when you disagree… but of course I knew that about you. I had a lot of fun writing it… sometimes we just need to get silly to put things in perspective.

      • October 26, 2012 9:05 am

        Of course Obama must credit Romney for agreeing with him on Foreign Policy – they are both just seeking to continue the foreign policy of Bush.

  4. October 24, 2012 3:59 pm

    Obama continues to slide in the swing states and Mitt holds 5 pt lead in Gallup. Rick, this recent piece is about as bad as you have penned. Solid debate? Yes, if you are a junior on the HS debate team. Mitt looked presidental, O looked desperate.

    Mitt will win pulling away.

    • October 24, 2012 10:46 pm

      Rich: C’mon… I was just having fun. My ultimate point is a serious one, though: does Romney really have a core of beliefs, or is he just pandering to the folks whose votes he needs at the moment? Whether you agree or disagree with Obama, you have to admit that his views are steady and not dictated by a need to please the base. (His base is typically frustrated that he hasn’t been more progressive.)

      I didn’t think Obama looked desperate at all. On the contrary, he looked to be in the catbird seat — poised and quietly confident. He knows his foreign policy issues, he’s experienced them first-hand, and his experience shows.

      Will Mitt win anyway? He could. For some reason, only the first debate — the only one that Mitt won — seemed to sway the voters in the polls. There seems to be a historical precedent for that. Nobody remembers that Nixon bested Kennedy in at least two or three of their four debates. All they remember is the first one, with a sickly-looking Nixon (he was recovering from an illness) pitted against the suave JFK. That’s the image that stuck.

      • October 26, 2012 9:12 am

        Rick;
        No I do not think Romney has a core of beliefs that inform him and guide him, that he can rely on when things are tough.

        But neither does Obama. The criticism of Obama as a socialist has legs, but weak ones. When push comes to shove, what Obama cares about is Obama. He has governed in many ways indistinguishable from Bush – but without the conviction. PPACA his “Signature acheivement”, is a mess that is bound to collapse under its own weight not just because the core idea is bad, but because it is just the worst crafted piece of legislation that we may ever have passed.

        I would be happy if Romney governed as he speaks, and I hope to be pleasantly surprised that is the case. But I expect it no more than I expected Obama would live up to his promises – and he has not disappointed my lack of faith.

      • October 26, 2012 9:21 am

        Rick, I think you are right about that first debate being the “one that stuck.” I think it is because of two reasons, really. First, it was the first time that many low- information and undecided voters ever saw Romney outside of the campaign ads and TV commercials that made him out to be a monster…and he may be many things, but the truth is that he is far from monstrous and, if anything, has always come across like the guy that Central Casting picked to play the POTUS (I think that that may be one of the reasons that you perceive him as fake).

        Second, and more importantly, many people who tuned in to that debate were probably resigned to the idea of an Obama second-term. Better the devil they knew than this new devil who they did not. But Obama gave them nothing…no plan, no reason to believe that things would change if he got 4 more years. And, he seemed oddly detached and bored by the whole process, as if it was beneath him to have to debate this silly boob on the other side of the stage.

        I think that many undecideds decided that maybe the devil they didn’t know was possibly worth taking a chance on.

  5. October 24, 2012 4:00 pm

    BTW- I renew my offer to debate Barak Obama. However, he has to agree to act his age, not his IQ, and stop with the SNL type snarky remarks. If not, then I would be allowed to shit kick his skinny ass off stage.

    Deal?

    • Anonymous permalink
      October 25, 2012 12:18 am

      However, he has to agree to act his age, not his IQ, and stop with the SNL type snarky remarks.

      No need to say anything more about this poster’s credibility. A typical lightweight right winger.gasbag.

      And

      If not, then I would be allowed to shit kick his skinny ass off stage.

      Wow, what a contribution to this discussion.

      • October 26, 2012 9:16 am

        Regardless of politics the debates seem to have become a WWF contest – all bluster and puffery and little substance.

        What did you learn about either candidate from the debates that you did not already know ?

        I did not watch them – any of them. And I am much happier for it.
        Atleast the GOP primary debates touched on some issues of substance.

        Overall Romney benefitted – but mostly because he got three long oportunities to talk directly to the american people without the media filter in place and turns out he does not have three heads and eat babies.

  6. Ron P permalink
    October 24, 2012 5:11 pm

    When you take all of the debates into consideration, then Romney performed well. What the candidates say in the debates is forgotten in a few days. How the candidates presented themselves last much longer.

    Obama has not changed anyones mind about him or his positions. However, Romney proved he is not the ghoul that Obama has tried to make him for the last 6 months. Women can look at Romney as someone that they believe may be an acceptible alternative.

    Now if we can put a cork in the mouths of right wing extreme candidates like Richard Mourdock and someone can cork Romney from comments associating him with these idiots, then maybe he will scratch out a victory. But this could make the difference in states like Ohio where so many can flip support based on info much less inflamatory than Mourdocks comment.

    Where the right finds stupidity to run for these offices is hard to understand. They must work hard though, as there can’t be that many candidates with their heads in the rears like we have seen in the past election cycles.

    • October 24, 2012 9:49 pm

      Ron, I think that this phony war on women stuff has become alarming. The Mourdock thing is an example. The guy believes, based on his religious faith, that any abortion is the taking of a life. He was open and honest about it, and tried to explain why he does not believe that the taking of a life is justified even in the most terrible situations. I happen to think that his is an extreme view, but I don’t have a problem with him stating his belief. I also happen to think that Obama’s view that a live baby who survives a late term abortion should be left to die, per the mother’s original intent, is an extreme view. We can vote against candidates that hold extreme views.

      But for the press to twist this guy’s words to mean that he thinks that rape is God’s will, or that pregnancy from rape is a gift from God is despicable. Politicizing rape in the way that the Democrats have in this election season makes me very uncomfortable. Rape is a violent and horrible crime, and no GOP candidate has even come close to justifying it. But, there are young girls and women all over the country who are being told to fear the GOP – not merely to disagree, but to fear – because Republicans want to hurt women, take away their birth control, and force them to bear the children of rapists. I realize that this is all for the purpose of distracting from the economy, but it goes beyond decency in my view.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 24, 2012 11:34 pm

        pearows, I understand everything you said and I agree with your positions 100%. I do not believe in abortion, but I am also of the belief that government should not be involved in personal decision in early term abortions. But I also know that when there are issues that you know are hot button issues and any word spoken is going to be twisted or taken out of content, then if you have 1/2 a brain, use it and keep your mouth shut.

        When you have women split between liberal social values and conservative fiscal values, in most cases those over 45 to 50 will side with the fiscal conservatives. If they are under 40-45, they will side most likely with the social liberals. Issues that effect personal decisions on social values seem to be weighted more heavily by the younger voter, while fiscal matters seem to be weighted more heavily by the middle age and above voter.

        Why say or do anything, like commenting on conception due to rape when it has already been shown to be a death sentence for those opposing abortion under any condition. Just say “please check my website for my positions on those issues” and then make sure there is nothing there that can become a negative ad.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        October 25, 2012 6:32 pm

        Pearows, yes, agree, good stuff regarding extreme views, honesty, and being taken out of context. I’ve been thinking for some time there ought to be “context laws” that apply to the media. It’s a form of slander and false witness to distort what someone says by siezing on just a chunk of it and letting the person suffer for it. It’s legal in too many ways, but it’s not right.

        Long time ago I had to get out of the newspaper reporting biz because we printed people’s names from police reports, very often for alleged petty things, quickly ruining people’s names for what?

      • October 26, 2012 9:24 am

        If you believe that human life begins at conception, the details of how that life began have no bearing on the legality or morality of ending it.

        If you believe that a human zygote gradually aquires humanity the moral line occurs at a different point.

        Rape and incest are horrible. Someone very close to me lost a decade of her life as the result of rape. But they do not alter the morality of abortion.

    • October 25, 2012 2:36 pm

      Yeah, I have to agree with you, Ron. You’ve got to wonder why any Republican would try to have an honest dialogue on abortion, since any position other than abortion on demand, at any stage of pregnancy, will be twisted into some anti-woman stance. On the other hand, knowing this, liberal reporters and debate moderators often press the issue, knowing that they will bait many less-skilled candidates into trying to explain a pro-life position. Talk about land-sharks…….

      Which actually brings me back to Romney’s very effective strategy in this last debate. I think it is wishful thinking on the part of Obama partisans to descrbe Mitt as passive. Certainly, his pointed attack on Obama’s apology tour is one of the most replayed soundbites of the debate (and I found it ironic that Obama defended himself by saying “ask the reporters!” lol – as if his cadre of adoring water-carriers would ever disagree with him). Romney knew that Obama would try to get a soundbite out of him that could be characterized as Romney being a “shoot-first-ask-questions-later” war monger. Romney made a clear and conscious choice to stay away from any discussion that would allow his positions to be twisted in that way. I would have loved to see Romney try and corner the President on his egregious lies and evasions about Benghazi, but I respect his decision to cede the argument for now, and I think it was a smart one.

      Obama may have delighted his supporters with his sarcasm and derisive tone, but I doubt that he won over any undecideds. And Romney did not stop his momentum by behaving more presidential than the President.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 25, 2012 3:03 pm

        I think Romney avoiding the Benghazi issue was his knowing that this was not going away and now even the more left leaning news is picking up on that issue. He doesn’t need to do a thing except pound the economy issue.

    • Kent permalink
      October 26, 2012 3:29 am

      I personally find it ironic that religious Conservative “Christians” say they are for life and say they are opposed in many ways to Conservative Islam.

      If both oppose abortion and many issues, then they are in the same camp and not opposite. I also find it interesting that in both camps “men” decide for women what to do with their bodies. It is as if women have no freedoms. Rape is Rape. It is undeserved.

      • October 26, 2012 8:56 am

        I’m a little unclear on what you mean, Kent. There are plenty of people who are not conservative Christians who oppose abortion. And, at least in the US, I would strongly disagree that men decide for women what to do with their bodies. Certainly, under sharia law, they do – up to and including the point where men can decide whether women live or die. Are you equating the Catholic/Christian stance on abortion to sharia? Actually, I’m pretty sure you can’t be doing that, but it kinda sounds that way.

      • October 26, 2012 9:25 am

        The enemy of my enemy is my friend ?

      • Kent permalink
        November 3, 2012 9:17 am

        Pearows, What I am saying is that when you bring up Pro-life it seems that the “church” and men speak out the most.

        Men can’t have kids. Is the Pope a man??? Have they always been men??

        Something tells me that this rule that Constantine put into place in 300AD is wrong and was used for political purposes.
        Same goes for King James I who had relations with a man. Yet hated the Catholics so much that his “scholars” created three versions of a new bible.

        As long as men have the majority choice in Congress or the Supreme Court to decide who can have abortions. Men choose for women what law to follow on this issue.

        It is quite clear Protestant (Mormon, Baptist, etc.) believe and dictate that all women should have kids if pregnant. Ask a preacher or a religious figure and you will find the answer what makes God happy. Most likely they are male still.

        Protestant is a different version of Catholicism. Protestantism is based on a reformed Catholic (Martin Luther), not a new religion of it’s own.

  7. Monica permalink
    October 24, 2012 9:45 pm

    If you all are buying the moderate Romney get ready for the surprise of your life!! He has a bag of tricks that will cost you plenty. Read about what he did in MA. Sure he cut taxes, but raised fees on everything, cut back on $$ to towns and states so they raised taxes, cut education funds, raised college costs. Guess what? The fine folks in MA would not have voted for him again and will not vote for him now.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 24, 2012 11:22 pm

      Monica, In my state all the fiscal matters go through the state legislatute, with both the house and senate writing bills, voting on bills and approving them. They are then sent to the governor who has only veto rights that can be overridden. The governor can suggest legislation, but can not make laws or issue directives to regulations in the state. In other words, they have very little power by themselves.

      If Mitt Romney did everything you say he did, then maybe MA citizens need to change their state constitution to take the power away from their governor to legislate without the Democrat controlled legislature being involved with any of the bills signed into law.

      • October 25, 2012 2:49 pm

        Actually, MA governors are relatively weak compared to the legislature – it is similar to NC. In NJ, where I live, governors are very powerful and can take some unilateral action. That is one reason why Christie has been so successful in restoring some fiscal balance to the state which, under Corzine, had the largest proportional deficit of any state.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 25, 2012 3:05 pm

        Hum, then I wonder why Monica said Romney did all that stuff on his own.

        interesting.

    • October 26, 2012 9:26 am

      Most of us are glad we do not live in Massachusetts.

  8. Dianne permalink
    October 25, 2012 12:09 am

    I didn’t notice the sweat either! Give these guys a break now, and it will just be more interesting later when neither one can do what he promised in his campaign when he wins. Maybe we should be glad anyone still wants to run (or be) President. We should stop going after the President and go after Congress — get involved! Consider this. Barack Obama could have had a longtime beneficial career in Congress if the glamour of the presidency hadn’t distracted him. Romney doesn’t need to be President, and he might not be the kind of leader most people want. Whichever one of the two wins, we might end up with four sort of lackluster years so far as leadership goes. I say fire them all until someone gets in who can do something. I think it’s true, though, about Romney being a secret shark! I don’t know. Could get tense, as a friend used to say!

    • Anonymous permalink
      October 25, 2012 12:42 am

      Dianne. We should also consider what politician with a voting history will be willing to put themselves and their family through campaigns that are becoming much more personal in their attacks. Or what businessman that would be highly qualified to run for president would put himself and family through the attacks of being only for the rich and be demonized because he was rich.

      Could we be looking at a future where only the unqualified will put their necks out to run for the presidency since they are the only ones without a history that others use to demonize a person.

    • Kent permalink
      October 26, 2012 3:35 am

      Dianne, dido. Congress does the wheeling and dealing. For a President to advertise and “promise” things is ridiculous. Sad thing is people are “buying it”.

      Anonymous, everyone has a history and it could be demonized. it is only how you deal with the issue once it becomes public.

  9. Melissa Medaugh permalink
    October 25, 2012 9:23 am

    I want to know who I should start contacting about the creation of a Moderate Party, a third party for sanity and reason. True, we see our two largest parties taking increasingly extreme positions, even running their own moderate colleagues out of the party. What if those moderates had a place to call home?

    • Ron P permalink
      October 25, 2012 10:27 am

      I doubt any third party will ever emerge that can challenge the established parties as too many individuals believe voting for a third party is a wasted vote and will cause the candidate they like the least to get elected. It will take a few election cycles where the third party gets enough votes to qualify for matching funds, then qualify to get into the debates and once that happens, may be considered a viable third party alternative.

      But too few are willing to vote their convictions (party that matches their positions) to avoid short term pain to gain long term advances that would promote a truely new and imporved direction in politics today.

      • Melissa Medaugh permalink
        October 25, 2012 12:25 pm

        No better time to get started than now, I say… When the country’s memory of this polarizing election is fresh and totally dissatisfying…

    • Kent permalink
      October 26, 2012 3:43 am

      Ron P. said exactly what I am saying. Vote your convictions, no matter what your told about “wasting your vote”. That is nothing more than a “bully statement” in order to get you to vote for a major party.

      It is time to get started, I vote for a Centrist running on the Libertarian Party this time and we should be forming a Centrist Party that doesn’t sway too far left or right like a Moderate Party on particular issues via emotion.

      Moderates are picked on by the major parties for not being able to make decisions. Called “Wishy washies”. You have to have a conviction that is solid in some ideology. Centrist Theology states that you learn by observing both sides and make a genuine decision as what benefits most from both sides.

      • Melissa permalink
        October 26, 2012 1:18 pm

        Kent, the way I’ve seen Centrist ideology explained aligns more with my own political ideologies than others. However, as a Moderate, not a Centrist, I reserve the right to choose the best solutions from all ideologies. That’s the point of moderate thought – well-balanced, thoughtful public policy. I don’t want one party thinking for me, not even “Centrists.” Instead, I desire a party where the Moderates from all political ideologies can find refuge and freedom to be Moderates without threat of being ostracized by extremists. Let’s say a Moderate Party would be a hodgepodge of ideologies, with a uniquely Moderate persuasion, in which the full benefits of a truly diverse group champions grounded and reasonable, albeit innovative, policy.

      • Kent permalink
        November 3, 2012 9:23 am

        Melissa, Moderate Party is something to think about, but without any ideologue you will find “Moderates” never united to side together for something. Centrists believe in “Participatory Economics”. “Merit is credit” and “Money is nothing”. Experts and councils of people make smart decisions rather than money and lobbyists. Centrists share Social Freedom and Fiscal Responsibility just like Libertarians, but on opposites. Libertarians are more anarchists. Dems and Reps are “Central Planners”.

  10. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 25, 2012 12:03 pm

    Well, I did not watch this one either, just read recaps. I am utterly unsurprised that Romney’s foreign policy ideas would greatly seem to resemble Obama’s. Democrats and Republicans have by and large been on a fairly consistent page since I was born in the 50s. Seems to me that there is more variation within the parties than between them. Exceptions were Reagan, both good and bad, his willingness to walk out of missile talks with the Russians, which finally brought down the soviets, and his covert support for the murderous right-wing contras.

    W Bush was another exception, his “US can go it alone” lack of diplomatic skills and the Iraq invasion were unique and bad.

    I note that in Europe the sentiment is strongly pro Obama, I am not sure why the strong rejection of Romney there, unless it is a lingering (proper) fear of the W Bush neo-con foreign policy rather than Romney himself.

    But to the main question, is Romney a shark, will the “hard right” enter power with him. I doubt it very much. If Romney is elected the country will, of course, turn somewhat to the right, but within limits. By my reading of polls and events over many years I believe that the true “hard right” makes up 10-15% of the electorate. That is a large group, large enough to wield influence but not enough to make it possible to get very much of the things they want. Most of what they want is unconstitutional anyhow, unless they can pack the court.

    Is it my fading senile brain cells or do I remember that Texas Governor Perry lost ground in the primaries because he told a Floridian convention that anyone who did not understand why Texas pays for the medical care of the children of illegal aliens has no heart? I mention this because it shows that this extreme right-left divide has more to do with the rabid bases of the parties than most of the actual politicians, with some notable exceptions, (Michele Bachman comes to mind). For another reminder, there was the decent and even progressive feed the world with US help Bob Dole that came through in his eulogy to his old friend George McGovern.

    Hyper-partisan liberals and conservatives see a tempest in every teapot and they have their favorite publications and media personalities to stir that pot. The Democratic party is painted as being dominated by the far left because they passed a health care law that was largely fashioned out of republican proposals! The Republicans are called nuts because they dare to discuss abortion and oppose it, which I would agree with myself in a pure world in which unwanted pregnancies did not result in so many tragedies for both women and children.

    My point is that we are a moderate nation and we will remain so. Left and right hyper partisans hyperventilate in sync with their favorite commentary, but we moderates can try not to go with them. I did not care At All about Romney’s 47% remark, although its aftermath was beneficial; it exposed the idiot myth that those 47% are all welfare democrats who don’t pay taxes, instead they are divided rather evenly among dem and gop constituencies. As another example, I have no interest in the political opportunism over the Libya terrorism tragedy, although it did actually lead to a sometimes healthy discussion of foreign policy in which the reality set in the there is little real difference between Obama’s way and the likely Romney path.

    It is better to be concerned less about the stupid partisan fueled idea that true extremists from the left or right are going to upend everything and more about the tremendous harm that can be done by well intentioned moderately liberal or conservative proposals/agendas. In other words, both sides want changes and have to make changes to justify themselves and even to slve actual problems. I, as a moderate, am suspicious of those ideologically based changes unless I can be shown a believable forecast that they will lead to a better future. I must be a conservative, I don’t like change. Maybe I’m just old.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 25, 2012 12:22 pm

      TNS grand-wazzoo..you state “I, as a moderate, am suspicious of those ideologically based changes unless I can be shown a believable forecast that they will lead to a better future. I must be a conservative, I don’t like change. Maybe I’m just old.”

      You contradict yourself. You are just like most all moderates. Moderates seem to be those individuals that think for themselves. Therefore, you want solutions that you can read and digest and decide if those solutions are good or bad. The far left or the far right will march lockstep over a clift and never ask if that is good or bad. Thousands of Japanese on Saipan marched off the clifts and fell to their deaths in the surf below because they did not question the leadership and what they were being told about the Americans when the Americans were capturing that island. We find this same thing happening with people following the fringes of parties with social values and fiscal issues facing this country. Few, other than moderates, ask why? They just say OK. A good example is the Norquist Pledge signed by most GOP officials, knowing full well increased revenues will have to occur to pay off congress’s and the Bush/Obama debt run up over the past 12 years.

      So when you say you must be conservative and don’t like change, could it be that you are conservative and do not want to change until given a good reason for that change to occur? Just like Ryans entitlement reforms, no one wants to see those change, but given reasons such as the inability of the country to continue funding the plans under the current policies, that might be a good reason to reform those now.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        October 25, 2012 12:43 pm

        I appreciate your comments Ron P and have enjoyed your contributions here for quite a while, ever since I was able to separate them out from certain er, less thoughtful, Libertarian voices.

        It may not be obvious to all who have not been here forever, but I sometimes play some games with my name here, I’ve mostly been Rabbit recently, though I went to Mole and then Vole in order not to seem to break my one post per topic rule that keeps me from getting obsessive about this.

        Yes, I do fear the Ryan plan. Who knows, It may yet be passed and if the far future I may yet change my opinion of it, I ‘m never ashamed to say that my past opinions have been wrong, as they seem to have been more often than not. At the moment the Ryan plan seems to me to be mostly ideological opportunism whose numbers simply do not seem to add up.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 25, 2012 1:02 pm

        Yes, there could be issues with Ryan’s plan, but given the fact that the government has done some of the “voucher” in the Medicare Advantage plans already, Ryan has at least opened the issue for discussion.

        Is it good to change the plan to where individuals get $X number of dollars and then there is no policies governing where these dollars can be spent and no minimum benefits that the insurance companies can offer? No.

        But is it any better to continue with a plan that everyone knows is not sustainable under its current system given the rapidly changing demographics of the country? Here again I would offer a No.

        As you state, you are resistant to change, but if someone can develop a plan somewhat resembling the Medicare Advantage system, but at the same time saving money while doing this, would that change be acceptible? I offer that this kind of change may be more acceptible than just chopping 700 billion out of the medicare program.

    • October 25, 2012 2:56 pm

      Just a comment on Romney’s “unpopularity” in Europe, Ian…..Lech Walesa outright endorsed him when he traveled there this summer, although that was barely noted in breathless press stories that Romney had “insulted” the British by expressing some concern over the security at the Olympics.

      Obama is despised in much of eastern Europe, particularly Poland. Just sayin’…..

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        October 26, 2012 10:44 am

        Sorry Priscillla, but when I read your post I just see more of what I call hyper-partisan babble. I’m really not trying to be rude here but I want you to think about how your posts are perceived by someone who is not wholeheartedly Rupublican/conservative. With all due respect, hyperpartisan babble is the antithesis of what I think moderation is and it is incredibly tiresome to me wherever I find it. I respect that you are broad minded in some ways but good lord, cannot you ever try to see things from any other point of view than the official GOP talking points/propaganda? If you do, it does not come through in your posts, at least as I read them.

        Perpetual partisanship is NOT effective in reaching moderates, at least those of my type We Hate this kind of thing, it just makes us really angry with the source and the point of view/party the source is representing. My problem is not that you posted the actual fact that Walesa endorsed Romney, its that its a complicated issue and you have distilled, as always, into Obama-bad, Romney-good and unfairly criticized. In my own post I went to pains to separate out Romney from the possible reason for the European reaction to him, their memory of the W Bush foreign policy. My implication was that he does not deserve this. Even though I am liberal-moderate I go to great pains not to fall for the anti Romney hype. Can’t you ever do the same for Obama?

        Of course Poles have very hard feelings towards the Russian government, its been an actively evil government in all its forms right up to the present and worked huge harm on Poland. So, yes, the American real politics of balancing our actions relative to the entire international situation have left the Poles feeling betrayed by the reset with Russia. I hate the Russian Government with a bright blue flame and wish that it was not necessary to deal with them as if they were other than actively evil, but that is not possible and the reset makes broad sense, much to the anger of the Poles. I have no information that the Poles, “Despise” Obama, they are angry with his decision. I believe that its you who despise Obama and you transfer that to the Poles as a general group. Romney if elected will continue the reset and then the Poles will be angry with his administration. But I doubt they will “Despise” him.

        What a stupid polarized world, pick up the Atlantic or read any of hundreds of other liberal mouthpieces and you will not read one good thing abut Romney, Read the Weekly Standard or hundreds of other conservative mouthpieces and you will not read one good word about Obama. Completely unbalanced world views are called propaganda for a good reason and reason is not what they appeal to. God almighty, am I ever #$@%^& sick of it.

      • Priscilla permalink
        October 26, 2012 11:40 am

        Ian, you have been calling me an ultra-conservative hyper-partisan for years now. It’s ok, I don’t get offended anymore….. I just realize that you read my comments through the prism of that perception.

    • Kent permalink
      October 26, 2012 11:28 am

      TNS grand-wazzoo. We will remain a “moderate” nation as long as we cater to the main political parties.

      Like I have stated before. Moderates are the people who are willing to jump off a fence during election time and jump into the left or right backyard for the next four years. Without any ideology, without logic (Centrist Ideology) of what makes you “attached” to the “fence” you will continue to be a “moderate” and we will see this “back and forth” election and split polls. We are a lost nation right now and we need a new direction.

      Not the direction that the two main parties are selling us. They are salesmen for the rich extremes of their party.

      I just saw that the leader of China is wealthy. 2 Billion dollars wealthy. So the capitalists on the right wing and the left wing are all rich. Certainly the middle is also.

      So we have to look at where the rich want to use their money and for what purpose.

      The rich want more power and money. Plain and simple, but how to get their power and more money is the key.

      Centrist Ideology is the key between the have’s/have nots. The capitalists (Rep) and the socialists (Dem) (which both are central planners). The Anarchists (Libertarians) and the Participatory Economic Planners (Centrists).

      As a moderate you never find out which ideology you tend to be included based on your perceptions unless you exclude your emotions. Feeling for a group is not believing in a group’s ideology. It is in fact a temporary stay which can change.

      For example, A person can be capitalist and believe in helping the poor out of emotions.

      Moderates need to find out if they believe in one of the four listed ideologues above and vote for the person/not parties that fit the quota. As stated, all parties will have rich people and poor and moderates will continue to dominate this country till they know which way to go permanently.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        October 26, 2012 12:15 pm

        There is a lot of sense in what you write Kent, but the problem is that I do not agree with any pure ideology and instead think that a balance of their good points is what works best. So, I’m a moderate, even if that seems like a person who just cannot chose a point of view to some, and I think that moderate is the best and most useful thing to be.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 26, 2012 1:54 pm

        Kent, what do you call an individual that believes the country needs a balanced budget and should have an amendment to the constitution that requires congress to do that, should pay down the debt that has been run up, is willing to accept increased revenues through tax reform (not all rate increases) after most all identified waste has been eliminated, accepts reforms to social programs, does not believe the government should be involved in a woman making a decision on abortion, accepts that marijuana will never be eliminated, so legalization and control much like alcohol today will remove much of the cartels control and believes the right of the government to confiscate individuals properties through eminent domain should be illegal in most instances?

        Can’t be Republican since they want to control your personal decisions. can’t be a Democrat since they do not want to have any fiscal controls and believe it is fine to spend your kids generations money. So are we a moderate, a centrist or just plain nuts?

      • Kent permalink
        November 4, 2012 10:13 pm

        Ron P, That was one long sentence in one paragraph.

        Sounds all Libertarian or Centrist to me. It depends on if you want Free Markets (Libertarian) or “Participatory Economics” (Experts, and free input from the average free citizen (possible referendums).

        Both Libs. And Cents. share Social Freedom and Fiscal Responsibility Ideologue.

        For Centrists and Libertarians…Now that Ron Paul and his extremists are out. The Libertarian Party can look more viable as a “third option”.

        Unfortunately, there is no “Independent, Moderate, nor Centrist” Parties. There are however other small factions on the left/right spectrum to choose. The Green/Constitution Parties do come to mind.

        We must remember that Moderate means “in the middle”. “in the middle” isn’t just a place to be, but it is also known as a place you can make a decision and look like you are picking one side over the other.

        It also must mean something more.

        An Ideology must follow it..not in emotion, but logic.

        Libertarian Ideologue has been the only middle ideologues to the “middle” for many years. This is changing as more and more are leaving both Dems and Reps.

        A new Centrist Ideologue is taking place around the country today. One that believes in the “participation aspect” of effort and sacrifice. Where “merit is credit” and “money is nothing”.

        The problem with organizing “Centrists” right now is many are saying they follow a “Centrist” idea, but are really “Moderates”.

        They don’t know how to make themselves “Centrist” in thought and practice it. It isn’t something you can just say without understanding what it is and isn’t. Thus, an Ideologue has to form and be perfected that others understand and can in a way lead by example.

        You see today that Dems and Reps are left/right. Libertarians and Centrists are up/down. All of these Ideologues have a defense and offense to point to each and say “we are not like them, but do share some things as well”.

        Moderates are “in the middle” and are termed by left/right and up/down as “wishy washy” as they jump to the left/right or up/down Ideologues as a way on each issue.

        The question for a Moderate would be to choose a group via a plan. You would either choose an existing Ideologue by “Central Planning” (Morals or Social), “Participatory Planning” or “Free Market”.

        Otherwise, The best party for Moderates would be “Moderate Party” or “Independent Party” as each individual would set their own agenda.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 5, 2012 1:01 am

        I did get carried away didn’t I? Will try to do better next time.

      • Kent permalink
        November 4, 2012 10:30 pm

        The not-so-grand Wazzoo,

        It is fine to be Moderate or Independent and to take things from many sides.

        They question is whether you believe in “Central Planning” as based by the Rep and Dems or the other two Ideologues which are Libertarians (Free Market/Voluntary Participation) and the new forming groups of Centrists (Participatory Economics/Voluntary and Merit based…not money based).

        In being a Moderate..others will have a hard time understanding your ideas if you are “all over the place” in thought and on the issues.

  11. October 26, 2012 9:47 am

    Despite my jaded views on politicians and their promises political campaigns and promises do matter.

    This campaign has been about the economy and different views of the economy.
    It has been about responsible Social security and Medicare reform
    It has been about tax reform.
    It has been about entitlement reform.

    It has not really been about abortion, foreign policy, the so called war on women.

    Candidates are elected to implement the broad strokes of those things they argued during the campaign.

    Political power does not come from SuperPACs or Corporate political largess, but from votes.

    Regardless of who is elected the other party will have more than enough votes in the house and senate to oppose anything their own constitutents are also opposed to.

    Even if Ron Paul or Michelle Bachman were somehow elected their power would would be limited to what the president can accomplish on their own – which is not all that much.

    If Pres. Obama is re-elected we will get more of the past two years. We will face not only the “fiscal cliff”, but another debt ceiling crisis immediately after the election.
    In 2014 Obama would get another change to beg for the Democratic congress that he had in 2009, but it is unlikely that he would get it. Regardless presidents 2nd terms are typically extremely tame – with no new initiatives.

    If Romney is elected, we will see
    some small reduction in government regulation.
    A significant effort towards tax reform and simplification,
    Efforts to transform Social Security and Medicare from defined benefits to defined contributions programs, as well as providing private options.
    Effort to reign entitlements back to 2008 levels
    All but the first and parts of the last will have to be bipartisan or they will not happen.

    What we will not see in either instance is anything with any hope of even approaching a balanced budget in the foreseable future. Nor will we see the national debt decline as a percentage of GDP – and so long as it remains at the current levels we are at great economic risk of stagnation and recession.

    • Kent permalink
      October 26, 2012 11:38 am

      What you will see is a Democrat Senate and a Republican House of Reps. Same things as last time. They question is who is President.

      The American people need to find their place in ideologue before it is too late.

      A few comments above I mentioned this all playing out. People are split between the two main parties.

      IT Doesn’t have to be this way!! Duh!!! Vote for what you believe in. Not what sounds good.

      Capitalist Central Planning (Republican) (Right wing)
      Socialist Central Planning (Democrat) (Left wing)

      Free Market Economic Planning (Libertarian) (Back wing)
      Participatory Economic Planning (Centrist) (Forward wing)

      Don’t vote on emotions. Vote on principles based on your perceptions of reality.

  12. October 26, 2012 10:24 am

    I found the Obama Bayonets and Buggies remark incredibly witty.
    But it was also pretty stupid.

    In afghanistan our soldiers still fight with much the same gear as GIs used in WWII.

    Sure they have kevlar helmets now, and night vision googles, but they still carry rifles, knives and hand grenades. The cost per soldier, their training, and their combat effectiveness are much greater than in the past, but the task still comes down to killing the enemy often up close and personal.

    Something we as a people and our leaders should always consider when sending our soldiers off to foreign countries.

    I have advocated strongly for radical cuts in military spending, but these are not free.
    At half our current budget we will not be able to send 250,000 or the finest soldiers on the planet wherever we please whenever we want.

    Some of the changes within our navy have allowed us to fight effectively with fewer vessels but we still have 11 Carrier Strike Groups composed of almost 20 vessels each – and this does not count the numerous other ships independent of the strike groups.

    Actions such as Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan require multiple CSGs each. Our navy protects shipping in the persian gulf, the east coast of africa, and indonesia.
    The CSG’s are our only consequential rapid deployment force capable of stalling attacks on Taiwan or South Korea long enough to bring other forces to bear.

    Our military doctrine is based on the ability to fight two large scale conflicts concurrently. The inability to do so, means we are unable to initiate any military action without encouraging a response elsewhere.

    Modern US military strategy and tactics trades money for lives. We fight with better and more leathal equipment with smaller numbers of soldiers. We suffer far fewer casualties ourselves and a far greater proportion of the causalities we inflict are on enemy combatants, not civilians women and children. This is a very expensive way to fight.

    Finally as the UK and US realized during World War II – it takes several years to build weapons and soldiers when you do not have them. Even pulling the vast array of older equipment the US possess out of mothballs and refitting takes alot of time. Producing the modern highly skilled US soldiers and sailors that enable us to fight as we currently do takes quite a long time.

    As we have discovered in Iraq and Afghanistan the modern US military is heavily dependent on our military reserve – these are not teenagers, but middle aged weekend warriors, with families, children, whose communities depend on them, and deployments are not a few weeks but many months. And reserve casualites cut into our communities far deeply than the greater numbers during vietnam.

    I believe that we should significantly cut back on military spending.
    But pretending that we can do the same things with far less money is willfully blind.

    We must understand that less miltary spending means expecting the rest of the world to take more responsibility for security. It means more regional conflicts, and it means sitting them out. It means accepting that other nations will get and might even us nuclear weapons. It means understanding that if we must engage in military action that it will take much longer, and that casualties may be far greater. That our dependence on reserves will increase.

    It means more horses and bayonets. The presidents quip was upside down.

  13. Kent permalink
    October 26, 2012 12:21 pm

    Rick, I have found it refreshing to vote for what I know from experience than what someone else either says or promises.

    I simply “turn off” when the sales pitch starts. I also become skeptical of any sales pitch when any argument is made.

    The last debate I wanted to see, but time has pasted and I don’t want to see it now. I think I saved about an hour and a half of my life being wasted.

    Fact is: people most likely are going to vote for these two Central Planners. People will benefit in some places and others will not.

    This is why I have created a Centrist Philosophy. Participatory Planning. Everyone has the same time to speak and say what they want to say. In economics, social freedoms everyone has something to say and allowed to be heard.

    Money isn’t the weapon, it is the tool to make things happen.

    On this last sentence I think we as a nation are forgetting that bashing each other over the head with money isn’t the answer. It is how to use what we have to make great things happen.

    All I heard in these debates is what kind of wielding of money is going to do for our country.

    Have they forgotten that we are a debt nation??? They talk about cutting spending and cutting taxes.

    Fact is the Government has spent more than they have and they want a “bailout” from the American people. Either via the rich, middle class or the poor and if they (Dems/Reps) don’t get what they want they will blame the other guy and borrow more.

    Which continues this “Unsustainable” climb to liquidation of our country. They even say it themselves.

    They are both Central Planners…which means they need money to do things we might not want. It isn’t Participatory Economics like Centrists and certainly not like Free Markets where Libertarians care less about where things lead.

    Another thing, my mother-in-law said that I was “throwing my vote away” voting Libertarian.

    Not so, logically thinking…. not voting may be “throwing your vote away”

    When someone says this next time I will reply in one of two ways.
    I will say:
    1. “bully tactics will not work on me”,
    2.”wise up”
    3.”keep voting like your elders/parents”,
    4.”keep voting your way so others can make choices for you”
    5. “keep making others (younger) pay for your future”
    6.
    The last being that your political party is the one where “old men talk and young men die”.

    This blog you have Rick has definitely helped me identify Centrist ideas/philosophy and Ideologue. I compliment you on this.

    Listening to “Moderates” going “back and forth” and “forth and back” is quite stimulating on asking “why”. Why put your mind in such torment on who is right and wrong. I suppose discussion is necessary.

    Most agreed, but to know the Reps and Dems for what they are “Rich Central Planners” who have an agenda tells me that I am not “them”. I am neither rich, religious (organized by elders), nor share their fame. I am not searching for a handout for their ideas. They beg like a car salesman during elections not just for themselves, but also for their party and the agenda behind it.

    To say that America is majority rule now is insanity. A Majority should be what this country drives on. We instead are stuck in Neutral. Unless we move the majority of Americans to Participatory Planning then we will see more growing population separating into groups. More and more being emotionally felt as being “left out”.

    We may have choices, but many are being made for us. Who makes those choices is the problem.

  14. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 26, 2012 12:29 pm

    Priscilla, no other place for me to respond but at the bottom. I’m glad you are not offended, since I really am trying not to while all the same making my point.

    AMAC, Pat Riot, Ron P, Kent, and of course Rick are regular posters who are thinking, thinking for themselves, not all the time, no one does that, but regularly. Not everything they believe is moderate, but they are thoughtful people with active intellectual processes and all have an ability to be objective rather often. These are the people who reach me, the people who’s opinions have earned my respect.

    People like Rob Anderson, Rich, Dave, and sadly yourself, seem to me to simply repeat the propaganda of their own political religions. It is rarely persuasive to anyone other than the already converted.

    You gently deflected my criticism, but my words were not without some basis. I do not remember the last words you wrote here that were not just a reprocessed conservative opinion piece. You dealt here with not one actual issue I raised. Its the pattern of a person who is simply channeling the mother ship. I hope you will escape from that someday.

    • October 26, 2012 1:36 pm

      Ian, I appreciate your concern, but I am not ultra or hyper anything. If I tilt toward conservative positions these days more than I did in the past, it is because I have researched and thought about those positions, not because I am some sort of weak-brained talk radio groupie. Your view of me as a hard ideologue is somewhat perplexing to me, but I am not going to spend a whole lot of effort to change it, because…..well, it just seems kind of pointless, you know?

      Anyway, most of the recent discussions here have been about the election, and, during elections, everyone is partisan, to one degree or another. I find it fascinating to read consistently thoughtful and well-reasoned arguments from a fairly broad range of political views here.

      Which brings me to Kent’s perception about “wasting your vote.” I really don’t think that a vote for Gary Johnson, or any other third party candidate is wasted any more than a vote for Romney in California, or one for Obama in Nebraska. None of them are going to actually elect anyone. On the other hand, I don’t think that the future success of a thrid party is ever going to happen without very broadbased organization and strong leadership. How someone votes is a free and individual choice….actually reforming a political system is far more complex.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        October 26, 2012 2:27 pm

        OK I’ll remove the word hyper, perhaps its pointless, a person is partisan or are not. I still hold that one can be partisan but objective and fair.

        I remember that you pointed out to a poster in the previous topic that they had just delivered the Dem talking points (I thought that was richly ironic). As well, you noted the obvious biases of your liberal Princtonians. You can see their behaviors and partisan biases, but its perhaps harder to see one’s own. As for me, I would not be silent, I’d give them a good lecture on the evils of partisanship even if it led to a good shunning.

        “Despise” pushed my buttons, its a hyper word, stronger even than hate. I am on a long-term respect the President crusade and that word is an offence to it.

        If a person were to perform some simple task, say, make a pizza, in front of a huge audience that was throwing out millions of pieces of contradictory advice and abuse, could they finish the job? Perhaps.

        Let a person do something harder, say solve a nice difficult partial differential equation on the blackboard in front of such an audience, could they succeed. They could not even think straight.

        And now the presidency, an impossible job on its face. It must be an important one, as we spend all our time thinking about it.

        There he is, be he Reagan, Clinton, W, or Obama and as he tries to accomplish an endless series of impossible tasks millions of know it alls hurl abuse and idiotic advice, much of it meant to be malicious.

        The President deserves criticism, serious criticism, which is the criticism made by serious people who are well educated on their topic. Instead what he mostly gets is criticism from people who wish him to fail so their side can take over. It would not matter what he did, it would be automatically wrong. They don’t stop to realize that when they take over, they will get the same treatment.

        Mitt Romney may well become president. I respect him already for trying and putting himself in the position to. I will respect him if he becomes president and I will defend him from those who hurl partisan abuse at him, even to my friends and family. I will hope like hell that the succeeds and will resent every petty partisan person who hinders him with idiotic accusations.

        We need the President, every President, “ours” or “theirs,” to succeed for all of our sakes. I am very thankful to be an American, but utterly tired of our utterly partisan political system and all the malicious partisan know it alls who piss on everything each President does and make an impossible task that much worse. It harms us all and degrades our country.

      • October 26, 2012 3:17 pm

        And, I will acknowledge that the word “despise” was too harsh. I do get annoyed by the constant fretting over what Europeans (or Asians or Australians or whoever) think of the US, based on who the President is. It’s as if some people think that world politics and diplomacy is a popularity contest. Obama is not popular in Poland because he backed the US out of our missle defense agreement, based on Russia’s objections…..you may be correct in saying that a President Romney would also choose to play nice with Russia and would earn the same unpopularity. I don’t know.

        Bottom line, I was responding to your comment that Europe was strongly pro-Obama, and my point, perhaps made too heavy-handedly, was that not by a long shot is all of Europe pro-Obama.

    • October 27, 2012 7:49 pm

      Ian;

      I think those you are criticizing think exactly the same of you and those you are lauding.

      I find most of your beliefs impossible to reconcile with facts in the real world.
      I can not comprehend how anyone can believe things that make no sense and never worked – yet, you, Rick, and the so called moderates – as well as progressives, and many flavors of conservatives consistently do. Not only do I think you have no clue what objective is – but sometime ago you thought it great fun to essentially atgue there is no such thing as objective – now somehow it is the rest of us that have abandoned objectivity.

      I take strong personal offense at any suggestion that I do not think for myself.
      I have and will continue to accuse you of i logic, of not thinking, but I hold you responsible for your thoughts – not someone else. I expect and entitled to the same respect and courtesy.

      Sure I read and I am influenced by many many others. In fact I strongly suspect I spend more time reading liberal propaganda than you do. But I chose what I will believe – and I expect the same from you.

      Get off your high horse and quit making idiotic arguments.

      It is completely irrelevant whether any argument I or you or anyone else makes, is “recycled” whether conservative, liberal, libertarian or whatever.

      All that matters is whether an argument is valid. Your entire “Gentle criticism” of Priscilla, is just a stack of fallacies. A straw man at the top, inverse appeals to authority, on and on.

      Do we disbeleive people because they are gay, female, or black ?
      If you discredit arguments solely because you do not like them, or because you do not like some people who made them all you do is demonstrate that you are closed minded.

      You are entitled to your own oppinion, but not your own facts.

  15. October 26, 2012 12:42 pm

    Everyone: I wish I could step into this debate (better than stepping into some other things I can think of), but I have a “perfect storm” of projects to contend with right now: one pro bono item with an incredibly tight deadline (tomorrow), and one that actually pays. On top of that, my son will be with me through the weekend.

    I’ll see if I can grab some free minutes Saturday night after the pro bono project is done and my son is in bed. Looks like a pretty substantive discussion. Meanwhile, as Mike Myers’ New York matron used to say, “Tawk amongst yourselves.”

    • October 26, 2012 1:32 pm

      I guess that should be “yuhselves.”

    • Ron P permalink
      October 26, 2012 2:03 pm

      When you return, there will be many more issues that you can write about. Less than 2 weeks from election, anything can happen.

  16. Pat Riot permalink
    October 26, 2012 7:39 pm

    I think Rick is going to be away for a little while. We have the place to ourselves. Let’s party!

    All you Republicans are a bunch of cold-hearted, selfish, dog-eat-dog capitalist pigs who reward themselves with speedboats and yachts and hope something trickles down to the less fortunate…

    All you Democrats want to take other people’s hard-earned money and throw it away on bleeding-heart social programs that are utterly ineffective wastes of time and money…

    All you Libertarians think everyone should just mind their own business and give all the tax money to the police and military in case anyone’s rights are violated..

    It is only the Moderates who are not fools. Tawk amongst yuhselves…:-)

    • October 26, 2012 9:49 pm

      Ain’t it the truth…..

    • Ron P permalink
      October 26, 2012 11:19 pm

      Just wait until the long arm of the law returns. Are you in trouble!

    • October 27, 2012 6:01 pm

      All you moderates are wishy washy fools, “no brains at all, only grey fluff blown into their heads by mistake”

  17. Pat Riot permalink
    October 27, 2012 8:44 am

    A teacher put four words onto the white board: sunshine, rain, good soil, seeds. “Which is the MOST important for growing healthy crops?” the teacher asked.

    “I want to say the seeds,” answered a student, “but the seeds won’t produce without the other elements. So it’s kind of a trick question. All of those things are important for healthy crops.”

    The teacher put some diffeent words onto the board: private enterprise/business, freedom/human rights personal responsibility, lawfulness/respect for others/justice, ability to defend (military). “Which of these is the MOST important for a healthy, prosperous nation?”

    After some discussion, the concensus was that all of the above were important.

    “Notice that we don’t see ‘Government Regulation’ up on our list,” said a student.

    “Well that comes under the heading of ‘lawfulness/respect for others/justice’ because without some regulation, by the people, the private interests of some would trample on the private interests of others. In a small town there might only be a sheriff, but In a complex, industrialized nation there is a need for some regulation as an arm of the law. Not so much regulation that it stifles productivity unnecessarily, but enough regulation to keep people from being trampled by powerful special interests of private enterprise,” said the teacher.

    “So you’re a Democrat,” said a reporter.

    “Oy veh, who let the media in here?”

    • October 27, 2012 7:01 pm

      You do not need private enterprise – it is a subset of individual liberty.
      Lawfullness and justice are the same thing.

      Regulation is a particular means of accomplishing an end – it is NOT the only means. It is not the best means. You included personal responsibility – holding people accountable. Why is that not sufficient ? If you do harm – justice and law demand you make those you harmed whole. This is the difference between “prior restraint” – regulation, and personal responsibility – consequences.

      No one – not even the most radical anarcho-capitolists, beleives that you are free to harm others as you please without consequence.

      We need law – not regulation. Laws are simple precepts – based the some of the values you identified. Properly derived law should never change. It should work regardless of technological or societal changes. If it does not then it was not good law.

      Regulation is not law. It is one hopefully smart person telling all the rest of us the best way to do something. In our legal system – if you comply with all the regulations, yet your actions harm or kill someone – you bear no responsibility Conforming to regulations is your sole moral and legal requirement.

      In a libertarian scheme if your actions directly harm another, you are responsible, and you must make the harmed party whole. If you intended to harm someone – that is a crime, for which you may have to surrender your freedom as well as make the other party whole.
      If the harm was unintended, you are still obligated to undo what harm you have done.

      How is “regulation” – prior restraint, superior in anyway to this ?
      It is not. In fact it is inferior in everyway. In 2010 the Federal register – the new regulations published by the federal government for that year alone contained 81,500 pages.
      This is just the regulations from one of the 75+ years that the federal register has been published. Nor does this count the myriads of state an local regulation imposed on us each year. Not a single page of these has been voted on by congress or signed off on by the president. Yet every word is law.

      This is not regulation run amuck. It is what happens naturally when purported experts are empowered to decide ahead of time what we can and can not do.

      And the entirety of it – could have been digested to a few words – “you have no right to harm another”

      Most of this does not directly effect ordinary individuals – though it complicates the lives of everyone who provides goods and services to us and increases the cost of everything. But most is not all. If only 1,000 pages/year directly effect ordinary people, that is still about 50,000 total pages so far. – that is more than 10 times the size of the bible – anyone here every read the bible cover to cover – at 15 pages a night it takes about a year. Nor does this include the hundreds of pages of municiple codes, building codes, zoning regulations, ….. that all DO directly apply to you.

      In much of the country children are legally prohibited from selling lemonade. Just one off the bazillions of unintended consequences of regulation.

      This is a system you wish to defend ?

      All of us agree that you do not have the right to harm others. No one is arguing that there should be no consequences when you do so. Regulation is just one method of addressing that and a very poor one

  18. October 27, 2012 4:30 pm

    Kind of OT, but, since Rick is away, we don’t have to talk about the debate ;)

    The Benghazi thing has gotten quite interesting. Obama says that, as commander, he immediately gave an order to secure personnel, CIA Operations in Libya says they were ordered to stand down when calls for help came from the consulate, Petraeus says no one at CIA HQ told anyone to stand down, Panetta says he had no real time information about the attack, but we had a camera drone right over the consulate……..

    So many questions…is it possible that a direct order from Obama gets lost in the shuffle? To me, anyway, that seems next to impossible. But if there is a standing order from the President to secure personnel, who would deny requests for military assistance and air support over the course of a 6-7 hour attack? And don’t we have real-time communication technology for the purposes of communicating between Washington and places like Libya in these situations?

    • Ron P permalink
      October 27, 2012 5:37 pm

      pearows..I believe everyone knew what they needed to know when the had to know it. I also beleive Obama remembers the resque attempt made in Iran approved by Carter shortly before the election that cost Carter the election in 1980. I believe Obama made the decision that was made due to the upcoming election and did not want something much larger with a negative outcome, like one or two helo’s going down killing many more Americans than the four we lost. In otherwords. I believe Obama sacrificed four Americans to avoid a military operations that the main stream media would cover had the outcome been tragic.

      What we see now is a situation where the mian stream media can avoid covering the attack on the consultate and call the investigation a witch hunt during a political campaign. Few news channels are giving this much coverage except Fox, Just look at
      The Moderate Voice.com website and you will see they now call Fox “the All Benghazi Channel”. Nice play on words for what they say is their moderate views. But it shows how news is manipulated for political gains.

      • October 27, 2012 7:23 pm

        RonP;

        Consulate security forces had the mortar that was shelling the embassy laser designated for hours. We have all seen over and over our ability to destroy any target we can laser designate with an explosive no larger than necessary. During this entire mess strike aircraft from italy were never more than an hour away.

        Less lethally, low level passes by strike aircraft without using any weapons might have been sufficient to dissuade the attackers.

        Nothing was tried – nothing big, nothing little. Not things with little or no risk.

        I do not believe we have the right to intervene in the affairs o other nations. I think we were wrong to invade Iraq, wrong to inter ere in Libya.

        But we have a right and obligation to defend our nation and its people. An attack on our embassy or consulate is an act of war.

        Sure the media would have been vicious had some response failed. There is no such thing as risk free choices. Pres. Obama chose the big shoes voluntarily. He gets credit when the risks pay off – as in Killing Bin Laden, and he gets the blame when they do not, or when he fails to take risks that are necessary.

        Sure there is politics involved – but his first job to the people, not to re-election. I would hold Romney, or Gary Johnson or anyone else with that job to the same standard.

      • October 28, 2012 8:09 am

        Ron, Just clicked over the TMV – haven’t been there for ages. You’re right, not a single piece about the Benghazi story, except a mocking post about Fox News covering it too much. Lots of anti-Romney stuff, some Hurricane Sandy, and one incredulous post about the news that the DesMoines Register endorsed Romney after decades of endorsing Democrats (why? why ???)……plus, Andrew Sullivan and Little Green Footballs listed as “moderate” blogs. Whew.

        Makes me really appreciate TNM as a site where actual moderate opinion can be discussed. Thanks, Rick.

    • October 27, 2012 7:11 pm

      Benghazi is a government failure. It is not a republic or democratic failure. It is ultimately the responsibility of the president – as Harry Truman noted – “The Buck stops here”.
      Just as Obama insists (mostly rightly) on blaming Bush for what he inherited, He too is responsible for everything that has happened since.

      Benghazi is also important as a metaphor for this entire administration – actually for big government as a whole.

      If Obama issued an order to secure embassy people – the whitehouse, state department, CIA, and military failed to do so. The scale and complexity of those organizations radically increases the odds that exactly that kind of failure will occur. This is no different from Maddoff getting away with his scam or BP getting approval for Deepwater Horizon. Big systems fail. Many of us grasp that “too big to fail” banks should not exist. Government is no different.

      Further, regardless of what the President did or did not do on that day, he did deliberately choose policies that diminished the security of foreign service employees.

    • October 27, 2012 7:30 pm

      Much of what we are hearing is typical of a any government failure.

      There is no good reason at this moment to believe anyone or anything – beyond that this was a government failure that should not have happened.

      Obama may have issued orders – he also may be lying. Petreaus may be lying, the security forces in Benghazi may be lying, State may be lying, the military may be lying.

      Certainly someone possibly many people are lying, and some are telling the truth.
      It is likely that we will eventually get to the bottom of this – though probably not the whole truth..

      I am personally dubious about white house claims, as they seem to have been wrong about this in most every possible way since the begining.

      First and for weeks it was a spontaneous uprising caused by a youtube video.
      Yet eventually we find not only was it a coordinated terrorist attack, but that the whitehouse knew that while it was happening.

      Whitehouse credibility on Benghazi is abysmal. Maybe orders were issued and disregarded, or misunderstood. Unlikely, but possible. It is still the administrations fault.

  19. October 27, 2012 7:58 pm

    Pearows;

    You owe Ian nor anyone else any apology for your choice of words, for your views or opinions.

    I do not always agree with you, but your freedom to believe as you chose is absolute.

    I wish that Ian particularly and the “moderates” in general here were able to take the board from their eyes before trying to remove the mote from others.

    It is extremely rare to get any argument from Ian that is not in the form of
    :What you say matches my perception of hyper uber mega conservatism and therefore is wrong – because we all know anyone to the right of Obama is evil.

    He has no conception of the fact that most americans are to the right of him.
    Nor that there is any view an inch to the right of his that is not falling off the right edge of the world conservative.

  20. October 27, 2012 8:12 pm

    You might be a hyper conservative if:

    You believe we can not spend more than we produce.

    You believe government can not grow infinitely

    You believe that a decrease in the rate of increase in spending is not a spending cut.

    You believe that people can think and vote for themselves.

    You believe that children should be allowed to sell lemonade without a permit.

    You believe that there is a problem if 47% of the people do not pay income taxes.

    You believe there is a problem when more than 60% of people are net beneficiaries of government.

    You believe that if you tax something like investment you will get less of it.

    You believe that too big to fail is to big to exist.

    You believe that people who bought houses they knew they could not afford are victims.

    You believe that if discrimination is wrong, you can’t fix it by discriminating.

    You believe that people kill people rather than guns or pencils or hard boiled eggs.

    You believe that it is unlikely that government can do tomorrow what it has never succeeded at in the past.

    You believe in holding government accountable.

    ……

    • Ron P permalink
      October 27, 2012 11:44 pm

      asmith, you have only listed those things that are aligned with FISCAL conservatives.

      How about listing all the social issues the conservatives believe. You might find out why so many younger individuals that believe in conserative fiscal positions vote for the Democrats. They weight individual social freedoms higher than conservative fiscal values.

      • October 28, 2012 1:11 pm

        RonP;

        That was sort of the point.

        It was like saying

        You might be a redneck if you don’t drive a prius.

        It was a spoof of Ian’s ad hominem.

        Contrary to the claims of some of the left wingnut moderates here you are not a falling off the edge of the flat earth conservative if you hold fiscally responsible beliefs – most of which are shared by 60-80% of americans.

        The so called hyper conservatives that frequent this bog, do not share the social values of “social conservatives”.

        Yet, anyone who argues for smaller government must be a neo-nazi, zkin head, racisct, gender criminal.

        I am tired of and growing angrier about this kind of stupid ad hominem.

        The insults on TNM are usually less juvenile, but they are equally poorly informed.

        If so called moderates value common ground, rational discussion and cooperation they are not going to acheive it by labeling the 90% of americans that are NOT liberal, as falling of the right edge of the world nut jobs.

        84% of americans currently favor SMALLER government. Even in the peoples republic of california a significant majority favor smaller government.

        Yet on TNM if you argue for smaller government you are part o the extreme hard right.

        67% of americans have a favorable view of big business.,
        In the same poll only 41% have a somewhat favorable view of government.

        Yet on TNM all business is evil, and all government is good.

        Yet anyone here suggesting we have more problems with government is painted as a lunatic.

  21. October 27, 2012 8:34 pm

    Yeah, my feeling is that there are multiple people lying here. I do think that Obama has to be lying about giving “orders” to secure personnel…he may have told someone -Panetta? – in DoD to do so, but military orders from the Commander in Chief do not get negated by anyone. I

    • October 28, 2012 1:19 pm

      Off course people are lying, and in the long run presuming the press does not lose interest we may even get a good idea who

      What I thought was more interesting is that the WhiteHouse essentially set themself’s up.

      They took a stupid position essentially blaming state, cia, the military, ….
      And then they are shocked when those groups come out swinging.

      I was disappointed in Penneta’s “Fog of war” remarks.
      No the right thing to do when things are unclear and lives are at stake is NOT to wait until we know what is going own. It is to trust the people on the scene and to protect our people.
      Policy matters are decided at the top of the food chain.
      But when their are questions of fact in an unclear situation deference is given to those on the scene, in the actual fighting.

  22. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 28, 2012 12:35 pm

    Yep, I broke my own rule about posting too much, with predictable results, I wasted a lot of energy. Dave understood not one single point I made, his record is still perfect, and Priscilla continues to post as if this was a conservative chat site, and simply cannot understand why I think she is a highly partisan conservative republican rather than a moderate.

    I have to note the irony that I drive Dave nuts with my comments on conservatives and libertarians and he feels the need to lecture me on my alleged attempts to infringe on others rights to free speech, while his fellow conservative libertarian Bastiat can freely offer to “shit kick Obama’s skinny ass off stage” with not a word of protest from him about blog etiquette. Selective outrage is always revealing.

    I’ll leave the echo chamber to the libertarian/conservative community and look in every so often to see if you are bored yet with a discussion between the different flavors of those two ideologies.

    They are likely to head in the direction of Dave’s explanations about how his anti-government sect intends to take over the Republican party by holding its breath until it gets what it wants, ultimately an 80% or more reduction in government spending is their modest target.

    Good luck with that!

    • October 28, 2012 3:00 pm

      No Ian I think I understood your remarks pretty well.
      And your response confirms that.

      I have not “alleged you are infringing on others rights of free speech”
      I will support to my death your right to say the stupidest most insulting things you choose. But I will attack what you say. I am not claiming you are coercing others or infringing on the rights of others. I am claiming you are LYING about others.

      You think anyone to the right of Obama is “a highly partisan conservative republican”.
      Your political spectrum is not even two dimensional – it is two points.
      You and those who think like you, and the rest of the wacko right.
      Anyone who disagrees with you on most anything is “ultra conservative”.

      It is not just conservatives and libertarians you alienate. It is anyone more than half a step from your ideology. You rant about the dangers of true beleivers and ideologues – but you are among the worst. You are never interested in addressing substance.
      Your arguments are always rants about the purported extremism of others – without even referemcing the actual positions that purportedly make them extremists – otherwise you might have to confront the possibility that you are the real extremist and ideologue.

      How are Bastiats remarks about Obama any different from Rick’s Land Shark reference that headlines this article ? Or Obama’s Romnesia remarks ? How are they any different from your constant juvenile Monty Python remarks ?

      Your view is “Free speech for me, but not for thee”
      Selective outrage IS revealing and your are the champion.

      I have repeatedly offered to address any issue you chose – using facts, data, logic, …. rather than unsupported generalizations, attacks on character, and myriads of other fallacies. That is ANY ISSUE that you and I have a difference of opinion on.

      I do not expect to persuade you, and absent real facts, data and logic, you are not going to persuade me. But at least we can bring the real issue to the forefront.

      But you have never been willing to do that. When you do not like the direction things are leading you fire up the ad hominem, straw men, ….

      Everyone who disagrees with you is NOT part o the hyper far right.

      Even if they actually were. You can not refute a claim based on the real or imagined politics of your opponent. Liberals and progressives are not wrong because they are liberal or progressive. They are wrong because their ideas do not work.

      Posters on this blog increasingly reflective a broad spectrum of ideas. I see that as a good thing. If Rick disagrees he can chase whoever he pleases out. but I think that would be a mistake. If diversity of opinions disrupts your milquetoast views of moderate – that demonstrates that you are not truly the tolerant moderate you claim.

      There is probably not a single poster here I have not disagreed with at one time or another. That does not make them evil hyper conservatives, or Marxists, or …..
      If I have labeled someones views as liberal or progressive – it is because I thought they were and was challenging them to prove me wrong. Not so that I could label them and ignore them. You use the conservative label as a means to avoid thinking about the ideas and views of those you disagree with. An idea is conservative – because you say it is, and then can be ignored – because as you know all conservative ideas are without merit.

      It is precisely this kind of idiocy that demonstrates you are not moderate.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 28, 2012 4:26 pm

      OH Not-so-Grand-Wizzard–Please keep in mind that there are moderate Libertarians. We are all not so far into left or right field that we are in foul territory. I ask if someone who is a fiscal conservative, but also accepts that some social programs are needed, if social value decisions should be left to the individual and not the government and that some things are best handled by state and local governments like education is not centrist or moderate.

      I would not have many issues with the Republican party (and that is why I am voting for Romney) if it were not for its stance on abortion, gay rights and the dream act. I believe gays should have the right to marry and be as unhappy as many other straight couples that marry and then have to migrate through the legal system to get a divorce which over 50% do. I do not personally believe in abortion, but that moral decision should be left to the woman making that decision based on her religious and moral beliefs. And I beleive that children brought into this country at a young age, raised American, Educated American and is more American than the President that was raised outside the USA should be allowed to become American with all rights and privilages granted to those born in America.

      I identify more with the Liberatarians than I do the Republicans and have little in common with the Democrats since I believe little in their platform except for their social values which is more aligned with the Liberatarians than the Republicans.

      Conservatives today seem to be hiding behind the fiscal issues that will impact future generations for many years to come. Liberals seem to be hiding behind social value issues that will impact the current generation more than in the future. I, as a Libertarian leaning Republican identify these issues and want a party that will keep out of my personal decisions and make fiscal decisions that will provide a path for economic success in the future.

      • October 28, 2012 8:26 pm

        RonP;

        You do not understand. According to the grand Wazoo and TNM fiscal responsibility in all forms is inherently evil and earns you the label ultra-conservative flat earther.

      • October 30, 2012 11:32 am

        Dave: There’s a difference between fiscal responsibility (i.e., not running up major deficits) and the promotion of policies that reinforce our transition to a winner-take-all economy. I’m in favor of the former; I’m against the latter.

        I can’t see how anyone with humane values (and that includes you) would want to strip away essential safety-net services for the less fortunate — especially during a borderline depression. I’m not talking about free school lunches, subsidized contraceptives or other frills. I mean basic income and services that keep the poor from being tossed into the street (or into their graves) when the capitalist system isn’t coming through for them.

        The situation will only deteriorate as long as American companies are allowed to outsource their jobs to cheaper markets. Meanwhile, who will take care of all the unemployed Americans that American companies prefer not to hire?

      • Anonymous permalink
        October 30, 2012 12:25 pm

        Hold on, Rick. Who is talking about stripping away safety-net services? And are you suggesting that American companies be forbidden to operate overseas?

        The capitialist system works fine when it is appropriately regulated and not in the grip of government and private sector cronies. Removing restrictive and preferential regulation (protective for favored industries, that is) will not cause anyone to be tossed in the street. I don’t follow your logic, here.

      • October 30, 2012 12:52 pm

        Look around: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are all under fire from the right. If Romney wins, I’m sure we’d see major cutbacks on all those programs.

        As for outsourcing… no, we probably can’t forbid American corporations from sending jobs overseas. But I don’t know what else we can do at this point. We’ll probably have to wait for American factory wages to drop to Asiatic levels before American companies are willing to operate their manufacturing facilities on these shores. That could take decades, and we can’t wait decades. We’re going to be in crisis mode during all that time, and frankly I think the anger of the have-nots could precipitate a revolution.

        Better to impose regulations on outsourcing, I think. Or we could go back to high tariffs on imported goods. Or (my preference) create federal job programs with the money we save by slashing the Pentagon’s budget in half. But we have to do something.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 30, 2012 3:30 pm

        Rick, sorry to stick my nose in again, but based on your comment about Romney cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, I have to point out a few things.
        1, Open the following link and click on the “Statement” section of the report. Please note how they comment about changes, the viability of the program, etc for Medicare. They also state, and I quote:
        “For these reasons, the financial projections shown in this report for Medicare do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations in either the short range (as a result of the unsustainable reductions in physician payment rates) or the long range (because of the strong likelihood that the statutory reductions in price updates for most categories of Medicare provider services will not be viable).”

        http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/ReportsTrustFunds/Downloads/TR2012.pdf

        This is actuarial double talk to cover the rears since they gave the program a report, but do not want any reponsibilioty when the projection go in a tank.

        2. Has no one given the 700 billion cuts in Medicare due to the ACA any consideration? Have you considered that if that 700 billion takes place, physicians are not going to treat patients when the lose money on Medicare?

        It does not matter who is elected, the program will change or will go broke and under either plan, the changes will hurt people in the 40’s when they turn 65.

        3.. Now do a search on Medicaid cutbacks, Medicaid State funding reductions or any other terminology that represents state funding for Medicaid. Daily I receive a newsletter concerning healthcare issues and there are numerious articles about states cutting funding for Medicaid. So again, it does not matter who is elected, cutbacks will happen and they will hurt.

        There comes a time when an individual, a family, a corporation, a county, a state or a federal government reaches its debt coverage limits. When that happens, no more debt is available. We are rapidly reaching that limit unless we take drastic measures like Greece and Spain and tax the crap out of everyone and cut spending way past the safety point. We can make changes now that will hurt, but will not have the impact like European countries on growth and GDP if it is done right and at this point, Romney and Ryan are the only ones sticking their necks out and even proposing a change that can open the debate.

      • October 30, 2012 5:06 pm

        Ron’s points are right on the money here……the safety net system is already in peril. Obamacare absolutely guts Medicare funding, and will result in millions of seniors unable to find good doctors who will treat them.

        Pretending that this is not happening, “mediscaring” and accusing reformers of not caring about the poor and middle class, is SOP for the Democrat party. But it’s not going to make the problem go away, and when the safety net really does rip apart, none of their demagoguery will matter.

  23. October 28, 2012 1:34 pm

    Ian, ad hominem is the last refuge of those who have no rational argument. Simply label those with whom you disagree as stupid, evil, irrational, “hyper-partisan” or some such epithet, and the discussion is over, at least for those who believe that epithets are the equivalent of facts.

    • October 28, 2012 3:03 pm

      I am honestly disappointed. On rare occasions Ian has managed to engage in rational discussion, and at least compelled me to refine and think more clearly about my own ideas.

      the new improved self-censoring Ian seems to confine his posts to character assassinations and ranting.

  24. October 29, 2012 10:30 am

    Benghazi is an issue that Democrats are saying is not fair to discuss until after the election. I happen to think that the question of “what did Obama know and when did he know it,” added to the question of why the public was lied to for 2 weeks about the video, is fair. I also think that, had the President come out, the day after the attack, and told the truth – that our embassy was attacked, our ambassador and others murdered and that there would be swift and severe consequences for the perpetrators, once identified, he would have rallied the people around him, and his re-election would have become a slam-dunk. He did not need to beat war drums to do this – in fact, he could have reminded us of the drone strikes that his administration has used to target AlQaeda leaders, apparently with good success.

    • October 29, 2012 12:06 pm

      I think the president could have handled this better,
      But once the attacks occured he had a serious political problem.

      There as an organized terrorist attack on the US on the anniversary of 9/11 and numerous requests for additional security had been ignored or turned down.

      There is nothing that could have been said on 9/12/2012 that would have made this good for the president.

      That said – lying is a serious problem. I do not grasp why the so called moderates here can not seem to grasp that.

      I voted against Bush I – because he went to the UN and lied about the Vincennes – we were in Iraninan waters, and the whitehouse knew it.

      I would have voted to impeach and remove President “I did not have sex with that woman” Clinton.

      I may not vote for Romney, but i could not vote for Obama under any circumstances after Benghazi.

      I may tolerate a wide variety of political double speak, but lies disqualify you from public office.

      I doubt anything will ever come of Benghazi beyond the election. but this is little different from Nixon. It is an attempted political coverup in order to get re-elected. If anything it is worse – it involved failures specific to his job as president.

      Mistakes and failure can be forgiven. Lies can not.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 29, 2012 2:22 pm

        asmith.. based on your “lie” criteria, I would suggest you might want to avoid voting at all. There are very very few politicians that are not liars telling you anything you want to hear to get elected. That might be political double speak in your mind, but if my kids had said things in this manner when they were growing up, I would have said they were liars and taken appropriate disiplinary action. The only thing missing in the Webster dictionary for Politicain is the synonym “Liar”.

  25. October 29, 2012 11:39 am

    Rick;

    As you are opposed to large amounts of money in politics, and the advertisements they buy, I am curious how you feel about the huge get out the vote efforts that are also funded by this money ?

    Is it preferable to be bombarded by constant political commercials telling you who to vote for, or is it acceptable to have people call you, come to your home, practically drag you to the polls ?

    If an advertisment changes a vote or persuades someone to vote and that is bad,
    would phone calls, or visits by campaign staff, … that accomplish the same thing be more legitimate ?

    Are advertisements less coercive than uninvited guests in your home ?

  26. October 29, 2012 12:13 pm

    Ian;

    From

    Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky’s

    RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

    RULE 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

    I would note that the entire set of rules is about winning, actually being right is irrelevant.

  27. Ron P permalink
    October 29, 2012 2:32 pm

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/health/us-to-sponsor-health-insurance-plans-nationwide.html

    Not to change the subject, but I would like to hear everyones opinion of this action by President Obama, Seems like another executive order or is something hidden in the bill that you “need to read to know whats in it”.

    Why is this such a good idea, but the Republicans plan to allow insurance companies to spread risk and sell their product nationally is not? Why should a national employer like Catepillar or Boeing with plants in many different states have to have different plans due to state regulations, but individuals that do not buy insurance through the employer, but through another means get a plan that most likely will be less expensive due to risk levels in each plan?. I must be missing something.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      October 29, 2012 3:52 pm

      Asmith,
      I don’t hear advocates for campaign finance reforms saying they are “opposed to large amounts of money in politics” as you begin in your post above.

      That’s much too general and generic a way of expressing or referring to a very real problem in our country, and it’s baiting, and and it most definitely comes across (to me at least) as slightly “cranky” and “belligerent.”

      Most advocates for campaign finance reform understand it costs money, and large sums of money, to produce TV and radio commercials and to run for office in general. What most do object to is an obscene stranglehold or monopoly by the already powerful that drowns out good voices that need to be heard.

      Based on my reading of your posts over the last couple years, this is typical of the kind of thing that you don’t seem able to grasp: that something good (e.g. being free to purchase TV or radio time or expressing one’s opinion, et cetera) can become a problem when it reaches a degree or a point.

      Your consistent, well-documented inability to see the “warping point” of something you deem as good or valuable is part of the reason discussion here with you often turns from the content to the messenger, from logical to ad hominem. I cannot think of a more approprate symbol of you than the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (who calls out provokingly to his foes even after his limbs have been chopped off.)

      Now, I would even applaud your baiting and slightly cranky and belligerent manner (for the purpose of prompting discussion) if, after being presented with multiple examples of how a good thing can be bad, you would concede or change your mind on something, or arrive at a synthesis of opinion or a compromise. But what typicaly happens when one of your tenets is shown to sometimes not be true is that you leave a trail of statistics and links and slightly off-target comments, like Dick Dasterdly leaving a pile of tacks and oil on the road for the rest of the Wacky Racers (haha is that a Hanna Barbara reference for something that’s a VIOLATION! )

      I don’t think you are purposely being frustrating. I believe you just can’t help it. It is just about impossible to discuss rationally and logically with you because you depart from rational / logical progression and knee-jerk to your beloved tenets, again and again and again.

    • October 29, 2012 3:54 pm

      How well has medicare worked ? It has tripled the consumption of healthcare services by those over 65 without increasing their overall health, it has increased healthcare costs for everyone. It has cost orders of magnitude more than it was supposed to, and is now running a nearly 30% deficit. This is the program that the left says is outperforming private insurance.

      just allow health insurance companies to compete across state lines. Do not dictate what coverage must be offered – like consumers work that out themselves.
      We had all the same problems we currently have with health insurance with auto insurance decades ago. Government tried CAT funds, rate caps, tort reform, no fault,
      What everntually worked was interstate competition. Now auto insururers compete for your business. There are no government rules driving all the different offerings you see on TV, the different discount programs the different bundling schemes. Just businesses falling all over themselves trying to give consumers what they want.

      The fundimental problem with this solution is that:
      Like medicare it will probably work – possibly even well for a while. Long enough to destroy private competion. But it succeeds and thrives not because it si really cheaper and more cost effective, but because it is subsidized and guaranteed by the government. Eventually it will become another giant sucking government money pit. Medicare, Social Security, Fannie, Freddie, Amtrak, USPS, GM, War on Drugs, ……

  28. October 29, 2012 3:39 pm

    From the Obama Campaign – I think this speaks for itself. Ian could not have done better himself.

    http://barackobama.tumblr.com/post/34165736532/sums-it-up

    From the left.

    The Future Children project giving us reasons to take our kids out of public school

  29. Pat Riot permalink
    October 29, 2012 4:17 pm

    Asmith,

    I challenge you to a debate here on TNM. The topic could be just about any of the deeply-held beliefs of yours that corrode your comments here. We would need referees/judges to sustain or overule objections, such as getting off-course using strawmen and whatnot. Any volunteers to be judges out there?

    Pat Riot

    • October 29, 2012 5:27 pm

      Although often OTT, Asmith offers loads of info in his posts, which make them interesting. You only offer your opinions and reactions–boring. A debate between the two of you offers no appeal, compared to the daily interactions of Asmith with everyone else on the blog.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        October 29, 2012 5:36 pm

        RP,
        I agree that Asmith often offers loads of info in his posts. Often Asmith’s posts are helpful to TNM activity. But then it’s a shame that he dominates the floor with his extreme Libertarianism. Often his posts are left to stand on TNM because people have tried in vain in the past to get him to see beyond his preconceived ideas. I think TNM is a good format. I’m offering Asmith a challenge to his preconceived ideas. Anyone can paste links to articles and quote dead economists to deflect from real, rational debate.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        October 29, 2012 5:38 pm

        Asmith never stands corrected because he can hide amoung multiple posts and leave his trail of data. Quantity is not Quality.

    • October 29, 2012 8:51 pm

      So pick a topic. As narrow or broad as you want.
      something we actually disagree on would probably bee a good choice.

      The more I write the more opportunity you have to find a mistake.

      There is no such thing as too much speech. further this is not a traditional debate forum where the more I say the less you can say. It is not possible to consume all the bandwidth of a blog.

      And I have made a few mistakes here and admitted it.

      Even now I will be happy to admit that I sometime deliberately over generalize in an attempt to provoke a response.

      Government does not ALWAYS fail – often, usually, much of the time, but not always.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        October 30, 2012 10:22 pm

        Hmmm…plenty of juicy places to jump in on this thread.

        Asmith, above you wrote “…I will be happy to admit I sometime deliberately over generalize in an attempt to provoke a response. Government does not ALWAYS fail–often, usually, much of the time, but not always.”
        :-) Music to my ears! (I could be reading aloud.) That is the little bit of qualifying statement from you that I’ve been wanting. You’ve disarmed me somewhat with that admission and I’d be happy to agree that government fails often, usually, much of the time.

        Nonetheless I saw some things we could debate. I’ll get some sleep after carrying firewood and splitting logs for during our power outage. I’ll be back…

  30. Pat Riot permalink
    October 29, 2012 5:23 pm

    Possible topics for debate:
    Some regulations are needed in order for a nation to be prosperous and safe

    “Moderation” is a more rational approach for humans than any political idealogy (e.g. “Libertarian,” “Republican,” “Democrat,” “Anarchist.” )

    Our United States Government should have more of a role than just police and military, i.e. more responsibility than just making sure an individual or group doesn’t do physical harm to another individual or group.

    I agree that we need smaller government in our United States, but some Libertarians have focused for so long on the shortcomings and failures of government that they have demonized government to the point that “government” is synonymous with “bad government”.

    • October 29, 2012 9:15 pm

      Proposed topics:

      regulation
      What constitutes a regulation ?
      Are laws regulation ?
      I am not going to attempt to defend the proposition that businesses and individuals should be free to harm people as they please. that we have the right to commit murder.
      Laws – which are “prior restrain” should be very few, with bright lines and rarely if ever changing. “Thou shalt not kill” is several millenia old.

      But i have no problem arguing that government should not decide to prohibit actions it believes might be harmful rather than punish people for actual harm.

      Does that work for you ?

      Moderation:
      Sounds an awful lot like “fairness”, If you can define moderation in a few sentences, as well as identifying when you think it does and does not apply.
      If you think moderation is ALWAYS the best approach to anything – I will be ecstatic to take you on.

      Role of government:
      I am not going to defend the proposition that government is limited to addressing “Physical harm”. I will defend the proposition that government should be limited to redress of involuntary violations of our natural rights.
      And/or that government should not engage in prior restraint (see regulation). Basically that it should punish harmful acts rather than prohibit them. Though again we get into the difference between law and regulation.

      Demonizing government.
      Government has done that to itself. Are we “demonizing government” by lying about it ?
      I want much more open government. Because the more open government is the more we will see how badly it fails.
      I am not going to defend the proposition that we need NO government. Just alot less.

      One other caveat. I do as Ian suggested believe we can do much better than today with 20% of the current government. And I am willing to defend that.

      At the same time, I know we are not going to get there.
      I will be happy to compromise on most anything – so long as I do not have to compromise a principle. I am willing to agree to higher taxes. I am not willing to agree that higher taxes are a good thing,

    • Ron P permalink
      October 29, 2012 9:22 pm

      Pat..I take issue with the position that some Libertarians have demonized government to the point that all government is bad.

      Elected officials and government employees need to look inwardly to find the problem with government. Look at the constitution and the number of words required to set the law of the land that directs all other laws,that is good law. Then look at the number of words required for current legislation written and the large government bureaucracy that is never terminated, even when the law changes. That is bad government and that is basically all we get these days.

  31. Pat Riot permalink
    October 29, 2012 5:39 pm

    Debate topic for Asmith or anyone: Moderation does not equate with “middle.”

    • October 29, 2012 9:16 pm

      It is your topic – what does it mean ?

    • Ron P permalink
      October 29, 2012 9:34 pm

      Well I have to agree on this one. Moderation is the absence of extremes, but can be anywhere in the political spectrum as long as a majority, and usually a sizable majority accepts the positions proposed.

      For example, on the extreme right of abortion are those that believe a women should carry a baby conceived during rape to full term. No exceptions. On the far left of the issue are those that believe that all late term abortions are fine.

      (And I use abortion only as an example. I could have used any other issue for this purpose. I do not promote any position myself on abortion.)

      Somewhere in between is the moderate position. It is not a middle position.

      • October 30, 2012 12:00 pm

        Here’s a good example of a moderate position that’s not in the middle. (I’ve used it in the past.) I’m a vocal proponent of clean government — no influence peddling, no K Street lobbyists stuffing money into the pockets of elected representatives. I’d go as far as to propose a constitutional amendment to criminalize the buying of influence (or allowing oneself to be bought).

        My position on this issue is absolute — no compromise, no settling for a solution somewhere in the middle. And yet I think it’s a moderate position, because cleaning up our government would prevent it from tipping toward special-interest groups on the right or left.

      • October 30, 2012 7:03 pm

        I hear you, Rick, but how exactly do you prevent something that goes on extra-legally all the time? And how exactly would you define “the buying of influence.” Bribery, for sure…already illegal. Insider trading..already illegal (except for Congress). Not taking foreign donations…already illegal (although the Obama campaign allows it). Not using taxpayer money to fund poltical campaigns….although public sector unions do this all the time.

        We don’t disagree in principle- or, at least, I don’t think we do. But the devil is in the details…….

  32. Pat Riot permalink
    October 29, 2012 6:00 pm

    Also, I would be glad to take a debate with Asmith or anyone off the main thread to the Wild Card Debate area of TNM in order to not disrupt the flow of the main thread.

    I think many of Asmith’s absolutist viewpoints are detrimental to the flow on TNM and an example of thinking out there that is detrimental to moving forward as a country. Note: I am a Libertarian. If my wife would not get freaked out I’d have busts of Jefferson, Washington, and Franklin around the house! But I will put Aristotle and the principle of Moderation up against Adam Smith any day.

    • October 29, 2012 6:21 pm

      Pat- You make several good points. If you would promise to make your points informative, as opposed to philosophical/ideological, a debate between the two of you could be very entertaining.

      • October 29, 2012 9:26 pm

        RP, there is nothing wrong with ideology or philosphy, it just must have real world application, it must predict accurately, explain, or correlate.

        The real world is extremely complex, many things happen at once. Where human behavior is involved science often can not prove things.

        Often the real world is better at disproving.

        I can not prove that some specific extent to government is perfect.
        but I can find lots of data that strongly supports the proposition that we we could cut government but 4/5 and have NET positive results.

        Conversely, Communism, and socialism have failed. A major leg of Keynes failed in the lat 70’s, it appears the current mess is going to take out another.

        My libertarian values can not be PROVEN correct. but thus far they have not been falsified – while other value systems have.

    • October 29, 2012 9:17 pm

      We can move this wherever you want.
      Or by Email or …..

    • October 29, 2012 9:29 pm

      Pat;

      Objectivism The philosophy of Ayn Rand – which I think is flawed, is essentially Aristotle-an. Objectivists would call me a tepid moderate.

    • October 29, 2012 9:33 pm

      Pat;

      There is no “libertarian creed”. I am not an anarcho-capitolist or Stateless society type.
      I have arrived at a Randian (but not objectivist) minarchism, pragmatically.
      I do nto really know where the optimum level of government is – but it is far less than we have.

      And if you think I am an extreme libertarian try Walter Block and “Defending the Undefendable” http://mises.org/books/defending.pdf

  33. October 29, 2012 9:38 pm

    Pat;

    One last thing; I specifically challenged Ian, because he constantly jumps in throws arround a bunch of Ad Hominem, and fallacies as if they demonstrate something meaningful, and runs off without actually arguing anything.

    I am willing to debate anyone here.
    But you and most of the rest here even some from the extreme left are not constantly engaged in that kind of insult heavy fact free form of argument.

  34. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 30, 2012 10:30 am

    Putting aside politics, I hope everyone here who lives in the northeast area got through Sandy without serious damage. This time Vermont was spared, not even any heavy wind at our place.

    • October 30, 2012 11:50 am

      AOK here in Philly. But watch out: the storm will be heading north through central NY state… then possibly hooking northeast toward your neck of the woods. It should be weaker by then, but it’s like “the thing that wouldn’t die.”

    • Ron P permalink
      October 30, 2012 12:17 pm

      I also wish everyone in the northeast safety and hope for little damage.

      Only thing in central NC was a little wind and a little rain. Went to vote early and was in and out in 30 minutes. No one wanted to stand in line in rain and 30 mph winds. Ski resorts opening tomorrow in mountains. First time in history that they have opened in NC in October.

  35. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 30, 2012 11:16 am

    Christie just rose 10 feet in my book. Clone this attitude throw out the mandatory partisan BS we will get somewhere

    One of Mitt Romney’s biggest supporters, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, had nothing but praise for President Barack Obama today, as his state prepares to rebuild from the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
    “I have to say, the administration, the president, himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far,” Christie said on Good Morning America. “We have a great partnership with them.”
    Christie told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that Obama called him on Monday night around midnight to ask if there was anything else the federal government could do to help. Christie added that they worked together to move forward with a Major Disaster Declaration for New Jersey.
    The Major Disaster Declaration provides funding for recovery efforts, including infrastructure projects, temporary housing, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property loss and assistance to individuals and businesses.
    “He worked on that last night with me…offered any other assets that we needed to help,” Christie said. “I want to thank the president personally for his personal attention to this.”
    Appearing on Fox News, Christie said the storm is bigger than the election.
    “I have a job in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics,” Gov. Chris Christie said on the show Fox & Friends. “I couldn’t care less about that.”

    • October 30, 2012 11:45 am

      That was magnanimous — and pretty surprising coming from a GOP warrior like Christie. Good for him!

    • Ron P permalink
      October 30, 2012 12:24 pm

      That’s what you get when you elect people who work for the good of the country, state or local government. Maybe he could be used as the definition of a “moderate” that was asked earlier in the 100+ previous comments.

      Christie kind of reminds me of a Truman type politician. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

    • October 30, 2012 1:01 pm

      Ian;
      First we all come together in times of disaster. I live in Pennsylvania, and was fortunate enough not to lose power. My father has a home in Margate, NJ, right next to the Bridge – there are pictures of water on the bridge on the net. His house has likely been damaged and we will not know how badly for a few

      Beyond that what is it that you think the Federal government does in these types of disasters ? The primary – nearly exclusive first response, even for weeks afterwords is from volunteers, businesses, local first responders, and state militias.
      PA Gov. Corbett is already tentatively talking about redirecting state resources to Maryland, New Jersey and New York which were hit far worse.
      The total cost of Katrina was about $80B – that is the cost of the federal government for 1 week. Estimates on the cost of Sandy range from a low of $1B to a high of $20B.
      The primary Katrina failures were not FEMA responses – despite the politics, but a preparedness failure – a city with portions 29 feet below sea level had (and still does) inadequate protection from a once a century storm with a surge of almost 28′. Sate and local officials first response (and the first response is ALWAYS state, local, and private) failed abysmally. FEMA stepped in and actually made things worse – preventing or significantly delaying much need private aide.

      Both with Katrina and Sandy retailers started well ahead of the storm, bringing needed supplies in well ahead of time. My local CostCo had pallets of Batteries and flashlights genorators, right at the entrance – at discount prices. Major retailers had/have additional supplies prepositioned in warehouses close to but out of reach of the storm.
      Walmart and Katrina

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/05/AR2005090501598.html

      Many local and national resturaunt chains pre plan and train to be able to serve whatever they can in whatever conditions they encounter. Often giving away coffee and sandwiches.

      Despite Gov. Christies warnings against price gouging, losses are the norm, as businesses help their communities, and staff to recover. The payoff – the self interest, beyond the fact that businesses are actually part of their community, is the invaluable goodwill these responses bring.

      I am not looking to denigrate what the President or FEMA are doing. Only remind you that they are a very small part of a far larger effort.

      My community was fortunate enough to have been relatively unscathed by Sandy – despite having been literaly circled by the super storm last night. But had the consequences been worse, it is first responders – in my area nearly all of which are volunteers who would have had most of the job of cleaning up the mess.

      Many months from now, after we have cleared and repaired the damage to my fathers Bay home, it is possible that we might benefit from some FEMA or other federal government money for repairs, but before anyone receives a check the work will have been long complete and paid for.

      Kudo’s to Obama, and to Fugate. Even more to Christie – but not over some remarks about FEMA, but for his personal efforts in New Jersey whihc have been exemplar, more still to the
      National Guard units, the Red Cross volunteers, the local first responders – public and volunteer, and to the neighbors, businesses, and everyone else who came together to get through this.

      And Kudos to Ian for actually being able to admit that there is a republican on the planet that is not the embodiment of evil.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        October 30, 2012 6:08 pm

        Dave, you really have not understood anything I have written have you? I should not ask even you you because you will assure me that you have understood me quite well, but since they are My views and not Yours I guess I am the one to judge that, aren’t I? You seriously have no clue what I think or believe.

        Is this another instance of your cute (dishonest) exaggeration to provoke a response tactic or are you actually unable to process the things I write when they run against your need to have a far-left adversary here, even if it is necessary for you to manufacture one?

        Any literate person would remember my recent very positive post on Dole, my comments on Lugar, my unwillingness to believe that Romney is going to go hard right if elected, my disinterest in his 47% comments, etc, as well as my fervent wish as a moderate that the GOP does not so disintegrate that it is not able to rein in the worst liberal tendencies, my statement that the GOP is behaving in a more responsible manner on the medicare issue and taking a political risk by doing so, and on and on. As well, I believe you would have to look very hard to find one negative remark I’ve made about Romney, or much of anything positive I’ve written about Obama for that matter. You’ve created my imagined views out of thin air, but nothing can stop you, of that I am sure.

        This may all may stem from the fact that I do find your Lassaiz faire economic principles extreme, as well as your ideas about a government size that is 20% of what we have. The left wing extremists I have encountered seem to be rather proud of being called extremists and radicals, but you anti government types seem to shun the idea that your ideas are extreme, you even went so far once as to deny that communism is one extreme endpoint of the government-personal freedom spectrum just so that you could deny that lassiaz faire, the opposite endpoint of that spectrum, is also extreme.

        Your fellow libertarian Bastiat was the person who called your ideas on the size of government that of a “crazy, without any credibility.” not knowing they were your ideas. Why do you suppose he did that? Any ideas?

        You have an obsession with me, but its the world in general that disagrees with you, of which I am one small molecule. Stop following that rule from the radical handbook you posted, I am not the issue, your own views just happen to be extreme even from Bastiat’s viewpoint.

        In any case you have long ago worn me out, please try to find another playmate.

  36. October 30, 2012 3:20 pm

    Christie is a solid pragmatist and a moderate conservative, just like Romney. Republicans don’t get elected in blue states like MA and NJ if they do not fit that mold. And, in order to get things done, they almost always have to work with Democrat legislatures, as Romney did, and Christie does.

    I have never actually heard Christie or Romney attack Obama personally….certainly not in the way that Obama has consistently attacked Romney as a greedy, uncaring plutocrat who cares nothing for the poor or middle class and is only in this to help himself and his rich buddies. I have heard both say that they believe that Obama has pursued bad policies and is ‘a nice guy, in over his head.” I guess that is sort of insulting, but certainly far from the kind of character assassination that goes on from the D side, IMO.

    Anyway, power back for now, in my neck of the Jersey woods….it was a rough ride, but we are far from the ocean, where the devastation has been unbelieveable. Dave I hope your family’s home in Margate is ok.

    • October 30, 2012 7:24 pm

      conflicting stories on Margate.
      This picture was taken about 200yards from my father’s house.

      /large

      Friends on the mainland are claiming that things are not as bad on the island as the press has reported.
      Gov. Christie seems to think the Island is in very bad shape.

      But this has all happened before. When I was a child something – I thought it was Camille struck, tore down the board walk from margate to AC, destroyed piers and bulkheads and left several feet of sand and dead fish in the streets and basements. I remember spending the time digging out the basement and hauling wheelbarrows of debris to the beach.

      In my teens Agnes came up the Chesapeake and camped over Lancaster for days. blocking roads and destroying bridges some of which still have not been replaced.

      The media keeps calling this an unparalleled superstorm.
      Sandy’s west to north pivot was fairly close to where I live right now, so it spent hours circling here, and it seemed tame compared to Agnes.

      Yes trees are down – though several times in the past couple years we have lost more.
      My father had two huge ones fall with the big wind that struck in June, none from Sandy.

      A few years ago a huge swath of lititz was under several feet of water – we had no consequential flooding here.

      Millions of people have lost electric i am not pretending thats good, but that seems to be by far the worst damage, and that is not the end of the world.

      But who knows when I see my fathers house at the bay I may feel different.

      As I have said repeatedly – life is not fair. Government can attempt to dole out perfect equality however it pleases, and nature will select a few million of us at random and piss all over us.

  37. October 30, 2012 6:25 pm

    The liberal case against Obama

    http://www.salon.com/2012/10/27/the_progressive_case_against_obama/

    I personally think about half of Stollers arguments are total crap. But half are not, and some are quite interesting and unusual particularly from the left.

    Stoller recognizes that property rights exist, and are important and that this particular crisis pitted the property rights of one groups against those of another – and the rest of us lost. Further he demonstrates that Pres. Obama’s continuation of Bush too big to fail palicies are directly responsible for a government mandated transfer of wealth from the rest of us to the influential.. Mr. Stoller is not quite sharp enough to grasp that ALL government policies essentially do exactly that.

    I think I have made it clear here that I do not support higher taxes for the wealthy or anyone else. That does not mean I fail to grasp that those at the top can and do use government power to transfer wealth to themselves. Mr. Stoller does and most here do not grasp that nearly ANY power you give government will produce that result.

    Like Stoller I am opposed to bailouts – I would not bail out those with mortgages in foreclosure, and I would not bail out failing banks, freddie and fannie, GM, ……

    Like Stoller and a small number of other liberals such as Glenn Greenwald I see Pres. Obama as an even worse threat to our civil liberties than Bush. This administration may bot have Cheney, but it is no less sabre rattling, no less authoritarian. The patriot act which has done nothing to make us safer has been renewed over and over.
    Guantanamo is still open, detentions are still indefinite, drones are killing even more innocent civilians and making even more enemies. This executive is the most authoritarian we have ever had, and the least open – despite promises to the contrary.

  38. October 30, 2012 6:37 pm

    Oops more problems

    http://siepr.stanford.edu/?q=/system/files/shared/pubs/papers/briefs/pb_11_2012.pdf

    Now we have IMF studies indicating that for every 10% increase in the debt to GDP ratio growth declines by 0.17%/year – sounds small but each 1% of GDP growth is a doubling of the standard of living each generation. When debt reaches 90% of GDP this results in reduction in the rate of growth of 1.2% per year for an average of 23 years.
    Think Japan’s lost decade – now nearly two. Think the US today.
    In 2008 our debt/GDP ratio was about 60%. today it is about 100%.
    If you are wondering why our recovery is so week consider that it would be nearly a full percent greater if we were at 2008 debt levels. That is millions of jobs. 1% of additional growth in GDP would be a gigantic transfer of people from government support, welfare, food stamps unemployment to productive jobs.

  39. October 30, 2012 6:58 pm

    A 2007 Paper

    “Why liberalism works”

    http://www.princeton.edu/~starr/articles/articles07/Starr.WhyLiberalismWorks.pdf

    Worth reading for several reasons:
    It grasps the connection between classical liberalism – modern libertarianism, and modern liberalism. It has some interesting if slightly distorted 19th century history – poverty decreased more dramatically than ever in history, by comparison the 20th century has failed the lower classes. Still it does get some things right – in the 19th century even in the US colonialism sapped our moral strength.

    Though Mr. Starr fails to grasp the primacy of individual rights and and uses the traditional liberal derivation of rights by government rather than nature, he does grasp more so than even moderates here the importance of individual rights.

    Mr. Starr posits a modern US liberal democracy – what this president was supposed to bring about, and his picture stands in stark contrast to what we have.

    Ultimately liberalism fails, for many reasons, but high among them, is failure to grasp Lord Acton’s maxim – power corrupts, the failure to understand that human self interest at the level of individuals is what drives us towards improvement for all – not top down structured altruism in any form, that liberalism like communism despite Mr. Starr’s argument about successful experimentation, is not a mill for separating the wheat from the chaffe, like communisim it demands human perfection, and perfect decision making to suceed, and that is just not going to happen. The mess that is PPACA is not an accident, it is the natural outcome of liberalism.

  40. October 30, 2012 7:03 pm

    A harvard professor argues that the left actually hates the poor.

    http://www.harvardconservatives.com/articles/american-liberalism-and-the-poor/

  41. Pat Riot permalink
    October 30, 2012 7:08 pm

    Power just back on since yesterday in my area of Eastern PA, which is why I couldn’t chime in after “throwing down the gauntlet.” Seems like the wild weather brought some people together. My family was prepared and switched smoothly to “Little House on the Prairie mode” with fireplace and candles, and were lucky. A speedy recovery to all those dealing with hardships.

    • October 30, 2012 7:48 pm

      It’s true, Pat, these extreme weather events can remind us of what is really important. Happy to hear that you weathered the storm….with the exception of 2 beautiful trees downed in our yard, and the inconvenience of being without power for a while, so did we. Glad to see you back :)

  42. October 30, 2012 8:33 pm

    Ian;

    I think I have a pretty good grasp of what you have written.

    And no, neither your words nor mine are owned by us once we speak them.
    You are the authority on what you intended to say. I am the authority on what I heard.
    What you write then speaks for itself.

    If I have claimed to know more about what you think or believe than what you have said – I apologize. But I think the balance on that score has you falling off the edge of the earth.

    I have called you a liberal, and explained why I think you are.
    You have called everyone to the right of Obama a right wing loon.
    fully 65% of the country by your standards is a right wing nut.

    You have absolutely zero grasp that morality, philosophy and politics are a multi-dimensional matrix. You see no distinction between Nazis – who are essentially authoritatian socialists, and neo-cons and social conservatives, and the tea party and libertarians.

    Nor have you show any interest in seeking such distinctions.
    Everyone you don’t like is a hard right ultra conservative.
    Everything you don’t like is extremism.
    And all extremism is evil.

    Once you have (mis)labeled someone, then you can ignore them or poke fun at them.
    But you have zero interest in actually putting an idea of your own out there where others might criticize it or countering the ideas of those you disagree with with logic, or facts.

    Most of your posts are just a series of ad hominem layered on other fallacies.

    If you think that is exageration – pull some facts, or real logic from your posts.
    Even if you think you can not persuade me – there are plenty of others here.

    I do occasionally over generalize – even deliberately. I am begging you or anyone else to take up the challenge. I think that is a legitimate argument tactic.
    If I say government ALWAYS fail’s I am hoping that everyone’s efforts to find counter examples will bring them to the realization of how infrequently it actually succeeds.
    I do not think that is even slightly dishonest. And I am willing to back up my claim with tons of examples of government failure.

    So fine, you like Dole, Lugar, Christie, and maybe you do not hate Romeny – you still describe them as conservatives. I would be shocked if you ever contemplated voting for any of them. Great you are not deluded enough to think Romney is going “Hard Right if elected”. Obama is not on the Hard left either – but he is further to the left than Romney is to the right. Romney may well be very nearly at the exact center of american politics – that does not make him correct.

    Regardless, I went after you because of your attacks on other posters here.
    You think the left and moderates have some corner on community and solidarity ?
    Malign others without cause, without argument, even ones I disagree with and I will call you out.

    Lashing out at your remarks on Romney was merely pointing out your hypocracy.
    I could care less if you go after Romney. It is primarily your fact free attacks on other posters i am upset about.

    but addressing your positive comments – still lacking facts.
    Republicans exist to reign in liberals ? Not an entirely meritiless argument, but it says nothing about what is right. Or Republicans have been courageous over medicare reform – fine, but either we really need some type of reform incredibly badly, or Republicans are idiots. There is actually not much middle ground. Your more interested in their courage than in whether something needs to be done and what.

    Debate here often devolves to economics. But the root of what you call Lassaiz faire economic principles is individual liberty. If government can tell you what you can and can not buy or sell, then they can tell you who you can sleep with, and whether you can have kids. There is no bright line between your economic life and the rest of your life. We buy books, music, vacations, our pursuit of self interest includes love, pleasure, fraternity – anything we value. Nearly every non-economic act we engage in has production of consumption of something on one side. When you tell a business what it must pay an employee, you are telling a person they are not allowed to work, and that they can not aspire to whatever their dreams are.

    Is reducing government by 80% extreme ? In comparison to what ? Medicare, Social Security, ObamaCare ? European social democracies ? China ? North Korea ?
    Government at 3% of GDP has existed and has worked. Every other item listed has either failed or is failing. Is advocating something that is known to work, extreme in comparision to advocating more of things that are known to fail ?

    I constantly use reductio Ad absurdem on your ideas – when you have some.
    When you start writing you should already know it is coming.
    And if you cant; make an argument for why a little more of something is a good thing and alot more is bad – maybe you should think about your argument.
    Further it is not as if it is an argument technique that I own.

    I have no context for your communism vs. Lassaiz faire argument.
    Regardless the “extereme end of individual liberty is anarcho-capitolism. Returning government to the scale of the 19th century, is about midway between anarcho capitolism and communism. We have historic evidence that it works. We have excellent reason to believe that standards of living would double about three times as fast as today. That does nto sound particularly extreme to me.

    beyond that it is not your claim that I am extreme that is so offensive. It is your claim that everyone who disagrees with you is extreme – and that they are all the same.
    there is very little common ground between an anarcho capitolist and a christian evangelical. Libertarianism shares more with liberalism than with conservatism.
    Except one thing. Liberals are willing to allow the ends to justify the means. It is that that ensures that the results will be evil and that they will fail – and that is not a laissez faire economic argument.

    Like Asmith, bastiat is a “nome de plume”. Here is a link to some of the writings of Fredick Bastiat http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html. Find where he calls my ideas “crazy” and I will take note.

    Though again you are back to these “Appeals to authority”. I must be an extremist because some other libertarain thinks my ideas are crazy. Beleiving in free speach in Nazi Germany was extreme too, and false moderation (also a fallacy) just to start.

    jbastiat is perfectly capable of making his own arguments.

    • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
      October 30, 2012 8:44 pm

      Dave: You have called everyone to the right of Obama a right wing loon.

      Me: no, never. Make a liar out of me, show me where, or be a liar yourself.

      • October 31, 2012 12:43 am

        Go back to your own posts.

        Anyone who holds a single view on a single issue that you disagree with you have labeled a right wing extremist.

        Lets just see how I fit – since I am very familiar with my views.
        I believe in individual freedom,
        that means legalizing drugs
        that means not starting wars because we are afraid of what another nation might do
        That means staying out of the internal affairs of other nations – beyond voicing our opinion.
        I want government out of our bedrooms.
        I want a government blind to whether we are gay or straight, black or white, male or female, christian, jew, or muslim…..
        I want us to stop torturing others – even if it works, even if thousands die because we stop.
        I want to end this stupid security theater we go through everytime we fly.
        I want police to actually have to have a warrant to search our homes, cars, persons, papers, bank records, phone calls,
        I want attorneys to be able to tell juries that they are allowed to chose their conscience over the law – as we were in the colonial era (Zenger 1735)
        I want anyone who wants and can get here to be able to come to this country.
        I believe we should be free to say whatever we please without fear of government retribution.

        Which of the above views is “hard right”. Most of these are views to the LEFT of Obama. Some are “extreme left”.
        One most of these the only thing that separates me from Ralph Nader, is that I am unwilling to delude myself into believing that we can achieve more freedom by sacrificing freedom.

        Yet essentially because you do not like my fiscal views everything else is irrelevant, I am part of the “hard right”

        Yes I want smaller government – so did George McGovern.
        further smaller government is NOT a core value for much of the right.
        GWB at best paid lip service to it – while expanding government.
        The best that can be said of most republicans over the past 4 decades is that they want government to grow slower and in different ways than democrats.

        but it is more than this. In your political cosmology it is not my fiscal views that put me or anyone else on the extreme right – it is any single view on any issue that you do not like.

        Further once you label someone and pack them off into that extreme right netherworld, then you attribute to them all the views you lump together as hard right.

        If one believes in fiscal sanity then you are hard right, AND all conservatives are racists, sexists, homophobes.

        No you have not called me a racist – that I recall.
        But you have repeatedly thrown me into the catagory extreme conservative. and you have repeatedly said conservatives are racist sexist, homophobic, ….

        Logic:

        All b are X
        a is a member of b
        therefore a is X.

        The logical fallacy is called “catagory error” and you make it constantly.

      • AMAC permalink
        November 1, 2012 9:26 pm

        All b are X
        a is a member of b
        therefore a is X.

        I am coining this one. The transitive property of blogging. Done. The AMAC postulate.

  43. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 30, 2012 9:49 pm

    Dave: fully 65% of the country by your standards is a right wing nut.

    Here’s what I actually wrote recently: By my reading of polls and events over many years I believe that the true “hard right” makes up 10-15% of the electorate.

    Dave, I know from long experience that this is going nowhere. I cannot have a productive conversation with someone who wildly misconstrues nearly every point I make. According to my long term observations you have some kind of hard-wired inability to understand the meaning of any sentence that goes against your beliefs.

    I asked you why Libertarian poster and economics professor Bastiat stated that your beliefs are those of a crazy without credibility, you neatly sidestepped it with a series of nonsequiters about nazis etc and as I knew you would. But Bastiat’s comments are a direct hit and should show you that your obsession with me is misplaced.

    IF you dislike appeals to authority

    THEN stop posting link after to link to sources who agree with you.

    Follow your OCD, have the last word, all ten million of them. It won’t change anything. I am not going to continue this conversation, it does not have any future but more of the same. Good luck to you in your quest to overturn the world, I’m sure I’ll read about it in the papers when you succeed.

    • October 31, 2012 12:03 am

      If we accept that what you call “the hard right” makes up 10-15% of the country, that would exclude EVERYONE that you have labeled as hard right.

      And that is precisely my point. The views you think are “Hard right” are held by 65% of us.

      The problem is with what you say.
      Reread your own old posts. I do nto even think you will perceive them as maning what you intended.

      You asked me why “Bastiat” considered my views crazy – so I pointed you to Bastiat.
      Read Bastiat then see if you think compared to one of possibly the top 10 political economists in history you think my views are crazy

      And your back to this idiotic OCD crap.
      How many fallacies does that represent ?
      It is false – but even if it were true why would it matter ?

      You really do not get that you can not disprove an idea by attacking people do you ?
      You do not seem to be able to make an argument without attacking people.

      In your own post about where is there a single argument that is not a fallacy ?

      This is my point.

      Nearly everything you write is fully of ad hominem.

      Replace “crazy” or “hard right” or “extreme” in one of your posts with
      “black” or “Gay” or “Hispanic” or …
      then try reading it back. It will sound like what you would call “hate speech” because it is, it is not argument, it is just name calling.

      You complain that I misinterpret your meaning – read your own posts about anyone else’s views. You not only mis-interpret them – you delibertately do so.

      Most of the links I post are to sources that I disagree with, often left leaning sources, but you would have to actually follow the links and read to know that.
      but most of them do make some point that I do agree with.

      I certainly do not agree with Mr. Stollers or Glenn Greenwald on very many things.
      But I do agree with them that our current president is as more militaristic, than GWB.

      I am perfectly capable of agreeing with those on the left – even the “extreme” left who are not hypocritical. I respect Stollers, and Greenwald, and a few others on the left whose views on the war, guantanamo, torture, open government, military adventurism, and drone strikes have not changed because it is their party now engaged in the bad behavior.

      I certainly do not agree with either the IMF or the world bank or Christine Romer on much, but both organizations as well as the vast majority o economic studies over the past 40 years, have show that:
      increased government spending decreases the improvement in standard of living,
      increased government debt decreases the improvement in standard of living
      increased taxes on investment decrease the improvement in standard of living.
      increases in the strength of the government safety net decrease the improvement in the standard of living.

      These are not the results from “the hard right” 10-15% of us. World Bank, IMF, and Romer are all left of center.
      The 90-95% of economists that agree with most of what I say are not all members of the hard right.

      And again that is the point – when you hear something that you do not like, rather than check it out, you label it “extreme conservative” so that you can discount it and ignore it. It does nto matter whether the source is Westboro Baptist church, Norquist, Cato, or IMF, World bank, or Romer. you lump them all together and file under ignore as loonies. but you are trying to cram MOST of the world into that 10-15% and they don’t fit.

      I know I am in the 1% (not of income). I have been there all my life. I am used to beying out on a limb alone. but being in a small minority does not mean I am part of the specific minority you are chosing

      Finally, this is not really about me. I left you alone until you started the same tactics on others. Again the point – everyone and everything you do nto like is not part of the “hard right”

      Your like Joe MacCarthy seeing “hard Right” loonies everywhere, and like MacCarthy you might want to look in the mirror.

  44. October 31, 2012 12:57 am

    ian;

    most americans are not prepared to see government shrink by 4/5.
    But by almost 2:1 according to Pew most americans want a smaller government that provides less services.

    Further the average amount that americans believe the federal government wastes is .51/$
    Even democrats beleive it is .47/$.

    Can it be reasonably concluded that most ammericans would like to see the federal government reduced by more than 1/2 ?

  45. October 31, 2012 9:54 am

    for reference here is the 2012 Republican Platform

    http://www.gop.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/2012GOPPlatform.pdf

    There are things here i disagree with, but I would like to know from those who think the GOP has been taken over by extreme right wing loonies, which items in this platform are demonstrative of that the extreme right tilt ?

    Here is the democratic platform for reference and comparision.

    http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform

    With few exceptions the primary differences are means rather than goals.
    The democrats as an example seem to believe that “equal rights” and equality before the law are achieved by preferential treatment to counter natural inequality, and ascribe to government the ability to manage the economy – BTW government management of the economy is the key element of socialism.

  46. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 31, 2012 11:22 am

    Sorry Dave, if your complaint were sincere and principled you would have been heard from when JBastiat was making personal attacks from your side of the fence. But, not a word.

    So, I call BS, You are a phony and quite partisan defender of blog decency.

    You have an obsession with me because I see your positions as what they are, extreme, and I say so. This is the New Moderate, you have turned it into the New Dave’s Extreme Libertarian. I mind that. There are few enough moderate resources, unfortunately the Conservative/Libertarian Partisans have all but ruined this one from my point of view.

    If one has an orgy at Hedonism resort, they are a hedonist. But if one feels that that is not exciting enough and must invade a Benedictine or Zen monastery to have their orgy, then they are a hyper or uber or ultra hedonist. Which, as I see it, is what has happened here at the TNM, hyper partisan people, who can be found all over the web at thousands of sites, have decided that they must bring their highly partisan views here and with their partisan energy have succeeded in shouting down the actual moderates until most actual moderates just wander off, since moderates don’t come here to hear the same old hyper partisan crap that is all over the web.

    I realize this complaint falls on deaf ears, you are engaged in a hyper-selfish battle to protect any infringement against you and your rights and tough shit to anyone who was looking for moderation when they came to the New Moderate, that is not your concern. But it is mine.

    I’ll continue to attack that. I’m sure you will support my right to do so.

    • October 31, 2012 12:34 pm

      Ian, knock it off already. Your namecalling is becoming offensive and counterproductive. We all disagree with each other on a regular basis here. Calling anyone here phony, obsessed, selfish (excuse me, that would be “hyper- selfish”), and insincere is just rude and unfair. JBas and Rob use some pretty strong language when expressing their opinions, but they do not direct it at other commenters.

  47. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 31, 2012 12:57 pm

    Pure BS.

    This is the new moderate. I’m here to defend moderation and am against extremism. Dave is here to defend freedom and attack regulation and government. We all attack and defend, no one is different. You all wish to tell me to unilaterally disarm. No thanks.

    I “attacked” you by saying that you are a highly partisan conservative republican. The only arguable word was “highly” so I was even willing to withdraw that.

    Dave is now attacking me for having attacked you, seems like a moral contradiction, eh? Is he trying to shut me up, inhibit my right to free speech? Gadzookes a tyrannical libertarian, its as a bad as an intolerant liberal.

    These blogs are about fighting for what we believe in. Its is as common as rain that one side feels the behavior of the other is not appropriate and urges them to unilaterally disarm and leave the field to the righteous.

    Sorry, no tears from me, if the strongest epithet you hear today is hyper, then you have had a soft day on the net.

    And none of you peeped when JBastiat told me “Fuck you asshole” or called me a dimwit, which I am pretty sure were direct insults. You did compliment him on his compact style a bit later though. Dave has accused liberals of being evil and wanting to “destroy the world” So, please…

    One thing about moderates, we seem to be above ganging up and we stand on their own. Good on us.

    You claim to be a moderate and allegedly have some moderate issues up your sleeve. You might try actually pulling them out sometime and leaving the day’s Republican spin and partisan talking points for some other discussion somewhere else.

  48. October 31, 2012 2:13 pm

    Dave and Ian: Let me see if I can inject a little moderation here in my role as moderator. I started reading the first several entries in the current feud but just skimmed beyond that (I’m a slow reader, and I already spend too much time online). So forgive me if I’ve missed some key points in your arguments.

    First, there are two conflicting interpretations of what it means to be a moderate. I’m pretty sure Dave believes it’s a matter of where you stand in relation to the population as a whole. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) In other words, Dave is a relativist. If two thirds of the country believes in small government and unregulated capitalism, that would indeed make Ian and me liberals because we’d be to the left of the majority.

    But I maintain (along with Ian, and correct me if I’m wrong) that being a moderate is a philosophical matter: we believe in not tipping the balance in favor of any class or faction; in other words, we’re against extremism, favoritism, exploitation of one class by another class. We favor a level playing field, though we know we can’t (and shouldn’t) guarantee the outcome of the game. We believe, with the much-maligned Obama, that everyone needs to play by the same rules. Nothing radical about that. So you could say that Ian and I share an absolutist view of what it means to be a moderate; it’s a function of where we stand on the issues, not where we stand in relation to everyone else.

    As for the feud itself… Look, I like both of you. I think Ian gets exasperated because Dave simply won’t budge from his fundamentalist libertarian view of the world, where ideas trump actual human lives. I thought it was telling that Dave said we should refrain from torture even if it means that several thousand lives are lost as a result. Let’s think about that for a minute: Dave is ranking the temporary pain and discomfort inflicted on a terrorist as more objectionable than the loss of several thousand lives at the hands of a terrorist.

    Of course I’m not fond of torture — very few of us are — and it’s been shown that torture really doesn’t save many lives. But let’s say for the sake of argument that it did… Dave implies that he would rather sacrifice several thousand lives than violate a principle, and I’m sure Ian finds this maddening.

    I’m all in favor of principles as opposed to mere pragmatism, but there comes a time when you have to bend principles to save lives. That’s why I can’t understand why anyone would oppose a federal job creation program during a borderline depression, or a healthcare safety net for people who are rejected by insurance companies. Hidebound ideologues — whether on the right or left — have a dismaying tendency to respect ideas more than they respect individual people.

    Being a moderate also means tolerating opposing viewpoints — even learning from them — so we can embrace ideas that appeal to us and politely reject those that don’t. That’s why I’ve never banned anyone from commenting here at The New Moderate. I’ve learned a lot from Dave, and I respect his integrity even when I disagree with him. Does it vex me when he insists on calling me a liberal? Well, sure… but I understand that Dave holds a relativist view of what it means to be a moderate, so I don’t hold it against him.

    It’s a shame that this latest war had to break out just when we were coming together over the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. Ian even admitted that Gov. Christie had risen in his estimation. And if Christie himself can praise President Obama in a spirit of nonpartisanship, surely our gang here at The New Moderate can follow his example.

    • November 1, 2012 1:08 am

      The current feud with Ian, is primarily driven by his choice to use ad hominem attacks rather than argument – directed at another poster here. And I am deliberately whacking him rhetorically over the head for it.

      One of the positive aspects of TNM is that the level of vitriol and personal attacks are low.
      There are plenty here whose ideas I think are weaker than Ian’s but for they have not engaged in the same level of personal attacks – particularly on other posters.

      The appropriate response to bad speech is more speech.

    • November 1, 2012 1:23 am

      As to the rest of your remarks – ?!?

      I am some kind of relativist ?
      You and Ian are philosophical ?

      I think you are upside down and backwards on that.
      I have begged you for some moral or philosophical basis for your believes, something rooted in a value and the best you have come up with is fairness. I do not want to restart that debate – but fairness is trivially disposable unworkable basis for anything.
      My values are deeply rooted in moral and philosophical principles – and I have hung them totally other there for all of you to take whacks at.

      I have addressed the ideas trumping human lives issue repeatedly.
      That claim would be valid if true, but the fact is the approaches you think serve people have in practice been destructive of human lives.

      You do not get the terrorist argument at all. I could care less about inflicting pain on terrorists. It is not about terrorists – it is about us. When you sacrifice principles you diminish yourself. When you do so as government you diminish all of us.
      Saving thousands of lives is not a fair trade for our humanity.

      Further the point of the torture remark was to point out that we do not trivially divide into hard left and hard right. I think there is a logically consistent foundation that connects all my values – but using the false right-left linear model I fall all along the line, not at one or the other extreme.

    • November 1, 2012 1:31 am

      Rick;

      the record on federal jobs creation programs is abysmal. Most analysis has concluded than since the 60’s there may not be a single one that has not left its “victims” less able to get a job than when they started.

      The pragmatic argument is why waste billions of dollars on something we have no reason to expect to work.

      But then that is true of much of what government does. We have to be willfully blind not to PRAGMATICALLY based on past experience grasp that the outcome is going to be failure. If caring for human lives means wasting money to screw them over so we can feel good about ourselves – then I am a cold hearted bastard, because I am only interested in doing things that will actually help. A surprisingly large number of liberals become libertarians as they grasp that the government programs intended to help people leave them worse off. Nor is this an accident. There are actually good reasons rooted in human nature, the nature of government, and the nature of top down systems that compel those outcomes.

    • November 1, 2012 1:49 am

      As to Gov. Christie:

      I have a fair amount of respect for him. I could care less whether he is making nice with Pres. Obama and FEMA.

      But he is actually mis-handling this.

      Why particularly in an era where everyone of us has real time instantanous access to exactly what is going on, is the president, the governor, or the mayor better able to determine whether you should stay in your own home or evacuate ?

      Given that you have been forced out, why now that the storm is over are you forbidden from returning to your home, your business – again, ordinary people know as much about current conditions on the barrier islands as the president, fema, the governor, the mayor.

      There is no electricty, the water may be contaminated, and the traffic lights are out
      Knowing that if you want to return to your home or business and start cleanup why cant you.

      A really big deal right with respect to damage will be mold.
      On tuesday stopping or preventing mold could have been as simple as a few gallons of Clorox sprayed liberally. Mold grows at an exponential rate. conditions at the moment are perfect. By friday problems that could have been fixed for dollars will cost hundreds of thousands.

      Finally, who is it that you think is doing the rebuilding ?

      Power companies are restoring power – not government.
      Storm damage will be cleaned up by home owners and private laborers.

      Repair of the water and sewer and clearing roads is a city task (when this last happened during the sixties, I was a child and we were out clearing the streets of margate ourselves with wheelbarrows and shovels). Not state of federal government.

      What is governments role here ?

      You see government doing a wonderful job here.

      I see government congratulating itself because nature gave it a slap on the wrist rather than a kick in the gut, and taking credit for that, while impeding people from getting to work rebuilding.

      I believe in the power of individuals. Government is mostly impotent.

      i could careless if Christie wants a ride in Marine one, or to hobb nobb with the president, but he needs to get out of the way and let people do their jobs.

  49. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 31, 2012 2:40 pm

    Hi Rick,

    No its deeper. DId you notice that a poster wandered into the discussion the other day who was an actual moderate who tried to engage the conversation? Nothing happened and she wandered out. I’m guilty too, I said noting I was too engaged in the one thing the New Moderate is really about, debating Dave’s extreme ideas about tiny government. And I got into it with Priscilla because I am tired of the daily GOP talking points. So now they tag team me. Its OK, I can take it.

    You know and I know that the actual moderate presence here on TNM takes up less than 5% of the conversation. You are the moderator and feel the need to be kind and gentle, perhaps it goes with the job. I am not the moderator and am willing to go to war with the forces that have turned this into a libertarian/conservative echo chamber on most days.

    We are all frustrated because the world is not made to our own specifications and we can change its large outline very little. So here is a small world where there are a small enough number of participants that our voice can be heard and we can change something, even if it is only the pattern of a conversation in a small virtual world.

    There are virtual worlds for the partisans, I wish there to be a virtual world for the more objective types who see the good and bad in both sides. I’ve walked the walk, I have actually given praise to Romney and reflected on the shortcomings of Obama more than Visa-Versa. In fact a search for Ian praising specific politicians will find me giving more to Republicans than to Dems, and I am a liberal leaning moderate. Dave has taunted me with my being so far to the left that I am falling off the world as my reward, in order to get a reaction.

    Well, he got one. No one should cry for him. Sometimes there will be a war in virtual space, a person can be pushed so far.

  50. October 31, 2012 2:57 pm

    More of that right wing extremist stuff called reality.

    Seems all those things we did to stimulate the economy and mitigate the impact of the recession – the effectively increase the marginal tax rates on the poor and middle class and decrease the incentive to seek jobs.

    http://www.voxeu.org/article/taxes-and-workforce-insights-us

    For those who only want to read the conclusion:

    “The fact that marginal tax rates rose so differently for various groups means not only that redistributive public policy depressed the labour market, but also that is has sharply, and arbitrarily, altered the composition of the work force in the direction of people who are married and more skilled.”

  51. October 31, 2012 3:01 pm

    Even more of that evil right wing reality.

    Just another study on the negative economic consequences of taxes on capitol and investment

    http://www.voxeu.org/article/capital-gains-taxation-and-cost-capital

    But If Pres. Obama is re-elected and the democrats re-take the house and senate, they can just pass a law that says – this is not so, possibly along with the law that says wind energy is economically feasible, and maybe we can legislate that the sun provide more hours of daylight.

  52. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 31, 2012 3:08 pm

    Ah Facts, OK Here, have some

    http://www.economist.com/node/12342127?story_id=12342127

    The conclusion:

    As THE financial crisis pushes the economy back to the top of voters’ concerns, Barack Obama is starting to open up a clear lead over John McCain in the opinion polls. But among those who study economics for a living, Mr Obama’s lead is much more commanding. A survey of academic economists by The Economist finds the majority—at times by overwhelming margins—believe Mr Obama has the superior economic plan, a firmer grasp of economics and will appoint better economic advisers.

    • October 31, 2012 4:01 pm

      How is something about the opinions of some economists during the 2008 election facts ?
      this is still an appeal to authority. You are not actually arguing a specific set o economic policies, you are arguing experts like a person.

      Regardless we have had four years of President Obama’s economic expertise. We do not need to rehash what some experts thought 4 years ago.

      If you want more appeals to authority – here 673 economists, and 6 nobel prize winners http://economistsforromney.com/

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        October 31, 2012 4:38 pm

        Economists for Romney? Very Persuasive, they are by definition economists for Romney. Talk about cherry picking.

        Heh, It being a republican list its possible that not all of them even know they are on it, as with Sen Inhoffe’s Climate scientist list.

        My appeal to authority trumps yours its the Economist and the Economist cannot be blamed if most of the leading economists choose to reject the republican economic view of the world.

        I can keep this up all day but I have a Halloween party to go to, I’m dressing as Hayek, a truly scary character if ever there was one. Guess no one will recognize me though.

      • October 31, 2012 8:38 pm

        There you go again.

        Your a one trick pony.

        So a nobel laureate is suddenly untrustworth if they sign a petition endorsing Romney’s economic plan ? BTW many of the signatories are unaffiliated or democrats. They are endorsing the plan not the party.

        I will be happy to agree that citing “economists for Romney” is an appeal to authority.

        I am still going to raise you six Nobel economists, as well as a number of other top ranked economists.

        The economist survey doesn’t giver you much of a clue, who the surveyed economists were. Those on economists for Romney are named – you can look up their rank in the IDEA ranking of economists.
        These are some very well regarded people.

        So sorry Ian. but my appeal to authority trumps yours.

        If you want to scare people dress as Keynes – or Krugman – there the really scary economists.

        Have you actually read any Hayek ? or are you just blowing smoke ?
        Here is a highly condensed version of “The Road to Serfdom”
        You really should read the whole thing it is only about 150 pages.
        But this wont take more than 30 minutes

        http://jim.com/hayek.htm

        Or here is Hayek’s classic Nobel valedictory speach “the pretense of knowledge”

        http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/1974/hayek-lecture.html

  53. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 31, 2012 3:19 pm

    And , this time around, the same result actual economists prefer Obama.

    http://www.economist.com/node/21564175

    BARACK OBAMA and Mitt Romney have spent many months and hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince the public that electing the other man would lead to economic catastrophe. They have fought to a draw: voters today are almost evenly split over which man would do a better job on the economy.

    But whom would the experts pick? To find out, The Economist polled hundreds of professional academic and business economists. Our main finding should hearten Mr Obama. By a large margin they rate his overall economic plan more highly than Mr Romney’s, credit him with a better grasp of economics, and think him more likely to appoint a good economic team (see chart). They do not hold the perpetually disappointing recovery against him; half of respondents graded his record as good or very good, compared with just 5% who said that about George Bush in our poll four years ago. “It all depends on the counterfactual,” said Justin Wolfers, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, referring to how bad things might have been without the president’s emergency measures.

    • October 31, 2012 4:07 pm

      Did you actually read your own link ?
      There are so many qualifications.
      The Economists own analysis basically says – the takeaway is democratic government econonmists MILDLY prefer Obama. Look at the political skew – The respondents were democrats by 5:1. And still almost 50% of the democrats picked Romney.

      Further, have I actually claimed that Romney has a clue economically ?

      Presuming you successfully demonstrated that Romney is worse on economics – what does that prove ? That we have two bad choices ?

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        October 31, 2012 4:18 pm

        Yes, this proves that once one understand economics its hard to be a republican. I will from this day forward interpret the world as you say I do, everything proves a liberal point. Thanks for the conversion.

      • October 31, 2012 7:55 pm

        As best as I can tell Romney has 3 Nobel economics winners for each 1 that Obama has. There are nearly 700 Prominent economist signed on to Romneys plan – which I do not think is that good, Economists for Obama isnt listing anyone as far as I can tell.

        And again who said I was claiming Republicans had some grasp of economics. At best they are bad but better than democrats – not a ringing endorsement.

        Your the one that thinks the world divides solely into Republicans vs. Democrats.

        I end up occasionally defending republicans on TNM because “moderate” seems to be code for whiny liberal, and Republicans are wrong on many things – just not everything. Liberals are right on many issues, but they are willing to use immoral and inneffective means.

  54. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    October 31, 2012 3:26 pm

    Cherry picking works, anyone can prove anything. W Bush blew up the Twin Towers, H2O is a chemically dangerous compound that should be tightly regulated.

    I rest on my moderate beliefs, the truth is more likely to be found in the middle.

    But I can flood this board with hundreds of opinions from liberal economists who support Obama and the Democrats if need be.

    Partisans and ideological fanatics will only hear one side of the story, which is disastrous policy.

    • October 31, 2012 7:34 pm

      H2O is a chemically dangerous compound – absolutely everything is toxic at some dose – all you are doing is making my anti-regulation case.
      The claim that “the truth is more likely to be found in the middle” is actually a fallacy too – it is called “argument to moderation” – false compromise, grey fallacy, golden mean fallacy.

      I am not flooding TNM with Pro-Romney partisan economists – except as a demonstration that they exist in very large numbers.
      But here is another

      http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/30/news/economy/romney-obama-economists/index.html

      I am providing the results of economic studies – mostly produced by left leaning economists.

      You keep ranting about ideology and partisanship – Is Christine Romer some kind of right wing troll ? What about World Bank ? IMF ? These are the places that would be most likely to produce the results you want – if such results were actually possible.

      You also keep responding to economic studies data and papers with opinion polls.

      If you want to know what people think – you poll them.
      But if you are after facts you gather and analyze data.

      Here is a list of 6 things economists nearly all agree on from that extreme rightwing outlet – NPR

      http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/07/19/157047211/six-policies-economists-love-and-politicians-hate

      More things with overwhelming support from economists.

      http://www.realclearmarkets.com/charts/10_things_economists_believe-44.html

      Most of these are the very same things you beleive make me some right wingnut

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 1, 2012 12:57 pm

        Dave: Here is a list of 6 things economists nearly all agree on from that extreme rightwing outlet NPR…

        Dave, seriously, to take one of your favorite phrases “Did you even read the article you posted?”

        “All economists” turned to mean “5 economists on an NPR panel”. And they proposed taxing carbon emissions and legalizing marijuana.

        (I took the liberty of inspecting that parrot and I found out that the only reason it was sitting on that perch was that it had been nailed there.)

        Do you really mean to imply that nearly all economists agree that we should tax carbon emissions or legalize marijuana?

        I am dead sure that 95% of the links you post will tell a similar story of you completely misrepresenting or overselling any article that has any type of support for any free market idea.

        Find me well-respected economists who believe in cutting US government spending by 80%, then you will have at least shown some tiny support for your extreme ideas about the size of government.

    • November 1, 2012 12:59 am

      Ian;

      I can find probably 10-20 opinion articles a day coming from top 20 ranked (by economists) economic blogs to support my claims

      I can find several new research papers a week by IDEAS-1000 ranked economists.

      Are Andrea Schleifer, Robert Barro, Daron Acemoglu, Robert Lucas – right wing shills ?
      That is 4 of the top 10 ranked economists in the world. It is likely that I can find support from several of the remaining 6, but I don’t know them well enough to claim that – yet.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 1, 2012 11:18 am

        You can find support for bits and pieces and much more moderate versions of your ideas. You’ll find none for your real premise from any mainstream economist.

        Cherry picking and appeals to authority are your whole shtick, stop them and you will disappear.

  55. October 31, 2012 3:56 pm

    the economics of storms and disasters.

    http://dailyreckoning.com/storm-economics-in-one-lesson/

  56. October 31, 2012 8:24 pm

    Here is a survey of economists with respect to view influence party affilation.

    http://econjwatch.org/file_download/487/DavisMay2011.pdf

    I would not that the “liberalism” score is used in the sense of “classical liberalism”, and by that measure democrats are less liberal than republicans and far less liberal than libertarians.

    I would also recommend nearly all the blogs cited. I frequent
    Greg Mankiw
    Marginal Revolution
    Becker Posner
    Econlog
    Coordination Problem
    The economists view
    voxeu
    and Cafe Hayel

  57. October 31, 2012 9:55 pm

    Rick, you are a moderate… Ian, not so much. Moderation is not an ideology, it is a perspective and an attitude. Ian poses as a moderate, and, sometimes, his pose is rather effective. More often than not, however, he lacks a reasonable and conciliatory attitude. He’s pugnacious, close-minded, confrontational and insulting. Just because the two of you share an ideology, it does not make you both moderates.

    No question, the intensity of a closely contested election can be nerve-wracking. But it shouldn’t lead to personal attacks and highly partisan invective. At least, not from someone who claims to be a moderate.

    • November 1, 2012 12:40 am

      Ian may be apoplectic over the election – but I am not.

      I think the slant – even here, and even by Rick is instructive.

      In the real world the gap between Romney and Obama is miniscule, for the most part they are right or wrong together.
      Foreign policy – both wrong
      Immigration – both wrong
      Trade/China – both wrong.

      Sure Romney talks about reigning in government – and I will grant you that it will probably grow faster under Obama. But the federal government under Romney is going to grow, not shrink, not even shrink a teeny tiny bit.

      And yes Ian I would like to whack everything from the knees up, But solving our problems does not require and 80% cut, or a 20% cut or even a 5% cut – but it does require cuts, not reductions in the rate of increase.

      Romney is not my candidate, but I do find it amazing that a president that has been as bad as Obama is actually being defended by moderates.

      By the values moderates claim to beleive in they should be voting for Romney.

      Obama has never demonstrated any ability to reach across the aisles in anyway beyond claiming to in his rhetoric. There was a budget/deficit deal to be made – and he blew it. there was a deal on the dream act and he blew it.

      After Scott Brown was elected in MA, clearly PPACA needed to go back to the drawing boards – but all that was needed was 1 senate vote. A healthcare reform bill that atleast some of both parties could stomach was possible. I would have still opposed it, But Brown, Collins, Snow, ?

      Romney was a republican governor of a democratic state. He has a track record of working across the aisles. How could he possibly be worse ?

      We are now discovering that recent increases in GDP were “cooked” – Real GDP outside government is actually falling. Government spending in 2012 Q2 increased by 9.4% on an annual basis – with government at over 20% of the economy that means the entire 2% increase in GDP was in government, we are likely already in a double dip. We just can’t see it yet.

      I did not watch the debates – I do not understand why anyone would. Did you expect to learn anything about Pres. Obama ? Did you expect Romney to grow horns ?

      The Obama campaign has spent nearly a billion dollars trying to grow horns on Romney and failed. He has lots of problems – but his one great asset is that he is not the President.

      I do not see how anyone outside the far left can not grasp that on the candidates that can win this, only one is even close to plausible. I find it proof how much in thrall to the left “moderates” are that they even think there is a debate.

      My opposition to Romney is strategic – he is not good enough. We are headed for a mess and whichever party controls government particularly the whitehouse hill be blamed for the mess that is coming absent a real about face.

      Ian – if you do not want the 80% cuts in government I do, then you damn sure better push like hell for real 1% cuts NOW – we are teetering on the edge of a multidecade recession, or worse. Radical change happens when governments fail. Sometimes good radical changes, sometimes bad.

      I do not want a Republican victory in November, because the GOP is not yet ready to govern. It has not gone far enough towards the fiscal responsibility that seems to terrify
      “moderates”. 2010 was a slap in the face to liberalism, but what if democrats had retained control of the house and a filibuster proof senate ? After Cap and Trade, Card check, … Do you think we would be electing Obama again ? Do you think Romney would be the Republican candidate ?

      If we are not prepared to do what is necessary to fix things now, then hive the democrats another 4 years – because until moderates actually see the progressive failure up close and personal, they appear unable to grasp how immoral, destructive and harmful it is.

      The Cassey Mulligan paper I linked to above – just one of many using data from the current recession to demonstrate the failures of progressive policies, is showing that this governments response to this recession has actually made things WORSE for those least well off.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 1, 2012 12:33 pm

        So, we have here some Libertarian programmer from PA no one has ever heard of who knows everything about nearly everything regarding economics, logic philosophy, history and government who uses The New Moderate as a platform from which to lecture poor ignorant wretches about how wrong they are about everything they think they know or believe. Conservatives, Democrats, Republicans all wrong, wrong, wrong, Liberals and progressives, not just wrong but evil and destructive, not to mention whinny.

        Dave, IF you had any real belief in your OWN ideas, as opposed to infinite energy for dumping hot acid on everyone else’s ideas THEN you would start your own site, the New Libertarian, and make an honest attempt to improve the world to your own satisfaction. The fact that you do not do that speaks volumes about how little belief you really have in your own ideas.

        You choose to spend a vast amount of energy attacking moderates and progressives rather than doing something positive to promote your own platform.
        Its clear that you have nothing, no actual program, other than sitting here on TNM and filling the site with your complaints and your cherry picked appeals to authority. You’d rather find a tiny audience who you can lecture than put your efforts into organizing people who have your own beliefs. There must not be as many of them as you would have us believe.

  58. November 1, 2012 4:01 am

    Ugh. I let Ian’s rude jackassery get under my skin. I suppose, if Joe Biden can be the VP, Ian can call himself a moderate. That is the world we live in ;)

  59. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 1, 2012 11:13 am

    Sorry Priscilla, but when I look up moderate in the dictionary there is nothing there about being nice. I am nice most of the time, 90%+ I think, but I will defend this moderate turf rather than being driven out by the gratins noise of hyper partisan conservative politics.

    JBastiat ran around here being as rude as hell and not one peep, you and the other conservatives/libertarians followed that old rule, I shall not criticize a fellow conservative. So, you lost the right to criticize me for saying words like hyper or extreme, when you missed the opportunity to mention etiquette to JBastiat over “Fuck you asshole” “Dimwit” and his offer to “shit Kick Obama’s skinny ass. Disgraceful, repulsive but nowhere near as bad as “hyper” to your GOP sensibilities. Your choice and I think a bad one. JBastiat is a barbarian but he is YOUR barbarian.

    I think the Republican party has a serious Rich and Priscilla problem, the genteel and the crude
    conservatives form a nice pair and work together, the Wall street journal hand andn glove with right-wing loon radio. Thus, an election that should have been a slam dunk is a contest because the act is not as seamless as y’all think.

    I’m prepared to accept Romney with equanimity just not his party. Thankfully, tea party lunacy seems to have cost you the Senate. So, we should be OK.

    • November 2, 2012 12:41 am

      I am not here to defend everything JBastiat says – he can defend himself.

      Am i not free to pick and choose when I am going to take offense ?
      Or when I am going to do something about it ?

      If perfect fairness is a requirement, then in addition to chastising JBastiat, mustn’t we join in excoriating that other 1% – the 1% holding most of the wealth in the world – namely those of us in the US – including our poor.

      Life is not fair – get over it.

      Regardless, there is a difference between rudeness and ad hominem, and you are smart enough to grasp it. Of all the fallacies ad hominem is the most evil. Attacking your opponent as a means of making an argument is hard to cast in an innocent light.
      Most other fallacies are usually innocent.

      Nor are we talking about a post here or there. You can not seem to make a post without calling someone or some group extreme.

      At this moment Rassmussen has self identified republicans at 36.8%, democrats at 34.2.
      Whether you accept them or not, you are rejecting the largest single block of voters, and more than 1/3 of the country. Do you really believe that 1/3 the nation is falling off the edge of the planet looney ?

      Your upset because Jbastiat wants to kick Obama’s skinny ass.
      Then you go on to insult WSJ and talk radio – is there a difference ?

      If it is acceptable to insult those you disagree with and not those you don’t then there is nothing wrong with JBastiats remarks. If it is not, they the only difference is that you balance JBastiats edgier words, with far greater volume.

      You have converted hyper-partisanship into a meaningless phrase – as best as I can tell, your definition is – disagrees with the president.

      And finally I will return to the Joe MacCarthy analogy – because it fits perfectly.
      I do not recall Joe MacCarthy using vile or disgusting language. All he did was use communist exactly the same way as you use conservative.

      Gallup has 40% of americans self-identifying as conservative. You make no distinction between Limbaugh and Norquist or WSJ. Worse still you lump libertarians in with conservatives – as if a belief in limited government – which is a libertarian value that SOME conservatives hold, automatically makes you a right wing looney.

      Regardless, in your world the only good conservative is a dead conservative, and there only difference between Limbaugh and WSJ is that they are genteel.

      Substitute “conservative” for communist, and your rhetoric is indistinguishable from MacCarthy’s.

  60. Ron P permalink
    November 1, 2012 12:42 pm

    Interesting that on October 29th Pat Riot asked for a debate on “moderation not equating to middle”. Since that time, most of what I have read when “moderate” is mentioned is the same type of sniping that has taken over our federal government, leading to stagnation and inability to accomplish anything.

    • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 1, 2012 1:16 pm

      You are a decent and thoughtful poster Ron P and to you I will apologize that this conversation has taken this turn.

      But I have been taunted, insulted and deliberately provoked enough and my liberal-moderate part of the spectrum has taken enough mostly unanswered hits, so enough, I’m not marching obediently and politely backwards into the sea.

      If everyone here would actually make their contributions actually relate to moderate principles rather than trying to sell the usual partisan stuff that is everywhere and claim that it is moderate, I will disarm. But not unilaterally.

      Here are the principles of the site founder:

      “Too long have we been tyranniz’d by the militant dogmatizing of Right and Left. Let the Rebellion of the Middle commence here!”

      This is what I believe in. Its what the site is supposed to be about. I know, how dare I play God and try to define moderate or middle. I know what ain’t middle or moderate and 80% cuts to a supposedly nearly useless government and trying to make a scandal out of the Benghazi tragedy are not; they are directly what Rick was targeting with this blog.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 1, 2012 5:56 pm

        Please know that I am not specifically identifing anyone in this comment. Seems like there is enough to go around, and I may have made a comment or two myself that could be taken in that regard. I just hate to find a site that appeared to be one where honest debate took place end up like TMV and others I do not visit any longer. But maybe they started out where honest debate took place and then transformed into one of either extremes where no debate could take place. And too, there may not be many true moderates left to discuss issues, only those that think they are moderates because all their friends and companions think the same as they think.

      • November 1, 2012 11:48 pm

        First – no I really do not think you have a clue what actual moderate or middle is.

        Beyond that, this recent feud is not about ideological differences, it is about your use of ad hominem.

        Benghazi is far more than just a simple tragedy.
        Ignoring that in hindsight this administration made some abysmally bad choices. From the moment the event occurred moving forward we have been inarguably lied to.

        This was not some mob act triggered by a youtube clip – in point of fact the one person closets to getting this right the day after was Romney – and he was excoriated for it.

        If the whitehouse is to be taken as truthful – the state department, CIA, and defense are all lying about the incident. The alternative is the whitehouse is lying.

        I do not know about you Ian but I take lying very seriously.

        The test of a persons character is whether they can stick to their principles and be honest when the truth is going to be personally costly.

        The meaning of our entire lives – everything we may have done or said when it was easy, may all vanish if in that one moment when character counts, we are found lacking.

        .

      • November 2, 2012 12:02 am

        if i am going to join you in playing god and defining how everyone else on this blog must behave, think, ….

        I am pretty sure being moderate does not mean calling everyone who disagrees with you a extreme right wing looney.

        I am pretty sure that being moderate does not means suguesting that government spending should be cut 1%/year and then ranting that the political party seeking to keep the rate of increase in government spending below 3% is trying to kill the federal government – you do grasp that your 1%/year spending cut proposal is MORE draconian than anything anyone except the Paul’s have offered ?

        I am pretty sure moderate means expecting our leaders will tell the truth rather than cover their asses. I think it is obvious who is lying about Benghazi, but it really does not matter, someone – possibly many are lying

        I think two things terrify you.

        First that I might actually be right and 80% of government really is waste – and I would note that the average citizen already thinks the government is 51% waste, so I am not really that far from the “middle”

        The second is that I might get a tiny part of my way and government spending might be reduced – just a little, and the world will not end, or worse still, things might actually get better.

        What scares you is not that i am here spouting what you think is nonsense. But that I might actually be right.

        If I am really this ridiculous carcature you paint, then I am completely harmless.

  61. Pat Riot permalink
    November 1, 2012 1:06 pm

    One of the things Ian objects to here at TNM is one of the same things that I object to here at TNM: too much of Asmith’s repetitive and voluminous Libertarian principles getting in the way of Moderate discussion. About 20 or so posts up is a post by Rick. I believe THAT is some of the discussion we should be having here, especially since I don’t really agree with Rick’s description of being Moderate.We could be bringing Moderate viewpoints more into focus in the context of current events.
    I’ve tried to rationalize Asmith’s rants as a “foil” against which Moderates could hone their positions–and that’s true to a degee (see how us Moderates look at things!) but there’s too much Dave. I think there should be SOME Dave, but there’s too much Dave. Imagine you are meeting with other people to plan an event, say a wedding or a concert, but there’s one guy in the room who keeps yelling out “weddings are a fallacy!” or “concerts are a waste!” How do the others move forward with the discussion?

    • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 1, 2012 1:19 pm

      I like to stand on my own, but, Oh Bless you Pat. A moderate libertarian. Something I can sincerely respect.

    • AMAC permalink
      November 1, 2012 9:49 pm

      I agree that we need some Dave, but not 90% Dave. Ian and I typically take turns arguing with Dave. I have wasted all of my fight on Jbastiat two articles ago. Sadly, Dave makes some good points that go un-noticed. He posts so much that I make no attempt to read any of it. We need a section aside from the main coversation for article postings, links, etc to keep the air clean. When come to this site and see Jbastiat and Dave playing “Dueling Banjo’s” on the blog, I typically lose interest and tune out. I hope we can get a little more moderate conversation here. I will try to do my part! I like the new name Ian!

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 2, 2012 8:50 am

        Hi AMAC,

        How is new parenthood going? Past the worst of the sleep deprivation?

        I loved having kids, best time in my life, no matter how many stunts they pulled.

        Here is one:

        I was renting a small apartment when I was getting my B.S. and I was a single parent, with two young kids.

        My daughter who was three, decided to get up in the middle of the night and examine a pepper shaker, by holding it upside down over her head so she could inspect it. (later she became a philosophy major in college) So, when the pepper hit the eyeball she started screaming. It was about 3 a.m. All my efforts to help only led to her screaming “Don’t touch me daddy!” at the top of her lungs. The apartment walls were thin. For some reason the police did not come.

        But its all worth it, a million times over.

      • November 2, 2012 3:16 pm

        AMAC: We really could use a stronger moderate presence in the comments gallery, but it will be difficult to compete with “all Dave, all the time” (or at least half the time). I think Dave would actually be more effective if he posted shorter (and fewer) comments, because then we might actually read all of them. But he doesn’t seem inclined to change his M.O. here. I know I simply can’t keep up with all his posts, so I tend to read him at random — which is a shame, because so much of his output is going unread (at least by you and me).

        We could also use a little more commentary from the left to balance the picture. Rob and Lovetheocean are occasional (and valued) drive-bys, but they rarely get involved in substantive debates here.

      • AMAC permalink
        November 2, 2012 9:43 pm

        Welcome back Ian. I am doing very well. My daughter and wife are doing great as well. I am glad you made it through the storm safe. See if you can’t send a small amount of that rain towards West Texas for me!

    • November 1, 2012 11:34 pm

      False analogy.

      Despite the claims we are not all locked in a conference room, and I am shouting you all down with a megaphone.

      This is a blog, you can read as much or little of whoever you want.
      One persons speech takes nothing from another’s

      If you choose to ignore my posts, does it take you even a second to skip to the next ?

      Unless you actually are OCD and my posts are somehow disrupting your mental fixation for some kind of order, my speech has nearly zero cost to anyone else

      AMAC thinks I make some good points that go unnoticed because he loses interest.
      So ?

      Everyone is free to tune anyone they please out. The only real cost is missing what someone might have said and that is at your own choice.

      Just as I have no right to be listened to, no one else here has a right to demand the readers digest condensed version of my remarks. That would be imposing a cost on me.

  62. Pat Riot permalink
    November 1, 2012 1:16 pm

    Goldilocks is a classic kid’s story: one too hot, one too cold, and the other one JUST RIGHT. The concept of “middle” is too simple and inadequate a concept when it comes to complex systems, industrialized nations, and politics. Most things in our lives could better be viewed as “along a continuum.” This means there are theoretically an almost infinite number of gradations between extremes. I do tend to be a tad too philosophical at times. It’s my nature. I will come up with some realistic, pertinent examples. This comes to you from Denver Colorado today where I must get to my next flight.

  63. Pat Riot permalink
    November 1, 2012 1:25 pm

    Of course all “moderates” will not be the same, just as all conservatives are not the same and not all “liberals” are the same, said Mr. Obvious.

    But what is the essence of being a Moderate in American Politics (or Global Politics as some would have it)?

  64. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 1, 2012 1:57 pm

    Pat, Moderate to me means thinking for myself and not letting either party yank me around with the same tactics that work on their core supporters.

    I played until recently in a band with a fellow who’s wife ran for Governor and nearly won the Dem nomination in a 5 person race. Somehow I got on her campaign e-mail list and although she is a very nice and thoughtful person, the e-mails I got were the usual utterly childish petty accusations. I asked to be removed. Its not for me. I think that petty accusations and scandal mongering are not for moderates as a group.

    We are not about to embrace any extremely drastic changes to the tax code, at least not unless truly believable forecasts can show that the change works and is not just a veiled attack on the concept of government itself or the safety net,

    Moderates are in agreement with all the other groups about money in politics, but the Supremes foil all of us.

    As a moderate I wish to talk abut things that really can be enacted, not pie in the sky total victories
    by one side that go beyond what the country’s actual center of gravity is and just cause a revolt next election.

    This moderate wants a much larger moderate segment of the media, especially the print one.

    I think that moderates as a group have a tendency to respect the President, whether or not he is of their party or choosing, and give him the benefit of the doubt when things go wrong. I’d like to believe that moderates as a group reject disrespectful behavior towards the POTUS that goes beyond serious objective discussion of the administrations weaknesses.

    • November 1, 2012 3:33 pm

      Ian;

      Atleast you are not mostly maligning others here.

      How about some substance.

      I want world peace. but how that is accomplished matters. nuclear annihilation would probably result in a more peaceful world.

      The means used to accomplish desirable ends matter.

      Nearly all of us would like to see less money in politics, less negative adds, ….
      How that is accomplished matters. You would not agree to it if accomplishing it required sacrificing infants to the gods of politics.
      I will oppose whatever good ends you seek to accomplish through means that sacrifice individual liberty. Pretending that what you are doing has little or no cost in freedom does not make that so. Further one of the big arguments i have made over and over here is that reducing peoples freedom ultimately reduces their standard of living – study after study shows that. Even small losses have real consequences. Often those consequences are small, but small costs over time can have dramatic effects. The war on Poverty has had negligible effects despite spending trillions over half a century. Yet through the 19th, and early twentieth century there is no equivalent period were the circumstances of the least well off did not improve even more dramatically. Small benefits over time make enormous differences.

      Nor does having an overwhelming majority of people wanting something make it a good idea. How about longer growing seasons, shorter winters and summers longer falls and springs, more hours of daylight to the day. These are all impossible – wanting them can not make them so. Legislating them can not make them so. Worse still if we could actually have them the negative consequences are likely dramatically worse than the positive.

      It is not enough to say you want something. It is not enough to say an overwhelming majority want it. It is also necessary for it to be possible, and for the negative unintended consequences to be less than the benefits.

      So you are opposed to complex legislation with unpredicatable consequences.
      Does this mean you oppose or support PPACA ? Dodd-Frank ? ARA ?
      Your claims are more beleivable when they are consistent.

      The political philosphy that wants change to be accomplished in small easy to digest steps is called “conservative” not moderate. that is not my sense of who you are.

      If you want the economically perfect predictable tax code – take a look at the “fair tax”.
      Any economist will tell you that consumption taxes are the most predictable, stable means of raising revenue.

      The vast majority of what I throw at you about economics is not some libertarian ideological untested philosophy. A significant portion is well understood basic economics. It just happens (though not by accident) that the fundimentals of economics and libertarianism are strongly aligned.

      I am not particularly interested in debating Romney’s tax plan.

      At the same time I am always supportive of reducing, or simplifying taxes, reducing or eliminating deductions, reducing or eliminating government spending.
      I see no major problems with Romney’s plan – but i would be shocked if both parties in congress did not mangle it beyond recognition before passing it. I did nto support PPACA even as a concept – but what we got is a mess, and I expect no less of efforts to reform taxes.

      The media as we know it today is dying – this is not some libertarian pronouncement, just my observation of trends. NYT is on its last gasp. Not because it has lost its political way, but because print journalism is dying. Network Television Media is next on the list.

      i have not read a paper newspaper in years. I have not watched a television news program in years. But i can follow politics down to the county level anywhere in the country. I can not only know exactly what the left says about some event or proposal but everything the right says, plus the expert opinions of myriads of others – all without a newspaper or tv.

      You may get your wish regarding money in politics through an entirely different route.
      As television advertising proves less and less effective other means of communicating messages will come to the forefront.

      As to many of the rest of your assertions regarding Moderates we may get to test them shortly. It will be very interesting to see how TNM and moderates actually treat a moderate republican president and administration.

      I would also ask why POTUS is entitled to special respect – but not SCOTUS or Congress ?

  65. November 1, 2012 2:40 pm

    for those who think that Government is doing such a wonderful job with Sandy

    http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/mobi/storm/frustration-growing-as-access-to-margate-still-denied/article_7fdf996e-243b-11e2-8c1a-001a4bcf887a.html

    Rememebr the longer it takes for people to start actual cleanup on their homes and businesses the greater them damage gets and the more dangerous conditions get.

    mold explodes exponentially over a short time.
    Residences, and businesses throughout the barrier islands are absent electricity and absent people. but they are full of perishables in homes, resturants and stores, that becomes increasingly attractive to pests and vermin with time. The longer it takes residents to get back to their homes the greater the effort needed to clean up, and the more dangerous conditions become. The lack of electricity and contaminated water (confined to ventnor) are of small consequence in comparision to mold, roaches, rats, and maggots.

    In NYC public transportation and many public services are still mostly unoperational, but those aspects of recovery purely requiring private effort are progressing rapidly.

    NYC and NJ had the benefit of a dry run with Irene in 2011, That they are managing so poorly today does not inspire confidence.

    Contrary to press reports Sandy was not all that dramatic. Sandy was a fairly weak but very large fairly fast moving huricane. Agnes in 1972 did more actual damage.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 1, 2012 6:07 pm

      As for the efforts after Sandy, please keep in mind that in two to three weeks all those people out of their homes, businesses and jobs will no longer be in the minds of Americans across the country. How many remember the pain and suffering that those in Joplin MO encountered and are still encountering because most of their town, including their hospital was distroyed? That is life in the USA today. We seem to care about the news of the day, but forget about those that made the new what it was after a very short period of time and then go on about our business like nothing ever happened.

      • November 1, 2012 11:24 pm

        For a large number of the victims of Sandy the effects will be very temporary. for the most part I think the media is way overdoing the catastrophe.

        At the same time I will agree with you. Some – not a lot, will have significant long term consequences. So far there are about 70 dead.
        For them and their families this is a big deal.
        At the same time 3000 died at WTC, possible 100,000 died in the burmese tidal wave, and in Rwanda almost a million were killed in a few weeks with machettes.

      • November 2, 2012 12:34 am

        Ron, I have thought so many times about what you describe. The 24 hour news cycle looks for victims, uses them and then forgets them, as they move on to the next “big story.” And I fear that our politics has followed this pattern as well. It’s as if we’re all part of some big reality show…..

    • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 2, 2012 8:58 am

      Dave: Contrary to press reports Sandy was not all that dramatic.

      Realizing that I’m feeding the bear (hope this is not too much of an insult for tender ears) Here is the reality on Sandy. This I’m sure stems from your need to deny climate change and its par for the course for you and the denialsit community in general, head in the sand.

      This is from the Blog of Dr. Jeff Masters on weather underground. Pat had your behavior nailed, the analogy was perfect.

      http://classic.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html

      Sandy by the numbers: trying to comprehend a stunning disaster

      Updated: 7:49 PM GMT on November 01, 2012

      The immensity of the impact of Superstorm Sandy on the Eastern U.S. is difficult to comprehend, and the scenes of devastation coming from the impact zone are stunning and heart-wrenching. To help understand the extraordinary scale of this historic storm, I’ve put together a list of notable statistics from Sandy:

      Death toll: 160 (88 in the U.S., 54 in Haiti, 11 in Cuba)

      Damage estimates: $10 – $55 billion

      Power outages: 8.5 million U.S. customers, 2nd most for a natural disaster behind the 1993 blizzard (10 million)

      Maximum U.S. sustained winds: 69 mph at Westerly, RI

      Peak U.S. wind gusts: 90 mph at Islip, NY and Tompkinsville, NJ

      Maximum U.S. storm surge: 9.45′, Bergen Point, NJ 9:24 pm EDT October 29, 2012

      Maximum U.S. Storm Tide: 14.60′, Bergen Point, NJ, 9:24 pm EDT October 29, 2012

      Maximum wave height: 33.1′ at the buoy east of Cape Hatteras, NC (2nd highest: 32.5′ at the Entrance to New York Harbor)

      Maximum U.S. rainfall: 12.55″, Easton, MD

      Maximum snowfall: 36″, Richwood, WV

      Minimum pressure: 945.5 mb, Atlantic City, NJ at 7:24 pm EST, October 29, 2012. This is the lowest pressure measured in the U.S., at any location north of Cape Hatteras, NC (previous record: 946 mb in the 1938 hurricane on Long Island, NY)

      Destructive potential of storm surge: 5.8 on a scale of 0 to 6, highest of any hurricane observed since 1969. Previous record: 5.6 on a scale of 0 to 6, set during Hurricane Isabel of 2003.

      Diameter of tropical storm-force winds at landfall: 945 miles

      Diameter of ocean with 12′ seas at landfall: 1500 miles

      • November 3, 2012 3:03 am

        In Joplin Missouri in 2011 a single tornado killed more than 100 people.
        Parts of this were random chance – a large tornado striking exactly the right place at exactly the right time. Still we are talking about a tornado which in terms of raw power is inconsequential in comparision to even a tropical storm.

        The storm surge for Sandy was 8-11′ in NJ and only managed that because landfall coincided with high tide.

        Have you ever been to Hawaii – I think you will find that 12′ seas are not that unusual throughout the world. There are places with 12′ tides. Ordinary storms in many places bring much higher seas.

        Katrina’s was more than double that. Sandy was barely a huricane when it made Landfall, Katrina was a catagory 5 Huricane.

        I was alive the last time something significant cam ashore at Atlantic City – the damage was much worse.

        I was around for Agnes – which was only a tropical storm as it ran up the Chesapeake, but dumped far more rain for far longer, took out far more bridges and caused far more flooding and killed more people – though not to Atlantic City and New York.

        We finally received word on damage to my fathers Bay home – it was not more than 200yards from the scary news photos that showed the margate causeway and bridge nearly underwater – Damage – nada. There are pictures online of the marina’s nearby – a few railings down, and occasional peir damaged.

        When I was very young the board walk reached all the way to margate – it was not Sandy that obliterated it.

        Sandy is the worst huricane to strike Atlantic city in 40 years. But that is not saying much. It has been a long time since a real Hurricane struck the Jersey Shore.

        Irene – also only a tropical storm and not some superstorm merging with a front moving in from Canada, took out power to 8 million and killed 40 people in the US.

        Sandy is maybe 25-30% worse than Irene – though its peak wind speed was aparently lower than Irene.
        It is a fraction of Katrina.

        Was Sandy a huricane – sure. Is anyone living near where any huricane make landfall is in deep trouble – just as anyone where a tornado touches down is in trouble,

        But lets say for argument sake Sandy was this super monster once in 100 years storm.

        What is it that government is really doing ?
        Are governments restringing the power lines, pumping out the basements ? Millions of people have had their power restored, NYC still does not have subways and light rail working, and the busses are barely working. At the Jersey Barrier islands water and sewer are not working.

        There will be some houses that need repaired or rebuilt – at best government will pay for some of that – but will have nothing to do with the work.

        In comparison to the real damage that Sandy has done, the little government is directly responsible for correcting is inconsequential, and has been done poorly.

    • November 2, 2012 2:44 pm

      Dave: Good grief: try telling the people who lost family members or their homes that Sandy was “weak” or overdramatized by the press. Have there been more devastating hurricanes? Sure. Katrina and Hugo come to mind. But devastation is devastation.

      Again, you’re being a relativist: you’re saying that compared to the worst hurricanes on record, Sandy wasn’t all that bad. But in absolute terms the fact is that Sandy WAS bad. It was the worst hurricane ever to hit the Jersey shore. Nearly 100 lives and many more homes were lost. That’s not overstatement.

      On some fundamental level, I think you view people’s lives in the abstract, just like most ideologues on the right and left. You’re clearly a decent guy, but I think you get so wrapped up in theorizing that you lose sight of the blood-and-guts immediacy of life.

      Going back to the torture issue… only a hidebound ideologue would rather sacrifice thousands of lives than compromise on a principle. After all, principles are clean and perfect; human lives are messy. And if you don’t know those humans personally, they become expendable pawns in an ideological chess game.

      • November 2, 2012 3:07 pm

        Rick– Well said to Asmith re: relativism. But, don’t ignore Ron P’s posting warning about the backdoor attack on Medicare. As I discussed earlier, decreased compensation of Medicare providers will drive many of them out of the system, and into “boutique” or “concierge” type practices, severely restricting access to care for the elderly and others. Combine that with the transfer of $716 billion out of the Medicare Trust Fund, and you get an idea of whose backs are expected to bear the brunt of Obamacare’s redistribution of medical care.

      • November 2, 2012 3:22 pm

        RP (and Ron P): Good point. We need to get serious about tort reform so doctors don’t have to spend half their take-home pay on malpractice insurance. That would boost their income, and fewer of them would leave the system.

      • November 3, 2012 3:09 am

        Rick;

        Being anywhere near any huricanes of any size is not a good thing, but Sandy’s primary features were size and that it struck a part of the country that rarely sees actual huricanes.

        Sandys wind speeds were low, its storm surge was small for a huricane.
        In most places precipitation was not that great.

        Sandy’s predominate feature was size. A big weak barely huricane running from the mid-atlantic through new england.

  66. November 1, 2012 3:48 pm

    I don’t really think that the definition of moderate in the political sense is much different from its definition in the general sense. “1.Being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme: 2. Not violent or subject to extremes; temperate in disposition.”

    As far as I can tell, there is no “ism” that correlates with being moderate, i.e., there is no such ideology as “Moderatism,” – it’s more of a commitment to open-mindedness and rational evaluation.

    So, my point, which I have made before, is that those of us who self-describe as moderates, all have some kind of “ism” or point of view that “moderate” describes. Moderate libertarian, liberal, conservative, centrist, what have you….

    I would even agree with Ian that respect for the presidency is likely a characteristic of most moderates. I would disagree that anyone should “give the benefit of the doubt” or suspend criticism of any politician or public servant, president or otherwise. I remember hearing Chris Matthews, during the townhall debate, complain that Romney must not understand the Constitution, because, at one point, he stopped the President from interrupting him by saying “You’ll have your turn to speak.” If we get to a point where we have to treat the POTUS as a king, as someone more entitled than the citizens whom he serves and immune to criticism….well, then, that’s game over.

    Anyway, Pat, I look forward to your deep philosophical thoughts on this. Hopefully, the thin air in Denver is no impediment ;)

    • November 1, 2012 11:19 pm

      The best “ism” might be buddhism – but I think far to many moderates here are far to short on mellow and tolerance to be buddhists.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 2, 2012 9:01 am

        Stop insulting us.

    • November 2, 2012 2:28 pm

      PR: I’ve always favored “moderate” as the term to describe my politics, but as you point out, it’s a temperament as well as a political point of view. Unfortunately, that can lead to confusion.

      We could call Gorbachev a “moderate Communist.” After all, he wasn’t as extreme as Stalin. But I don’t know if we’d give him a pass as a political moderate. And someone like you or Peggy Noonan could be classified as “moderate conservatives” (or even “liberal conservatives”) — you’re not racist, gun-toting wingnuts and you have humane values.

      Maybe I should have called this blog “The New Centrist.” But I don’t know… I’ve always thought that term had a cold, rigid ring to it. After all, as a moderate, I dislike ideologies… and “centrist” smacks of ideology to me. Any “ism” does. (That’s why I’m glad there’s no such term as “moderatism.”

      • November 2, 2012 4:54 pm

        I’m glad you didn’t call the blog “The New Centrist,” Rick. For one thing, I don’t see you as a centrist, so it would have been inaccurate. Secondly, I’ve always been sort of perplexed by the whole idea or “centrism” as an ideology. It seems to me that one becomes a centrist rather strategically, as s/he gravitates to the least objectionable and most negotiable positions on issues. But to actively promote the middle ground simply because it is the middle ground doesn’t seem to be a very substantive ideology.

        I am, at the moment, a moderate conservative, and I consider you to be a moderate liberal. But, I was a moderate liberal, too, before I was a moderate conservative (and who knows, I might become a moderate libertarian one day), and that is why I resist the use of the term “moderate” to define a set of political views. It can be confusing, but I think that the confusion comes from trying to assign a set of beliefs to the definition of “political moderate” when there really aren’t any, other than a mutual aversion to radical, highly partisan politics. Being mutually averse to something doesn’t necessary guarantee agreement on anything else – and this is why I think that attempts at creating a “Moderate Party,” as a separate entity are doomed to fail.

        I have some other thoughts about party line partisanship and moderation, but I’ll put them under Pat’s comment which addresses that subject……

      • November 2, 2012 7:38 pm

        Btw, you did make me ponder the question of Gorbachev vs. Stalin and “moderate communism.” I guess that I think that Gorbachev was a moderate, in relative terms anyway. The reforms that he championed helped lead to the end of both the Cold War and the USSR, by undermining the supremacy of the hard-line communists. He certainly was not a moderate by American standards of democracy.

      • November 23, 2012 4:29 pm

        The New Centrist is already taken. ;-)

  67. Ron P permalink
    November 2, 2012 11:32 am

    http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/1942089923001

    Hurricane Sandy Info:
    Heres something for everyone to consider when you hear about the slow response by utility companies getting power turned back on. It may not be all the utilities fault.
    Verified by:

    http://news.yahoo.com/jersey-town-ala-volunteer-utility-crew-don-t-053500307.html

  68. Pat Riot permalink
    November 2, 2012 12:11 pm

    Pearows, thank you for bringing up the distinction between “moderate” in the political sense and “moderate” in the general sense. I think it’s an important distinction. Politics in our USA have gotten so divisive/partisan that moderates have been viewed (from a distance) as either “level-headed” at best or “soft” or “naive” at worst. (Naive in the sense that one has to be extreme to get anything done in modern politics).

    The portion of the general defiinition that is “temperate in disposition” doesn’t help the political image with a populace that cheers at chairs bashed on heads in the WWF and action heroes willing to take the boldest risks, and all of that, yada yada (which I’m not condemning but is a whole other discussion).

    Which is why I was excited to see TNM where there must be an archive or two of Rick talking about moderates being passionate and strong and the real majority, etc.

    I think the political definition of moderate, as we would like it to be, or as it should be, is in alignment with not being so blinded by party lines and able to apply reason to situations as they present themselves, as you and Ian have mentioned above. Have we arrived at a “definition” of being moderate in politics before and I am being redundant here? I think it is very important because extreme left and extreme right are holding up important matters and I think level-headed leadership could bring us together again as Americans. (Play the music now…)

    Right now I am near the Seattle, Washington area and my brother is wondering why I’m on my laptop instead of going to breakfast. Be back soon!

    • November 2, 2012 2:13 pm

      Pat: Here’s one for you. I wrote it during The New Moderate’s first year as a blog (as opposed to when it was just a collection of three-way debates).

      http://newmoderate.com/2009/10/23/moderate-centrist-middle-of-the-road-whats-in-a-name/

      But I think you add an important dimension to the discussion: the importance of not being blinded by party lines. That’s easy enough for most of us moderates, because most of us are independents. It used to be that even non-moderates like Ted Kennedy or Bob Dole could work readily across party lines, but in today’s polarized climate those guys are a dying breed. Gov. Christie’s heartfelt response to Obama after Hurricane Sandy gives me hope, though.

      • November 2, 2012 8:28 pm

        I do think that Christie’s response was heartfelt, but more so, it was pragmatic, smart politics – bipartisan politics. And there are many Republicans who have been pretty tough on Christie for praising Obama the week before an election.

        On the other hand, Harry Reid said today that, if Romney wins, he will refuse to work with him. That’s politics too – Reid is trying to blunt the appeal of Romney’s assertion that he will succeed at working with Congress where Obama failed – but, he is certainly throwing down the gauntlet.

        Moderates should defend Christie …but they should also condemn Reid. Unfortunately, what we will likely hear will be a lot of talk about the GOP being an “extreme” party, not worthy of bipartisanship. And Christie will be characterized as an anomaly – either that, or his bipartisan praise of Obama will just go down the memory hole.

        I guess the question is, what is the best way for moderates to try and change this polarized climate?

      • November 3, 2012 2:13 am

        If Romney wins and the Senate remains democratic, I would not be so certain that Harry Reid will remain Majority leader.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 3, 2012 7:43 pm

        Rick, I read that post of yours a couple years ago and it was good again this time (http://newmoderate.com/2009/10/23/moderate-centrist-middle-of-the-road-whats-in-a-name/)

        You were touching on “image issues” and distinctions between “moderate” and “centrist,” and those image issues are still clinging out there today. Semantics. Connotations. Words. “Whiffs of nuance” as you put it.

        I thought your title of The NEW moderate was an intelligent answer. Not your father’s oldsmobile, but the NEW moderate–passionate, energetic, capable of cornering and holding the road…

        I think you and Pearows are correct that “Moderate” is more of a philosophy and a “cause,” and cannot become a party. I’ve wrote a bunch on my recent flights explaining why moderate positions are not really in any perceived “middle,” but they’re probably too in depth and wordy for where the thread has gone.

        Perhaps a new ermerging party of moderate-minded citizens will be the “Pragmatist Party” or the “American Party”…

        Future headline: The Pragmatist Party, the American Party, and the Libertarian Party are championed and led by more moderate, rational leaders than the extinct Republican and Democratic Parties which nearly sacrificed the existence of America for the sake of party ideologies and special interests. I can see it!

  69. Ron P permalink
    November 2, 2012 1:36 pm

    Rick, on October 30th, you brought up the fact that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security were under attack from the right, indicating further cuts would come if they had their way.

    The following is infomation abstracted from an article from the Healthcare Management Associations financial newletter.
    “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued two final rules on Thursday: one that updates Medicare payment policies and rates for hospital outpatient services and ambulatory surgical care, and another that specifies payment rates to certain physicians for specific primary care services. In 2013, payment rates for hospital outpatient departments will increase 1.8 percent under the hospital outpatient prospective payment system and ambulatory surgical center (ASC) rule, CMS said in a release. ASC payment rates will increase by 0.6 percent in 2013 rule. The final rule also will reduce Medicare payments to physicians by 26 percent if Congress does not approve a sustainable growth rate payment fix by the end of this year”.

    Please note that CMS, under the direction of the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has done little to promote paying physicians a fair rate for services provided to Medicare Patients.

    Is Medicare under attack from the right, or is Medicare under attack through the back door where the main stream media is not paying attention and expenses can be cut by cutting access to care?

    • November 2, 2012 5:17 pm

      Medicare is just failing – it is not particularly under attack.

      If you can get them away from the voters both parties will easily admit there is a huge problem. Medicare is 200B/year short for the foreseable future.

      Ryan has made proposals to fix it – lots of people do not like those proposals, and his changesd may not be sufficient to solve the problem.

      Killing PPACA will help as that steals billions from medicare every year.

      Obama has his own proposals to fix medicare.

      BOTH parties are going to cut billions from Medicare. Both are playing smoke and mirrors games. Obama is pretending that he can just dicatate that he is going to force the cost down essentially using price controls with minimal effects of services.
      If you beleive that price controls are going to work – please please look at the historic data on price controls. They have never ever worked anywhere. Either prices go up, or their are shortages or more typically both. Hoover and FDR tried them – fail. Nixon tried them – Fail.
      The ICC was a decades long price control – fail. Airline deregulation removed airfare price controls – and prices dropped dramatically. Small steps towards markets in energy were supposed to result in dramatic price increases – instead prices dropped.
      One does need to be careful with quasi-regulated market – California removed price controls at one end but left them in place at the other – and Gray Davis nearly blacked out California. Partly free markets can actually be worse than fully regulated ones.

      But there are only two choices at the moment – dramatic increases in medicare taxes – which are a regressive tax, or finding some way to bring costs down.

      Many of us keep getting excoriated for saying Medicare is a failure, it is NOT even close to cheaper than private insurance, that it has driven costs for healthcare up, and that it is a ponzi scheme.

      I can already here Ian firing up the “extreme right wing looney partisan, ….” trumpet.
      But the failure of medicare is well known to both sides of the aisle.
      That medicare is failing is indisputable – the only arguments are over why and what to do about it.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 2, 2012 11:20 pm

        asmith..You may not have read the infomation on the link I provided concerning the actions taken by Obama to create two national insurance plans that individuals will be able to buy into. One will have abortion services provided and the other will not. I have not identified how he is doing this without the approval of congress yet as all the information i have been able to find does not say. It could be buried in the 2000+ pages od “read the bill to know whats in it” legislation. The only thing I have found is one plan may be to buy into the federal government insurance plans.

        Anyway, I think there are two alternatives driving this decision. Cut funding to Medicare which will reduce services, then begin to transition medicare patients to one of those plans much the same as they transitioned about 40% of medicare to private plans through Medicare advantage so far because benefits will be better. Once a high enough percentage is on the new plan, then the old plan will be discontinued. This allows for younger individuals to pay a slightly higher premium that they don’t use to be used for the older subsriber.

        After that happens, the monthly premiums will be such that they will attracted a high percentage of younger workers, thus making private insurance unprofitable for the insurance inducstry as we know it today. Employers will drop coverage and buy into that plan.

        And thats the way you get to national health insurance without legislation.

      • November 3, 2012 2:11 am

        Ron;

        All this stuff has the same all the same flaws.

        Social security do not work, medicare does not work, PPACA will not work.

        The reasons are not magical. There is only one system that has ever managed to consistently deliver more for less – that is free markets.

        Anything that government runs will essentially be a zero (or negative) sum game. It will either deliver more for more, or less for less – it will either be more expensive or deliver less service.

        There is no good reason the amount of money spent on social Security and Medicare should not have allowed its contributors to do far better than they have. Even with the current financial crisis and recession, none of us are showing a 0% return on our investment over a 40 year period.

        Government not only does not know how to provide more for less, but does not have the ability to do so. The sole distinguishing power of the government is force. To beleive that government can manage the economy well is to beleive that the economy will work better at the end of the barrrel of a gun.

        If you want Health Insurance, and Pensions that work, you must find a structure that delivers more for less.

  70. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 2, 2012 5:23 pm

    Is this the gist of the trustees report you are referring to Ron? This article was dated April 23rd of this year.

    http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2012/04/23/social-security-medicare-outlooks-worsen

    Pressure to reform Social Security and Medicare intensified Monday with the release of key reports showing that the financial condition of both programs, particularly Social Security, continue to worsen.

    The nation’s primary retirement program has moved three years closer to being unable to pay all of its obligations, according to its 2012 annual trustees report. The program, financed by payroll taxes, will be unable to meet all its claims beginning in 2033, compared with 2036 as projected in last year’s report. More ominously, the program’s projected deficits reached their greatest level since major Social Security reforms were enacted nearly 30 years ago, and the year-to-year increase in the deficit was the program’s second largest in any year since those reforms.

    In contrast, the Medicare trustees report said its hospital insurance trust fund would run out of money in 2024, the same year as forecast in last year’s report. However, that fund covers only the program’s hospital charges (known as part A of Medicare). Payments for physician and outpatient services, drug coverage, and Medicare Advantage insurance funding shortfalls come from public funds. And the long-term costs of those programs continue to rise.

    In a press briefing, Social Security trustee Robert Reischauer said several factors contributed to the program’s weakened outlook, including a larger-than-expected increase in the program’s annual cost of living adjustment, lower-than-expected employee earnings and thus payroll taxes, and long-term deterioration in the outlook for employee hours and wages. There were also a number of technical adjustment factors, he added, and all of them had a negative impact on program projections this year, which he said was unusual. The COLA was 3.6 percent this year, but was forecast by trustees to be only half that in 2013.

    The net result is that “we don’t have a great deal of time left to resolve” the program’s challenges in an acceptable way, Reischauer said. He and other trustees renewed calls for Congress to enact reforms to restore the financial soundness of both Social Security and Medicare.

    Without changes to Social Security, it would only be able to pay 75 percent of program benefits after 2033. Proposals to improve the program’s financial health have focused principally on raising the annual income subject to payroll taxes (it’s now $110,100 a year), increasing the retirement age at which beneficiaries can claim full benefits (it’s now 66 and already scheduled to rise to 67), and reducing the level of the annual COLA..

    Social Security uses payroll taxes to raise money for separate trust funds for retirement and disability benefits. The disability fund is in much worse shape than the larger retirement fund and is forecast to fall short of being able to pay 100 percent of its claims in 2016. Congress could move funds from the healthier retirement fund into the disability fund. That was done in 1994, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told the press briefing. But he said the Obama Administration would like to avoid such a fix and instead address the disability funding shortfall as part of a larger, long-term reform of the entire program.

    “This year’s Trustees Report contains troubling, but not unexpected, projections about Social Security’s finances,” agency commissioner Michael Astrue said in a prepared release. “It once again emphasizes that Congress needs to act to ensure the long-term solvency of this important program, and needs to act within four years to avoid automatic cuts to people receiving disability benefits.”

    “Medicare and Social Security provide the basic foundation of retirement security for millions of Americans today, and will be just as important—if not more so—to future retirees,” commented AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “After more than a year of listening to Washington talk about these programs as line items in a budget, people want politicians to understand how any changes to Social Security and Medicare will impact them and their families.”

    • Ron P permalink
      November 2, 2012 11:31 pm

      I believe the infomation that you have provided is the information provided by the trustee of the program to congress and other governmental entities that require this yearly report. I believe the trustee take audits from various consultants, actuaries and accountants and then develops his/her report to congress.

      My link was to the actual Actuarial Report where they do an independant audit of the program and issue a report to the trustee. He/She then takes that information and develops the report you have cited,

      The actuarial report shows an unbiased opinion of the current condition of the Medicare fund (Does not include SS Fund). As for the trustees report, I don’t know how unbiased that would be and how much political pressure enfluences that information.

  71. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 2, 2012 6:33 pm

    Ezra Klein’s take on how Romney would govern, its very fair and objective I think.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-01/running-the-data-on-a-romney-presidency.html

    Victory by either Pres. candidate will have some sliver lining for me and some disappointment. I just want to know more than anything that congress will be divided. One Senate seat I wish had stayed in the hands of the Republican incumbent is Lugar’s, he is a thoroughly decent and capable man with decades of experience. Our national loss.

    • November 3, 2012 1:57 am

      Ezra Klien is pretty far down on the list of “fair and objective” and frankly I think his peice is very poorly written.

      At the same time it is probably not all that far off. Romney has no ideology. He is just a very competent manager. While I think we deserve more than that as president – it has been a long time since we have had even that.

      I would be happy to agree with you that whoever wins, I hope that government remains divided. I suspect that is likely. Republicans stand no chance of taking 60 seats in the senate. Democrats will have more political power in a Romney presidency than Republicans did in 2008. Further, Romney has a proven track record of working across the aisle. A mantle Obama has claimed but never managed to make fit.

      As this election winds down, regardless of the outcome Obama looks increasingly small. His 2012 campaign contrasts so sharply to 2008. Then he offered hope and change, now he is about fear and derision. Even if he manages to win there are no great expectations, no bright future He is not offering “morning in america” a better future.

      In a few days I get to vote against both of them – as well as numerous other incumbents.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 3, 2012 10:34 am

        Dave, Have you any idea how unremittingly negative you sound? You pour acid on everything. Talk about a one trick pony. When are you going to start your own site and do something positive to support your own principles instead of constantly pissing on everyone else’s?

      • November 3, 2012 12:37 pm

        So when I agree with you I am “unremmittingly negative” “Pouring acid on everything” and “pissing on everyone else”.

        Guilty as charged – Pot meet kettle.

  72. November 2, 2012 7:59 pm

    Both parties accuse the other of trying to “gut” Medicare. Given the fact that the program is unsustainable in its current form, both parties are trying to change it.

    I agree with Ron that the Obamacare changes are “backdoor” changes, because they are not presented as cuts to the current program, even though they are. Actually, they will likely be draconian cuts. Cutting payments to doctors will force them to stop treating Medicare patients. The IPAB will be able to cut services without any congressional oversight, if they feel that it is necessary to bridge gaps in Medicare funding. And it will be necessary, potentially leading to severe rationing of care for seniors.

    • AMAC permalink
      November 2, 2012 9:37 pm

      As a “relatively” young person, I have little skin in the game on medicare and social security. I do and have paid and would like to receive some benefits from my payments, but I am nowhere close to receiving benefits. I think we all have to come to terms with the fact that benifits need to be reduced for these programs, by reulatory limits or whatever nomenclature you want to give it. There also needs to be a raising of the age at which one can receive the benefits. I would suggest something close to the age of 75, but maybe that is overly ambitious. I would also think we could grandfather in citizens over the age of 55. That would not be me, but I think that in the grand scheme of things, we could wether that demographic.

      • AMAC permalink
        November 2, 2012 9:45 pm

        So many typos, so little time! I guess the sleep depravation is worse than I thought… I will be back as soon as I can master the English language!

      • November 2, 2012 10:19 pm

        Wow, 75 is pretty old, lol! But I agree that the age needs to be raised. Here’s the thing – modern medicine has made life immensely better and more rewarding for everyone as they age. Cardiac surgery, cataract surgery, joint replacement surgery have extended not only the length of life but, perhaps more importantly, the quality of life.

        But, these procedures do not come cheap, and many of them are “elective” – i.e. you don’t HAVE to have cataract surgery, you could simply struggle along with fading vision. Those who need hip and knee replacements to restore total mobility COULD just get by with painkillers or by using walkers and wheelchairs for the last 10-20 years of their lives.

        Look at the UK and Canada. They ration just these types of quality-of-life procedures in order to control costs. You want a hip replacement at 78? Eh, how much longer will you live anyway….a wheelchair is cheaper. My husband has a friend in the UK whose mother was blind for the last 10 years of her life, because she never got approval for cataract surgery.

        I don’t think this is what we want.

      • November 3, 2012 1:38 am

        If social security and medicare had been run the same way similar private investments are – they would be far more than solvent.

        If you do not like the term “Ponzi scheme” how about investments were outgoing investors are paid by the incoming investments of new investors – it is called “unsustainable”. If done privately it would be called fraud. It never was sustainable and even FDR new that. It has required 80 years to fail, because for a while it could survive if tax rates slowly climbed and each generation was larger than the preceding one – both unsustainable assumptions.

        It is not higher taxes we need, nor reduced benefits, nor older retirement ages. It is a program that pays future benefits from the profits of past investments.

        As a nation we have taken trillions of Social Security and Medicare dollars and squander them. Instead of their producing a growing return they actually diminished.

        Worse still we stole trillions of investment that would have improved the country, improved our standard of living and we wasted it.

        Social security and Medicare are actually among the best run government programs – and they are threatening to bankrupt the country.

        Democrats deserve special condemnation – these are their programs – but Republicans are not blameless, they have helped cultivate them and grow them.

        Once social security was the third rail of american politics, now it is electrocuting us.

        And I would not for Ian – these are not some special libertarian extremist babel. Then numbers disagreeing with this assessment are shrinking rapidly. Both parties are rushing to find a solution that does not screw old people and does not bankrupt the nations. Unfortunately that requires more political courage than either party has.

      • AMAC permalink
        November 4, 2012 10:15 pm

        You are right, I don’t like the term Ponzi Scheme. That implies that the government is trying to deliberately deceive us. That is what a ponzi scheme is and why it is a crime. It is fraud. Everyone knows what they are getting into with medicare and SS as far as the basic structure. They are not being brought into it by a grifter. If you define medicare and SS as a ponzi scheme, the term would be able to be applied to insurance payments, and most any government controlled, tax fed program. The use of the “Ponzi Scheme” as a descriptor began in a PR Focus group. It tested high, so was fed to the masses. That is the kind of thing I am most certainly against.

  73. November 3, 2012 3:42 am

    Rick;

    Alright; in your moderate cosmology at what point does it become acceptable to violate principles ?

    I am not talking about little things like driving 10mph over the speed limit.

    I am asking when is it acceptable to do something evil if there is a high probability of good results ?

    i am going to avoid getting really graphic here, but as your argument is a clear statement that the ends justify the means, at what point does the vileness of the means overcome the the desirability of the ends ?

    You have inverted the morality. When we do evil for good purposes we become evil, defeating the purpose, and or victims become the innocent pawns in our game to achieve some end that is likely unreachable because of the means we have chosen.

    Nearly every tyrant in history convinced themselves and often entire nations that some purported good was worth the sacrifice of their principles.

    You are essentially arguing for Stalin, and Hitler and Mao, and against Bonhoeffer, and others who sacrificed their lives for principles.

    Is there not a single core moral value that you would not sacrifice for a sufficiently positive end ?

    And you keep accusing me of relativism ?

    There are only a few real core moral principles underlying humanity. But it is those principles that make us human. When we violate them – whatever the ends, we diminish ourselves and humanity.

    • November 3, 2012 8:13 am

      Dave: I think you have it backwards: tyrants like Stalin committed evil against millions of individuals to uphold a principle (collective ownership). I’m saying that we shouldn’t harm individual lives to uphold abstract principles. I’d think a libertarian would be fine with that.

      • November 3, 2012 11:48 am

        When you say “We should not harm individual lives to uphold abstract principles” – you are making a self contradictory statement.

        You are essentially stating that “my first principle is there are no principles”

        So which part of your statement are you committed to ?
        The part that says – there are no principles, or the Principle that “you may not harm” ?

        Grant me that first principle – and you are libertarian.

      • November 3, 2012 11:52 am

        Tyrants use the fallacious principles of others to gain power over them. Do you really want to argue that Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Musolini, Castro, …… or any other tyrant epitomize the purported principles of the societies that ruled ?

  74. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 3, 2012 11:31 am

    Priscilla, at last its obvious why you and I are bound to disagree about moderation, for you its a tone of voice and for me its a way of thinking about government and politics in a roughly centrist way without buying into the rhetoric of partisan politicians and with a virorous rejection of extremes of any ideological kind.

    My idea of a moderate democrat is one who is often tempted to vote for the GOP candidate and who can see the shortcomings of his own party and the good points of some conservative positions. Visa Versa for a moderate republican.

    Tone of voice or unending politeness is a poor way to describe a political moderate. To agree to those standards is to agree to being obliterated in a political arena. I wish more moderates were willing to get riled up, then maybe we could coalesce. I appreciate a nice tone of voice of course and 90% of the time I bend over backwards to have one. The rest of the time I am pissed at something and am not apologetic about it. When I have to face you and Dave and JBastiat as a team on TNM that does happen regularly.

    The hyper-partisan “rudeness:” Here is the first part of the wiki entry on partsan:

    “In politics, a partisan is a committed member of a political party. In multi-party systems, the term is widely understood to carry a negative connotation – referring to those who wholly support their party’s policies and are perhaps even reluctant to acknowledge correctness on the part of their political opponents in almost any situation.”

    Since I believe the first part is the actual definition and the second a connotation I very often use the word hyper for emphasis of the connotation. I could say utterly partisan if that ruffles less feathers.

    Rick brings this on himself and TNM sometimes by being partisan. He dislikes Romney strongly, favors liberals and democrats, I don’t get the feeling he is going to vote for a republican at the national level any time soon. The essays on the two conventions were not what I would call moderate or evenhanded, even if I sympathized with them as a liberal moderate. They were not among my favorites for this reason.

    So, should I also call Rick a hyper partisan? Rick has other attributes that mitigate his whole hearted support of Obama and wholehearted dislike of Obama. He is quite vocal about the faults of liberals and the more extreme left and more than willing to give conservatives points when they have a good issue.

    I do not hear much of that kind of nonpartison objectivity from you, I wish I would. Perhaps when the election is over.

    • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 3, 2012 11:39 am

      Ooops, wholehearted dislike of Romney, unless Rick has a split personality.

      • November 3, 2012 12:28 pm

        By your own definition if Rick Whole heartedly supports Obama, and believes liberalism has flaws – then Rick is partisan.

    • November 3, 2012 12:06 pm

      Ian;

      Your description of “Moderate” is self contradictory. it is a near perfect expression of the fallacy of moderation.

      You are essentially claiming as your first principle that one should not strongly adhere to principles. After that you are left with nothing.

      You yourself vigorously defend and want other moderates to get aggressive and riled up – essentially you are demanding that moderates be extreme about non-extremism, be partisan about non-partisanship,

      Here are TNM the distinction between you and the most partisan republican or democrat, is purely the corner of the political spectrum that you are aggressively defending.

      You can probably properly claim the same of me – with only one small but significant distinction. My “hyper partisan extremism” is consistent with my principles. Yours is at odds with them.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 3, 2012 6:17 pm

        Asmith, your reasoning in above post is going in circles like a dog chasing its tail.

        You begin in error by sayng that a previous poster is claiming as their “first principle that one should not strongly adhere to principles.” That is typical of how you misconstrue language posted here. Nobody here at TNM has ever stated that principles should not be strongly adhered to.

        What has been objected to here by some is strict absolutist adherence to or idealogy or party lines past the point where it makes common sense for real living people in reality. There are exceptions to the rules, for example a pregnant woman driving herself through red lights to get to the hospital after her water breaks. Notice the woman is driving herself in this modern, updated example! The boyfriend is in the unemployment line, poor bastard!

        Guided by principles, respecting principle and institutions, but evolving with current realities, as the Founding Fathers who framed the U.S. Constitution intended (music again here please…)

        And so you’ve built an circular argument atop a misunderstanding.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 3, 2012 6:23 pm

        Hey, I was logged in. Anonymous is me, Pat “Grandiose” Riot !

    • November 3, 2012 12:25 pm

      Your criticism of the hyper-partisanship of the rest of us runs afoul of your own definition of partisanship.

      You definition of partisan requires supporting the policy of a group because it is the policy of the group even when you know it is wrong.

      When you call the rest of us “hyper-partisan” by your own terms you are saying we are all unprincipled liars. That we do not believe they things we are saying That we chose to support the policies of the GOP or whatever even though we believe they are not correct, That is exactly what your definition of partisan means.

      By your own definition you are saying that when you call Pearows, JBastiat,, myself or anyone else “hyper-partisan” that not only are we wrong, but that we are liars – that we know we are wrong, that we do not believe what we say we believe.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 3, 2012 12:42 pm

        Yada, yada, nothing I said was correct, what a huge surprise. I don’t feel bad because nothing nearly anyone says or believes is correct according to you.

        When are you going to do something positive and start your own Libertarian site and dispense correctness there, instead of being the soul of negativity here and placing yourself in the middle of every conversation here by telling us how wrong we are about everything?

        You can’t create, only tear down?

      • November 3, 2012 1:42 pm

        Ian;

        What is the last positive thing you have said ?

        I offer something that even in small doses will improve things.
        My “negativity” is merely noting that other ways won’t work.

        Instead of telling my son – “Don’t play with fire!” should I instead offer him the matches ?

        Much of what you call negativity is simply noting how the world works and does not.

        Your definition of “moderate” is self contradictiory and excludes you.
        Its not my definition – its yours. I did not create its flaws, you did.
        I did not make you say something that makes no sense – you did that on your own.

        I keep telling you that pouring gasoline on fires won’t put them out. What a bummer. I should just quit pissing on your mellow and let you burn the place down. One problem – the rest of us live here too, and you are not looking just to burn your own house down, but you want to burn the entire neighborhood. I will defend your right to ruin your own life, even to persuade others to join you in self immolation. But you dont get to take the rest of us with you.

        I create plenty, but I also know that before you can plant a field you must clear the weeds and rocks and brambles.

        Government can not grow infinitely – Bummer.
        It is only by producing that we can consume – real downer man.
        Nothing is too big to fail – including government – what a drag.

        A falsehood can not be made true by vigor, vitriol, or embroidery.

        Wanting something to be so, does not make it so.

        The world on the whole is a pretty good place, and improving all the time.
        The reasons for that improvement are the effort of free people as individuals and groups to better themselves and their circumstances
        Restrictions on freedom beyond prohibiting the initiation of violence to others, are on the net negative.

  75. November 3, 2012 12:42 pm

    The horror of Sandy is so great that New Jersey towns are begging for any help they can get – unless you are non-union volunteers.

    http://news.yahoo.com/jersey-town-ala-volunteer-utility-crew-don-t-053500307.html

  76. November 3, 2012 1:03 pm

    Just to clarify Ian, I do not consider the term “political moderate” to mean merely “tone of voice” or “politeness,” if that is, in fact, how you interpreted my comment. I consider political moderates to be open-minded, rational, respectful of opposing opinions (provided that those opinions are rational and deserving of respect) and willing to engage in reasonable debate and possible compromise.

    For what it is worth, I always read your comments with interest, and I generally respect your opinion, even when it differs from mine, which it usually – but not always – does. I think that our biggest divide occurs over the issue of political parties. You seem to view me as what my Dad used to call a “rock-ribbed Republican,” because I currently believe that the Republican party has put forward more rational and workable ideas for improving the economy.

    As I have said many times, I have not always been Republican, I do not always vote Republican, even now, and I fully expect that, in the case of a Romney presidency, I will find much to dislike about the GOP. As of now, I see it as the more moderate party of the two.
    I have not married the Republican Party – we are just dating…….

    • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 3, 2012 1:27 pm

      Priscilla,

      I appreciate your kind words, I read all your comments as well. To clarify, I believe that you have what I call moderate opinions, aka some opinions that agree with democrats or liberals, I just don’t think you express them here, you feel loyal to your date. I wish you would express those thoughts, that would be quite interesting to me and create a “Rick effect” of modifying your party loyalty.

      Its easy for me to say, since it seems that in spite of the very close popular vote the race tilts toward Obama lacking a stronger GOP than Dem turnout, but if Romney is not elected, part of me will honestly be sorry, he might well turn out to be another, G.H.W. Bush, a man I vastly respect. If Romney wins I will be hopeful.

      • November 3, 2012 3:22 pm

        Ian;

        Do you actually read what you write ?

        “Priscilla;

        I think you are a secret moderate, but not because of anything that you have actually said. If you would just quit saying those evil republican things and reveal your true secret “moderate” Aka liberal heart of hearts, …..”

      • November 3, 2012 3:25 pm

        Priscilla;

        Say whatever it is that you think, feel, believe – without regard for me or Ian or anyone else.

        I will do the same. If something I say influences you – great. If something I say is wrong – challenge it.

      • AMAC permalink
        November 4, 2012 10:25 pm

        Priscilla

        You have been given the green light. It’s a go.

  77. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 3, 2012 1:59 pm

    I’ve said many many positive things here, and actually probably more about people from the GOP side, sorry they are invisible to you, its a problem you have, an intellectual integrity problem.

    When are you going to create your own site and put your efforts into that instead of your relentless negativity here, which does not convince me of anything? Why waste your time on me when there are libertarians out there who need your wisdom? I’m a flat out waste of your time, I have no interest in your opinions by now, or your cherry picked appeals to authority as the principle that you seem to believe most strongly is “Dave is always right.”

    • November 3, 2012 3:16 pm

      What I do with my time, and where I put my effort is my own choice – why do you believe you have some right to dictate that to me ?

      Why do you believe that just because you say something it is true ?

      Ian: “I’ve said many many positive things here, and actually probably more about people from the GOP side, sorry they are invisible to you, its a problem you have, an intellectual integrity problem.”

      Then it should not be too hard for you to list some.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 3, 2012 4:24 pm

        Where did I dictate anything to you, Dave, I simply note that you prefer the role of constantly negating every statement of Rick and myself on TNM to the role of doing something positive to try to further your own principles by creating your own site and I ask why that is. I may be a bit repetitive, but its nothing on your repetitiveness.

        As to finding my positive comments, that is easy, I’ll make you a bet that I can find ten in this topic alone, all, or nearly all, will be about or to republicans or libertarians.

        If I win the bet you will agree never to address me again and never to mention my name again, since its just a form of taunting me and making utterly false statements about me as a hook to draw me in to the role of entertaining you for one more day. You have an obsession with me, and I have long wished to end our fruitless endless argument, but you know one thing well, how to push my buttons and get a response from me. You are offended to be called OCD, but I will confess that I must be OCD to have wasted so much time getting drawn into our argument time and again after swearing I would not

        You can name your prize if I can’t find those ten positive statements.

      • November 3, 2012 10:10 pm

        Again Ian why do you think you know what i prefer, or what role I prefer ?

        You made claims – I am asking you to back them up.
        I think you will have to make the definition of positive extremely elastic to find ten positive remarks. Beyond that you make it clear that your words and everyone else’s mean whatever you say they mean. In your world insulting someone is a compliment simply because you believe it is true.
        I am challenging your credibility and veracity. I am not challenging you to a duel.

        I challenged you in the hopes you might go back and re-read your own posts, and grasp the malice and extremism that shouts from them. but you are deaf to your own extremism. You have posted alot in this thread. Maybe there are 10 positive remarks you have made, I doubt it. But the bulk of your posts are not fact, they are not ideology, they are not argument – they are just stacked fallacies – mostly ad hominem.

        I “harras” you and “taunt” you because you malign other poster. For sometime I have mostly left you alone – trying to debate anything with you is a waste as you use little beyond insults and fallacies as argument. You have actually turned a fallacy – the moderate fallacy into your core value.

        You have made it perfectly clear that you will disregard anything I ever post – once you have labeled someone – then you can ignore what they say. You are open and overt about that. You do not seem to care that most of your posts are obvious fallacies. I expect and get better from my thirteen year old.

        Yes, I know how to “push your buttons”, there is no logic, no facts in most of your posts. It is a simple principle that once you find a contradiction in someone’s argument you can do almost anything you want with it. Turn it upside down. Sideways. It is sufficiently easy to do with you that it is practically cruel, and I most have been ignoring you until you decided to fallaciously malign other posters.

        There is a pretty simple way for you to decrease the likelyhood of my responding. Avoid the ad hominem – particularly towards other posters.
        Drop the “extreme conservative” or other similar ad hominem – unless the target really is an “extreme conservative” – Fred Phelps comes to mind, but no one at TNM is. I am not even an “Extreme libertarian”. Though I have gotten past your juvenile attacks on me – keep them up if they make you happy. Your labeling everyone you do not like as an extreme conservative, is only a small step up from posts on other blogs calling other posters things like “Republitards” or “repugnicans”. I have gotten past you OCD and aspbergers remarks, but you do not even seem to grasp that you have transformed the real problems of other people into insults. It is no different from calling someone a “retard”.

        Regardless, you are free to post as you please – and so am I.
        I do not want you to go away. I want nothing from you. But I may choose to exercise my freedom to call you on your remarks – particularly when you you malign others.

      • November 4, 2012 12:55 am

        Let me step in (it) once again. Dave: Ian is NOT an extremist, and I really haven’t seen him malign others the way jbastiat did in his early drive-bys. To call someone an extreme conservative is an insult? Barry Goldwater would have worn the badge proudly.

        Ian has been on the warpath here primarily because you’ve been calling us extremists, which is patently absurd. He gets exasperated, and I can’t blame him… because you go on endlessly expecting that moderates should somehow echo your own ideology. I suppose you see yourself as a moderate because you’re not a racist, gun-slinging theocratic fundamentalist Christian. But you’re still not a moderate by any stretch of the imagination.

        Look, I know you’re not a John Bircher or even a Tea Partier. Why can’t you admit that being to the left of you doesn’t make us leftists?

  78. November 3, 2012 3:17 pm

    One way of seeing the world

  79. Ron P permalink
    November 3, 2012 5:50 pm

    https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=cc880a40090973396e743ca5694baf07&tab=core&_cview=0

    After reading this information, does anyone find it appalling that FEMA would wait until Friday to take this action?

    Obama praised FEMA early this week when visiting NJ and NY. Must have been his “you doing a fine job Brownee” moment.

  80. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 3, 2012 7:55 pm

    1. …if Romney is not elected, part of me will honestly be sorry, he might well turn out to be another, G.H.W. Bush, a man I vastly respect.

    2. If Romney wins I will be hopeful.

    3. One Senate seat I wish had stayed in the hands of the Republican incumbent is Lugar’s, he is a thoroughly decent and capable man with decades of experience.

    4. Bless you Pat. A moderate libertarian. Something I can sincerely respect.

    5. You are a decent and thoughtful poster Ron P

    6.Christie just rose 10 feet in my book. Clone this attitude throw out the mandatory partisan BS we will get somewhere

    7. Mitt Romney may well become president. I respect him already for trying and putting himself in the position to. I will respect him if he becomes president and I will defend him from those who hurl partisan abuse at him, even to my friends and family. I will hope like hell that the succeeds and will resent every petty partisan person who hinders him with idiotic accusations.

    8. AMAC, Pat Riot, Ron P, Kent, and of course Rick are regular posters who are thinking, thinking for themselves, not all the time, no one does that, but regularly. Not everything they believe is moderate, but they are thoughtful people with active intellectual processes and all have an ability to be objective rather often.

    9, I appreciate your comments Ron P and have enjoyed your contributions here for quite a while,

    10. For another reminder, there was the decent and even progressive feed the world with US help Bob Dole that came through in his eulogy to his old friend George McGovern.

    11. (to Kent) Not that I have any intention of voting Libertarian, but this is in many ways a great post.

    12. Putting aside politics, I hope everyone here who lives in the northeast area got through Sandy without serious damage.

    Its not all but its enough.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      November 3, 2012 8:39 pm

      Nice list, Wazoo. There it is. Proof positive.

    • November 3, 2012 10:42 pm

      I stand corrected – you are capable of writing something that is not an insult.

      Now go back and count the times you have labeled people “hyper-partisan” “extreme conservative” “babbling”, not thinking for themselves., ……
      Used terms of endearment such as “Hard right” to apply to anyone to the right of Dole or Lugar

      Here is a quote from another of those right wing hyper partisan small government types you recoil at.

      “Government has become so vast and impersonal, that its interests diverge more and more from the interests of ordinary citizens. For a generation and more, the government has sought to meet our needs by multiplying its bureaucracy. Washington has taken too much in taxes from Main Street, and Main Street has received too little in return. It is not necessary to centralize power in order to solve our problems.”
      George McGovern 1972

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 4, 2012 9:33 am

        Dave, If only you could see it, you’ve long ago smashed every rule you are trying to enforce on me. The role you prefer? A naysaying haranguing Libertarian tyrant. Hypocrite is an understatement. There really is nothing positive in that.

      • November 5, 2012 4:58 pm

        Ian;

        I plead guilty – you are clearly the god of TNM. Only you know what freedom, hypocracy, negativity naysaying, libertarianism, … really are.

        I repent and promise in the future to aspire to grasp the wisdom of TNM, to realize that censoring people makes them free, to recognize the wisdom and merits of ad hominem and other fallacies as meritorious forms of argument, to understand that facts and history should never be used to question ideology, to embrace attacks on partisanship – and demand moderation regardless of the truth of either sides arguments.

  81. Pat Riot permalink
    November 3, 2012 8:38 pm

    It seems to me that politicians should be saying to the American People: “Social Security???? Medicare????? You can forget about just about everything if we don’t get this country in the black and moving forward…”

    Isn’t our country bankrupt and getting deeper in debt every second?

    Let’s consider companies and pensions for a sec: many Americans lost their pensions completely or had them reduced when their employer went bankrupt and closed their doors for good and ceased to exist. Whether the employees continued to receive their pensions, or received reduced pensions, or no pension at all, depended upon how the pension funds were insured and how they were structured/set up. Enron comes to mind for one in which employees lost billions in pensions. Bethlehem Steel (number 2 in the world behind U.S. Steel) caved in under the weight of its union salaries and its pensions in the context of a changing global market.

    Yes, I know the United States of America is not a company, per se,( ! ) but the whole Social Security/Medicare “shell game” of how we should structure these programs seems a bit presumptive to me. First you have to save the company, or the country, no?

    Some individuals are doing quite well for themselves, and Americans see affordable goods in the big box stores, and I think Asmith is correct when he writes about how many things have gotten better, the raising of the standard of living, and how our poor have much more than the poor back in the day–that’s true–but don’t mistake the wealth of some individuals and the health of some industries as indicators of the health of our COUNTRY, our Sovereign Nation, our system, our rights…

    Like a company needing revenues to keep its promises to employees, the USA needs revenues from GROWTH in order to be able to keep promises, does it not? I believe Asmith might agree on the need for GROWTH being more important than restructuring programs of a bankrupt nation, which again is like re-arranging the deck furniture on the Titanic.

    Corporations are King these days. Back in the heyday of manufacturing in our USA, companies appealed to workers: “hey, come work for us; we’ll give you a dollar more per hour than the company down the block, and a great pension…look at all we promise…” Now the tables have turned and workers must appeal to companies: “Hey, look at my resume…yes I’ll work for 34 hrs per week (no benefits) …”

    Corporations are making deals via lobbyists to structure our reality. Who is making deals for the American People? I hope Romney or Obama will make some deals for the American People. I hope moderate, rational Americans can make their voices heard and enact needed changes before Social Security, Medicare, and the USA have ceased to exist.

    If I sound like an alarmist, then please help me to not be an alarmist.

    • November 4, 2012 7:59 am

      Interesting, Pat, tying in the whole concept of pensions to the debate. The whole issue of the Delphi pension scandal – in which 20K non-union auto workers had their pensions terminated in the auto industry bailout, while the pensions of the UAW were preserved intact, via taxpayer bailout – has always seemed to me to be a much bigger deal than anyone has made of it. I mean, talk about the government picking winners and losers…..

      The problem is that only certain corporations are king…..the “crony corporations,” for lack of a better term. During GOP administrations, you hear about Enron, Exxon, etc….and now, under Democrats, we have the UAW (ok, not a corporation, but a government crony), Solyndra and others.

      I just prefer that the Sheriff isn’t working hand in glove with the Fat Cat, which is what is happening now, and why I think that being an alarmist is probably, unfortunately, rational.

      I guess I didn’t help, huh?

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 4, 2012 10:19 am

        The world has been going to hell in a bucket since time began. For perspective that may ease some of the fear just do a search for, say how the ancient greeks described the behavior of their teenagers.

        Granted, now we have more power to do both good and bad, but the basic human condition is the same. In evolutionary terms, we males want to mate like crazy and females want enough resources to raise their children, its about passing on genes at the root. Porsches and atomic bombs and Wall street firms are just modern accessories to the basic mating and territorial dance.

        One of the nicest benefits of being in several bands is that I get paid $100 and dinner to hang out with good friends and watch people do the mating dance to “Do you love me” or “I feel good” in something closer to its more original form.

        Make love, not war.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 4, 2012 11:47 am

        Pearows, I didn’t know about the Delphi pension scandal. That’s one of the reasons I like this sight–I can pick up relevant information that I’ve missed.

        Our Government picking winners and losers–I expect Asmith might jump all over that as government disrupting the natural flow of the markets and he’d be correct to an extent. I”m OK if particular individuals benefit from a project if a large group of Americans can also benefit as a result. For example, I’m currently spending some days over here in Issaquah, Washington, just east of Seattle, where there’s one of those Rail Trail projects going on connecting trails from one area to another. I’d be OK if the local municipalities and other levels of government greased the skids a bit for permits and easements and whatnot, and also OK if a particular excavating company benefits if the bidding process was relatively fair at least. It’s not a bullet train or a monorail, but a lot of people here are excited about it and it will help commerce and socializing somewhat.

        P.S. No economic downturn visible in downtown Bellevue, WA, (vicinity of Microsoft), which is a very shiny city that was bustling with activity Saturday night with 1.5 hr waits at restaurants at 9 pm ( ! )

      • November 5, 2012 5:05 pm

        So am I going to be accused of negativity and attacking you if I note that for 99.95% of human existence, pretty much through to recent generations, the human condition has been pretty much abysmal. that it took 150,000 years to increase life expectance by one decade, and 2-3 generations to double it.

        Or to note that it is only in the past couple of centuries that might did not make right, that using a club was not acceptable dating behavior, that procreation and love became distinct.

  82. Pat Riot permalink
    November 4, 2012 12:34 pm

    Ian, Yes, it is the answer. Let’s refer to the Doobie Brothers: “…without love…where would you be now?”

  83. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 4, 2012 12:34 pm

    Heh, I guess my contribution to Priscilla’s post was pretty far off topic. I’m going to try to de-hyper myself, I guess I’ve gotten rather obsessive about posting, I hope I can have my normal brain back after the election.

    Anyhow, more on target, the bipartisan criticism was duly noted and appreciated Priscilla. And I would be very pissed to be one of those non-union ex pension holders, that sounds quite wrong.

  84. Pat Riot permalink
    November 5, 2012 11:10 am

    There has been some argument here about the merits of being Moderate. How does being Moderate work in the real world? Topic: Government Job Training.

    Righty: Why should money be given to people for job training? I didn’t receive any free money for job training! Why don’t those people start at the bottom and work their way up like I did? Everybody can do something. Grab a broom and sweep the floor if you have to until your hard work is noticed. Then you move up a bit. That is how my grandfather did it. He came to this country with $12 in his pocket.

    Lefty: You people who grew up in decent families have no idea what the disenfranchised and disadvantaged are facing. They have been screwed over at every turn by broken families and by society. If we give them some guidance and a leg up they can become productive members of society. The government has to do this because the private sector can’t or won’t because it’s too expensive for them. If you just allocate the money we can train the underserved populations for family-sustaining employment.

    Reality:

    From 1992 to 1997 I worked for a state SDA (Service Delivery Area) of the U.S. Department of Labor headed by then-Secretary Robert Reich as part of the Clinton Administration. The first four years were as a “frontline” Building Trades Instructor working with “hard to serve” and “disadvantaged” men and women, ages 18 to 55. The last two years I was promoted to “Program Auditor” for the region for government-subsidized training programs at community colleges and proprietary schools–examining hundreds of training programs for compliance and performance. I was then hand-picked to lead a USDOL research project at Lehigh University with this mission: Look at the best programs across the U.S. and understand what makes the good ones work. I served in that capacity for 3 more years. I wrote a book on the reality of Job Training, called Critical Connections, yada yada, but the administration changed hands and the very large draft sits on my shelf. Much of the fantastic supporting data is now dated. I would love to ressurrect it and update it, and I hope I do, but next I will post the reality EXTREMELY condensed in just a couple paragraphs and some links.

    • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
      November 5, 2012 11:43 am

      Wow. Someone who actually knows what they are talking about. Thanks so much for your efforts and I will be very interested to hear that discussion of reality from your point of view.

    • November 5, 2012 5:41 pm

      Unless i missunderstand what you have written, you are claiming to have spent a great deal of time studying job creation as part of the clintion administration.

      If you noted a solution to the problem that Government has had an abysmal record in job creation I missed it.

      In reality there are myriads of government pilot programs that were very successful.
      Head Start and Section 8 come to mind. But getting something that works well – sometimes incredibly well with a small self selecting or carefully selected group to work across broad groups as a while has pretty much always proven impossible.

      Nearly anyone here can gather a large body of people with some problem that government might help with – interview them and select from that group a small number to test some proposed solution on – and amazing – that solution succeeds – because if you start with the most motivated, and most likely to succeed on their own – the odds are really good that almost anything you do will succeed.

      But take a successful demonstration program and scale it to serve millions and the results are not nearly so good – in fact they tend to be abysmal. Worse still we have built and entrenched bureacracy arround the program so that now that it is failing we can not kill it. It is no longer about whatever benefit it is providing or failing to provide to those in need, it is about the government employees, contractors, or businesses that have become dependent on that program, not the people served by it.

      Please Pat, if you have a real world example of an actual government program that has scaled up successfully – I am all ears.

      Scaling things up is astronomically difficult in the private world, but atleast there – failure is usually not rewarded, and ideas – both bad and good that did not work perish until something that does work comes along.

      MDTA ,CETA, YEDTP, JTPA, AYES, STEADY, STIP, BEST, YIEPP, YACC, SCSEP, HIRE – just a few of the alphabet soup of Federal Jobs programs that have failed in the past.

      Contrary to the President’s claims – the House Republican’s passed a large number of jobs bills in the past two years – and none of these are any more likely to have worked than those of Obama.

      You caricature the left and right – as if that adds something. It is irrelevant how the left and right talk about Jobs programs – what matters is their success or failure.

      Every penny the government spends – starts by killing jobs in the market place.

      A point of my mantra that “money is not wealth” is is only a tool to facilitate exchange, is that the creation of wealth and investment inevitably means jobs.
      Warren Buffets money does not magically growth – without its being used to produce things of ever greater value – and that relentlessly growing production, means ever more jobs and wealth for all of us.

      Removing $4T from the economy to feed government means $4T of jobs and other wonderful things that could make our lives better that never come into being.

      So whatever your federal jobs program is, from the day you open its doors you start in the hole. To be successful the billions you have to spend have to do better than leaving that money in the marketplace.

      Harvard economist Robert Barro the 4th Rand Economist in the world according to IDEAS- has estimated the “multiplier” for most government programs at .3-.6 – that is a net loss of $.40-$.70 for each dollar spent. That aligns quite well with the popular perception that .51 of each dollar of government spending is wasted. Even democrats see government waste as about .40 of each dollar.

      “You say you got a real solution
      Well, you know
      We’d all love to see the plan
      ….
      We all want to change the world”

      We all want a better world. But the last thing we need is to once again spend billions to make poor minority kids less able to get a job than the were before we started.

  85. Pat Riot permalink
    November 5, 2012 11:25 am

    And here it will amount to my opinion, based on some experience, and with some current data. You be the judge whether our tax dollars should be going to government-funded job training.

  86. November 5, 2012 6:29 pm

    Who gives the most, how do they give, what do they give, what are the effects of giving ?

    http://www.gordon.edu/ace/pdf/Spr07BRGrinols.pdf

    • November 5, 2012 6:31 pm

      And to answer the almost certainly forthcoming charge of “Cherry Picking”, the study was done by a self described lifelong liberal professor.

  87. The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
    November 6, 2012 9:54 am

    If one can believe the polls, today an enormous acid-base titration experiment will occur and leave us at nearly a neutral pH.

    40% of the population strongly wishes for a shift rightward, 40% leftward, 20% are neutral, thus while 80% want change, statistically speaking as a group we don’t want change and will get what we want, even if the polls are slightly off. Its not great and yet it beats the alternatives.

    Best wishes to all to survive the last day of election season with sanity intact.

    • November 6, 2012 11:10 am

      It is not so simple as right/left. An increasing majority want less government. Approaching a majority are favoring greater acceptance of Gays. A majority want to get rid of PPACA – but a majority favor many of its key provisions.

      We have myriads of issues facing us and we do not simply divide right left – or even moderate over those issues. Politics is not binary, it is not even linear.

      Elections typically offer us two choices – binary. I am highly disappointed in president Obama on issues that there is not a chance will be improved by a President Romney.

      Resistance to change is the definition of conservatism – “standing athwart history yelling STOP!” – William Buckley.

      As too polls – alot of pundits are going to have egg on their faces – no matter what outcome we get. Nate Silver will either be the god of political prediction tomorrow – or a total has been.

      Personally I hope whatever the outcome it is not by razor thin margins. The worst outcome involves months of protracted legal fights.

      And i would specifically note – that while on Wednesday we will still be under the shadow of the fiscal problems that the insolvency of Social Security and Medicare cause, we will be at-least slightly better off than we are today.

      Regardless of whether you favor Romney or Obama – right now at this moment you know what uncertainty feels like – you should easily be able to understand why uncertainty is economically destructive. Tomorow a significant percentage of americans will be disappointed no matter what, but they will be far less uncertain, and things will start to improve. People will figure out how to get on with their lives. Businesses will start to think about what Wednesday’s president means for their decision making. Whether each of us gets the choice we want or not, we will better know how to move forward with the choice we get.

      You accuse me of being negative. I do not think it will be a world ending catastrophe if the nation goes bankrupt – which is where we are headed. I do not think that whoever we wake up to as president on Wednesday morning will matter much – despite the billions spent and the reams that have been written. Life will go on. And it will get better.

      Things will get better because WE make it happen. As with Sandy WE will clear the sand and weeds from our yards, pump the water from our basements, rebuild our houses, and our lives.

      Given the freedom to do so this is what humans do. Government consumes ever more of the wealth we create – but we continue to create ever more wealth. Look around you at whatever it is that matters to you – whether it is music, of family, a nice house – whatever matters to you. For nearly all of us – what we have is the result of our efforts. At best government protected what we created for ourselves.

      Look around your home, your neighborhood, your community, state, country the world.
      We have done that, and most of it is very good. Today 7 Billion people live and nearly all are far better off than all but a few as little as 4 centuries ago.

      No matter who is elected today – that will not change.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 6, 2012 11:50 am

        There are some good points here, but the overall view is still tilting at a windmill, really its the dead ghost of Marx. In America Marx did not prevail, and no one argues that its the state that produces. No liberal that I know believes that the state is the means of production in American. Its a strawman.

        I produce my music that is obvious. But I got my first music lessons on the Violin in grade school, that is the government that helped me, school in the US is government, local state and federal. 400 years ago a tiny fraction of people ever played a musical instrument and a tiny fraction went to anything resembling a public school. All that progress you note dovetails neatly with the age of greater and greater portions of the public receiving the benefits of society, not just the fortunate few who happened to be well born. That happened because of government Government is the reason I have the opportunity to create music for myself now, because I went to a public school and they provided me with a luxury, music lessons.

        And Sandy, you in your blind ideological anachronistic way are still are trying to tell us that Sandy is just a few weeds in a yard, because it was a few weeds in your yard. For those who had their lives devastated by Sandy, or Irene or Katrina its a good thing that local state and federal government are seen by the vast majority of Americans as the source of help for the hardest hit. Private charities or individual efforts are insufficient to deal with something of that magnitude, only government can harness all that individual effort in such a case. The devastation of Sandy, huge as it is, is something you don’t wish to see and won’t see, along with any other item, large or small that is inconvenient to your long outmoded obsession that government is almost never necessary. Its OK, we can manage without you.

      • November 6, 2012 6:29 pm

        Ian;

        I am not sure where you got this dead ghosts of marx idea.
        Marxism represents just one of many statist perspectives.

        Beyond that the rest of what I said is pretty much truism.
        You are hearing arguments I am not making.

        Yes, I believe that we can get rid of 80% of our government and be better off.

        Does your disagreement with that argument which i did not make above, discredit the argument that we would also be better of with 1% less, 5% less, 10% less ?

        By the definition of moderate that you claim to adhere to you are actually bound to accept that in the contest between the liberal view and mine, the answer should be in the middle. Wherever the middle is it certainly is not more.

        You touched on the answer but missed it – You are confusing the results with the cause. It is not that the multitudes got a greater share of the wealth, it is that anyone outside a minuscule few got the chance to produce and keep what they produced. It started with the first middle class – the merchant class, and exploded into the bulk of society. One of Adam Smith’s great insights was that free markets were, and were going to improve the conditions for the least well off more and faster than any other group. As more and more people produced and were allowed to keep more and more of what they produced more and more and more was produced. Standards of living rose dramatically. Faster in a single generation than in the entire prior history of the world – and they did not stop rising.
        Wealth – for everyone starts with what is produced. You can re-arrange the wealth of an age in anyway you want. Changing who gets what does not change how much there is. But if you give people the opportunity to produce more and keep what they produce suddenly there is more for everyone.

        Jefferson at Montecello discovered his slaves were more productive if allowed to produce more and keep what they produced. He came very close to discovering that the entire economics of slavery was wrong.

        Give the poor a bit more and – the poor have a bit more, but little else changes. Give them the chance to produce and keep much of what they produce and you have continuously rising standard of living.

        Whatever government takes – from the rich, from the poor, from the middle class, it STARTS with us having less. Government has to be very effective just to break even. Worse whatever government takes, diminished the power of that engine that drives standard of living ever upward.

        If this is all no more than some rehash of 200 year old arguments that have been supplanted of disproven, or no longer matter – why is it that the data still says exactly that – leave people with more of what they produce and they will produce even more. Those myriads of studies I throw at you – starting with the World Bank, that document that the more government takes, the slower standard of living improves does nothing but restate what Adam Smith said over 200 years ago.

        Freedom works – and nothing else comes close. In fact most everything that you believe makes those with less better off – actually harms them.
        And this is true not only in the US, but in developed countries too. There are numerous studies demonstrating that Forgeign aide actually harms the countries it is given too.

      • November 6, 2012 6:55 pm

        As to Sandy – I am not arguing that Sandy is not a “natural disaster”. That it destroyed nothing. Nor is my argument particularly ideological.

        Sandy is worse than Irene – but not alot worse. It is not even close to Katrina. It is not even close to Agnes when I was a teen.

        Sure it packed an enormous amount of power. But a 5mph wind blowing from one end of the country to the other would dwarf even Sandy in total power. What matters is what that power does. Sandy’s winds were very near those of Irene and over a slightly larger total area. Result a small increase in the total number of people without power. The next worse power outage was the result of a snow storm.

        To the person who has lost their home or been killed, Sandy is the worst disaster of all time. And many people did lose their homes, and some were killed, and businesses have been destroyed and …. More people lost their lives in the joplin Missorie tornado. that tornado destroyed 7,000 houses
        Maybe when we are done Sandy will reach or exceed that, but what I am hearing is 80 here and 20 there. The Jersey Barrier islands are going to require a great deal of cleanup, but there are not thousands of homes there destroyed.

        Do you have any sense of scale ? Katrina destroyed nearly 350,000 homes ?

        What is it that you think the government is doing about Sandy ?

        So far they have been doing pretty poor. Power has been restored to 7 or 8 homes that lost it. Those that have not been restored are mostly in NYC where government is in the way.

        Basements are being pumped out – some by local government but most by local residents or private contractors.

        Private transportation in NY worked immediately after the Huricane – except you were not allowed off Manhattan, and the government is preventing you from getting gasoline – what do price controls always do – create shortages ! Let the price of Gasoline go high enough and I will personally drive a gasoline truck into NYC in the middle of the huricane.
        The reason you allow prices to adjust is to create the incentive to overcome the obstacles to supply. Bloomburg threatened gas stations if they increased gas prices – so now people line up, and after buying gasoline they turn arround and sell it for as much as $50/gallon.
        all government has done is created an artificial shortage and change who it is who will profit from it.

        What is it that FEMA did immediately prior to or immediately after that made any difference ?

        There is a mess and it is going to have to be cleaned up. Businesses will be destroyed.
        And NYC can not get the buses and Subways running.
        Jersey can not get its sewers back in order.

        This is what you think of as proof that we need government ?

    • Ron P permalink
      November 6, 2012 12:29 pm

      Oh TNSGW..Although I agree with your position that what we get beats the alternatives, I am not in complete agreement that its not great. The founding fathers must have had a crystal ball ( or encountered the same positional problems we have today) and were able to write a constitution that allowed citizens to place controls on one group or the other through divided government. We see what complete control brings. On one hand, the beginning trends for excessive debt through tax reductions and increased spending (entitlements, military and wars) begun during the Bush 43 administration and then the shift to the left with the crafting of the PPACA, Had it not been for the 2010 elections, one can only imagine what would have happened with carbon taxes and other left wing legislation that was stopped due to the Republican takeover of the House.

      To me, divided government is good when you have a President that can work with the opposing party much like Clinton. But even with a President that will not cross over, we will survive and this country will prosper, maybe slower than needed, but we will move on in spite of the politicians that are trying to screw it up. I hope I never again see a President have 60+ senators and a house that is of his own party.

      • The not-so-grand Wazzoo permalink
        November 6, 2012 1:12 pm

        Yep, you are a moderate Libertarian. Ron P. I agree with almost all you said, other than thinking that the PPACA, which was almost all composed of GOP proposals, is left wing. The timing of it was what was wrong, but I really do not see how it was left wing unless the GOP was full of left wing elements when it came up with those ideas.

        One thing that I believe separates moderates is that moderate liberals do not want to see conservatives disappear, and visa versa, moderates just want to see the action mostly pulled in to one standard deviation from the mean on both sides.

        Non moderate liberals and conservative have a wild dream, the other side gets totally beaten and disappears as a force.

        As a moderate liberal I want a sensible conservative counterbalance on the real far lefties and I even just do not want to see common garden-variety liberals in full charge of either the Senate or House. I fear the extreme versions of my own side’s tendencies.

        I read in the polling this year that conservatives are somewhat more likely to favor split power than liberals, as they have less belief in government and want that titration reaction to occur.

        Certainly I am not one with total faith in government myself and have said many times here that I would like to see ours stop growing and shrink somewhat, but moderately and gradually, not precipitously.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 6, 2012 5:35 pm

        TNSGW..On the issue of healthcare reform, I have supported many of the requirements within that legislation. However, there are many things that were not included that the republicans supporterd. Such as those protections that the legal profession has bought off legislators on the left to block. That is tort reform. Loser pays, some limits on rewards, etc. Another issue is the ability of insurance companies to sell nationally under one set of rules, Why should a company like Catepillar, with plants in multiple states be required to purchase different plans. Why should insurance companies be required to have employees just to keep up with 50 different state laws. Let them spread the risk thoughout a much larger pool . How does the federal employees plan work for employees who work in different states? One plan or many different plans based on the state they are located?

        I also do not believe that the federal government should have 50 different state exchanges for individuals not in a plan at work. Have one or two national plans. Let people buy into Medicare. Don’t shift cost to the states like the growth in Medicaid will do in the long run. These are not n the right wing talking points. They are my thoughts on the issue.

        However, when I mention a left wing agenda, it is more the extreme issues that some far leaning to the left side have with regards to energy, labor laws, education, environment and a host of other issues. And these could be a topic of discussion for a future date.

      • November 6, 2012 8:30 pm

        Why does the fact that some Republicans – such as Nixon proposed national healthcare mean that it is not “left wing” ?

        Why do you keep trying to divide every issue along a single ideological fault line ?

        Bush II gave us Medicare Part D, and No Child Left Behind – does that make those conservative programs ?

        Does Ron P get an Ian Lollipop for being a purportedly Moderate Libertarian ?

        And what is a moderate libertarian as opposed to a hyper conservative libertarian ?

        I am beginning to grasp that the definition of moderate is rooted in the extent one agrees with you. That seems to me to be very un-moderate.

      • November 6, 2012 8:43 pm

        Ron P;

        Why does it surprise you that one group bought o legislators with respect to PPACA ?

        Rick and I and possibly even Ian are agreed that legislation is constantly being co-opted by influence. All that fundamentally separates us is that I grasp that as an inherent attribute of government, and they believe that if they monkey around with law enough they can prevent it.

        And for the record I am strongly OPPOSED to most tort reform. The appropriate way to regulate the economy is through civil courts. I would like to see juries behave rationally in their awards, but the principle problem with our torts system today is gaining access to the courts, not the size of the awards. Worse still in case after case some industry steps in pleads mea culpa, begs protection from the government pays large amounts of money to government which was not harmed rather than to its victims which suffered real harm. Sound to me like exactly the kind of system we don’t want.

        Why do we need ANY exchange – just get government out of the business of restricting markets – allow insurance companies to compete across state lines. Why do we need fake government pseudo markets when we can have real ones ? Even if you believe there is a need to regulate something you want government regulating outcome not process.

        You can not let people buy into medicare – because that would only make the medicare problem worse. Demographics are only a part of the failure of medicare. It is also failing because inconsistent with what we have been sold for years – medicare actually costs more than private for profit insurance.

  88. November 6, 2012 10:41 am

    What Drives Views on Government Redistribution and Anti-Capitalism: Envy or a Desire for Social Dominance?

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=945932

    Aparently the view that free market advocates are intolerant racists is 180degrees wrong.
    Atleast acordng to this study racism and intolerance correlate far more strongly with those favoring stronger government and greater redistribution.

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